The Industrial Fabrics Association International’s (IFAI) textile trade event, IFAI Expo 2015, took place Oct. 6-9, 2015, in Anaheim, Calif.
The annual event is the largest display of specialty fabrics and technical textiles in the Americas. The show floor buzzed with excitement as more than 5,500 registrants and 376 exhibitors filled the space in the Anaheim Convention Center to capacity.
IFAI President Mary Hennessy was excited about the turnout of the 2015 show. “The show was a home run. Exhibitors and attendees raved about everything. Attendance was strong and steady, and the opening reception was awesome. Outside, beautiful weather, fun food trucks and lots and lots of people were icing on the cake. We are hearing nothing but positives!”
Exhibitors were extremely happy with the show turnout. “The traffic at this show has exceeded the last three years,” said Marianne Iosso, vice president of Iosso Products. “We’ve talked to a lot of qualified buyers who are truly needing quality products, and the days have all been equally good for us.”
“This has been a phenomenal show for us,” said Robert Hinsch, vice president of Top Value Fabrics. “It has really been a high-energy show, and we’ve had good, quality traffic.”
Attendees were equally happy with the quality of the show. “I wasn’t going to come at first; I thought it was too far,” said structural engineer Wayne Rendely, P.E., who is based in New York. “But the show was unbelievable. I met a lot of great people, and now I have too much work.”
A number of exciting new additions kept attendees busy throughout the show. Campfire sessions promoted informal dialog surrounding a number of hot topics, while equipment demonstrations illustrated topics like welding, cutting, patterning, custom sewing, laser technologies and general techniques for operation and maintenance. A big draw for all participants was a shade sail demonstration, which allowed for an up-close look at these popular architectural features.
The annual ShowStoppers competition continued with its popularity, with 58 participants qualifying for the program’s more rigorous standards for entry. Entrants competed to win awards for their innovative products and services. A Disaster Mitigation and Response display focused on how specialty fabrics save lives and property around the world. Items displayed included equipment used for biohazard, paramedic, fire, chemical and oil spill response, fall, heat and flood protection, emergency shelter, potable water, mobile bathing and more.
New this year, a complete show floor area dedicated to shade and weather protection applications was added. This area was designed to attract a whole new spectrum of show participants to IFAI Expo. Similarly, a newly added Testing Area on the show floor and a complementary Testing 101 course addressed understanding what textile test methods are and how they apply to various products.
Show participants filled a ballroom to capacity for a keynote presentation from Erik Weihenmayer, a blind adventurer who has climbed Mt. Everest, kayaked the Grand Canyon and has gone on adventures all around the world. His inspiring message captivated those in attendance.
The annual International Achievement Awards were announced with 61 awards from 29 categories. ShowStoppers competition winners were also revealed.
Next year, IFAI Expo 2016 will take place in Charlotte, N.C.