Industry News

Entry of NMMA certified vessels into Canada made easier

January 23, 2020

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is entering a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Transport Canada to ease the entry of NMMA certified boats and yachts for sale into the Canadian marketplace. NMMA certified boat manufacturers will soon be able to provide an NMMA certificate for their certified model alongside an abbreviated Declaration of Conformity …

People

Industry veteran Steve Toth retires

January 22, 2020

After 36 years in the textile industry Steve Toth will be retiring from his position at Ennis Fabrics as regional sales manager, specialty division. Over his career, Toth has served on the board for numerous industry associations. Currently, Toth is a director on IFAI’s PAMA board. “From the beginning, Steve’s customer service philosophy and values …

Company News

Jeff Nichols promoted to operations supervisor for Dunlap’s U.S. Thread division

January 21, 2020

Dunlap Industries Inc. is pleased to announce the promotion of Jeff Nichols to operations supervisor for its US Thread division. Nichols has worked with US Thread the past 12 years, plus several years part-time during his high school years. He has been an integral part of the company and has performed a variety of responsibilities, …

Accessories

Premier Product Showcase 2020 call for submissions

January 21, 2020

Reader surveys show that New Products are one of the most popular parts of Marine Fabricator magazine. Get your products in front of thousands of customers in the May/June issue of Marine Fabricator magazine, for free! Showcase your company’s most valued products and get maximum exposure. Deadline: Friday, February 21, 2020 NO COST TO PARTICIPATE …

Marine

Marine Fabricators Conference 2020 Creates Vibrant Buzz

January 21, 2020

The 2020 Marine Fabricators Conference that took place Jan. 9–11 in Daytona Beach, Fla., created a vibrant buzz among the 269 verified participants, 46 exhibitors and 65 first-time attendees. Conference-goers enjoyed a wide variety of educational sessions, networking events, an impressive shop tour and the high-energy exhibitor show floor where they explored the newest innovations …

Industry News

275,000 new boats sold through November

January 21, 2020

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) November New Powerboat Registrations Report shows new powerboat retail unit sales were up 6 percent on a rolling 3-month year-over-year (R3M YOY) basis and down 1 percent on a rolling 12-month year-over-year (R12M YOY) totaling 275,000 units. Insights from the November report include: •Sales of new personal watercraft and …

News

Jeff Newkirk Achieves MFC Certification

January 17, 2020

New Marine Fabricators Association (MFA) Advisory Board member Jeff Newkirk, owner of Precision Custom Canvas Inc., in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, achieved Master Fabrics Craftsman (MFC) certification in Marine in December 2019. This certification recognizes that Newkirk has attained the highest level of expertise in all phases of hands-on product design, craftsmanship and installation for …

Industry News

U.S. boat sales up in 2019, expected to remain strong in 2020

January 15, 2020

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) announced that retail unit sales of new powerboats are estimated to have held steady in 2019 at approximately 280,000 units, the second highest total since 2007. The busy winter boat show season kicks off this week across the country and NMMA expects new powerboat sales to be up as …

News

MMI Textiles names Jeff Papalia vice president

January 13, 2020

MMI Textiles Inc., a global diversified supplier of industrial and custom fabrics and textile components with military and tactical, medical, commercial and apparel expertise, has named Jeff Papalia as vice president. Papalia will be strategically located in North Carolina and will start with MMI on January 13, 2020. Papalia was selected for the new position …

Company News

Steve Szenay appointed Serge Ferrari technical support manager

January 13, 2020

Serge Ferrari announced that Steve Szenay has been promoted to Technical Support Manager for North America. Szenay will be responsible for disseminating technical information for all Serge Ferrari products sold in the United States and Canada, including product use, fabrication best- practices, maintenance and claim evaluation. In this newly created position, Szenay will be the …

Expo News

Don’t overlook overhead

October 10, 2019

Gary Westlund, of Awning Tracker, knows what he’s talking about when he says, “Overhead is a real cost. Unless you properly account for overhead on job bids, you are just guessing.” Westlund gave a straight-talk presentation at Expo 2019 in early October, telling attendees he owned and operated his own awning business for 25 years, …

Awards

IFAI’s 2019 Outstanding Volunteer Awards

October 8, 2019

At this year’s annual meeting during IFAI Expo 2019, IFAI presented the Outstanding Volunteer Awards, recognizing members who generously gave of their time to serve on different boards, task forces and committees, judged competitions and provided education and leadership to others in the industry. This year’s winners: Amy Bircher, president, MMI Textiles Inc. Jonathan Chakales, …

