BeaverLake6 Report
BeaverLake6 Report

News about the Global Technical Textiles Industry


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Breaking News

Advanced Composties Company Acquires 50% Interest in Formax. According to a press release posted on the website Business Wire, Hexcel Corporation announced today that it has acquired 50% of Formax UK Limited. Formax, located in Leicester, UK, is a manufacturer of composite reinforcements, specializing in the production of lightweight mult-axial fabrics. Hexcel is also an advanced composites company, developing and manufacturing high-performance structural materials, including carbon fibers, reinforcements, prepregs, and compositie structures used in commercial aerospace, space and defense, and industrial applications. The two companies had already been cooperating for the development and manufacture of non-crimp fabrics for Hexcel and its aerospace customers. Click here to read the press release. Posted December 15, 2014

Front Page News

Czech Soldiers in Afghanistan Complain About Bullet-Proof Vests. Czech Defense Minister Martin Stropnicky visited his country's soldiers in Afghanistan on December 13-14.  There are 285 Czech soldiers serving in the country. According to an article posted on the Prague Post website, one complaint he listened to while there is the trouble the soldiers are having with the "bullet-proof" vest because the hook-and-loop fastener keeps unfastening. Deputy Defense Minister Jiri Borovec told the Czech News Agency that a contract with a supplier should be signed by February and new vests supplied by next autumn. Further, Defense Stropnicky said "the price should be lower by dozens of percent" compared to the past supplies. Click here to read the article. Posed December 15, 2014             

Fabric Canopies for the Grand Mosque in Makkah. According to an article posted on the Saudi Gazette website, the courtyards around the Grand Mosque in Makkah (Mecca) will have canopies similar to those already in place in the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah (Madina). The retractable canopies will be made of PTFE coated fabric and cover more than 275,000 square meters. Click here to read more about the project. Posted December 15, 2014

How Much Does China Soldier's Equipment Cost. There's a great article posted on China Military Online regarding the cost of outfitting a Chinese soldier. While overall spending by China for the military increased 88 billion Yuan (US$14.3 billion) in 2014, the soldiers' individual equipment costs remained the same as what it was five years ago. The Kevlar helmet costs $285, camouflage tactical vest $45, backpack $30, camouflage gloves $15, woven belt for equipment $15, and a fabric satchel $15. Body armor is not readily outfitted which is interesting because China body armor can be made very inexpensively; however, there appears to be a fundamental difference in philosophy between Western and Chinese military thinking. The Chinese military leadership feels "the plethora of protective equipment will consume soldiers' strength and also weaken the soldiers' fighting spirits." Click here to read the article. Posted December 15, 2014

Glen Raven Fabric Collection Named "Best of the Year." Congratulations to acrylic fabric manufacturer Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, Glen Raven, N.C., USA, for having its Sunbrella Icon Collection named Best of Year 2014 winner by Interior Design magazine. The Sunbrella Icon Collection won in the Textiles: Outdoor category. The Interior Design 9th Annual Best of the Year Awards ceremony took place December 4. The competition received more that 2,000 submissions. Click here to read the article posted on the Furniture World magazine website. Posted December 15, 2014

Russian Technical Textiles Industry in Trouble. There is a very good article posted on the Innovation In Textiles website on the problems of the Russian nonwovens and technical textiles industry. According to the article, amongst the causes are the decline of the Russian economy, illegal re-exports of technicalt textiles to Russia, and currency fluctuation. The article, written by Eugene Gerden, says the Russian production has declined by about 15% compared to the same period last year. Click here to go to the website and read the article. Posted December 11, 2014

New Technology Provides Real-Time Monitoring of Human Lungs. This is an interesting press release from Freudenberg on their development with Swisstom AG of a system that combines electrical impedance tomography (EIT) with an electrode belt for the real-time monitoring of the human lungs. It's called the SensorBelt and is positioned around the patient's chest. providing what the developers call "a window into the lungs." Freudenberg's contibution is the development of a flexible circuit board and the skin-friendly nonwovens to ensure contact between the electronic systems and the patient's skin at all times. Click here to read the press release. Posted December 11, 2014

India Technical Textiles Sector Looking at 20% Annual Growth. According to a report published on the Indian Business Standard website, the country's technical textile sector is poised for a 20% annual rate growth in both 2015 and 2016. The prediction was made by the country's Textiles Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar during the launching of the 4th TECHNOTX-2015 event that is scheduled to by held in April 2015. Click here to read the article on the Business Standard website. Posted December 9, 2014

Geosynthetics Society Holds International Conference, Elects New Leadership. The International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) has just published its latest IGS News newsletter. The newsletter reviews the accomplishments and milestones which happened during the 10th International Conference on Geosynthetics (10ICG), held in Berlin, Germany, September 21-25, 2014. The international conference takes place only once every 4 years. The 10ICG attracted 1200 visitors at both the conference and exhibition. The exhibition featured 140 exhibitors of geosynthetics and related products and services. At the IGS General Assembly, Dr. Jorge Zomberg stepped down as the society's president. He was succeeded by Dr. Russell Jones.  The 11ICG will take place in Soul, South Korea, September 16-20, 2018. Click here to read the complete coverage of the 10ICG in the newsletter, plus reports on many other activities sponsored by the IGS. Posted December 9, 2014 

