All posts by Monica Adams

The Fundamentals of Global Textile Trade and the TPP

The textile industry has seen extensive news coverage recently for a number of reasons, especially as it relates to the ongoing negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on international trade policy between some 12 countries, and several more key interested observers.  The effects of these negotiations for textile trade between these countries are significant.  For the purposes of this blog, we’ll only examine an overview of the issues, and perhaps expound upon our findings in a follow up blog as the negotiations develop, so our readers can come to appreciate some the subtlety and the stakes of these talks.

Foremost among the concerns for the textiles industry in the TPP is the reaffirmation of a version of the “yarn-forward” rule, which has been present in most U.S. Trade agreements since NAFTA.  The yarn forward rule outlines rules of origin for textiles manufacturers, and specifies that in every stage “from the yarn forward” of the manufacturing process, the materials and processes must be sourced from a member of the partnership agreement.  This “puts the spotlight” on Vietnam, which, if the negotiations move forward without the yarn forward rule, could act as a conduit for duty-free Chinese access to the U.S. Textile market.

This opens the door to another, highly contentious debate about global trade policy: fair trade vs. free trade.  To avoid the risk of becoming too much of an economics lecture, we’ll note that generally, Jason Mills falls on the side of fair trade, which we see as taking advantage of the ideal that is a robust and healthy global trade network, and seeking to account for the fundamental imbalance in working conditions, wage scale, and economic and environmental responsibility of participating nations.  Having said that, global trade is an increasingly complex machine, and we think that attitudes and positions need to be accordingly complex.

As policy discussions like the TPP and similar initiatives from the WTO and other organizations emerge, we think it’s a part of our job here at Jason Mills to be informed and aware of the implications of pending discussions not just for our business, but for our industry as a whole.  We’ll be sure to continue to give our readers a window into the textile manufacturing world, and provide our perspectives here on our blog, so make sure to stop back soon!

Textile Styles

The process of textile production is vast and complex and there are many different methods of fabric construction.  The two basic methods, often confused, are knitting and weaving.  Weaving involves interlacing yarns; knitting involves an interlocking series of loops (also known as interlooping) of yarns.  This basic difference has implications on the qualities of the finished material – knit fabrics are more flexible, traditionally bulkier, whereas woven fabrics are more rigid, prone to wrinkle, and more wind resistant.

As a manufacturer and supplier of technical meshes, we deal strictly with knit materials, more specifically warp knit meshes.   Warp knitting refers to the “warp”, or the thread that runs vertically, as opposed to the “weft”, which runs horizontally.  A mesh is characterized by a more open construction – think pool skimmer or mesh sports bag instead of grandma’s Christmas sweater; while both are knit, the sports bag is an open construction.   Warp knitting is done primarily on machines in which individual threads for each needle are necessary.  This allows for increased speed and flexibility of fabrication, as well as an increased capacity for the width of the fabric.

Within mesh warp knitting there are a variety of styles that each produce different characteristics in the resulting mesh, and therefore have different applications.  Our two primary knits are Tricot and Raschel.  Tricot knits use lighter weight yarns, with more stitches per inch to produce a higher guage fabric – much like the thread count of bed sheets.  Raschel knits are thicker, usually used for more industrial applications, and have less stitches per inch.  Each process has its advantages and disadvantages for different end uses.  Some applications are able to use either method of construction, while others are much better served by one type or the other.

Here at Jason Mills, we focus on industrial and specialty fabrics – it’s our job and passion to know the intricacies of different textile types and their applications.  With a broad line of over 100 different meshes, we’re confident we can research, develop, and provide the fabrics that fit the needs of our customers.  Get in touch with our team today for quality textile expertise and solutions.

Making Safety Standard Issue

Here at Jason Mills, we do business with a variety of industries – sports, fashion, transportation, medical, and many more – but last month was designated National Safety Month by the National Safety Council, we’d thought it a good time to highlight our several safety-specific products.

Last year we blogged about our high visibility fluorescent line which serves industries like construction, highway maintenance, and traffic control.  We supply several fabrics that comply with the strict ANSI standards for luminescence and porosity, and other high quality fluorescents, depending on our customer’s preferences and end-use application.  Our fabrics also comply with most commercial fire-resistant certifications.  These fabric solutions are vital to the construction and safety industries to help minimize risk to employees, and ensure the highest measures of safety possible in settings that are inherently higher-risk.

Another specialty safety textile that we manufacture is our cut-resistant material.  This protective apparel, offered in both nylon and polyester varieties, is ANSI certified for both abrasion and cut-resistance.  Used in such applications as glass manufacturing, our cut-resistant fabrics are designed and certified to provide quality protection in environments where sharp or abrasive materials are handled regularly, providing a welcome and effective layer of protection between those sharp edges and your skin.

We also manufacture three dimensional spacer meshes for the safety industry.  This technical mesh is used in harnesses for cushioning and ventilation, for all kinds of harness applications such as rock climbing and rescue operations.

