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Back To Work

We are just past the half-way point of 2018.  There has been a whole lot accomplished in the past six months, but in a lot of ways it seems as though it’s just setting the table for the second act.

Take for instance the recently completed Techtextil trade show that we displayed at in Atlanta.  Here we saw representatives from a cross section of industry; ostensibly all in need of textile solutions.  This group included industries such as:  aeronautical, automotive, healthcare, building, filtration, outdoor retail, occupational safety and a diverse group of others that I can prattle on about but you get the idea.  All of these folks had projects or programs that required material solutions (textile materials) to either enhance, manufacture or develop products that are being consumed or someday will be consumed in the vast global marketplace.

This leads me to 2018 Part II. The leads we acquired in May/June at Techtextil and elsewhere are bearing fruit in July.  These leads will turn into orders that will stretch through 2018. The table has been set; it’s now up to us to serve the dinner and show that the Jason Mills organization is ready to serve those industries that come to us needing support.  This is what makes our industry so compelling.  It is that textile materials are omnipresent and that the need for fabric resolutions remains undiminished.  Remember:  we are only limited by our imaginations.

In other blog news, I’d like to begin a short feature called fabric of the month.  This will highlight a material that is either an established fabric in our line or something new we want to feature.

July’s material is Jason Mills style 280 (our line is identified by numbers; someday we may start to incorporate trade names).

Here are the end use markets as well as the features and benefits of style 280:

  • Developed for the healthcare textile industry- patient slings / lift systems
  • Also, for outdoor retail- hammocks, chairs, cargo bags, pocketing …
  • Supports over 1,500 pounds lift capacity
  • Lightweight when compared to similar products (this is due to the unique knit construction)
  • Open mesh knit for maximum vapor transfer
  • Smooth surface
  • Fire resistant
  • Low minimums for color
  • Knit and finished in the USA for superior quality control

Thank you for taking the time to read this month’s blog.  See you in August!

March – Back to School

In this industry, and I guess one could say in most industries, there is never enough time in the day to consume and absorb all that there is to learn about new technologies, processes and developments. Fortunately for textiles and fabrics there is the North Carolina State University program designed for industry professionals. Last month’s program, dedicated to technical fabrics, explored not only the entire process of fabric manufacturing, but also the product development of new technical materials. In addition to exploring the linear production flow from fiber/yarn to knitting/weaving to dyeing/finishing, we also learned about the real world practical applications of the growing number of industries and niche markets in which technical fabrics are finding a need and a home.

As noted above, the “process” is a linear evolution: fibers, either natural (cotton, wool for example) or synthetic (nylon/polyester for further example) are treated in such a way that their ultimate evolution into yarn (through the application of heat and orientation) affects the material in which they are ultimately made. To get “there” the yarn must be knit or woven into particular designs or structures, and ultimately dyed or finished. Or, in the case of non-wovens, bonded together to form an entirely different product.

Our company, Jason Mills LLC, is using dyeing and finishing methods to delve into the nano textile world of phase change (cooling affects to the touch), the finish combination world of water repellency paired with fire resistance and UV resistance, the knit combination world of mixing inherent anti-microbial yarn with micro deniers along with moisture management finishes to create a product that is soft, moves moisture and contain anti-microbial properties that will never wash out. These products – that we knit, dye & finish in the USA – are viewable on our website (www.jasonmills.com). If you visit, please check out 601 PCM, 413 and 280 LP.

The larger point here is that the methods and process’ that we use are continually being enhanced and developed to produce materials and textiles for medical products, outdoor recreation and general industrial end users (to name a few). Its an exciting time to be in the textile industry. We are greatly appreciative that there are schools such as NC State University to invest time and intelligence into the growing US market. We look forward to being part of that growth.

Celebrating 10 Years as Jason Mills LLC

Jason Mills LLC, a New Jersey based textile convertor will celebrate its 10 year anniversary this month as a provider of knit, industrial textiles. Incorporated originally in 1976, the current incarnation was purchased in 2007 by long time employee Michael Lavroff. We have grown and changed in many ways since those early days of manufacturing fabrics for laundry bags.