Performance Fibers Signs Agreement to Sell Asia Operations. According to a press release issued by Indorama Ventures PLC, the company has signed a definitive agreement to purchase the Asia operations of Performance Fibers, a leading producer of polyester fibers and fabrics for the technical textiles industry. Performance Fibers is based in Huntersville, N.C., USA. Thailand-registered Indorama Ventures is one of the world's foremost petrochemical producers. Thanks to Alasdair Carmichael of Carmichael International for alerting us to this news. Click here to read the Indorama press release. Posted December 8, 2014

Local Community Provides Funds to Help Grow a Composites Manufacturing Company. While we often report on the activities of companies with a network of global operations, we are reminded not to forget the industry is also made up of thousands of smaller manufacturers that are important to their communities. Composite Envisions, a manufacturer and distributor of lightweight carbon fabrics, recently received a $100,000 forgivable loan by the Wausau Economic Development Committee of Wausau, Wis., USA. Besides manufacturing composites, the company distriubtes other specialty fabrics made of carbon and aramid fibers. Click here to find out more about Composites Envisions and the financing. Posted December 8, 2014

Source: DuPont

Stretchable Electronic Ink Materials Introduced. Normally we don't like to promote a particular product but one of the issues which often comes up when a conversation gets going about the market potential for "smart fabrics" and "e-textiles" is the material's durability after repeated washings. DuPont Microcircuit Materials has introduced a suite of stretchable electronic ink materials for use in smart clothing applications and other wearable electronics. According to a product release from DuPont, their new stretchable form-fitting materials can be a viable alternative to traditional ways to embed electronics in fabric products. Click here to read the press release posted on the Printed Electronics World website. Posted December 8, 2014 

China Supplying Equipment to Pakistan to Fight Terrorism. The Pakistan Paliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Muhammed Afzal Khan addressed the country's National Assembly and revealed during questioning that a number of countries were providing assistance to fight terrorism. He said China has provided equipment of 2050 items worth RS 120 million (US$1.185 million) during 2013-2014, including 600 soft quality bullet proof vests, 600 bullet proof helmets, 600 bullet proof masks, and 20 bomb suppression blankets. Click here to read the report posted on the Pakistan Business Recorder website. Posted December 8, 2014

US Releases October Export Figures for Specialty Fabrics. The US Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA) has released the October export numbers for the Specialty and Industrial Fabrics group. Comparing 2013 and 2014 12-month periods ending October 31, total US exports increased by $271 million. Mexico remained the leading country to receive US specialty fabrics exports, followed by Canada, China, Hong Kong and Japan. Click here to go to the OTEXA webpage to view export figures. Posted December 7, 2014

Japan Will Provide 700,000 Protective Suits fo West Africa. More countries are stepping up to support medical health services seeking to contain the deadly Ebola outbreak. According to The Japan News website, the Japanese government will provide 700,000 protective suits mostly for use in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the three West African countries hit hardest by the Ebola outbreak. The first 20,000 are being transported to Ghana using an Air Self-Defense Force aircraft on December 6. Click here for more information. Posted December 3, 2014

Johnnie Walker Introduces Whisky-Scented Tweed. "Smart fabrics" comes in all types of designs and intended uses. Iconic Scottish brands Johnnie Walker and Harris Tweed have worked together to create Aqua Alba, a fabric which has a whisky-embedded scent layered throughout the material during the finishing process. The fabric was designed with the help of Heriot-Watt University's School of Textiles and Design and Milan-based designer Angelos Bratis. Click here to read an article posted on the BBC website. Posted December 3, 2014

Activist Investor Seeks Break Up of Coated Fabric Producer. The Barington Capital Group LP, an investor in chemicals company Omnova Solutions Inc., Fairlawn, Oh., USA has sent a letter to the company, seeking it to sell its Engineered Surfaces business segment and use the proceeds to firm up Performance Materials, its larger chemical and coatings products segment. Engineered Services produces urethane and vinyl coated upholstery fabrics for marine, school bus, mass transit and the automotive aftermarket. Omnova was spun off from GenCorp Inc. (formely The General Tire and Rubber Company) in 1999. Click here to read an article posted on the Wall Street Journal website. Posted December 3, 2014

Successful Report on Recent Nonwoven Filtration Conference. According to a report issued by INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, more than 1,400 delegates and 130 exhibitors participated in the association's Filtration®2014 International Conference & Exposition, November 18-20 in Baltimore, Md., USA. This was the first time the event had been combined with INDA's Nonwoven Filter Media Training Course. The theme of the combined event was "Pure Opportunity." The organization announced Filtration®2015 will be held in Chicago, Ill., USA, November 17-19, 2015. Click here to read the INDA press release on more of the results of the 2014 event. including presentations delivered. Posted December 3, 2014

