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Special Report: IFAI Specialty Fabrics Expo / Advanced Textiles Expo

Robert McGlivray

Last Day Ends Quietly. The last day of a trade show like the combined IFAI Specialty Fabrics Expo and Advanced Textiles Expo usually gives time for members of the press to go around and really find out how exhibitors viewed the show(s). As the show wound down on Thursday afternoon, we talked with a few satisfied exhibitors.

 

Annelie Wester, Marketing Manger for Forsstrom High Frequency AB of Lysekil, Sweden, was pleased with the show. She said the company sold two of their HF welding machines eight on the show floor, something that usually never occurs at the IFAI Expo.

 

Scott Marks, Key Accounts Manager-TPU of Nike IHM, was also very happy at the response in his booth. Nike was exhibiting their fabrics for the first time. Mr. Marks said they were very busy all three days until the last hour.

 

Jamie Nute, West Coast Director of Sales at Miller Weldmaster, said the merger of the Sinclair Equipment Company wedge welder equipment lines into Miller Weldmaster, and the new relationship with JTE Equipment have both been well-received by the industry. The Miller Weldmaster booth appeared to be very active during much of the trade show.

 

We should also note three industry retirements: Robert McGilvray, president at Serge Ferrari North America; Harry Butler, Vice President of Marketing at Tri Vantage; and, Frank Sinclair, Founder and President of Sinclair Equipment Company. I've personally known these three individuals for at least 25 years and their absence will be missed.

 

Next year the IFAI Specialty Fabrics Expo and Advanced Textiles Expo will be held in Anaheim, Calif., USA, October 7-9. Posted October 16, 2014

Brookwood booth draws a crowd.

Show Traffic Continues to be Light. Day 2 of the show and the main discussion on the floor was the continued unusually light traffic for the IFAI Specialty Fabrics Expo and the Advanced Textile Expo. However, as I mentioned yesterday, there were good pockets of traffic such as the Nike IHK and Super Fabric booths in the Advanced Textiles section of the exhibition. The ending of the AT technical conference sessions did, for example, bring a large number of new visitors on to the show floor. It will take some time for exhibitors to analyze the show results. Results should not be figured on numbers only.  Location is definitely one of the reasons for light attendance -- there just is not enough drive-in traffic in the region to boost attendance -- but changing visitor demographics, what they expect from an event and how the show is marketed could demand change for the annual gathering.  [Full disclosure: It was under my management at IFAI that Minneapolis was selected as the location for 2014.]

 

At a special afternoon meeting, IFAI announced an agreement with The Makers Coalition (TMC) to partner on a nationwide workforce development initiative. TMC was started in Minnesota by a group of manufacturers to provide sewing machine operator training and fill unmet needs. Although it is currently a local Minnesota initiative, the partnering with IFAI will now bring a national effort that could be used to train skilled sewers across the US. This is something very worthy of the industry getting behind. The Industrial Fabrics Foundation also announced at the meeting they would be providing this program a significant financial contribution. Posted October 15, 2014

 

A busy morning for Brookwood.

Attendance Remain Light on Second Day. There was some improvement of traffic on the show floor during the second day now that the Advanced Textiles conference sesssions were over. A few booths like Nike IHM and Super Fabric in the Advance Textiles section of the exhibition were extremely busy. Overall, traffic remained under the numbers of previous years. It's always a risk when you move a show like the IFAI Specialty Fabrics Expo around the US. As we have said before, don't always judge a show by attendance. There were a lot of new faces on the exhibition floor and it will take some analysis by exhibitors to find out if they saw the right people. [Full disclosure: The Minneapolis location was approved by me during my tenure as IFAI CEO/President, so it would be unfair to criticize the current IFAI management team for the location choice.]

 

At a special meeting in the afternoon, the Industrial Fabrics Association International formally announced an agreeement with The Makers Coalition (TMC) to partner on a nationwide workforce machine operator training. IFAI will be forming a Makers Division to oversee the partnership. Further, the Industrial Fabrics Foundation, the association's education-oriented foundation, has announced it will be making a major financial contribution to fund the startup of the program. In my opinion this is a very positive mood for the IFAI and will benefit the entire fabrication industry. As a result of the recession and departure of many companies to less expensive offshore sites, the country now has a serious shortage of skilled workers because those who were in the industry left for other careers. Congratulations to IFAI for championing this drive to train a new workforce for the technical textiles industry. Posted October 15, 2014

 

Exhibition Opens

Trade Shows Open. US Representative Keith Ellison helped IFAI Chairman of the Board Dave Clarke and IFAI President Mary Hennessy with a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning, officially opening the IFAI 2014 Specialty Fabrics Expo and Advanced Textiles Expo. No pre-registration numbers have been given but looking down the aisles attendance seemed a blt on the light side for an opening day, especially in the afternoon. On the positive, though, were reports from a number of exhibitors of seeing new show attendees in the high tech applications which is exactly the type of visitors the shows needs to be successful going forward.

