Seamless or 3D knitting is an additive manufacturing capability has the potential to transform the supply chain for textile products. 3D knitting is to textile products what 3D Printing is to plastic or metal products: instead of executing a coded design using plastic or metal filament, the textile product is made directly from yarns. 3D knitting can improve fit, permit cost efficient gender specific product, enhance comfort, reduce bulk, increase protection, and reduce waste and inventory while saving time with a fast to market supply chain. Propel, a textile technology innovator, is using 3D knitting to rapid prototype new Navy knitwear items. The initial platform is a series of improved Flight Deck Jerseys. With additional SBIR COVID 19 response funding, Propel is also rapid prototyping and field testing 3D knit cloth face covers with enhanced performance as well as a 3D knit/3D Print hybrid N95 mask.
Propel, a textile technologies design and development company, has developed knit textiles with embedded electrically functional networks (E-textiles). Our innovations include electrically functional engineered yarns (E-yarns), textile electrodes and textile-electronics integration methods. Using these innovations, together with 3-D knitting, we engineer electrically-enabled textile structures which retain their textiles properties without compromising electrical functionality. The demonstration prototype is a sensor-enabled base layer shirt for Navy SEALs, permitting continuous real-time monitoring of the wearer’s physiology. Beyond this prototype, electrically functional textiles are applicable within any military platform for which the scalable distribution of sensors over a broad surface area is a game changer. Additional applications for the E-textile technology include, but are not limited to, structural health monitoring, RF monitoring, chemical-biological monitoring, antennas, heating, and lighting.
Propel LLC, a human-centered textile technologies design company, has applied stitchless seaming technology in order to enhance the performance of DOD clothing, personal protective equipment, and other textile items. Successful testing of stitchless seam garments in relevant field environments validated laboratory test data. Manufacturing assessments indicate that the transition from low rate to full rate production in sufficient quantities to meet Navy requirements is highly feasible. The completion of a Phase III contract to design and prototype a new Navy Damage Control (Steam) Suit confirms the technology’s value and transition capability. Integration of Propel’s stitchless seam technology into suitable new and existing clothing items and textile systems will enhance their form, fit, and function and reduce item weight.