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Aug 01, 2023


Creativity brimmed from hundreds of exhibitors as the return of ISPA EXPO gave

Creativity brimmed from hundreds of exhibitors as the return of ISPA EXPO gave bedding producers a chance to check out the latest components and machinery

Dow Polyurethanes, headquartered in Midland, Michigan, created a process to recycle polyurethane foam. Called Renuva, the recycling program takes the foam from a discarded mattress, sends it through chemical recycling and the resulting chemicals can be used to make flex foam, which can be used again, said Ricco Borella, global market segment leader for ComfortScience at Dow. The first site with an industrial reactor opened in France late last year. When at full capacity, it will be able to recycle up to 200,000 mattresses a year. The bottom green foam in the photo is made with 12% of the recycled material. "Everybody's excited to see the proof point," Borella said.

Del Ray Beach, Florida-based United Mattress Machinery brought a new roll-pack machine (pictured) and an automatic belt flange machine. But maybe the most important thing is something not as visible. To reduce wear and tear, each machine sold is treated with Black Parts Technology. "Parts maintenance in these machines is a lot. And it's downtime on the machine," said Sam Porter, chief operations officer. "I think the overarching concept and value you get with us, and our machinery is the durability."

Carthage, Missouri-based components supplier Leggett & Platt put sustainable solutions front and center. It introduced a concept bed made with cost-effective, environmentally friendly components. "We wanted to develop a sustainability supporting story with each individual component from the cover to the springs to the foundation on down and do it in a way that is reasonable costwise," said Jason Jewett, vice president of product development. One big change involved swapping out the inch of base layer foam for a thin Eco-Base layer that is applied to the pocketed coil unit, saving not only money but labor, as well. The concept bed also contained lightweight foam that contains less petroleum but has the same durability and performance of heavier foams.

Bob Quickstad, director of sales and marketing for Mountain Top Foam, gets comfortable on a latex topper placed on a lounger in the Mountain Top, Pennsylvania-based company's ISPA EXPO space. Mountain Top Foam touted three members of its product family at the show: Natural Latex, the company's most eco-friendly bedding offering; Performance Latex, designed to create a stronger, more consistent product; and Mixto Latex, an advanced latex blend made with natural latex. The foams are produced by the company's Perpetua continuous-pour process.

Atlanta Attachment Co. debuted the 1314R – Pocket Coil Recycling Machine, at 1/8 scale, to demonstrate a Mattress Recycling Council-sponsored concept created by Jesse Knoble. Atlanta Attachment will create a full-size model that should be available before the end of the year. The machine solves what has been an ongoing problem — how to remove coils from fabric. "Half the issue for the recyclers is having to separate the pieces," said Hank Little, president of the Lawrenceville, Georgia-based company. "And we know based on the number of beds that have been sold with pocketed coils over the last few years, that's going to be more and more of a problem for the landfill going forward. The timing is right for this." Atlanta Attachment also brought machines to the show that focused on aesthetics, automation and material handling. The 1355-1, a decorative border workstation, allows manufacturers to program any type of design on a mattress border, and a 1325488 Trim & Top Workstation adds decorative trim. The H238 Pronta, an automatic FR sock closing machine, and the H282N, an automatic mattress stuffer, improves plant efficiency.

Nonwovens and FR supplier Precision Textiles debuted two products, IQFit Contour and PurLoft. Made with a glass-free, knit construction, IQFit Contour laminates to ticking without reducing its stretch. A pressure-relief map displayed fewer pressure points when using the new IQFit Contour barrier. "If this top fabric stretches along with your movement, you’re going to get a much better feel to the bed," said Scott Tesser, president and chief executive officer of the Totowa, New Jersey-based company. In addition, the company introduced PurLoft, an FR quilt barrier made with 20% wool. "We’ve gotten a very good reception to this," Tesser said. "Wool is obviously sustainable … and it actually performs better with the wool than with the rayon polyester."

Ward Mosmuller, director of partnerships and coalitions at Niaga ("again" spelled backward), displays a bag of recycled polyester adhesive that his company promotes as part of a circular manufacturing effort. According to the Geleen, Netherlands-based company, the use of polyester adhesives makes it easier to recycle mattress units made of polyester materials. Mattresses with a Niaga tag are made of polyester and steel only. The various components are connected with the company's click-unclick polyester-based adhesive.

Melissa Ansman, left, and Mike Tilki, both of Shelton, Connecticut-based Talalay Global, display a "blooming flower" look as a Talalay latex pillow emerges from its packaging. The pillow category has been experiencing double-digit sales increases for the company as consumers increasingly focus on premium pillows as part of a renewed emphasis on better sleep. "Consumers are not shying away from high-end products," notes Tilki, director of sales for the Eastern U.S.

Innersprings producer Agro, with headquarters in Bad Essen, Germany, found that it wasn't simply enough to offer products that could be recycled. The A.Next Arise innersprings take sustainability a step further by offering individually wrapped coils made with 85% recycled polypropylene fabric. The adhesive on this model and on the A.Next Uni is polypropylene based, making it possible to melt and reuse the fabric and adhesive without further separation. From left, Marco Castelo, Hernando Calle and Quang Anh Phan showcase an A.Next Arise unit with its distinctive black fabric.

Water-based adhesives supplier SABA added a new glue to its arsenal of products for mattress makers — a hot melt. "We had steered away from hot melt because we couldn't get it just right," said Mary Lu Johnston, regional sales manager of the company with U.S. headquarters in Kimball, Michigan. But now, SABAMelt 4750 has solved some of the issues that arise with that product: It doesn't make noise in the bed, it can be repositioned and it can handle tough bonds. Jack Lewis, national technical sales service manager who developed the glue, said, "I’ve got the holy grail here."

To meet the growing demand for custom designs, Enriquez Materials & Quilting Inc. introduced the ability to stitch unique patterns and logos onto mattress ticking. "The owner has a French bulldog, and he quilted the face of the French bulldog, and it came out exactly," said Jorge Sifuentes, national manager. "He's also a horse fanatic, and we have all kinds of examples with horses. This machine will do just about everything." Headquartered in Commerce, California, Enriquez specializes in supplying quilting services and mattress kits to bedding manufacturers, as well as a full range of mattress components.

New colors in cooling fabrics, new sustainable looks, a new express line and a new bridal collection — High Point, North Carolina-based Culp Home Fashions, part of Culp Inc., pushed the new envelope, moving its cooling color palette from whites to grays, blues and lilacs, and creating fresh, sustainable looks inspired by nature, some with a spalike feel and others more homespun. Further, a new express line delivers speed to market. "We scoured the entire market and picked out items that meet the data and analytics across all our customers," said Christina Pennant, creative director. Finally, a new bridal collection is inspired by the runway. "This is Chanel inspired," Pennant said, holding an elegant white fabric with champagne highlights. "My world prior to mattress was fashion and it's always been my first love."

Stephen Anstey, left, and Owen Shoemaker lift a mattress to display the sensor unit that Sleep Systems Inc.places under the mattress to monitor the bed's use on retail floors. The new Retail Engagement System measures the frequency and duration of each mattress rest-test,giving retailers actionable insights on every mattress on their floor. SSI is based in Calgary, Alberta, with a U.S. office in San Diego.

Upaco Adhesives, a division of Worthen Industries Inc., made sure ISPA EXPO attendees understood its main message — "We will not run out of steam or product. Come roll with us." The Richmond, Virginia-based company highlighted its water-based roll-coating adhesives on signs at the convention center doors and other areas. "We’re able to help the industry," said Steve Adams, business manager. "We have multiple sources on materials."

Leggett & Platt Inc. brought labs to the show floor to illustrate the science behind the Carthage, Missouri-based company's products. In one lab, "foam nerds" from Peterson Chemical Technology demonstrated the cooling technologies in their foams with an infrared camera that showed how heat dissipated from their foams, as compared to competitors’ products. Chemist Sydney Wells, pictured, pressed her hands into the two foam samples and noted the higher heat buildup in the competitor's foam on the left.

