BeaverLake6 Report
BeaverLake6 Report

Archived Industry News

July 1 - September 30, 2016

US Military Shelter Maker Closing Plant. In a memo given employees today, HDT Global announced that the US military defense shelter manufacturer is closing its facility in Buena Vista, Va., and moving the operations to Huntsville, Ala. The plant makes military tents for emergency operation centers and employs about 80 people. The Virginia plant was once called Base-X before it was sold to Hunter Defense Technologies in 2005 (now HDT Global). The company memo blamed the closure on significant defense spending reduction and a decline in sales. The memo said orders for shelters made at the Buena Vista plant have dropped 50% since 2015. The company also announced it plans to consolidate operations in the Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania Virginia area to a new built-for-purpose facility. Click here to read an article about the Buena Vista closing on the Roanoke Times website. Posted September 26, 2016

Takata Subsidiary Reported to Be Sold This Week. According to the Crain's Detroit Business website, the airbag and seatbelt manufacturer Takata Corporation is in the process of selling its Irvin Automotive subsidiary to Piston Group, a supplier of interior automotive parts. Irvin, based in Pontiac, Mich., USA, is a supplier of headrests, seats, visors and other trim for the automotive and mass transportation industries. Irvin employs about 7,100 people and has annual sales of about $500 million. Takata acquired Irvin in 1989. The company traces its roots back to Leslie Irvin, a supplier and innovator of parachutes. Clck here to read the Crain article. Posted September 25, 2016

Solar Energy Plans for Textile Giant. According to the website Upstate Business Journal today, "Glen Raven Inc. plans to build a $2 million solar farm through the Duke Energy Solar Rebate Program at its Anderson-based Sunbrella manufacturing center [Anderson, S.C., USA]. The 1000-kW project will become the largest solar energy installation in the Upstate owned by a privately held company. The solar farm will be online in January 2017." Glen Raven is a global manufacturer of technical textiles. Click here to read another article that appear on the website September 9. Posted September 25, 2016

New Global Automotive Textiles Market Report Shows Industry in State of Flux. Higher demand for increased comfort and improved safety is driving the market for increased textile materials in cars according to the just-release market report Automotive Textiles: An Industry in Flux -- From Motor City to Silicon Valley. The 330-page report is authored by Adrian Wilson and published by Textile Media Services. Key take-aways from the prospectus are 1) textile usage has increased from an average 20kg in 2000 to 28kg in 2016 for a mid-size car and 2) an the unprecedented industry consolidation is underway even as the market growth explodes. Click here to read more on the Innovation in Textiles website. More than 70 companies are profiled. Posted September 25, 2016

Cycling Airbag Helmet Manufacturer Claims Hundreds of Lives Saved. It doesn't look fashionable when its inflated but the airbag cycling helmet, which is stored uninflated wrapped around the neck, seems to be catching on in Europe. The Swedish company Hövding is the manufacturer and Fredrik Carling, the company's CEO, claims more than 30,000 cyclists are now wearing the inflatable helmet, saving hundreds of lives in bike accidents. The website Sputnik News has a nice article on the company, including a number of great videos showing how the helmet in action. Click herePosted September 26, 2016

US Commerce Department Names New Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles. The US Department of Commerce has announced Felicia Pullam has joined the Industry & Analysis section of the International Trade Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials. Her responsbilities include overseeing programs and strategies to improve domestic and international competitiveness of US textiles. Prior to this position, Deputy Assistant Secretary Pullam was the Director of Outreach for SelectUSA where she managed outreach efforts, including communications, legislative and intergovernmental affairs. She replaces Joshua TeitelbaumPosted September 24, 2016

Arkansas Coated Fabric Plant to Close, 300 Jobs Lost. American Fuel Cell and Coated Fabrics Co., (Amfuel) will close its plant in Magnolia, Ark., USA, ending the employment of 300 workers. [We first reported about the possible closure on July 26, 2015.] The company began in 1917 in California as Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. It moved to Magnolia at the end of World War II, changing its name to American Fuel Cell in 1983. In 1995 it was sold to Zodiac Aerospace and sold again in 2015 to Crosslake Investment Group. Amfuel makes coated fabrics and fuel cells for the aerospace industry. The closure reason appears to be due to the aging infrastructure needs of the plant and an on-going labor dispute. Amfuel recently opened a new plant in Wichita Falls, Texas, USA. Click here to read the article on the Democrat-Gazette website. Posted September 24, 2016

Why Local Governments Should Consider Fabric Structures for Emergency Situations. There is a good article by Joe DiCersare on the Seaman Corporation's Shelter-Rite Architectural Fabrics website on why governments should consider fabric structures as emergency shelters, taking into account how quickly and effectively the structures can be put in place to protect the public in disaster situations such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Click here to read Mr. DiCersare's article. Posted September 19, 2016

UK Technical Textiles Company Set to Expand. Yarn manufacturer TBA Textiles, with the help of a development grant, will be investing about $1 million in new technology and equipment. The company, located in Rochdale (Greater Manchester area) in the UK, is more than 140 years old. It supplies companies located in more than 100 countries with high performance yarns and fabrics. Approximately $195,000 of the funds will be supplied through a grant by the N Brown Textiles Growth Programme. Click here to read an article about the grant and TBA Textiles posted on the Manchester Evening News website. Posted September 19, 2016

