3M Acquires Fall Safety Company. 3M Company is buying Capital Safety, a global leader in fall protection equipment, many such as lanyards, harnesses, and self-retracting lines for the growing personal protection equipment industry (PPE). The PPE marketplace is driven by increasing regulatory focus on worker safety across both developed and developing countries. 3M is headquartered in St. Paul, Minn., USA, and Capital Safety, with more than 1,500 employees, is located in nearby Bloomington, Minn. The purchase price is about $2.3 bn, including assumption of $700 million debt. Click here to read the 3M press release. Posted June 29, 2015
Squirrels Nest Leads to New Awnings for Historic Building. You just gotta love a story like this. The History Center, an old historic building in Fort Wayne, Ind., USA, was having renovations done a few years ago and workers found a long-ago abandoned squirrel's nest in the attic. In the nest was a scrap of canvas. It took some detective work but those at the History Center determined the canvas was from one of the original blue and white-striped awnings that first graced the windows of the building. The folks at The History Center took down their current solid red awnings and replaced them with blue and white-striped awnings. Historical accuracy wins...all thanks to a long forgotten squirrel. Click here to read the article posted in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. Posted June 29, 2015
Expiration of the Charter for the Export-Import Bank Disappoints Many California Businesses. Our good friend Bud Weisbart, vice president of AR Tech, was in the news June 26, being interviewed for an article posted on the San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, Calif., USA) website regarding the impact of the US Congress failure to re-charter of the US Export-Import Bank. Mr. Weisbart's company makes products from technical textiles that go into the aerospace, truck cover and awning markets. He said "We don't have the ability as a smaller company, as many exporters are, to do the analysis necessary that would allow us to guarantee payments to our business relationships outside the United Statss, and that's what Export-Import allows us." While the bank plays an important role in helping finance and guarantee loans for overseas transaction, it has been plagued by scandal and alleged cronyism. According to the website The Daily Signal, though the Export-Import's charter will likely expire, Congress could move to revive the bank next month by attaching reauthorization to must-pass legislation, such as a highway trust fund bill. Click here to read the article quoting Mr. Weisbart. Posted June 29, 2015
India Investing in US Technical Textiles Industry. According to a report on the website DNA India, India is one of the fastest growing sources for the United States of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) with one of the prime targets being the US aerospace and technical textiles sections. The website doesn't breakdown how much funding is going into the technical textiles section but it says India FDI totals about $11 billion. Click here to read the article. Posted June 29, 2015
Tale of a Textile Town. A new book popped up on our horizon called "Sailcloth, Webbing and Shirts." It's the story of a town in England called Crewkerne (which is now a part of Somerset) and its contributions to the textile industry over a period of hundreds of years. The author, Richard Sims, traces the history from supplying the Royal Navy with sailcloth to supplying NASA with webbing for spacecraft recovery. Click here to read more. We're always fascinated on where we came from and how we got to here. Posted June 29, 2015
250 Awnings Protect Worshippers at Prophet's Mosque from the Hot Sun. There's an interesting article in the June 27 issue of the Saudi Gazette regarding the installation of awnings to help the close to 200,000 worshippers at any one time at the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah, Saudi Arabia. Over 250 awnings have been fitted in between the pillars at the mosque. Each awning is capable of providing shade for up to 800 worshippers. The awnings open automatically when needed. Click here to read the article. Posted June 29, 2015
Inherently Flame-Resistant vs. Treated FR Material. We found a good article on the Safety & Health magazine website which explains the differences between inherently flame-resistant material and FR-treated material used in protective clothing. If you're new to the field, this is a quick read covering strengths and weaknesses of different types of materials which can be used in personal protective equipment. Click here for the article. Posted June 29, 2015
ECBC Testing Fabric for New Warfighter Uniforms. An interesting article can be found on the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) website regarding the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency's efforts to design a new Warfighter chemical protection uniform. The project is part of a joint U.S. Army and Air Force program called the Integrated Protective Fabric System (IPFS). Different fabrics may be used in the decided uniform, depending upon environmental climate factors. Other organizations involved in the testing include Calgon/Chemviron, Emory University, Enropics and Phasex. Worth the read if you are in the chemical protective clothing business. Click here to see the article. Posted June 26, 2015
"Fast Track" Treaty Authority is Approved. After a series of votes yesterday and today, the US Senate approved a bill to give Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) or "fast track" Congressional approval. It has now been passed on to President Barack Obama for his signature. After an embarrassing setback two weeks ago in which the House rejected it, the TPA, which is essential for any finalized Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, appears to be back on track. A number of participating countries had expressed reluctance to work towards a finalized TPP agreement if the "fast track" authority had not been approved within the US. So, now, when the TPP agreement between the nations is reached, the only action by the US Congress is to vote it up or down but no modification or amendments. Let's hope what is in it (which has been a secret) is good for the domestic textile industry. Click here to read the latest CNN update on the passage of TPA. Posted June 24, 2015
US Releases April Numbers for Industrial Fabrics Exports. the US Department of Commerce has released the exports numbers for the Specialty and Industrial Fabrics Group. Comparing year-ending April 30 from the previous year, the report finds a 6.2% increase in exports or $247 million. Mexico remains the US's strongest country of designation, accounting for about 49% of the exports. Canada, China, Hong Kong and Japan are the other countries in the top five. Click here to see the entire report. Posted June 24, 2015
