U.S. Navy Could Soon Use Sound Waves to “Weld” Its Uniforms

by , 10/14/14   filed under: Eco-Fashion News, Wearable Technology

U.S. Navy, U.S. military, design for military, made in the U.S.A., eco-friendly uniforms, sustainable uniforms, military uniforms, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, ultrasonic welding, Propel

Photo by Glynnis Jones/Shutterstock

The U.S. Navy could soon be welding more than ships. The Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility, together with Rhode Island-based firm Propel, is testing a new method of garment assembly that doesn’t require stitches. Welded seams, created when two pieces of fabric are fused together by sound waves, could even help return manufacturing jobs to American soil. Another plus? A single welded seam could save time and money by replacing several stitch types, not to mention the phalanx of sewing machines each one requires.

U.S. Navy, U.S. military, design for military, made in the U.S.A., eco-friendly uniforms, sustainable uniforms, military uniforms, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, ultrasonic welding, Propel

Photo by Shutterstock

SOUND MOVE

Propel was tasked with figuring out how to one of the Navy’s most costly and complex garments—the parka—without stitches. Using a federal grant, the company has been testing ultrasonic welding and other bonding techniques this past year.

Welded seams have the benefit of being lightweight, flexible, and waterproof, according to Propel president Clare King, who consulted with Patagonia and The North Face, both of which have dabbled with the technology.

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Although both clothiers currently make their welded-seam products overseas, the military is required by law to produce its uniforms in the United States.

It’s too early to say if Navy sailors will be wearing welded clothes in the field, but Cleveland Heath, technical program manager at the Navy’s research facility, told the Associated Press that it’s important to seek out innovations that could save taxpayer dollars.

“We’re encouraged by the prospects of introducing a welded-seamed garment to the Navy and potentially offering this technology to other military services, with the added benefit of fortifying the U.S. industrial base,” he added.

+ Associated Press

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One Response to “U.S. Navy Could Soon Use Sound Waves to “Weld” Its Uniforms”

  1. thebuffalo says:

    It’s an interesting approach and a cool use of technology, but is it really necessary?

    It does make sense in the waterproofing and weight-saving capacity, but I can’t imagine welded seams on a parka a “game changer” for the Navy.

    Better fabric, like industrial hemp with it’s antimicrobial, quick-wicking and long-lasting properties, would be more beneficial to the sailors. There’s a hemp clothing company that makes men’s shirts in the USA — look at the quality they produced with it: https://www.pararev.com

    After all, hemp has a long history with our armed sea dogs.

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