Carbon Fiber Manufacturer Acquires Branch of European Composite Material Company. Toray Industries, Inc., Tokyo, Japan, has announced December 10 it has reached a basic agreement with Saati S.p.A, Lombardy Region, Italy, to acquire its European carbon fiber fabric and prepreg business. The former Saati's plant in Milan, Italy will start operations in January as Composite Materials (Italy) S.r.l., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toray. Through this acquisition, Torary establishes its own integrated supply chain, and will further strengthen the structure of Toray Group's carbon fiber composite materials business in Europe. Click here to read Toray's press release. Posted December 30, 2014
Textile Universities to Partner to Create a Faster Process to Commercialize Specialty Fibers. Speed to market is essential in this fast-paced world. Sometimes it takes years for a developed new product to reach the consumer. According to the Triangle Business Journal (Raleigh, N.C., USA), Georgia Southern University Herty Advanced Material Development Center will be working with North Carolina State University's College of Textiles and Nonwovens Institute to streamline the commercialization of specialty fibers. The partnership is called the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. Click here to read the article written by reporter Dawn Wallace. Posted December 30, 2014
Ebola Crisis Creates Need for Updated NFPA Protective Clothing Standard. In response to the Ebola outbreak as well as seeking protection from other liquid borne pathogens, a tentative amendment interim amendment (TIA) is being proposed to the National Fire Protection Association NFPA 1999: Standard on Protective Clothing for Emergency Medical Operations. The amendment is intended to help provide better protection in the PPE-approved gear worn by first-responders. The amendment would change the name of the standard to Standard on Protective Clothing and Ensembles for Emergency Medical Operations. New sections would be added including other referenced NFPA standards. NFPA has posted the TIA for public review with a comment deadline of January 14, 2015. Click here to read more at the Occupational Health & Safety website. Posted December 30, 2014
Takata Company President Resigns. Embattled technical textiles manufacturer Takata Corporation announced today Chief Operating Officer and President Stefan Stocker is stepping down as the recall of the company's airbags continues to grow. Shigehisa Takada, the company's chairman and chief executive officer, will take over Mr. Stocker's positionsr. Mr. Stocker, who will remain on the company's board, is taking a 30% pay reduction. Mr. Takata will be taking a 50% pay reduction and other executives a 20% pay reduction for at least the next 4 months. To date, more than 24 million vehicles have been recalled during the past 6 years. Click here for more details. Posted December 24, 2014
Bullet-Proof Baseball Cap Being Developed. We're not sure about this idea: According to the website Metro Detroit, a company called BulletSafe of Birmingham, Mich., USA, is developing a bulletproof baseball cap. Company founder Tom Nardone has patented the cap's design. They are expected to retail for $129. He is currently testing prototypes of the hat. The final version is expected to stop .40-caliber, 9-millimeter and .38-caliber rounds of bullets. His company already makes bulletproof vests. Click here to read the article. Posted December 22, 2014
Glen Raven to Sponsor USA Olympic Sailing. According to the website Scuttlebutt Sailing News, the USA Sail team Sperry Top-Sider announced a major partnership with Glen Raven Mills for Sunbrella™ fabrics to become a Gold-level sponsor of the US Sailing Team Sperry Topsider, the nation's Olympic and Paralympic sailing team, and also as the presenting sponsor of ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, North America's premier Olympic and Paralympic classes regatta. Click here to read the article. Posted December 22, 2014
Preiss-Daimler to Acquire Glass Textiles Business in Sweden. Johns Manville and Preiss-Daimler announced on December 19 that a Preiss-Daimler group company will acquire Johns Manville's Glass Textiles business in Sweden. The business is a leading supplier of glass wallcoverings in the European markets, including woven as well as nonwoven products. Click here to read more. about the acquisition. Posted December 22, 2014
Advanced Composites Company Acquires 50% Interest in Formax. According to a press release posted on the website Business Wire, Hexcel Corporation announced today that it has acquired 50% of Formax UK Limited. Formax, located in Leicester, UK, is a manufacturer of composite reinforcements, specializing in the production of lightweight mult-axial fabrics. Hexcel is also an advanced composites company, developing and manufacturing high-performance structural materials, including carbon fibers, reinforcements, prepregs, and compositie structures used in commercial aerospace, space and defense, and industrial applications. The two companies had already been cooperating for the development and manufacture of non-crimp fabrics for Hexcel and its aerospace customers. Click here to read the press release. Posted December 15, 2014
Czech Soldiers in Afghanistan Complain About Bullet-Proof Vests. Czech Defense Minister Martin Stropnicky visited his country's soldiers in Afghanistan on December 13-14. There are 285 Czech soldiers serving in the country. According to an article posted on the Prague Post website, one complaint he listened to while there is the trouble the soldiers are having with the "bullet-proof" vest because the hook-and-loop fastener keeps unfastening. Deputy Defense Minister Jiri Borovec told the Czech News Agency that a contract with a supplier should be signed by February and new vests supplied by next autumn. Further, Defense Stropnicky said "the price should be lower by dozens of percent" compared to the past supplies. Click here to read the article. Posted December 15, 2014
Fabric Canopies for the Grand Mosque in Makkah. According to an article posted on the Saudi Gazette website, the courtyards around the Grand Mosque in Makkah (Mecca) will have canopies similar to those already in place in the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah (Madina). The retractable canopies will be made of PTFE coated fabric and cover more than 275,000 square meters. Click here to read more about the project. Posted December 15, 2014
How Much Does China Soldier's Equipment Cost. There's a great article posted on China Military Online regarding the cost of outfitting a Chinese soldier. While overall spending by China for the military increased 88 billion Yuan (US$14.3 billion) in 2014, the soldiers' individual equipment costs remained the same as what it was five years ago. The Kevlar helmet costs $285, camouflage tactical vest $45, backpack $30, camouflage gloves $15, woven belt for equipment $15, and a fabric satchel $15. Body armor is not readily outfitted which is interesting because China body armor can be made very inexpensively; however, there appears to be a fundamental difference in philosophy between Western and Chinese military thinking. The Chinese military leadership feels "the plethora of protective equipment will consume soldiers' strength and also weaken the soldiers' fighting spirits." Click here to read the article. Posted December 15, 2014