US Department of Commerce Organizing a US Pavilion for the Defense Industry Show. The Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) at the US Department of Commerce is organizing a US pavilion at the Defense & Security Equipment International (DSEI) show taking place September 15-18, 2015 in London, UK. OTEXA is seeking up to 12 companies in the defense/military, industrial and technical textiles industry to participate in the pavilion through the showing of their product catalogs. DSEI is the world's largest land, sea. air defense and security exhibition in the world. In 2013, the exhibition attracted 32,100 visitors and more than 97 official delegations from 56 countries. BeaverLake6 Report has developed a special internal page for you to review requirements and contact information if you're a US company interested in participating. Click here. Posted June 21, 2015
Co-Founder of Bruin Plastics Passes. Birdie Angelone, co-founder of Bruin Plastics Company Inc. along with her late husband Edward Angelone, died on June 11 at the age of 91. Bruin Plastics, located in Glendale, R.I., USA, was founded in 1964. It is a producer of vinyl-reinforced coated and laminated fabrics. The company is managed by Mrs. Angelone's two sons -- Dennis Angelone, president and co-owner, and Steven Angelone, vice president and co-owner. Posted June 19, 2015
Trade Promotion Authority Passes. Today the US House of Representatives narrowly passed the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation that is key to the eventual passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. This is the second time within the last week the TPA action was brought up for a vote. It also narrowly in the House passed June 12 but it was then tied to a passage of another legislation called Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). This time it wasn't dependent upon TAA passage. The TPA bill now goes back to the US Senate for approval. The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) supports TPA and sent out a news release today praising the House passage. Click here to read the NCTO press release. Posted June 18, 2015
Carolina Nonwovens Expanding. The Stanly News and Press website is reporting Carolina Nonwovens, LLC, a subsidiary of National Spinning Company headquartered in Washington, N.C., USA, is expanding its facilities in North Carolina and more than doubling its workforce with the creation of 35 new jobs. Carolina Nonwovens is a manufacturer of airlaid and thermal bonded nonwovens using recycled fibers. End markets are primarily sound insulation applications such as in automotives and appliances. Click here to read the article. Posted June 17, 2015
Growing Wind Turbine Market for Geosynthetics. Only two weeks ago, Frederique Mutel, the president of JEC Group, was explaining during the JEC Americas show in Houston that the composites industry is being driven by three end markets. One of the markets was wind energy where the turvines are being made from woven carbon fibers composites. (The other two end markets being automotive and aircraft.) Now we've come across an article written by Chris Kelsey about the use of geosynthetics to provide soil stabilization underneath these huge wind turbines. It seems the technical textiles industry is playing a vital role in renewable energy. Click here to read the article. Our thanks to the folks at geosynthetica.net for alerting us to the article. Posted June 17, 2015
PGI Group Rebrands and Selects New Corporate Name. According to a company press release issued June 4, PGI Specialty Materials, Inc. is being renamed AVINTIV, Inc. The concept behind the name comes from the combination of the names "advanced" , "inventive", and "innovative." AVINTIV is a global producer of specialty materials used in infection prevention, personal care and high performance solutions including geosynthetics. The company will register similar names for many of its operating subsidiaries. Click here to read the press release. Posted June 17, 2015
NASA Technology May Help Protect Wildland Firefighters. Here's something very interesting we found on the NASA website: NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., USA, is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service to see if flexible thermal protection system technology being developed for space entry vehicles also could work to protect firefighters caught in a raging forest fire. The work is being conducted by Langley researchers Anthony Calomino and Mary Beth Wusk after they reached out to the Forest Service following the tragic death of 29 firefighters in Arizona in June 2013. The NASA/Forest Service team is testing multiple layers of thermal protective materials similar to what's used on a spacecraft heat shield. Click here to read more and watch a video of a test. Thanks to Jon Klein at Aerotherm® Aergel Solutions for directing me to this article. Posted June 17, 2015
MIT Hosting Meeting to Investigate Representing the Technical Textiles Industry with the New Government Revolutionary Fiber Initiative. The Advanced Functional Fabric of America (AFFOA) Institute, a nonprofit organization, has been formed that includes Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and other academia and industry leaders. It's in response to the US Department of Defense seeking the development of a new Revolutionary Fiber and Textile Manufacturing Institute. An industry day organizing event is planned for June 16 in Cambridge, Mass., USA, to allow other organizations and companies in the industry to learn more about the MIT plans. Click here to contact Tina Gliman at MIT for more information. Posted June 15, 2015
Jaguar Tests Parachute Braking System in Quest for Land Speed Record. The goal of the Bloodhound SSC project is to build a car that can not only break the current land-speed record of 763 mph but reach the unthinkable 1,000 mph. Last week, Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations tested a specially equipment Jaguar F-TYPE R Coup for the SSC's parachute braking system. The car reached 170 mph before deploying the newly design drogue chute and then the main chute. The actual jet- and rocket-powered car will attempt the speed record in South Africa in Spring 2016. Jaquar is a partner in the project. Click here to go to the website easier and see a cool video of the parachute deployment test. Posted June 15, 2015
Tent Collapses in Mexico, One Dead. According to the oil and gas on-line website Upstream, a huge tent erected in Guadalajara, Mexico, collapsed June 12 during a party held by the Mexico Petroleum Congress. A powerful storm came through the city about an hour into the party. More than 50 people were injured and one delegate died during the collapse. One of the dreaded headlines in the tent rental business is one that uses the word "tent" with the word "collapse." It doesn't matter who installed it, who made it or what were the circumstance which might have caused it to come down; the entire industry gets a black eye when there is a situation like this. Click here to read the article posted on Upstream. Posted June 15, 2015
