Evolution of Chemical Applicators for Textiles – a Historical Review of Chasing Water

Preston Aldridge, Vice President, FTA, Inc.

Our industry began in fields out in the open when Man was mostly Nomadic and washers were rivers. With the change to a more stationary lifestyle, the location moved to the yards, porches, kitchens, and laundries of homesteaders. The General Store needed a supply chain thus creating large laundries followed by large mills for larger runs of fabric. As the world became more global, the larger mills moved to faraway places and we returned to smaller ones. Laundries for garments once again were in vogue and only recently have lost favor due to pollution and excess water consumption. Enter laser engraving of fabric, ozone gas treatment for preparation and plasma for finishing. Now water is gone. Enter nonwovens and applicators are gone with the placement of particles in the substrate which perform the roll of chemistry. What an exciting time to live!

Don A. Alexander

Don Alexander is President of Anovotek, LLC an entrepreneurial company he founded in 2003. Anovotek is a science based, product oriented and market driven company focused on bringing exceptional value to customers through innovative performance technologies integrated into products made from fibers, polymers and textiles. Anovotek has worked with a broad variety of clients including single inventors, multi-billion/year revenue corporations, foundations, universities, and government organizations in over 20 countries. Anovotek continues to work with both international and domestic entities to develop, license and commercialize innovative technologies and products through consulting services, sourcing, manufacturing and Anovotek Brands sold direct-to-consumer.

Don received a B. S. in Textile Chemistry from Clemson University and a M. S. in Textiles from the Institute of Textile Technology.

Organizations and community service
Mr. Alexander has over 33 years of experience in textile and associated industries holding positions in R&D, Manufacturing Management, Executive Leadership and Entrepreneurial Company start-ups.

He is currently a Senior Member of AATCC, is a past member of the AATCC Foundation Board, past chair of the Environmental, Safety, and Health Committee RA-100 of AATCC, member of the University of Georgia AFFOA Advisory Board, Program Chair of the Southern Textile Research Conference, past member of the Industrial Advisory Board of the School of Textiles at Clemson University, past member of the EPRI Textile Advisory Committee at North Carolina State University and served on the Technical Advisory Committee of the National Textile Center.

Alexander is a frequent speaker at conferences and symposia. He is a member of First Baptist Church Barnwell, member of the Rotary Club International, Board Chair – SC National Heritage Corridor, past Chair of the Sweetwater Country Club Board, past Chair of the Barnwell County Hospital Board and is involved in numerous community service initiatives.

Past work experience
In 1999 Alexander joined Guilford Mills, an $800 + million annual revenue textile manufacturer, as Corporate Vice President of Technology, responsible for all aspects of technology, technical services, and research and development. Alexander was a Director of the company and served on the corporate leadership team headed by the CEO. In addition to his responsibilities as Vice President of Technology, he also served for one year as Vice President of Manufacturing for the apparel and home fashions business unit. Don was instrumental in the planning, construction and start-up of a new industrial park and manufacturing facility near Altimara Mexico.

Prior, Alexander spent twelve years ending in 1999 at the Institute of Textile Technology located in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he was Director of Chemical, Energy, and Environmental programs. He was responsible for applied research, monitoring of global technology development, and industry consulting and expanded ITT’s focus on environmental & energy programs. Alexander was also involved in the creation and management of an industry-wide project between the textile industry and the US Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories called the

AMTEX Partnership and was instrumental in the development and management of a large environmental project called the Textile Resource Conservation Project which included 40 participating industrial companies and 8 National Laboratories. Alexander managed all facets of the project including participation of 115 industry representatives working with 29 National Laboratory scientists. Alexander also taught in the Graduate program and participated extensively in ITT’s continuing education seminars.

Prior to joining ITT, Alexander worked with Milliken & Company in manufacturing and technical management.

Value-Added Finishing in the USA, Strategies Enabling Innovation and Entrepreneurial Business Development

Don Alexander, President, Anovotek, LLC

Textile products containing performance attributes offer great opportunity in the USA market but typically require global supply chains, large volume commitments and long lead times. Textile fabric finishing in the USA is viable, however finding cutting and sewing capacity in the USA is extremely difficult. Protecting IP when finishing fabrics offshore is nearly impossible despite the efforts being made through global trade agreements. This presentation will detail an innovative, entrepreneurial approach for value-added finishing in the USA. Utilizing both domestic and global supply chains for products while doing value added finishing in the USA coupled with direct-to-consumer sales will be discussed. A case study of a current manufacturing operation utilizing this approach and will be presented including processing options, process control and process performance data. The success of a performance apparel brand using this approach will also be discussed.