Winners Announced for ITMA Future Materials Awards 14. Congratulations to the winners of the ITMA Future Materials Awards 14 announced November 28 at a special award ceremony in Dresden, Germany during the Aachen-Dresden International Textile Conference. Awards were given out to companies in 15 categories. Selected as Innovator of the Year was Veronica Kapsali, the inventor and co-director of MMT Textiles Limited, a research and development company which owns the rights and IP for INOTEX, a biometric fiber-based technology that uses moisture in clothing micro-climate to create a mechanical response for advanced moisture management. Click here to view all the categories and winners. Posted December 1, 2014

India Set to Try Its Biggest Parachute in Test of Space Module. While a lot of attention has been focused on NASA's testing of its Orion spacecraft, India is also testing its own craft with hopes of sending a manned mission into space in a few years. The spacecraft launch test will involve a re-entry deploying the largest parachute ever built in the country, with a diameter of 31 meters. The Indian spacecraft will actually have three separate parachute systems to slow the entry module. The testing of an unmanned module will be done sometime between December 15 and 20. Click here to read more about the mission. Posted December 1, 2014

Source: NASA

Critical Parachute Test for Orion Mars Spacecraft. Are you following the continued development of the Orion spacecraft which will be used in the future expedition to Mars? You should. Technical textiles are a critical component material being used in the spacecraft. On December 4, NASA's first Orion flight will be higher than any other intended to carry humans in more than 40 years. One of the key test will be in the high speed re-entry. Special parachutes will open in phases to assure a controlled, slow landing. Two drogue chutes will slow Orion to 170 miles per hour as it re-enters Earth's atmosphere, followed by three main parachutes that open at will open slowly to cover an area the size of a football field. Click here to read an interesting article on the website. Posted November 29, 2014

HB Fuller Receives OUTLOOK Asia Award. EDANA has announced HB Fuller as the first recipient of the new OUTLOOK Asia Award. The award recognizes a product or service developed in or produced for the Asia Pacific and Indian subcontinent region. The award was given during the OUTLOOK Asia conference which took place November 27-28 in Singapore. Fuller received the award for their CHM-1088ZP core adhesive used in the formation of diapers and other personal care products. OUTLOOK Asia is a conference for those in the nonwovens industry in the field of personal care and hygiene. Click here to read the EDANA press release. Posted November 28, 2014.

DARPA Developing Inflatable Bubble for Ebola Isolation and Treatment Containment. There was an interesting article posted on the USA Today website yesterday about the rush by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to create a long-term but portable "Care Cube" to contain patients infected with the Ebola virus. The cube is intended to provide containment for up to 10 days. The actual developer of the Care Cube is a San Francisco-based company called Otherlab. We looked at Otherlab's website and found they are doing other fascinating projects using inflatables such as robotics. Click here to view the USA Today article. Click here to go to the Otherlab website. Posted November 26, 2014

Industrial Fabrics Society Meets and Elects New Leadership. There is a nice report posted on the eTextile Communications website on the 40th annual meeting of the International Society of Industrial Fabric Manufacturers (ISIFM). The meeting was held November 10-11 in Charlotte, N.C., USA. At the meeting, the society elected Christine Domer of Halide America, Inc., Atlanta, Ga., USA as its president. Click here to read the article. Posted November 25, 2014

US DLA Troop Support Sends PPE to Liberia.  According to a press release issued November 24, the US Defense Logistics Agency will send more than 1.5 million critically needed medical personal protective sets to American aid workers working to contain the Ebola virus in West Africa. The sets comprise an array of materials, from full body suits to hoods, masks, gloves, boots, aprons and goggles. Nearly 50,000 protective suits have already been provided.  Click here to read the release. Posted November 25, 2014

Tensar Appoints Americas Executive Vice President. Tensar International, a geosynthetic manufacturer, has announced the appointment of Mike Lawrence as Executive Vice President of the Americas. Mr. Lawrence's responsibility will be strategic leadership support in the United States, Canada and Latin American regions. In this role, Mr. Lawrence will oversee the sales and marketing teams within Tensar's Roadway and Grade Separation Solution product lines. Click here to read the press release. Posted November 25, 2014

Bret Kelley

Kelley Moves to Glen Raven. Congratulations to our friend Bret Kelley. Mr. Kelley has confirmed he has been appointed as Vice President of Sales. He will be responsible for commercial activities for TriVantage whcih includes sales and product management. Trivantage is a subsidiary of Glen Raven, Inc., Glen Raven, N.C., USA and is a distributor of Glen Raven products including its well-know Sunbrella fabrics. Mr. Kelley had been with Highland Industries, a subsidiary of Takata, for more than 20 years, most recently as its Director of Sales and Marketing. Posted November 21, 2014

GSE Names CEO. GSE Holdings, Inc., Houston, Texas, USA, announced yesterday that Robert Preston has been appointed the company's Chief Executive Officer and President. GSE is a global manufacturer of geosynthetic products and services. Prior to joining GSE, Mr. Preston served as Chief Executive Office of Davis-Standard, LLC, a company specializing in the production of extrusion systems for the plastics processing and other industries. He is replacing retiring Charles A. Sorrentino. Click here to read the company press release on the appointment. Posted November 20, 2014