US Ballistic Vest Manufacturer Acquired. According to the website of the Sun Sentinel newspaper (Pompano Beach, Fla., USA), Point Blank, one of the largest ballistic vest manufacturers in the world, has been sold by Sun Capital Partners in Boca Raton, Fla., USA, to JLL Partners, a private equity firm based in New York. Point Blank employs 1,200 people in Florida. Click here for more information. Posted June 11, 2015
Huntsman Names New President of Performance Products Division. Huntsman Corporation, a $13 billion global producer of chemicals, has announced that Monte Edlund will succeed Stu Monteith as president of Huntsman's Performance Products Division., effective July 1, 2015. Click here for more information from the company's press release. Posted June 11, 2015
US Defense Logistics Agency Awards Another Potential Multi-Million Dollar Shelter Contract. It was announced on May 29 that WC&R Interests, doing business as Diamond Brand Canvas Products, Fletcher, North Carolina, USA, was awarded a maximum $200,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery contract for commercial shelters. This was a competitive acquisition with 20 responses received. This is a one-year base contract with three option years. Location of performance is North Carolina with a May 31, 2016, performance completion date. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2015 through fiscal 2016 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-15-D-1058). [Publisher's note: This is the second of an expected 4 large shelter contracts being awarded. Be careful of the numbers, though, in these awards. While the maximum is $200 million, we have been told the minimum of the orders is about $25,000.] Posted June 11, 2015
Kolon Enters North American Airbag Market. According to the website businesskorea.com, Korean-based Kolon Industries announced yesterday it has signed a 3-year $35 million agreement with Autoliv to supply one-piece woven polyester fabric side curtain airbag cushions. Autoliv will then supply the finished airbag module to Ford for several of its models made in the US. This marks the re-entry for Kolon into the North American market, the first time since the settlement with DuPont over the Aramid fibers litigation. Click here to read the article. Posted June 11, 2015
Ricky Richards Leader Passes. More sad news to report: Norm Gottlieb of Ricky Richards (Sales), passed away on June 4. Mr. Gottlieb was the director of the company, a distributor of technical textiles headquartered in Sydney, Australia. He succumbed to cancer after a 7-year battle. Cick here to read more about Mr. Gottlieb at the Ricky Richards website. Posted June 10, 2015
IFAI Former Chairman Dies. We received word this morning that Don Williams had passed away yesterday. He was 74 years old and still very active in the industry, managing his own company Tech-Tex Marketing and Consulting, and as a contracted sales representative for Bruin and MMI. Mr. Williams served on the IFAI Board of Directors for 16 years. He was elected IFAI Chairman of the Board and served in this capacity from 1997 to 1999. In recognition of his IFAI service, he was given the association's Honored Life Member status. Mr. Williams was also the co-founder of IFAI's sister organization, the Industrial Fabrics Foundation, serving as its chairman for a number of years. His work at IFF was recognized when the board named the student scholarship the Don Williams IFF Student Scholarship. Posted June 10, 2015
NASA Parachute Fails to Deploy on Mars Test. Disappointment. The large donut-shaped inflatable airbag around the spacecraft being use in testing the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator may have failed to inflate during a test launch yesterday over Hawaii. A balloon lifted the unmanned spacecraft to a height of 120,000 feet and then released it. A rocket then fired, accelerating the vehicle to 4 times the speed of sound. At that point the Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (SIAD) was suppose to inflate and make the vehicle about 20 feet in diameter, creating drag and slowing the spacecraft down. A100 foot diameter supersonic parachute would deploy, further slowing the entry of the vehicle. But, at this point, it's unclear which part of the decelaration system -- the inflatable donut or the parachute -- failed or caused the other one to fail. A NASA press conference is scheduled to explain the failure later today. Click here to read an article posted on The Guardian website about the failed test. Posted June 9, 2015
US Army Awards Cargo Extraction Parachute Contract. The US Defense Logistics Agency announced yesterday that Mills Manufacturing Corp.,Ashville, N.C., USA, was awarded a $6,783,244 firm-fixed-fee contract for 22-foot cargo extraction parachutes for the US Army. The minimum guaranteed quantity is 246 each and the estimated maximum four year quantity is 6,150 each. Performance location and funding will be determined with each order. Estimated completion date is June 6, 2019. Bids were solicited via the Internet with three received. Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity (W56HZV-15-d-0040). Posted June 9, 2015
INVISTA Sponsors Creative Conference for Active Outdoor Design Industry. INVISTA's CORDURA® brand was a sponsor for the second annual Struktur Event, a unique creative conference for the active outdoor design industry. The event took place last week in Portland, Ore., USA. As part of the sponsorship, the CORDURA® brand collaborated with High Above, Carryology and Bellroy, companies which design and fabricate hand bags, to create a limited-edition bag designed exclusively for the Struktur attendees. In its second year, Struktur is a cross-disciplinary event, exploring the intersection of user experience, trend research, materials science and their influence on design. Click here to read the press release by INVISTA which includes more about the Struktur Event. Posted June 8. 2015
China Textile Firms Facing Water Pollution Crackdown. There's an interesting article posted on the website just-style about the China government's new "Water Pollution Prevention and Control Act." According to the article, "The plan issued by the State Council in April aims to improve the quality of drinking water sources to a new set of standard by 2020, tightening these further by 2030." The water pollution act covers 7 major rivers including the Yangtze, Huang He (Yellow River), and the Pearl Delta. The textile dyeing industry is facing a 15% increase in dyeing and finishing fees in the government's efforts to reduce the environmental impact from the pollution they are causing. More fee increases are likely. As a result, it's estimated at least 5% of dyeing companies will close before the end of the year. Click here for the entire article. Posted June 8, 2015
US Navy Licenses New Resin for Commercial Applications. The US Naval Laboratory (NRL) Chemistry Division and Technology Transfer Office recently announced the signing of licensing agreements for the commercial manufacturing of NRL-developed PEEK-like phthalonitrile (PN) resin composition. The phthalonitrile-based polymeric composites exhibit superior flame resistant, high temperature, and low water absorption properties that do not exist in the current marketplace.The resin can be used to make composite components by established industrial methods such as resin transfer molding (RTM), resin infusion molding (RIM), filament winding, prepreg consolidation, and potentially by automated composite manufacturing techniques such as automated tape laying and automated fiber placement. Click here for more information. Posted June 7, 2015
