BeaverLake6 Report
BeaverLake6 Report

Archived Industry News

April 1 - June 30, 2017 

Jason Lou

Former Airbag Manufacturer CEO Abruptly Resigns from Ford China. The intrigue of the Takata airbag fiasco seems to continue with the news this week Jason Luo has quit as head of Ford China after only 5 months on the job. Mr. Luo had previously been the CEO of Key Safety Systems, an airbag system manufacturer. He guided the company first through its purchase by Ningbo Joyson Electronics and then the acquisition of the trouble Takata airbag operation. this latter acquisition vaulted the company into the world's second largest maker of airbag restraint systems. Mr. Luo left Key Safety Systems during the final stages of the Takata acquisition process. Posted February 1, 2018

US Military Calls for Improving Compliance with Berry Amendment. In a memo dated June 20, Claire Grady, Director, Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy, US Secretary of Defense, called on leaders in various branches of the military to improve their compliance with both the Berry Amendment and Buy American Act. Director Grady cited Executive Order 13788, Buy American and Hire American, issued by President Donald Trump on April 18, 2017. In the memo, Director Grady writes: "The DoDIG identified numerous contracts where the Berry Amendment and Buy American Act clauses should have been, but were not included in contracts, where compliance with the law and regulations were [sic] neither applied nor properly justified, or where potential Anti-Deficiency Act violations may have occurred." Click here to read the entire memo. Posted June 29, 2017

Airbag Maker Takata Files for Bankruptcy. The announcement today that Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata Corp has filed for bankruptcy seems almost anti-climatic given that it has been expected for months. The bankruptcy allows a restructuring of Takata into a much smaller company with most of its assets being purchased by rival airbag maker Key Safety Systems, a division of China-based Ningbo Joyson, for about $1.6 billion. In addition to filing in Japan, Takata's US subsidiary TK Holdings, also filed for bankruptcy. Most of the US operations, which includes two manufacturing plants of technical textiles manufacturer HIghland Industries, will now become part of Key Safety. Click here to read more about the bankruptcy from the Reuters News Agency website. Posted June 26, 2017

Afghan Army Purchase Wastes $28 Million on Inappropriate Camouflage Uniform Pattern. In a blistering report issued June 20, 2017, the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction reviewed the over $93 million spent on purchasing Afghan army uniforms between 2008 and this year. The report says the Afghan Defense Ministry decided on woodland pattern in 2007 for the Afghan National Army (ANA), based on patterns supplied by US officials. While the Army has several free camouflage patterns available, the camouflage pattern picked is proprietary, owned by HyperStealth Biotechnology, a Canadian-based company. In addition, the uniforms purchased were patterned after the US Army's Combat Uniform which is more costly to produce and has different component specifications than the US Army Battle Dress Uniform. Thus, the IG report estimates the total costs which came back to the US government were 40-43% higher for an ANA uniform than was needed. The IG estimates that between November 2008 and January 2017, US taxpayers wasted $28 million on these more expensive and inappropriate uniforms and, further, it could cost an additional $68 to $71 million over the next 10 years. Click here to go to the report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.  Posted June 24, 2017

Joyson Making Giant Leap in Airbag Manufacturer. While a lot of attention has been given these last few days on the pending Takata bankruptcy announcement, China's Ningbo Joyson Electronic is about to become a major player as an automotive Tier One supplier through its second purchase of an airbag maker in the last year. Joyson purchased US-maker Key Safety Systems in 2016 for about $920 million. Now it is set to purchase through Key Safety the Takata airbag manufacturing operations for about $1.6 billion. The Chinese automotive company was only founded in 2004. With the Takata purchase, Joyson will become the second largest airbag manufacturer in the world. Click here to read a short but interesting article posted on the Nikkei Asian Review website. Posted June 24, 2017

New Aviation Fabric Flammability Test Lab Opens in UAE. UAE national carrier Elihad has teamed up with Switzerland textile manufacturing Lantal Textiles to create what is believed to be the Middle East's first laboratory specializing in flammability testing of aircraft cabin fabrics and other materials. Lantel is a 130 year-old textile producer, specializing in transportation fabrics for automotive, trains, marine, and aircraft. Click here to read more about the opening. Posted June 24, 2017

"Future of Shade" Competition Winners Announced. Glen Raven, the maker of Sunbrella® woven acrylic fabric, and Architizer, an on-line sourcing website for architects, have announced the winners of the 2017 Future of Shade competition. The competition involved submissions which envision pioneering shade designs to meet the needs of the 21st century. 348 entries were submitted from more than 30 countries. There were 3 categories. The Grand Prize Winner in the Humanitarian category was by Felipe Guerrero Castillo from Columbia; in the Well-Being category, it was Rafael Duailibe dos Santos from Brazil; and, in the Building Shade category, it was Arman Hadilou from the USA. Click here to view more information about their projects. Posted June 24, 2017

Labor Problems at US Coated Fabric Company. On June 21, workers staged a protest again the management outside of the Fair Haven Heights manufacturing plant of Trelleborg Uretek in Fair Haven, Conn., USA. The company was previously known as Uretek until 2014 when it was purchased by Trelleborg, a Swedish-headquartered coated fabric producer with operations world-wide. The issue is the work contract set to expire at the end of June. The union is trying to get some wording into the new labor agreement that prevents Trellebord from shifting some of the work to another facility in North Carolina or elsewhere. Click here to read an article on the protest. Posted June 24, 2017

Composite Manufacturer Expands Plant , Opens New Headquarters Building. Vectorply Corporation, a USA.-based manufacturer of high performance composite non-crimp fabrics (NCF), officially opened the doors of their new Advanced Composite Reinforcement Center with a Grand Opening Ceremony on  June 14, 2017 in Phenix City, Ala.. The new facility features 38,000 sq. ft of manufacturing space dedicated to producing the company’s VectorUltra™ line of advanced multiaxial reinforcements.. Currently, Vectorply produces 19 standard carbon products ranging from a 3-oz. biaxial fabric to a 94-oz.  mirror-image quadraxial tooling fabric. Targeted markets for its products include aerospace, defense, and transportation along with infrastructure, marine, and sports and recreation. Click here to read the company press release on the opening. Posted June 24, 2017

