IFAI Expo Showcases Opportunities and Challenges for Textile Testing


Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

As the textile industry veers rapidly toward technological and industrial innovation, the nature of fabric testing has grown more complex, a fact evidenced in a recent article by Advanced Textile Source covering the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) Expo held in October in Charlotte, N.C.

This year’s IFAI conference, sponsored by North Carolina State University (NCSU) College of Textiles, included an Advanced Textiles Conference Testing Track. Now that manufacturers routinely claim exceptional properties for their products, such as anti-flammability, odor control, and thermoregulation, textiles are facing increased scrutiny from consumers and the government. Extensive testing is still cheaper than a product recall, as one NCSU College of Textiles faculty member pointed out.

The pressure has been a boon for the testing industry. A recent report by MarketsandMarkets estimates testing-related cost will reach $7.22 million by 2020.  Meanwhile, the projected compound average growth rate of global textile testing from 2015 to 2020 could reach 4.6 percent, the article pointed out.

Testing practices are still catching up to innovation and production. For example, a presentation by Dr. Emiel DenHartog of NCSU’s Textile Protection and Comfort (TPAC) Center, warned of the need to investigate real-world functionality in thermal testing, a critical process in developing military and industrial safety apparel.

Electronic textiles present an even greater challenge, as Dr. Jesse Jur, a professor at NCSU, demonstrated using a garment with sensor-enabled ink. After two standard washings, the sensors began to fail, even after adding thermoplastic polyurethane to strengthen the ink. Research on smart fabrics must emphasize washability and the impact of electronics on the body, he concluded.

Several companies exhibited new tools for certifying textiles and tracking their integrity as they moves through the supply chain. Applied DNA Sciences showed off their new fiber tagging technology, designed to help manufacturers prevent the addition of counterfeit fibers in their product. Texbase Inc, a software company, presented a system for managing testing data aimed at simplifying the certification process.

Ultimately, testing advances highlighted in the Testing Track of the IFAI Expo, point to a robust future for the textile industry.

Read the full story here.

Enhanced Cold Weather Comfort


Arc’teryx LEAF Cold WX Jacket and Cold WX Pant
Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

There are missions where cold weather conditions can go to great extremes. In response, Arc’teryx has added a new cold weather jacket and pants to its LEAF line of cold weather outerwear that features GORE® WINDSTOPPER® technology.

Coldproof down to -40F, the new Arc’teryx LEAF Cold WX Jacket and Cold WX Pant SV Multicam feature an advanced version of Gore’s iconic WINDSTOPPER® laminate called MN30p WINDSTOPPER® 2L. The earlier version of the Arc’teryx LEAF Cold WX jacket and pant worked in conditions down to -04F.

Developed for Special Operations personnel, the GORE® WINDSTOPPER® laminate outer shell of the Arc’teryx LEAF Cold Weather jacket and pants is windproof, water-resistant and coldproof, yet highly breathable.

The materials behind the new LEAF Cold Weather ensemble include this new advanced version of GORE® WINDSTOPPER® in combination with two layers of Climashield insulation.

GORE® WINDSTOPPER® fabrics are constructed by laminating Gore’s special ePTFE membrane to a wide range of functional fabrics and have been designed to enhance performance in the field, despite bitter cold. During heavy exertion, human bodies can release over 4½ cups of perspiration in an hour. Only the most breathable fabrics can prevent overheating, which in the coldest conditions, will lead eventually to a war fighter becoming chilled.

GORE® WINDSTOPPER® is 2X more breathable than comparable windproof products, but offers the same level of breathability as comparable non-windproof products. The 1.4 billion micropores in every square inch of the WINDSTOPPER® membrane let water vapor escape virtually unhindered, even when a war fighter is working at maximum intensity.

The end result is soft, lightweight weather protection in one versatile and durable garment. GORE® WINDSTOPPER® fabric also offers water-and snow-resistant capability with faster drying time.

To learn more about the new Arc’teryx LEAF Cold WX Jacket and Cold WX Pant SV Multicam with advanced WINDSTOPPER® you can go to:

Arc’teryx

Soldier Systems

WINDSTOPPER®

 

Marines and Sailors to Receive New Flame-Resistant Uniforms


Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

The Corps will soon issue new fire-resistant uniforms to Marines, as part of the Enhance Fire Resistant Combat Ensemble (EFRCE), Kit Up reported.

The self-extinguishing fabric used to make the new cammies is composed of cotton, nylon, and meta-aramid, the key ingredient in flame-proof Nomex. Officials say the fabric also last longer and EFRCE combat shirts fit underneath the most recent generation of Marine body armor.

Officials have been searching for an improved flame-proof fabric since early 2014. The Corps collaborated with the Navy on the uniform updates and will manufacture Navy Working Uniform Type II and Type III.

