Small scale, big impact

November 8, 2017

Breakthroughs in biomedical textiles will offer high-tech solutions in tomorrow’s medical markets. As the impact of technology gets bigger, some advanced textiles are getting smaller, particularly in the medical market, where biomedical or implantable textiles are having growing success. Because of the versatility of highly engineered textile substrates, medical markets are benefitting from impressive developments …

Challenges and opportunities

October 23, 2017

Smart fabrics products may require novel textile substrates. A key takeaway from the Smart Fabrics Program and E-Textiles Workshop at IFAI Expo this September was the symbiotic relationship between smart technologies and the development of suitable textile substrates to facilitate the desired function. While the fashion apparel business has become increasingly commodity-driven, smart fabrics require …

Military matters

Understanding the opportunities in dealing with the U.S. Department of Defense. Military sessions at IFAI’s Advanced Textiles Conference sought to help attendees make sense of DoD budgets and priorities. One presenter, however, altered his title to read “Making some sense of the DoD budget,” underscoring how complicated it can be. Ron Houle, president of Pivot …

The importance of size and fit

Garment makers are using new technologies to optimize comfort. With the growth of the wearable technology market, innovations in high-tech protective garments and a push by the U.S. military for more comfortable uniforms and gear, the issue of size and fit has also grown in importance. This is not a fashion or aesthetic choice, exclusively; …

IFAI’s first Hackathon yields novel e-textiles products

October 9, 2017

IFAI launched its first “Hackathon” at Expo 2017, challenging registrants to create a new, e-textiles product in just two days—which was actually just twelve hours of work time, as one participant pointed out. Teams of innovators conceptualized and built a functioning prototype for their product using only those materials and tools available to them in …

A long and winding road

The progress of smart fabrics discussed at IFAI’s Advanced Textiles Conference. Smart fabrics, generally defined as textiles that sense and react to various individual stimuli to provide desired effects or benefits, are now entering their third decade. Early smart fabrics relied on specially engineered fibers or finishes, while the digital revolution and the Internet of …

STEM, women and the advanced textile industry

by Marie O’Mahony With the U.S. set to overtake China as the most competitive manufacturing nation within five years, according to a new study by Deloitte Global and the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, the advanced and smart textile industry has to ensure that it has the skills needed to meet this increasingly high-tech industry. To …

A path forward

September 25, 2017

Today’s trade issues can impact your business in the future.   Editor’s note:  I asked an expert, Nate Bolin, an attorney with the Washington D.C. law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, to answer my questions about trade issues, our featured topic in Advanced Textiles Source this month. Mr. Bolin advises clients on …

A new NAFTA?

September 11, 2017

How trade deals currently in discussion could impact the textile industry As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump promised to improve U.S. trade deals, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Since taking office and after threatening to withdraw the United States from NAFTA unless its terms were renegotiated, President Trump has cajoled Mexico and …

Fabrics go multifunctional

August 21, 2017

The development of sophisticated functional fabrics has been a phased process. Textiles have evolved from being just commodity materials to providing an array of benefits, including additional comfort and protection, improved hygiene, and supporting healthcare. The innate nature of fibers can provide certain special characteristics—cotton adds breathability and a smooth hand, and wool offers thermal …