Glen Raven Fabric Collection Named "Best of the Year." Congratulations to acrylic fabric manufacturer Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, Glen Raven, N.C., USA, for having its Sunbrella Icon Collection named Best of Year 2014 winner by Interior Design magazine. The Sunbrella Icon Collection won in the Textiles: Outdoor category. The Interior Design 9th Annual Best of the Year Awards ceremony took place December 4. The competition received more that 2,000 submissions. Click here to read the article posted on the Furniture World magazine website. Posted December 15, 2014
Russian Technical Textiles Industry in Trouble. There is a very good article posted on the Innovation In Textiles website on the problems of the Russian nonwovens and technical textiles industry. According to the article, amongst the causes are the decline of the Russian economy, illegal re-exports of technicalt textiles to Russia, and currency fluctuation. The article, written by Eugene Gerden, says the Russian production has declined by about 15% compared to the same period last year. Click here to go to the website and read the article. Posted December 11, 2014
New Technology Provides Real-Time Monitoring of Human Lungs. This is an interesting press release from Freudenberg on their development with Swisstom AG of a system that combines electrical impedance tomography (EIT) with an electrode belt for the real-time monitoring of the human lungs. It's called the SensorBelt and is positioned around the patient's chest. providing what the developers call "a window into the lungs." Freudenberg's contibution is the development of a flexible circuit board and the skin-friendly nonwovens to ensure contact between the electronic systems and the patient's skin at all times. Click here to read the press release. Posted December 11, 2014
India Technical Textiles Sector Looking at 20% Annual Growth. According to a report published on the Indian Business Standard website, the country's technical textile sector is poised for a 20% annual rate growth in both 2015 and 2016. The prediction was made by the country's Textiles Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar during the launching of the 4th TECHNOTX-2015 event that is scheduled to by held in April 2015. Click here to read the article on the Business Standard website. Posted December 9, 2014
Performance Fibers Signs Agreement to Sell Asia Operations. According to a press release issued by Indorama Ventures PLC, the company has signed a definitive agreement to purchase the Asia operations of Performance Fibers, a leading producer of polyester fibers and fabrics for the technical textiles industry. Performance Fibers is based in Huntersville, N.C., USA. Thailand-registered Indorama Ventures is one of the world's foremost petrochemical producers. Thanks to Alasdair Carmichael of Carmichael International for alerting us to this news. Click here to read the Indorama press release. Posted December 8, 2014
Local Community Provides Funds to Help Grow a Composites Manufacturing Company. While we often report on the activities of companies with a network of global operations, we are reminded not to forget the industry is also made up of thousands of smaller manufacturers that are important to their communities. Composite Envisions, a manufacturer and distributor of lightweight carbon fabrics, recently received a $100,000 forgivable loan by the Wausau Economic Development Committee of Wausau, Wis., USA. Besides manufacturing composites, the company distriubtes other specialty fabrics made of carbon and aramid fibers. Click here to find out more about Composites Envisions and the financing. Posted December 8, 2014
Stretchable Electronic Ink Materials Introduced. Normally we don't like to promote a particular product but one of the issues which often comes up when a conversation gets going about the market potential for "smart fabrics" and "e-textiles" is the material's durability after repeated washings. DuPont Microcircuit Materials has introduced a suite of stretchable electronic ink materials for use in smart clothing applications and other wearable electronics. According to a product release from DuPont, their new stretchable form-fitting materials can be a viable alternative to traditional ways to embed electronics in fabric products. Click here to read the press release posted on the Printed Electronics World website. Posted December 8, 2014
US Releases October Export Figures for Specialty Fabrics. The US Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA) has released the October export numbers for the Specialty and Industrial Fabrics group. Comparing 2013 and 2014 12-month periods ending October 31, total US exports increased by $271 million. Mexico remained the leading country to receive US specialty fabrics exports, followed by Canada, China, Hong Kong and Japan. Click here to go to the OTEXA webpage to view export figures. Posted December 7, 2014
Japan Will Provide 700,000 Protective Suits fo West Africa. More countries are stepping up to support medical health services seeking to contain the deadly Ebola outbreak. According to The Japan News website, the Japanese government will provide 700,000 protective suits mostly for use in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the three West African countries hit hardest by the Ebola outbreak. The first 20,000 are being transported to Ghana using an Air Self-Defense Force aircraft on December 6. Click here for more information. Posted December 3, 2014
Johnnie Walker Introduces Whisky-Scented Tweed. "Smart fabrics" comes in all types of designs and intended uses. Iconic Scottish brands Johnnie Walker and Harris Tweed have worked together to create Aqua Alba, a fabric which has a whisky-embedded scent layered throughout the material during the finishing process. The fabric was designed with the help of Heriot-Watt University's School of Textiles and Design and Milan-based designer Angelos Bratis. Click here to read an article posted on the BBC website. Posted December 3, 2014
Activist Investor Seeks Break Up of Coated Fabric Producer. The Barington Capital Group LP, an investor in chemicals company Omnova Solutions Inc., Fairlawn, Oh., USA has sent a letter to the company, seeking it to sell its Engineered Surfaces business segment and use the proceeds to firm up Performance Materials, its larger chemical and coatings products segment. Engineered Services produces urethane and vinyl coated upholstery fabrics for marine, school bus, mass transit and the automotive aftermarket. Omnova was spun off from GenCorp Inc. (formely The General Tire and Rubber Company) in 1999. Click here to read an article posted on the Wall Street Journal website. Posted December 3, 2014
India Set to Try Its Biggest Parachute in Test of Space Module. While a lot of attention has been focused on NASA's testing of its Orion spacecraft, India is also testing its own craft with hopes of sending a manned mission into space in a few years. The spacecraft launch test will involve a re-entry deploying the largest parachute ever built in the country, with a diameter of 31 meters. The Indian spacecraft will actually have three separate parachute systems to slow the entry module. The testing of an unmanned module will be done sometime between December 15 and 20. Click here to read more about the mission. Posted December 1, 2014