Suffice it to say that at Jason Mills, it’s our business to be concerned with a host of different safety issues; we are glad that we’re able to provide the textile expertise necessary to supply materials that keep people safe, and we’re proud to provide materials that comply with the latest standards in the industry.  So remember, if you’re in the business of ensuring the safety of your employees, come to us for the materials that can help you meet the safety standards you’re seeking.

Your Golf Game: Both a Science and an Art

If you were to encounter the phrases “500 lbf”, “thousands of impacts”, “impact-resistant fibre”, and “fire resistant”, what would you think of? You might think of mixed martial arts, or another high intensity contact sport. You might think of an extreme sport like street luge, or maybe of high durability clothing for a dangerous application, like firefighting.  Perhaps surprisingly, the true application of these specs is in our impact screen mesh… for golf simulation.  Yes, you read that correctly – golf simulation.

That material that repeatedly catches your golf practice strokes is more highly engineered than you might imagine.  When you realize that the momentum of a golf ball can approach that of a 0.22 caliber bullet just fired from a rifle, you begin to understand why we manufacture our mesh to such stringent specifications.  In addition to the strength of the material, it needs to possess similarly stringent aesthetic properties to be able to display an image capable of realistically simulating the greens and open fairways of your favorite golf course.  This is why we use a particularly bright-lustered yarn with a high reflective gain.  Other safety specs of our impact screen mesh include fire resistant testing (NFPA 701 Test 2), and a finish that allows the ball to hit the screen and drop to the floor safely, thousands of times, with no breaks.

So the next time you line up a great drive at the simulator, rest assured that science and technology are supporting your golf game, so you can focus on perfecting the art.

Mosquitoes Can Be Stopped

One of the biggest annoyances of the summer is also one of the biggest killers in the history of man. It’s not wars or natural disasters, but the common mosquito. This tiny little pest can cause some serious damage. It carries diseases like yellow fever, malaria, West Nile virus, and a host of other viruses and parasites from person to person. Experts believe that mosquito-borne diseases kill a staggering one million people each year, most of whom are young children in sub-SaharaNo Mosquitoesn Africa. One of the best ways to limit the devastation caused by mosquitoes is with mesh mosquito netting.  To work properly, the mesh used in these lifesavers has to be able to stop insects from getting in, while being fine enough to allow for a healthy flow of air.

At Jason Mills, we are proud to offer a mosquito mesh that we feel can meet the needs of this difficult but important challenge. Our 100% polyester mosquito mesh has a stitch count of 600 holes per inch and, with a thickness of 13.5 millimeters, is strong enough to stand up to even the harshest conditions without impeding airflow.

Not all of the world’s mosquito netting is made with our mesh, but we know that our mosquito mesh has what it takes to stop mosquitoes from spreading disease across the globe, or prevent itchy bites in your backyard.

Highway Safety and Jason Mills

Highway ConstructionNothing says summer like pool parties, ice cream, and highway construction season! Not exactly the best part of the season, but it is simply a fact of life that most highway work needs to be done during the summer months. As one might imagine, roadway work zones are hazardous for both the motorists who navigate them and the men and women who work within them.  From 2003-2007, 639 workers were killed while working at road construction sites, which turns out to be almost 8% of all construction deaths in the United States. Workers being hit by vehicles like trucks, cars, and construction equipment accounted for 50% of these fatalities.

One way to add an extra layer of protection is to provide workers with just that. At Jason Mills, we supply the construction industry with highly effective fluorescent nylons and polyester knit mesh for traffic safety vests.High Visibility and Traffic Safety We offer ANSI approved (American National Standards Institute) polyester and nylon fabrics that are perfect for safety vests and flags. To keep highway workers safe, you first need to make sure that everyone can see them no matter the weather conditions or time of day.  Winning the visibility battle will at least give workers a fighting chance at avoiding serious injury or death while doing their jobs. It is also important that we all do our part to help the cause. Please take extra care this summer to obey all posted work zone speed limits. If we all work together, we can make this the safest summer driving season ever.

Nylon and the Future of Baseball Gloves

BaseballSince players started using them in the late 19th century, baseball gloves have been made of one thing: leather.  The first gloves were not much to look at, they weren’t much more than your average unpadded driving glove. Over time, they have morphed into complex, computer-engineered works of art. Heck, you can even pay $500 for a glove made from the finest Italian leather. However, as with everything in this world, change is inevitable. Recent advances in synthetics, such as the ones we utilize at Jason Mills, have made it possible to produce high-quality ball gloves from something other than leather.  A company out of the spiritual home of baseball, Cooperstown, NY (home of the Baseball Hall of Fame), is now making custom gloves completely out of nylon microfibers.

