If you’ve ever spent time perusing the aisles of your local electronics store you’ve likely come to realize the digital age is quickly moving beyond our typical hand-held devices and PVRs. Nowadays, you can experience virtual reality, monitor your home from afar and track your pet Fido with the GPS chip in his collar.
These types of advancements are just a few examples of the emerging e-market and Vintex is looking towards a future that also includes smart textiles. The opportunities are only limited to your imagination and while, currently, there are advancements being made for clothing applications, consider medical opportunities such as chips in hospital bed pads that alert a busy nurse a patient needs their bed changed or sensors in an operating table cover to monitor vital statistics during a lengthy operation.
Last fall, at the Industrial Fabric Association’s show in New Orleans, Vintex sponsored one of IFAI’s newest initiatives; an E-Textiles Hackathon. The idea behind the competition was to allow teams to design and build a new end user product utilizing sponsor donated materials such as fabrics, zippers, conductive yarn, sensors, etc. Vintex donated several different types of fabrics to this endeavor and our medical grade Uniply® ended up in the winning product which was an interactive cube toy. This ingenious item was meant to teach children, 3-5 years old and more specifically children with Autism, to further develop their senses through touch, sight, and sound.
The toy cube had several different square panels that reacted differently when touched. The idea was that a child would touch a panel and that panel would, for example, warm up. The child would then have to find the matching panel elsewhere on the cube that was also warm. This amazing product was conceived, developed and produced all within the short few days of the IFAI Show which leads us to imagine what other life-changing products using smart textiles will be a part of our future.
As a manufacturer of engineered textile solutions, we at Vintex are always looking for ways to utilize our experience and expertise to support our customers in their creation of new and innovative products. The hackathon was such a success that we are sponsoring it again this year and are looking forward to seeing what the new teams come up with! If you are attending the IFAI Show in Dallas, TX this October, be sure to put this event on your calendar as a ‘must see’!
Twenty years ago it seemed far-fetched that everyone would carry around their own ‘phone’ which would also answer any question you could possibly have and pay for your lunch as well! As technological advances race ahead faster and faster, it’s not a stretch to think that smart textiles will be a large part of our not-so-distant future!
Submitted by: Shannon Nelson with contributions and photos by Mike Punter
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It is difficult to fathom how different life was back in 1957 when Zelco Rubber and Plastics purchased a knife over roll line for $32,000 and started National Vintex Corporation above a pizza store in Montreal. Sixty years ago, man had not yet made it to the moon, gas was $0.06/litre ($0.29/gallon), Elvis had just released “All Shook Up” and National Vintex began it’s journey to achieve manufacturing excellence and become a world-class organization.
Back then, National Vintex Corporation was a part of the up and coming plastics industry and, over the next 10 years, they had grown their staff to 12 and moved to Candiac, Quebec. Investments in the company’s first extrusion coating line in 1967 positioned them for further growth and grow they did!
By 1971, National Vintex had 20 team members and was already establishing a market reputation for consistent quality and responsive customer service which attracted the attention of A.R. Clarke (a Toronto based tannery looking to enter the imitation leather market) who acquired them in 1976. Don Day was recruited as Executive Vice-President/General Manager and he laid the foundation of an employee-centric company culture, focused on product innovation to foster continued growth. That forward-thinking mindset is a cornerstone to the foundation of all that makes Vintex successful today.
By 1983, National Vintex Corporation had become Vintex Inc. and moved out of Quebec to Brampton, Ontario. Sales continued to increase and new markets such as mine ducting had been added. Throughout the 80’s Vintex continued to change and grow as Don Day gained ownership of the company with Irving Raskin. In 1986 they entered into the launderable incontinence market and Vintex hit their stride by developing a barrier fabric that made them a market leader in the incontinence industry.
Not content to rest on their laurels, Vintex continued to grow which led them to move to a larger facility in Mississauga in the late 80’s. Here they added a second extrusion line along with automated compounding capabilities, all to support the consistent product quality and responsive customer service they had become known for.
In the early 90s, Vintex augmented their sales with the introduction of a new and innovative incontinence product called Uniply® and a re-usable dunnage bag material for car part assembly plants. Its team members now numbered over 60 and it once again found itself land locked in its current location so the search began for new home which came in the form of a 157,000 sq. ft. facility in Mount Forest, Ontario in 1995. Vintex proudly and successfully re-located all 61 employees and their families an hour and a half drive north-west of their former location to small town Ontario and in the late 90’s, David Anyon took over ownership of the company.
Entering the new millennium as a diverse, vertically-integrated company with a multi-decade track record of great products and service, supported by a great team of people, Vintex was named as one of Canada’s 50 Best Corporations by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Arthur Anderson and The National Post! This is a great source of pride for each and every team member and reflected their dedication and collaboration each and every day.
The 21st century witnessed the burgeoning of the globalization of the textile industry. Through the World Trade Organization’s agreement on textiles and clothing, a gradual dismantling of bi-lateral import quotas over a 10 year period was initiated. These changes accelerated industry dominance for China and other Asian countries in the new non-quota, global textile environment.
In 2001, Paul Helsby, Jim Merrill, Don Wallbank and Steven Wood purchased Vintex. They, along with 100 talented and tenured team members, met this new market force head on by further investing in Vintex’s key success factors of consistent product quality, responsive customer service and product innovation.
Today, 60 years later, Vintex is a success story which can be attributed to the quality of its people and their commitment to produce great products and provide exceptional customer service. Their five core values include: customer focus, meaningful contribution, integrity, continuous improvement and teamwork and they are proud to demonstrate these values in everything they do.
From humble beginnings in 1957 to state-of-the-art equipment and technology in 2017, Vintex will continue to expand their capabilities in the decades to come to ensure they retain market leadership and will utilize their proven ability to understand their customers’ needs to continue to Create Success for their customers, those around them and themselves!