Critical Parachute Test for Orion Mars Spacecraft. Are you following the continued development of the Orion spacecraft which will be used in the future expedition to Mars? You should. Technical textiles are a critical component material being used in the spacecraft. On December 4, NASA's first Orion flight will be higher than any other intended to carry humans in more than 40 years. One of the key test will be in the high speed re-entry. Special parachutes will open in phases to assure a controlled, slow landing. Two drogue chutes will slow Orion to 170 miles per hour as it re-enters Earth's atmosphere, followed by three main parachutes that open at will open slowly to cover an area the size of a football field. Click here to read an interesting article on the al.com website. Posted November 29, 2014
DARPA Developing Inflatable Bubble for Ebola Isolation and Treatment Containment. There was an interesting article posted on the USA Today website yesterday about the rush by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to create a long-term but portable "Care Cube" to contain patients infected with the Ebola virus. The cube is intended to provide containment for up to 10 days. The actual developer of the Care Cube is a San Francisco-based company called Otherlab. We looked at Otherlab's website and found they are doing other fascinating projects using inflatables such as robotics. Click here to view the USA Today article. Click here to go to the Otherlab website. Posted November 26, 2014
US DLA Troop Support Sends PPE to Liberia. According to a press release issued November 24, the US Defense Logistics Agency will send more than 1.5 million critically needed medical personal protective sets to American aid workers working to contain the Ebola virus in West Africa. The sets comprise an array of materials, from full body suits to hoods, masks, gloves, boots, aprons and goggles. Nearly 50,000 protective suits have already been provided. Click here to read the release. Posted November 25, 2014
Tensar Appoints Americas Executive Vice President. Tensar International, a geosynthetic manufacturer, has announced the appointment of Mike Lawrence as Executive Vice President of the Americas. Mr. Lawrence's responsibility will be strategic leadership support in the United States, Canada and Latin American regions. In this role, Mr. Lawrence will oversee the sales and marketing teams within Tensar's Roadway and Grade Separation Solution product lines. Click here to read the press release. Posted November 25, 2014
Kelley Moves to Glen Raven. Congratulations to our friend Bret Kelley. Mr. Kelley has confirmed he has been appointed as Vice President of Sales. He will be responsible for commercial activities for TriVantage whcih includes sales and product management. Trivantage is a subsidiary of Glen Raven, Inc., Glen Raven, N.C., USA and is a distributor of Glen Raven products including its well-know Sunbrella fabrics. Mr. Kelley had been with Highland Industries, a subsidiary of Takata, for more than 20 years, most recently as its Director of Sales and Marketing. Posted November 21, 2014
GSE Names CEO. GSE Holdings, Inc., Houston, Texas, USA, announced yesterday that Robert Preston has been appointed the company's Chief Executive Officer and President. GSE is a global manufacturer of geosynthetic products and services. Prior to joining GSE, Mr. Preston served as Chief Executive Office of Davis-Standard, LLC, a company specializing in the production of extrusion systems for the plastics processing and other industries. He is replacing retiring Charles A. Sorrentino. Click here to read the company press release on the appointment. Posted November 20, 2014
Versar Receives UK Ebola Protection Suits Contract. VersarPPS, a subsidiary of Vesar (Springfield, Va., USA) has announced it has received an additional $800,000 contract to supply chemical splash protection suits to the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID). Their intent is to be used in the case of an Ebola outbreak. Previously, Versar had announced a DFID contract of $5.1 million, bringing the total contract value to $5.1 million. Click here to read the press release. Posted November 17, 2014
Sioen Reports "Stable" Sales in 3rd Quarter. Sioen Industries, a Belgium-based global producer of coated fabrics, issued its 3rd Quarter financial report. Overall, at the end of Q3, the Sioen Industries Group realized sales from continuing operations of EUR 243.3 million compared to EUR 243.3 million over the same period in 2013. The Coating Division (which covers yarns, fabrics and technical coated textiles) experienced a slight decline, with YTD 3Q 2014 at EUR 143.1 million compared to 143.6 million YTD Q3 2013. Click here to read the financial summary issued by Sioen. Posted November 17, 2014
Invisa Purchases Two Coated Fabrics Company. Remember the Nuagas? They were the small fictional salamander-like animals that supposedly shed their Naugahyde™ skins (in a non-harmful way) and this skin proved to be an exceptional covering for furniture. Invisa Inc., a Sarasota (Fla., USA) holding company, has purchased Uniroyal Engineered Products LLC (Sarasota, Fla., USA), the manufacturer of the real Naugahyde, and Wardle Storeys Group Ltd. (Earby, UK). The two purchased companies both produce vinyl-coated fabrics and are related, having merged in 2013. Uniroyal Engineered used to be part of Uniroyal Technology Corp. until it was split in 2003. Click here to view the article on the Invisa purchase. Click here if you want to read the history of the Naugas. Posted November 17, 2014
Autoliv Canada Plant Featured in Article. There's a nice article posted November 14 on the Canadian website ChathamDailyNews.com website about the Autoliv Canada manufacturing facility in the Chatham-Kent area. The plant manufacturers inflatable curtains that drop down from the ceiling of a vehicle. Autoliv Canada has seen a 30% increase in business in recent times. Click here to read the article. Posted November 17, 2014 >
TTP Negotiators Say Agreement is Near. As the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation APEC) summit takes place in Beijing, the trade ministers of the 12 countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement have issued a joint statement saying that significant progress has been made recently in the negotiations. US President Barack Obama had hoped to announce a completed agreement during the APEC summit but it appears there are some obstacles yet to overcome. The TPP has been in discussion for 6 years. Even when an agreement is reached, its ratification in the US Congress appears uncertain, and dependent upon the President being granted Trade Promotion Authority to "fast-track" the agreement into law without any changes. Click here to read the TPP leaders' statement issued today. Posted November 10, 2014
How-To Book Available on Fabricating Marine Tracks. Our good friend Steve Szenay along with co-author Michael Varga, has published a great book called Marine Canvas Track to Track: Insider's Information on Seven Secrets to Installing the Perfect Track. Drawing on his years of experience in the marine textile and fabrication industry, Mr. Szenay's 322-page book is packed full of useful tips for installing 31 types of different marine tracks for boat enclosures. Mr. Szenay speaks from experience. He is a former owner of his own marine custom cover shop and now is a marine and awning materials sales representative for textile manufacturer Serge Ferrrri North America. The book costs $54.00 and can be ordered directly from Mr. Szenay at firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted November 10, 2014