Print Show Planned for Africa in 2015. After a successful debut of FESPA Africa 2014, the organizers have announced FESPA Africa 2015 will be held July 22-24, 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The organizers report the exhibition already has more than 4470 square meters of space booked. Click here for more information. Posted November 18, 2014

Society Votes No Confidence in Its Board. According to the World Textile Information Network (WTiN), "The Society of Dyers and Colourists (SDC) is in crisis after members at an extraordinary general meeting passed a vote of 'no confidence' in their own Board of Trustees."  SDC ia an NGO based in the United Kingdom with members worldwide. The member dissatisfaction has come about from a Board of Trustees' plan to restructure the society. SDC has a number of cooperative ventures with the American Society of Textiles and Colorists (AATCC), including the joint publishing of the Color Index and in 2012 holding a joint conference in China. Click here to go to the WTiN website though to read the article you have to register for a complimentary subscription. Posted November 18, 2014

Foundation Names 2014 Innovation Award Recipient. The Industrial Fabrics Foundation (IFF) recently announced Norafin (Americas) Inc. of Asheville, N.C., USA is the recipient of the 2014 IFF Innovation Award. The foundation management revealed the recipient at the IFAI Specialty Fabrics Expo in October for a project called Norafin Homanda. Komanda is a range of perfromance engineered nonwoven materials that are now being used in arc flash protection and flame resistant protective clothing. Posted November 7, 2014

Source: VersaPPS

Versar Receives UK Ebola Protection Suits Contract. VersarPPS, a subsidiary of Vesar (Springfield, Va., USA) has announced it has received an additional $800,000 contract to supply chemical splash protection suits to the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID). Their intent is to be used in the case of an Ebola outbreak. Previously, Versar had announced a DFID contract of $5.1 million, bringing the total contract value to $5.1 million. Click here to read the press release. Posted November 17, 2014

Sioen Reports "Stable" Sales in 3rd Quarter. Sioen Industries, a Belgium-based global producer of coated fabrics, issued its 3rd Quarter financial report. Overall, at the end of Q3, the Sioen Industries Group realized sales from continuing operations of EUR 243.3 million compared to EUR 243.3 million over the same period in 2013. The Coating Division (which covers yarns, fabrics and technical coated textiles) experienced a slight decline, with YTD 3Q 2014 at EUR 143.1 million compared to 143.6 million YTD Q3 2013. Click here to read the financial summary issued by Sioen. Posted November 17, 2014

Source: Uniroyal Engineered website

Invisa Purchases Two Coated Fabrics Company. Remember the Nuagas? They were the small fictional salamander-like animals that supposedly shed their Naugahyde skins (in a non-harmful way) and this skin proved to be an exceptional covering for furniture. Invisa Inc., a Sarasota (Fla., USA) holding company, has purchased Uniroyal Engineered Products LLC (Sarasota, Fla., USA), the manufacturer of the real Naugahyde, and Wardle Storeys Group Ltd. (Earby, UK). The two purchased companies both produce vinyl-coated fabrics and are related, having merged in 2013. Uniroyal Engineered used to be part of Uniroyal Technology Corp. until it was split in 2003. Click here to view the article on the Invisa purchase. Click here if you want to read the history of the Naugas. Posted November 17, 2014

Autoliv Canada Plant Featured in Article. There's a nice article posted November 14 on the Canadian website website about the Autoliv Canada manufacturing facility in the Chatham-Kent area. The plant manufacturers inflatable curtains that drop down from the ceiling of a vehicle. Autoliv Canada has seen a 30% increase in business in recent times. Click here to read the article. Posted November 17, 2014 

GEOSPERU 2015 Set for March 2015. Are you interested in the South American market for geosynthetics? Speakers for GEOSPERU 2015 have recently been announced. The event is hosted by the Peruvian chapter of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) and will be held March 4-6, 2015 in Lima. This is the third time GEOSPERU has been organized. Keynote speakers for 2015 include Braja M. Das, Jorge Zomberg and George Koerner. Click here to go to the IGS Peru chapter website. (Note: The website is in Spanish.) Posted November 17, 2014

Paul O'Day

Applications Open for Paul T. O'Day Scholarship. The American Fiber Manufacturers Association (AFMA) has announced applications are now being accepted for the 2015 Paul T. O'Day Scholarship. The scholarship was created in 2014 to honor Paul T. O'Day, who has served as AFMA's President for three decades. The $5,000 per year scholarship will be awarded to a candidate from an AFMA member company for studies in support of the American fiber industry. Contact Diane Bayatafashar at to receive more information and the application. Deadline for submission is February 6, 2015. Posted November 11, 2014