NanoMech Wins Contract from U.S. Army To Develop Next- Generation Combat Uniforms. A $235,000 contract from the US Army (Project Manager Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment) has been awarded to NanoMech, Inc., to develop and evaluate advanced multi-functional textiles using NanoMech's proprietary and technology platform, nGuard®. If successful, the new technology could be used for the next generation Army combat uniform and other Army individual equipment and clothing items. nGuard is a coating finish and additive for a wide variety of textile fabrics, including protection against vector-borne diseases such as malaria and zika. It can also offer material resistance for flash fire and thermal threats. NanoMech is headquartered in Springdale, Ark., USA. Click here to read the company's press release on the contract being awarded. Posted September 19, 2016

Military Branches Share Research and Acquisition Information. There is a good informative article posted on the website Seapower on the collaborative acquisition efforts of the US Marine Corps and US Army. Both the Marine Corps Systems Command and the Army's Program Executive Office-Soldier are collaborating to develop, test and deliver ever-better capabilities for Marines and Soldiers. Two of the initiatives are the Cross-Service Warfighter Equipment Board and Improved Personal Protective Equipment System Integrated Product Team. One of the projects the team is working on regards cold weather clothing and equipment, including sleeping gear. Click here to read more. Posted September 19, 2016

Vietnam Delays Vote on TPP Agreement. According to the Bangkok Post, Vietnam's next National Assembly gathering in October will not include a vote on the ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement because of the uncertainty of the US passing the trade deal. Vietnam is seen as the largest beneficiary of TPP and was expected to be the first to ratify the agreement. Its ratification was seen as a formality. The country has already seen a tremendous spur of foreign investment in its domestic textile industry. Click here to read the article. Posted September 19, 2016

Smart Materials Reshaping How We Should Look at Things. There is an inspiring article found on the website about making inactive material -- including technical textiles -- into sentient materials capable of responding to its environment, sending data and fixing themselves. The crux of the article is that current technology is exploring embedding sensors into material to relay information; however, we should look beyond this technology to explore making the material itself the sensor. Examples given include an airplane skin that self-heals to removed dents and dings, thereby improving aerodynamics. Borstena, a Portuguese automotive textile supplier, is developing prototypes of seats and seatbelts that use smart textiles with built-in sensors to detect a driver's heart and breathing rates so it can alert drivers to tell-tale signs of drowsiness. Worth the read. Click here to view. Posted September 19, 2016

Smart Parachute Program Being Investigated to Track Inventory. The US Army has submitted a Request for Proposal for a program called the Automated Parachute Management System IT Platform that could help keep better track of cargo and personnel parachutes. The program would involve using radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags sewn into parachutes and would work with different types of devices including mobile smart phones. The tagged parachutes would enable the Army to keep better track of parachute inventory, the individual parachute's history and its maintenance. Click here to read an article posted on the website  about the program. Posted September 19, 2016

New Russian Body Armor 30% Lighter. An article posted on the Russian website Sputnik International says the Russian Defense Ministry and the Russian State Corporation Rostec are developing brand new "bulletproof" vests made of an ultra-lightweight aramid woven material as part of its new Ratnik-3 personal combat uniform kit. As the name implies, this is 3rd-generation soldier equipment. It is estimated the vest, which includes additional protection for the groin, forearm and neck, will weigh about 15 kilograms, about 30% less than the previous Ratnik version. About 80,000 vests of the Ratnik-2 version were distributed in 2015. Click here to read the article. Posted September 16, 2016

Architectural Fabrics Industry Veteran Joins Value Vinyls. Value Vinyls, Inc., of Grand Prairie, Texas, USA, has appointed Marc Shellshear as Director of Sales -- Structure Fabrics. Mr. Shellshear, formerly the Director of Commercial Sales at Gale Pacific USA, is well-known throughout the architectural fabrics industry. Value Vinyls is a distributor of coated vinyl and other materials used in many end-markets in the technical textiles industry. Posted September 9, 2016

Latest US Export Figures Continue to Show Decline. The US Department of Commerce has released July export numbers and the results show a continued decline in exports in the Specialty and Industrial Fabrics group. The World consolidated number shows a 3.85% decline in comparing year-ending July 2015 and 2016. The UK and Mexico showed slight increases while Canada, China and Hong Kong showed declines in US exports. Click here to see the entire report. Posted September 9, 2016




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World 4,220,177 4,057,888 -3.85


Geosynthetics: Does It Hurt to Compare to "Traditional" Products?'s editor Chris Kelsey has an interesting posting on the website, trying to figure out whether comparing geosynthetics to "traditional" civil engineering products (such as clay, cement, rocks and asphalt) may actually hinder its market penetration with agencies like state transportation agencies who don't want to take risks with their product selection. Mr. Kelsey doesn't conclude it hinders when producers use this "vs. traditional" terminology but he raises a valid question that can be applied in many market sectors including architectural fabrics and protective clothing: Should we be seeking to isolate new materials as completely different from products already in use or is it more practical to gain market acceptance by promoting the materials as if it's already in the pool of established choices...just better than the rest of the choices? Click here to read Mr. Kelsey's posting. Posted September 9, 2016

US Defense Logistics Agency Awards Contract for Anti-Gravity Suits. Vinyl Technology Inc., Monrovia, Calif., USA, has been awarded a maximum $10,160,073 modification exercising the second one-year option period of a one-year base contract with three one-year option periods for advanced technology anti-gravity suits. Location of performance is California, with a Sept. 9, 2017, performance completion date. Using military service is Air Force. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2016 through fiscal 2017 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the US Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support. Posted September 7, 2016

