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IFAI Expo 2016

Final Report: IFAI Expo 2016 Draws Near-Record Attendance

Posted October 27, 2016


IFAI Expo 2016, the textile industry's show of record, attracted 5,023 participants to the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, from Oct. 18-21.


Attendees were treated to four days of product demonstrations, education, networking, exhibits and awards recognizing industry achievement.


"We couldn't be happier with this year's Expo," IFAI President/CEO Mary Hennessy said. "Interest in the event has rarely been higher and that's proven by a record-setting number of exhibitors and huge interest in the event from the industry at large."


Attendance at this year's Expo was rivaled only by IFAI's 100th Anniversary event in Boston in 2012. IFAI Expo is the largest display of specialty fabrics and technical textiles in the Americas.


Exhibitors were pleased with the way Expo unfolded.  "It gave us an opportunity to, in a more concentrated way, listen to the customer," said Leib Oehmig, President/COO of Glen Raven Inc. "It's something we really look forward to. For us, it's a slam-dunk."


Attendees had the chance to meet with a record number of exhibitors. "It's a good opportunity to mix with our suppliers, a good time to rub shoulders with others in the industry," said Monte Sharp, President of Sharp's Tarps, Grant's Pass, Oregon, USA, who attended his 32nd consecutive IFAI Expo last week. "Expo helps us to stay on top of was a very good show overall."


Expo highlights included a revamped ShowStopper program which highlighted new products, three times the number of Campfire Session educational opportunities over 2015's show and excellent participation in both the International Achievement Awards (IAA) and Industrial Fabrics Foundation (FF) events. Attendees also had the chance to earn Textile Testing Certificates from North  Carolina State University after complete a spectial testing course.


GeoCharlotte, a single-day geosynthetics program, also drew engineers and exhibitors to Charlotte for a day of education and networking ahead of March 2017's Geotechnical Frontiers event, which will be co-hosted by IFAI.


Attendees also heard from a stable of keynote speakers including business ethics expert Chuck Gallagher, author and marketing executive Linda Kaplan Thaler and former Walt Disney World customer service guru Dennis Snow.


IFAI Expo 2017 will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana  from Sept. 26-29.


For additional information, contact IFAI Marketing Communications Manager Jeff Papas at (651) 225-6933 or by email at

On-Site at the IFAI Expo

Gloria and Mathew Mei of Ling Yang Limited

Day 3: Exhibitors are Happy, All is Well. It was a second day of the exhibition being open and the traffic was steady. First time exhibitors like Gloria and Mathew Mei were very satisfied with the reception to their environmentally-friendly Sileather, an interior and exterior upholstery fabric. The material is made by combining silicone resin with materials such as non-wovens and super-dense woven materials.  End markets for Sileather include marine,outdoor furniture and healthcare. Several US companies were reported to be seeking out distribution arrangements with them. 

Mark Harries and Ted Fetterman of Bally Ribbon Mills

69th Annual International Achievement Award Winners Announced. The winners of the prestigious IFAI International Achievement Awards were announced at the start of the day.Almost 300 entries from 10 countries were received this year for the 42 product categories. Seven major category "Best in Category" winners were highlighted:


     Fabric Structures: Xiangtan BBG Shopping Mall ETFE      Skylight by Shanghai Taiyo Kogyo Co., Ltd.


     Awnings and Canopies: Abdali Mall ETFE Canopies by Covertex Membranes                (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.


     Fabric Environments: NHL Hockey Pucks by Rainier Industries Ltd.


     Marine: Caryali Custom Sofa by Canvas Designers, Inc.


     Tents: Dining Under the Stars by Mahaffey Fabric Structures


     Geosynthetics: Erosion Repair Underneath the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal        by TenCate Geosynthetics Americas


GeoCharlotte Introduced. New this year was a special one-day event called GeoCharlotte. Designed to promote the upcoming Geotechnical Frontiers event taking place March 12-15, 2017 in Orlando, Fla., USA, the Charlotte conference was targeted for civil engineers and industry suppliers. It featured 10 presentations on geosynthetic applications, plus a table-top exhibition with 19 participating companies. Show management didn't reveal the number of registrants but it looked like about 80-90 delegates. Posted October 20, 2016

Visitors waiting for the show to open.