The uniforms are part of the Corps’ Flame Resistant Organization Gear system. New shirts and pants will be issued to sailors on deployment and added to the Corps inventory by the close of fiscal year 2017. The Corps expects to produce 70,000 sets in total.

Read the full story here

Marines to Test Eco-Friendly Flame Retardant


Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

The Marines Corps has received samples of uniform fabric treated with a new biodegradable flame retardant, Alexium International Group announced on November 7th, 2016. The company also provided the Corps with independent testing data.

Corps technology and procurement specialist plan to evaluate the samples for safety and effectiveness. The new flame retardant was developed in response to the military’s concern over the health and environmental risks associated with flame retardant, Nicholas Clarke, CEO of Alexium, said.

The treatment was developed in collaboration with Marine and Army acquisition officials, who consider flame-resistant clothing a top priority. The long-term goal is to produce an off-the-shelf flame-resistant, nylon-cotton fabric for the military market, Dirk Van Hyning, President of Alexium, explained.

Read the full press release here.

Preparing for the Navy Working Uniform Switch


Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

Type III cammies, known as “green digital,” are set to become the standard Navy Working Uniform by this October. Navy Times interviewed Corey Heinrich, Master Chief Petty Officer, on what to expect regarding the new uniforms. Here are highlights:

  1. New recruits will receive Type III uniforms at boot camp, while enlistees can expect to receive funds to purchase new outfits. Blue cammies will be disallowed by Oct. 1, 2019.
  2. Officials say it will take more than a year before most Navy Exchanges are carrying the new cammies. The roll-out begins October 2017 with the Recruit Training Center Great Lakes, Illinois and the Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island.
  3. Sailors may be expected to carry two sets of new green cammies, depending on whether the Fleet Force Command completes development on new flame-resistant uniforms. Requirements will not change for black fleece, boots, and socks.
  4. Many sailors are excited about the switch. According to Heinrich, the uniforms are “extremely comfortable” — more breathable and lighter weight than the Type I cammies. Structurally, the main difference is the velcro “mandarin” collar. The suit also includes a velcro insignia, placed in the center of the chest.
  5. Sailors should avoid adding starch to their uniforms, which will degrade the fabric. Instead of ironing, Henrich recommends sailors hang up their uniform immediately after pulling it from the drier. Soldiers may roll-up their uniform sleeves, but may not need to since the fabric is breathable.
  6. Sailors may choose between three types of headgear based on command: The eight-point covers, the blue command ball cap, and the coyote brown ball cap.
  7. The standard black boots will remain, but sailors primarily working the flight line and flight deck can wear flight deck boots. Commands are able to permit coyote brown or tan boots. Sailors should consider rotating their footwear to help break in new shoes.
  8. Seabag requirements are yet-to-be-determined but sailors can expect to see the cost of new uniforms included in their annual paychecks.

Read the full story here.

GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology at Modern Day Marine and AUSA


GORE-TEX® FLEX2FIT™
Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

Incredible Fit, Enthusiastic Response

This year at AUSA and Modern Day Marine, W. L. Gore & Associates (Gore) introduced the military community to GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology, an amazing new fabric that fits perfectly without restricting movement, whether worn alone or over insulative layers.

It’s a major advancement, and a product that generated a lot of interest.

GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology is designed to offer weatherproof protection with the added benefit of durable stretch and recovery. A highly versatile material, GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology reduces the number of jackets a war fighter has to carry into a conflict zone. It accommodates a wide variety of temperatures and conditions because it fits equally well alone or over insulative layers, thus removing the need to carry two or three jackets into battle. Durably waterproof and windproof, it’s also highly breathable. So it’s no surprise that GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology won strong reviews at both shows, as well as a great deal of press, including the story you can link to below in Soldiersystems.net

“GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology is a new technology for military and consumer garment applications that is form fitting and enhanced freedom of movement. The durable weather protection it offers ensures the user and under layers remain dry and comfortable by leveraging the GORE-TEX(R) brand promise of durable waterproof, windproof and breathable protection,” said Jason Rodriguez, marketing communications manager for Gore’s Military Fabric’s division.

“GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology is a great fabric advancement for the GORE-TEX® brand and generated a great deal of interest and excitement for both tactical and consumer applications during Modern Day Marine and AUSA. We are certainly looking to work closely with the various military branches to determine how it can be integrated into various clothing systems.”

He added that GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology also reduces noise signature.

Two brands that will begin selling jackets made from GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology are Outdoor Research and Beyond Clothing.

Here’s what others are saying:

SoldierSystems.net – AUSA – gore-tex-stretch

Advanced Chemical and Biological Protective Clothing and GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology Introduced at AUSA and Modern Day Marine


FLEX2FIT™
Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

The W. L. Gore and Associates Military Fabrics team has been on the road the past few weeks, with trade shows at Modern Day Marine in Quantico, Virginia, and AUSA in Washington, DC.