Modular Armor for the Combat Soldier. The November issue of our favorite idea magazine Popular Science has an interesting article called "The Weight of War." According to the article, the average soldier carries about 55% of his or her body weight into combat, including about 35 lbs. of body armor. The objective by both the US Army and Marine Corps is to reduce body armor weight by 10-15%. The answer may be in new polyethylene ballistic fibers. Click here to read the article. Posted November 9. 2014
Mopping Up Disasters with Nonwovens. Our thanks to Seshadri Ramkumar, professor at Texas Tech, for alerting us to an article called "Mopping Up Disasters: Textiles Protect People and the Planet" by Glenna B. Musante in the November/December issue of AATCC Review. The article describes the contributions of nonwovens in cleaning up oil and chemical spills, from absorbents to personal protection. To read the article, please click here to go to the AATCC Review webpage and then click on the Textiles Protect People & Plant link within the page's "What's New" section. Posted November 5, 2014
Republican Gain Could Impact Trade Agreements Under Negotiations. The Republican Party's winning of the Senate in the US Congress could have an interesting impact on both the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). A key element important to both agreements' negotiated success is the ability of President Obama to gain trade promotion authority (TPA) from Congress. TPA is also referred to as "fast-track authority" and prevents Congress from adding on any amendments to the agreement. Democrats from Mr. Obama's own party are more inclined to vote against TPA than Republicans. Click here to read an interesting article published just before the US elections by International Business Times about the issue. Posted November 5, 2014
US Court Rejects Kolon Appeal in Kevlar Case. BeaverLake6 Report has been following this case for about two years. Kolon Industries of South Korea was found to have obtained trade secrets illegally from DuPont Co. regarding its Kevlar materials. DuPont won a $919.9 million settlement which also barred Kolon from using Kevlar-type aramid technology for a number of years. A US Appeals Court later agreed with Kolon that the judge in the trial should have recused himself and on April 2014 threw out the settlement and ordered a new trial. Kolon then sought a higher court opinion on whether some preliminary rulings should also be excluded. On November 3, the US Supreme Court declined to get involved in the recusal case which allows the preliminary rulings that favored DuPont to remain. Click here to read a Reuters News Service website posting. Posted November 5, 2014
Raven Industries Acquires Integra Plastics. Raven Industries announced November 3 that its Engieered Films Division had acquired Integra Plastics, Inc. for approximately $48 million in cash and stock. Founded in 1991, Integra Plastics is headquartered in Madison, S.D., USA, with plants in Madison and Brandon, S.D., USA and Midland, Texas, USA. It is a privately held company that specializes in the manufacture and conversion of high-quality plastic film and sheeting. Raven Industries' Engineered Films Division is a manufacturer and supplier of high performance flexible films and sheeting in applications such as liners used in pond, silage and grain covers. Click here to read the press release. Posted November 5, 2014
US Releases September Export Figures for Specialty Fabrics. The US Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA) has released the September export numbers for the Specialty and Industrial Fabrics group. Comparing 2013 and 2014 12-month periods ending September 30, total US exports increased from $3.79bn to $4.08bn. Here’s a comparison breakdown of the 7 leading recipient countries with the 12-month years totals ending September 30:
Mexico $1,680m $1,951m
Canada 592m 571m
China 176m 180m
Hong Kong 139m 145m
Japan 84m 93m
United Kingdom 94m 86m
Germany 89m 82m
Click here to go to the OTEXA webpage. Posted November 4, 2014
How to Select Heat and Flame Protective Clothing. The website worldcement.com has published a nice concise article explaining the options in heat and flame protective garments, including the difference between "flame resistant" and "flame retardant" material. The author is Elaina Harvey, protective clothing and Nomex specialist at DuPont. At the moment, it appears there is no clear distinction between resistant and retardant. CIRFS (European Man-Made Fibres Association) is attempting to create an official definition for the various combinations of PPE using the terminology. We recommend this article for those wishing a quick understanding of the types of products going into the heat and flame protective garment market. Click here to read the article. Posted November 4, 2014
Police Dog Celebrity in Bulletproof Vest. OK, maybe the headline should read "future" police dog. To raise money to fund its Massachusetts Vest-A-Dog campaign, the Boston Police Department K-9 Unit is selling a 2015 calendar with pictures of dogs in their K-9 vests. Tuco, the dog in the picture, is a nine-week-old German Shepherd with dreams of someday being a member of the K-9 unit. These pictures of Tuco promoting the vests have gone viral on Facebook. The calendars sell for $10 and will help provide the Boston K-9 Unit with vests for dogs, as well as first aid kits and even a bite suit. Click here if you're interested in the calendar. Posted November 3, 2014
100th Anniversary of WWI Spotlights Technical Fabric Contribution. There are a couple of interesting trivia tidbits about technical fabrics in an October 31 article posted on the chathamthisweek.com website (Chatham, Ontario, Canada). According to the article, the war marked the introduction in the British army of the military canvas webbing belt system, replacing the long-used leather belts to hold equipment on the soldier. The webbing proved to be stronger and more durable, especially in the wet conditions on the Western Front where wet leather belts would dry out, then crack and fall apart. Another key advantage of cotton webbing was that it acted as an integrated system with cross-belts that went over the shoulders. This system was important because it allowed speedy removal if the combatant was wounded, unlike removal of the more tedious leather belt and buckle system. Another nugget of information gleaned from the article was that the introduction of the khaki-color uniform happened in the Indian Mutiny (or rebellion) of 1857. The word "khaki" is actually a Persian word which means soil, dirt or mud. Click here to read the article. Posted November 2, 2014
Profits Continue TenCate Growth in 2014. Koninklijke TenCate, a Netherlands-based global textile manufacturer, reported October 29 that its net profit increased 10% in the 3rd quarter as compared to the same quarter in 2013. TenCate cited the particular improved performance of its Protective Fabrics segment, including a sharp increase of its Defender M flame-resistant fabric for military applications. Revenues in its TenCate Geosynthetics showed slight growth due to increased sales in Asia and the US. Click here to go to the TenCate press release on 3rd quarter financial performance. Posted October 31, 2014