 

At the Welcome Reception, the Industrial Fabrics Association International held its Annual Meeting and announced the following had been given Honored Life Member status in the association: Peter McKernan, IFM, Herculite Products; Frank Sinclair, Sinclair Equipment; Nora Norby, MFC, Banner Creations; and, Seymour Hyman, Health Chem Corporation (now Herculite Products).

 

Also announced at the Annual Meeting was that Craig Zola of Herculite Products had been elected to the IFAI Board of Directors for a three-year Director term. Michael W. Erickson, MFC, of Canvas Designers Inc., has ended his Director term on the board. Posted October 14, 2014

Jeff Rasmussen

Advanced Textiles Expo Begins.  Today the conference portion of Advanced Textiles Expo 2014 (AT) began in Minneapolis, Minn., USA, with a series of presentations focused on medical and safety applications. AT is being held in conjunction with the 2014 Specialty Fabrics Expo. Both are organized by the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI). IFAI's Market Research Manager Jeff Rasmussen opened the AT symposium with an overview of five key US markets for smart and interactive fabrics. Dr. Behnam Purdeyhimi was the keynote luncheon speaker, giving a presentation on the state of the nonwovens industry. Mary Lynn Landgraf will give the lead presentation on Tuesday morning, talking on the growth sectors in technical textiles. Ms. Landgraf is the Senior International Trade Specialist at the Office of Textiles and Apparel, US Department of Commerce. The trade exhibition for both Specialty Fabrics Expo and Advanced Textiles Expo also begin tomorrow. Posted October 13, 2014

US Congressman Keith Ellison

Congressman to Open IFAI Show. US Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota will be participating October 14 in the ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of IFAI's 2014 Specialty Fabrics Expo and Advanced Textiles Expo in Minneapolis, Minn., USA. After the ceremony, Congressman Ellison will then tour the show floor to talk with exhibitors and learn more about the technical textiles industry. Posted October 9, 2014 

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Front Page News

2015 Techtextil North America Names Symposium Advisory Committee. The organizers of the twelfth edition of Techtextil North America (TTNA) has announced the organization of a symposium along the trade show which will have eleven sessions with over 35 presentations. TTNA is taking place June 2-4, 2015 and is once again co-located with JEC Americas. The sessions include new fiber technology, smart textiles, medical, geosynthetics, aerospace, protective, sustainability, tension structures, and nonwoven advancement. Members of the advisory committee forming the sessions are:

  • Behnam Pourdeyhimi, Nonwovens Institute
  • Mike Clements, Huesker, Inc.
  • Eugene Wilusz, U.S. Army
  • Arnold Wilkie, Hills, Inc.
  • Bud Weisbart, AR Tech
  • Kevin Tucker, BSN Medical
  • Steve WarnerBeaverLake6 Report

 Click here for more information. Posted October 10, 2014

Scovill Fasteners Sold to Morito. The Gores Group continued to make industry news late yesterday with an announcement that the company had entered into an agreement to sell Scovill Fasteners to Morito, a global supplier of apparel fasteners, components for automobiles and cameras, and other niche manufactured products. Morito is base in Osaka, Japan.  Scovill, founded in 1802 and based in Clarkesville, Ga., USA, is a manufacturer of fasteners to technical textile markets such as medical, military and sporting goods.  The Gores Group had acquired Scovill in June 2011. Click here to read the press release. Posted October 10, 2014

Foundation Scholarship Winners Announced. The Industrial Fabrics Foundation (IFF) 2014 scholarship winners have been announced. Selections were made on the basis of academic achievement, community services and interest in a future career in the specialty fabrics industry. The recipients are: 

