Specialty Fabrics Review July 2020 - 40

FOCUS

ADVANCED TEXTILES

AFFOA HAD A RANGE OF SUCCESSFUL
PROJECTS TO REPORT, INCLUDING MULTIMATERIAL FIBER MICROSYSTEMS-FABRICS
AND FIBERS WITH THE TECHNOLOGY
EMBEDDED INSIDE, SO THERE ARE SEVERAL
MATERIALS IN ONE FIBER, AS OPPOSED TO A
TRADITIONAL SINGLE POLYESTER.

Screen print electrodes have
been adhered to a garment for
biopotential monitoring such as an
electrocardiogram. These garments are
investigated by Jesse Jur's research
team, called NEXT, at NC State Wilson
College of Textiles, as a platform
for understanding the challenges
between the garment construction and
electronics. Photo: NC State.

new characteristics to polymer films and
fibers, focusing on electronic and electrooptical modifications. Programs at NC State's
Wilson College of Textiles work with dozens
of industry partners.
Jur noted a senior design course where each
student starts with an industry participant that
has an actual problem to solve. "The students
work with the company from day one," he said.
"The whole idea in a proper design course is that
you filter ideas and come up with a solution."
As an example, students have worked with
Under ArmourĀ® Inc. to use down fiber waste
in its products, "helping them find different
processes, different binder materials," Jur
said. "Now this material is highly valued [at
the company].
"The students are incredibly innovative,"
he added. In the early years of the program,
students developed a wearable motherboard.
More recent projects include garments that
can provide sensory feedback to the wearer.
"The smart gloves technology space is really
booming right now," he said. Car maker Tesla
has gotten into the act with "The Tesla Suit,"
which provides haptic feedback to the wearer,
capturing both motion and biometrics.
Advanced technologies come at a cost,
however, and partnerships face multiple
challenges, including managing different
expectations and timelines. The industry
partner risks validating the "early stage
transition of a complex system technology
in a product line," Jur pointed out.
The university participant must balance
the value of its own research productivity
"when that research is unable to meet

strategic gaps in technology needed by
brands," he said. Ultimately, the "need"
is to demonstrate that the innovation can
readily be realized and integrated into the
final customer's product line.
HanesBrands Inc. has formed a highly
productive work relationship with NC State
and Jur's NEXT research group, which
developed the company's Champion Lit
Logo, which has LEDs linked to fiber optics
with wireless recharging. NEXT has also
developed with Hanes a platform for a "Seam
Skeleton" for creating e-textile garments.
The research group provides services,
components, prototypes and platforms for
its partnering businesses.
STANDARDS AND SAFETY
Chris Jorgensen, IPC, served as moderator
for panelists Stephanie Rodgers, Apex Mills;
Chris Mitchell, IPC; and Jacqueline Campbell,
Consumer Products Safety Commission
(CPSC), discussing smart fabric product
standards and safety issues.
Campbell pointed out the importance of
determining if a new smart product should
be classified as medical or consumer, as the
regulations are quite different. "Design,
marketing and other claims could put one
product in either jurisdiction," Campbell said.
"Reach out [to the CPSC] about a new product."
Emerging hazards was a theme in this
discussion, which offered a checklist for
"establishing a safety culture," with these
action points:
1. Make sure you have everyone at the
table-legal, technical, design.
2. Design safety into the product and
communicate the commitment to safety
throughout the supply chain and to
consumers.
3. Define how it should be used, and plan
for any unforeseeable uses beyond what the
product was first designed for.
4. Maintain quality standards throughout
the product life cycle. This includes having
a test program beyond minimum standards.
There may be voluntary consensus standards,
which are not formal standards or tests, but
they may be more stringent than is required.
5. Institute a proactive compliance program
and keep up with standards and communicate
them throughout your supply chain.

40 REVIEW JULY 2020

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Specialty Fabrics Review July 2020

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