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ITT / NCSU Textile & Material Research Consortium

The Institute of Textile Technology (ITT) was founded in 1944 by textile industry leaders who saw a need for individual companies to join forces in collective support of education and applied research. Today, even more so than in the past, successful companies will need highly trained and talented business and technical leaders, a skilled workforce, information, and state-of-the-art knowledge derived from ongoing research. In today's global economy, companies must create value. This will only come through investment in the knowledge resources required for innovation to thrive, and companies must find ways to integrate these resources into effective business strategies. This integration must allow companies to become and remain competitive by providing trained leaders, by pooling resources for collaborative as well as proprietary research, and by targeting cost drivers that affect profitability. ITT strives to support the textile industry in meeting these challenges. Knowledge is the fundamental key to success and only those companies that recognize and invest in education, training, research, and continual improvement will have long-term success. To assist industry in meeting the arduous tasks associated with maintaining global competitiveness, ITT is organized into three functional areas: applied research, education, and services.

The Institute of Textile Technology and North Carolina State University (NCSU) have formed the ITT / NCSU Textile and Material Research Consortium to provide one of the most advanced textile research capabilities in the world to address the applied
research needs of the U.S. textile industry. As stated by Allen Gant, Chairman of the Board of ITT and CEO of Glen Raven Mills, "This alliance will strengthen the competitiveness of the textile manufacturing industry and truly represents the coming together of leading research and consulting organizations in the industry." The role of ITT is to identify applied research needs and to utilize both ITT and NCSU staff and resources to deliver results that can be implemented to enhance the competitiveness of its members. This is performed through the industry-driven Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) process developed and proven effective by ITT. The TAC is composed of industry representatives who actively work with ITT staff to identify industry relevant research, set research priorities, and review research findings. Much of this work is performed through the following subcommittees targeting specific areas.

  1. Greige Manufacturing
  2. Wet Processing, Energy and Environmental
  3. Economic Competitiveness
  4. Emerging Technology

Once research objectives are identified and prioritized, ITT staff, NCSU faculty, and ITT Fellows prepare research proposals. Proposals include a description of the proposed research, identification of researchers, schedule for performing the research, and a budget. Proposals are reviewed by the TAC for approval, and approved projects are prioritized for funding. ITT research funds are then budgeted and approved by the Board of Trustees, and those funds are awarded to the researchers as prioritized.

Projects are managed by ITT researchers and work is performed by a combination of ITT staff, NCSU faculty, ITT Fellows, and in some cases, subcontractors. ITT Fellows' thesis research is funded through this process to enhance the student's exposure to the industry and to provide experience in public speaking and communications. Students must present their research proposals, progress reports, and thesis results to the TAC and demonstrate accountability for the results. This provides opportunities for students to better understand the needs of the industry, to interact with industry representatives, and to demonstrate their abilities. Funding of ITT Fellows also provides resources to accomplish TAC research objectives. In addition to committee and subcommittee meetings, biannual TAC meetings are held to review research findings, provide technical presentations, and to allow interaction between ITT staff, members, and guests. The Board of Trustees also meets during the biannual meetings to review budgetary and strategic issues. Implicit in the proposed research efforts between ITT and NCSU is the ability to commercialize research findings through the TAC forum. Due to the integrated manner in which ITT research is developed, funded, and communicated with industry members, results can be immediately implemented. For projects involving intellectual properties, the ITT membership represents an ideal base for demonstrating value and identifying beneficiaries. In addition to TAC research, the partnership between ITT and NCSU will allow ITT members to perform proprietary research utilizing ITT Technologies, Inc. (1T3). 1T3 is a for-profit subsidiary of ITT and can be used to offer proprietary research for individual companies or consortiums. This provides the opportunity for companies to sponsor advanced research and development projects without the overhead associated with their individually maintaining research staff and facilities. The Consortium is primarily supported by ITT membership dues. However, other funding may also be obtained through private, institutional, and government research grants.

ITT Textile Education Fund

The ITT Textile Education Fund has established an endowment to provide scholarships for ITT Fellows enrolled in the NCSU College of Textiles Master of Science program. To be accepted into the ITT Fellows' program, applicants must first be admitted into the College of Textiles. Fellows are then selected based on their academic achievements, their interest in performing industry derived research, and their desire to provide management leadership to the textile industry. The ITT Fellows program utilizes courses, research, independent study, seminars, workshops, and intersessions to provide students with technical, management, communication, and problem-solving skills required for leadership positions within the textile industry. Special courses, course segments, and seminars are provided by the College of Textiles and ITT faculty to present textile manufacturing technology and to integrate course material through problem-solving exercises. Communication skills are developed through ITT faculty as part of the traditional TAC research program requiring presentations of thesis proposals, technical papers, and thesis results at biannual meetings.

ITT Technologies, Inc.

For-profit services are provided through ITT Technologies, Inc. (1T3), a wholly owned subsidiary of ITT. Funding is obtained through fees for services provided. Profits are donated to ITT to support the ITT / NCSU Textile and Material Research Consortium and the ITT Textile Education Fund. The purpose of IT3 is to utilize the extensive technical, research, and academic capabilities of the Institute of Textile Technology to provide outstanding consulting and support to the textile and related industries. While primarily technical in nature, IT3 provides services that a client may need to maintain its competitive position in today's global economic environment. This necessitates innovative solutions to improve competitiveness backed by cost and time effective support that allows clients to achieve tangible results. IT3 services are provided in the following areas.

  1. Textile Manufacturing Performance
  2. Textile Material Analysis
  3. Education and Training
  4. Profitability Engineering
  5. Energy Audits and Management
  6. Environmental Engineering and Managemen;
  7. Quality (ISO-9000) and Environmental (1S0-14000) International Standards Organization Registration

Summary

The Institute of Textile Technology continues to provide its "tradition of excellence" to the textile industry through programs for applied research, education, and services. Its capabilities have been strengthened through its alliance with the NCSU College of Textiles. Together, these institutions offer industry support that is unrivaled anywhere in the world.

ITT membership and program participation can play an essential role in meeting the knowledge resource needs for those companies that strive to succeed in an increasingly, globally competitive market.