Well-defended exterior upholstery

May 1, 2017

Fabrics and components that result in long-lasting cushions Exterior boat cushions get punished. They withstand the sun, wind, rain, saltwater, temperature changes and passenger activity. Despite these factors, these cushions are expected to look good while exposed to climate conditions. Fortunately, marine fabricators know how to merge form and function in outdoor seating. “We must …

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Part 1: State of the Industry 2017

Despite some slowing of global GDP in 2016, growth of the U.S. and Canadian specialty fabrics industry is slow but steady, and markets like fabric structures, tent rental and manufacturing, fabric graphics and marine fabrication are outpacing national averages. The pace is expected to continue, but can also be somewhat constrained by changes in unemployment …

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An emphasis on strengths

Chris Ritsema leads his company, Canvas Innovations, by building a strong culture for employee success. My vision has always been to grow a company that empowers its employees,” says Chris Ritsema, owner of Canvas Innovations in Holland, Mich. “I want to give people a reason to stay here and build their careers—and to do that …

Beyond process improvement

March 1, 2017

Marine fabricator amps up teamwork and quality results There is a common thread with custom manufacturing—it’s very labor-intensive, very expensive and typically done by artisans and skilled trades people,” says Ed Skrzynski, owner of Marco Canvas, Marco Island, Fla. “When I took over the company from my father, I asked myself if I could successfully …

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High-Performance Sewing Machines

Every trade has its tools, and marine fabrication is no exception. A critically important tool of marine fabrication is the sewing machine. Regardless of the brand, a sewing machine has to be durable, reliable and easily maintained, because it is, after all, the workhorse of a productive shop. Purchasing a professional-grade sewing machine, however, is …

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The third dimension of marine fabrication

January 1, 2017

John Bland revolutionizes marine fabrication by applying 3D CAD principles to the design process.  Moving a business forward can mean advancing the use of technology. “Look at the motor industry—you wouldn’t be happy driving a car that was spec’d 20 years ago,” says John Bland, managing director of Tecsew Ltd., Gosport, Hampshire, U.K. “It’s the …

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Protecting customers from the sun’s harmful rays

Fabricators bring together innovative and classic elements to protect their boating customers from the sun’s harmful rays. Whether permanent or removable, shading on boats has a big job to fulfill: protecting the crew and passengers from the sun while creating a comfortable environment. And boat owners are becoming more knowledgeable about the health dangers that …

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Navigating the nuanced waters of insurance coverage

September 1, 2016

Marine fabricators face a number of unique circumstances in their operations. They perform onsite work at their shops and offsite work at marinas. They use expensive-to-replace tools and equipment both on and off site. Occasionally a fabricator must bring parts of a customer’s watercraft back to his or her facility to do the work. Such …

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Accent on marine innovation

Textiles that combine performance and aesthetics please fabricators and customers Sun and water are the iconic companions of leisure and recreation. However, if you are a marine fabricator, those same elements can also play an adversarial role. Marine fabrics should protect the people and equipment on board from the effects of heat, UV radiation and …

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Climates dictate how five regional shops make enclosures

Local geography can define a business. In the case of marine fabrication shops, locality can factor into everything from work schedules to choice of materials. Whether the shops are based in the subtropical heat of Florida or the often-chilly climate of the Great Lakes, fabricators make sure their marine applications meet customers’ unique needs. Honoring …