Tot Falls 5 Stories Saved by Awning. Well, it's happened again: A two-year old toddler  fell out of an open window in the Bronx in New York on June 16. She fell 5 floors. Fortunately, she was saved by landing on a fabric awning (actually an entrance canopy to the apartment building). Click here to read the article posted on The New York Daily News website. Posted June 17, 2017

"Potential Positives" Cannot Be Demonstrated to Outweigh "Potential Harms" to the US Domestic Textile Industry in PFD Manufacturer's Trade Zone Request.  On June 13,2017, the US Department of Commerce's Foreign Trade Zones Staff issued a recommendation that Coleman Co. had not demonstrated that potential negative effects to the domestic textile industry would be outweighed by potential positive effects claim in its request to select the duty rates during customs entry procedures that apply to personal flotation devices and flotation cushions rather than the individual component material being imported to make the PFDs in the US. Therefore, the Board could not recommend approval of the request. The Foreign Trade Zones Board has now submitted an invitation for public comment on this preliminary recommendation. Deadline for submission is July 31, 2017. For further information, contact Diane Finver at Click here to read the recommendation report that we have posted on the BeaverLake6 Report website. Special thanks to David Trumbull, at Agathon Associates for alerting us on this new public comment period. 

ZF First Company to Develop Airbags for Self-Driving Vehicles.  Will self-driving vehicles need a new type of airbags to protect its occupants? ZF, the world's second largest supplier of automotive airbag systems, believes they will and the time is fast approaching. It is estimated we will begin seeing self-driving vehicles on the roads within 1-5 years. With no "driver-forward" requirement, occupants will be able to swivel their seating around to face each other. Primary airbags are now stored in the dashboard, steering column and in the side door supports and designed to work with fairly rigid position seats. But with vehicle seats being so flexible in driverless cars, ZF is designing airbags that are embedded within the sides of the seating itself. Click here to read the company's press release. Posted June 13, 2017

Milliken Names New Vice President for Its Specialty Interiors Business. Textile manufacturer Milliken & Company has named Jennifer K. Harmon as Vice President, Specialty Interiors of its Performance & Protective Textile Division. Ms. Harmon was previously vice president of design and interim vice president of sales at True Textile, Inc., a Canadian-based manufacturer of interior textile materials. Ms. Price will report to Jeff Price, President of Milliken's Performance & Protective Division. Click here to read the company press release on the appointment. Posted June 13, 2017

US Company Being Investigated for Possible False Claims of Military Products Being "Berry Compliant."  In an exclusive artlcle published on its website, The Virginian-Pilot newspaper (Norfolk, Va., USA) reports US Federal agents served a search warrant April 27 on London Bridge Trading of Virginia Beach. Va., investigating whether products the company sold to the military were made outside of the US, a violation of the US Berry Amendment which requires most textile-related products to be made in America. According to its website, London Bridge Trade manufactures tactical vests, backpacks, ammo pouches and other products to the US military and law enforcement agencies as well as for militararies of other countries. The website says it is "100% Berry-compliant.". The company denies the allegations. Click here to read The Virginian-Pilot article. Posted June 6, 2017

Fired Worker Fatally Shoots 5 at Awning Factory in Orlando, Florida. Tragedy struck our industry today when 6 people, including the gunman, were killed at Fiamma Inc., a recreational vehicle awning manufacturing company located in Orlando, Fla., USA. The killer was a recently terminated employee. All of those he killed were employees of the company.  Fiamma makes retractable awnings and other types of fabric shelters designed to be attached to motor homes, campers, vans and trailers. The company has a network of North American distributors as well as sells directly to consumers. The company is a 70 year-old family business, headquartered in Cardano al Campo, Italy. It opened the Orlando factory in 1991. Click here to read an article about the shooting on the Orlando Sentinal website. Posted June 5, 2017

UK Study Shows Less Than One-Third of Women Workers Have Proper-Fitting PPE. The National Safety Council's Safety+Health magazine website has posted an article on a UK study of 5,000 female workers that finds only 29% of women who wear personal protective equipment (PPE) on the job feel they have proper fitting clothing that fits their gender, despite numerous UK standards requiring employers to provide proper PPE. The report also showed 95% of the women respondents in the emergency services industry reported that they felt the PPE hindered their work either "sometimes" or "significantly." Click here to read the entire article. Posted June 5, 2017

Glen Raven's Recycling Efforts Recognized. There is a nice article on the Burlington Times (Burlington, N.C., USA) website regarding the 100% recycling commitment at the Glen Raven Technical Fabrics manufacturing plant in Burlington. Leftover polyester is sold to specialty yarn maker Unifi, which reduces the fabric into pellets and then back into yarns. Dyes are also recycled. Plant waste that cannot be itself recycled is incinerated, generating energy. Click here to read the article. Posted June 5, 2017

April Technical Textiles Export Numbers Released by US Department of Commerce.  The US Department of Commerce released Specialty and Industrial Fabrics group export figures for the 12-month period with the year-end April. The overall global figure saw a -1.72% decline. While Mexico, the top destination accounting for more than 50% of our exports, saw an almost 3% drop for the 12-months, China has a 15.35% increase. Click here to see the entire report. Posted June 5, 2017



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New US Textile Research Facility. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and officials at the University of Massachusetts Lowell announced June 1 that a "Fabric Discovery Lab" is being built, intended for the development of new materials and applications of technical textiles. The state is awarding an $11.3 million grant to help fund the facility. According to a report in the Boston Globe, "The research facility will invest in developing a wave of sophisticated fabrics that incorporate sensors and technology to help industries, hospitals, the military, and consumers. The Lowell center will concentrate on the development, testing, and manufacturing of consumer and commercial fabrics that are blended with flexible electronics." The fabric center was created in partnership with Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), selected last year by the government to lead the research activities on technical textiles, and NextFlex, an electronics manufacturing company. Click here to read the Boston Globe article. Posted June 2, 2017

Benefits of Fabric Awnings Get Great Promotion in US Consumer Publications. Home awnings recently received two nice positive articles on respected consumer websites -- Consumer Affairs and Realtor®Mag. According to the articles, the fabric awnings can add both improved aesthetics for the house as well as improved function by providing shade and reducing heat gain. Congratulations, too, to the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association, a division of the Industrial Fabrics Association, for its tireless efforts promoting the value of awnings to the consumer press. Click here to read the Consumer Affairs article. Click here to read the Realtor®Mag article. Posted June 2, 2017

Specialty Chemical Companies Clariant and Huntsman to Merge. Following the recent mergers of DuPont/Dow and Monsanto/Bayer, specialty chemical and resin giants Clariant and Huntsman Corporation have announced that their Boards of Directors unanimously approved a definitive agreement to combine in a merger of equals through an all-stock transaction. The merged company will be named HuntsmanClariant. The global headquarters will be located in Switzerland while its operational headquarters will be located in The Woodlands, Texas, USA. It is estimated the combined total value of the new company will be approximately $20 billion. According to the New York Times, the combined sales last year was $15.8 billion. Click here to read the Clariant company press release on the agreement. Posted May 30, 2017

Sioen Acquires James Dewhurst Group. The Belgium coated fabrics producer Sioen Industries NV continues its acquistion mode with the announcement yesterday it had purchased the James Dewhurst Group, a UK-based producer of open construction laid scrims. The scrims provide stablility, strength and reinforcement to coated and laminate materials. The key markets are building and construction, industrial, geotextiles, health and hygiene, packaging and transport. The transaction value was a little more than $49.3 million. Click here to read the Sioen press release. Posted May 24, 2017

US Approves $75 Million High-Tech Chemical Protective Gear for Indian Armed Forces.  The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) made a notification to the US Congress requesting approval for a $75 million high-tech chemical protective clothing order from the Indian armed forces for biological and chemical warfare protection. The Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology (JSLIST) consists of 38,000 sets of suits, trousers, gloves, boots and NBC bags. In addition, the package includes 850 aprons, 850 alternative aprons, 9,000 Quick Doff Hoods, and 114,00 M61 filters. Click here to read more. Posted May 24, 2017

Toyoda Gosei Building Airbag Plant in India. As the Indian vehicle safety equipment requirements become more stringent, the demand is increasing for airbags. Japanese-based Toyoda Gosei has announced plans to build an airbag manufacturing plant in the western state Gujarat. The operation will be part of Toyoda Gosei Minda India, a subsidiary of Toyoda Gosei. The plant will have an initial capability to supply airbags for about 250,000 vehicles per year and will double that when it becomes fully operational. The expected plant cost is $11.3 million and will be producing by the second half of 2018. Toyoda already has 4 other automotive parts factories in India. Click here to read about the airbag plant. Posted May 23, 2017

The Greatest Show Closes. It's worth noting in our industry the last show of the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus is taking place tonight. The traveling circus tent is probably the most recognizable icon in describing the canvas tent era for shelters in the 1920s and 30s. Ringling Brothers is live-streaming the last show. Click here to go to its website. Posted May 21, 2017

NASA's New Spacesuit for Starliner Spacecraft. Somehow we missed this article when it was published on the NASA website in January but we think it's still worth noting. Boeing has designed a new spacesuit specifically for the new Starliner spacecraft being developed to carry NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. The new suits are about 10 pounds lighter than the current launch and entry suits being worn. The new suit's material allows water vapor to pass out of the suit, away from the astronaut, but keeps air inside. This makes the suit cooler. Various zippers allow the astronaut to adjust the suit for better fit when in different physical positions such as sitting or walking. Click here to read the article. Posted May 20, 2017

Military Transitioning from Fabric Shelters. The US military is now starting to transition from fabric tents to trailers and other "hard-wall" structures. In an article posted on the US Air Force's official website, there is an article about one such transition for the 386th AEW Airmen." “We are transitioning to more of an enduring location rather than an expeditionary one,” said Capt. Godfrey A. Manera, Airmen and transient personnel have been lodged in the tents for about 15 years, traditionally with 8 to 10 other occupants. In an effort to significantly reduce the disruption of Airmen rest cycles, the trailers are being designed to make the rooms double occupancy only. The design of the trailers makes for a more efficient use of space compared to the tents. The new 120-by-30 foot dwellings will allow Airmen to gain 63% more square footage of living quarter space while taking up less overall space at the same time, according to Capt. Manera. Click here to read the article. [Publisher note: I have been reporting on this trend in my market reports for the last few years.] Posted May 19, 2017

USTR Begins First Steps to Renegotiate NAFTA. This didn't take that long: Newly-confirmed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer formally notified Congress yesterday that President Donald Trump intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In the letter, Ambassador Lighthizer said the Trump administration has already been working with trade advisory committees. Click here to read the official letter to the US Speaker of the House. Posted May 19, 2017

Polyurethane Coated Technical Textiles Factory Being Built in Russia. According to the Russian website, a French construction firm, HEFI Development, has been contracted to build a technical textiles factory for Strimtex. The company is a manufacturer of polyurethane coated fabrics for the construction industry. The factory will be located in the Moglino special economic zone in Pskov region of northwestern Russia. Click here to read the article. Posted May 19, 2017

