IFAI Expo Americas covers advanced textiles, sustainability

Get ready for the specialty fabrics industry's Main Event

(Roseville, MN--August 26, 2010) Ask Stephen Warner, president and CEO of Industrial Fabrics Association International if he's excited about his association's signature event, IFAI Expo Americas 2010, and he will tell you, "It's going to knock your socks off!"

IFAI Expo Americas 2010, the specialty fabric industry's one-stop-shop for connecting buyers with sellers, will host hundreds of exhibitors from the industry's top companies in fabrics, fiber, films and chemicals, end products, components, equipment, and technology services.

Thousands of attendees are expected at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, USA, 27-29 Oct. It is the largest specialty fabrics trade show in the Americas, after all, and Warner explained what makes 2010 exceptional. "This year has been very exciting because the specialty fabrics industry's activities are virtually ripped from the headlines," he said.

"Everywhere we look there are new opportunities for using specialty fabrics, such as temporary structures for disaster relief in Haiti and Chile; and of course, fabrics used in the emergency oil spill cleanup response in the Gulf of Mexico.

"This summer the world saw the soaring fabric designs of a World Cup Soccer stadium which served as a focal point for the most-watched sport in the world.

"We're providing high-performing camouflage for soldiers' uniforms; sustainable designs for green building; and environmental advances using geomembranes in coal ash containment, for example, which is currently being reviewed by the Environmental Protection Agency. IFAI is at the forefront of the global demand for new fibers, fabrics and technologies, and these will all be on display at Expo."

The Gulf Disaster: How the Specialty Fabrics Industry Responded

Several of IFAI's member companies that make oil boom were in the headlines this summer, from the Wall Street Journal, to NBC Nightly News, National Public Radio's "All Things Considered, and numerous major newspapers, magazines, and other prominent media around the world.

IFAI Expo is going to follow up with a special panel discussion on Thursday, 28 Oct., 1:30-3:00 pm entitled, "The Gulf Disaster: How the Specialty Fabrics Industry Responded," in which key industry leaders involved will review the industry response to the oil disaster in the Gulf.

Need help understanding the recovery? You're not alone.

Growing business in an uncertain economy is the most critical challenge that leaders in the specialty fabrics industry face today. It may come as no surprise that the recovery from the great recession of 2008-2009 has been slow, but why?

John E. Connaughton, Ph.D., professor of economics at the University of North Carolina (UNC), Charlotte, NC, addresses this concern in his Keynote Address at IFAI Expo Americas 2010 on Wed., 27 Oct. at 8:30 am. Connaughton will explain in layman's terms the causes for the recession as it affects small business owners, the key signs of recovery, and how consumer sentiment will determine the pace of expansion and the rate of job growth.

Connaughton is director of the UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast, and is frequently asked to provide economic impact reports for both private companies and public agencies. He has authored a variety of economic impact studies, which have received widespread attention. He is the current president of the Southern Regional Science Association and is serving on the Legislative Oversight Committee for Public-Private Partnerships.

IFAI's 2010 International Achievement Awards Recognize Fabric Design Excellence Across the World

The specialty fabrics industry has a very prominent role in the global marketplace and is one of the most exciting arenas for innovation. The recipients of IFAI's 2010 International Achievement Awards (IAA), the industry's premier awards program for 62 years, will be announced at the Chairman's Gala on the final evening of Expo, Friday 29 Oct. This year there were 386 entries from 14 countries.

The IAA program showcases design excellence (in 28 market areas) among hundreds of participating projects from all over the world each year. Designers, manufacturers and subcontractors of specialty fabric end products qualify for the annual competition which has included spectacular global structures such as the innovative Beijing National Stadium (Bird's Nest) for the 2008 Olympics.

Winning projects receive extensive media exposure through press releases and on IFAI websites, and are frequently featured in IFAI magazines, including Specialty Fabrics Review. All entries are on display in the convention center during IFAI Expo Americas.

Blending Technology and Materials at the Advanced Textiles Conference

Science and technology are constantly blending to create new opportunities. These inventive ideas give businesses the competitive edge needed in today's advancing marketplace.

New this year at IFAI Expo, the Advanced Textiles Conference features six special sessions over two days, 26 and 27 Oct., beginning with the 7th International Conference on Safety and Protective Fabrics--Textiles for Extreme Applications.

Demanding conditions require highly-engineered textile solutions, and this biennial conference showcases the latest research and applications surrounding "Textiles for Extreme Applications." Presenters include experts from the following organizations: Patagonia, Textronics/ Adidas, Fabrikology, Oeko-Tex US, Anvil Knitwear, Aspen Aerogel, AR Tech, Hologenics, ArmorWorks, Advanced Fabric Technologies, Sky/Dex, T-PACC, North Carolina State University, and Radiation Shield Technologies.

