Specialty Fabrics Review May 2020 - 39

Muskegon Awning & Fabrication designed and fabricated the aluminum frame and
fabric cover for this long, custom walkway but outsourced production of 90 steel
columns to accommodate a tight schedule. Photo: Muskegon Awning & Fabrication.

but they still don't last forever. That
fact plus the inherent pliability of fabric
requires that manufacturers pay special
attention to structural details to ensure
the performance and competitive
viability of fabric structures.
"Metal frames need to be fabricated
by a knowledgeable fabric structure
manufacturer. The finished look is
dependent on a well-designed frame,"
says Bryan Presby, principal of J. Miller
Canvas LLC of Santa Ana, Calif., a custom
commercial awning manufacturer serving
the West Coast.
Using the right mounting and
attachment hardware is also crucial to
ensure a precise fit, so the textile looks
sharp and functions as expected.
"If you're making a metal structure to
attach a piece of fabric to, it's important
that you carefully consider the attachment
aspects and how it will perform on the
structure and be easy to swap out when
the time comes," Neville says.

BUYING IN
Thinking about purchasing a metal shop to expand
your specialty fabrics capabilities? Here's advice from
Rob Kotowski, owner of Lake Shore Boat Top Co. Inc.,
St. Clair Shores, Mich.:
 Do your homework to make sure the capabilities of your
current business and the new business are complementary
and that the workplace cultures line up.
 Evaluate the metal shop's equipment to determine
if it's up to date or will need upgrading.
 Consider your physical space. If your plan is to fold
the new business into an existing facility, do you
have adequate square footage?
 Ensure that all stakeholders have the right mind-set.
"The biggest thing about buying an existing business
is being able to work with a new group of people and embrace
new ideas while still maintaining profitability," he says.

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Specialty Fabrics Review May 2020

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