Global Airbag Market Estimated to be 380 Million Units. In a further report on the Kolon Group acquiring an air bag manufacturing facility in Vietnam [see our September 1 posting], the website BusinessKorea has included interesting statistics on Kolon's air bag manufacturing. It's new Vietnam facility produces 7 million air bag cushions a year; it's Mexican facility produces 3 million units a year; and, its Chinese factory in Nanjing will be making 600,000 air bags a year when is fully operating next year. Kolon also has another facility in China but no figures were given. The article says the global market size for air bags was estimated to be 380 million units in 2015. Click here to read the article. Posted September 7, 2016

History of the Backpack. There is a neat article on the Time magazine website titled "A Brief History of the Modern Backpack." A key take-away from the article was the contribution to the backpack designs from Gerry Cunningham, owner of Gerry Outdoors. Mr. Cunningham invented the first backpack with zippers in 1938 and in 1967 his company came out with the first nylon teardrop-shaped backpack which allowed controlled weight distribution. Click here to read the article. Posted September 7, 2016

Vanishing Parachutes Being Developed for Military Stealth Missions. Under a $3 million grant from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, Penn., USA, is designing special polymers for use to make stealth single-use parachutes which will disintegrate on demand in response to an electrical trigger. Click here to read more about this work. Posted September 1, 2016

New Co-President and CFO at US Event Management Company. Patrick Nohilly has been selected as the new Co-President of Messe Frankfurt Inc., the US subsidiary of the Messe Frankfurt Group. Mr. Nohilly relaces Kathryn Fitts, who left the company earlier in the year. He will oversee the US company's business together with Dennis Smith, who will be continuing as Co-President and CEO. Mr. Nohilly's responsibilities will be Finance & Administration. Messe Frankfurt Inc. is the organizer of the annual Techtextil North America show and the biennial Texprocess show. Posted September 1, 2016

Sewers are in Demand for US Outdoor Gear Manufacturers. There's an interesting article in the August 11 online edition of Outside magazine on the shortage of skilled domestic sewers in the US to make outdoor equipment such as ultralight tens, bags and stuff sacks. One company has even started an informal training school. Our thanks to industry veteran Fred Magenheimer for alerting us to the article. [The Industrial Fabrics Association International has recently formed a new division called Maker which focuses on developing training curricula for sewing machine operators.]  Posted September 1, 2016

Korean Company Investing in Vietnam. The Kolon Group, the Korean-based manufacturer of technical textiles, is continuing to announce new investments in Vietnam. Earlier this year, the company was licensed to start up a $14.1 million airbag manufacturing facility in the southern province of Bin Duong. According to an article in the Vietnam Breaking News website, Kolon is now negotiating to build a high tech materials manufacturing plant also in Bin Duong. The company has filed other proposals to build plants in Vietnam to make chemical fibers and industrial fabrics for automotive tires. Click here to read the article. Posted September 1, 2016

Geosynthetics Website Adds Spanish Version. The geosynthetics news website Geosynthetica has launched Geosynthetiica Latin America. The new portal delivers Spanish-language articles for Mexico and South and Central America-based readers. Click here to visit the new website. Posted September 1, 2016

Duro Textiles Closing. Duro Textiles LLC of Fall River, Mass., USA, is in the process of closing its manufacturing facilities and laying off its 131 person work force. The company has been in operation almost 70 years and its major customer has been the US military. Like many military contractors, Duro Textiles has suffered through the reduced military budgets these past few years. The company's closing is also a blow to the commercial tactical industry because it is a major supplier of printed specialty camouflage patterns. It is also a setback for the efforts of the US Army's attempts to source royalty-free Operational Camouflage Patterns (OCP) fabrics. Click here to read an article posted by The Herald News (Fall River) newspaper. Posted August 31, 2016

US Marines and Army Testing New Jungle Uniforms. There is an interesting article posted on the Marine Corps Times website on the testing being done by the US Marine Corps and the US Army in Hawaii and in Japan on different types of jugle gear. The Marine Corps is looking for a lighter tropical uniform fabric that improves moisture management and reduces dry time without sacrificing durability and protection. Some of the materials being tested have insect-repelling permethrin treatments. Click here to read the article. Posted August 31, 2016

Auburn Manufacturing Wins Again with US Ruling on Unfair Chinese Dumping of High-Performance Fabric. The US Department of Commerce (DOC) has determined that two Chinese manufacturers have been selling amorphous silica fabric (ASF) in the United States at unfairly low prices. Auburn Manufacturing Inc. (AMI), of Mechanic Falls, Maine, USA, a manufacturer of the product, had brought the complaint to DOC. ASF is used to insulate and resist extreme heat in industrial applications. The DOC ruling is a further action of an action the DOC originally made on June 28, 2016. [See the BL6 posting on July 10, 2016.] This new ruling now calculates a preliminary antidumping margin of 162.47% for all companies, and will instruct US Customs and Board Protection to collect cash deposits on all imports  of Chinese ASF in an amount equal to 162.47% of the import's declared value, going back to products imported in the beginning of June 2016 when the DOC issued its preliminary determination. Click here to read the press release issued by AMI. Posted August 31, 2016

Ten Cate Appoints New CEO. During the Extraordinary General Meeting of Shareholders of Royal Ten Cate on August 25, 2016, J.H.L. (Jan) Albers was appointed member and chairman of the Executive Board, with the title of Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Ten Cate, based in The Netherlands, is a manufacturer of materials used in protective clothing, composites and geosynthetics. Click here to read the company's press release on the appointment of Mr. Albers. Posted August 31, 2016

