Industry News

Report shows outdoor recreation’s positive role on economy

September 24, 2019

Newly released economic data on the national and state levels show outdoor recreation is a powerful driver of national and local economies, and it is growing faster than the U.S. economy as a whole. This is the second consecutive year that the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, …

Industry News

Michigan to promote outdoor recreation industry

September 19, 2019

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced this week that Brad Garmon will serve as the new director of Michigan’s Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry–an office established earlier this year to build public awareness about the economic, social, and public health benefits of outdoor recreation and provide a unified voice for the diverse businesses and organizations that …

Industry News

STEP Ahead Awards call for nominations

September 17, 2019

Nominations for The Manufacturing Institute’s 2020 STEP Ahead Awards close on Friday, Oct. 4. The STEP Ahead Awards honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in science, technology, engineering and production (STEP) careers. On April 30, 2020, in Washington, D.C., the Institute will recognize 100 women and 30 Emerging Leaders, a category to honor …

Industry News

Boating safety statistics improved in 2018

September 12, 2019

There were 633 boating fatalities nationwide in 2018, a 3.8 percent decrease from 2017, according to the recently released U.S. Coast Guard 2018 Recreational Boating Statistics Report. From 2017 to 2018, overall recreational boating injuries also decreased 4.5 percent (2,629 to 2,511), and the total number of accidents decreased 3.4 percent (4,291 to 4,145). Alcohol …

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, …

Industry News

New powerboat registrations up 1.1 percent through June

September 5, 2019

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) New Powerboat Registration Report has been updated with data through June. Preliminary data from the report show new powerboat registrations were up 1.1 percent through June on a rolling 12-month year-over-year basis and down 1.3 percent on a rolling 3-month year-over-year basis. “While we’re down 2 percent YTD YOY …

Events

Tampa boat show postponed due to Hurricane Dorian

September 3, 2019

The 2019 Progressive Insurance Tampa Boat Show, originally scheduled for Sept. 6-8, has been postponed to Oct. 25-27 due to uncertainty surrounding Hurricane Dorian. The show will remain at the Tampa Convention Center for its new October dates. “While we are disappointed to postpone the event, our main concern is the safety of the boaters, …

Advice

Tools, tips and tricks

September 1, 2019

These are submissions to the 2018 and 2019 Marine Fabricators Conference Tools, Tips and Tricks contest.  The 2020 contest submission deadline is Dec. 10 at marine.ifai.com/marine-fabricators-conference/tools-tips-and-tricks/. Tip 1  Prevent burning on stainless steel frames Here is a simple and clean solution for keeping window materials from touching and burning stainless steel frames. Attach a narrow …

Business

Common mistakes cost more than you think

September 1, 2019

There’s a high cost to being too busy to get work done. By Randy Westlund I  was consulting for the owners of a company recently. They’d worked hard last year. They did a record number of jobs. They even had to hire two installers and a welder to get it all done. But at the end …

Feature

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 …

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 …

Expo News

The right technology can save you money

October 17, 2018

Trying to figure out which technology can save a business money can be confusing given all the options available. In his Oct. 17 Expo session, “Using Technology to Improve the Bottom Line,” Mark Stiver, manager of ecommerce, strategy and analytics for Trivantage, gave a high-level view of the primary types of technology available to specialty …

Expo News

IFAI Expo 2018: Show Stopper winners on the floor

October 17, 2018

All the best from Texas: Wednesday morning, Oct. 17, at IFAI Expo led off with lists of winners for the year, including the most popular products on the show floor. The seventh 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

2018 International Achievement Award Winners Announced

October 17, 2018

The Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) has awarded this year’s International Achievement Awards (IAA) for design excellence in specialty fabrics applications, announced at the awards breakfast on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at IFAI Expo 2018. IFAI Expo is the largest specialty fabrics trade show in North America, held this year at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention …

Expo News

Sharpen your competitive edge

October 17, 2018

Asking yourself one simple question can help make your business a magnet for new customers, says marketing professional Madeleine MacRae, owner of MM MacRae Coaching & Consulting. “That question is ‘Who is your ideal client?’” In her Oct. 16 Expo session on distinguishing yourself in the marketplace, MacRae says answering this question is the key …

