The annual contest is developed and supported by Safety and Technical Products and the Narrow Fabrics Institute, special interest groups within IFAI, and encourages post-secondary functional design training and the use of technical textiles in protective and safety applications. Students were challenged to design original projects which protect people or property from hazards.
The 2011 Challenge paired interested students with mentoring companies which supplied fabric and advice. The winning projects were chosen by a team of industry members who have extensive knowledge about the requirements of protective products. Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar, Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Toxicology, Texas Tech University, chaired the committee overseeing the 2011 Challenge.
Safety and Technical Products will bring the first-place team to Baltimore, MD, to attend IFAI Expo Americas 2011, taking place 25-27 Oct. The students will present their project to the industry at the IFAI Annual Meeting on 26 October and at Safety and Technical Products and Narrow Fabrics Institute meetings held during the IFAI Expo. The top three designs and their schools are awarded cash prizes by the Narrow Fabrics Institute and the projects will be displayed during IFAI Expo Americas 2011 in Baltimore.
Coal mining is a major component of the U.S. economy but underground coal mining presents a multitude of safety concerns for miners. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, "Roof collapse and crumbling rock remains the greatest single hazard faced by underground miners...causing nearly 50% of fatal injuries."
Incorporating unique fabrics, foams, and reflective materials, this team of five students from the University of Wisconsin, Stout, designed and executed a unique two-piece suit to address the protective needs of underground mine rescue teams. In addition to the excellent material choices, the students were commended for their thorough market research and their technical pattern development.