TTP Negotiators Say Agreement is Near. As the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation APEC) summit takes place in Beijing, the trade ministers of the 12 countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement have issued a joint statement saying that significant progress has been made recently in the negotiations. US President Barack Obama had hoped to announce a completed agreement during the APEC summit but it appears there are some obstacles yet to overcome. The TPP has been in discussion for 6 years. Even when an agreement is reached, its ratification in the US Congress appears uncertain, and dependent upon the President being granted Trade Promotion Authority to "fast-track" the agreement into law without any changes. Click here to read the TPP leaders' statement issued today. Posted November 10, 2014

Asia Composites Show Announces Selection of Innovation Awards. The JEC Group, Paris, France, is preparing to host its 7th JEC Asia Composites Show and Conferences. The event is being held November 17-19 in Singapore. JEC has announced several award winners prior to the event. Receiving JEC Innovation Awards are Hope Technik Pte. Ltd. in the Compression Molding category and Republic Polytechnic in the Academic category. Tong-Earn Tay, head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at National University of Singapore will also receive a Life-Achievement Award. All three winners are based in Singapore. Click here to read the JEC press release. Posted November 10, 2014

How-To Book Available on Fabricating Marine Tracks. Our good friend Steve Szenay along with co-author Michael Varga, has published a great book called Marine Canvas Track to Track: Insider's Information on Seven Secrets to Installing the Perfect Track. Drawing on his years of experience in the marine textile and fabrication industry, Mr. Szenay's 322-page book is packed full of useful tips for installing 31 types of different marine tracks for boat enclosures. Mr. Szenay speaks from experience. He is a former owner of his own marine custom cover shop and now is a marine and awning materials sales representative for textile manufacturer Serge Ferrrri North America. The book costs $54.00 and can be ordered directly from Mr. Szenay at szenay@hotmail.comPosted November 10, 2014

Modular Armor for the Combat Soldier. The November issue of our favorite idea magazine Popular Science has an interesting article called "The Weight of War." According to the article, the average soldier carries about 55% of his or her body weight into combat, including about 35 lbs. of body armor. The objective by both the US Army and Marine Corps is to reduce body armor weight by 10-15%. The answer may be in new polyethylene ballistic fibers. Click here to read the article. Posted November 9. 2014 

ITMA Issues Preliminary List of Exhibitors. The organizer of ITMA 2015 has just posted on its website the current list of exhibitors participating in the textile machinery show. The show will take place in Milan, Italy, November 12-19, 2015. There are 1,259 exhibiting companies from 41 countries listed. Click here to view the list. Posted November 6, 2014

Nov/Dec Issue AATCC Review

Mopping Up Disasters with Nonwovens. Our thanks to Seshadri Ramkumar, professor at Texas Tech, for alerting us to an article called "Mopping Up Disasters: Textiles Protect People and the Planet" by Glenna B. Musante in the November/December issue of AATCC Review. The article describes the contributions of nonwovens in cleaning up oil and chemical spills, from absorbents to personal protection. To read the article, please click here to go to the AATCC Review webpage and then click on the Textiles Protect People & Plant link within the page's "What's New" section. Posted November 5, 2014

Republican Gain Could Impact Trade Agreements Under Negotiations. The Republican Party's winning of the Senate in the US Congress could have an interesting impact on both the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). A key element important to both agreements' negotiated success is the ability of President Obama to gain trade promotion authority (TPA) from Congress. TPA is also referred to as "fast-track authority" and prevents Congress from adding on any amendments to the agreement. Democrats from Mr. Obama's own party are more inclined to vote against TPA than Republicans. Click here to read an interesting article published just before the US elections by International Business Times about the issue. Posted November 5, 2014

US Court Rejects Kolon Appeal in Kevlar Case. BeaverLake6 Report has been following this case for about two years. Kolon Industries of South Korea was found to have obtained trade secrets illegally from DuPont Co. regarding its Kevlar materials. DuPont won a $919.9 million settlement which also barred Kolon from using Kevlar-type aramid technology for a number of years. A US Appeals Court later agreed with Kolon that the judge in the trial should have recused himself and on April 2014 threw out the settlement and ordered a new trial. Kolon then sought a higher court opinion on whether some preliminary rulings should also be excluded. On November 3, the US Supreme Court declined to get involved in the recusal case which allows the preliminary rulings that favored DuPont to remain. Click here to read a Reuters News Service website posting. Posted November 5, 2014

INSIGHT2014 a Success. The INSIGHT2014 International Conference held October 19-23 in Indianapolis, Ind., USA, recorded a four-year high of 360 delegates. The program featured industry presentations spanning the absorbent product and personal care supply chain.  Highlighting the conference was the recognition by INDA, the Association of the Nonwovens Industry, of Jim Hanson, Principal and Director of Marketing Technology Service, Inc. with its prestigious INDA Lifetime Service Award. This was the 38th and last time INSIGHT was being organized by Marketing Technology Service, Inc. INSIGHT was acquired by INDA last May and going forward will be combined with INDA's Vision Consumer Products Conference. Click here to go to the press release. Posted November 5, 2014