It was a busy show for the CertiPUR-US team. Executive Director Michael Crowell, left, and communications counsel Helen Sullivan, who both staffed the booth, gave the show high marks. "Traffic from Mexico, Central and South America was extraordinary," Crowell said. "We currently have more than 80 participating foam producers and will likely add at least five more that we met for the first time at ISPA EXPO." Added Sullivan: "We were so happy to be back at ISPA EXPO. It's always an incredibly productive trade show for us, but perhaps this year more than ever."

Montreal, Canada-based Maxime Knitting showcased two separate concepts: zoned, cooling ticking and using the bed as a canvas — literally. "There's different cooling zones," said Maxime Thériault, general manager. "When you lie down, the middle part of your body will stay cool, while the head and the foot will remain warm. It's a feature that we use on the fabric instead of on the foam." Next, Maxime re-created abstract art on ticking. "The idea is that the bed becomes a painting," he said. "It gives our customers the opportunity to create collaborations with local artists and transform a knit fabric into a real piece of art."

Walking past the Elektroteks booth, attendees couldn't help but notice the robotic arm designed to lift heavy objects. The Bursa, Turkey-based company also showcased a new hot-melt line with automatic bucket sizing and a new roll-pack machine, which can roll a mattress in 30 seconds, said Dhruvin Patel, sales manager, Asia-Pacific. "This year, we are focusing more on automating the factory and increasing the efficiency for our customers," he said.

Wright Global Graphics, based in Thomasville, North Carolina, presented marketing tools in four distinct collections: Bauhaus, a midcentury modern style; Peak, inspired by outdoor adventure; Chenille, an immersive, cozy sleep experience; and Sovabo, or nature-inspired, clean sleep. And each had its own standout branding material, such as Bauhaus, featuring etched leather details. "This is all about being stylish, polished, buttoned-up," said Vicki Fishman, vice president of the sales home division. Peak included a unique circular label with a mattress handle that can be switched from horizontal to vertical. Chenille featured a zip-off mattress cover, and Sovabo displayed a new, puffy "foamflex" label. "It's our job not to become the focal point of the bed, but to enhance the brand message," Fishman said. "So the bed really stands out on the showroom floor."

For the first time, Innofa has begun doing its own lamination and making its own mattress protectors. The Tilburg, Holland-based company with U.S. headquarters in Eden, North Carolina, debuted a new concept: "kangaroo beds." "What does a kangaroo have? A pouch," said Johan Cleyman, chief executive officer. "And that's where we put the protector in, which is zippered up. It's a different way of getting a protector on a mattress. We can zipper it off, wash it and put it on again."

Mike Urquhart, national sales manager of technical products at Future Foam, displays new Sustain foams. "Sustainability is what most of our customers, big and small, are interested in," he said. The introductions included Sustain Plush, a balance of foam comfort and ergonomic support, and Sustain Memory, which provides uniform support and alleviates pressure points, the Council Bluffs, Iowa-based company said. Both of those offerings are made with a new generation of foams containing plant-based polyol that can be recycled after use.

Faced with a shortage of raw materials due to the pandemic, Alamance, North Carolina-based fabric supplier CT Nassau used its existing resources in innovative, new ways. Enter their Hybrid collection, combining natural yarns with technical yarns. Hybrid_1 combines linen with a cooling yarn to dissipate body heat faster. Hybrid_2 blends their bioceramic yarn, REstore, with BioTune, made with BioSynth technology, meant to increase circulation. Finally, Hybrid_3 mixes bamboo fibers and recycled yarn for a sustainable fabric. "We even created fabric with post-consumer recycled denim," said Valerie Hellebuyck, design lead. "Everything you see here in this bed — the top panel, the border, the footer — it's made from recycled jeans. And it's available in different colors."