Why is this innovation so important? Why should you care about a baseball glove? Well, it’s a great example of how the world is becoming more and more reliant on high-quality polyester and nylon fabrics and textiles.  If the iconic leather baseball glove can be upgraded with synthetic materials, it means that even the tradition-bound world of baseball can change. It is going to take a long time for nylon to supplant leather, but the process has begun. At Jason Mills, we don’t make baseball gloves, but we do make and distribute the industrial and custom polyester and nylon fabrics that are the future of manufacturing.

Who knows? You might well be seeing our nylon under glass at Cooperstown next to Ty Cobb’s leather glove in a hundred years from now.

Summer’s Coming!

For a great deal of North America, this past winter was one of the mildest on record. With temperatures already rising and spring seemingly being compacted into a few weeks, you don’t have a lot of time to prepare for what may be a long summer. If you have a pool, then you know that a big and time-consuming part of spring-cleaning is getting your pool ready for the season ahead.  At Jason Mills, we make industry leading formaldehyde-free polyester knit mesh for pool filtration and skimmer products. Our 100% American-made mesh is used throughout the pool and spa industry to keep debris, like leaves and bugs, from ruining a good time.

While methods differ due to region and pool type, some basics will help you successfully open your pool this season.

•    Remove, clean, fold, and store winter pool cover.
•    Test water balance; adjust calcium, alkalinity and pH levels
•    Replace winter stored items like ladders, auto cleaner, baskets, plugs, gauges, etc.
•    Inspect and test electrical service to pumps, lights, heaters, etc.
•    Lube valves and o-rings. Wrap threaded plugs with new thread sealant.
•    Flood lines, prime-up pump, start-up motor, and adjust valves for proper flow.
•    Brush tiles and scrub skimmers with phosphate-free cleanser.
•    Blow off, then hose off, your pool deck.
•    Skim pool surface. Vacuum pool for waste if algae is present.
•    Super chlorinate to breakpoint levels with liquid or granular chlorine.
•    Brush pool walls and steps and re-check chemical levels in 12-24 hrs, adjust as needed.
•    Backwash filter when pressure gauge rises 8-10 lbs, or flow diminishes considerably.

If you follow these steps and make sure that your filters and skimmers are utilizing only the best polyester mesh knit from Jason Mills, then your pool or spa should be ready in time to enjoy every minute of what should be a long and fun summer.  And because it’s made in the USA, you’re having a good time and keeping jobs in America. That’s a combination you just can’t beat.

Trucker Hats and Jason Mills?

Over the past few years, more and more hipsters wouldn’t be caught dead without a trucker hat perched ironically on their heads.  A trucker hat is a baseball hat with a cloth or foam front and a breathable plastic mesh back. Originally, these caps were created as giveaways for companies like John Deere who identified with the trucking culture. However, in the early 2000’s, young Hollywood stars like Ashton Kutcher and Justin Timberlake began wearing them as ironic fashion statements. Thus was born a major fashion tread that still survives to this day.

No one at Jason Mills is in the motion picture industry, but we did have a little something to do with making America a little hipper.  It turns out that we sell a good deal of the mesh that makes these prized pieces of Americana. Our high-quality headwear mesh is not only attractive and adaptable to many different styles of hat, but it can also be made fire-resistant. Moreover, it’s not just for “the kids”; we also make 100% polyester and nylon mesh for more demanding government applications.

If you’re a fan of trucker hats, then the mesh experts at Jason Mills are glad to have helped make them good-looking, durable and breathable.

The Other “Culture”

When one envisions the act of growing food, amber waves of grain most often come to mind. From the endless orange groves of Florida to the towering corn stalks of Iowa, most of us believe that when it comes to crops, the only kind of “culture” is agriculture. It turns out, that’s not the whole story.

Unless you live in a coastal area, you may never have heard of aquaculture. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), aquaculture is the “breeding, rearing and harvesting of plants and animals in all types of water environments, including ponds, rivers, lakes, and the ocean.”

While the U.S. only ranks 13th in the $70 billion worldwide aquaculture market, we still produce $1 billion a year of oysters, clams and mussels. Seeing how you can’t just “plant” an oyster in the ground like wheat seed, sAquacultural Seed Bagpecial technologies are needed to grow the shellfish Americans love to eat. One of the main growing techniques is the use of aquacultural seed bags. These bags are made from polyester mesh, which varies in size and holes per foot, due to the different sizes of shellfish.  Though methods of growing differ slightly for different species, farmers generally will fill bags with seeds and then submerge the bags in either salt or freshwater. This allows for a controlled growth of the shellfish, while protecting them from predators and environmental factors.Oysters

At Jason Mills, we offer four different aquaculture seed bags, all of which are made from industry-standard 100% polyester seed bag material. Moreover, while our bags are perfect for growing a large variety of aquaculture products, they are also used in institutional settings like prisons and hospitals.

When you dig into your next plate of oysters, just know that there is a good chance they were farm-raised using one of our high-quality seed bags. So enjoy and let us know how they taste!

If you want to learn more about any of our products play a big role in your life every day, keep checking this blog or take some time to visit our website.