Picanol Group Realizes the Strongest Half Year in its History. It's good news for the textile machinery maker Picanol Group. According to a company press release just release, Picanol had a consolidated turnover of 329.7 million in the first half of 2016, an increase of 27% compared to 259.8 million in the first half of 2015. Picanol closed the first half of 2016 with a net profit of €60.4 million, compared to €42.0 million in the first half of 2015. Based on the current order book, the group expects to achieve a 2016 turnover increase of approximately 10% compared to 2013, which is currently the best year in the history of the company. Click here to read the entire Picanol press release. Posted August 27, 2016

Airship Has Hard Landing on Test Flight. On its second test flight, the Airlander 10, the world's largest aircraft (302 feet), today experienced a crash-landing which damaged its cockpit. It appears to be a slow-motion craft as it was settling down at its base in Cardington, Bedfordshire, in England. The Airlander's outer hull that holds the helium is made of laminated woven Vectran, a fiber made by Kuraray Co. from liquid crystal polymers. It is the same fiber used in the Bigelow inflatable capsule currently being tested at the International Space Station. The airship is manufactured by Hybrid Air Vehicles, a UK-based company founded in 2007. Click here for more information about the crash. Posted August 24, 2016

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement Examined. There is a very good article published by the research arm of the Hong Kong Trade Development Corporation on the implications of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that is currently being negotiated. Click here to review a synopsis of the report that's published on the Textile-Future website. Posted August 24, 2016 

Competition Announced for Designing the Next Chemical Biological Defense Suit. The US military wants to pay you up to $150,000 to help redesign the suit used to protect personnel against chemical and biological attacks. The competition is being hosted by the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense and will kick off with a special introduction August 25, 2016 at the Museum of Science in Boston, Mass., USA. Click here to find out more about the program. Posted August 19, 2016

Adidas Announces Robot-Filled "SPEEDFACTORY" in US. Adidas has announced it will bring its highly-automated, custom-oriented adidas SPEEDFACTORY concept from Germany to the United States. It will be opening a factory in the Atlanta area in 2017. The move is part of adidas' vision to decentralize its manufacturing process, allowing speed to the consumer, eliminating long shipping distances. The focus of the new 74,000 square foot Atlanta factory will be running footwear. Click here to read the company press release. Posted August 18, 2016

Indian Technical Textile Producer Announces 43.7% Growth in FY16. Garware-Wall Ropes Ltd., a manufacturer of technical textiles for the Indian and global markets, announced its financial results for the 4th quarter and financial year ended March 31, 2016. For the year, net sales improved by 5.5%, profit before tax grew by 43.8%, and net profit after tax grew by 43.7%. Garware-Wall Ropes serves the fisheries, aquaculture, shipping, sports, agriculture, coated fabrics and geosynthetics markets. Click here to read the company press release. Posted August 18, 2016

South Korea Technical Fabrics Producer Sees 12.2% Operating Profit Jump. According to a report published on the Business Korea website, Kolon Industries, the chemical and textile unit of Kolon Group, saw its operating profit jump more than 10% in the first half of this year compared to a year earlier. Kolon announced August 10 that it had posted a $2.09 billion in consolidated sales and $149.93 million in operating profits for the first half of the year. The two major markets responsible for the increase were the apparel and automotive industries. Kolon has targeted the US for sales in the tire and airbag markets. Click here to read the article. Posted August 18, 2016

Industry Associations Block FTZ Request from US Domestic Manufacturer. On August 5 the US Foreign-Trade Zones Board approved FTZ Subzone status for Flemish Master Weavers in Sanford, Maine on July 28; however, it then denied on August 5 the company's request for Proposed Production Activity that was sought to obtain duty-free status for imported polyester and polypropylene yarns used in producing area rugs intended for both the domestic and foreign markets. Flemish Master Weavers claimed it could not source within the US the needed yarns at a competitive price. The application request was opposed by National Spinning Company, a North Carolina supplier of specialty and commodity yarns, and a coalition of three textile trade associations -- National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), American Fiber Manufacturers Association (AFMA), and the United States Industrial Fabrics Institute (a division of the Industrial Fabrics Association International). Click here to view the textile associations' joint opposition letter. Posted August 15, 2016

Smart Materials Consultant Interviewed on State of the Industry. There is an interesting interview found on the R&D website with Dr. Kasha Ghaffarzadeh, Ph.D. on the state of the smart textiles industry. Dr. Ghaffarzadeh is the research director at IDTechEx, a UK-based consulting firm and show organizer which covers emerging technologies like e-textiles and conductive inks. Key take-aways from the interview: He is the co-author of a report entitled E-Textiles 2016-2026: Technologies, Markets, Players that was published in June 2016; the majority of recent commercial focus has been on sports and fitness sectors but the potential is in home textiles and medical; and, a conference is being organized by his firm covering e-textiles in November in Santa Clara, Calif., USA, called Wearables USA. Click here for the interview. Posted August 15, 2016

Pakistan Anticipates Another 15,000 Tents for Future Disaster Needs.  According to the Pakistani website Business Recorder the Punjab Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has requested as many as 15,000 tents from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to supplement the almost 37,000 it has in reserve, plus another 10,000 it has already ordered. In total, the Punjab province government would have about 62,000 tents ready to be distributed during a natural disaster like floods and earthquakes. Click here to read the article. Posted August 15, 2016

Airbag Vests Being Used By Olympic Equestrians. Equestrian riding is a dangerous sport. A dozen riders were killed between 2007 and 2008, mostly when the horse crashed back onto the rider during a fall. The website Wired has an interesting story posted today on the growing use of inflatable vests by equestrian riders in the Olympics. The air jackets made by manufacturer Point Two have one air pocket that covers from the neck to the tailbone, and attaches directly by a lanyard attached to the saddle to a CO2 canister. The jack inflates in under 60 milliseconds. Click here to read the article. Posted August 13, 2016

Pink is the New Orange in Hunting Clothes. If you are a hunter in the State of New York, you now have a choice of wearing either the traditional blaze orange or now fluorescent pink. The additional pink color was added July 21 to the state law requiring junior hunters (ages 14-15) to wear apparel with at least 250 square inches of solid or patterned orange visible in all directions. Pink has been found to be just as visibly effective as the traditional blaze orange. The move is made to attract more women and girls to the sport. Besides New York, the states of Wisconsin and Colorado allow pink as a color for hunting apparel. Click here to read an article about the new law posted on the New York Times website. Posted August 12, 2016

New Self-Healing Fabric Coating Technology Derived from Squid Enzymes. A team of researchers from Drexel University (Philadelphia, Penn., USA) and Penn State University (University Park, Penn., USA) have developed a coating for both nonwovens and woven materials that can both neutralize toxins and then heal tears and holes during the laundry cleaning process. The coating, less than a micron thick, is derived from proteins like those found in the rings of squid teeth. This process can hold great opportunities in the chemical protective clothing market. Click here to read the abstract of the paper published in the ACS Applied Materials & InterfacesPosted August 10, 2016

Continued Slowing Demand for US Exports. The decrease in US Specialty and Industrial Fabrics continued in June according to the new US Department of Commerce figures release August 5. Overall decline in June was 3.2% for years ending June 2015 and 2016. In the top 5 countries, Mexico and United Kingdom show modest growth again but less than the previous month. Canada, China and Hong Kong all show decreases. The 6th highest country receiving US exports is Japan and it was off 18% from the previous year. Click here to see the entire report. Posted August 8, 2016




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eCarbon Nanotubes Being Used to Create Barriers in Chemical Protective Suits. Popular Mechanics, one of our favorite new idea publications, has a neat story posted August 4 on Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's work in "using carbon nanotubes to create a barrier that would be impentrable to chemical and biological agents, but still water-permeable." This second skin results is a more comfortable chemical protective suit for soldiers. Click here to read the article. Posted August 8, 2016

Runaway Awning Causes 20 Acre Grass Fire. Well, here's something you don't read about every day. An RV awning near Carbondale, Co., USA, apparently blew off its trailer and got wrapped around some power lines. The metal frame still attached to the power-line wrapped awning then caused an electrical arc to the ground and started a 20-acre brush fire. Click here to read the article. Posted August 3, 2016

Sioen Industries Acquires Sailcloth Manufacturer. Netherlands-based Sioen Industries BV announced on July 28 it had acquired 100% of the shares of Dimension-Polyant, a major sailcloth manufacturer with facilities in Kempen, Germany, and Putnam, Conn., USA. Dimension-Polyant was established in 1966 and currently claims it has a global sailcloth market share of more than 40%. It is a vertically integrated manufacturer, doing the weaving, finishing and laminating of its materials. Click here to read the company press release. Posted August 3, 2016

New Specification Manager at Serge Ferrari North America. Serge Ferrari North America has announced Angie Barraza has been added to the sales team as Specification Manager, working in the yachting and solar markets in the Southeast United States region. Ms. Barraza will be responsible for building product awareness with specifiers, and sales and customer service support to shade and boat manufacturers located in the region. Serge Ferrari is a manufactuer of flexible composite membranes used for solar protection, marine, architectural, building fascade, acoustics and modular structure. Posted August 3, 2016

Parachute Maker Expanding, Creating 100 New Jobs. Tennessee (USA) Governor Bill Haslam announced yesterday Precision Military Aerodynamics is investing $1.8 million in its Dunlap, Tenn., manufacturing facility. In addition, the Appalachian Regional Commission awarded a $200,350 grant to construct an access road and a $500,000 Local Park and Recreational Grant to upgrade the water pumping station in the Dunlap Industrial Parks for the Precision Military Aerodynamic facility. Click here to read more about the announcement. Posted July 30, 2016

Czech Military Buys Ballistic Vests for Foreign Missions. The Czech website Prague Daily Monitor is reporting the Czech Defence Ministry will buy 500 sets of ballistic vests for soldiers serving in Afghanistan as the life-span of the ones currently being worn will expired later this year. The contract is for 500 sets of SPCS Magnum TAC-1 ballistic vests. The Defence Ministry had previously ordered 2,291 vests from the Czech arms maker Ceska Zbrojovka that were to be delivered last year but have not yet received them. The military is reportedly preparing another tender for the delivery of 5,500 vests, to be delivered by November 30, 2020 Click here to read the article. Posted July 28, 2016

Circus Tent Company Indicted for Failure to Properly Install Tent.. The Union Leader website has posted an article on a grand jury indictment in Lancaster, Penn., USA, of Walker International Events of Sarasota, Fla., USA, for allegedly failing to properly install a circus tent that collapsed August 3, 2015 (see our August 4, 2015 post in the Archives section), As a result of the alleged poor installation, the tent collapsed during high winds, killing two people. The company was charged with failing to drive the tent stakes three feet deep and for failing to provide at least 10 feet between the tent and the tractor trailer to which the tent was partially secured. [The IFAI Tent Rental Division has published an installation guide on properly staking a tent structure.] Click here to read the article. Posted July 24, 2016

