Category Archive: Industry News
BRM Finds Silver Lining in the National Pandemic Emergency
Bally Ribbon Mills has employed several innovative strategies to meet customer needs despite the many challenges that the pandemic has presented to U.S. manufacturers. A recent article in Harvard Business Review, “Why Constraints Are Good for Innovation,” describes how responding to such challenges can actually drive innovation, and BRM demonstrated this principle in 2020 by transforming its sales and manufacturing processes for an environment suddenly requiring remote office work and social distancing on the plant floor.
The new processes have achieved many benefits in efficiency and agility that have become part of the “new normal” that will outlast the pandemic. For example, BRM needed to migrate its paper-based project planning, control and feasibility (PPCF) process to an online system that could be accessed by employees working remotely. The paper process had offered limited visibility to team members not directly involved with the project, and the flow would be temporarily blocked whenever a stakeholder was traveling or on vacation and could not move the paper to the next stage of the process.
The new online system has many benefits, including allowing the project initiator to continually monitor progress and address any delays and to reroute the flow to accommodate staffing availability changes. The online system has reduced the time to complete the process by as much as 80%!
This enhanced efficiency enabled BRM to quickly develop a new structural polyester tie-down for temporary medical and first-responder structures during the pandemic, even though the order came shortly after BRM had ceased normal operations and the entire sales, customer service, and R&D teams had begun working from home.
Learn more about BRM’s new processes related to COVID-19 in Manufacturing Tomorrow Magazine:
By Sarah Islam, Bally Ribbon Mills
What is limiting the widespread adoption of smart textiles?
For over two decades, the potential for smart textiles has excited the imagination — from wearables that integrate electronics to monitor health and fitness as well as diagnose medical problems, to embedded stress and strain sensors that measure data and monitor changes, to predict potential catastrophic failure in the oil and gas industry, to antibacterial and antiviral yarns and finishes that reduce COVID-19 transmission in medical and public transportation applications.
The demand exists, and the technology is feasible, and the manufacturing processes are maturing, and yet the commercial potential has yet to be realized. Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM) is playing a leading role in the industry in understanding the obstacles and implementing strategic initiatives to mitigate them.
A fundamental problem is that it is often not economically viable for individual applications to bear the financial burden of developing and refining fundamental technological advancements. BRM addresses this challenge in a number of ways.
When possible, we use well-established existing technologies and manufacturing methods, as well as the experience we have acquired over the years, in order to shorten the R&D cycle. In addition, BRM has made significant investments in the advancement of generic, horizontal product capabilities and manufacturing methods that can be utilized by diverse vertical applications, effectively sharing the development costs and further shortening the R&D cycle.
We understand the ancillary requirements to make these high-leverage strategies successful. Before embarking on projects, BRM believes that it is critically important to establish clear Intellectual Property agreements to protect all parties. We also understand that industry standardization is necessary to allow our partners to take full advantage of existing and evolving technologies, and we continue to play a leading role in the efforts to institute common industry terminology, metrics, and standards in areas such as verifying and validating conductive element properties, assessing and measuring washability, and measuring durability and wear.
By Sarah Islam, Bally Ribbon Mills
Bally Ribbon Mills is excited to share we’ll be participating at the IFAI Virtual Expo next month, November 2nd-11th! Please join us to support the technical textile industry!
Since Covid-19, we are all sitting at the edge of our seats and wondering how things are going to return to normal. Well…the new normal is upon us. BRM is continually working with partners and customers to develop new fabrics for new and existing applications as well as working on genesis stage innovations. We look forward to sharing these new innovations with you at IFAI’s Virtual Expo this year.
BRM invites you to connect with us through our Virtual Booth via text chat and video conferencing. We are offering a VIP Code: EX20VIP100 for FREE registration for our visitors: https://ifaiexpo.com/register/.
We are also setting appointments with interested people that want to learn more or discuss specific projects. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment, please contact: (insert email and/or phone).
During IFAI, BRM will be highlighting:
» What’s new at BRM
» New Tapes, Webbing, Specialty Textiles
» Composite Fabrics – beyond carbon, combinations of technical fibers
» BRM Capabilities
» Specialty Fibers and Properties
Also, please follow Bally Ribbon Mills on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, for more information about our fabrics, applications and innovations!
The BRM team looks forward to meeting you at the IFAI Virtual Expo!
By Sarah Islam, Bally Ribbon Mills
Each month Bally Ribbon Mills is being written about in the top industry publications. Here are a few highlights of the great press coverage BRM has recently received:
Textile World recently featured the article “Domestic Supplies Of Polyester Woven Webbings Takes On New Urgency In The Post-COVID Era” by Ted Fetterman.