Embedded Sensors in Geosynthetics Improve Understanding of Fabric Performance in Roads. Posted on the website geosynthetica.net is an article about the use of passive RFID tags embedded in nonwoven material on an asphalt geosynthetic interlayer project in Austrian roads. The tags are installed approximately every 150 meters and can relay information about asphalt compaction pressures. The technology being tested was developed by Provlies GmbH, Linz, Austria. Click here to read the paper posted on the website. Posted October 31, 2014
Wingsuit Flying in China. The Chinese website ecns.cn has an interesting story about the introduction of wingsuit flying in China. Currently, there's only around 5 enthusiasts promoting the extreme sport. With a sewn-in winged suit, the flier jumps from a high altitude such as a plane, helicopter, or bridge and soars for a while, using the wingspan as a lift in the air. The flight ends with a parachute opening. We liked the philosophy of one of the fliers: "If we can't extend the length of life, we should increase the depth of life." Click here to read the article. Posted October 31, 2014
"Why Protective Gear Isn't Stopping Ebola." That's the title of a very interesting article posted on the website fastcodesign.com. The article gives an excellent overview of the types of materials used in the various types of protective garments. The most common materials in the protective suits are Tyvek and a Tyvek sub-brand called Tychem. One of the issues facing the health-care workers trying to treat Ebola-stricken patients is the shifting standards for protection. According to the report, "Both the US and European Union have convoluted grading systems for assessing the permeability of personal protective materials." Click here to read the article. Posted October 28, 2014
New Vapor Barrier System Unveiled. Sometimes you find an interesting application on an unlikely website. In this case, we found on the naturalgasintel.com website an article about a new barrier system made of technical fabrics designed for use at natural gas maintenance storage facilities. A company called Clean Energy Fuels Corp., located in Newport Beach, Calif., USA, has "introduced what it claims is the 'first code-compliant fabric barrier system' using an industrial curtain designed for quick and cost-effective installation and operation." Clean Energy says "the industrial fabric meets American Society of Testing and Materials standards for exposure to CNG and LNG." Click here to read the article. Posted October 28, 2014
US Senator Graham Visits Industry Manufacturer. It never hurts to have a US Senator visit your manufacturing facility. Government officials are given needed "hands on" look at our industry and, in the case of US Senator Lindsey Graham's visit to Alexium International, it helps the morale of those in the company to know they are making products that impacts the lives of many. Alexium, based in Greer, S.C., USA, is a manufacturer of fire retardant chemicals for military and protective fabrics. Senator Graham sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Committee on Armed services, the Budget Committee, and the Committee on the Judiciary. Click here to read about his visit. Posted October 27, 2014
European Association Offers Its View on TTPP Negotiations. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTPP) has the potential to significantly impact textile trade between the US and European countries. Some of the impact can be very positive such as the coordination of testing and performance standards that eliminate unnecessary costs. However, there is a fundamental disagreement regarding public procurement, specifically the US Berry Amendment which requires domestic sourcing for textile products purchased by the US military and certain other government branches. Isabelle Weiler, the European Textile and Clothing Confederation's trade and industry manager, offers her views on the position of the European industry regarding the agreement. Click here to read her opinion. Click here to view the Euratex position paper on regulatory issues being addressed in TTIP, including its opposition to the Berry Amendment. Posted October 27, 2014
Fibertex Gains Stronger US Market Presence With Purchase of Nonwovens Manufacturer. Danish-based Fibertex Nonwovens has agreed to acquire Non Woven Solutions, a US manufacturer of needlepunch nonwovens. Fibertex is a subsidiary of Schouw & Co. Non Woven Solutions is based in Chicago, Ill., USA and generated revenue of almost $13.7 million last year. It serves several market segments including automotive, composites and geosynthetics applications. Fibertex currently only has a limited presence in the US and the acquisition is seen as an opportunity to expand into several US market segments. Click here to read the Fibertex press release. Posted October 27, 2014
Introduction of Alpine Skiing Airbags Postponed. According to a report from the Associated Press, FIS, the governing body for alpine skiing, has decided to postpone the start of a ski airbag system in its sanctioned races because the airbag system fails to meet its comply with its existing regulations. The system is similar to the one introduced in motorcycle racing in 2009. Click here to read an article about this issue appearing on the website claimsjournal.com. Posted October 27, 2014
Record High Altitude Drop Spotlights Technical Textiles Contributions. Many of our readers probably read over the weekend about Alan Eustace, a Google executive, who broke the sound barrier and set several skydiving records on October 24 when he dropped from an altitude of 41,419 meters. What an amazing feat. It needs to be noted how our industry was involved -- there was a specially made high-altitude balloon used to lift him to that height, a fabric material tether was used to keep him attached to the balloon during the ascent, the use of a previously secretly designed fully encapsulated space suit made of technical textiles being developed for a possible mission to Mars, and a multitude of unique parachutes in a system brought him safely back to earth. The jump was part of a project by Paragon Space Development Corp. Congratulations to all who were involved. Click here to read about the feat. Posted October 27, 2014
Air Bladder Fails in Effort to Lift Tree. Ok, not a very exciting story but it caught our attention because it's a unique use we hadn't heard about in the past. The Ann Arbor News (Ann Arbor, Mich., USA) website reported today one of at least 5 inflatable air bladders being used to lift a 250 year-old bur oak tree out of a hole burst under the estimated 700,000 pound weight of the tree. The tree was being moved to another spot. According to the report, the cap at the end of the bladder became a projectile and broke one of the windows of a construction machine that was being manned at the time. Click here to read the article. Posted October 27, 2014
Company Producing Ebola Protective Suit Every 4.5 Seconds. As we have said before, the technical textiles industry thrives on the needs that come from wars, natural disasters and pandemics. We just saw a short article on the China website Xiamen News about a company called Microgard Xiamen Limited, a British company with a manufacturing operation in Xiamen, China. The company's daily production is now up to 8,000 disposable protective suits, which amounts to one being made every 4.5 seconds. Click here to see the article. Posted October 25, 2014
