Digital determination

July 1, 2020

Adding automation can prove challenging, with costs to consider, processes to change and nervous employees to reckon with. Still, fabricators who have taken the leapsay there’s no other way to go.  By Pamela Mills-Senn When Darren Arthur, owner of Nautilux Custom Canvas LLC in Hazlet, N.J., purchased a single-fly Aeronaut cutter eight years ago—his first …

NECPA: A century of survival

Lessons from three canvas companies that have survived for a century and continue to thrive. By Cathy Broberg In January 2020, the North East Canvas Products Association (NECPA), a trade organization for the canvas and outdoor fabric industry, marked its 100th anniversary. Members celebrated at its annual conference with a gala and by touring a …

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Succession planning 101

May 1, 2020

A seamless transfer of leadership in a family business requires hard conversations and a detailed road map to avoid the worst potholes and ensure a successful journey. By Jeff Moravec A family business can offer great rewards—personally and professionally—for its founders and their descendants. But a family business also presents unique challenges and requires careful …

2020 Premier Product Showcase

High-quality products to help you create durable, attractive and successful projects. For this feature, we asked our contributors to send us information about their high-performing products. The product information was submitted by the participating manufacturers and suppliers by the established deadline. The products are organized into three categories: Fabric, Film, and Flooring; Equipment, Tools & …

IFAI member long-distance case study

March 19, 2020

During the 2019 boating season, IFAI member Tecsew, located in Gosport, United Kingdom, took on a challenging project for a customer located in the United States. Due to the distance between fabricator and customer, questions and answers were exchanged via emails and a few long-distance telephone calls. The customer provided the fabricator with access to …

Jumping on the design trend bandwagon

March 3, 2020

Embrace new design materials with knowledge and caution. by Sigrid Tornquist “Customers are always looking to us, the materials manufacturers, to guide them on trends while bringing new innovation,” says Warren J. McCrickard, executive vice president, sales and marketing for Dothan, Ala.-based Infinity Luxury Woven Vinyl™. “If it is cool to the touch, easy to …

2020 fabric and flooring trends

March 1, 2020

Fabric and flooring trends for the upcoming season—and beyond.  by Sigrid Tornquist Maybe it’s because boats are so special to their owners, or because boat owners are people who love to show off their latest acquisitions. Whatever the reason, most boat owners crave a vessel that showcases statement-making flooring and fabric trends. “If the boat …

Turn onetime gigs into long-term revenue streams

By Jeff Moravec For many people, the so-called gig economy has created an entirely new way to make a living. The idea of side hustles may strike many fabricators as familiar—just with a new name. It’s not difficult to find fabricators who started a business with a narrow, well-defined specialty, only to find opportunities (sometimes …

2020 MFA Fabrication Excellence Awards

Sponsored by the Marine Fabricators Association (MFA), the Fabrication Excellence Awards contest is designed to recognize excellence in marine fabrication. The entries are displayed throughout the MFA’s Marine Fabricators Conference and are judged by a panel of certified marine professionals. Awards of Excellence and Outstanding Achievement Awards are given in each category. The MFA recognizes …

Inhibiting microbes with topcoat technology

February 11, 2020

When compounded performance additives in vinyl aren’t enough, antimicrobial lacquers and topcoats offer extra protection. By Hugh Barrett Microbes, such as bacteria and fungi, can live on a surface for months. Manufacturers of flexible vinyl, films, fabrics and textiles use engineered antimicrobial (AM) lacquers and barrier topcoats to offer an extra level of protection against …