Bad Tents Sent from India to Nepal? According to The Times of India, a foreign relief team in Nepal has purchased 200 tents from Mahava Tents (India) Pvt Ltd., a Delhi-based company, but didn't get what they paid for. They reportedly had thought purchased canvas tents and instead found out after delivery they had received PVC tents and most of the delivered tents had holes in them. The owner of Mahava Tents said there was no chance of giving the relief agency a refund or replacement. Click here to read the article. Posted June 7, 2015
Will Takata Survive in the Wake of the Massive Recall? Scott Upham, founder, president & chief executive officer of Valient Market Research, explains in a CNBC video aired on Tuesday, June 2, why airbag manufacturer Takata's future is precarious. The recall is estimated to run into the billions of dollars of liability. Upham has held senior marketing posts with Takata. Interesting interview. Click here to view. Posted June 5, 2015
Google Working with Levi Strauss to Develop Smart Fabrics. Google unveiled last week in San Francisco it's "Project Jacquard," detailing its development of "mainstream" smart interactive textiles. Its Advanced Technology and Products Lab has created a yarn that's capable of conducting electricity that can be interwoven with a variety fo fabrics and make them responsive to swipes and commands the same as current touchscreens. Google has further signaled its investment in the commercial apparel industry by creating a partnership with Levi Strauss to develop products. Click here to watch a fascinating video by Google called "Introducing Project Jacquard." Posted May 31, 2015
Winners of Global "Future of Shade" Competition Announced. Sunbrella® Fabrics, in partnership with Architizer™, has announced the winning projects in the 2015 Future of Shade competition. The grand prize winner in the Building Shade category is "Helicon" by Doel Fresse. The project is an exterior fabric sunscreen that helps prevent solar heat gain, a major problem for curtain-wall buildings in tropical regions. A project called "The Fold" is the grand prize winner in the Humanitarian category. Created by students Amber LaFontaine and Sohjia Yi, it's a modular emergency shelter system that allows refugees to define the most appropriate shelter for their family. The grand prize in the Wellness Garden category went to "Mosque of Light" by Nick Karintzaidis. It is a flexible building with simple structural steel framing that is characterized by hanging fabric elements that frame interior volumes. In all, the 2015 competition received 190 submissions from 36 countries. Click here to read more about the winning projects. Posted May 30, 2015
March US Export Figures Released for Specialty and Industrial Fabrics Released. The US Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA) has released the March export figures for the Specialty and Industrial Fabrics group. Comparing 12-month periods with year-ending of March 31, the latest moving 12-month year saw a slight decline in increase from the previous period ending February 28, dropping from 6.6% to 6.35%. Total US exports in the Specialty and Industrial Fabrics category was $4.179 billion for the 2014/2015 period ending March 31. Exports to Mexico were 48% of the total amount. Click here to go to the OTEXA web page to view export figures for regions and individual countries. Posted May 30, 2015
Industry Advocate Jean Lineberger Passes. BeaverLake6 Report notes that Jean Lineberger died May 27. Ms. Lineberger was the general manager of Brawer Technical Yarns of Cramerton, N.C., USA, a division of Brawer Bros. Inc. Prior to working for Brawer, she was a long time employee of Celanese and Hoechst-Celanese. Ms. Lineberger was a very active member of the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI), serving on its board of directors from 1989-1995. In 1986 she helped organized the United States Industrial Fabrics Institute, a division of IFAI that advocated for US policy decisions. She was also a long-time member of the US Department of Commerce's International Trade Advisory Committee (ITAC). Ms. Lineberger was recognized for her contributions to the industry when she was awarded the IFAI Honored Life Member status in 2005 and IFAI's Volunteer of the Year award in 2012. She was most recently recognized at the USIFI/NFI Outlook Conference just last week by being awarded the Inaugural USIFI Advocacy Award. Posted May 28, 2015
US Defense Logistics Agency Awards $200 Million Fabric Structure Contract. Alaska Structures of Anchorage, Ak, USA has been awarded a maximum $200,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery contract for commercial shelters by the US Defense Logistics Agency.. This was a competitive acquisition with 20 responses received. This is a one-year base contract with three option years. Locations of performance are Alaska and New Mexico with a May 31, 2016, performance completion date. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2015 through fiscal 2016 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Penn., USA (SPE1C1-15-D-1060). Posted May 28, 2015
New Vice President Named at Miller Weldmaster. Miller Weldmaster of Navarre, Oh., USA, has named Dave Immel as Senior Vice President of Sales and Service. Miller Weldmaster is a manufacturer of rotary hot air, hot wedge and impulse welding equipment for the industrial fabric and thermoplastics industries. Mr. Immel joints the Miller Weldmaster team after a 29-year career with Debold, Incorporated. Posted May 27, 2015
SpaceX Releases Video Showing Simulated Emegency Parachute Deployment from Vehicle Point of View. SpaceX successful conducted its launch abort test on May 22 which included the deployment of parachutes after the craft reached an altitude of 4,500 feet. Very cool video. Click here to view from the website techienews. Posted May 26, 2015
Explaining the "Yarn Forward" Impact on Vietnam and the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement. BeaverLake6 Report has found a good article posted on Vietnam Briefing website which explains the US textile industry's insistence on including the "Yarn Forward" rule in the nearly completed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. Right now, most of the textiles for Vietnam's garment and other finished fabric products are coming from China. Yarn Forward would require the fabric only come from one of the TPP countries. Vietnam is opposed to this rule but generally seems to have accepted it in exchange for considerations in other parts of the agreement. The Yarn Forward rule has now cause Vietnam to start developing its own fiber and yarn industry. Already starting up are companies like Century Synthetic Fiber Corporation and Thuank Cong Joint Stock Company. Exceptions to Yarn Forward are those items listed on the "Short Supply" list that are not commercially available in TTP countries. Click here to read the article. Posted May 25, 2015
