Industry News

Initiative to further increase availability of E15

October 17, 2019

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a new initiative to expand the use of biofuels like E15 across the country. The proposal follows the administration’s decision earlier this year to lift the summertime ban on E15 sales. The newest initiative seeks to pump more than 15 billion gallons …

Conference

Marine Fabricator Conference 2020 registration going strong

October 16, 2019

Registration is brisk for the annual Marine Fabricators Conference, which will be held Jan. 9-11, 2020, on the sunny shores of Daytona Beach, Fla. The conference features three full days of education and networking designed to help marine fabricators cultivate industry connections, improve their efficiency and increase revenue. Educational sessions include upholstery methods, photo digitizing, …

Company News

Ennis Fabrics introduces regular website discounts

October 15, 2019

The recently launched Ennis Fabrics e-commerce website now has promotional discounts that are regularly offered to customers. The responsive website is user-friendly and visually pleasing, with more than 10,000 different products. Customers may now place orders, view stock levels, and access their pricing, invoices, and order history all online. “We are very excited to announce …

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 …

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 …

Industry News

IBEX Innovation Award winners announced

October 8, 2019

The 2019 IBEX Innovation Awards, managed by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and judged by Boating Writers International (BWI), were presented at the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference (IBEX) in early October. Eight BWI judges with various technical backgrounds in boating selected the new product winners from more than 100 entries submitted by marine …

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

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 …

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 Members only content

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 Members only content

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

Initiative to further increase availability of E15

October 17, 2019

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a new initiative to expand the use of biofuels like E15 across the country. The proposal follows the administration’s decision earlier this year to lift the summertime ban on E15 sales. The newest initiative seeks to pump more than 15 billion gallons …

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 …

Industry News

New leadership for IFAI

October 2, 2019

Each year, the Leadership Development Committee of the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) follows a detailed process outlined in association bylaws for electing new board members. As recently announced at IFAI’s annual meeting at IFAI Expo in Orlando, the following individuals have been chosen to serve on the IFAI board of directors: Ron Houle, president …

Industry News

Correct Craft CEO to chair federal recreation advisory panel

October 1, 2019

Bill Yeargin, the president and CEO of Correct Craft, was elected to serve as chair of the Department of the Interior’s “Made in America” Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee (ORAC) – a board comprised of recreation industry representatives that counsels Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on policies to expand access to and improve infrastructure on public lands …

Industry News

Powerboat registrations down slightly through July

September 26, 2019

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) New Powerboat Registration Report has been updated with data through July. Preliminary data shows new powerboat registrations were down 0.4 percent through July on a rolling 12-month year-over-year basis (R12M YOY) and down 2.4 percent on a rolling 3-month year-over-year basis. “Much of the minor softness we’re seeing is …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …