Standards for textiles are a good thing. People would agree, generally, that this is true. But this is not really a yes-or-no question, either. Establishing standards that fit today’s materials and end products – and staying on top of all the performance capabilities possible – is a relentless challenge for those who participate in this endeavor.
Testing to specific standards is also a good thing, and necessary. But what tests? And who should perform them? And will lab tests provide an accurate assessment of the product’s real-world performance? It gets ever more complicated. The good news is that there are capable people in the industry working to address all these questions, and more useful information is getting out to those who need to know.
At IFAI’s Expo and Advanced Textiles Conference in Charlotte, N.C., in October, testing had a prominent place, both in the conference sessions and on the show floor. In fact, an entire track in the educational portion was devoted to specific issues about testing, and a large testing demonstration booth was available to participants on the show floor. Many of the organizations, academic institutions and others who deal with testing were also represented on the show floor, providing varied perspectives on the many facets of textile testing.
We’ve already posted stories about this on this site, and we have more coming this month; this is not a topic that is managed in one quick article. Be sure to look, specifically, for textile expert Debra Cobb’s coverage of these sessions, and for updates on new standards for wearable technology, with insights from North Carolina State University’s wearables expert, Dr. Jesse Jur.
Many IFAI members are hard at work as representatives on a variety of committees set up by organizations that deal with standards. I encourage you to connect with them and share your views. In fact, feel free to share your views with our readers on this site.
There is more to come this month, and in the months to come, as developments in this area unfold. We invite you to be part of the conversation.
Janet Preus is senior editor of Advanced Textiles Source.