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Dr. Amir Islam and Ambassador Denise Campbell Bauer

Bally Ribbon Mills highlighted its 3-D weaving capabilities at JEC World 2022, held May 3-5, 2022, in Paris-Nord Villepinte, France. BRM featured its film infusion capabilities for 3-D woven joints; woven thermal protection systems (TPS); and advanced woven composite 3-D structures, including 3-D near-net shapes.

In BRM’s film infusion process, a frozen sheet or film of resin is infused onto the custom 3-D woven joint. Film-infused 3-D woven joints ship as pre-made assemblies, ensuring consistent quality control from the industry-leading experts in fabrication and saving customers the cost of infusing the resin themselves. BRM has perfected the science and art of 3-D continuous weaving to fabricate such structures as “Pi – π,” double “T,” “H,” and other complex shapes. Offering the optimal blend of strength, durability, and structural integrity, these complex woven structures are used primarily in aerospace applications, often in airframe structural components and subassemblies including stiffeners and joints.

Booth visitors learned about BRM’s lightweight materials like 3-D woven fabrics as well as multifunctional thermal protection systems (TPS) for atmospheric re-entry. BRM has implemented innovative weaving technologies to develop complex webbing for aerospace products. The woven TPS billet to be showcased at the booth is part of a line of products that 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.

Photo: Dr. Amir Islam, Director of Research and Development at BRM with US Ambassador to France Ambassador Denise Campbell Bauer.

 

Dr. Amir Islam at the Bally Ribbon Mills booth at JEC 2022

Also on display were lightweight, cost-effective, advanced woven 2-D and 3-D composite structures. Using a multi-dimensional continuous weaving method, BRM produces textiles that can be fabricated into near net-shape structures. These advanced weaving capabilities offer customers new solutions that reduce weight and cost. The technology weaves complex shapes automatically, eliminating many costly, time-consuming, and labor-intensive processes.

Photo: Dr. Amir Islam at the Bally Ribbon Mills booth at JEC 2022

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Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM) is working on a novel approach to structural health monitoring (SHM) for potential use on inflatable habitat structures being developed for NASA space missions. The new method uses sensors embedded in the flexible structural restraint webbing layers to capture data on stress, strain, creep, and micrometeoroid impacts.

Luna

The work is being done in partnership with Luna Innovations, Inc., an American developer and manufacturer of fiber-optics and terahertz-based technology products for aerospace.

BRM has been working with Luna since 2007, when Luna’s NASA contact suggested the partnership to provide a sample that could be used to demonstrate Luna’s technology capabilities. Undertaken as part of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, the project aimed to demonstrate the integration of optical fiber sensing technology into composites to monitor the vacuum assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) process.

BRM successfully wove the material and passed it along to Luna. Fast-forward 15 years, and Luna came back to collaborate with BRM on a NASA multistage grant award examining whether the embedded sensor technology could survive all the required manufacturing processes for use in inflatable habitat structures being developed for upcoming space missions. The long-term goal was to be able to measure stress, strain, and temperature, as well as pinpoint the location of strain. For example, if a micro meteorite hits the shell fabric and causes point source stress, scientists could know where it hit and be able to gauge the potential for failure.

BRM successfully produced the material, overcoming two key webbing manufacturing process challenges along the way: ensuring that the sensor is not damaged during the weaving; and ensuring that the weave design is precise enough to place sensor ingresses and egresses in the proper locations within the weave structure’s surface.

Luna Innovations then tested the fiber optic sensors woven into the flexible structural restraint layer webbings on an inflatable test article with a diameter of 0.61 meters (2 feet) fabricated from Vectran®, a manufactured filament fiber with a liquid-crystal polymer chemistry. Experiments successfully demonstrated creep sensing, pressure sensing, and detection of damage location and magnitude. NASA has also been conducting hypervelocity impact tests on the inflated habitat.

Currently, a one-third scale, 2.74 meter diameter (9 feet) inflatable with embedded structural health sensors is being used for creep and burst testing at NASA’s Johnson Space Center to validate the bench-top engineering and design of the habitat’s structural components. The plan is to build four one-third scale models and one full-scale model to validate the system for human space flight.