Expo News

Digital presence is key to acquiring new customers in 2019

October 16, 2018

It’s no surprise the digital world means a company’s ability to attract and keep customers requires a dramatic shift in strategy, tools and resources. Ed Keough, vice president of sales for FutureGuard Building Products Inc. in Auburn, Maine, told business owners they need to embrace digital advertising or be “left in the dust” during his …

Expo News

IFAI Expo keynote speaker Mark Scharenbroich: “acknowledge, honor and connect” with employees and customers

October 16, 2018

Keynote speaker Mark Scharenbroich has straightforward advice for growing a business: Make a true connection with employees and customers and positive results will follow. Scharenbroich shared his humor and motivational wisdom with a packed room at IFAI’s 2018 Expo annual meeting October 16. Rain, wind and cold outside the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in …

Expo News

Textile testing for comfort

October 16, 2018

IFAI’s Pre-Expo Conference Oct. 15 in Dallas offered a range of presentations—many of them focused on topics of particular interest in the advanced textiles area. Textile testing is one topic that will be addressed in more than one session. At the beginning of his talk yesterday on testing and evaluating fabrics’ human comfort, performance and …

Expo News

Useful social media for companies of all sizes

October 15, 2018

Should you bother with social media? Most definitely yes, says Luke Gusman, marketing manager for Sta-Lok Inc., a longtime manufacturer of marine and architectural rigging hardware. Gusman says that no matter how large or small your company, there are five social media platforms that can increase engagement with your product or service and raise your …

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

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 …

Feature

Automation advantages

September 1, 2019

Technology solutions offer marine fabricators expanded capabilities, opportunities for greater creativity, and new project and market options. By Pamela Mills-Senn  Ask Thomas Carlson, manager of Tulsa, Okla., Carlson Design Corp., about his number one competitor and he offers up a surprising response.  “It’s a pair of scissors. Most of our customers have been cutting manually …

Feature

Focusing on quality, creativity and customer service

September 1, 2019

By building his business slowly, Carl Pellegrini keeps SeaCanvas focused on quality, creativity and customer service. by Jill C. Lafferty Each project we accept is a new chance to make a change in the current design,” says Carl Pellegrini, the owner-operator of SeaCanvas, based in Egg Harbor Township, N.J. “Let’s say an enclosure for a …

Feature

Sustainable boating includes the john

July 4, 2019

Sustainable boating takes many forms, from solar panels to using wind or water for power, eco-friendly cleaning products, low-flow showerheads and LED lights. Joe OBrien, of Schwenksville, Pa., has been outfitting his sailboat with an earth-friendly component that is about as elemental as they come—a composting toilet. OBrien and his wife, Julie, have been renovating …

Feature

Pros and cons of digital measuring tools

July 2, 2019

Any boater knows that the way you handle a vessel changes with the weather. The same is true with a fabricator’s measuring tools. Many fabricators now have both touchpoint 3D and touchless laser systems in their toolkits, and which one works best depends to some degree on the environment. “I use a variety of digital …

Feature Members only content

Solar panel savvy

July 1, 2019

Improvements in solar panels give boaters more power and choices. By Jeff Moravec There may or may not be any truth to the notion that solar power wouldn’t exist on boats were it not for the desire to find an energy-efficient way to keep adult beverages cold.   But if in fact that’s a motivation, …

Feature Members only content

Metal framework takes top billing

July 1, 2019

It’s time for metalwork and framing to move from being bit players to getting top billing. By Jeff Moravec Fabric is typically the star of the show in any fabrication project. What often gets overlooked, however, is the role supporting metal frameworks play—often behind the scenes—in fabric structures. The metal framework may frequently be an …

Feature Members only content

No-fail boat covers

July 1, 2019

There’s more than one way to build a boat cover—but the best fabricators ask clients these critical questions before they settle on a design. by Sigrid Tornquist Fabricators agree—custom boat cover fabrication starts with a conversation with the boat owners. What canvas professionals do with the information they get, coupled with experience and innovation, can …