Materials are going through tectonic changes with the growth and use of nano textiles. The goals, and ultimately the mission of the company today is to harness the power of these changes and apply them in practical manners to best supply the industries we serve.

Combining product design and engineering along with finishes and inherent fibers are the key drivers for the company’s expansion into areas such as personal/occupational safety, automotive, aeronautical and healthcare textiles.

Our objective is to continue to improve upon current processes and materials so that corporations with fabric needs – both now and in the future – will have a supplier-partner to turn to. To borrow the mantra from Apple, we want to be where the puck is going, not where it’s been.

The next ten years are right around the corner. We’ll see you there.

June 2017: Showtime Pt I

TTNA 2017

Rt 66 begins in Chicago and stretches southwest to California. We are way past the days when Martin Milner drove his Corvette down that road looking for adventure, but in less than two months Jason Mills LLC will travel to Chicago to display our materials at the annual trade show called Techtextil. We will not have time to explore the beginning of that legendary highway, as we will have our own business adventure.

There is no Corvette, just United Airlines taking us into the windy city. Jason Mills, LLC will display from June 20th through June 22nd. If you are interested in a show pass please contact us at info@JasonMills.com by June 1st. We are offering these show floor passes to anyone who would like to meet with us to discuss our line of knit, industrial fabrics.

The great thing about Tectextil is that it attracts a specific technology driven attendee base, which of course is right where we want to be with our Innovative, Performance and Quality driven products. Using combinations of yarns and finishes Jason Mills has developed and placed materials for use in markets as varied as healthcare, aeronautical and outdoor retail. Water repellency, softness, stretch, fire resistance are just a few of the attributes that our materials offer. We look forward to meeting both old and new customers next month at McCormick Center. Please stop by booth #1021 to say hello, or better yet reach out to us now to schedule an appointment

Reintroduction

7400
Style 7400P – Mop Headband Mesh
3400
Style 3400 – Rugged Nylon

Materials come and materials go but sometimes those that have been in the rearview mirror for years have a rebirth. Such is the case of Jason Mills styles 7400P and 3400. Why and when particular sku’s find a new use is a matter of luck, happenstance, design or a combination of all three issues. Ours is not to wonder why, ours is to produce and meet market demand.

The 7400P style was initially conceived as a polyester version for baseball cap “trucker mesh” (note the original P suffix). In time, varied uses included small plane wing protection against ice, soft sided luggage pocketing and its current incarnation as a key component in the manufacturing of mop heads for commercial and retail markets. Specifically, it is what the industry calls the headband portion of the mop; a 5” abrasive piece that sits on top where the strands gather.

Mops, like other commodity items have been caught in the vortex of cost control and savings, in other words, a race to the bottom. This basically means that all aspects of the components have been made cheaper and cheaper, so much so that the headband that is in vogue – prior to our reintroduction- is currently being doubled to ensure that it will work. Well, here’s some news, we choose not to participate in this race and have produced a headband, available in five different colors, that restores integrity to the manufacturing of mops for the sanitation and supply industry. Designed as a single layer application and constructed using mid-high tenacity yarns and an acrylic finish designed to enhance longevity. We encourage all manufacturers of mops (and anybody else who is looking for abrasive materials) to reach out to us for samples and pricing.

What do you do if you have a beautiful fabric that falls out of fashion? Don’t give up! Style 3400 was once sold to the likes of Jansport and Patagonia but as the manufacturing of outdoor products headed east (way east to Vietnam and China) so did the sew house demand for our high quality, 100% nylon, US made (knit dyed and finished in the US using imported yarn) diminished and eventually stopped, but then something happened to this fabric on its way to obsolescence: the need for high end bags for use in the healthcare field.

Using a combination of nylon yarns, designed for consistent colors, we are actively producing this in tan and black. We welcome anybody who is the market for a top notch outdoor retail material, indoor technical material or rugged luggage lining/pocketing to contact us for samples and pricing.

So yes, what was once past is indeed prologue. We look forward to hearing from you to discuss these and our full line of US made products (knit dyed, and finished in the US using yarns of both import and domestic origin).

