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Hybrid technology: a new approach to design and production

August 1, 2017

When technology and textiles intersect, it’s not surprising that the nomenclature often has us scratching our heads. Just what do we call this stuff? Smart textiles? E-textiles? Something else? Are they all the same? If that’s not enough of a conundrum, we’ve got something else to add to the lexicon: “hybrid technology.” The term was …

Eco-friendly upholstery fabrics

Breathe by Milliken™ textiles are eco-friendly, durable performance upholstery fabrics that repel everyday stains, are easily cleanable, sustainably designed and responsibly manufactured. Breathe fabrics are the industry’s first fluorine-free performance fabrics compatible with both natural and manmade fibers. They emit no VOCs, including PFCs like PFOS and PFOA, or added formaldehyde, which can harm indoor …

Koons’ inflatable graced Rockefeller Center

American artist Jeff Koons, well known for vivid and often whimsical takes on pop culture and everyday life, created a show-stopping inflatable sculpture of a ballerina that was installed at Rockefeller Center from May 12 to June 2, 2017. Seated Ballerina was a larger-than-life version of a piece he did for his Antiquity Series that …

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Choosing the right foam for your seating project

From cockpit cushions with hull angles to bosun’s chairs and boat mattresses, choosing the best solution for cushion foam is a bit of a science. The task can feel daunting given the complexity of choices in foam types, materials, densities and compression factors, but choosing correctly is crucial to a project’s success. Factor in comfort …

Chair knitted using 3-D technology

The Tent Chair from Benjamin Hubert of the London-based experience design agency Layer Design is laid-back and modern. Created for the renowned Italian furniture brand Moroso, the chair’s fabrication is in itself cutting-edge. The chair is knitted in one seamless piece using 3-D knitting technology. The fabric is comprised of more than two million knitted …

Soft robotics virtual reality gloves

Wouldn’t it be great to play the piano like a virtuoso? Now there’s a soft robotics glove that gives you the experience—in virtual reality. Engineers at the University of California San Diego have created gloves that take simulated experiences to a more sophisticated level than existing devices. Using soft robotics technology, they developed light, flexible …

Fabric helps brick-and-mortar retailers take visual branding to another level

The effects of society’s ever-increasing digital dependency, overabundance of shopping malls and shifting spending habits are not doing the retail industry any favors. But its future is not all doom and gloom. A study released earlier this year by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and IBM found that most members of Generation Z—the generation following …

J & J Custom Design helps at-risk boys develop vocational skills

When meeting with the director of Safe Harbor Boys Home and Maritime Academy about volunteer opportunities earlier this year, Jo Ann and John Greco were asked to revive its out-of-service upholstery shop. The couple, who own upholstery business J & J Custom Design LLC, took on the challenge with relish, developing a program to teach …

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How to attract and hire exceptional employees

In the buyer’s market of recent years, it was probably easy for you to attract top-notch job candidates. Not so much today. With new job creation being healthier than expected in 2016, and further increases so far this year, finding and hiring the best candidates for your shop will no longer be a slam dunk. …

Recycled thread

American & Efird (A&E) now offers Perma Core® using REPREVE®, an eco-friendly, high-performance sewing thread option. Unifi Inc., manufacturer of REPREVE, turns plastic bottles into 100 percent recycled polyester fiber, which is then made into products sold by leading consumer brands and retailers. Perma Core using REPREVE combines a recycled continuous filament polyester core and …

Chad Miller keeps American National Manufacturing on top of changing market demands

People often ask if we make a particular product, and the answer is often no. But can we? To that, the answer is yes,” says Chad Miller, director of contract manufacturing of American National Mfg. Inc. and formerly co-owner of Plas-Tech Sealing Technologies, Corona, Calif. “We have everything we need to make new products. All …

Toronto theater gets a facelift

The Toronto Centre for the Arts needed a facelift; managers wanted to reconfigure the main theater, which was underutilized. Toronto-based Diamond Schmitt Architects divided the 1800-seat space into two smaller spaces: a 300-seat black box theater and a 574-seat proscenium stage. Color and drama were added to the proscenium theater in the form of an …