Malaysia's Technical Textile Sector Urged to Tap Opportunities in Developed Markets. In an article posted on the Malaysian Digest website, the fierce competitive garment market in Southeast Asia could result in looking for more opportunities for Malaysia's textile industry in technical textiles. The article says "Malaysia could build up a niche market in technical textiles in much the same way as the other high-cost suppliers such as Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and Turkey have been doing." According to S. Sivasuriyamoorthy of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, "Malaysia's strategy is to attract more companies in the technical and functional textiles or high performance textiles (such as flame-resistant, anti-bacteria, wrinkle-free, oil and water-repellant, abrasion/tear resistant textiles) sub-sections where high demand will come from high-end applications in the defence, aerospace, automotive, medical, construction and other industries." The article went on to say the Malaysian technical textiles industry could get a boost from the new Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement which is nearing completion. Click here to read the article. Posted May 25, 2015
Finnish Manufacturer of Bullet-Proof Vests Seeks Half a Million Euros from Estonian Defence Forces. The Finnish manufacturer C.P.E. Production Oy is claiming the Estonian Defence Forces has damaged its reputation by mistakenly claiming the company had withdrawn from a winning bid and then leaked company secrets. It is seeking €500,000. The C.P.E. claim is actually a counter-claim after the Estonian Defence Forces sought €200,000 from the company when C.P.E. pulled out of a contract for supplying bullet-proof vests. C.P.E. has claimed it did not withdraw its bid but rather found its vests were not able to meet the tender's technical requirements. The Estonian Defence Forces says this is a withdrawal of a bid which is denied by C.P.E. Click here to read the article posted on the Baltic Business News website. Posted May 25, 2015
SmartChutes for Disabled Drones. Don't you just hate it when your drone is flying around taking video of your neighbor's back yard and then the drone's battery runs out? Not to worry. Michael Pick is the creator of an autonomous parachute recovery system called SmartChutes, The system senses when your quadcopter or drone is having stability problems and deploys a 36-inch parachute that allows it to settle safely down to earth. Once again, where there is a problem, turn to technical textiles to solve it. Click here to watch a video. Posted May 25, 2015
Proposals Given for US Revolutionary Fibers and Textile Manufacturing Innovation Institute. It's both exciting and disappoiniting to learn there were two proposals given at the May 13 meeting organized by the National Council of Textile Organizations regarding the formation of the US Revolutionary Fibers and Textile Manufacturing Innnovation Institute (RFT-MII). On March 18, President Barrack Obama had served Notice of Intent to seek proposals from organizations for the creation of the RFT-MII. The May 13 meeting featured proposals from Georgia Insitute of Technology and Clemson University Materials Science and Engineering. The two are both well-deserving schools but BeaverLake6 Report had hoped there would be more proposals, specifically one from Industrial Fabrics Association International, the trade association representing the technical fabrics industry. This is probably the most exciting government-supported initiative in the history of the technical textiles industry and it would be a shame to see the industry's trade association standing on the sidelines when the work could benefit so many of its members. Posted May 22, 2015
DSM Dyneema Acquires Cubic Tech. DSM Dyneema, a manufacturer of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fiber, has acquired Cubic Tech Corporation, a privately owned company based in Mesa, Ariz., USA. DSM Dyneema is headquartered in The Netherlands with manufacturing facilities in the US and The Netherlands. Cubic Tech specializes in the custom design, development and production of innovative high performance ultra-lightweight flexible laminates and fabrics. Click here to read more about the acquisition. Posted May 22, 2015
US Coated Fabric Manufacturer Acquires Polyvinyl Sheet Maker. Herculite Products, Inc., a coater and laminator of technical textiles for the awning and marine cover markets has announced its acquisition of Strataglass LLC. Herculite is based in Emigsville, Penn., USA. Strataglass, located in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., USA, is a manufacturer of coated and non-coated, clear press polished polyvinyl sheet products which are used extensively in the marine cover market. Click here to read the Herculite press release. Posted May 21, 2015
US Industry and India Defense Forces Work Together On Development of New Protective Clothing. According to The Times of India website, the Indian Defence Trade and Technology Inititative (DTTI) has been given the go-ahead to develop with US companies lightweight protective clothing for chemical and biological situations. This marks the first time there will be a joint US-Indian initiative to help outfit the Indian army. The project is called the Uniform Integrated Protection Ensemble. Click here to read the article. Posted May 21, 2015
Progress of Trans-Pacific Partnership Stalled. US Senate Democrats delivered a major blow to President Barack Obama's trade agreement hopes on May 12 by blocking debate on the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill which would allow a pure up or down vote (fast-rack) on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. The Senate vote was 52-45. Without fast-track, there is little doubt the TPP agreement will be finalized by al the nations involved. The failure on the vote came after Democrats insisted that fast-track authority be bundled together with three other trade bills, including one that would impose import duties on countries that manipulate their currencies for unfair trade advantage. Click here to rad more on the Washington Post website. Posted May 21, 2015
Who Steals Awnings? Apparently it was not the case but the owners of the shops thought so when they arrived at work and found their storefront awnings missing. It turns out the crew from Awning Detailers out of Oakland, Calif., USA,, mistakenly took down the awnings instead of those from a shop a few doors down. Click here to view a local television coverage of the video. Posted May 21, 2015
Takata Experiences Significant Loss in Recent Fiscal Year. Well, it's been a couple of months since we've mentioned the ongoing Takata airbag fiasco. On May 8, Tokyo-based Takata revealed the recent past fiscal year that ended March 31 had resulted in a $246 million loss. The company, however, expects to return to profitability in this current fiscal year with a projected net profit of $167 million. Click here to read more. Posted May 10, 2015
