2018 Conference Recap

The 2018 Southern Textile Research Conference (STRC) was highly successful despite a change in dates due to Hurricane Florence. The conference theme was “Advances in Functional Finishes and Innovative Technologies”. Will Duncan, Executive Director for SEAMS, was the Keynote Speaker. Mr. Duncan began the STRC with a great presentation entitled, “Building the Bridge for a Stronger US Supply Chain”. This was a thought-provoking presentation about the need to make paradigm shifts in manufacturing methods in order to be more competitive.

Ken Greeson from Cotton Incorporated discussed “Fundamental of Wrinkle Free Finishing & Recent Innovations”. This presentation began with some highlights of the development of durable press finishes. Wrinkle free finishing techniques were reviewed, and the presentation concluded with new developments in non-formaldehyde durable press technology.

The next presentation was “Solar Off-Loading Technology” by Terry McInerney, President of INCA Technologies. Solar Off-Loading Technology (SOLT) reduces solar heating of fabrics or other textiles by an average of 35%. This technology presents many exciting possibilities, especially in hot climates, to make conditions much safer and to provide huge energy savings.

Wade Tyner, Manager of Applications Engineering for APJeT®, Inc., presented “Plasma Technology for Advanced Functional Finishing”. Various type of plasma for textiles were reviewed. Applications with APJeT’s technology including water repellents, soil repellents, antimicrobials, wicking technology, and flame retardants were discussed. APJet’s new technology for precision placement of finishes concluded the presentation.

Anuradhi Liyanapathiranage, PhD Student and Graduate Research Assistant at The University of Georgia, presented “Nanocellulose Based Renewable Functional Coating” research. Nanocellulose can be used for high-performance functional coatings for such as phase change materials (PCM’s) and for conductive textiles. Recent research with nanocellulose has been performed for low-water dyeing applications on cotton fabrics.

The following presentation was “Low Add-On Application of Functional Finishes” by Dan Gilman at Baldwin Technology Company. Baldwin Technology has a unique system for precision spray application of chemicals and colors to fabrics. The spray heads are easily cleaned, so rapid changeover of finishes is easy with this technology.

Tian Lan from Microban International presented “Understanding Options for Testing Odor Control of Treated Textiles”. Several types of antimicrobial agents for textiles were reviewed. In addition to antimicrobials, other odor control agents may be used to trap malodors. New techniques were discussed to evaluate odor control of treated textiles.

Steve Arcidiacono from US Army Natick Soldier RD&E Center (RDECOM) made a presentation entitled “Investigation of Variability in Antimicrobial Textile Testing”. This presentation challenged traditional thinking about widely-accepted tests such as AATCC Test Method 100. There are some steps that are vague and open to interpretation. A study was performed to track the various parameters of AATCC TM100 that may lead to variability. This presentation was an excellent finale to the STRC as it lead to an open discussion among attendees regarding test method predictions vs. actual performance.

Many attendees of the 2018 STRC provided positive feedback about the conference format, the excellent balance of topics, and the many opportunities for discussion and interaction. Despite the rescheduling due to Hurricane Florence, the STRC was well-attended. We hope to build on this success with the 2019 STRC!