Apex Mills

ENGINEERED INNOVATIVE PERFORMANCE

Customers use our products in mission critical situations and must have the confidence that our fabrics will perform to the standards they’ve established. When we created a gold-coated fabric for the stealth bomber, minimizing its radar detectability, there was no room for error. When we were called upon to create a low infrared signature textile for military gear, soldiers’ lives were depending upon us. Time after time, Apex Mills meets the performance challenge. Our fabric is an essential component in the lightweight, highly efficient multi-layer insulation systems used by space vehicles. Every vehicle that launches into space needs insulation to ensure continued operations. Our fabric plays a key role in helping to moderate the extreme temperatures in space. [+][-] Within the medical field, we created a fabric for joint replacement products. When physicians learned that smooth stainless steel does not stimulate bone growth into the artificial insert, Apex Mills developed a coarse, high strength yet flexible, fabric to shroud the insertion, thereby promoting adhesion and reducing integration time. In textiles, there are basic properties that repeatedly come into play: strength-to weight ratio, elongation and stretch, durability, porosity and thickness. The secret to consistent performance is finding the perfect balance between these properties to meet our customers' needs. We’ve been doing it successfully for 70 years.
PERFORMANCE TEXTILES CASE STUDIES |
  • Style: D51A

    Design Goal:
    PERFORMANCE

    Weight: 3.28 +/- 5%

    Recreational/Sporting

    PROBLEM SHARED

    A leading supplier of life jackets was experiencing two problems with the fabric it was using as a liner. The mesh was too coarse and abrasive against skin, and the thickness of the fabric made it difficult for the sewing operators to work with, ultimately reducing production efficiency. An additional consideration was that the fabric required Underwriters Laboratory approval.

     

    PROBLEM SOLVED

    After extensive consultations with the customer, the existing fabric was knitted on a coarse gauge machine with large openings, thick stitches, and heavy yarns — the combination of which made for a very rough fabric. Using a finer gauge knitting machine and lighter weight yarns, we produced a smoother mesh with a smaller opening that still allowed for ample water drainage. The fabric was dyed and finished to meet UL standards and was a less expensive alternative to the original mesh.

     

    RESULTS REALIZED

    The customer evaluated, approved and adopted the fabric, which continues to remain less expensive than the cost of the original fabric.

  • Style: ND29

    Design Goal:
    PERFORMANCE

    Weight: 3.2

    Automotive

    PROBLEM SHARED

    A manufacturer of automotive wiping cloths felt "locked in" to their existing fabric supplier. They were dissatisfied with their suppliers' responsiveness and pricing.


    PROBLEM SOLVED

    We identified each of the fabric characteristics that were important to the end user. This was followed by a thorough analysis of the relevant patent. Using its own previously developed knitting techniques, we were able to submit to the customer a new fabric, which addressed the desired characteristics, but avoided any patent conflict. 

    Apex worked together with the manufacturer to design and create a less expensive fabric that offers the same functionality, but doesn't infringe on the patent.


    RESULTS REALIZED

    The manufacturer is now no longer constrained by the patented fabric and is able to gain greater market share with the new, less expensive fabric.

  • Style: XT54

    Design Goal:
    PERFORMANCE

    Weight: 0.6

    Military/ Government Contract

    PROBLEM SHARED

    A military contractor was in need of a high strength, light-weight fabric for a new counter-chemical/ biological warfare garment utilizing nanotechnology. This fabric was needed as part of a special test to take place in Germany within two weeks.


    PROBLEM SOLVED

    We took into account the customer's tenacity requirements and thickness limitations in the process of selecting the most appropriate specialty yarn for the application. This yarn was then modeled into a fabric with the knit construction which addressed the customer's other functional needs to ensure the weight requirements would be met.

    After collaboration with the client, we developed an ultra-high strength yarn using a unique knitting pattern that met the customer's performance requirements. Once designed, we warped, knitted and finished the material in 8 days, in time for the contractor's trip to Germany.


    RESULTS REALIZED

    After collaboration with the client, we developed an ultra-high strength yarn using a unique knitting pattern that met the customer's performance requirements. Once designed, we warped, knitted and finished the material in 8 days, in time for the contractor's trip to Germany.

  • Style: NH43

    Design Goal:
    PERFORMANCE

    Weight: 2.75

    Safety/ Transportation

    PROBLEM SHARED

    One of the largest manufacturers of reflective tapes used by police, firefighters and other safety personnel, needed a substrate fabric incorporating a costly flame retardant treatment to meet its flammability standards.

    PROBLEM SOLVED

    The specification was reviewed focusing on the flame retardant characteristics of the component yarns, finishes and reflective substances being applied by the customer. With the customer's cooperation, untreated versions of the substrate were tested.

    When the inherent flammability characteristics of the polyester substrate fabric were combined with those of the customer's reflective substances, the fabric passed all required tests. The costly flame retardant treatment was found unnecessary.


    RESULTS REALIZED

    The resulting simplification of the legacy specification allowed the customer a significant cost reduction for its substrate fabric.

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