Feature

Workstation ergonomics saves backs and increases efficiency

May 2, 2019

Sewing machines are an integral part of the workflow at most marine fabrication shops. But while fabricators may be careful about the machines they buy, and work to keep them operating properly, there are other aspects of the sewing operation that deserve attention. Just the way a shop’s sewing workstations are set up can increase …

Industry News

Report shows outdoor recreation’s positive role on economy

September 24, 2019

Newly released economic data on the national and state levels show outdoor recreation is a powerful driver of national and local economies, and it is growing faster than the U.S. economy as a whole. This is the second consecutive year that the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, …

Industry News

Michigan to promote outdoor recreation industry

September 19, 2019

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced this week that Brad Garmon will serve as the new director of Michigan’s Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry–an office established earlier this year to build public awareness about the economic, social, and public health benefits of outdoor recreation and provide a unified voice for the diverse businesses and organizations that …

Industry News

STEP Ahead Awards call for nominations

September 17, 2019

Nominations for The Manufacturing Institute’s 2020 STEP Ahead Awards close on Friday, Oct. 4. The STEP Ahead Awards honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in science, technology, engineering and production (STEP) careers. On April 30, 2020, in Washington, D.C., the Institute will recognize 100 women and 30 Emerging Leaders, a category to honor …

Industry News

Boating safety statistics improved in 2018

September 12, 2019

There were 633 boating fatalities nationwide in 2018, a 3.8 percent decrease from 2017, according to the recently released U.S. Coast Guard 2018 Recreational Boating Statistics Report. From 2017 to 2018, overall recreational boating injuries also decreased 4.5 percent (2,629 to 2,511), and the total number of accidents decreased 3.4 percent (4,291 to 4,145). Alcohol …

Industry News

New powerboat registrations up 1.1 percent through June

September 5, 2019

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) New Powerboat Registration Report has been updated with data through June. Preliminary data from the report show new powerboat registrations were up 1.1 percent through June on a rolling 12-month year-over-year basis and down 1.3 percent on a rolling 3-month year-over-year basis. “While we’re down 2 percent YTD YOY …

Industry News

Michigan boaters spend $1 billion in 2018

August 29, 2019

Retail expenditures for new boat, motor, trailer and accessory purchases in Michigan exceeded $1 billion in 2018, an increase of almost 11 percent over 2017 and the ninth consecutive year of growth in the state. That’s according to the Michigan Boating Industry Association (MBIA), citing new data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “We’re the …

Industry News

Gulf Islands National Seashore decision impacts PWCs

August 27, 2019

Personal watercraft (PWC) owners won and lost in the National Park Service decision announced in August regarding access to the Gulf Islands National Seashore (GUIS). GUIS comprises sections of shoreline near Pensacola, Fla. and Pascagoula, Miss., offering pristine beaches and shorelines. The final decision on these regulations ends a nearly 20-year history of opposition to …

Industry News

Massachusetts continues to invest in marine workforce training

August 22, 2019

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker formally approved the state’s budget with continued funding for the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association’s (MMTA) Workforce Development and Career Technical Education program. MMTA’s workforce program will receive $100,000 in Fiscal Year 2020. The MMTA has made strong progress on delivering workforce solutions for Massachusetts’ recreational boating industry. Part of the funding …

Industry News

US boat building production forecast shows slight dip

August 20, 2019

In the latest Forecast on U.S. Boat Building Production from ITR Economics, growth in boat building production is expected to decline slightly throughout 2020 and rebound strongly in 2021. According to ITR’s forecast, at its lowest (summer 2020), production is expected to be on par with levels seen in spring 2019. The strong rebound in …

Industry News

Industry sales by category and state stats available

August 8, 2019

The Total Industry Sales by Category and State, 2006 – 2018 section of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) 2018 Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract is now available. Total new recreational boat sales (powerboats and sailboats) increased 4 percent in 2018 to an 11-year high of 281,800 units–an increase of 5 percent over 2008 levels. Total …