The polyester woven webbing market experienced serious short-term disruption from the closing of the last United States manufacturing plants that could supply yarn complying with the Berry Amendment. After some new domestic yarn manufacturers entered the market, some manufacturers, including Bally Ribbon Mills, stepped up to produce 100 percent Berry-compliant polyester webbing for critical safety applications. Positive engineering and manufacturing changes made to adapt to the COVID-19 emergency hold great promise in streamlining and improving future polyester webbing projects. Read the full article here.
See more great press coverage for Bally Ribbon Mill’s in Specialty Fabrics Review, on our fully Berry-compliant polyester webbing for seat belts, retractors and tie-down applications. The webbing meets Mil/PIA-W-25361 and commercial A-A-55242A specifications and is available in low minimum runs—as low as 1,000 yards per color—and in customized designs to meet performance properties. Read more here.
Aviation Magazine highlighted that Bally Ribbon Mills is supplying a range of narrow woven tapes and elastics urgently needed during the COVID-19 Emergency. The tapes and elastics are used by manufacturers of facemasks, face shields, gowns, other personal protective equipment (PPE), and medical patient soft goods, as well as patient slings, wheelchair harnesses, braces, and respiratory equipment. Read more here.
By Sarah Islam, Bally Ribbon Mills
Bally Ribbon Mills Polyester Webbing Ideal for DOD and U.S. Military Applications
At Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM), innovation and a desire to take on advanced design challenges are just two key factors that allow team members to keep the company ahead of the field in developing and improving technology.
In line with these tenets, BRM has recently expanded its capabilities for producing superior polyester webbing that is fully compliant with the Berry Amendment. This standard requires the Department of Defense to give preference to domestically produced fabrics and clothing.
Wide range of applications
BRM polyester webbing is ideal for use by DOD contractors manufacturing aircraft seat belts, retractors, restraining harnesses, tie-downs and other end use products.
This Berry-compliant webbing is also a good choice for civilian agencies involved in a wide range of U.S. military procurement activities. BRM’s polyester webbing is in accordance with Mil/PIA-W-25361 and commercial A-A-55242A specifications, as well as application specific requirements that have varied elongation specs. Additionally, all polyester webbing used in seat belts is certified to SAE AS 8043 specification.
BRM can work with your engineering team to provide webbing that meets all requirements, including elongation.
Team members customize weave designs to modify performance properties, offering expert capabilities for custom options and configurations to optimize designs. BRM’s polyester webbing is available in special colors and superior color fastness is guaranteed.
Additionally, BRM’s laboratories provide color matching using advanced spectrophotometer instrumentation to validate color accuracy. Webbing is available in low minimum runs – as low as 1000 yards per color – and in a wide range of widths, from 1-inch to 6-inch. Wider widths are available for specialty applications.
By Sarah Islam, Bally Ribbon Mills
BRM Reflects on Recreational, Safety and Medical Uses of Fabrics on National Textiles Day
Engineered woven webbing, tapes, and specialty materials, used in everyday life
In honor of National Textiles Day, Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM) is celebrating not only textiles and their myriad uses, but the front-line workers in various industries who are using these fabrics to save lives.
Held on May 3, National Textiles Day recognizes all the ways textiles improve lives. Since 1923, Bally Ribbon Mills has established itself as an industry leader in the design, development, and manufacture of highly specialized engineered woven fabrics, creating
products for aerospace, defense, medical, safety, automotive, commercial, and industrial applications. From recreational to essential uses, textiles play a role in our everyday lives.
Recreational and commercial use
As a pioneer of 3-D weaving technology, BRM creates tapes, webbing and other specialty fabrics from virtually any yarn – including nylon, polyester, aramid, graphite, glass, quartz, ceramic, and silicon carbide. Other specialty fabrics, like Kevlar®, Nomex®, Spectra® are used to create binding tape, chin straps, harnesses, packs, climbing webs, pet leashes, and parachute and balloon setups, which are available in light-weight binding to medium and heavy webbing.
Additionally, with much of today’s technology literally woven into the clothes or accessories we wear every day, designers at BRM are using its E-WEBBINGS® e-textile platform for a variety of applications. These woven narrow-fabrics are conductive, enabling the electronic transmission of data, sensations (light, noise, vibrations, heat), and power that can be stored or used to actuate/transform objects. Their unique conductive fibers can be woven in conjunction with other fibers and can be used in embedded sensors in both wearable and integral technology, including the Internet of Things
For example, a large fabric e-textile square produced by Bally Ribbon Mills can be placed into a custom application with small on-board battery and computer systems designed to sense environmental hazards, collect temperature and climate date, log distance and speed, and more. Consumer markets for clothing, outdoors equipment, and safety products also continuously turn to advanced textiles to gain a cutting-edge advantage.