Raven Industries Acquires Integra Plastics. Raven Industries announced November 3 that its Engieered Films Division had acquired Integra Plastics, Inc. for approximately $48 million in cash and stock. Founded in 1991, Integra Plastics is headquartered in Madison, S.D., USA, with plants in Madison and Brandon, S.D., USA and Midland, Texas, USA. It is a privately held company that specializes in the manufacture and conversion of high-quality plastic film and sheeting. Raven Industries' Engineered Films Division is a manufacturer and supplier of high performance flexible films and sheeting in applications such as liners used in pond, silage and grain covers. Click here to read the press release. Posted November 5, 2014

US Releases September Export Figures for Specialty Fabrics. The US Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA) has released the September export numbers for the Specialty and Industrial Fabrics group. Comparing 2013 and 2014 12-month periods ending September 30, total US exports increased from $3.79bn to $4.08bn. Here’s a comparison breakdown of the 7 leading recipient countries with the 12-month years totals ending September 30:

  Mexico              $1,680m       $1,951m

  Canada                  592m            571m

  China                     176m            180m

  Hong Kong            139m            145m

  Japan                      84m              93m

  United Kingdom      94m              86m

  Germany                 89m              82m

Click here to go to the OTEXA webpage. Posted November 4, 2014

How to Select Heat and Flame Protective Clothing. The website has published a nice concise article explaining the options in heat and flame protective garments, including the difference between "flame resistant" and "flame retardant" material. The author is Elaina Harvey, protective clothing and Nomex specialist at DuPont. At the moment, it appears there is no clear distinction between resistant and retardant. CIRFS (European Man-Made Fibres Association) is attempting to create an official definition for the various combinations of PPE using the terminology. We recommend this article for those wishing a quick understanding of the types of products going into the heat and flame protective garment market. Click here to read the article. Posted November 4, 2014

Source: Facebook

Police Dog Celebrity in Bulletproof Vest. OK, maybe the headline should read "future" police dog. To raise money to fund its Massachusetts Vest-A-Dog campaign, the Boston Police Department K-9 Unit is selling a 2015 calendar with pictures of dogs in their K-9 vests. Tuco, the dog in the picture, is a nine-week-old German Shepherd with dreams of someday being a member of the K-9 unit. These pictures of Tuco promoting the vests have gone viral on Facebook. The calendars sell for $10 and will help provide the Boston K-9 Unit with vests for dogs, as well as first aid kits and even a bite suit. Click here if you're interested in the calendar. Posted November 3, 2014

100th Anniversary of WWI Spotlights Technical Fabric Contribution. There are a couple of interesting trivia tidbits about technical fabrics in an October 31 article posted on the website (Chatham, Ontario, Canada). According to the article, the war marked the introduction in the British army of the military canvas webbing belt system, replacing the long-used leather belts to hold equipment on the soldier. The webbing proved to be stronger and more durable, especially in the wet conditions on the Western Front where wet leather belts would dry out, then crack and fall apart. Another key advantage of cotton webbing was that it acted as an integrated system with cross-belts that went over the shoulders. This system was important because it allowed speedy removal if the combatant was wounded, unlike removal of the more tedious leather belt and buckle system. Another nugget of information gleaned from the article was that the introduction of the khaki-color uniform happened in the Indian Mutiny (or rebellion) of 1857. The word "khaki" is actually a Persian word which means soil, dirt or mud. Click here to read the article. Posted November 2, 2014

Profits Continue TenCate Growth in 2014. Koninklijke TenCate, a Netherlands-based global textile manufacturer, reported October 29 that its net profit increased 10% in the 3rd quarter as compared to the same quarter in 2013. TenCate cited the particular improved performance of its Protective Fabrics segment, including a sharp increase of its Defender M flame-resistant fabric for military applications. Revenues in its TenCate Geosynthetics showed slight growth due to increased sales in Asia and the US. Click here to go to the TenCate press release on 3rd quarter financial performance. Posted October 31, 2014

Records Broken at 2014 SGIA Expo. You can quickly summarize whether a show is a success or a disappointment with the size of the crowd on the show floor. SGIA set two records at its recently completed 2014 SGIA Expo, held in Las Vegas, Nev., USA, October 22-24. The show, organized by the Specialty Graphics Imaging Assocation, attracted a record 25,500 attendees and a record 541 exhibitors filling 223,000 square feet of space. 2015 SGIA Expo will be held in Atlanta, Ga., USA, November 4-6, 2015. Click here to read the SGIA posting on the 2014 show. Posted October 31, 2014

Embedded Sensors in Geosynthetics Improve Understanding of Fabric Performance in Roads. Posted on the website is an article about the use of passive RFID tags embedded in nonwoven material on an asphalt geosynthetic interlayer project in Austrian roads. The tags are installed approximately every 150 meters and can relay information about asphalt compaction pressures. The technology being tested was developed by Provlies GmbH, Linz, Austria. Click here to read the paper posted on the website. Posted October 31, 2014

