The Philadelphia-based Drexel University has recently partnered with the DoD-supported AFFOA (Advanced Functional Fabrics of America), and will be collectively establishing a statewide center to help entrepreneurs and private companies to transform their textile concepts from prototype to product. The collaboration basically aims to help America’s workforce accomplish quality jobs and push America’s position a notch higher in coated fabrics market. The statewide resource, tentatively titled ‘The Pennsylvania Fabric Discovery Center’, is reportedly one of the first to be located outside Massachusetts, AFFOA’s home turf. Sources familiar with the matter also state that this center would be a part of a national network aimed at seamlessly commercializing functional fabrics, that would eventually lead to the genesis of advanced textiles. In fact, experts claim that coated fabrics industry, driven by the efforts undertaken by industry and academic players, may soon witness the advent of smart textiles that can hear, feel, communicate, and store energy.
As per reliable sources, Pennsylvania’s Fabric Discovery Center will be housed at Schuylkill Yards, which is the Drexel University’s innovation-driven economic development tie-up with the Brandywine Realty Trust, in the year 2018. It has also been reported that the center will bring together, reliable expertise from universities across the state, who apparently will also be members of AFFOA. Additionally, sources cite that the center will be equipped to provide a rather advanced manufacturing facility that would help develop functional fabric prototypes for production.
If reports are to be believed, Fabric Discovery Centers are expected to crop up across the nation, as a part of the strategy by the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), with an intent to bring about economic growth in the functional fabrics sector. As per experts, this move may have a considerable impact on coated fabrics market. Reportedly, similar centers have already been established in Massachusetts, namely, the Defense Fabric Discovery Center at the Lincoln Lab of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), the headquarters of the AFFOA Fabric Discovery Center, situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell Fabric Discovery Center.