Expo News

2019 Chairman’s Award winner: Scott Campbell, Rainier Industries

October 8, 2019

The Chairman’s Award (originally, the President’s Award) is an honor bestowed by the chairman of IFAI to an individual that has had an extraordinary and meaningful impact on the association. It is rarely given, and awarded at the sole discretion of the IFAI chairman. At IFAI’s annual meeting at IFAI Expo 2019, IFAI chairman Steve …

Expo News

Award breakfast transforms into a networking event

October 4, 2019

Keynote speaker Thom Singer hosted IFAI’s annual award ceremony October 3 at Expo 2019, continuing his message to “see people.” As Expo exhibitors and attendees entered the breakfast event, Singer encouraged people to separate from familiar colleagues and sit with new people. This year’s award ceremony was infused with an additional goal—that of networking with …

Awards

2019 Show Stoppers at IFAI Expo

October 3, 2019

All the best from Florida: Thursday morning, Oct. 3, at IFAI Expo led off with lists of winners for the year, including the most popular products on the show floor. The eighth annual Show Stopper competition was designed to showcase the best of the best in the industry, from fabrics, equipment and chemicals to services …

Expo News

Puerto Rico pups steal hearts at IFAI Expo 2019

October 3, 2019

Amid the latest fabrics, equipment, technology and services for the specialty fabrics industry, Lorenzo, Lilo, Lolo, and Lulo stole hearts, and, according to some dog lovers—the show—at IFAI Expo 2019 in Orlando, Fla. For this Expo, the Industrial Fabrics Foundation (IFF) and the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando came together to promote two great causes. …

Expo News

IFAI Expo 2019 Keynote: ‘Choose people’ to make effective connections

October 2, 2019

Thom Singer, the keynote speaker at IFAI’s annual meeting on Wed., Oct. 2, at IFAI Expo, is clear about one thing: People want to do business with people they know, like and trust. And that connection won’t happen through second-hand tools offered on social media or other electronic sites. Singer, a consultant to executives and …

Expo News

Follow the right steps to successfully bid on military contracts

October 2, 2019

The U.S. government is the largest buyer of goods and services in the world, and there are enough opportunities available for everyone to participate in military contract bidding, if you follow the right steps, according to Jennifer Fennell, CPM, director of procurement for Polo Custom Products, Topeka, Kan.  Fennell and Jeff Papalia, textiles program manager …

Expo News

IFAI Expo 2019 Early Bird Rates End June 26

June 19, 2019

For Immediate Release June 18, 2019 PR Contact Christian Weiland 651 225 6916 caweiland@ifai.com   IFAI Expo 2019 takes place Oct. 1-4 in Orlando, FL, USA. The Early Bird Rate deadline is approaching fast, and those who wish to save on their Expo registration must do so by June 26. This year’s Expo is held …

Expo News

Small shops: Tips for shortening your lead times

October 17, 2018

Torey Heinz, of Teagles Consulting, has a background in small manufacturing jobs shops. This gives him a good sense of how poor workflow and other issues can affect a small shop’s lead times. Shortening lead time is important, Teagle told participants at his Oct. 17 Expo session, because shorter lead times mean increased sales and …

Feature

Training a new generation

January 1, 2020

Kathryn Maisto mastered her marine canvas skills over a lifetime and across oceans, and now she’s training a new generation. By Jill C. Lafferty I’m always looking for ways to enhance our product line,” says Kathryn Maisto, owner of Fairwinds Canvas LLC, Racine, Wis. “In what we do and what we offer, we have truly …

Feature

Managing Time and Space

January 1, 2020

Follow these four steps to increase shop efficiency and boost your bottom line. By Sigrid Tournquist The secret to an efficient shop boils down to understanding chargeable time versus non-chargeable time—and then doing whatever possible to decrease non-chargeable time. How the workspace is arranged, whether or not workers can easily find and access what they’re …

Feature

2020 MFA Time Standards Manual

January 1, 2020

The Time Standards Manual was developed in 1996 by the Marine Fabricators Association (MFA), a division of the Industrial Fabrics Association International, to serve as a benchmark that shop owners can use to set fabrication times, with which they can generate competitive labor costs. The manual is an ongoing project that will grow and change …