Korean Companies Post Better Earnings in 2nd Quarter. Both Korean-headquartered textile giants Hyosong Corp. and Kolon Industries Inc. are reporting better earnings for the second quarter. Hyosong is expected to earn $229.7 million, up 2.5% from a year ago. Long-time rival Kolon Industries is expected to post a $78 million operating profit, up 16.3%. Increased sales are due to cutting-edge technology, Hyosong in manufacturing carbon fibers and Kolon in aramid fibers.Click here to read the article posted on the Pulse website. Posted July 24, 2016

Pros & Cons of Covert vs. Overt Body Armor.  There is a good article found on the Ammoland website that explains the different characteristics and applications for selecting either covert or overt body armor. Covert, as the name implies, is important for individuals when they wat to be protected but do not want to be seen as wearing body armor. It tends to be lighter and more flexible. Overt armor is heavier and bulkier in appearance. It is designed for higher protection levels. Click here to read the article. Posted July 20, 2016

Bonar & Low to Invest in Expanding Slovak Geosynthetics Plant. According to the Plastics & Rubber News website, performance materials company Low & Bonar is set to expand production capacity at its geosynthetic products plant near Nitra, Slovakia. Bonar is planning to invest about $5.4 million to construct a new 8,000 square meters product hall at the site acquired when it bought the Slovak geosynthetics company in 2013. Click here to read the Plastics & Rubber News website article. Posted July 20, 2016

Gelvenor Textiles Sold to South African Investor. South African private equity firm Jacobs Capital has acquired Gelvenor Textiles, a manufacturer of industrial, technical apparel, outdoor lifestyle, protective and aeronautical fabrics from Courthiel Holdings. Gelvenor was established in 1965 as a weaver, dyer and finisher of synthetic and man-made continuous filament yarn fabrics. It now produces aeronautical fabrics, ballistics textiles, fire resistant fabrics, and many other specialized products used in markets such as military, parachute and protective clothing. According to its press release, Gelvenor has the capacity to produce 18 million square meters of fabrics per year of which 25% is contract fabrics, 30% industrial fabrics, 25% specialty high tech fabrics, 15% apparel fabrics and 5% commodity fabrics. Gelvenor exports about 30% of its fabrics. Click here to read the company announcement. Posted July 20, 2016

Researchers Invent "Smart" Thread to Monitor Wounds. There is an interesting short piece found on the Nigerian Naija247 News website on the promise of the "smart sutures" invented by a team of researchers led by engineers from Tufts University (Boston, Mass., USA). The researchers embedded electronics, microfluidics, and nano-scale sensors to create high-tech diagnostic sutures. The threads can collect data such as tissue temperature, pH and glucose levels, and stress and strain, and even sense if an infection is coming on. These super stiches can then wirelessly send the data to a smartphone or computer. Click here to read the article. Posted July 20, 2016

NASA Space Vehicle Parachute Testing Contract Awarded. Jacobs Engineering Group announced on July 12 it was awarded a contract by the NASA Johnson Space Center under the JSC Engineering and Technical Services (JETS) contract to perform manned flight qualification testing on the parachute system for the Orion space capsule. In addition to testing, Jacob's role also includes the production, delivery and installation of the flight parachutes for the first Orion Exploration Mission (EM-1), a mission to circumnavigate the moon and return to Earth. The contract is valued at $40.3 million and is a continuation of the ongoing parachute development Jacobs has been perforrming for the Orion Program since 2006.  Since 2007, Jacobs has completed 38 full-scale parachute system tests for NASA. Jacobs is headquartered in Pasadena, Calif., USA. Click here to read the press release issued by Jacobs. Posted July 17, 2016

US Sun-Protection Apparel Company Acquired. Coolibar, Inc., a fabricator of sun-protective clothing, has been acquired by Olivarius Hospitality California. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., USA, Coolibar was founded in 2001 and makes fashionable apparel that is focused on providing UPF 50+ protection from ultraviolet rays. It was the first company to earn The Skin Cancer Foundation's Seal of Recommendation. Olivarius Hospitality California is a privately held company based in Santa Barbara, Calif., USA. Click here to read the Coolibar press release. Posted July 17, 2016

3-D Textiles Reviewed in Article. There is an excellent overview article on 3-D textiles by industry specialist Jim Kaufmann in the July/August issue of Textile World magazine. It covers the types of woven, knits and nonwovens, the list of markets, and the applications. The principal driver in many cases for 3-D textiles is weight savings in markets such aerospace, military and automotive industries. New markets are emerging, too. Click here to go to the Textile World website to read the article. Posted July 17, 2016

Japanese Company to Make Air Bag Fabrics in Mexico. Perhaps seeing an opportunity created in the $29 billion air bag market by the Takata recall debacle, Toray Industries plans to construct a Mexican factory to make airbag fabrics. It will be their first production facility related to fabrics for air bags. Cost is expected at $100 million. Click here to read an article posted on the Nikkei Asian Review website. Posted July 16, 2016

Kraig Biocraft Announces Contract with US Army to Deliver Dragon Silk. In a press release issued today, Kraig Biocraft Laboratories announced that it has received a contract valued at up to $1 million for the develpment of high performance fibers for protective apparel. The company will deliver ballistic shoot packs constructed from its proprietary Dragon Silk™ for performance testing.  Kraig Biocraft is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., USA. Click here to read the press release. Posted July 12, 2016