Acrylic-Based Fabrics Creates Flame-Resistant Clothing Opprtunity. The website Crains Chicago Business has a nice article posted about Drifire LLC and their efforts to develop clothing that would protect military troops in cases of extreme heat. The traditional undergarments worn by the military were polyester-based fabrics. But polyester tended to melt in situations like explosions and cause serious additional injuries for already wounded warriors. Drifier developed a flame-resistant acrylic based fabric they've branded Drifire 4.4. The "4.4" refers to its weight of 4.4 ounces per square yard. It's become a $50 million business for them. Click here to read the article. Posted October 24, 2014
Largest Technical Textiles Plant in Russia Being Built. The website Innovation in Textiles has a very interesting article on the plans for a new technical textiles plant in Russia. The company building the facility, BTK Holding, is already one of Russia's largest producers of technical textiles and apparel. According to the article, "The new plant will focus on the production of high-tech synthetic textiles." The capacity of the new plant will be in the range of 5-6 million square meters per year; however, it is unclear from the article what is the exact fabric that will be produced. The article also offers some statistics and observations for end product markets in Russia. The demand for technical textiles for the domestic automotive industry, for example, is said to exceed 220 million meters annually. Click here to read the article. Posted October 23, 2014
Tension Fabric Builder Partners with Storage Consulting Firm in Canada. RUBB Inc., a subsidiary of the Rubb Group AS, has announced the appointment of Aztec Group as its Canadian Agent. Rubb, originally based in Norway, with North American operations based in the US, is an international company which manufactures galvanized steel framed fabric covered structures. Click here to read the company news release on the Canadian market partnership. Posted October 21, 2014
Outdoor Venture Corporation Acquires Sotera Engineered Solutions Division. Sotera Defense Solutions (Sotera), a provider of mission-critical, technology-based systems, solutions and services for US government programs, today announced that Outdoor Venture Corporation (OVC) of Stearns, K., USA, has purchased Sotera's Engineered Solutions (ES) division. OVC is a prime supplier and contractor of military tent systems, components and accessories to the US Department of Defense. Sotera delivers services and components for expeditionary systems such as field kitchens and sanitary equipment for the US military. Click here to read the press release on the acquisition. Posted October 21, 2014
Small Family Business Grows into Technical Textiles Enterprise. There is a nice article on the Finger Lakes Times website (Palmyra, New York, USA) about V Technical Textiles, a family run company. V Technical Textiles is an independently owned subsidiary of the German company Statex. The company both fabricates products made of technical textiles and is also the distributor for conductive textiles made by Statex. V Technical Textiles fabricates products such as tents, shelters and antimicrobial clothing. A nice read about a successful local family business. Click here to go to the Finger Lake website. Posted October 21, 2014.
Ebola Crisis Needs Creates Interest in Technical Textile Products. At the recent IFAI Specialty Fabrics Expo, the Ebola crisis created several inquiries to us about how the industry can get involved in the protective equipment industry. DuPont has a good site that contains a technical bulletin called Protective Clothing for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Two material compliant standards appear to be the relevant for making products: ASTM F1670 and ASTM F1671. Click here to go to the DuPont website and learn more. Good succinct article. Posted October 20, 2014
Beavers Parachuted into Remote Locations. When we found an article about parachuting beavers, we just had to tell you about it. The Idaho Statesman website posted an article about parachuting beavers that originally appeared in the November 2012 issue of Smithsonian Air & Space magazine. That story, in turn, was about a 1950 report in the Journal of Wildlife Management called "Transplanting Beavers by Airplane and Parachute." Beavers had apparently become an annoyance to the encroaching population in parts of Idaho in the 1950s, so the Idaho Fish and Game Department began innovative ways to transfer beavers out of the way of suburbia, including parachuting them in collapsible cages into remote locations. The cages opened on impact and the beavers went along their way. A fun article to read, especially about one old beaver that they kept dropping by parachute to test the system. Click here to see the article. Posted October 20, 2014
Scovill Fasteners Sold to Morito. The Gores Group continued to make industry news late yesterday with an announcement that the company had entered into an agreement to sell Scovill Fasteners to Morito, a global supplier of apparel fasteners, components for automobiles and cameras, and other niche manufactured products. Morito is base in Osaka, Japan. Scovill, founded in 1802 and based in Clarkesville, Ga., USA, is a manufacturer of fasteners to technical textile markets such as medical, military and sporting goods. The Gores Group had acquired Scovill in June 2011. Click here to read the press release. Posted October 10, 2014
Navy Testing Welding Clothes Rather Than Sewing. The website kdhnews.com of Killeen, Tex., USA, has an interesting article and video posted on its website regarding the US Navy's testing of ultrasonic welding clothing seams rather than traditional sewing. Welding the uniforms together could make them lighter, stronger and cheaper, according to the report. The vidoe also says WalMart is experimenting with having consumer apparel welded rather than sewn. Click here to see the article and watch the video. Posted October 10, 2014
Sage Automotive Interiors Sold. The Gores Group, a Los Angeles, Calif., USA investment firm, has announce the sale of Sage Automotive Interiors to Clearlake Capital Group, an investment firm based in Santa Monica, Calif., USA. Sage is the largest supplier of automotive seating fabrics. It was formed in 2009 when management completed a buyout to acquire Milliken & Company's automotive business. Its customers include Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai and Volkswagen. Click here to read the press release. Posted October 9, 2014
US Navy Building Unmanned Inflatable Boats. To counter the swarm of small boats that often come out to challenge US Naval ships in close water situations, the US is meeting the threat with the launching of its own swarm of unmanned inflatable boats with remote-controlled weapons system. The fire-control system on the ship is capable of coordinating up to 20 of those unmanned boats at once. Click here to read this interesting article. Posted October 9, 2014
Ebola Crisis Increases Demands for Material and Protective Gear. The website PlasticsToday.com posted a report yesterday that the Ebola outbreak in western Africa has created a surge in demand for personal protective equipment from manufacturers. The World Health Organization plans to send about 400,000 protective suits to west Africa. 3M plans to send as many as 500,000 a month. DuPont has reportedly tripled production of Tychem C protective suits and Tyvek garments. Kimberly-Clark, a manufacturer of Kleenguard protective clothing, has also significantly increased production. Click here to read the article. Posted October 8, 2014