  • Advanced Textile Products MemberJennies Thurston, Central Michigan University
  • Don Williams IFF Student ScholarshipEmma Deuitch, North Carolina State University
  • Fabric Graphics Association ScholarshipAlexandra Cohen, North Carolina State University
  • Fabric Structures Association Architect Student ScholarshipKristen Weigel, Roger Williams University
  • Geosynthetic Materials Association Member ScholarshipAmanda Mayhue, Laneir Technical College
  • IFAI Member ScholarshipMelina Connor, Miami Dade College
  • Marine Fabricators Association Member ScholarshipJaneen Richards, Hood Marine Canvas & Trainings
  • Tent Rental Division Member ScholarshipFred Tracy, Clarkson University

Congratulations to all the winners. Entry forms for 2015 will be available online at www.indfabfnd.com/scholarships. Posted October 10, 2014

Navy Testing Welding Clothes Rather Than Sewing. The website kdhnews.com of Killeen, Tex., USA, has an interesting article and video posted on its website regarding the US Navy's testing of ultrasonic welding clothing seams rather than traditional sewing. Welding the uniforms together could make them lighter, stronger and cheaper, according to the report. The vidoe also says WalMart is experimenting with having consumer apparel welded rather than sewn. Click here to see the article and watch the video. Posted October 10, 2014

Sage Automotive Interiors Sold. The Gores Group, a Los Angeles, Calif., USA investment firm, has announce the sale of Sage Automotive Interiors to Clearlake Capital Group, an investment firm based in Santa Monica, Calif., USA. Sage is the largest supplier of automotive seating fabrics. It was formed in 2009 when management completed a buyout to acquire Milliken & Company's automotive business. Its customers include Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai and Volkswagen.  Click here to read the press release. Posted October 9, 2014

Photo: US Navy

US Navy Building Unmanned Inflatable Boats. To counter the swarm of small boats that often come out to challenge US Naval ships in close water situations, the US is meeting the threat with the launching of its own swarm of unmanned inflatable boats with remote-controlled weapons system. The fire-control system on the ship is capable of coordinating up to 20 of those unmanned boats at once. Click here to read this interesting article. Posted October 9, 2014

2014 SGIA Expo Preview. While admittedly biased, Dan Marx, Vice President-Markets & Technologies at the Specialty Graphics Imaging Association (SGIA), gives a very good explanation of why the SGIA Expo remains the number one NOrth American trade show for those involved in wide format printing. 2014 SGIA Expo is taking place in Las Vegas, Nev., USA, October 22-24. Click here to read his article posted on the whattheythink.com website. Posted October 9, 2014

Ebola Crisis Increases Demands for Material and Protective Gear. The website PlasticsToday.com posted a report yesterday that the Ebola outbreak in western Africa has created a surge in demand for personal protective equipment from manufacturers. The World Health Organization plans to send about 400,000 protective suits to west Africa. 3M plans to send as many as 500,000 a month. DuPont has reportedly tripled production of Tychem C protective suits and Tyvek garments. Kimberly-Clark, a manufacturer of Kleenguard protective clothing, has also significantly increased production. Click here to read the article. Posted October 8, 2014

Artic King Collapsible Bladder

Canada Release New Collapsible Fuel Bladder Standard.  According to the website for the Canadian Mining Journal, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has released the first edition of a collapsible fabric storage tanks regulation. This standard will be a first for storage tanks or pillow tanks. While popular in the military, the commercial applications for collapsible fuel bladders has been slow due to a lack of standards and concern for the environment. The next step in the process will be to begin certifying products to this standard. Click here to read the entire article. Posted October 7, 2014

US Releases August Export Figures for Specialty Fabrics. The US Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA) has released the August export numbers for the Specialty and Industrial Fabrics group. Comparing 2013 and 2014 12-month periods ending August 31, total US exports increased $307 million to more than $4 billion. Click here for the full report. Posted October 7, 2014

NSRDEC Researcher Quoc Truong

Natick Self-Cleaning Fabric Introduced to the Commercial Market. A self-cleaning fabric treatment developed by the US Army's Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) and industry partner Luna Innovations, Inc., is now making its way into the commercial marketplace. The fabric coating greatly reduces how often the material has to be cleaned. The omniphonic coating significantly lowers dirt and dust attraction, and repels water, oil and many liquid chemicals. Click here to read the NSRDEC public affairs story that was released on the US Army's website. Posted October 6, 2014

