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The sum of its parts

My Take | January 12, 2015 | By:

There are layers and layers (so to speak) to the flexible composites story. We’re going to start with architectural applications in this issue and move on to additional applications throughout this month. Bruce Wright offers up-to-date information on this topic in his article, “Flexible composites = Innovative structures.” Advances in composite textiles have been important in architecture, offering new and impressive performance qualities that were not possible a relatively short time ago, including better thermal control, light transference, light weight and acoustic properties.

With flexible composites, generally, each layer of fabric, designed with specific qualities in mind, adds to the capabilities list, but the “whole,” or end product, truly is greater than the sum of its parts.

You will also find in this issue the first half of a summarized version of IFAI’s State of the Industry report. It covers market segments that we don’t identify with advanced textiles, typically, but the lines between are not always so clearly defined. In any case, it is useful to know what’s going on in the entire fabrics industry, and IFAI’s market research director Jeff Rasmussen does an excellent job of pulling together surveys, government reports and other information to provide a carefully researched and thoughtful overview.

The second half of IFAI’s report covers military, safety and protective, narrow fabrics, geosynthetics, tarpaulins and truck covers, and equipment markets. This, too, will be a summary version of the second half of the more comprehensive report. Still, with the amount of data collected, even the “short” version provides a meaningful look at industry health.

And a real, live person has digested all this information for you, making practiced observations that can be important in guiding your business decisions. I recommend getting the full report when it’s ready early in the summer. You can contact him at to get more information about it.

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