Feature

Long-term growth: the right equipment, the right software, the right employees

December 6, 2019

At each step along the supply chain, customers demand quality, efficiency, flexibility and speed.  The right kind of equipment, with the right kind of software and the right kind of operator, can lead to long-term growth.  by Maura Keller Today’s consumer expects faster turnaround times and custom quality at low prices, which means that manufacturers …

Feature

Gain and retain: creating a rewarding culture for employees

December 6, 2019

Today’s tight labor market can turn employees fickle, posing challenges for companies that need to maintain a strong and skilled workforce. But with the right approach—and good benefits and wages—employers can keep ‘em coming back. by Pamela Mills-Senn After spending 18 years as an employee, Chris Ritsema, owner of Holland, Mich., Canvas Innovations LLC, knew …

Feature

Additional services enrich relationships and bottom line

December 6, 2019

Adding services to core offerings can provide a way to cement customers to your business, meeting more of their needs and strengthening your appeal—and bottom line—in the process. Once a company has a firm grip on its core business, attention often turns to broadening the services already offered or adding entirely new ones that build …

Feature

Finders, keepers: long-term customer loyalty

December 6, 2019

Attracting customers in the market for shade products is one thing; retaining them for future business is another. Managing both objectives requires establishing connections that are meaningful and lasting.  by Pamela Mills-Senn A quick Google search on “connecting with customers” reveals all sorts of advice, usually in the form of the “seven best ways,” or the …

Feature Members only content

Finders, keepers: long-term customer loyalty

November 1, 2019

Attracting customers in the market for shade products is one thing; retaining them for future business is another. Managing both objectives requires establishing connections that are meaningful and lasting.  by Pamela Mills-Senn A quick Google search on “connecting with customers” reveals all sorts of advice, usually in the form of the “seven best ways,” or the …

MFA Excellence Awards

MFA Awards entry now open

September 10, 2019

The deadline for submissions to the 2020 MFA Fabrication Excellence Awards is November 15, 2019. From design excellence to quality workmanship, the awards showcase projects that represent the breadth of the industry—from tops and covers to interior and exterior upholstery. Awards will be announced at the 2020 MFA Conference. To enter or for more information, …

Feature Members only content

Prepare now for a future disaster

September 1, 2019

When the worst happens to your business, it’s already too late. The time to prepare for a disaster is now. By Jeff Moravec Although extreme events such as fires, floods, hurricanes and other disasters were once considered rarities, they are becoming more common. Business owners need to ask themselves how they would survive such an …

Industry News

Entry of NMMA certified vessels into Canada made easier

January 23, 2020

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is entering a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Transport Canada to ease the entry of NMMA certified boats and yachts for sale into the Canadian marketplace. NMMA certified boat manufacturers will soon be able to provide an NMMA certificate for their certified model alongside an abbreviated Declaration of Conformity …

Industry News

275,000 new boats sold through November

January 21, 2020

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) November New Powerboat Registrations Report shows new powerboat retail unit sales were up 6 percent on a rolling 3-month year-over-year (R3M YOY) basis and down 1 percent on a rolling 12-month year-over-year (R12M YOY) totaling 275,000 units. Insights from the November report include: •Sales of new personal watercraft and …

Industry News

U.S. boat sales up in 2019, expected to remain strong in 2020

January 15, 2020

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) announced that retail unit sales of new powerboats are estimated to have held steady in 2019 at approximately 280,000 units, the second highest total since 2007. The busy winter boat show season kicks off this week across the country and NMMA expects new powerboat sales to be up as …

Company News

Steve Szenay appointed Serge Ferrari technical support manager

January 13, 2020

Serge Ferrari announced that Steve Szenay has been promoted to Technical Support Manager for North America. Szenay will be responsible for disseminating technical information for all Serge Ferrari products sold in the United States and Canada, including product use, fabrication best- practices, maintenance and claim evaluation. In this newly created position, Szenay will be the …

Industry News

Annual advocacy survey ends soon

January 7, 2020

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is calling on all recreational boating industry stakeholders to participate in the association’s second annual advocacy survey, which will play an important role in shaping the organization’s 2020 policy priorities. Click here to take the survey. Direct stakeholder feedback is essential to ensuring the industry’s advocacy efforts are robust …

Industry News

Chicago Boat and RV Show opens in early January

January 2, 2020

The Chicago Boat, RV and Sail Show™ runs Jan. 8-12, 2020, at McCormick Place in downtown Chicago. The show will have more than 600 boats and 100 recreational vehicles on display and include seminars and the latest in outdoor accessories. The show will have a pool where attendees can demo kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and sailboats. …