U.A.E. Free Zone Gains Lifting Web Factory. According a May 7 posting on the Arab News website, the first dedicated lifting webbing factory in the Middle East and North Africa region has started its operations in Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone). The company is Bash-P International, a division of the UK-based Safety Services Group. The $20 million facility will manufacture nylon/ polyester webbing material ranging from 25 mm to 300 mm wide. Click here to read the article on the website. Posted May 10, 2015
India to Supply Nepal with More Permanent Shelters and Not Tents. As we reported a number of times (the latest March 28), there is a trend to provide more permanent shelters rather than fabric tents for displaced people who have lost their homes due to political or natural disasters. In the case of last month's devastating earthquake in Nepal, the Indian government said it will not be further supplying tents but rather thousands of pre-fabricated shelters. Indian Foreign Secretary S Jalshankar send pre-fabricated shelters are much better than tents for long-term durations. The Nepal government had earlier estimated the needs for tents to be more than 200,000. Click here to read a short article in The Economic Times about the Indian government decision. Posted May 10, 2015
French Presidential Security Force Threatens Strike Over Heavy, Sweaty Bullet-Proof Vests. According to the UK's Daily Mail website and several other websites we've seen, the French presidential guards are on the verge of strike action regarding the extra protective gear they have had to wear since the terrorist attacks in January. The complaints include the new bullet-proof vests are sweaty and bad for their skin. Click here to read the article. Posted May 10, 2015
Lawrence Fabric & Metal Structures Wins Subcontractor Award. We are pleased to post that Lawrence Fabric & Metal Structures, Inc. received the Outstanding Specialty Subcontractor Award by the American Subcontractors Association (ASC) Midwest Council. Lawrence, headquartered in St. Louis, Mo., USA, is a manufacturer of awnings & canopies, fabric and metal exhibit components, tensioned fabric exhibits, fabric architecture, industrial fabric products, and banners. Click here to read more on the St. Louis Dispatch-Post website. Posted May 10, 2015
Milliken's Changing Attitude on Free Trade. With the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement nearing completion, we found a very nice article posted May 4 on the Wall Street Journal website titled "How a U.S. Textile Maker Came to Embrace Free Trade." It's a look at how Milliken & Co. has migrated its stance on free-trade agreements. Since the death of founder Roger Milliken in 2010, the company has gone from staunch trade agreement opponent to now a more pragmatic view that the textile industry is truly international. Mr. Milliken had opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement, organized opposition to other agreements with South Korea and in Latin America, and had led the successful fight to defeat the "fast track" trade agreement approval in 1998. Today, Milliken, under the leadership of Joseph Salley, has reduced its political trade activist operations and supports President Barrack Obama's efforts to achieve the TTP agreement. The WSJ article is a good read and worth the time if you're seeking to understand the changing US industry positions in textile trade. Click here. Posted May 9, 2015
India Providing Tents for Nepal Earth-Quake Survivors. According to The Economic Times website, the Indian National Disaster Response Force is rushing more than 8,000 tents to the disaster-struck areas of Nepal. Click here to read the article. Posted May 1, 2015
Kolon Industries Inc. Pleads Guilty to Stealing DuPont Trade Secrets. It appears the long trade secret theft saga is over. It's a story BeaverLake6 Report has been following for almost three years. According to an April 30 announcement on the US Federal Bureau of Investigation's website "Kolon Industries Inc., a South Korean industrial company, pleaded guilty this morning in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, to conspiracy to steal trade secrets involving E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co.’s (DuPont) Kevlar technology. The company was sentenced to pay $85 million in criminal fines and $275 million in restitution.... According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, from June 2006 to February 2009, Kolon conspired with former DuPont employees and others to steal DuPont’s trade secrets for making Kevlar, a high-strength, para-aramid synthetic fiber. Kevlar, a trademarked name, is one of DuPont’s most well-known products and is used is a wide range of commercial applications such as body armor, fiber optic cables, and automotive and industrial products. Kolon admitted that it was attempting to improve the quality of its own para-aramid fiber known as Heracron." Click here to read the entire statement post on the FBI website. Posted May 1, 2015
USMC Hosting Protective Equipment Industry Day. Are you a current or potential military supplier of personal protective gear and manufacture in the US? The US Marine Corps Systems Command is hosting a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Industry Day Brief on May 20, 2015. The brief will be held at the Quantico Corporate Center in Stafford, Va., USA. Thanks to my good friend David Trumbull at Agathon Associates for alerting me on this news. Click here for more details. Posted April 30, 2015
Awning Company Sold after 68 Years in the Family. There is a nice article in the Norfolk Daily News (Norfolk, Neb., USA) on the sale of the Norfolk Awning Co. after 68 years in the Skiff family. Ron Skiff sold the company to Rick and Debra Vok. Mr. Skiff's father started the business in 1947. We love community stories like this. Small businesses are the backbone of our industry. Click here to read the article. Posted April 30, 2015
NIST Begins Firefighter Steam Burns Study. The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has begun a study to understand how firefighters receive steam burns despite wearing firefighter's protective clothing. According to an article posted on the NIST website, one theory they are pursuing is the cause may be related to the function of the crucial 2nd layer of a 3-layer suit. The second layer allows for the fabric to both propel liquids on the outer side while on the inner side allow perspiration to evaporate. Click here to read the article. Posted April 30, 2015
Newsletter Begins for Geosynthetics Industry in Brazil. The website geosynthetica.net has partnered with the Brazil geosynthetics industry to begin a newletter called "Por dentro does Gesossinteticos" (Geosynthetics Insights). The editor is Bruno Pedroni in Sao Paulo. To sign up for the monthly newsletter click here. Posted April 28, 2015
Family-Owned Business Featured in Local Paper. Besides reporting on issues and companies which have global interest, we always enjoy finding a story about a long-time local business that serves a community. The Belleville News-Democrat of Belleville, Ill., USA, published a nice piece April 26 on Traube Tents and Structures of nearby Columbia. Traube has been in business since 1938 and is now third-generation run. It is a supplier of commercial tents. Click here to read the article. Posted April 28, 2015
