AFFOA Institute Taps PTC’s FlexPLM Platform to ‘Pioneer New Products’

Advanced Functional Fabrics of America Inc. (AFFOA) will implement PTC’s FlexPLM platform to support the organization’s mission “to revolutionize domestic manufacturing in America.” PTC said in a statement that FlexPLM will serve as the core of AFFOA’s program, “targeting the digital transformation of traditional fibers, yarns and textiles into integrated technology systems for consumer and military use.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but PTC said in a statement that beyond AFFOA’s own use of FlexPLM, “the agreement also provides an onramp for the AFFOA member network of U.S. manufacturers to access the capabilities of FlexPLM.”

AFFOA said it will be using FlexPLM at its Cambridge, Mass. headquarters as well as its Pennsylvania Fabric Discovery Center, located at Drexel University. The organization said its “team of engineers, material scientists, and textile designers will use FlexPLM to replace ad-hoc legacy systems and processes, and as a tool for both internal collaboration and the secure sharing of technical data with government agencies, its members and with its external vendors.”

FlexPLM is currently being used by fashion apparel brands, retailers and textile manufacturers across the industry to improve speed to market, reduce lead times and make it easier to collaborate.

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AFFOA said it supports its members who are “transitioning from working with traditional fibers and textiles, to creating value-add products and services through the integration of semiconductors, ‘smart’ yarns and other networked devices and systems.” The organization said these integrated systems “will give rise to new innovations in energy storage and conversion, temperature regulation, health monitoring, and cosmetic advances such as color-changing garments.”

Since these are highly technical and complex innovations, AFFOA said the requirements go “beyond the scope of traditional apparel and retail PLM systems.” The organization also said since it receives funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, “its data must be standardized and transparent to a degree that inflexible databases could not support. These were key selection criteria in AFFOA’s decision to implement PTC FlexPLM.”

Bill Brewster, senior vice president and general manager of PTC’s Retail Business Unit, said the company “has always strived to forge ahead in technology and process innovation, so we found a kindred spirit in AFFOA.”

Tsachi Avrahami, vice president of manufacturing operations at AFFOA, said that advanced functional fabrics “exist on the cutting edge of technical innovation, and we are supporting our members in researching, creating, and commercializing new and competitive categories of textile products that can see, hear, sense, and communicate – for everyone from the commercial consumer to the combat soldier.”

Avrahami said to achieve its aims, the organization “needed a PLM platform that could accommodate advanced fabrics, e-textiles, and embedded electronics all in a single location. We knew that PTC FlexPLM was the most secure and commonly-used PLM solution in retail, so we were impressed to also discover that it was the only system that could handle everything we needed.”

“FlexPLM has the broadest functional footprint of any retail PLM platform, and we are proud of our legacy of supporting the planet’s most advanced enterprises in developing new and innovative products,” Brewster noted. “PTC has also invested heavily in ensuring that FlexPLM and our cloud architecture both meet the exacting security standards needed by corporate and government users – from ISO:27001 certification for our data centers, to enterprise-grade encryption.”




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