Photo: Courtesy of Xu Kai

Wingsuit Flying in China. The Chinese website has an interesting story about the introduction of wingsuit flying in China. Currently, there's only around 5 enthusiasts promoting the extreme sport. With a sewn-in winged suit, the flier jumps from a high altitude such as a plane, helicopter, or bridge and soars for a while, using the wingspan as a lift in the air. The flight ends with a parachute opening. We liked the philosophy of one of the fliers: "If we can't extend the length of life, we should increase the depth of life." Click here to read the article. Posted October 31, 2014

IFAI Issues Press Release on Success of Recent Exposition. The Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) has issued a press release summarizing its recently held Specialty Fabrics Expo 2014 and Advanced Textiles Expo. The combined shows had 363 exhibitors, taking 85,000 square feet of space. IFAI President Mary Hennessy reported attendance was off by about 20% from the previous show held in Orlando in 2013. Click here to go to the IFAI website to read the press release.  Posted October 30, 2014

Source: DuPont

"Why Protective Gear Isn't Stopping Ebola." That's the title of a very interesting article posted on the website The article gives an excellent overview of the types of materials used in the various types of protective garments. The most common materials in the protective suits are Tyvek and a Tyvek sub-brand called Tychem. One of the issues facing the health-care workers trying to treat Ebola-stricken patients is the shifting standards for protection. According to the report, "Both the US and European Union have convoluted grading systems for assessing the permeability of personal protective materials." Click here to read the article. Posted October 28, 2014

Machinery Show Expands with Additional Hall. ITMA, the international textile machinery exhibition, has announced it is adding an 11th hall for its November 12-19, 2015 event in Milan, Italy. According to Charles Beauduin, President of CEMATEX, the owner of the show, "The demand for space has been very strong with applications still streaming in." The additional hall will house the Fibre and Yarn, Research & Education, Clourants and Chemicals, Software and Recycling sectors. To date, 1380 exhibitors from 47 countries have reserved space at ITMA 2015. Click here to read the show press release. Posted October 28, 2015

Middle East/North Africa Nonwovens Event Postponed. EDANA, an international association for the nonwovens industry, has announced it is postponing the 4th edition of its Middle East & North Africa Nonwovens Symposium. The event was scheduled to take place February 17-18, 2015 in Dubai, UAE. There was no indication of the reason for the postponement. Click here to go to the EDANA website. Posted October 28, 2014

Source: Clean Energy

New Vapor Barrier System Unveiled. Sometimes you find an interesting application on an unlikely website. In this case, we found on the website an article about a new barrier system made of technical fabrics designed for use at natural gas maintenance storage facilities. A company called Clean Energy Fuels Corp., located in Newport Beach, Calif., USA, has "introduced what it claims is the 'first code-compliant fabric barrier system' using an industrial curtain designed for quick and cost-effective installation and operation." Clean Energy says "the industrial fabric meets American Society of Testing and Materials standards for exposure to CNG and LNG." Click here to read the article. Posted October 28, 2014

US Senator Graham Visits Industry Manufacturer. It never hurts to have a US Senator visit your manufacturing facility. Government officials are given needed "hands on" look at our industry and, in the case of US Senator Lindsey Graham's visit to Alexium International, it helps the morale of those in the company to know they are making products that impacts the lives of many. Alexium, based in Greer, S.C., USA, is a manufacturer of fire retardant chemicals for military and protective fabrics. Senator Graham sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Committee on Armed services, the Budget Committee, and the Committee on the Judiciary. Click here to read about his visit. Posted October 27, 2014

European Association Offers Its View on TTPP Negotiations. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTPP) has the potential to significantly impact textile trade between the US and European countries. Some of the impact can be very positive such as the coordination of testing and performance standards that eliminate unnecessary costs. However, there is a fundamental disagreement regarding public procurement, specifically the US Berry Amendment which requires domestic sourcing for textile products purchased by the US military and certain other government branches. Isabelle Weiler, the European Textile and Clothing Confederation's trade and industry manager, offers her views on the position of the European industry regarding the agreement. Click here to read her opinion. Click here to view the Euratex position paper on regulatory issues being addressed in TTIP, including its opposition to the Berry Amendment. Posted October 27, 2014

Fibertex Gains Stronger US Market Presence With Purchase of Nonwovens Manufacturer. Danish-based Fibertex Nonwovens has agreed to acquire Non Woven Solutions, a US manufacturer of needlepunch nonwovens. Fibertex is a subsidiary of Schouw & Co. Non Woven Solutions is based in Chicago, Ill., USA and generated revenue of almost $13.7 million last year. It serves several market segments including automotive, composites and geosynthetics applications. Fibertex currently only has a limited presence in the US and the acquisition is seen as an opportunity to expand into several US market segments. Click here to read the Fibertex press release. Posted October 27, 2014  

Introduction of Alpine Skiing Airbags Postponed. According to a report from the Associated Press, FIS, the governing body for alpine skiing, has decided to postpone the start of a ski airbag system in its sanctioned races because the airbag system fails to meet its comply with its existing regulations. The system is similar to the one introduced in motorcycle racing in 2009. Click here to read an article about this issue appearing on the website Posted October 27, 2014