New USTR Takes Office. After months of delay, Robert Lighthizer was sworn in today as the new United States Trade Representative (USTR). Ambassador Lighthizer's confirmation in the US Senate completes the cabinet formed by President Donald Trump. The ambassador is an experienced trade negotiator, serving as Deputy USTR for President Ronald Reagan. His confirmation gained approval from a number of high-ranking Democrats including Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the Finance Committee's top Democrat. Industry trade associations were also quick to praise his swearing in. “In my estimation, Ambassador Lighthizer is likely the most qualified individual ever to be confirmed to this important post,” said National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President and CEO Auggie Tantillo as he noted Lighthizer’s previous service as Staff Director of the Senate Finance committee and as Deputy USTR, as well as his distinguished legal career specializing in international trade law. Click here to read the USTR's official release on his swearing in. Posted May 16, 2017

Russian Chemists Develop Fabric Resistant to Chemical and Biological Weapons. According to the TASS Russian News Agency, Chemist from Sartov State University have developed with a membrane solution capable of protecting military personnel from chemical and biological weapons while remaining air and vapor permeable. The membrane fabrics are reported to be impermeable to water, viruses, bacteria, toxins and allergens. The technical fabrics were created within the framework of a larger project of the Fund for Perspective Research, a project intended for creating combat gear of the future. The testing of special suits made of the fabric is to be completed by the end of 2017. Click here to read the article posted on the TASS website. Posted May 16, 2017

Milliken Announces Combining of Technical Textiles Divisions. According to an article posted in, the US-based textile giant Milliken & Co has announced it is restructuring, combining its specialty fabrics and performance fabrics divisions. It will be led by Jeff Price, the current manager of the specialty fabrics division. The restructuring also results in 6 end market segment products reporting to Mr. Price -- nonwovens, global airbag, uniform and protective, engineered performance products, and specialty interiors. In other restructuring, the company plans to combine the research division with marketing. As a result of all this, Sim Skinner, the previous president of the performance products division, and Chris DeSoiza, the previous vice president of research, have both left the company. This is one of the first strategic moves made by President/CEO Harold Chandler, who replaced Joseph Salley in October 2016.  Milliken is based in Spartanburg, S.C., USA. Click here to read the article. Posted May 16, 2017

US Narrow Fabrics Producer Acquired. Brand & Oppenheimer Co., Inc., a textile converter and provider of technical fabrics to multiple industries, has announced that it has acquired the assets of Cutting Edge TexStyles, a 99-year-old manufacturer of bias binding, trims and textiles based in Bedford, Mass., USA. The new business will continue to operate in its existing location with its current staff, including former CEO Joe Goldman, who will now serve as Vice President of the Cutting Edge TexStyles Sales Division of B&O alongside the Company’s Performance Textiles and 1947 Sales divisions. Click here to read the company’s press release on the acquisition. Posted May 16, 2017

US Textile and Fiber Trade Associations Comment of US Trade Deficit.  In a joint letter to US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Jr., four US-based textile organizations submitted comments in response to publishing of 82 FR 16721 - Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficit on March 13. The organizations are National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), American Fibers Manufacturers Association (AFMA), United States Industrial Fabrics Institute (USIFI) and Narrow Fabrics Institute NFI). Both NFI and USIFI are divisions of the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI). Their comments outline the impact of unfair foreign trade practices on the US trade deficit in textiles and apparel. While it is difficult to separate technical textiles in the statistical information shared by the organizations, it appears most of the deficit impact in the comments relate to the apparel segment. The top 5 contributors they list that the US has trade deficits in textile and apparel are Vietnam, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia and China. With the possible exception of China, these countries are not significant exporters to the US of technical textiles. Click here to read the organizations' public comment posted on the NCTO website. Posted May 16, 2017

US Fiber Manufacturer Investing $65 Million to Expand Capacity. INVISTA is investing over $65 million for state-of-the-art fiber production equipment at its Camden, S.C., USA facility. This investment will expand INVISTA’s capacity of Nylon 6,6 fiber used in a diverse range of applications. The investment will significantly increase domestic US capacity of high-tenacity, specialty fibers used in CORDURA® fabrics in military applications such as bags, backpacks and ballistic vest carriers as well as a wide variety of commercial end-uses from hiking boots to hunting gear, workwear to motorcycle, and many other outdoor and lifestyle apparel and equipment products.  The new assets will also be capable of manufacturing bulked continuous filament and high-quality fibers for airbags and industrial sewing threads. Click here to read the company press release. Posted May 10, 2017

Unifi Appoints New CEO. Unifi, Inc. has announced the appointment of Kevin D. Hall as Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Directors, effective June 1, 2017. Thomas Caudle will continue to serve as Unifi's President, a position he has held since 2016. According to the press release issued May 4, Mr. Hall has spent more than three decades building global brands and serving private equity partners in the development and execution of growth strategies in marketing-driven organizations, including Procter & Gamble, Hanesbrands and Fidelity Investments. Hall also serves on the Advisory Board for North Carolina-based technology and analytics company, Inmar. Unifi is a manufacturer of multi-filament textured polyester and nylon yarns for applications including the automotive, military and medical products. Click here to read the press release. Posted May 10, 2017

Circus Tent Owner Pleads Guilty in Tent Collapse Which Led to Deaths. A judge on May 3 ordered a Florida-based Walker International Events to pay $15,000 in fines for operating without a permit of the circus tent which collapsed  during a storm in Lancaster, N.H., USA, in 2015. The collpased resulted in two deaths. The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had previously found that Walker had failed to properly anchor the tent. The company is now out of business. Click here to read a brief report of the recent verdict posted on the Lancaster Daily Journal website. Posted May 5, 2017

US Department of Commerce Releases March Technical Textile Export Figures.  The US Department of Commerce released today the year-end exports for March for the Specialty and Industrial Fabrics Group. There has been an interesting small uptick for the last couple of months of exports to China. Overall, US exports to the rest of the world decline 2.58% from the same period last year. Click here to see the entire report. Posted May 4, 2017