E-Textiles System Fabric Developed for Military Applications. There is a good article posted on the Daily Mail website that talks about the BAE Systems Broadsword Spine. The product is an e-textile conductive base fabric added to materials used to make products such as vests and backpacks, eliminating the need for heavy batterres to power different electronic devices the soldier carries. Broadsword Spine is a cooperative venture between BAE Systems and Integrated Technology Limited, both headquartered in the United Kingdom. The products, originally developed for the military, are now also being marketed to fire and rescue services. Click here to read the article posted on the Daily Mail website. Posted July 11, 2016

Reinventing Camouflage. There is an interesting article posted on the Outdoor website entitled "Meet the Man Who's Reinventing Camouflage" that describes how animals see colors differently than humans and the effort to mimic this difference into more effective camouflage patterns for outdoor hunting gear. The article tells about how avid hunter Jason Hairston helped found outdoor hunting gear maker Sitka and then partnered with fabric producer W.L. Gore to make a new line of camouflage hunting apparel and accessories using his patterns. Hairston left Sitka after Gore acquired it and started a new company called KIUI, a direct-to-consumer outdoor hunting supply company using his distinctive, high-contrast pattern. Click here to read the article. Posted July 11, 2016

US Company Welcomes Early Ruling on Chinese Import Subsidy Findings. On June 28, the US Department of Commerce (DOC) issued a preliminary determination that Chinese manufacturers have been illegally subsidizing certain amorphous silica fiber (ASF) used to insulate and resist extreme heat in industrial applications. The subsidization of these imports allows Chinese producers to sell ASF at artificially low prices in the US market, unfairly undercutting US-made products. The DOC has imposed provisional duties ranging from 4.3% to 104.1%, depending on the exporter. Kathie Leonard, President/CEO of Auburn Manufacturing Inc. (AMI), of Mechanic Falls, Maine, USA. said "Although these initial countervailing duty (CVD) margins show that Chinese exporters are receiving subsidies, we believe the final determination will yield even higher subsidy rates." AMI is the largest American producer of industrial grade ASF and is the principal supplier of the product to the US Navy and to US defense contractors.  AMI also believes the Chinese-made ASF is being sold to some US defense contractors for use in Navy ship construction which is a violation of the US Berry Amendment and Buy American requirements. Click here to read the AMI press release on the DOC announcement. Posted July 10, 2016

Slowing Demand for US Exports? US Industrial Fabrics Export Figures for May Released. In what may be a sign of a slowing global demand for the US, industrial fabric exports are showing a decline from last year's 12-month ending May 31. The US Department of Commerce has just released the May export numbers for the Specialty and Industrial Fabrics 206 Group. The numbers in the table below represent 12-month totals for the top five countries with year ending May 2015 and 2016, plus a World total.  Again, in a pattern we have seen for several months amongst the top 5, exports to Mexico and the United Kingdom show increases while Canada, China and Hong Kong continue to show declines from 2015. (Data figures in thousands.) Troubling, though, is that the increases in Mexico and the UK are less than last year at the same time while the declines in China, Hong Kong and Canada are larger than the previous year for the same period. Click here to see the entire report. Posted July 8,2016




Year Ending


Year Ending



% Change













Hong Kong




United Kingdom




World 4,197,803 4,127,970 -1.66


Explosion Reported at Airbag Manufacturer Plant. The website reported a chemical explosion happened at the Key Safety Systems manufacturing plant in Lakeland, Fla., USA, on July 5. According to reports, no one was injured. The explosion occurred from a machine in the building that makes pellets used in airbags. Key Safety Systems is a manufacturer of airbags. The company was recently purchased by Chinese automotive conglomerate Ningo Joyson Electronics. Click here to read the article. Posted July 7, 2016

British Coated Fabrics Producer Saw Mixed Performance in 1st Half of 2016. Performance materials maker Low & Bonar PLC on Wednesday posted increases in revenue and profit in its first half, and said it remained confident of meeting its full year expectations, as its focus turns to resolving operational issues and finding a solution for its joint venture. The company, which makes yarns, fibers, industrial and coated fabrics and composite materials, reported pretax profit of GBP8.3 million for the six months to May 31, up 6.4% from the GBP7.8 million posted for the same period a year earlier, driven by a 6.3% rise in revenue to GBP180.6 million from GBP169.9 million. However, the Coated Technical Textiles division saw a mixed performance, with sales flat on a constant currency basis, and market conditions for its Bonar Natpet joint venture, in the Gulf Cooperation Council region remain "difficult" with activity levels "still very low". Click here to read an article posted on the website London South East for more information on the company's performance. Posted July 6, 2016

Foreign Trade Zone Designation Allows US Company to Stay Competitive. There is a nice article in the Lowell Sun News website on the help Claremont Flock Corp. is getting by recently being designated in a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ). Claremont, located in Leominster, Mass., USA, is a manufacturer of flock material from uncut acrylic fibers. They get the fiber from Portugal. The FTZ designation allows Claremont to be exempt from the 7.5% import tax on the imported acrylic fibers and more competitive with companies based outside the US making flock materials. BeaverLake6 Report frequent contributor David Trumbull helped assist Claremont with the application process. Mr. Trumbull is a licensed custom broker and an expert on textile trade agreements. Click here to read the article. Posted July 6, 2016