While the goal is to complete the project by 2023, the final schedule will be based on successful orchestration of raw material supply, component procurement, manufacturing, assembly, testing, test-facilities scheduling, and funding. Based on previous success with the prior phases and benchmarks, BRM is currently contracted to produce the next set of sensorized webbing.

The new sensor-based technique for monitoring the health of the flexible softgoods restraints on inflatable living structures shows great promise. If the embedded sensing technology proves to be successful, it could be included in future space mission habitation structures, including the Lunar Gateway or Mars missions.

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Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM) announces it will highlight its creative solutions for product design and development at the Smart Fabrics Summit which will be held March 28-29th, 2022 at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. Samples of advanced textiles suited for a wide range of technical requirements will be on display.

BRM enjoys the challenge of assisting customers in problem resolution and innovation creation regarding material selection in their design and development phases. BRM’s services include development of customized innovations, complete engineering and solutions, sample preparation, and full-scale and specialty manufacturing.

Experts will be on hand to show how BRM can design, develop and manufacture specialized, engineered, woven webbings, tapes, and specialty fabrics for the entire range of industries highlighted at Smart Fabrics Summit. BRM will showcase tapes and webbings that engineers can use to meet their advanced material needs, including conductivity properties for smart textiles, color requirements, flame resistance, durability, flexibility, chemical resistance, controlled elongation, specific strength, and lightness properties.

BRM will also showcase its work with Luna Innovations, an industry leader in optical sensor technology. BRM worked with Luna to embed their sensors into high strength webbing material used in the construction of inflatable habits for the moon and beyond.  The sensors are used to measure stress, strain and long-term creep of the textile materials used as structural components of the shelter habitat.

BRM looks forward to meeting you at Smart Fabrics Summit 2022! https://smartfabricssummit.com

By Sarah Islam, Bally Ribbon Mills

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Bally Ribbon Mills will showcase its high-quality, high-performance products at SHOT Show 2022 to be held January 18-21, 2022 at booth 52132 in the Palazzo Ballroom at the Venetian Congress Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Subject matter experts will be on hand to highlight samples of BRM’s industry-leading specialty binding tapes, Berry-compliant polyester webbing, and new pistol belt/sling webbing to industry manufacturers.

Visitors to the booth can also see samples of material BRM supplied for tie-downs and structural elements of both the deceleration and landing systems used in NASA’s mission to Mars. These materials are engineered to maintain the highest strength to weight ratio possible while also being resistant to extreme environmental conditions of space and Mars’s atmospheric conditions during entry. These same material have also been utilized for specialty applications here on Earth.

Visit the booth to see representative samples of BRM’s highly abrasion resistant specialty binding tapes, ideal for edge binding on load bearing equipment and soft-sided backpacks and luggage. Our materials offer consistent quality and width, optimizing the sewing fabrication process. They also enable significantly better throughput, making them a better overall value than lower quality tapes.

Also on display are samples of our superior Berry Amendment-compliant polyester webbing, ideal for use by DOD contractors manufacturing aircraft seat belts, retractors, restraining harnesses, and tie-downs. BRM’s Berry-compliant webbing is a good choice for civilian agencies involved in U.S. military procurement activities. Webbing is available in a wide range of widths, from 1-inch to 6-inch and is offered in low minimum runs and custom colors.

The new pistol belt/sling webbing that will be showcased at the booth is available in small runs with customization of color, widths, and weave designs and patterns. Our experts offer complete design and textile engineering services.

Visitors to the booth can consult with our subject matter experts, who bring a wide breadth of design application and engineering knowledge and can leverage their experience to solve engineering challenges in woven tapes and webbing.

For more information, speak with BRM experts in booth 52132 at SHOT Show, or visit www.ballyribbon.com.

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About Bally Ribbon Mills
Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM) designs, develops, and manufactures highly specialized engineered woven webbing, tapes, specialty fabrics, woven preforms, and two-dimensional and three-dimensional structural fabrics. With more than 95 years of textile manufacturing experience, BRM has earned a reputation for meeting new advanced design challenges. Working in aerospace, defense, medical, safety, automotive, commercial, and industrial applications, BRM offers ingenuity, technical know-how, extensive weaving capabilities, and rigorous quality assurance systems.

