Bally Ribbon Mills Bringing Smart Textiles to Commercialization

Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM) is bringing to commercialization a variety of smart textile products – those that incorporate electronics or other actuation mechanisms into traditional fiber technology. Working with developers or fabricators making products for OEMs, BRM is using its proprietary E-WEBBINGS e-textile product base as the foundation layer to which electronic intercommunicative technology is integrated directly.

BRM’s recent work includes using LED lights to provide illumination embedded within a textile; embedding fiber optics technology that measures mechanical/thermal stress applied to a fiber optic monofilament; and adding metallic coatings on standard textile fibers, especially for applications requiring more than electrical conductivity. For example, BRM is working on applications with customers interested in EMI shielding, electro-magnetic field creation, piezo-resistive capability, and data collection. Spurred on by the critical need to tackle the presence of the COVID virus on textile surfaces, BRM is developing a new application focused on adding antimicrobial yarns and antimicrobial finishes to kill bacteria and viruses, speeding up product cleanup time.

BRM’s success in overcoming barriers is based on using established electrical components to shorten the R&D cycle and forming informal partnerships with fabricators and OEMs to develop solutions while protecting intellectual property. BRM has also made significant investments in new products without having an end use application – conducting benchtop analysis work with the technology supplier to provide working examples demonstrating how the technology can be applied.

BRM frequently manufactures small product runs, using an iterative development process that helps suppliers bring up the technology readiness level (TRL) of the technology they are promoting. BRM’s work typically focuses on ideas being developed for the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and Department of Health and Human Services.

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