Help wanted: the next generation of manufacturing workers

May 1, 2018

The dearth of skilled labor is an increasingly common lament heard from manufacturers of all stripes. It’s not a sudden or inflated complaint. According to recent data provided by the Manufacturing Institute (the Institute, or MI), an affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) based in Washington, D.C., 364,000 manufacturing jobs are going unfilled. …

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Zipper tricks: tips and techniques

Providing an excellent end product is paramount to marine fabricators, and zippers play a vital role in the long-term functionality of everything from covers to cushions. But zippers can be tricky. Choosing the right one can be confusing, and working with zippers in difficult situations takes both expertise and patience. Important features For Rebecca Tarockoff, …

Suited for speed

The only naturally refrigerated bobsled track in the world, the Olympia Bob Run St. Moritz-Celerina, is located in Switzerland’s Engadine Valley. Dating back to 1904, it is also the world’s oldest track, built for vacationing British guests. In March, the local Cristal Da Glatsch club held a bobsled race to support the track. Racers were …

A smarter jacket for first responders

Smart technology offers endless practical applications, but its potential for first responders has lifesaving possibilities. The technology company Nokia, working with South Korean apparel company Kolon and Czech Republic software developer GINA, has introduced a prototype jacket for police, firefighters and other emergency responders. Called the CHASE (connected health and safety equipment) LifeTech FR (first …

GOTS hosts U.S. roundtable

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) hosted a roundtable for the textile industry in Charleston, S.C., in February. The theme was “Making a Business Case for GOTS Certification.” These types of roundtables take place around the globe to help stakeholders define challenges and opportunities and to provide feedback to GOTS on specific sector or regional …

The future is… comfy

In the 1980s science fiction hit “Back to the Future,” Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) travels through time wearing a pair of high-flying, self-lacing Nike Air Mags. In real life, Nike produced 89 pairs of the techno sneakers in 2016 to benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to the tune of $6.5 …

Ascend Performance Materials supports its employees and communities

After a tornado outbreak swept through northern Alabama in 2011, Ascend Performance Materials LLC sprang into action. The Houston, Texas-based company provided housing for employees from their Decatur facility who lost everything, and volunteers from the company helped with cleanup and rebuilding efforts. Out of that tragedy, it founded the Ascend Cares Foundation to support …

Tradition and transition

Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire. ~ Gustav Mahler I can’t help but date myself if I tell you that when I started working at IFAI in 1988, staff were still allowed to smoke in the office, we had a fax machine that was so large it had its …

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Tracking supplier compliance for sustainable textile companies

The issue of compliance can be complicated for textile companies, which have to comply with various regulatory and voluntary company standards for product safety and restriction of substances. In the United States, for example, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) contains provisions that aim to improve the safety of children’s products. The European Union …

Mike, Joe and Dan Reilly: leadership transition for Miami Awning

“A lot of what I’ve accomplished in this industry was about survival—being able to have what I need to get the job done,” says Mike Reilly, owner and CEO of Miami Awning Co. in Miami, Fla. “Now, my aim is to convey what knowledge I can to my sons to make it easier for them …