Gastonia, North Carolina-based Creative Ticking introduced a new eco-friendly fire barrier, as well as a new thermoregulation product. "We can add zoned cooling where you need it most in your core; it's our CoolZone," said Camilla Franklin, vice president of design and marketing. "We know that it's active 15 minutes and can reduce the body temperature 6 to 8 degrees … and then it re-activates as you start warming up again, so it maintains a system of cooling while you sleep." In addition, the new non-glass integrated FR Flame Fence Eco protection by TIO Tec can replace the need for a traditional FR sock. "It's so light, lofty and stretchy," Franklin said. "So that's a big feature for us, and we’ve used it in a full-wrap engineered cover, which is a great value and a great look."

Leggett & Platt's Global Systems Group added to the company's sustainability story with its XT9, which joins comfort layers with thread instead of glue. But the benefits don't stop there, said Paul Block, president of sales. By using thread, the process of joining layers is quicker, cheaper and improves airflow. It makes breaking down the layers of the mattress easier for recycling. GSG also highlighted Intelligent Batch Mode, which tracks where quilting materials need to be joined and trims the area, or the crop out, much closer than can be done by hand. This reduces scrap and saves money. Autoschedule Next allows managers to upload the day's production schedule and helps the quilting supervisor figure out the most efficient process to complete the day's work. It tracks the production details, and a manager can respond to problems quickly or modify the quilt schedule. Also on the floor: GS-15TX, a flat goods cutter ideal for stretch-knit covers and nonwoven materials; PS-140U, an automated stacker and destacker to help with skilled labor challenges; and VFM-4516, a flange machine that can sew thick or thin materials with the touch of a switch.

Arpico broke the mold, or rather, created a new mold with its new latex core. The 100% organic "pocketed coil" latex core, which is made by creating a sheet of cubes, comes in different densities, said Devin Garrity, vice president of sales and marketing for the Arpico division of vertically integrated Richard Pieris Natural Foams Ltd. The company, based in Maharagama, Sri Lanka, also showcased a pillow made with recycled latex foam chips.

Like many at ISPA EXPO, Boyçelik Metal Sanayi ve Tic. A.S. investigated new ways to make its products even more sustainable. The Kayseri, Turkey-based company now offers C-Cycling, which makes every part of its individually wrapped coils recyclable. "What we changed is the glue," said Esra Ünlüer, marketing executive. "We found one similar to one we were using. It won't affect the quality, but now it is recyclable. The future is our planet, so we’re trying to save it."

Global Textile Alliance USA rolled out three vastly different collections: Traditional, Transitional and Modern. Inspired by florals, antique rugs and lace, the Traditional collection (pictured) is soft and feminine in serene blues and palest greens. In contrast, the Modern line creates movement by pairing opposites: high to low, positive to negative, and light to dark, in an M.C. Escher graphic effect. In between, the Transitional collection conjures aerial shots of Earth inspired by the PBS docuseries "Life From Above." Fabrics evoke sand dunes, shorelines and starry nights, thanks to a metallic rose-gold yarn. "Interest-wise, we’re seeing an even mix between the three," said Susan Hedgecock, creative director of the Reidsville, North Carolina-based company. "We wanted to make sure we have a very deep product line of aesthetics."

While Texas Pocket Springs specializes in producing glueless QuadCoils, its latest machine, the QuadCoil Assembler, makes QuadCoils with glue. The QuadCoil is the company's flagship product. Texas Pocket Springs recently opened a new facility in Keene, Texas, beside the existing one and production has shifted from 1,000 units a day to 6,000 units a day. "I’m proud of that because it's needed," said Martin Wolfson, president.

If you want a speedy mattress trimmer, ESCO (Edge-Sweets Co.) has just the thing. Its latest VTX vertical trimmer can trim all four sides of a king mattress in less than 20 seconds, said Sevki Erum, sales engineer for the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based company. With a stronger 3/8th-inch blade, it can trim mattresses or cut rails within plus or minus 1/16th of an inch. The layered display on the show floor was not typical for rails but works as an example of what it can do for a layered mattress, Erum said. "I don't have a number, but it's so fast, it's defying to the eye."

Carpenter Co. has developed a new Performance Wave foam core unit that features a contour cut in the center of the unit that allows it to flex. Mike McQuiston, vice president of bedding for the Richmond, Virginia-based company, said the wave design offers good airflow, compresses well and provides the feel of an encased coil unit. That's the kind of product differentiation that Carpenter aims to bring to its bedding customers, he said.