Products

Powerful products

September 1, 2019

These latest products are changing the marine fabricator industry. Want to see your products here? Email: erbernick@ifai.com.  Fire-retardant clear vinyl  Visilite™ FR passes NFPA-701 Test Method 2 for fire resistance and is part of a collection that also includes double polished, extruded and interleaf styles. The vinyl offers lasting visual clarity and durability for a variety …

Fabric & Film

New Hydrofend coated fabric for marine applications

August 1, 2019

Hydrofend™, a solution-dyed polyester designed to balance high water resistance with breathability, is now available from Trivantage, a one-stop shop for fabrics, hardware, and accessories. “Our goal was to create a fabric that lets little water in and water vapor out,” says Dan Fouratt, director of business development for Trivantage. “Hydrofend achieves this balance.” Applications …

Products

Smart supplies

July 1, 2019

These latest products are changing the marine fabricator industry.  Want to see your products here? Email: erbernick@ifai.com. Colorful faux suede  The KnollTextiles Contour Collection includes new colors of Ultrasuede®, its premier high-performance, multi-use faux suede. The durable fabric is inherently stain resistant and versatile with a soft hand. It is appropriate for upholstery, wrapped panels …

Products

New products

March 1, 2019

These latest products are changing the marine fabricator industry. Want to see your products here? Email: erbernick@ifai.com. Self-piercing grommets ClipsShop® Self-Piercing Grommet Sets are made from solid brass and feature gripping teeth on the washers that provide extra holding power for a wide range of industrial applications subjected to constant tension such as awnings, sails, …

Products

New products

January 1, 2019

Waterproof shade on land and sea Recognized in the marine market for its weather resistance and durability, Sunbrella® SeaMark® is now available in a wider selection of colors and has expanded from marine applications into the commercial shade market. Fabricated from durable Sunbrella performance fabric and 100 percent impervious waterproof backing, SeaMark is available in …

Products

New products

September 1, 2018

These latest products are changing the marine fabricator industry. Want to see your products here? Email: erbernick@ifai.com. Temperature resistant Designed to resist the harshest environments, Stamskin One handles extreme temperatures (-58°F to 302°F) and is insensitive to UV radiation and water. Formulated by Serge Ferrari, the elastomer gives it an ultra-soft touch and “peach skin” …

Products

Tips for keeping marine fabrics clean and protected

July 3, 2018

Care and maintenance of clear vinyl products, especially those like Strataglass® that are coated to be scratch-resistant, requires cleaning methods using specific cleaning and protection products, according to Craig R. Zola, vice president for marketing and distribution at Herculite® Products Inc., parent company of Strataglass, based in Emigsville, Pa. In the harsh marine environment, it’s …

Fabric & Film

Lightweight durability

July 1, 2018

For marine applications, gazebo covers, patio furniture covers, tarps, canopies and campers, Top Notch 1S is a 100 percent solution-dyed polyester fabric with a clear urethane back coat. At 60 inches wide, 7.4 oz. per sq. yd., it offers exceptional strength, durability, water resistance, tear resistance, abrasion resistance and UV- and mildew-resistance. Because it is …

Equipment

Seam sealer

July 1, 2018

Most fabrics are only as waterproof as their seams. For boat covers, awnings, rucksacks and other outdoor gear, Iosso’s Seam Sealer keeps moisture where it belongs—on the outside. It forms an effective, invisible seal against water intrusion without altering the color or feel of the material. It prevents leaks on cotton, cotton blend, polyester and …

Hardware & Findings

Quick-release fasteners

July 1, 2018

Loxx® Fasteners are durable self-locking quick-release fasteners precision engineered from brass and stainless steel. Versatile and reliable in the harshest environments, these fasteners are appropriate for marine, architectural, cover and tarp, and industrial fastening applications. They are easy to install by simply punching a hole and screwing on the mating washer. There is no need …

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 Members only content

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 Members only content

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 …

Interiors & Upholstery

Elegant performance in stripes

March 1, 2016

Stripes come in every color, shape and size. A two-color stripe can even be juxtaposed to form an eye-catching pattern. Striking stripe patterns can be matched or combined with solid colors to provide dramatic effects for your next project. Stripes are more popular than ever. Sunbrella likes them so much, subtle as well as dramatic …