GeoAmericas 2016 Issues Call for Proposals. The 3rd Pan-American Conference on Geosynthetics (GeoAmericas 2016) has issued a call for proposals for short courses, technical sessions and training sessions. The event will be held in Miami, Fla., USA, April 11-16, 2016. Deadline for the proposals is November 15, 2014. A separate call for abstracts for individual papers will be issued in January 2015. GeoAmericas 2016 is  hosted by the North American Geosynthetics Society (NAGS) and held under the auspices of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS). Minerva -- Technology & Resources & Information is managing the event. Click here to view the call for proposals press release. Corrected version posted October 7, 2014

Ebola Crisis Increases Demands for Hazmat Suits. According the website Business Insider, the current Ebola health crisis in Africa has resulted in a 30% increase in the value of shares for Lakeland Industries, a manufacturer of hazmat protective clothing. Lakeland's corporate headquarters is in Ronkonkoma, N;Y; US. According to another website, Investment Watch, the US government recently put out a bid for 160,000 hazmat suits in response to the Ebola health care fight. Click here to read the Business Insider article. Posted October 6, 2014

Centre for Excellence Planned for UK. TenCate Advanced Composites has announced plans for the growth and expansion of equipment and facilities at their manufacturing plant in Langley Mill, Nottingham, UK. The company says the investment will bring additional capability and capacity for fabric and University of Delaware-based products, including relatively new composite markets such as space, and select aerospace high temperature end-user applications. Click here for to read the TenCate press release. Posted October 6, 2014

Textile Structures Student Design Competition Announced. Techtextil, an international trade fair for technical textiles and nonwovens, has announced in cooperation with the TensiNet association, it is once again organizing the Textile Structures for New Building student design competition. Techtextil 2015 is taking place May 4-7, 2015. The technical/scientific supervisor for the competition is Professor Werner Sobek, Director of the Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK) of the University of Stuttgart. Deadline for submissions is February 27, 2015. Click here for more details. Posted October 6, 2014

Barcode System for Finding Your Tent. What do you do if you are one of the 2 million haj pilgrims and you have to find the correct white tent out of thousands erected during your journey in Saudi Arabia? According to the website Arab News, the Saudi government has introduced a barcode system that matches the pilgrim to the correct shelter. Each traveler is given a wrist band with a tent barcode and then traveler guides along the journey will help you locate your designated shelter. Click here to read the article. Posted October 6, 2014

Major Carbon Fiber Plant Expansion in France. Hexcel Corporation announced today that it will expand its carbon fiber production capacity through the addition of new precursor and carbon fiber lines in Roussillon, France. The $250 million investment will also include the associated Quality Control laboratories and offices.Click here to read the Hexcel company press release. Posted October 2, 2014

IFAI Announces Dates and Location of 2015 Shows. The Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) has announced both the 2015 Specialty Fabrics Expo and the Advanced Textiles Expo will be taking place October 6-9, 2015 in Anaheim, Calif., USA. Taking place along with the Specialty Fabrics and Advance Textiles events will be the introduction of a third show called Shade Expo. It is being designated a stand-alone event with a concentrated focus on all things sun protection. Click here to read the release. Posted September 31, 2014

Teijin Aramid Receives Award for Developing Carbon Nanotube Fibers.  Researchers of Teijin Aramid, based in the Netherlands, and Rice University, based in the US, have been awarded the honorary "Paul Schlack Man-Made Fibers Prize" for corporate-academic partnership in fiber research. The honary award was given by the European Man-Made Fibers Association for the development of a new generation of super fibers using carbon nanotubes. Click here to read the Teijin press release. Posted September 31, 2014

SYFA Fall Conference Features Key Industry Leaders. The Synthetic Yarn and Fiber Association's Fall Conference will have special presentation from Auggie Tantillo, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), and Dr. James A. HaywardCEO and president of Applied DNA SciencesNCTO is considered the voice of the US domestic textile industry and Mr. Tantillo will be giving a report on the state of the industry as well as progress reports on pending trade agreements. Dr. Hayward's company was recently in the news with the announcement of a $3 million contract with the US Department of Defense to supply its counterfeit protection DNA marking technology to a host of new components destined for use by the military. The SYFA conference will take place October 3-4 in Charlotte, N.C., USA. Click here for more information on registering. Posted September 29, 2014

Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation Considering Fiber and Textiles. Here's something you might want to check out if you are a US domestic textile industry manufacturer: A few months ago the US Department of Defense (DoD) issued a Request for Information (RFI) as it began the process of developing future Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation (IMI). Fibers and textiles is one of the six new areas under consideration. Each of the IMIs is built around a specific manufacturing technology. An information meeting for a proposed fiber and textile IMI is now scheduled for Wednesday, October 1, at Gaston College's Textile Technology Center in Belmont, N.C., USA. Each IMI will have a minimum of $70 million in federal funding and $70 million in funding from states and industry over a 5-7 year period. The DoD plans to create 2 of these manufacturing sector institutes each year, with an overall total of 15 IMIs. Devin Steele, publisher of the website eTextile Communications, has written a nice blog about the upcoming event. Click here to read. Posted September 29, 2014

Yarn Manufacturer Purchases Textile Plant in Mexico. The website for the Charlotte Observer newspaper (Charlotte, N.C., USA) is reporting North Carolina-based Parkdale Mills has acquired the remaining half of Summit Yarns, a joint venture yarn plant located south of Mexico City. Parkdale purchased the half of the operation owned by International Textile Group. Parkdale is one of the world's largest supplier of spun yarns. Click here to read the article. Posted September 29, 2014

New Test Methods for Light-Blocking Window Coverings. AATCC, the Association of Textile, Apparel & Materials Professionals, has published two new test methods to measure the effectiveness of blocking light passing through material. One test uses a spectrophotometric method which is applicable for knits, wovens and nonwovens and the other uses a photodetector method which can be used on various textile-based materials, including coated textiles. Click here to read more from AATCC. Posted September 29, 2014

New Method for Measuring Tent Space. Gizmodo, one of our favorite websites, posted an article September 20 on a method developed comparing the interior volume and shape between two or more tents without setting them up side-by-side. Two tents with exactly the same measured floor space can have immensely different interior space depending on the shape of the tent. The intent of the new method is to have a standardized methodology for manufacturers and retailers to use when comparing different tents. Click here to read the article. Posted October 26, 2014

EDANA Launches New Asia Award. EDANA, an international trade organization, has announced a new award for the Asia/Pacific nonwovens industry. The award is called Outlook™. The award winner will be announced at Outlook Asia 2014, an EDANA event taking place October 26-27 in Singapore. Companies can either nominate a nonwoven product, a product containing nonwoven elements, or a service for personal care and hygiene, which has been developed, designed, manufactured and/or is on sale in Asia Pacific. Click here for more information. Posted October 27, 2014

© Lenzing

Lenzing Chief Operating Officer Resigns. In a press release issued September 25 by Lenzing AG, Friedrich Weninger, Chief Operating Officer, has announced a decision not to seek a contract extension as a Member of the Management Board after his current contract expires December 31, 2014. Lenzing is a global leader in the manufacture of manmade cellulose fibers. According to the Lenzing website, the Lenzing Group has been impacted in the first half of 2014 by the ongoing difficult market conditions creating low fiber selling prices. Mr. Friedrich has been with the company for more than 25 years. He will continue to serve as a consultant for the Lenzing Group after his COO contract ends. Click here to read the company release. Posted September 26, 2014 

US Coast Guard Clarifies PFD Labeling. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is trying to harmonize the US rules with those of Canada and make a North American standard, according to a report posted on the website examiner.com. The new labeling rules which go into effect on October 22, 2014 reduce the number of types of code for a personal flotation device (PFD). Click here to read the article and for contact information at the USCG if you desire more information. Posted September 26, 2014

MIT Developing New Space Suits Using SMA Material. There is a short interesting article by Professor Seshadri Ramkumar about the use of shape memory alloys (SMA) that are being tested for space suit applications. The SMA provides a skin-tight suit when heated and are not dependent on the traditional presurized gas. Click here to read the article found on CommodityOnLine.com. Posted September 26, 2014

IFAI Vice President Resigns. Two sources have told BeaverLake6 Report that Todd Lindemann, vice president of Conference Management for the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI), resigned yesterday. Mr. Lindemann has been with the trade organization for many years and has served as the conference management vice president since 2006. His responsibilities included management of the IFAI Specialty Fabrics Expo that is taking place October 14-16 in Minneapolis, Minn., USA. Posted September 24, 2014 

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Interview with Auggie Tantillo, President of National Council of Textile Organizations

Photo Credit: Devin Steele

Auggie Tantillo has been NCTO president for 8 months. He was recently inteviewed to discuss these trade agreements and the state of the US textile industry. Click here to read this exclusive interview with one of the top leaders in the US textile industry.

Brand Outcomes -- A Whole Lot More Than a Visual Facelift

Rose McKinney

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