Canada Release New Collapsible Fuel Bladder Standard. According to the website for the Canadian Mining Journal, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has released the first edition of a collapsible fabric storage tanks regulation. This standard will be a first for storage tanks or pillow tanks. While popular in the military, the commercial applications for collapsible fuel bladders has been slow due to a lack of standards and concern for the environment. The next step in the process will be to begin certifying products to this standard. Click here to read the entire article. Posted October 7, 2014
US Releases August Export Figures for Specialty Fabrics. The US Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA) has released the August export numbers for the Specialty and Industrial Fabrics group. Comparing 2013 and 2014 12-month periods ending August 31, total US exports increased $307 million to more than $4 billion. Click here for the full report. Posted October 7, 2014
Natick Self-Cleaning Fabric Introduced to the Commercial Market. A self-cleaning fabric treatment developed by the US Army's Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) and industry partner Luna Innovations, Inc., is now making its way into the commercial marketplace. The fabric coating greatly reduces how often the material has to be cleaned. The omniphonic coating significantly lowers dirt and dust attraction, and repels water, oil and many liquid chemicals. Click here to read the NSRDEC public affairs story that was released on the US Army's website. Posted October 6, 2014
Ebola Crisis Increases Demands for Hazmat Suits. According the website Business Insider, the current Ebola health crisis in Africa has resulted in a 30% increase in the value of shares for Lakeland Industries, a manufacturer of hazmat protective clothing. Lakeland's corporate headquarters is in Ronkonkoma, N;Y; US. According to another website, Investment Watch, the US government recently put out a bid for 160,000 hazmat suits in response to the Ebola health care fight. Click here to read the Business Insider article. Posted October 6, 2014
Centre for Excellence Planned for UK. TenCate Advanced Composites has announced plans for the growth and expansion of equipment and facilities at their manufacturing plant in Langley Mill, Nottingham, UK. The company says the investment will bring additional capability and capacity for fabric and University of Delaware-based products, including relatively new composite markets such as space, and select aerospace high temperature end-user applications. Click here for to read the TenCate press release. Posted October 6, 2014
Barcode System for Finding Your Tent. What do you do if you are one of the 2 million haj pilgrims and you have to find the correct white tent out of thousands erected during your journey in Saudi Arabia? According to the website Arab News, the Saudi government has introduced a barcode system that matches the pilgrim to the correct shelter. Each traveler is given a wrist band with a tent barcode and then traveler guides along the journey will help you locate your designated shelter. Click here to read the article. Posted October 6, 2014
Major Carbon Fiber Plant Expansion in France. Hexcel Corporation announced today that it will expand its carbon fiber production capacity through the addition of new precursor and carbon fiber lines in Roussillon, France. The $250 million investment will also include the associated Quality Control laboratories and offices.Click here to read the Hexcel company press release. Posted October 2, 2014
Teijin Aramid Receives Award for Developing Carbon Nanotube Fibers. Researchers of Teijin Aramid, based in the Netherlands, and Rice University, based in the US, have been awarded the honorary "Paul Schlack Man-Made Fibers Prize" for corporate-academic partnership in fiber research. The honary award was given by the European Man-Made Fibers Association for the development of a new generation of super fibers using carbon nanotubes. Click here to read the Teijin press release. Posted September 31, 2014
Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation Considering Fiber and Textiles. Here's something you might want to check out if you are a US domestic textile industry manufacturer: A few months ago the US Department of Defense (DoD) issued a Request for Information (RFI) as it began the process of developing future Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation (IMI). Fibers and textiles is one of the six new areas under consideration. Each of the IMIs is built around a specific manufacturing technology. An information meeting for a proposed fiber and textile IMI is now scheduled for Wednesday, October 1, at Gaston College's Textile Technology Center in Belmont, N.C., USA. Each IMI will have a minimum of $70 million in federal funding and $70 million in funding from states and industry over a 5-7 year period. The DoD plans to create 2 of these manufacturing sector institutes each year, with an overall total of 15 IMIs. Devin Steele, publisher of the website eTextile Communications, has written a nice blog about the upcoming event. Click here to read. Posted September 29, 2014
Yarn Manufacturer Purchases Textile Plant in Mexico. The website for the Charlotte Observer newspaper (Charlotte, N.C., USA) is reporting North Carolina-based Parkdale Mills has acquired the remaining half of Summit Yarns, a joint venture yarn plant located south of Mexico City. Parkdale purchased the half of the operation owned by International Textile Group. Parkdale is one of the world's largest supplier of spun yarns. Click here to read the article. Posted September 29, 2014
Lenzing Chief Operating Officer Resigns. In a press release issued September 25 by Lenzing AG, Friedrich Weninger, Chief Operating Officer, has announced a decision not to seek a contract extension as a Member of the Management Board after his current contract expires December 31, 2014. Lenzing is a global leader in the manufacture of manmade cellulose fibers. According to the Lenzing website, the Lenzing Group has been impacted in the first half of 2014 by the ongoing difficult market conditions creating low fiber selling prices. Mr. Friedrich has been with the company for more than 25 years. He will continue to serve as a consultant for the Lenzing Group after his COO contract ends. Click here to read the company release. Posted September 26, 2014
US Coast Guard Clarifies PFD Labeling. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is trying to harmonize the US rules with those of Canada and make a North American standard, according to a report posted on the website examiner.com. The new labeling rules which go into effect on October 22, 2014 reduce the number of types of code for a personal flotation device (PFD). Click here to read the article and for contact information at the USCG if you desire more information. Posted September 26, 2014
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January 18-19: Tent Conference 2018, Mesa Ariz., USA
January 19-20: NECPA Annual Convention 2018, Worcester, Mass., USA
January 23-24: The International Conference on Composites for Performance in Sports and Recreation, Long Beach, Calif., USA
January 23-26: 40th SHOT Show, Las Vegas, Nev., USA
January 24-26: ASTM D35 Geosynthetices Committee, New Orleans, La., USA
January 21-23: Intersec 2018, Dubai. U.A.E.