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Coming Events

  • October 8-10: 2018 AUSA Annual Meeting & Exposition, Washington, D.C., USA

  • October 9-12: Nonwoven Fabric Property Development and Characterization, Raleigh, N.C., USA

  • October 10-11: 4th International Conference on Nonwovens for High-Performance Applications, Cannes, France

  • October 15-19: ITMA Asia + CITME 2018, Shanghai, China

  • October 15-19: CAMX, Composites and Advanced Materials Expo, Dallas, Texas, USA

  • October 16-17: GeoDallas 2018, Dallas, Texas, USA

  • October 16-18: IFAI Expo 2018, Dallas, Texas, USA

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

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

Fiber Publication Acquired. INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, today announced the acquisition of two leading industry publications: International Filtration News and International Fiber News.  The association purchased the publications from International Media Group, Inc., based in Tempe, Az., USA. The purchase price and terms were not disclosed. The publications each have circulations of 8,000-plus domestic and international readers and have served their readers for over three decades. Both are published six times a year in print and digital formats. The acquisitions will expand INDA’s reach and relevance in the key markets the print and digital publications serve with a particular emphasis on the filtration and separation segment as INDA launches its new FiltXpo event to be held in Chicago every 18 months starting February 26-28, 2020.  Click here to read the INDA press release on the purchase. Posted October 2, 2018

Rhode Island Organizes Textile Innovation Network

Lori Urso, Director of Slater Mill Museum and US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

On September 24, 2018, US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and the University of Rhode Island Business Engagement Center helped to launch the Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network (RITIN). The event was held in Pawtucket, R.I., US, at the Slater Mill Museum. RITIN is a trade group formed with the objective to guide the growth of the state's textile industry in the 21st century. "The Rhode Island Textiles Innovation Network is an innovative business partnership to help Rhode Island stay at the forefront of advanced textile manufacturing," said US Congressman David Cicilline. 14 companies of the state's textile industry participated in the meeting including American Cord & Webbing, Cooley Group, and Kenyon Industries. Click here to view a video of the opening address by Lori Urso, Director of Slater Mill Museum. [Note: The original post reported an incorrect the date of the meeting.] Posted September 28, 2018

New Trade Deal with Mexico is Good News for US Textile Industry

Automotive Manufacturing Leading End Market for Technical Textiles Shipped to Mexico. 


The United States and Mexico have reached a preliminary agreement that covers a substantial revision of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); specifically, the rules of origin for automotive parts. It is expected to incentivize billions annually in additional US vehicle and auto parts production. 


To qualify for zero tariffs under NAFTA, the current rule of origin requires 62.5% of the automotive parts must be made in NAFTA countries (Mexico, Canada and US). The new agreement increases to 75% for the parts to avoid the tariff. What's intriguing is that we don't know if the countries still include Canada, a substantial manufacturer of vehicles and automotive parts. Regardless, this will most certainly be a boon for US technical textile manufacturers as almost 50% of US technical textiles exports goes to Mexico and automotive fabrics are the leading destination end-product segment in making products such as airbags, headliners and seating.


Sobering Thought. Despite the "first glance" optimism, there may well be concern this revision could backfire on the US and Mexico. As I previously noted in my 2018 State of the US Technical Textiles Industry (March/April 2018, Textile World), increasing the percentage of automotive component parts (plus a new requirement that 40-45% of the auto content be made by workers earning at least $16 per hour) could end up pricing Mexican-made vehicles out of the very competitive global marketplace. Mexico currently makes 3.4 million cars annually for the world market.


Mea Culpa.  In my same article noted above, I honestly thought revisions to NAFTA would not get done in 2018 because of the elections going on in Mexico, Canada and the US. I underestimated the dodged determination of the Trump Administration to push this trade issue forward. Why Mexico has acted on it without Canada's input is still to be understood.


Click here to read the entire statement posted by the US Trade Representative. 


Steve Warner


Posted August 28, 2018

Frédérique Mutel Stepping Down as JEC President

Frederique Mutel

In a message to BeaverLake6 Report, JEC Group President Frédérique Mutel has confirmed she has stepped down at the leader of the composite trade organization that she has led since 1997. At the head of JEC since its creation, Ms. Frederique Mutel fully committed to the expansion of composites, was instrumental in the establishment of JEC as provider of high value knowledge and networking services. At the same time, conducting a strong international development. No replace has been announced.


On July 13, 2018, Ms. Mutel was promoted to the rank of Officer in the Order of the Legion of Honour by decree of the President of the France. A very deserving honor for a key leader in the development of the composites industry. Posted July 25, 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. Posted June 18, 2018

Report Published on the US Technical Textiles Industry

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

New Dates for ITMA Asia + CITME 2018 Textile Machinery Show

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

New Glen Raven CEO Interviewed for Textile World Magazine

CEO Leib Oehmig

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.


Steve Warner


"Buy American" Amendments Needed in US FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act

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. 


Steve Warner


Posted November 3, 2017

Is Saving the US Navy's Peacoat a Matter of National Security?

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.


Steve Warner


June 29. 2017

President Trump's Reveals 2017 Trade Policy Agenda

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:

  • Defending the US National Sovereignty over Trade Policy
  • Strictly Enforcing US Trade Laws
  • Using Leverage to Open Foreign Markets
  • Negotiating New and Better Trade Deals

​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

What's the NCTO Game Plan for the Post-TPP Era?

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

Media Partners

In My Opinion

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.


Steve Warner


Posted January 17, 2016

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Secretary Gary Locke, US Dept. of Commerce, and Steve Warner Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Steve Warner

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