Other Advanced Textiles sessions include...

  • Advancements in Multi-functional Nonwovens
  • Sustainability and Innovation
  • Composites Material Applications
  • Advanced Applications in Battle and Military Medical Fields (Part 1 & 2)
  • The Future of Nanotechnology on Advanced Textiles
  • Intelligent Textiles: Reducing the Burden

Spotlight Session: "E-Textiles for the Future Dismounted Soldier."

Presented by Dr. Stan Swallow, a director of Intelligent Textiles Ltd, a U.K.-based technology company that specializes in electrically active woven fabrics, or "e-textiles." He is the featured luncheon speaker on Tuesday, 26 Oct.

For over five years Dr. Swallow has been researching and developing e-textiles for defense applications, predominantly as a replacement for conventional cables in soldier systems, where he offers a radical solution to some of the burden problems facing today's dismounted soldier and marine. He will describes the development of electrically conductive textiles and the significant advantages that they promise.

IFAI Expo Americas 2010 will also feature two distinctive educational tracks.

Business Track

The Business Track has been designed to give companies the tools to add to their bottom line with practical information such as marketing tips, economic forecasts, best practices, new product development; and how to increase awareness of your brand by using social media.

Spotlight Session: "Lean Transformation."

Presented by Jeff Kopenit, Director of Advanced Manufacturing, Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center (DVIRC), on Wed., 27 Oct.

Kopenit explains that lean manufacturing is a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste by flowing the product at the pull of the customer in pursuit of perfection.

Lean Transformation typifies the best in leadership, culture, strategy and operational excellence that defines highly-successful manufacturers today-regardless of company size.

Fabrication Track

The Fabrication Track will highlight practical learning opportunities ranging from fabric welding and sewing workshops to bending, designing cutting and patterning for marine and awning applications. A peer-to-peer learning experience has been developed by creating roundtable discussions that will provide tips-and -tricks from your fellow industry leaders.

Architecture Sessions Highlight Green Roofs and Landscapes and Fabric Structures

IFAI has developed two special sessions for architects, designers and landscapers. Architects may attend three educational programs free and earn AIA/CEHs (7.75 if you attend all three sessions. Otherwise the two evening sessions are 2.0 credits each).

"How to Design Green Roofs and Landscapes" will be held Tuesday, 26 Oct., 6:00 pm-9:00 pm, at the Rosen Plaza. This session has been co-organized with the Geosynthetic Materials Association (a division of IFAI), and reviews the use of geosynthetics in designing sustainable, energy-efficient green roofs. Presenters include Marco Sanchez, ML Ingenieria; Bruce Dvorak, ASLA, Dept. of Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning, Texas A&M University; Allan Wingfield, AIA, Colbond, Inc.; and Nicole Eisenhardt, Tecta America Corp.

"Architectural Opportunities—Exploring Fabric Structures" will be held Thursday, 28 Oct., 1:00-7:00 pm at Rosen Plaza, ending with a reception. This session examines the fact that we live in a new world with a new perception of architecture. Attendees will see and hear how fabric structures fit in this new role. Materials discussed include PTFE fiberglass, PVC polyester, silicone/glass, ePTFE, HDPE mesh, ETFE films and foils,and polyolefin. This event is co-organized with the Fabric Structures Association (FSA). Presenters will be Wayne Rendely, Wayne Rendely PE; and Sam Armijos, AIA, Fabric Structures.

The "Fabric Structures Symposium" will be held Thursday, 28 Oct., 9:30 am-12:30 pm at the Orange County Convention Center. Codes, regulations and standards are shaping the future of fabric structures. Case studies involving code challenges and how they were overcome will be presented by well-known industry manufactures. Participants will learn where this industry is headed through a look at inspirational emerging designs. Presenters include Wayne Rendely, Wayne Rendely PE, Ken Keberle, Karl's Event Rental; and Jim Chadbourn, Rubb Building Systems.

A trade show that gives businesses a competitive edge

Describing the entire combination of the biggest specialty fabrics trade show with the most cutting edge symposiums and workshops, Stephen Warner sums it up this way.

"If you attend only one trade event this year, it should be IFAI Expo Americas 2010. We're especially excited to present the Advanced Textiles Conference, 26-27 Oct., which also includes the 7th International Conference on Safety and Protective Fabrics. The six sessions will showcase high-level research, the latest textile engineering and technology.

"For example, the next generation of products developed with nanotechnology will add functionality to textile products never dreamed of. The trends and ideas presented in these Advanced Textiles sessions alone will give your business a competitive edge. They're not to be missed!"

About the organizer...

IFAI Expo Americas 2010 is organized by the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI), the largest textile trade organization in the world. IFAI publishes seven market-specific magazines in print and online, organizes major industry events, and through hundreds of activities supports the success of nearly 2,000 member companies located in over 58 countries.