New technology, new standard

December 20, 2017

IPC committee seeks comments on e-textiles industry standard. In July 2017, IPC (Association Connecting Electronics Industries) hosted the first web meeting of the IPC E-textiles Materials Subcommittee. Formed by volunteers from the e-textiles community, they had approached IPC with interest in developing industry standards for e-textiles. IPC was chosen because it is a developer of …

A global concern

Supplier compliance is a complex issue for sustainable textile companies. The issue of compliance can be complicated for textile companies, which have to comply with various regulatory and voluntary company standards for product safety and restriction of substances. In the U.S., for example, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) contains provisions that aim to …

The larger sustainability picture

December 11, 2017

  Trends reflect a global interest in natural fibers and ethical practices. The smart and advanced textile industries, while broadly in agreement on the need to be more sustainable, are in less accord when deciding how to address the issue. Cultural and local differences can on one level exacerbate reaching a consensus, but they can …

Small and essential

November 20, 2017

Narrow and small-scale textiles thrive in collaborative partnerships. The narrow fabrics industry belongs in the small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) category, based on the number of employees per organization. The latest United States’ Census Bureau data show that this sector has about 248 companies in the U.S. that employ about 7,840 people, with the average …

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 …