The 2021 edition of Techtextil North America took place last month, August 23-25 at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. After nearly a year and a half of virtual business dealings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the US textile industry gathered together in-person for this highly anticipated reunion.
Despite several obstacles including the re-emergence of COVID-19 via the Delta variant and Tropical Storm Henri that battered the Northeast in the days leading up to the show, Techtextil North America 2021 saw strong attendance, with many exhibitors noting the high quality of visitors throughout the three days. Decision makers from all of the major industries that touch technical textiles and nonwovens attended the event to conduct business, reunite with industry pals, and discover the latest technological developments and trends shaping the industry as we approach a post-pandemic world.
This year, visitors included top industry executives, buyers, engineers, technical directors, plant managers, product development managers, and more from the world’s leading brands including Gildan, Honeywell, Lear Corporation, Patagonia, Procter and Gamble, Milliken and Company, Courtland Biomedical and Bluewater Defense Inc, among others.
Techtextil North America Symposium
Symposium ticketholders attended sessions covering hot topics on new levels of innovation, disruptions brought on by COVID-19, and how the global textile industry continues to thrive and find new solutions. Many sessions nearly sold out during the last weeks of pre-registration; sessions including “Sustainability, Traceability and Supply-Chain Disruptions”, “Digital Transformation Strategy and “Manufacturing, Managing and Regulating PPE- Now and into the Future” proved to be in high demand.
Student Research Poster Program
The Poster Program returned to Techtextil North America again in 2021. Participants included undergraduate research students and those pursuing their Master’s or Ph.D. from the top textile engineering programs in the Southeast region. Participants had the opportunity to share their research findings with peers and potential employers on the show floor each day, and a handful were given the opportunity to present their research at The Academy in front of a captive audience throughout the three days.
A must-see show floor attraction area, The Academy combined the previously named Tech Talks and The Lab for three days of free show floor education. Featuring the latest scientific developments in technical textiles and nonwovens, the Academy features students from the Poster Program and speakers from companies like AATCC, American Truetzchler, The Hohenstein Institute, Manufacturing Solutions Center, and Microban. Sessions covering antiviral and antimicrobial textiles and textile treatments proved to be in high demand, and “Testing Water Resistance of PPE Fabrics” proved to be a hot topic as well.
With happy hours held on the show floor on the afternoons of both day one and two, Techtextil North America was full of networking opportunities. The opening day reception was sponsored by Techtextil North America and SPESA, who hosted their Advancements in Manufacturing Conference in parallel with the event, drawing sewn products professionals from the region to the show floor. Day two’s happy hour was hosted by the show’s official Academic Partner, North Carolina State University’s Wilson College of Textiles, along with The North Carolina Textile Foundation. The events provided free drinks, light hors d'oeuvres, and an opportunity to network with other show-goers outside of the booth setting, and proved to be a great way for attendees to catch up with old industry peers prior to dispersing for evening plans.
The show’s return since the COVID-19 pandemic proved to have met or exceeded expectations for visitors and exhibitors alike, and many were more than happy to share their thoughts on the value of in-person events after such a long hiatus:
"It's been great to be out and about again" stated Ernest Sumner of A.B. Carter. "We've been able to see and meet a lot of people that we hadn't been able to catch up with or wouldn't have known about had we not been here in Raleigh. We didn't know who we needed to see until we saw them!"
“Shows are a pain in the neck, but so worth it," said Steve Aranof of exhibitor Zund America Inc. "As someone who has participated on both sides as an exhibitor and an attendee, it's hard to say which option is best. But we are such social characters. If I didn't wander the show floor, I wouldn't have met certain people to have conversations with and wouldn't have learned what they know without engaging in that conversation."
"It's been a surprisingly good show and turnout," said Lou Ott, Gentex. "It was good to be face-to-face with people for a change without having a Zoom screen between us. And also having the time to catch up with friends and acquaintances - where they are, how they're doing and all those personal things that you don't have the opportunity to do on a zoom call - was great."
“It was great to be back in a live setting, talking face to face, seeing new developments as well as older, tested solutions,” said Keith Hoover, President of Black Swan Textiles and featured speaker in the Techtextil North America Symposium. “I saw firsthand several instances of unintended connections and serendipitous introductions between people - all of which led to unforeseen opportunities. There is no substitute for being there. Video conferences have their place, but, if that's all we have, then there will be a downturn in innovation and ultimately, prosperity. Thanks to Techtextil North America for leading the way back to personal interaction and real networking. It's time to get back to work.”
The Atlanta edition of Techtextil North America will take place May 17-19, 2022, once again co-located with Texprocess Americas, the leading sourcing event for sewn products manufacturing. You can count on another stellar event bringing together the best in technical textiles, nonwovens, and sewn products equipment and technology. Visit the shows’ websites to sign up for e-newsletter alerts and stay up-to-date with the latest developments.
Thank you for your coverage and support of Techtextil North America. For further information, images or interview inquiries, please contact Ali Rosenberger: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Background information on Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. The Messe Frankfurt Group employs around 2,500* people in a total of 30 subsidiaries. The company generated annual sales of approximately €250* million in 2020 after having recorded sales of €738 million the previous year. Even in difficult times caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we are globally networked with our industry sectors. We have close ties with our industry sectors and serve our customers’ business interests efficiently within the framework of our Fairs & Events, Locations and Services business fields. One of the Group’s key USPs is its closely knit global sales network, which extends throughout the world. Our comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. We are expanding our digital expertise with new business models. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. Headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).
For more information, please visit our website at: www.messefrankfurt.com.
* preliminary figures 2020
Messe Frankfurt North America is a subsidiary of Messe Frankfurt and is headquartered in Atlanta, GA. Messe Frankfurt North America produces and manages 10 shows within the United States, Canada and Mexico. In addition to Techtextil North America, the North American portfolio of events includes Texworld New York, Apparel Sourcing New York, Home Textiles Sourcing, Texprocess Americas, The Clean Show, INA PAACE Automechanika Mexico City, Waste & Recycling Expo Canada, Festival of Motoring US and PROCESS EXPO.
For more information, please visit our website at http://www.us.messefrankfurt.com.
Background Information on North Carolina State University’s College of Textiles
The NC State University College of Textiles is recognized as the global leader in textile education, research and service. NC State produces more textile graduates per year than any other university in the country, leading the way in textile and fashion design, product development, brand marketing, basic and applied science, and engineering. The College of Textiles’ faculty and alumni foster research and new technologies that span the textile industry. Located on the award-winning Centennial Campus, the textile complex features more than 60 labs and studio spaces that provide opportunities for the development of innovative products and services, contributing to the economic, societal and intellectual prosperity of North Carolina and fueling worldwide economic development. For more information about the NC State College of Textiles, visit textiles.ncsu.edu.