New smart fabrics and protective gear innovations keep first responders safer

December 1, 2018

First responders—from firefighters to law enforcement to emergency medical services technicians—need to be ready to handle any situation they encounter, and they need the appropriate gear to respond quickly to emergencies. Responders draw on their experience to make sound decisions in the chaos of a crime or accident scene, or in the heat of a …

Early adopters affect product development

November 1, 2018

IoClothes describes itself as “A Community Fusing Tech & Textiles™” that exists to support those who innovate in the smart textile industry by providing information and helping them to establish the right connections to move forward. Managing director Ben Cooper says, “About 30–40 percent of the [textile] industry has a warm-to-hot interest in innovation—new processes, …

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A faster path to market through industry dialogue and profitable partnerships

If innovation is a key to growth and profitability because of the differentiation it can offer in our broadly commoditized industrial fabrics industry—one that for decades has been under strong pricing pressure from low-cost imports—then R&D is an essential component of a company’s toolbox for financial success. My experience, however, coincides with the observation of …

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Basic training principles for new and long-time tent installers

October 1, 2018

Labor is a problem everywhere, with tent rental companies experiencing constant turnover and the need to train new installers. Desperate to fill out their crews, tent renters will often send new employees on the road for installations right off the bat, with training coming on the job from long-time employees. But just because a crew …

Incorporating new materials into composites

In material science, strength alone is often found to have its limitations; a combination of hard and soft, rigid and flexible is an area of increasing interest for a wide range of applications from construction, to sports equipment, to protective apparel. Composites bring together two or more materials to provide one that has novel features, …

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Recommended fabric cleaning products

September 1, 2018

It’s pretty simple. People buy boats because they want to have fun. The reality, however, is that work—the opposite of fun—is required to keep any watercraft in tip-top condition. Therein lies the rub. “A lot of boaters don’t want to do all the cleaning and maintenance,” says Marianne Iosso, vice president of Iosso® Products of …

Textile-based robots

A Harvard collaboration develops soft, wearable robotics for hands. Soft, wearable robotics is an emerging field that looks at methods of enabling functional, powered support to assist human movements using lightweight, low-profile and flexible materials such as textiles. A diverse team of researchers in the Harvard Biodesign Lab at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired …

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Prototypes and progress: The problems of today are the products of tomorrow

August 1, 2018

  Good companies allocate time, energy, money and resources to the art of product development. Why? Because the products of tomorrow can’t be developed without working through the problems of today. Whether you’re doing product research and development for your own products or you’ve been hired by a customer to conduct the work, there’s a …

Textile-based bio materials mend bodies

July 30, 2018

Textile-based biomaterials, or biotextiles, have the longest history in the field of biomaterials. In ancient China and Egypt as far back as 2000 B.C., natural fibers such as linen, silk, bark, horsehair and dried guts were used as suture materials for wound closure. The introduction of steel wire and synthetic fibers such as polypropylene, nylon …

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Future architecture: Nicholas Goldsmith and the journey from mass to membrane

July 1, 2018

Nicholas “Nic” Goldsmith, FAIA, has been a major player for more than 40 years in the development of fabric architecture in North America and around the globe through his leadership of the innovative architectural/engineering firm FTL Design Engineering Studio, based in New York City. I’ve known Nic for more than 20 of those years, and …