Dr. Roger Barker

Director, Textile Protection and Comfort Center (TPACC) and Burlington Distinguished Professor, Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science, NC State University.


Roger L. Barker is a Professor in the Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science at North Carolina State University and Director of TPACC.  He is internationally recognized for his work in the field of thermal protective clothing and comfort and heat stress in clothing systems.  Barker has published many technical papers on the subject of the effects of intense heat exposures on fabric materials including exposures to flash fire, molten metal, hot surface contact and radiant energy.  He was Chairman of the 1984 ASTM International Symposium on the Performance of Protective Clothing.  He is an active participant in several committees of the National Fire Protection Association, which are involved in the development of standards for the performance of protective clothing.  Barker holds B. S. and M. S. Degrees in physics from the University of Tennessee and a Ph.D., in Textile and Polymer Science from Clemson University.  He has positions at Cornell and at Clemson Universities.  His industrial experience includes work as a physicist in spun bonded fabrics research.


Thermal protective performance of textile fabrics and clothing, heat transfer mechanisms in intense heat exposures. Fabric and clothing flammability, materials response and testing methodologies.

Comfort properties of textile clothing and materials, heat and moisture transfer in textile structures, objective measurement of fabric hand.

Industrial analysis of thermal and mechanical properties of textile fabrics. Textile measurement technologies, instrumented manikins. Assessment of human sensory and physiological response to clothing comfort.

Evaluating Textiles with Performance Properties

Dr. Roger Barker, Director, Textile Protection and Comfort Center (TPACC)

The commercial success of technical fibers, fabrics and finishes depends on their performance in a variety of applications ranging from flame resistant garments to outdoor and sports products. We can evaluate technical textiles as individual components, but there is great value in testing them as whole systems. This presentation describes how a new generation instrumented manikins called Pyroman™, Radman™ and Comfortman™ and other advanced tests can be used, either separately or together, to demonstrate the performance of technical textiles for first responder and work wear in ways that were never before possible. It will describe case studies drawn from recent TPACC research projects that have developed advanced clothing prototypes for homeland security, firefighting and workplace applications. These studies have shown the value of using a fully integrated product development approach supported by advanced product testing. Some have developed prototypes for protecting firefighters from extreme thermal or toxic environments, including wildland fire and exposure to contaminates and smoke. Others have developed clothing systems for comfort by combining advances in materials technology with garment design. All confirm the value of developing textile products using scientifically based measures of their performance properties.

Tim Heller

Tim Heller graduated with a BS in Chemistry from University of South Florida.

After graduation, went to work for Milliken in the Elm City Plant and spent 10 years there where I held various positions including product development and Technical Manager in Dyeing and Finishing.

In 1993 went to work for JB Martin Co as a Technical Manager and became Vice President and Plant Manager in 1997.

Formed Oasis Dyeing Systems LLC in 2015 and currently continue to operate as Plant Manager for JB Martin as well as operations for Oasis Dyeing Systems.

Advancements in Digital Printing Machinery

Katelyn Lee, Textile Chemist, Cotton Incorporated

According to market surveys, the volume of digitally printed textiles has more than doubled in the past four years. This presentation will review advancements in digital printing machinery that have contributed to the increased productivity and reliability of individual machines and encouraged the rapid growth of digital printing in the textile industry.

Katelyn Lee

Katelyn Lee works in Textile Chemistry Research at Cotton Incorporated. She has been with Cotton Incorporated since 2007. She managed day-to-day operations in the digital printing and garment wet processing laboratories for five years. Her present role as a Textile Chemist focuses on conducting applied research projects to improve performance in enzymatic processing, dyeing, and garment finishing.

Katelyn currently serves as the committee chair for RA80-Printing Technology in the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists. Katelyn graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Polymer and Color Chemistry. She received the Luther B. Arnold scholarship from the STRC in 2005.