Essential medical and safety fabrics
E-WEBBINGS® has also proven to be an essential fabric in the medical and safety fields, including fire, law enforcement, industrial, military, and commercial fall protection personal protective equipment (PPE).
Made from Nylon, Nomex®, Kevlar®, Vectran®, PBI®, Nextel®, and other specialty fibers, BRM’s safety webbing and tapes meet the demands of applications requiring high temperature, fully engineered safety solutions. They can be used for shoulder straps, harness webbing, and chin straps, as well as helmet suspension, binding tapes, lap belts, and shock absorbing webbing.
Responding to the global health crisis
In response to the current COVID-19 emergency, BRM is manufacturing urgently needed narrow woven structural tapes and elastics for use in a range of medical items. These include manufacturers of facemasks, face shields, gowns, other PPE, and medical patient soft goods, as well as patient slings, wheelchair harnesses, braces, and respiratory equipment.
BRM’s safety webbing and tapes are ideal for applications requiring high tenacity, abrasion resistance and flame and heat resistance. They are also a good choice for controlled elongation applications as well as those requiring chemical resistance in specific environments, as they offer conductivity, dimensional stability and strength, and can help to reduce weight and size. The materials meet United States (NFPA) requirements for fire fighters’ protective clothing and equipment.
This year, these specialty fabrics are more important than ever as our medical and safety professionals tirelessly work to assist those diagnosed with coronavirus. On National Textiles Day, we’re honored to be a part of the effort to equip our front-line works with the best fabrics available to ensure they can protect themselves and continue to save lives.
By Sarah Islam, Bally Ribbon Mills
Bally Ribbon Mills Supplying Range of Narrow Woven Tapes and Elastics Urgently Needed During COVID-19 Emergency
Ideal for facemasks, face shields, gowns, and other medical soft goods and equipment
Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM), an industry leader in the design, development, and manufacture of highly specialized engineered woven fabrics, announces it is manufacturing urgently needed narrow woven structural tapes and elastics for use in a range of medical items required for the current COVID-19 emergency. The tapes and elastics are used by manufacturers of facemasks, face shields, gowns, other personal protective equipment (PPE), and medical patient soft goods, as well as patient slings, wheelchair harnesses, braces, and respiratory equipment.
BRM offers ¼- to ½-inch woven tapes and webbing in natural polyester and elastic. Latex free options are available, as well as material with 100 percent elastic stretch. Also available are ¼-inch to ¾-inch nylon grosgrain binding tapes used in medical tie applications and special designs where Velcro is utilized for closure.
BRM manufactures medical items in a certified clean room to ensure cleanliness and quality and maintains the rigorous ISO 13485:2016 certification for the design and manufacture of medical devices. Additionally, medical textiles engineers, and prototype weavers, and braiders at BRM work on a confidential basis to protect the intellectual property of customers.
Woven TPS being tested at the Arc Jet Center, NASA Ames Research Center. Photo courtesy of NASA Ames.
The National Space and Missile Materials Symposium (NSMMS) and the Commercial and Government Responsive Access to Space Technology Exchange (CRASTE) which are both space focused conferences will be held during June 24-27 in Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, Nevada. The main focus of these events are to discuss key technology issues related to space, missile, commercial space topics relating to our country’s defense and research and development.
Bally Ribbon Mills will highlight its Woven Thermal Protection Systems (TPS) for space, missile, and hypersonics. Our Advanced Product Group designs and produces woven structural shapes for hybrid composite structures used in aerospace applications. We understand the key performance characteristics that lead to successful aerospace products, and how to design woven goods to achieve that success.
Most recently, BRM has earned a prestigious Space Technology Award from NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). Now a TRL-6 project, the 3D TPS is used to support NASA’s heat shield for extreme entry environment technology team.
Bally Ribbon Mills will be at Booth 34, check it out! For more information visit the event page: https://usasymposium.com/space/2019/default.php
As electronics continue to shrink, becoming simultaneously more compact and powerful, they’re being used in an increasingly diverse range of products and devices.
In people’s everyday lives, this is most apparent in the Internet of Things (IoT) — the interconnection of devices and products via the internet that allow them to “communicate” with each other through the sending and receiving of data. Home appliances, thermostats, light bulbs, remotes, home security systems, and even clothing can now all be embedded with electronics and software allowing them to collect and exchange data. In hospitals, for example, “smart textiles” in clothing may be used to monitor patients’ vital signs.