Day 2: Exhibition Opens/Annual Meeting Held. The IFAI Expo exhibition opened today to a steady good-sized crowd. Athough show management won't release pre-registration figures, it was reportedly one of the highest in years. It took a while to get all the visitors processed when the show opened but by afternoon there was a nice buzz on the filled exhibition hall. The show floor was divided into three sections -- shade, advanced textiles and specialty fabrics. 

On the show floor, Professor Maureen MacGillivray of Central Michigan University delivers a "camp fire" talk on the critical shortage of worker skill training.

Association Leadership Elected. Prior to the exhibition opening, the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI), the owner and organizer of the IFAI Expo, held its membership annual meeting. Newly elected board members were Dennis Bueker, Keyston Brothers (second term), Brian Rowinski, Rainier Industries, LLC, and Roy Chism, The Chism Co. David Segal, Edward Segal Inc., was appointed to fill an unexpired board position.


At the meeting, IFAI announced four new Honored Life Members (HLM), an honor designed for individuals who have shown a commitment to the association. The new HLMs are Tyron (Spooky) Apple, Glen Raven Inc., John Caporaso, Glen Raven Inc., Al Johnson, Glen Raven Inc., and Steven Toth, Glen Raven Inc.


Also revealed at the Annual Meeting were the IFAI Outstanding Volunteers for 2016: Amit Kapoor, First Line Technology, Keith Gardner, Crown Resources LLC, Mike Gatti, Herculite Products Inc., Ron Paratore, Trivantage LLC, and Mark Welander, MFC, Fabricon LLC. Posted October 19, 2016

Student Design Contest Winners

Day 1: Advanced Textiles Student Design Winners Announced. The first day of the IFAI Expo started in Charlotte, N.C., USA, with a series of sessions under the banner of Advanced Textiles (AT). The day ended with a cocktail reception for the participants that included the announcement a team of students from the University of Massachusetts -- Lowell had won the AT Student Design Contest for their project Windhawk Solutions. The project was an inflatable wind-energy system that can generate enough power to eliminate the need for diesel energy in austere environments. Members of the student team were Linda Pratto, Christian Bain, Patrick Anderson, Dana Pierce and William Hallissey.The project was a collaboration with the U.S. Army, Natick Soldier System Center and U.S. Army Belvoir Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center. Posted October 18, 2016


Steve Warner


Coming Events

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

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

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Posted January 7, 2020

Will Things Get Done in Washington in 2020?

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


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


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


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


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


Steve Warner


Posted January 7, 2020

December 3, 2019

2019 Brief Analysis of China's Industrial Textile Industry

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


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

November 24, 2019

2019 Eurasian Geosynthetics Symposium Held in China

Flora Zhao, China Textiles

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

IFAI Expo 2019 Analysis

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

Final Report Issued on 2018 China Industrial Textiles Industry

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

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

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


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


Steve Warner


Posted June 17, 2019

China's Industrial Textile Market Demands Still Remains Vigorous

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

Does IDEA Show Need to be in Miami Beach?

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


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


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

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

President Li Lingshen

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

NCTO Neglects Automotive Textiles as Organizations Testify on Proposed USMCA Impact

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


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

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

State of the Chinese Technical Textiles Markets in 2017

Are you looking for a quick understanding of the China technical textiles industry? Through our special relationship with China Nonwovens & Industrial Textiles Association (CNITA) and their China Textile publication, BeaverLake6 Report is pleased to post the English-translation of the recently issued "Status Quo of China's Nonwovens and Industrial Textiles Industry, 2017." The report covers the different levels of the industry, geographic export demographics, and forecast the needs in the major end market applications. Click here to read the report in our China Textile website section. 

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