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US Yarn and Technical Textile Manufacturer Sold. Highlander Partners' portfolio company Twitchell Technical Products, a specialty materials company focused on engineered polymer fabrics and coated films, today announced that its parent company acquired The Quantum Group, a manufacturer and innovator of unique yarns and high-performance woven fabrics to the furniture, construction, recreational, industrial, healthcare, automotive and airline industries. Founded in 1985, Quantum is a vertically integrated yarn and fabric manufacturer of mono- and multi-filament yarns and possessing extensive yarn preparation processes, including warping, texturizing and twisting fibers, producing a wide variety of engineered performance characteristics, patterns and textures. Quantum is located in Colfax, N.C., USA   Click here to read the company's press release on the acquistion. Posted May 4,.2017

Zodiac Aerospace Acquisition Could Be In Trouble. The January 2017 announcement by aircraft engine manufacturer Safran to purchase Zodiac Aerospace for $9bn may now be in trouble after a severely disappointing first half reported loss of more than $13 million. Zodiac is still projecting an operating profit in the range of $240 million for the year end in August. Based on the immediate financial report and projection, Safran's bid is certain to be lowered, according to Reuters News Agency. The deal had already met with uncertainty due to Safran stakeholders questions about the acquisition's complexity and the on-going manufacturing problems at Zodiac. The company is one of only two major manufacturers of commercial aircraft seating. The other company, B/E Aerospace was recently purchased by Rockwell Collins. Click here to read more about the troubled acquisition of Zodiac. Posted May 3, 2017

Former Employee Pleas Guilty to Embezzling almost $400K from Awning Company.  John D. Pilkington III has pled guilty in federal court for embezzling $399,316 from Cain Awning of Birmingham, Ala., USA. Mr. Pilkington worked for the company from 2002 to 2016. The embezzlement occurred between 2010 and 2016, involving writing unauthorized company checks to himself and using company credit cards for personal purchases and benefits. Established in 1946, Cain Awning is a manufacturer of commercial and residential awnings and canopies. Click here to read more about the embezzlement. Posted May 3, 2017

Forced Bankruptcy Looms for Japanese Airbag Company. Honestly, can it get much worse for Takata Corp? Shares of the beleaguered company had to be suspended on April 24 after the price fell 19% in heavy activity amidst looming fears of a forced bankruptcy. Takata is desperately trying to reach an out-of-court restructure to avoid bankruptcy and supply disruption. Carmakers are seeking the court bankruptcy due to several industry estimates of an up to $10 billion replacement cost for the defective Takata-made airbag. Another industry airbag manufacturer, Key Safety Systems, a division of China's Ningbo Joyson Electronic, has emerged as the preferred purchaser of Takata but no deal has yet been achieved. Click here to read an article about all this posted on the Financial Times website. Posted April 28, 2017

Porcher Industries Plans to Recruit 400. French-based Porcher Industries Group has announced plans to add more than 400 additional positions over the next 2 years for its facilities in Europe, Asia and North America. Porcher Industries is a manufacturer of technical textiles with 5 business units -- Automotive, Aerospace & Defense, Sport & Leisure, and Building & Industrial. The 100-year old company was purchased 5 months ago by Warwick Capital LLP of the UK and since then has announced an ambitious €50 million investment plan. The company plans to use the upcoming Techtextil show in Frankfurt to start its recruitment. Posted April 28, 2017

Belgium Technical Textile Producer Reports 35% Sales Growth Mainly Through Acquisitions. Sioen Industries NV released its 1st Quarter results yesterday, reporting sales growth of 35% (5% organic and 30% acquisitions). The Coating division realized net external consolidated sales of 71.8 million compared to 53.5 million in the 1st Quarter 2016. Acquisitions accounted for 29.1% of the overall 34.2% division growth that included Dimension-Polyant (sailcloth) and Manifattura Fontana (geosynthetics). The Apparel division acquisitions Verseidag Ballistic Protection (ballistic vests) and Ursuit (diving suits) accounted for 45.3% of the overall 50.8% growth in the division. Click here to read the Sioen press release. Posted April 28, 2017

US Army Reserve Officer Convicted of Violating Buy American Act with Chinese Backpacks.  In a follow-up to a notice we originally posted May 25, 2016, US Army Reserves Lt. Col. Frederick Lamar Burnett was found guilty in federal court April 25 on 3 counts of wire fraud. Lt. Col. Burnett conducted a business scheme to defraud the US Department of Defense (DOD) of $6.2 million involving contracts for the purchase of Army recruitment backpacks and baseball caps. The US Army determined he had used his Huntsville-based company -- Lamar International Inc. -- in a scheme that involved three contracts with the DOD from 2005 - 2007. Lt. Col. Burnett certified for all three contracts that he would meet the requirements of the Buy American Act, the Berry Amendment and federal regulations that require the government to buy domestic products and materials. In fact, the products were made in China. The maximum penalty for wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date has not yet been set. Click here to read an article on the conviction posted on the website. Posted April 26, 2017

More Comfortable Hazmat PPE Being Developed. There is a good article on Fire Chief website by Jeffrey and Grace Stull on the trending of new person protective equipment (PPE) being developed for firefighters found in chemical hazard situations. Key takeaways from the article: 1) firefighters want hazmat PPE that are more mobile; 2) past PPE has been developed based on material technology at the expense of design and comfort; 3) First Responders want PPE that is easy to get on and launder; and, 4) the trend towards more comfortable PPE has influenced PPE performance standards. Click here to read the article. Posted April 26, 2017