At both we showcased our new portfolio of advanced chemical and biological (chem/bio) GORE® CHEMPAK® Selectively Permeable Fabric protective clothing, plus GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology, a new ePTFE-based fabric innovation that provides greater maneuverability, with less weight, than current outerwear worn by today’s war fighter. GORE® Katana fabric, designed to enhance mission success in hot and wet environments, was also on display.

img_8489All three were very well received and represent yet another new generation of advanced military fabrics products from Gore’s team of textile scientists.

“The reaction from the audience to these technologies was very positive,” said Jason Rodriguez, marketing communications for Gore’s Military Fabrics business. “The chem/bio portfolio offers a different — and advanced — level of protection compared to other products in the market. We also had several briefings, and the reaction to GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology and that product’s durability under duress was equally positive. People are very intrigued by GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology and its durably waterproof and form-fitting capabilities.”

The chem/bio protective wear featured at the events included the new CPCSU-2 Flex Fit garment and a stretch undergarment, both designed with GORE® CHEMPAK® Selectively Permeable Fabric. These new chem/bio innovations offer durable, broad protection and a reduction in thermal burden, while improving operational effectiveness.

Press reaction to the chem/bio portfolio, GORE-TEX® Fabric with Stretch Technology and GORE® Katana was very strong, and we have links below to videos and news stories generated at both shows.

Click below to see what others are saying.

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SoldierSystems.net – MDM – CHEMPAK®

SoldierSystems.net – AUSA – Overview

SoldierSystems.net – AUSA – Gore-Tex-Stretch

KitUp! – AUSA – CHEMPAK®

Military.com – ASUA – CHEMPAK®

Point Blank’s Convertible Vest Promises Flexibility During a Mission


Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

Point Blank Enterprises has created a fourth-generation tactical vest that can be instantly reconfigured depending on the wearer’s mission, Defense Times reported.

The redesigned Outer Tactical Vest will convert from plate carrier to fully furnished tactical gear, according to Michael Hanks, the director of military business development.

Hanks says the company considered how missions change in an instant. They want to enable soldiers to make a decision about what they need while they’re in the field.

The vest comes with a quick-release to remove features and does not require training.

Read the full story here.

Army Leaders Authorize Command to Allow Sleeve-Rolling


Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

Last Tuesday, senior Army leader signed a memo that will enable commanders to authorize rolled sleeve on Army Combat Uniforms, Army Times reported.

The change provides junior leaders with a greater level of command by shifting some amount of dress control away from senior level officials.

Sleeves may be neatly rolled, with the print side facing in or out, no more than three inches above the elbow.

The Marine Corps, the Navy, and the Air Force allow sleeve-rolling in the summertime, but this privilege is new to many Army soldiers. Troops have not been allowed to roll their sleeves since transitioning from the Battle Dress Uniform to the ACU in 2005.

Read the full story here.

Staying Competitive in a Changing Military Market


Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

The military budget for textiles is down this year, but experts say the need for innovative products will continue to drive the market. Industry news site, Advanced Textile Source, recently posted an article exploring these changes.

Let’s start with the money. The procurement budget of the Defense Logistics Agency for the fiscal year 2017 has been set at $1.8 Billion with a 3.8 percent drop in acquisition funding compared with FY 2016, the article said. Money not allocated for weapons purchasing goes to applied research & development efforts, known as RDT&E. This chunk of the budget impacts textile manufacturers, and it’s declining by 28 percent, a report by Todd Harrison, a defense budget analyst, explained.

That may seem like a substantial loss, but the military continues to seek new kinds of textiles, opening the doors for innovation. Thanks to previous wars, some services have an inventory surplus and don’t need the same products, Carole Winterhalter, a textile technologist for the Army, explained.

Apparel made for extreme conditions, such as the Arctic and the jungle are now in greater demand. The Army also has a heightened interest in chembio suits, and there is funding available for research and development, Mary Lynn Landgraf, senior international trade specialist at the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, noted.

The Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), an organization connecting industry, academia, and government in the smart fabric revolution, recently launched. Their immediate goals include building a network of fabric innovators in defense and commercial applications.

Lobbyists from the United States Industrial Fabrics Institute and the Narrow Fabrics Institute recently met with federal officials to ensure enforcement of the Barry Amendment, an act encouraging the military to prioritize U.S. products. The meeting addressed concerns over maintaining the Amendment’s purchasing threshold at $150,000, eliminating a loophole that allowed the purchase of athletic sneakers sourced from overseas, and clarify language around a subset of textiles and apparel.

The lesson, as always, is that industry must continue to innovate. Successful companies, it seems, will need to develop products capable of serving consumers as well as defense.

Read the full story here.

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