Super-format textile printer

The ITI3200-TXK 3.2-meter, dual-production mode super-format textile printer from Inkjet Technology Inc. is built for large-run production. The newest model comes configured with Kyocera KJ4B high-speed production print heads for speeds up to 2,195 sq.ft./hr. It incorporates an advanced media handling system in the rear of the printer to accommodate both transfer paper and direct-to-fabric …

Two new graphics films

Arlon Graphics LLC has launched two new innovative products and a new technology for vehicle and fleet applications. SLX™ Cast Wrap is a premium gloss white repositionable cast film with FLITE Technology™. Designed for the single installer, the film allows for a fast wrap and superior repositionability. FLITE Technology is a light contact system allowing …

MIT researchers design breathable workout suit

It seems counterintuitive that something associated with dampness and sweaty aromas could be used to help keep the body cool and dry. But a team of MIT researchers is looking at bacteria in a fresh way and using it in apparel that provides ventilation in response to body heat and sweat. According to the researchers, …

Sneakers for Mars

Maybe someday, along with cruise wear, there will be a special fashion category: space wear. It could be sooner than later, given that SpaceX, the space exploration company started by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, recently announced plans to fly two tourists around the moon in 2018. Shoes for space travel have already gotten off on …

Fabric pots for everyday gardening

Why use heavy, breakable terra cotta or nonporous plastic pots for plants and flowers when you can use pots made of breathable fabric? That’s the idea behind Jardisac, the all-fabric containers. Jardisac pots are permeable, allowing water to run through the soil for maximum air circulation and drainage to keep the plant’s roots healthy. The …

Nonwoven advances in performance and sustainability

The global market for nonwovens is expected to grow from a 2015 level of $2.9 billion to $8 billion by 2022, according to Stratistics Market Research Consulting, specialists in global cross-sector market research. Existing market sectors such as health, hygiene and automotive applications are expanding, and others are being added, with much of the growth …

The latest at IFAI Expo 2017 in New Orleans

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. ~Abraham Lincoln I can’t believe it’s August already. Next month we’ll gather in New Orleans to celebrate the people, products and ideas across our industry, from specialty fabrics and fabrication, shade and weather protection and advanced …

IFAI EXPO 2017 Show Preview

IFAI Expo 2017 is the event that brings together thousands of textile industry experts, exhibitors, educators and you! IFAI is excited to offer more at this year’s event for all professionals in the specialty fabrics, advanced textiles and shade and weather protection fields. What’s New at IFAI Expo Mentor Meetings—An opportunity for you to meet …

Transparent curtain fabrics

Two new transparent curtain fabrics from Swiss textile producer Création Baumann intricately filter light to create delicate shadows in any room. Karneol is designed with a repeating pattern of slightly irregular rectangles to create an organic motif. Celeste’s pattern of embroidered circles presents a consistent rhythm of shapes in a variety of colors. Made from …

Artwork-inspired home interiors

Aboriginal art is one of the world’s oldest art forms, dating back 50,000 years. Today, it expresses the richness of Aboriginal culture and a diversity of experiences and beliefs. The sacred connection to the land is often expressed in the artwork, which depicts the landscape, plants and animals of Australia’s central desert. Bay Gallery Home, …

Sturdy shade fabric

Trivantage® is offering SolaMesh® fabric, an innovative new fabric using polymer technology, recommended for shade sails and other shade structures. Tested in the world’s harshest environments, the shade sail fabric is made from highly stable HDPE monofilament and tape, providing best-in-class strength, value and longevity. Available in 16 colors, it offers a 10-year warranty. Trivantage, …

Crossover skills give upholsterers business opportunities in many markets

The president of the Professional Upholsterers’ Association of Minnesota proudly states that she was the fifth woman to graduate from an upholstery curriculum at Minneapolis Technical College in 1977. “It was considered a man’s field back then,” says Diana Shroyer Guenther, owner of Shroyer Custom Upholstery in Coon Rapids, Minn. She worked one year for …