Where We’ve Been

In business, there are weeks and months where the routine is just that, routine. The sales department follows up on inquiries and sniffs out new leads; the marketing department’s focus is to continue to push for greater recognition and influence in new and varied markets (“what is the need for animal transport slings”?) and ownership works with finance to keep a healthy bottom line. These are business fundamentals; do it correctly and repetitively and everybody succeeds.

There are times when the routine changes, dramatically. That is when the sales and management teams hit the road; which is where we’ve been in January. Coming out of the holidays allowed for final preparations for four shows in two weeks: Las Vegas for SHOT, Atlantic City for Pool and Spa and Orlando for PGA Merchandise and Tent Expo.
SHOT (Shooters, Hunters and Outdoor Trades) offered a one day supplier exhibit showcase. This allowed for suppliers such as Jason Mills to display materials that are used by the manufacturers to produce products such as tents, tactical vests, back backs. The Jason Mills contribution to that supply chain includes materials such as mosquito netting (style 417), no see um netting (style 413), tactical mesh (styles 1992 and 1998) and spacer mesh (styles 101, 201, 301, 601 and 701).

NESPA (also known as the Northeast Pool and Spa Association) was a show we walked. Respecting the process of the trade show; those displaying are there to sell, not be sold to, we nevertheless picked up several new leads in the end use materials for skimmer nets (styles 65, 1926, 8610 and 2495), filtration (styles 3333 and 513), and flotation devices (styles 280 and 65).

Lastly, held concurrently but at separate locations, the PGA Merchandise show (along with the Tent Expo) offered us an opportunity to show our newest products for the world of high definition impact screens for golf simulation. We have been in development here on what we consider cutting edge material for indoor golf retail. To wit, a single layer, front impact screen material that can withstand thousands of close range impact shots and yet not destruct for many, many months was the ultimate goal. We have developed not one, but two such materials (styles 1920 and 801). The response to these two fabrics was very positive. Our target is to have both of these materials out in the marketplace in force by early March.

If you missed us at any of these shows, and if these materials- as well as any of our other US based product line is of interest please contact us at info@JasonMills.com for samples, pricing and more data or visit our website, www.JasonMills.com. We look forward to seeing you at our next trade show.

Fall 2016: On the Road

Fall 2016: On the Road

The fall months bring football, baseball playoffs, hockey, basketball, apple picking and beautiful foliage. It also brings about the travel season for the textile industry. In the next two months we will be attending trade shows concerning safety, sanitation and supply in Anaheim and Chicago and displaying at the Industrial Fabrics Association Expo in Charlotte.

Our first stop is Anaheim, CA, about a mile or so from Disneyland, the convention center opens its doors to the best in personal safety protection at the National Safety Show. We will be walking that show. Our interest in that area lies in cut resistant fabrics, high visibility materials, spacer for fall protection harnesses and virtually anything we can manufacture to provide the newest and best product to the manufacturer. Currently, Jason Mills manufactures a cut resistant nylon product; the end use is for protective sleeves that handlers wear in the glass industry. We sell thousands of yards a month of this material to producers and sewers of these sleeves and aprons as well. This material is always in a constant state of development as we strive to improve cut resistance through the use of new and interesting fibers and yarns.

From Anaheim we jet back to the east coast for our flagship event in Charlotte, NC. Being held October 19th – 21st, the IFAI Expo is a gathering of peers, customers, suppliers and competitors. We prepare for this event for many months. We can’t underestimate the importance of these three days. Venues such as these put us face to face with 50 to 70 potential new accounts and allow us to display new products such as our inherently anti-microbial patient slings and our water resistant mosquito/no-see-um net. These new materials are in addition to the 50+ materials that are part of our stock line.

Finally, we finish the month of October in Chicago. The ISSA/InterClean show is a gathering of the leaders in the sanitation and supply industry. With a heavy focus on anti-microbial finishes and other advance methods in bacterial minimization, this is a great venue to walk and identify textiles needs for the many manufacturers.

It’s a busy season. We look forward to it. Busy trade show seasons bring busy sales seasons.

See you on the road.

July – The Heat is On!

“Ninety in the shade” is paradise when the heat of an old time textile plant gets cranking in the summer. Fortunately here in the US, modern plants offer some relief through proper machine ventilation and material advances in construction. Still, you hear stories today of plants that get so hot at the ceiling that the sprinkler system gets triggered and that the average daily temperature on the floor hovers between 100 – 110 degrees F.