USMC Sought Input on New Inflatable Boats. It's a little late to tell you about it but it is interesting information. According to an article we read on the IHS Jane's 360 website, the US Marine Corps (USMC) had invited US manufacturers of inflatable boats to comment on how they might meet the capability requirements for a new Combat Rubber Raiding Craft (CRRC). The companies had until April 17 to respond. The USMC Systems Command's Product Manager Reconnaissance and Amphibious Raids is conducting market research for an eight-man, air-droppable, inflatable watercraft, weighing no more than 190 kg (about 419 pounds). They are estimating the need for 50 craft a year. Click here to read the article. Posted April 27, 2015
BMW and Alpinestars Collaborate to Make Inflatable Motorcycle Safety Clothing Systems. According to a BMW Motorrad press release, the company is starting an exclusive line of innovative safety apparel for the motorcycle rider with Alpinestars, a leading global manufacturer of high-performance motorcycle and motorsports apparel, clothing and safety equipment. The first product will be an airbag waistcoat based on Alpinestars' Tech-Air™ airbag system. Unlike other apparel airbag systems that require sensors on the motorcycle itself, the Alpinestar's Tech-Air system uses sensors in the coat close to the rider's body that actives the system. Click here to read more. Posted April 27, 2015
TRW Plans to Open 3 Plants in China. TRW Automotive Holdings Corp., the industry's second largest supplier of automotive safety components, is betting big on the China automotive industry. TRW has announced three new plants for China, including a 16,000 square meter assembly plant to open in November 2015 for driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags and other safety component parts. The plant will be located in Zhanghjiagang in the province of Jiangsu. Click here to read an article about the planned new China investment. Posted April 27, 2015
Sioen Announces Two Acquisitions. European coated fabric producer Sioen Industries NV announced today it was purchasing Belgium-based Dynatex s.a. and French-based Le Comptoir Zouloo. Dynatex was incorporated in 2003 and one of its best-know products is a multi-axial aramid reinforcement fabric used in situations where the fabric is needed to contribute to the structural integrity of the product and protect against vandalism and theft such as soft-side truck covers. Le Comptoir Zouloo specializes in the production and sale of color pigments. Click here to read the Sioen press release. Posted April 24, 2015
Rice University Students Designing Virtual Reality Glove for Gaming. According to a press release from Rice University, "Engineering students are working to make virtual reality a little more real with their invention of a glove that allows a user to feel what they're touching while playing video games." The glove is made with inflatable air bladders underneath the finger. When a gamer reaches out to touch an object, the bladders slightly inflate to give the user a feel of grabbing the object. It's an interesting concept and a nice video that's on their site. Click here to read the press release and watch an interesting video. Posted April 24, 2015
Truck Cover Manufacturer Plans Major Expansion in South Dakota. According to the website Area Development Online, TruXedo Inc., one of the US largest fabricators of light-duty truck toneau covers, plans a 40,000 square foot expansion at its Yankton, South Dakota (USA) manufacturing plant. The expansion and job training expenses will be partially funded by a South Dakota Jobs grant. Click here to read the report. Posted April 20, 2015
Tributes to Frei Otto. Last month BeaverLake6 Report noted legendary architect Frei Otto had passed away March 9 just days before he was to receive the prestigious Pritzker Award. In recent days we have seen a couple of worthy tributes to this innovative man who was a driving force in the development of lightweight fabric structures. Bruce Wright, AIA, wrote an article that appeared in the online publication Fabric Architecture called "Remembering Frei Otto" that includes comments from a number of his colleagues. Phillip Drew's article "Frei Otto: Structural Bioengineer Who Developed Lightweight, High-Performance Structures." was published April 19 in The Sydney Morning Herald. Click here to read Mr. Wright's article and here to read Mr. Drew's article. Posted April 20, 2015
Miller Weldmaster Appoints New Sales Manager. Miller Weldmaster, a manufacturer and distributor of various technical textile welding machines, continues the integration of its purchase of several product lines from Sinclair Equipment with the appointment of Jamie Nute as the sales manager for Miller Weldmaster's alternative distribution department. Mr. Nute had previously worked for Sinclair for 20 years. He will be responsible for implementing the sales and marketing transition of the Sinclair product line as well as sales and service in the company's eastern US sales territory. Posted April 13, 2015
Interview with Leader in Indian Technical Textiles Industry. The website indiainfoline.com has a short but interesting interview with Shujaul Rehman, President and COO of Garware Wall Ropes Ltd. Garware is located in M.I.D.C Chinchwad, Pune, India. The company, founded in 1976, is an international supplier of netting, ropes and coated fabrics for a variety of markets including fishing, civil engineering/construction and military applications. In the interview, Mr. Rehman answers questions concerning the financials of his own company as well as the outlook for the technical textile markets in India. Click here to read the interview. Posted April 12, 2015
NASA Favors Propulsive Mars Landing Over Supersonic Parachutes. Somewhat disappointing news is coming from the National Aeronautic Space Administration (NASA). According to the NASA website spaceflight.com, NASA's Human Architecture Team (HAT) is now favoring to remove supersonic parachutes as an option for landing "human-scale hardware" on the surface of Mars. In part, the decision seems to have been made by the failure in June 2014 of a re-entry test involving the Supersonic Disk Sail Parachute and the new thinking of a larger and heavier landing craft. It still may be possible to use the supersonic parachutes in tandem with a propulsive system to slow the landing craft. Click here to read the article. Posted April 11, 2015
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July 18-19: Home Furnishings Manufacturing Solutions Expo, Greenville, S.C., USA
July 23-26: Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, Denver, Co., USA
July 24-27: Intermediate Nonwovens Training Course, Cary, N.C., USA
September 4-6: Cinte Techtextil China 2018, Shangai, China
Click here to view the complete technical textiles events calendar that includes show information links.