Source: Paragon

Record High Altitude Drop Spotlights Technical Textiles Contributions. Many of our readers probably read over the weekend about Alan Eustace, a Google executive, who broke the sound barrier and set several skydiving records on October 24 when he dropped from an altitude of 41,419 meters. What an amazing feat. It needs to be noted how our industry was involved -- there was a specially made high-altitude balloon used to lift him to that height, a fabric material tether was used to keep him attached to the balloon during the ascent, the use of a previously secretly designed fully encapsulated space suit made of technical textiles being developed for a possible mission to Mars, and a multitude of unique parachutes in a system brought him safely back to earth. The jump was part of a project by Paragon Space Development Corp. Congratulations to all who were involved. Click here to read about the feat. Posted October 27, 2014

Air Bladder Fails in Effort to Lift Tree. Ok, not a very exciting story but it caught our attention because it's a unique use we hadn't heard about in the past.  The Ann Arbor News (Ann Arbor, Mich., USA) website reported today one of at least 5 inflatable air bladders being used to lift a 250 year-old bur oak tree out of a hole burst under the estimated 700,000 pound weight of the tree. The tree was being moved to another spot. According to the report, the cap at the end of the bladder became a projectile and broke one of the windows of a construction machine that was being manned at the time. Click here to read the article. Posted October 27, 2014

Company Producing Ebola Protective Suit Every 4.5 Seconds. As we have said before, the technical textiles industry thrives on the needs that come from wars, natural disasters and pandemics. We just saw a short article on the China website Xiamen News about a company called Microgard Xiamen Limited, a British company with a manufacturing operation in Xiamen, China. The company's daily production is now up to 8,000 disposable protective suits, which amounts to one being made every 4.5 seconds.  Click here to see the article. Posted October 25, 2014

Acrylic-Based Fabrics Creates Flame-Resistant Clothing Opprtunity. The website Crains Chicago Business has a nice article posted about Drifire LLC and their efforts to develop clothing that would protect military troops in cases of extreme heat. The traditional undergarments worn by the military were polyester-based fabrics. But polyester tended to melt in situations like explosions and cause serious additional injuries for already wounded warriors. Drifier developed a flame-resistant acrylic based fabric they've branded Drifire 4.4. The "4.4" refers to its weight of 4.4 ounces per square yard. It's become a $50 million business for them. Click here to read the article. Posted October 24, 2014

Largest Technical Textiles Plant in Russia Being Built. The website Innovation in Textiles has a very interesting article on the plans for a new technical textiles plant in Russia. The company building the facility, BTK Holding, is already one of Russia's largest producers  of technical textiles and apparel. According to the article, "The new plant will focus on the production of high-tech synthetic textiles." The capacity of the new plant will be in the range of 5-6 million square meters per year; however, it is unclear from the article what is the exact fabric that will be produced. The article also offers some statistics and observations for end product markets in Russia. The demand for technical textiles for the domestic automotive industry, for example, is said to exceed 220 million meters annually. Click here to read the article. Posted October 23, 2014

RUBB Helicopter Hanger

Tension Fabric Builder Partners with Storage Consulting Firm in Canada. RUBB Inc., a subsidiary of the Rubb Group AS, has announced the appointment of Aztec Group as its Canadian Agent. Rubb, originally based in Norway, with North American operations based in the US, is an international company which manufactures galvanized steel framed fabric covered structures. Click here to read the company news release on the Canadian market partnership. Posted October 21, 2014

Outdoor Venture Corporation Acquires Sotera Engineered Solutions Division. Sotera Defense Solutions (Sotera), a provider of mission-critical, technology-based systems, solutions and services for US government programs, today announced that Outdoor Venture Corporation (OVC) of Stearns, K., USA, has purchased Sotera's Engineered Solutions (ES) division. OVC is a prime supplier and contractor of military tent systems, components and accessories to the US Department of Defense. Sotera delivers services and components for expeditionary systems such as field kitchens and sanitary equipment for the US military. Click here to read the press release on the acquisition. Posted October 21, 2014

Small Family Business Grows into Technical Textiles Enterprise. There is a nice article on the Finger Lakes Times website (Palmyra, New York, USA) about V Technical Textiles, a family run company. V Technical Textiles is an independently owned subsidiary of the German company Statex. The company both fabricates products made of technical textiles and is also the distributor for conductive textiles made by Statex.  V Technical Textiles fabricates products such as tents, shelters and antimicrobial clothing. A nice read about a successful local family business. Click here to go to the Finger Lake website. Posted October 21, 2014.

Ebola Crisis Needs Creates Interest in Technical Textile Products. At the recent IFAI Specialty Fabrics Expo, the Ebola crisis created several inquiries to us about how the industry can get involved in the protective equipment industry. DuPont has a good site that contains a technical bulletin called Protective Clothing for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Two material compliant standards appear to be the relevant for making products: ASTM F1670 and ASTM F1671. Click here to go to the DuPont website and learn more. Good succinct article. Posted October 20, 2014  

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