Anecdotal tales aside, the heat of summer presents very real challenges not only to personnel but to material as well. For example, nylon by its nature will expand in the heat by sucking up humidity, thus causing the fibers to swell. One of the consequences of this action is material treated with heavy acrylic resins for stiffness will have almost a wet, slightly soft feel. The really odd thing is that this is not always apparent immediately out of production. The material may feel that it has met the required hand standard but unless it is moved to a cool, dry environment it will immediately begin to suck up moisture.

So what are the answers here? How do you prevent your QC staff from doing “high fives” on a perfect stiff finish and then have a customer call you five days later asking you if you had gloves on when you checked the hand? Incidentally, checking for hand or proper stiffness/softness is still done by subjective feel. There is no magic machine that will say, “YES, THIS IS CORRECT”. This is where we turn to our friends in the lab to work on a formulation for the ultra humid weather, and also where you make sure that your packers understand that goods must be bagged and moved out of harm’s way ASAP.  It is also a good idea – if time allows – to have QC check for finish just prior to shipment.

So, this is a small example of heat created mayhem. Not just for the materials, finishes and dyes, but for your employees as well. Care must be taken to insure hydration and cool break areas. This is not an easy business under the best of circumstances. Working to insure that quality is maintained, and most importantly that accidents and heat related injuries are avoided is everybody’s responsibility.

Have a safe and happy summer.

A New Chapter

Heading into May and June the number of trade shows and conferences heat up. See us at Techtextil in Atlanta, GA, in booth 2717, May 3rd – 5th. Catch up with us at the USIFI Outlook Conference in May and we will be walking Outdoor Retailer in August, ISSA in October, and one week later we will be displaying at IFAI. Truly the busy season. Busy, busy, busy, but necessarily so.

Necessary because this is the season in which Jason Mills opens a new chapter in its 40 year history. We have been, since the 90’s, the company that “Make’s Things Materialize” and for millions and millions of yards of fabrics produced we truly did make things materialize. But, now it’s time for a new future. A future of innovation, performance and top quality materials. This is the season of spreading the word that through research and development we will be delving into new and exciting materials and markets.

Over the last year we have put into the market place a multi-layer material that not only wicks moisture, has anti-microbial properties, but is soft to the touch and has load bearing qualities that surpass 1,500 pounds. We’ve created a snag resistant mesh that is water, fire and UV resistant. The outdoor retailing industry has never seen anything like it. We developed a golf screen that is made exclusively for hi-def imagery and can absorb the impact of a golf ball traveling over 150 mph, thousands of times. Our aeronautical line of fire resistant material has increased as well.

This is the season in which we open a new chapter. Over the coming months we will be travelling to shows. We will be updating our literature and media outlets such as our URL, Facebook and LinkedIn page. We look forward to meeting you, the customer, and showing you what we can do for you.

March Madness

March: Madness

It is March, so that means basketball and brackets. Even non fans take a moment to test the office pools and jump into the water.  We watch nail biters and route for teams we have no connection to whatsoever.  Why?  Because in the end it is fun and a distraction from the realities of life that invariably creep into everyone’s day.

The March games have inevitability to them. Starting with sixty four teams in the first round, the bucket is immediately halved after a day or two.  A few days later we’re down to sixteen teams: The Sweet Sixteen.

Elimination and inevitability; for those who came through the 1990’s in the textile industry, those words have a familiar ring; 159,000 in job losses or 22% of textile mill jobs in total – Inevitable Elimination – Madness. There was enough finger pointing to go around as to who, what, where, when and why. Blame it on the economy, NAFTA, imports, unions, whatever. The bottom line was that our industry took a punch in the gut, and almost broke.

Almost, but not quite; some things are not inevitable. True, the tournament will go into April, and there will be only one team crowned champion. But in the textile industry there is a growth fueled by innovation and technology. We are creating new products to fill needs the consumer demands. (See textile wearable’s, nano fabrics, anti microbials and a host of others.)

This is where the future lies:  innovation – performance – quality; it is not Madness. It is inevitable.

 

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