Custom Nonwoven Assets Acquired by Fibrix. Only 3 years after Custom Nonwovens, Inc. (CNI) invested $12.8 million in a new manufacturing facility in Thomasville, N.C., USA, the facility and its assets have been sold to Fibrix LLC, headquartered in Conover, N.C. Part of the 2013 investment plan included a $128,000 matching grant from the State of North Carolina. It is not clear if Fibrix will be keeping the employees in Thomasville that were hired through the grant. Fibrix is a manufacturer of polyester nonwovens for filtration, furniture and bedding, automotive, and industrial products. CNI is a subsidiary of Korean-based Korea Synthetic Fiber (KSF), a producer of polyester stable. The other Custom Nonwoven plant in Mississippi was not affected by the acquisition and continues to be owned by KSF. Click here to read more about the sale. Posted April 25, 2017

Final Issue Published of Land and Water Magazine. Thanks to our good friend Chris Kelsey of, we have learned the publisher of Land and Water is retiring and the family-run business has decided to cease publishing the magazine. The publication, published for more than 43 years, covered natural resource management and restoration including pond lining, waste containment, and erosion control; thus, it was a staple for those involved in the geosysthetics industry. Mr. Kelsey has written a nice farewell column for Land and Water's final issue. Click here for more about his tribute to the magazine's impact on the industry. Posted April 25, 2017

NASA Develops Foldable Metallic Fabric. Per a NASA press release, scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., USA, have developed 3D-printed metal fabric prototypes for various space applications. Among the uses is on large antennas and other deployable devices on scacecrafts. The newly created fabrics performs 4 basic functions -- reflectivity, passive heat management, foldability and tensile strength. One side of the fabric reflects light and the other side absorbs it, giving the fabric thermal control. Click here to read the entire NASA press release posted on the website. Posted April 24, 2017

New York Times Article Features Upscale Fabric Canopy Designs. It's nice to see our industry get recognition for its craftsmanship. An article in the April 21 issue of the New York Times featured the upscaled new look of fabric building canopies, with the graphics designed by artists to reflect the nature of the building. Ara Starck, a New York-based artist, for example, designed the canopy on 41 Park Avenue in Manhattan, which from underneath looking up "offers a surreal take on the heavens -- an abstract map of Manhattan depicting Stonehenge NYC's 23 rental buildings as constellations," while from the above looking down "depicts leafy branches that blossom into human hands." The article offers numerous examples of these types of unique canopies. Click here to go to the New York Times website article. Posted April 24, 2017

Chomarat Announces $37.5 Million 3-Year Investment to Modernize and Acquire New Innovative Technologies. The international textile group Chomarat has announced that it has set up an investment plan worth €35 million ($37.5 million). The investment will enable Chomarat  to acquire new technologies for its composite, construction and coating activities, to modernize its site dedicated to the production of glass-fiber reinforcements, and to develop carbon solutions. The Group has three businesses -- Composites Reinforcements, Construction Reinforcements, and Coatings & Films -- Textiles. Click here for more information.  Posted April 19, 2017

Geosynthetics Manufacturer HUESKER Group Establishes Australian Subsidiary. Following the recent acquisition of NBW Mining (Aust) Pty Ltd, the HUESKER Group has announced the establishment of HUESKER Australia Pty Ltd. Morné Breytenbach is the newly appointed Managing Director of the Australian company. HUESKER is a manufacturer of various woven, nonwovens and grids for geosynthetic applications. Currently on a global expansion drive, HUESKER Australia has other subsidiaries in France, USA, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, UK, Brazil, Singapore and Russia. Click here to read the company press release about the creation of the Australian subsidiary. Posted April 18, 2017

E-Gloves Aim to Protect Workers from Vibrations. There is an interesting article on the Daily Commercial News website regarding how "smart" gloves are being developed by the University of Nottingham (Nottingham, U.K.) to protect construction workers from dangerous levels of vibrations when using heavy equipment. The article says that during the last decade in England, more than 10,000 claims have been made for a problem called "vibration white finger" as well as carpal tunnel syndrome. According to the article, sensors only about 2mm long are encapsulated in micro-pods embedded in the yarn that are then knitted into gloves. The gloves alert the worker when the sensors detect a dangerous level of vibration exposure. Click here to read the article. Posted April 13, 2017

Shelter Manufacturer Finds Investor on Television's "Shark Tank" Show. It's always nice to see our industry's products featured on the hit US television show "Shark Tank."  On the April 7, 2017 episode, a Cincinnati (Ohio, USA)-based company Under the Weather® was featured. The company makes a portable one-person shelter designed for the outdoor sports spectator, the biggest market being parents of children playing games such as football, baseball and soccer. The company, founded in 2010, had online sales of about $2 million in 2016.  Founder Rick Perscovitz made the pitch for investment money and made a deal with billionaire Mark Cuban who offered $600,000 for a 15% stake in the company with an option to spend invest additional $600,000 for another 10% stake. Click here to read a Cincinnati Business Courier article about the company. Posted April 12, 2017

University Biomedical Engineering Professor Wins National Science Foundation Grant for Smart Textiles. Congratulations to University of Rhode Island's Professor Kunal Mankodiya for receiving a $525,000 CAREER grant over 5 years which will allow him to continue researching and creating smart clothing that help people monitor their health from their home. The engineering assoicate professor is the director of URI's Wearable Biosensing Laboratory. His work is largely focusing on fabrics embedded with sensors which can measure tremors and rigidity, symptoms common for diseases such as Parkinson's. The CAREER awards are the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through research, education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.Click here to read more about his work and the grant. Posted April 12, 2017

Lest We Forget: Ed Hunzinger Passes. Sad news to report today with the passing of Ed Hunzinger, Jr., April 10, after a long battle with cancer. Mr Hunzinger was the president of Evanston Awning Co., Evanston, Ill., USA. He was a 4th generation of a family involved in the canvas industry. While Evanston Awning started in 1931, the business lineage dates back to G.B. Carpeter & Company in Chicago in 1840.  G.B. Carpenter was a charter member of the National Tent & Awning Association (now Industrial Fabrics Association International). Both Mr. Hunzinger and his wife Ann are Honored Life Members of the Industrial Fabrics Association International. Mr. Hunzger also was past president of the Mid-America 8 Canvas Products Association. Posted April 11, 2017

