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Award-winning projects recognized at IFAI Expo 2018

October 22nd, 2018 / By: / What's New?

AR Tech’s Contamination Cover Assembly for the James Webb Space Telescope took topic honors in this year’s IAA competition. Photo: AR Tech.

The Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) has awarded this year’s International Achievement Awards (IAA) for design excellence in specialty fabrics applications, which were announced at the awards breakfast on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at IFAI Expo 2018 in Dallas, Texas. For seven decades, IAA has recognized excellence in design and innovation. The organization’s goal is to promote awareness of the specialty fabrics used in thousands of products and applications in the $130 billion dollar global fabrics marketplace.

This year, there were 120 winning projects (Awards of Excellence and Outstanding Achievement Awards) in 42 categories. Winners were selected based on complexity, design, workmanship, uniqueness and function. Judges included industry experts, editors, architects, educators and design professionals. Judges also selected the “Best of Category” winners in each of the seven major award categories (earning the highest total scores among the Award of Excellence winners within that major category).

In the Advanced Textiles category, AR Tech, a Division of A&R Tarpaulins Inc., Fontana, Calif., was recognized with an Award of Excellence, Best in Category, for its Contamination Cover, Inner Line and Soft Cover Assembly. The contamination covers for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) were produced through a contract awarded from Northrop Grumman.

The JWST is set to launch in the year 2021 and will be NASA’s premier observatory that will be serving thousands of astronomers worldwide to help study every phase in the history of the Universe. The covers are necessary while doing various tests on sensitive materials so the object inside and the people outside are not harmed.

There are two contamination covers, one inner and one outer, which cover 13,049 cubic feet each and are used to protect the JWST from outside contaminants. The inner bag is made of an electrostatic film that helps prevent the object from being harmed by static electricity, and the outer bag is made of a transparent-aero packaging which helps provide water proofing and serves the purpose of being a layer of protection for the inner layer.

For this project, a dedicated class 8 clean room was erected in-house featuring HEPA filtration. The company’s quality assurance engineer was trained by the Northrop Grumman Corp. Aerospace contamination team in the area of sample cleaning using NVR and tape sample methods.

The overall project took about a year from being awarded to completion and on-time delivery to Northrop Grumman.