January 25-27: 2018 Marine Fabricators Conference, Savannah, Ga., USA
January 25-28: Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show, Denver, Colo., USA
Click here to view the complete technical textiles events calendar that includes show information links.
In October at the IFAI Expo 2017, I had the opportunity to sit down with -- at the time -- incoming Glen Raven CEO Leib Oehmig for an interview that has now been posted on the Textile World website and will also be in their printed November/December issue.
I've known Mr. Oehmig for probably more than 20 years and have watched his steady management progression within the Glen Raven organization. During the interview, he was very gracious with his time at a busy show and transparent in answering questions on a far-ranging number of topics including the management transition from Alan Gant, Jr., to Mr. Oehmig, the first non-Gant family member to lead Glen Raven. Click here to read the interview and learn more about the thoughts of one of our industry leaders.
As the saying goes "Politics make strange bedfellows." Today we find more than one-third of the Senate Democrats urging the inclusion of key amendments in the US FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (2018 NDAA) that would strengthen the US government's "Buy American" policies.
Versions of the NDAA were recently passed by both the Senate and House and a joint committee is working out a single bill. The submitted Senate version, however, left out proposed key amendments designed to prevent the weakening of domestic sourcing for the US military. One amendment included the prevention for lifting of the restrictions in place for domestic sourcing of wearable electronic products and another amendment prevents certain exceptions to the Berry Amendment which would allow non-domestic sourcing through memoranda of agreement with foreign governments.
What's the "strange bedfellows" aspect? Well, "Buy American" is also one of the key positions taken by the Trump administration. So, we have both the Democrats and the Trump administration on the same side, trying to keep strong the US domestic capability for supplying the military. Strange bedfellows given the current political animosity in Washington...but still the cooperation is vital for the US domestic textile industry.
Posted November 3, 2017
Since last August, the US Navy has been planning to phase out its iconic traditional wool peacoat in favor of a less expensive, synthetic cold weather parka which is lighter in weight and more versatile in types of inclement weather. It actually replaces two types of coats and the seabag the wool coat is stored.
The wool coat, however, has some powerful friends in the US Congress. Companies such as Northwest Woolen Mills in Woonsocket, R.I. and Sterlingware in Boston, Mass. Altogether, the supply chain involved in the manufacture of these woolen peacoats -- including sheep farmers -- is estimated to account for 400 jobs in the Northeast. Add to the drama that the new parka, made by the long-time military supplier Propper, is expected to be manufactured in Puerto Rico, a perceived feeling the new coat will be made by non-American workers. Read more...
June 29. 2017
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has released President Trump's 2017 Trade Policy Agenda. The document, officially called 2017 Trade Policy Agenda and 2016 Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreements Program, outlines the new Administration’s four trade priorities:
BeaverLake6 Report has created a special page within this website and placed the first chapter of the 336-page document which summarizes the policy. Click here to read it. Posted March 2, 2017
Back on March 24, 2016, I was one of the first to predict the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was a dead deal. In fact, I said that I wouldn’t be surprised that, if Donald Trump became President, the agreement is shredded on day one of his new administration. Well, I was off by three days. Yesterday, President Trump signed an Executive Order, officially withdrawing the United States from the TPP agreement. Now the question is can the National Council of Textile Organizations put together a comprehensive plan for the domestic textile industry in a post-TPP era? Click here to read the rest. Posted January 25, 2017
There are literally dozens of market reports for the many market sections and subsections within the technical textiles industry. In 2017, BeaverLake6 Report will be introducing a few of these reports to our viewers. The first report being features is The Future of Spcialty Geosynthetics to 2021. It was developed by Smithers Apex, a market research firm based in the United Kingdom.
In exchange for the promotion, Smithers Apex agreed to write an exclusive expanded executive summary of the market report for our readers. Click here to view the market summary. Posted January 9, 2017
2016 China Textile Innovation Conference, as an annual summit of industry innovation, was held in Beijing on December 12th, 2016. The conference, themed on “New Opportunity, New Advantages, New Vitality” – Stepping Towards a Textile Power, comprehensively summarized the industry innovation achievements and explored the new advantages in development in order to grasp the strategic opportunity of the new round of industrial changes. BeaverLake6 Report is pleased to present a report on the conference via our partnership with China Textile magazine. Please click here. Posted December 21, 2016
Domestic PFD Manufacturer's Application for FTZ Additional Production Authority Riles Textile Industry Trade Associations. There is a nasty fight taking place these past few months behind the closed doors of Room 48019 at the Herbert C. Hoover Building in Washington, D.C. The room is the office of the Foreign-Trade Zones Board. The fight pits domestic technical textile industry suppliers and a coalition of textile-trade associations against a fairly large domestic end-product cut-and-sew manufacturer. Click here to read the story.
In 2015, I posted more than 425 items of interest for our industry on the BeaverLake6 Report website. In reviewing it all last week, it got me to thinking about putting together a list of influential events, news and trends that I observed during the past year. I have focused primarily on the US marketplace but each of “the things that mattered” to me has global implications.
So, here go my thoughts in no particular order of importance. Let me know if you agree or if I have missed some. Click here to read the list.
Posted January 17, 2016
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