Industry News

Deadline to enter 2020 Miami Innovation Awards is Jan. 10

December 31, 2019

The deadline to enter new products for the 2020 Miami International Boat Show® Innovation Awards is Jan. 10, 2020. The Innovation Awards recognize manufacturers and suppliers who bring new, innovative products to market, and the winners will be announced during the Miami Boat Show in February. The Innovation Awards program is managed by the National …

Industry News

New powerboat registrations rise in October

December 26, 2019

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) October New Powerboat Registrations Report shows new powerboat retail unit sales were up 5 percent on a rolling 3-month year-over-year (R3M YOY) basis and down 1 percent on a rolling 12-month year-over-year (R12M YOY) basis. Total new units sold in 2019 (through October) reached 261,600, signaling that total 2019 …

Industry News

Minnesota creates outdoor recreation task force

December 17, 2019

Minnesota will create an Outdoor Recreation Task Force (ORTF) to study and identify economic and participation opportunities around the state’s robust outdoor recreation resources. The effort to create the task force was jointly pursued by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Explore Minnesota and was supported by many Minnesota outdoor recreation businesses—from boating …

Industry News

New Jersey pledges $13 million to fight harmful algal blooms

December 11, 2019

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that his administration will distribute more than $13 million to fund a new initiative to reduce and prevent future harmful algal bloom outbreaks in New Jersey. The program will fund science-based prevention, mitigation, study and response efforts across the state. In 2019, there were more than 70 suspected and …

Accessories

Premier Product Showcase 2020 call for submissions

January 21, 2020

Reader surveys show that New Products are one of the most popular parts of Marine Fabricator magazine. Get your products in front of thousands of customers in the May/June issue of Marine Fabricator magazine, for free! Showcase your company’s most valued products and get maximum exposure. Deadline: Friday, February 21, 2020 NO COST TO PARTICIPATE …

Products

Maximum light

January 1, 2020

Built to outlast portable work light standards and expectations, the Big Ass Light Bar checks in at nearly 5 pounds and 2 feet long, and features a waterproof IP67-rated design, shock-absorbing components and chemical-resistant materials. With six brightness settings reaching a 5,000-lumen maximum output, it’s a tool, not a flashlight. Every piece of the light …

Products

Strong, stable fabric

January 1, 2020

Durable Coolshade stands up to the sun and meets harsh climate conditions head on. It is recommended for awnings, shade structures, pool covers, athletic divider curtains, marine applications, boat tops, tents and tension structures. Easy to clean, weldable, mildew-resistant and UV-resistant, this premium outdoor fabric has a wick-resistant scrim and accepts many types of graphics …

Products

Tough marine vinyls

January 1, 2020

Surf and Bayside marine vinyls are designed to handle all the challenges that long exposure to sun and water bring. Both employ Splash construction, a pink stain-resistant vinyl formulation. With UV protection, crack resistance and four-way stretch, the vinyls for boat interiors and exteriors feature a cold crack rating of -25 degrees Fahrenheit and 1,000 …

Products

Grinding and finishing disc

January 1, 2020

The Blue-Kote™ Soft Material Application Flap Disc grinds aluminum and all non-ferrous metals at high speed with minimal clogging or loading, while keeping the work surface temperature low for quality finishing. The soft, long-lasting disc that simultaneously grinds and finishes saves process time, eliminates the need for product changeover and reduces total cost. The Type …

Products

Breathable polyester

January 1, 2020

Solution-dyed polyester Hydrofend™ balances high water resistance with breathability, letting water vapor out while preventing water from coming in. Applications for Hydrofend include boat covers, boat enclosures, storage covers and furniture covers. To ensure superior performance, the fabric was designed with a tear strength starting at almost 40 pounds warp and fill. Available with a …

Products

High-strength repair ribbon

January 1, 2020

Forj is a high strength, lightweight plastic ribbon that molecularly fuses to itself in a matter of seconds. Simply heat, press and repeat to form the plastic into any desired shape. Once cooled, the self-bonding plastic hardens, creating a bond as strong as steel. Quick fix uses on the water include repairing a reel, strengthening …

Products

Eqodry reticulated foam now available in US

December 24, 2019

Eqodry USA launched a new line of thermally reticulated smart foam products to the U.S. market at the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) Marine Fabricators Conference held in Daytona Beach, Fla., January 9-11, 2020. The open cell structure of Eqodry®—pronounced E-Co-Dri—allows water to pass through for zero water retention and fast drying times, which makes …