Teijin Frontier Plans $18m Air Bag Fabric Plant in Vietnam. Per the Nikkei Asian Review website, Teijin, through its Teijin Frontier subsidiary, will build a factory in Vietnam for manufacturing air bag fabric. The target finish date is 2018. No location in Vietnam has been decided as yet. Teijin's annual sales for air bag fabrics in the year ended March 2016 was about $2,7m. The company plans to double the sales by 2020, taking advantage of the void left by the Takata fiasco. One of the gains of constructing the factory in Vietnam is the gateway to European sales through the new "fabric-forward" agreement Vietnam signed with the European Union. Click here to read the article. Posted April 11, 2017

Shades Asia Branches Out with Project in Cambodia. It's nice to hear about emerging companies in Southeast Asia such as Shades Asia, featured in an April 2 article in The Phuket News. Shades Asia, based in Phuket, Thailand, was contracted by the French International School "Lycee Francais Rene Descartes" in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to provide shade sails covering more than 1,200 square meters. Shades Sails has been in business for 12 years and won many awards in the IFAI International Achievement Awards competition, organized by the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI). Click here to read more about their Cambodia project. Posted April 4, 2017

US Department of Commerce Releases February Technical Textile Export Figures. The US export slump continues for technical textiles. For the 12-month period ending February 28, total exports in the Specialty and Industrial Fabrics group decreased 3.48%.  Mexico. the largest country for exports, had a slip of 2.96%. Of the top 5 countries, only China and the UK saw increases over the previous year for the same 12-month period. Click here to see the entire report. Posted April 4, 2017




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TenCate Grass Acquires Synthetic Grass Warehouse. TenCate Grass has announced it has acquired Synthetic Grass Warehouse. (SGW). SWW was established in 2004, and primarily markets synthetic turf products for landscaping across the southwestern United States. TenCate Grass is a producer of synthetic grass components and the design of synthetic grass systems for sport, recreation and landscape applications. TenCate Grass is a division of Koniklijke Ten Cate, headquartered in Amelo, The Netherlands. SGW is headquartered in Anaheim, Calif., USA. Click here to read the TenCate Grass press release. Posted April 4, 2017

Future of Shade 2017 Competition Opens. Sunbrella and Architizer are calling for submissions for the 5th annual Future of Shade competition. The competition calls on creative architects and designers from around the world to envision pioneering shade designs using Sunbrella fabrics to meet the needs of the 21st century. The competition offers 3 unique categories, each with a distinct challenge where shade plays a critical role in the solution. The categories are 1) Building Shade, 2) Humanitarian, and, 3) Well-Being. The winner in each category receives a $10,000 grand prize. Sunbrella fabrics are manufactured by Glen Raven, based in North Carolina, USA, with operations worldwide. Architizer is an American media company focused on organizing a database for architects on products and projects. Deadline for Future of Shade 2017 registration is April 30 and submissions are due by May 14, 2017. Click here for more information. Posted April 4, 2017

Crypton® Acquired by Private Equity Investment Company. Per a company press release today, the Crypton Companies (Crypton LLC and Nanotex LLC), providers of performance fabrics in the contract, home furnishings and apparel markets, has announced that Berkley Capital, LLC has acquired a majority stake. Berkley Capital will become majority owners of the new entity to be formed from the acquisition. The new company will continue to be headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., USA, and maintain its research and manufacturing plant in Kings Mountain, N.C., and continue its operations in Hong Kong. In 2014, Crypton acquired Nanotex® which manufactures nanotechnology solutions for textiles. Click here to read the company press release. Posted April 3, 2017

Coming Events

  • January 16-18:  NECPA 2020 Conference & Expo, Worcester, Mass., USA
  • January 21-24:  SHOT Show, Las Vegas, Nev., USA
  • January 22-24:  IFAI Tent Conference, River Ranch, Fla., USA
  • January 28-29:  Elementary Nonwovens Training, Cary, M.C., USA
  • January 29-31:  2020 Winter Outdoor Retailer & Snow Show, Denver, Colo., USA

Click here to view the complete technical textiles events calendar that includes show information links.

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Posted January 7, 2020

Will Things Get Done in Washington in 2020?

The historic political fight in Washington may actually benefit the US technical textiles industry in 2020.  


In more "normal" times, even with bipartisan support of trade deals and building legislation, it's a slow process to get something done in Washington.  In a funny way, under the current polar vortex called impeachment, things may actually get done faster.  President Donald Trump wants to show he is still able to carry out his campaign promises and impeachment is not hindering his ability to administer.  The Democrats, fearful of a bogged down impeachment process that could wear down their public support, are eager to show they can also get something done and avoid a blame they are only consumed with getting rid of the president.


Thus, you see both sides touting what's in the United States/Mexico/Canada Agreement (USMCA).  The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) is focused on the impact of what the agreement means in terms of fiber and yarn sourcing; however, I am more interested in the end product markets that benefit from the trade agreement.  In the USMCA, the amount of material made in North America that goes into a vehicle increases significantly.  The largest single end-market for technical textiles is the automotive industry.  The USMCA means more products like headliner material, airbags and seatbelts, acoustical and vibration dampening, carpeting, composites and industrial hoses will be needed.  USMCA is a terrific win for the many smaller technical textile parts makers in the US.


As for infrastructure, the current authorization, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015, expires at the end of 2020.  President Trump wants more than $1 trillion to help fix the country's roads and bridges. There is a bipartisan support for the new legislation because it's passage will benefit so many states.  The winners for us?  It would hands-down be the geosynthetics industry, as well as those who make construction-used products like tarps and protective covers, and personal protection gear.


