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4th April 2016, Boston, MA

Massachusetts to play central role in US 317 million textile innovation project

The companies involved in the research effort include Nike, New Balance, Bose, Intel, DuPont, Buhler Quality Yarns, and an array of energy and material technology firms.The US state of Massachusetts has been chosen to lead an innovation effort that's focused on textile and fibre manufacturing, as part of a US 317 million public-private partnership, the Boston Business Journal reports.

Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker said the news was further evidence of Massachusetts state lawmakers' commitment to revive its once thriving manufacturing sector, and research yielded from the partnership could result in new, revolutionary textile products for a host of industries ranging from fashion and medical care to defense.

The partnership is called the Advanced Functional Fibers of America, and it will create the Manufacturing Innovation Institute, to be headquartered in Cambridge, adjacent to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus and the US Army-funded Institute for Soldier Nanotechnology, the publication reports.

Manufacturing Innovation competition

The five-year public-private partnership was awarded through the federal National Network for Manufacturing Innovation competition, and MIT will lead the project, which will encompass a network of 31 universities across 28 states, with help from the University of Massachusetts and Quinsigamond Community College.

The project was funded with about US 75 million from the US Department of Defense, US 40 million from the state (the state's largest-ever advanced manufacturing grant), and additional matching funds were given by other participating states and private industry organizations as part of the project.

Innovation and development

“This manufacturing innovation institute will be the national leader in developing and commercializing textiles with extraordinary properties," said Baker.

"It will extend to an exciting new field our ongoing efforts to nurture emerging industries, and grow them to scale in Massachusetts. And it will serve as a vital piece of innovation infrastructure, to support the development of the next generation of manufacturing technology, and the development of a highly skilled workforce.”

MIT will be tasked with leading the research into fibres that have the functionality of semiconductors — as well as the development of a rapid prototyping and testing centre for "revolutionary fibres and textiles manufacturing," according to an official release.

University of Massachusetts Amherst

The University of Massachusetts Amherst will also serve as a key partner. The university's expertise in the areas of polymer science and electrical engineering will allow it to conduct research in a range of areas that have military and commercial applications, according to the university.

Those applications range from fibre-integrated sensors and energy generation and storage systems to thermal camouflage and optical and photonic components or fibres, according to the university.

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  • Dick Bohannon, Product Dev. Mgr., Bally Ribbon Mills 7th April 2016 16:30PM

    If I (we) Bally ribbon Mills can assist in any way, please feel free to contact me at the following e;mail: [email protected]