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The age of automation

December 1, 2015

Sewn or sealed, automation is trending as U.S. companies strive to increase efficiency and decrease costs. The art of sewing textiles is lacking in U.S. manufacturing as lower-cost labor in Asia has helped meet consumer demands for competitive retail prices. But automation technology is slowly advancing, helping companies bring production costs down while keeping quality …

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Estimating for profit: Where to begin

September 1, 2015

Understanding the customer’s unique wants and requirements goes to the heart of successful custom projects. Larry Schneider, owner of Homestyle Awning & Upholstery in Bay View, Wis., recently worked on a project that seemed fairly simple—adding screens to a car trailer so the customer could sleep in it. After talking it through with the customer, …

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Flammability codes—the basics

May 1, 2015

Knowing what to ask and why can help fabricators sort out the complexities of FR codes and standards. Complying with flammability and fire resistance codes can be challenging for fabricators in meeting specific market and product requirements. Although the responsibility for flame retardance certifications falls largely to fabric suppliers, fabricators of everything from massive stadium …

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Living it up, outside

January 1, 2015

Screens and shades that protect from wind, sun and insects bring indoor comforts to outdoor living. Outdoor living is a growing trend for homeowners seeking to relax and entertain outside with all the comforts of indoor living. Restaurants and hotels are also extending guest areas to outdoor patios, sidewalks, rooftops and beachfronts. All of this …

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Riding a wave

June 1, 2014

Marine fabricators are swamped with projects for boat owners, from vintage renovations to custom upgrades for new boats. The boating market has always been a good indicator of economic health and consumer confidence in the U.S. Nearly 90 million Americans participate in recreational boating, generating some $83 billion in annual spending. Even while sales of …

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Another fine mesh

March 1, 2014

Durable, versatile, printable fabric makes a big impact outdoors. The merging of advanced printing technologies and the broad spectrum of mesh products on the market is allowing fabricators to do more than was possible in previous years, especially with splashy, attention-getting outdoor graphics. Mesh, in an increasing variety of styles and materials, is an ideal …

Fresh and clean

January 1, 2014

Fabric diffusers give commercial kitchens an air makeover. Restaurants and other commercial food service operations face a common challenge: adequately ventilating cooking areas that can create a lot of grease, heat and smoke. Four-way metal diffusers typically used in commercial kitchens produce high air velocities that flow across the cooking exhaust hood, reducing its ability …

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Performance driven

December 1, 2013

Sports and recreation fabrics for apparel and gear match demanding customer expectations and show continued growth. Whether participating in an ultramarathon or exploring the arctic poles, serious athletes need the same thing in their apparel and gear: comfort and protection. Fabric technologies are delivering above and beyond these goals, helping to serve the extreme-sport mentality …