Are you looking for a quick understanding of the China technical textiles industry? Through our special relationship with China Nonwovens & Industrial Textiles Association (CNITA) and their China Textile publication, BeaverLake6 Report is pleased to post the English-translation of the recently issued "Status Quo of China's Nonwovens and Industrial Textiles Industry, 2017." The report covers the different levels of the industry, geographic export demographics, and forecast the needs in the major end market applications. Click here to read the report in our China Textile website section. Posted June 18, 2018
I am pleased to announce the second part of my report 2018 State of the U.S.Technical Textiles Industry has been published by Textile World magazine.
This first part features a general industry overview, plus an evaluation of the status and impact of US trade positions.
The second part, featured in the April/May issue will cover major end markets for technical textiles such as automotive and military.
Click here to go to the Textile World website to download a copy.
Steve Warner, Publisher
The joint owners of the ITMA Asia + CITME 2018 textile machinery exhibition have announced new dates for the 6th combined showcase to be held at the National Exhibition and Convention Centre in Shanghai, China. The new dates are October 15-19, 2018. According to show owners CEMATEX and Chinese partners, the Sub-Council of Textile Industry, CCPIT (CCPIT-Tex), China Textile Machinery Association (CTMA) and China Exhibition Centre Group Corporation (CIEC), the shift in the exhibition dates is due to a new national initiative, which affected the scheduling of all events at the exhibition center in October. [Note: BeaverLake6 Report is an industry media partner for the show.] Posted February 11, 2018
In October at the IFAI Expo 2017, I had the opportunity to sit down with -- at the time -- incoming Glen Raven CEO Leib Oehmig for an interview that has now been posted on the Textile World website and will also be in their printed November/December issue.
I've known Mr. Oehmig for probably more than 20 years and have watched his steady management progression within the Glen Raven organization. During the interview, he was very gracious with his time at a busy show and transparent in answering questions on a far-ranging number of topics including the management transition from Alan Gant, Jr., to Mr. Oehmig, the first non-Gant family member to lead Glen Raven. Click here to read the interview and learn more about the thoughts of one of our industry leaders.
As the saying goes "Politics make strange bedfellows." Today we find more than one-third of the Senate Democrats urging the inclusion of key amendments in the US FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (2018 NDAA) that would strengthen the US government's "Buy American" policies.
Versions of the NDAA were recently passed by both the Senate and House and a joint committee is working out a single bill. The submitted Senate version, however, left out proposed key amendments designed to prevent the weakening of domestic sourcing for the US military. One amendment included the prevention for lifting of the restrictions in place for domestic sourcing of wearable electronic products and another amendment prevents certain exceptions to the Berry Amendment which would allow non-domestic sourcing through memoranda of agreement with foreign governments.
What's the "strange bedfellows" aspect? Well, "Buy American" is also one of the key positions taken by the Trump administration. So, we have both the Democrats and the Trump administration on the same side, trying to keep strong the US domestic capability for supplying the military. Strange bedfellows given the current political animosity in Washington...but still the cooperation is vital for the US domestic textile industry.
Posted November 3, 2017
Since last August, the US Navy has been planning to phase out its iconic traditional wool peacoat in favor of a less expensive, synthetic cold weather parka which is lighter in weight and more versatile in types of inclement weather. It actually replaces two types of coats and the seabag the wool coat is stored.
The wool coat, however, has some powerful friends in the US Congress. Companies such as Northwest Woolen Mills in Woonsocket, R.I. and Sterlingware in Boston, Mass. Altogether, the supply chain involved in the manufacture of these woolen peacoats -- including sheep farmers -- is estimated to account for 400 jobs in the Northeast. Add to the drama that the new parka, made by the long-time military supplier Propper, is expected to be manufactured in Puerto Rico, a perceived feeling the new coat will be made by non-American workers. Read more...
June 29. 2017
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has released President Trump's 2017 Trade Policy Agenda. The document, officially called 2017 Trade Policy Agenda and 2016 Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreements Program, outlines the new Administration’s four trade priorities:
BeaverLake6 Report has created a special page within this website and placed the first chapter of the 336-page document which summarizes the policy. Click here to read it. Posted March 2, 2017
Back on March 24, 2016, I was one of the first to predict the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was a dead deal. In fact, I said that I wouldn’t be surprised that, if Donald Trump became President, the agreement is shredded on day one of his new administration. Well, I was off by three days. Yesterday, President Trump signed an Executive Order, officially withdrawing the United States from the TPP agreement. Now the question is can the National Council of Textile Organizations put together a comprehensive plan for the domestic textile industry in a post-TPP era? Click here to read the rest. Posted January 25, 2017
In 2015, I posted more than 425 items of interest for our industry on the BeaverLake6 Report website. In reviewing it all last week, it got me to thinking about putting together a list of influential events, news and trends that I observed during the past year. I have focused primarily on the US marketplace but each of “the things that mattered” to me has global implications.
So, here go my thoughts in no particular order of importance. Let me know if you agree or if I have missed some. Click here to read the list.
Posted January 17, 2016
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