On May 23 – 24, 2023, the Federal and Defense Textile (FEDTEX) Summit, hosted by the Office of US Senator Thom Tillis, Office of Senator Ted Budd, the North Carolina Military Business Center (NCMBC) and the North Carolina Defense Technology Transition Office (DEFTECH), was held at NC State University. The purpose of the event was to connect the US Department of Defense (DoD) and federal agency clothing and individual equipment buyers with US textile manufacturers, textile supply chain suppliers, cut and sew contractors, research and development (R&D) facilities, testing labs and academic resources.
The objectives of FEDTEX 2023 objectives were to:
- Engage with existing contractors and attract new capable businesses into the federal and defense clothing, textiles and tactical equipment marketplace.
- Engage existing textile supply chain suppliers and attract new capable businesses into the federal marketplace and to connect these component suppliers with federal prime contractors.
- Inform the industrial and academic R&D ecosystem about desired future military technology requirements and likewise inform DoD agencies about emerging and future textile innovations.
- Establish a productive and DIRECT dialogue between businesses, government and academia around critical warfighter issues in the defense textile marketplace – including workforce, supply chain, inflation challenges and barriers to entry.
The FEDTEX Summit partners included:
- North Carolina Defense Manufacturing Community Support Program (NC DMCSP), a program of NC State University Industry Expansion Solutions
- Defense Alliance of North Carolina (DANC) (NC DMCSP partner)
- North Carolina Textile Technology Center at Gaston College (NC DMCSP partner)
- Manufacturing Solutions Center at Catawba Valley Community College(NC DMCSP partner)
- Manufacturing & Textile Innovation Network (NC DMCSP partner)
- National Council of Textile Organizations
- Southern Textile Association (NC DMCSP partner)
On day one of the FEDTEX Summit, attendees participated in tours at the Nonwovens Institute and the Wilson College of Textiles.
Tour 1: North Carolina State University, The Nonwovens Institute
The Nonwovens Institute (NWI) is the world’s first accredited academic program for the interdisciplinary study of engineered fabrics through an innovative partnership of industry, government and academe. NWI engages experts from industry and higher education in building next-generation nonwoven applications while also providing training and guidance to the field’s future leaders. NWI plays a key role in the development and transformation of the latest innovations into marketable fiber-based systems through access to state-of-the-art pilot and testing Facilities.
The tour consisted of over 100 individuals and focused on facilities within the NWI’s Labs: large and small-scale units for spunbond, bonding (including hydroentanglement, thermal calendar and through air), meltblown, carding (crosslapping, needlepunch and heated oven), filament spinning, coating and lamination, filtration testing and analytical.
Tour 2: North Carolina State University, Wilson College of Textiles
FEDTEX attendees touring the NC State Wilson College
Approximately 130 individuals toured the North Carolina State University Wilson College of Textiles lab facilities, including the Weaving Lab, Knitting Lab, Short-Staple Spinning Lab, Physical Testing Lab and Dyeing and Finishing Lab, which are managed by Zeis Textiles Extension for Economic Development. These fully functioning labs are used for both educational purposes and contracted projects with industry partners for product testing and production. In addition to the Zeis Textiles Extension, attendees toured the Textile Protection and Comfort Center and ASSIST Center’s labs for innovation and testing. These facilities are more closely related to heat and flame protection, chemical resistance and comfort performance research and wearable and implantable systems, respectively.
Attendees at FEDTEX Summit observing PyroMan in the Thermal Protection Laboratory that permits full-scale testing of the flammability and thermal protection of garment systems in safe and controlled fire test conditions.
On day two of the FEDTEX Summit, participants attended informative sessions and a trade show launched by introductions from Lee Moritz, Federal Business, North Carolina Business Military Center and Dr. Fiona Baxter, Associate Executive Director, Knowledge Management and keynote speaker, Colonel Matthew T. Harnly, Director, Defense Logistics Agency, Clothing & Textiles
Other sessions included:
- Dialogue, Military and Industry: The Future of Textile Technologies, Innovation and New Product Development
- Dialogue, Military and Industry: Workforce, Inflation, Supply Chain and Other Market Forces Impacting Acquisition and Delivery of Clothing, Textiles and Tactical Equipment to the Military
- DLA Commodity Focus:
- Lunch Keynote Remarks: Brigadier General David Walsh, Commander, Marine Corps Systems Command and Economic Forecast Remarks: Scott L. Baier, Professor and Department Chair, The John E. Walker Department of Economics, Clemson University
- Military Service Dialogue with Industry:
The post event website includes attendee roster, photos and slide presentations: https://fedtex.ncmbc.us/2023-post-summit-information/
Great job by everyone at the NCMBC and DEFTECH, looking forward to FEDTEX 2024!