To meet manufacturers and consumers’ shifting needs, Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM) is proud to offer our proprietary E-WEBBINGS®, an e-textile product base created by combining non-conductive fibers and specialized conductive elements. These products serve as the foundation layer to which electronic intercommunicative technology is integrated directly. E-WEBBINGS® are specifically designed to serve as a customizable base for a wide range of smart textile applications within the IoT.
Allowing for smaller final product size, lower weight, optimal user comfort, and significant cost savings, these smart textiles offer a range of benefits. But how do E-WEBBINGS® work, and how are they designed?
Download E-WEBBINGS®: Narrow Woven Fabrics for the IoT Technology Sector
E-WEBBINGS® Design, Components, and Purposes
Before beginning work on designing and customizing E-WEBBINGS®, our engineers take the time to thoroughly understand the purpose and specific requirements of the end device, and we work closely with our clients throughout each step of the process to ensure all needs are met.
Every component and factor that goes into an E-WEBBINGS® textile is thoughtfully and carefully chosen, since each piece needs to work together seamlessly — the conductor, the base webbing, the power source, and the sensor. Often, choosing to work with one type of component necessitates the use of another. For example, if a sensor requires a robust power source, a larger wire may need to be used as the conductor. And, in this case, the webbing would then need to be thick enough to reliably protect and carry the wire.
Conductive fibers or wires can be woven into the E-WEBBINGS® fabric itself. This allows for the transmission of power and information, without the need for additional wiring in the final component. This also helps cut down on the manufacturer’s bill of materials and allows for a simplified, streamlined end product. Various options are available for conductor type; the best fit will depend on the type of sensor used or specific power requirements.
Options are virtually limitless for the number and types of sensors used, but decisions are typically made depending on where within the product the textile structure is located, and what types of information and data it needs to measure. Also, the natural properties of weaving can benefit certain sensors, depending on their size and shape, as certain weaves are better-suited to certain attachments and types of sewing.
To learn more about E-WEBBINGS® from Bally Ribbon Mills or to discuss your next project with one of our experts, reach out to the team today.
At Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM), we design, develop, and manufacture high quality engineered webbing, tape, and narrow fabric. While our products’ applications vary across a range of industries, we focus particularly on the technology needed to manufacture specialized webbing for critical use applications.
We are proud of the role our critical use products have played in the aerospace industry, as well as our trusted partnership with NASA on recent projects. Last year, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden visited our facility to support our work on a new space mission technology, declaring, “From this day on, the path to Mars goes through Bally, Pennsylvania.”
In order to enhance our product capabilities to meet NASA’s needs, we have been implementing innovative weaving technologies using high strength fibers such as Kevlar®, Technora®, and Vectran® to develop complex webbing for aerospace products.
These lightweight materials comprise 3-D woven fabrics and multifunctional thermal protection system (TPS) padding for NASA directed commercial sector space vehicles. Our TPS padding was selected as the critical component of the heat shield on the Orion Crew Capsule, which helps protect against the extreme temperatures of atmospheric re-entry during missions to the moon, asteroids, or Mars.
We provide customers with robust complex materials optimized for the low pack volume and high energy absorption that critical use applications demand. Our advanced launch and recovery decelerator webbing has been key to the successful design of space rocket launch vehicles and capsule recovery programs. We also design T, X, and Pi shaped webbing for lighter-than-air inflatable airships, surveillance aerostats, and NASA directed commercial sector space vehicles (COTS).
Our high performance webbing has appeared in a variety of other aerospace, space, and commercial applications such as parachutes, flight suits, seat belts, seat construction, cargo netting reinforcement tapes, and crew safety components. We ensure that all of our products pass strict Mil-Spec, PIA-Spec, and Department of Defense Berry Amendment requirements for the procurement of fabrics and textiles.
BRM was proud to be featured as a Phase II Company in NASA’s highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program for our four year support of the Orion project, as well as our current work for an upcoming EM-1 mission. We are grateful for NASA’s commitment to integrating small businesses into its contractor base, and we are dedicated to leveraging our unique strengths to help pioneer the future of space exploration.
Want to Learn More?
Since 1923, Bally Ribbon Mills has been a leader in the design, development, and manufacture of 2-D and 3-D specialty webbing. Our custom engineering and diverse weaving technologies enable us to provide advanced products for both commercial and critical use applications.
To learn more about how 3-D woven composites outperform their metallic counterparts to support critical use applications, download our eBook The Benefits of 3-D Woven Composites.
The Benefits of 3-D Woven Composites