Products

SunMaster fabric featured during 2019 IFAI Expo

October 29, 2019

A featured Show Stopper at the 2019 IFAI Expo, SunMaster™ is a versatile 7.5 oz. solution-dyed polyester featuring a 5-year warranty that is specially formulated to withstand just about anything Mother Nature can serve up. The fabric is abrasion resistant and easy to clean, making it an excellent choice for marine, awning, shade and garden …

Accessories

Sail sensor provides data

October 15, 2019

With a growing desire to use data to enhance the performance and enjoyment of sailing, Sail-Sense is a new sensor that helps boaters be smarter about sail management. The sensor attaches permanently to the sail, measuring key performance data such as hours of use, UV, G-force and flogging (movement). Like a “passport” for a boat’s …

Awards

Marine Fabricator wins publishing awards

November 12, 2019

The Minnesota Media and Publishing Association recognized Marine Fabricator magazine, led by senior editor Elisa Bernick, with a Bronze Award and a Silver Award in publishing excellence for how-to articles, “Seam finishing for marine cushions and covers” and “Zipper basics and helpful sewing techniques.” Both articles were written by Terri Madden, owner of Sand Sea …

Interiors & Upholstery

Window Treatment Trends

July 1, 2017

Interest in window coverings for marine applications has experienced a rebirth of sorts and more consumers, fabricators and designers are using innovative window treatment designs. When Krisha Plauché, owner of Onboard Interiors in Marblehead, Mass., is fabricating drapery for a stateroom, she often uses blackout applications, but Plauché has found that lining drapery with a …

In the Shop

Fresh updates for older vessels

January 1, 2017

Most interior fabrication projects occur on fixer-uppers. The vessel might be vintage or it might be less than ten years old. While I always welcome the challenge of doing a better design than the original, there is a fine line between aesthetics and practicality. After all, the boat needs to be both comfortable and secure …

How-To Articles

Constructing snow flies for the Alaskan climate

January 1, 2017

Our winters in Fairbanks, Alaska, can be cold or very cold with lots of snow or little snow; it all depends. One condition we don’t see often is wind. In my 26 years of living here, I can remember only one time when the wind blew and the snow flew. Most of our snow falls …

How-To Articles

Meticulous prototyping leads to attractive cylinder cushions

September 1, 2016

Over the years I have been asked to fabricate several unusual items. I never know if that item will be a one-hit wonder or will become a customer favorite. In most cases, I create prototypes that help me creatively solve design challenges. I charge a prototype fee of a few hundred dollars to develop and …

How-To Articles

Marine fabricators meet customers’ window wish lists

August 1, 2016

When making boat windows for customers, marine fabricators often have a specific set of requirements of their materials. “Our fabricators require a sheet that is easy to handle, durable and can be cut and sewn easily without fear of damaging the product,” says Lyle Shipley, product manager at O’Sullivan Films, Winchester, Va., for O’Sea and …

How-To Articles

Complex and compound frame bending

July 1, 2016

Incorporating unconventional design into dodgers and biminis. I often suggest that my customers try to think out of the box when envisioning what their boats can look like. I tell them, “If I have done my job properly, the cover will become part of the boat.” Take a spray dodger, for example. I generally recommend …

Interiors & Upholstery

The art of project management on contour cushions

July 1, 2016

Marine fabricators are a unique group of craftspeople and business owners. Many of us are familiar with the notion that creative pursuits are right-brain activities, while math and logic are left-brain activities. As marine fabricators, we utilize the right sides of our brains for design solutions that meet customers’ aesthetic and practical expectations. At the …

Interiors & Upholstery

Restyled sleeping cabins

May 1, 2016

Interior sleeping cabins on a vessel have always been my favorite projects. I enjoy researching options and ultimately providing customers with tidy solutions that offer easy accessibility. Cabin spaces and mattresses come in all shapes and sizes. One of my clients claims to sleep 14 people on his 54-foot Bertram with only three interior cabins, …

How-To Articles

Lazy Jack – stack pack sail covers

March 1, 2016

These names are some of the descriptions for a process of suspending sail covers. I started making these Lazy Jack covers 20 years ago, as a progress/advance of the Lazy Jack rope system, designed to help flake a main sail as it is put away. The idea was to connect the rope to a sail …