For more information, visit www.ballyribbon.com or call 610-845-2211.

By Sarah Islam, Bally Ribbon Mills

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We are thrilled to be back to the world of in-person trade shows and looking forward to showing existing and potential customers custom weave designs and high-performance fibers that provide inspiration for innovative products and components at IFAI Expo 2021 and the Advance Textiles Conference, to be held November 1-4, 2021, at Music City Center, Nashville TN, Booth # A925.

We will be highlighting new fabrics that use custom weave designs and high-performance fibers or combinations of fibers with patterns specific to end-use applications. Stop by the booth to see examples and tell us what’s on your drawing board. Our experts can discuss creation of innovative patterns that may fit the bill.

Here are just a few examples of what you will find:

  • E-WEBBINGS® – woven fabrics of traditional fibers in conjunction with functional elements, including conductivity, light transmission, and sensors.
  • Composites – fabrics that contain more than one unique fiber for the purpose of utilizing different and inherent properties of each component fiber.
  • Tapes and webbing with superior properties – materials with high strength to weight ratio, chemical resistance, low elongation, and many more properties.
  • Engineered fibers and fabrics utilized in space for mission success and to keep our astronauts and pilots safe – samples of materials used by NASA, ESA, and commercial near and deep space contractors providing materials on Planet Mars.

By Sarah Islam, Bally Ribbon Mills

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Prototype testing critical for ensuring that new woven fabrics meet application performance requirements

To ensure that a woven webbing fabric meets the performance requirements of an application in particular environmental conditions, it is critical that all are prototyped and tested.
Often developers use an Internet search to match up their application performance requirements to an available solution that meets established fiber performance and chemistry criteria. However, all applications are unique – they rarely fit into a neat box. It is simply not possible to predict the performance of any particular woven material for all applications. In most cases, customers want prototypes to blow apart and model through observation rather than benchtop studies.

At BRM, all projects are prototyped and tested for the application – whether BRM has off the shelf fabrics or develops a new fabric. The process begins with communication between the customer and BRM to understand the application. The customer may show drawings and BRM shares relevant test report information.
Then it is time for the prototype stage. Most customers start off wanting to save time and money by incorporating an existing off the shelf fabric into their development process. BRM might send a customer several materials that are close to one another but different in some way. The customer then tests the prototypes for actual application performance with regard to thickness, tensile strength, and the effects of UV or saltwater.

When the project cannot use an off the shelf item, BRM uses a careful iterative process to come up with new fabric prototypes. When benchtop analysis to eliminate variables has been exhausted, application experts determine which variables have not been eliminated. Then weaving experts go to the loom and weave a new fabric, using the ideas collected on potential changes in the loom. It is not an exact science – customers know that they will not know how the fabric will actually perform until it has been blown apart.

One recent example for the recreational climbing market was development of a stronger yet lighter material for use in structural webbing loops used to fix gear to a climber or the mountain. To increase the strength, BRM substituted a more densely packed yarn. This changed the webbing dynamic and the internal pressure forces caused the webbing to melt on the prototype material. After conducting a forensic analysis, BRM’s application team investigated ways to modify the design to reduce the density and allow the fibers to be efficiently incorporated into the design without such high pressure. In short, iterative prototype production and testing for new applications is critical for ensuring performance of the test material relative to the application and environmental conditions in which it will operate.

By Sarah Islam, Bally Ribbon Mills 

 

 

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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:

www.manufacturingtomorrow.com/news 

By Sarah Islam, Bally Ribbon Mills 

 

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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 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

» E-WEBBINGS®

» 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 

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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 

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Cut your research time in half by
downloading our Webbing 101 Guide.

Inside, we highlight topics such as:

  • Common Specifications: (Mil-Spec, PIA, & UL)
  • Fabrication Methods: (Braiding, Jacquard Loom, Shuttle Loom, etc.)
  • Weave Types: (Basket, Plain, Satin, Twill)

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