Hard and Soft Goods integration combines hard goods components with fabrics and foams. This process brings together numerous facets of product development including materials science, traditional plastic/resin molding techniques, design, engineering, sewing, welding, and lamination. The merging of Hard Goods and Soft Goods can provide many benefits, including:
- Improved durability to a traditional sewn product
- Protection against impact and abrasion (for the wearer, or for a fragile item)
- Sculpted 3D forms incorporated into lighter sewn assemblies
- Structure and stability not common to traditional sewn assemblies
The key to success with soft and hard goods integration is to be able to understand each critical area and explore the best materials and methods for each application.
Understanding what foams, plastics and materials can be sewn or bonded with fabrics is critical to the integration of hard and soft goods. During development it’s important to ensure the ability to replicate these production materials and processes for functional and assembly evaluation, prior to production implementation. Additionally, the engineering definition of the parts and understanding how they will be incorporated into/onto a sewn assembly is critical. Our ability to have all of services under one roof improves communication and reduces overall development time.
Our in-house processes include:
- Vacuum Forming
- Urethane Casting
- Molded Silicone Gel
- CAD – FEA
- Laser Cutting
- Sewable Rapid Prototyping
Knowing what machines are required for assembly and proving out the layering plus function of the product reduces development time with production factories. Additionally, understanding the materials, threads, and assembly processes (whether sewn or otherwise) eliminate exploration at the factory level. This allows for a smooth transition from prototyping into production.
Our in-house processes include:
- Cylinder Arm
- Post Machine
- Programmable Bar-tack
- Seam-seal Taping
- Heat Press
- Pfaff Ultrasonic Welding
- Thermatron RF Welder
Defining the functional characteristics required from a foam or fabric allows our team to determine which material solution is best for a new assembly. From there, we can search our internal library for fabrics, hardware, threads, yarn, foams, laminations and adhesives to identify the ideal solution for each program. We also work with external partners to identify alternative solutions or utilize suppliers to help our clients move another step closer to production implementation.
Our in-house resources include:
- Sheet Goods
- Compression Molding
- Molded foams (EVA, Cast Urethane, etc)
The integration of Hard-Goods and Soft-Goods allows the designer and assembly to push the functional and aesthetic boundaries of a traditional sewn assembly. A rigid or molded component brings both structure and functionality to a new product. Bringing these areas together is both challenging and rewarding. We allow our clients to see how their projects can be improved through such exploration. Having all resources to implement proposed solutions allows team members from different specialties to collaborate, which increases successful outcomes.