In a new twist on wrapped coils, Pioneer & Legend Canada Inc. fused 6-inch springs without glue to provide a firmer feel for mattress makers. The North York, Ontario-based company also showcased microcoils made with foam and a customizable Four Elements unit that could be created with any combination of foam and coils, including a rubber coil made with 3D printing.

Durak Tekstil, headquartered in Bursa, Turkey, made its ISPA EXPO debut with a slate of industrial embroidery and sewing threads. Its Fire Safe Para-Aramid thread drew a lot of attention, said Yiğit Durak, marketing director. Bobbin threads also caught attendees’ notice. "Our bobbin threads, directly contributing 15% to efficiency, truly represent innovation in this sense," he said. "Our other products are high-strength products that have proven themselves with their quality."

Latexco U.S. welcomed several new foams into its House of Comfort at the ISPA EXPO. Sustainability features were in the forefront, along with foams with consumer-preferred features. The Lavonia, Georgia-based company spotlighted NaturalFoam, pictured in this bed, which the company described as a soft, flexible, yet durable, natural latex foam. Sustainably extracted from the rubber tree, it offers excellent ventilation and maintains a healthy microclimate, the company said. It is offered in a range of mattress cores, toppers and pillows. Latexco also introduced NaturalFoam Pulse, made with the company's SonoCore process, which significantly reduces energy consumption.

Lava Textiles, with world headquarters in Wielsbeke, Belgium, and U.S. headquarters in Inman, South Carolina, highlighted three new collections: Pause, Rewind and Fast Forward. "Pause is taking a step back and taking a deep breath before we move forward, and I think we’re all ready to move forward," said Amy Stennett, vice president. While Pause is inspired by nature in calming color combinations, Fast Forward looks to the future, being playful with the design and the gradient of colors. Think pops of blue. Finally, Rewind complements traditional styles with modern hues, such as bronze, coffee and graphite. All three collections have one thing in common: tons of texture and dimension.

AEC Narrow Fabrics took note of this lesson from Covid-19 — make the most out of what you have. For example, some ribbons can be used with either the front or back facing out. They spooled a few backward, so manufacturers could see the appeal of each side. Additionally, the Asheboro, North Carolina-based company showcased sewing narrow tape onto a 2-inch wide mattress handle to create a new look.

Brazil-based Innovak brought a new concept to ISPA EXPO for lighter, recyclable and more cost-efficient foam rails. Called Zee Flex, the product is made with polyethylene foam instead of polyurethane foam. Then the company created channels, using less material. It's also recyclable. "We put 100% of the scrap back into the manufacturing process," said Alejandro Nigro, company partner. "We send zero to the landfill." Additionally, the rails can be joined by thermofusion instead of glue.

BekaertDeslee, headquartered in Waregem, Belgium with a U.S. plant in York, South Carolina, announced recycled polyester yarn in a full color range. "We have three regular colors — black, marine and soft gray — and we also added four fashion colors — peach, azure, petrol and marsala, like a terracotta color," said Kim Pint, assortment manager. "This enables us to make 100% recycled fabric." Unlike some recycled materials that may feel stiffer, the new recycled yarns feature a soft hand. "This is not the look of a recycled fabric," Pint said. "This is full fashion." (Pictured: Charlene Vaz, design and marketing director of North America)

C3 Corp., based in Appleton, Wisconsin, featured two additions that could make a difference to the environment and to manufacturers’ bottom line. The CF 1396, a compression folding and packaging system, got an upgrade with CF Rotate. The turntable can move a mattress horizontally when polybagging and then shift it vertically for folding and roll-packing. It saves money on the packaging and reduces waste, said Zak Albrecht, key technical account manager. C3 also introduced its patent-pending Hot Melt Bridge, which circulates glue to prevent charring at the nozzle. With charring no longer an issue, smaller nozzles can be used for smaller beads of glue. "You get more surface area per glue line," Albrecht said. "We’re trying to minimize the cost and minimize the grams of glue per square foot."