So, expect to see some things getting accomplished in Washington in 2020.  It is an election year and never underestimate the self-preservation instincts of a politician.


Steve Warner


Posted January 7, 2020

December 3, 2019

2019 Brief Analysis of China's Industrial Textile Industry

Thanks to the BeaverLake6 Report's arrangements with China Textile magazine and the China Nonwoven & Industrial Textile Association (CNITA), we have received the report "A Brief Analysis of Economic Operation of the Industrial Textile Industry in the First Half of 2019" writtened by CNITA's market research department.  


In the first half of 2019, China's economy faced a complicated development environment.  Issues such as the downturn in automotive demand and the US/China trade dispute are having an impact.  Production is still growing but the markets are relatively flat.  Click here to read the entire report in the China section.  Posted 

November 24, 2019

2019 Eurasian Geosynthetics Symposium Held in China

Flora Zhao, China Textiles

The second edition of the Eurasian Geosynthetics Symposium (EAGS 2019) was held November 18-19, 2019 in Beijing, China.  Many of the leading experts in geosynthetics delivered presentations.  Ms. Flora Zhao, the director of the editorial department for China Textile magazine, has given us an extensive review of the symposium program.  Click here to go to our China section to read her report. 

IFAI Expo 2019 Analysis

The IFAI Expo 2019 was held last week in Orlando, Fla., USA.  The exhibition was a smaller event than in years past but it still remains a powerful showcase of industry products.  In the Special Report section, you will find analysis of the show, plus news that comes from the Industrial Fabrics Association International's Annual Meeting and the winners of the International Achievement Awards. Click here to read the articles.  Posted October 10, 2019

Final Report Issued on 2018 China Industrial Textiles Industry

In 2018, China's industrial textile industry maintained a relatively rapid growth. The year, though, also found more complex challenges for the industry, including the tariff issues with the US. Thanks to BeaverLake6 Reports' exclusive arrangement with China Textile magazine, we are presenting the English-translated version of the final 2018 report written by the China Nonwovens & Industrial Textile Association (CNITA).  The report included information on fiber and material production, plus selected large end-product markets. Click here to read the report. Posted September 3, 2019

Do Profit and Convenience Muck Up the Moral Concern in Tariff Testimony by US Domestic Textile Industry?

NCTO Members Testifying at US International Trade Commission.  Surprisingly, there appears to be a little worry the announced new US tariffs on China (Section 301) may be reaching too far with its scope. The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), which has been firmly behind most of the textile-tariffs against China over the last year, is expressing concern the new Tranche Four retaliatory tariffs may affect US imports on products needed by the US domestic textile industry. 


[Read the rest of my editorial that takes NCTO to task for its hypocritical "moral" argument supporting the proposed additional products but excluding its industry's suppliers by clicking here.]


Steve Warner


Posted June 17, 2019

China's Industrial Textile Market Demands Still Remains Vigorous

Despite the increasingly complex industry demands, the Chinese technical textiles market was relatively stable. Nonwovens output increased over last year. Key specific markets such as tire cord also increased in 2018 over 2017. Overall operating income for industrial textiles used in China reached $34 billion. Click here to read the complete summary provided to BeaverLake6 Report by China Textile magazine through our exclusive relationship. Posted February 15, 2019

Does IDEA Show Need to be in Miami Beach?

INDA, the Association of the Nonwovens Fabrics Industry, has issued its final report on IDEA19.  The event held March 25-27, 2019 in Miami Beach, Fla., USA, attracted 6,500+ participants and 509 exhibiting companies from 75 countries.  Show floor space was a record 168,600 square feet, a 9% increase over the previous show. 


Surprisingly, the people and exhibitor participation figures are not record numbers. The IDEA16 show in Boston, Mass., USA, attracted 7000+ and 555 exhibitors. 


So, why was participation down this year from IDEA16?  I think an explanation for the decline is the South Florida location of IDEA19.  Click here to read more.

President Li Lingshen, President, China Nonwovens & Industrial Texiles Association

President Li Lingshen

BeaverLake6 Report is pleased to provide an exclusive interview with Li Lingshen, Ph.D., Vice President of the China National Textile and Apparel Council, and President of the China Nonwovens & Industrial Textiles Association, the overseeing organization for the technical textiles industry in China. Click here to read the interview.

NCTO Neglects Automotive Textiles as Organizations Testify on Proposed USMCA Impact

Positive Reviews but Still Uncertainty. On November 16, 2018, two of the US textile industry associations testified before the US International Trade Commission (ITC) in a special hearing to determine the economic impact of the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).  The leaders of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) provided statements on how they feel the new agreement will affect their member companies. 


The two organizations clearly have different biases; however, in looking over the AAFA and NCTO statements, it appears to me that while the organizations both clearly said they were not offering an endorsement yet of the agreement, they gave general overall approval for USMCA, acknowledging the 1992 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) needed updating. Both organizations are taking a wait-and-see attitude to more fully look at how the agreement impacts the complex supply chain of textiles and apparel. Click here to read more.

NAFTA Replacement Agreement Negotiated. On October 1, President Donald Trump announced the US, Mexico and Canada had reached an agreement whichreplaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that went into effect in 1994. The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) contains provisions and language that has an impact on the technical textiles industry; the most important are 1) a special section covering textiles and apparel and 2) rules of origin that will require 75% of automotive content (under NAFTA 62.5%) be made in North America. Mexico and Canada are the two largest importers of US made technical textiles and the automotive industry is the largest intended end market of these technical textiles. Click here to go to the United States Trade Representative's website and read the "Textiles and Apparel Goods" chapter. Posted October 3, 2018

State of the Chinese Technical Textiles Markets in 2017

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. 

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