Hot melt adhesive supplier Savare focused on two developments. The first matches the correct adhesive to the process or combination of materials needed, said Marco Covini, industry manager. The second development is all about sustainability. "What we already have is a formulation available made of out 100% renewable raw materials … that come from the consumer recycling stream," he said. "For our customers, it means using this adhesive lowers their CO2 footprint. It's a big improvement." The adhesive is being tested by customers and is in the process of getting International Sustainability and Carbon Certification.

Dark colors and upholstery looks rule the day in mattress tapes, said Carl Carpenter, vice president of sales and marketing at BoBuck Mills Inc. headquartered in Chesterfield, South Carolina. "This is what you would think of as being on a couch as opposed to what you traditionally think of as on a bed," he said. "Dark blues, dark grays, blacks – there's a lot of black out there." While mattress tape may not be the largest of mattress components, it matters. "You’ve got to catch their attention with a look. It's like jewelry."

In lieu of bringing its machinery to ISPA EXPO, Girona, Spain-based Masias Maquinaria SL showcased how it could help manufacturers understand the science of comfort and think sustainably. As an example, the company featured two pillows — one made with open microfiber and the other with microfiber balls. The open microfiber pillow weighed less and contained less material but had more heft and resilience. "You see this is the advantage of opening the fibers very well, the advantage of some additional process to the fibers," said Sonia Ortiz, commercial director. At future exhibitions, the company plans to show a machine that can create felt and wadding.

With cost effectiveness in mind, UT+C introduced edge coils with a little twist — pieces of foam or smaller coils embedded between wrapped coils. Called Nsert, the coil-foam and larger-smaller coil combos can work on the perimeter of the bed or can be used side to side for zoning. "You have springs for support and foam for comfort, said Gian Fazio, UT+C president and owner of the Nowe Skalmierzyce, Poland-based company.

Customization, sustainability and cooling are all current trends. But Duncan Ticking has been involved with them for over 50 years. The independent company based in Oklahoma City, focuses on cotton and catering to a customer's specific needs. "You can't be more sustainable than cotton," said Linda Duncan, vice president. "We sell all types of ticking, but we specialize in cotton, which is hard to find." The qualities of this fiber include breathability, softness, absorbency and durability. "With cotton, you can just deliver the goods," Duncan said. "

Hickory, North Carolina-based Hickory Springs was more than ready to showcase its new Flexecore pocketed coil system. Made with 19 ¼ gauge fine wire and 14 turns, the coils are encased in an ultrasonically welded material that is folded accordion style. "It gives incredible performance to the pocketed coil," said Tim Witherell, vice president and general manager of HSM Bedding Products. "It's soft to start, but as you get deeper into the spring, it starts pushing back up against you. You want support." In addition to its performance capabilities, the lack of glue in its construction makes it potentially 100% recyclable, he said.

Check out pictures from the receptions and opening night festivities.

Creativity brimmed from hundreds of exhibitors as the return of ISPA EXPO gave bedding producers a chance to check out the latest components and machinery Dow Polyurethanes, United Mattress Machinery Leggett & Platt Mountain Top Foam, Atlanta Attachment Co. t Precision Textiles Niaga Talalay Global, Agro, SABA Enriquez Materials & Quilting Inc. Culp Home Fashions, Sleep Systems Inc. Upaco Adhesives, a division of Worthen Industries Inc., Leggett & Platt Inc. CertiPUR-US Maxime Knitting Elektroteks Wright Global Graphics, Innofa Future Foam, CT Nassau Creative Ticking Leggett & Platt's Global Systems Group Arpico Boyçelik Metal Sanayi ve Tic. A.S. Global Textile Alliance USA Texas Pocket Springs ESCO (Edge-Sweets Co.) Carpenter Co. Pioneer & Legend Canada Inc. Durak Tekstil, Latexco U.S. Lava Textiles, AEC Narrow Fabrics Innovak BekaertDeslee, C3 Corp., Savare BoBuck Mills Inc. Masias Maquinaria SL UT+C Duncan Ticking Hickory Springs