Coats has opened the first of three innovations hubs planned by the industrial thread manufacturer for collaboration with customers, brands, suppliers, universities and start-ups.
Located at its Sevier manufacturing site in North Carolina, US, the centre comprises three zones.
The Innovation Gallery features a video wall, display pods of most recent product developments and a timeline of the company. The Materials Lab allows customers to collaborate directly with R&D technologists in the idea generation and creation processes, while the Prototyping Area is where ideas and prototypes can be created. This includes a pilot factory with a full range of manufacturing machinery that can used to fine tune production processes in a controlled stand-alone environment.
The opening of the North Carolina hub will be followed by one in Bursa, Turkey, and another in Shenzhen, China, in early 2019.
The hubs are aimed at developing pioneering new products and processes in apparel and footwear and performance materials, which encompasses hi-tech products for end uses in automotive, oil and gas, protective wear and telecom. They are designed to provide “creative and inspiring spaces” where an innovative idea can be developed collaboratively and rapidly worked up into a prototype design which is then manufactured in a stand-alone pilot factory.
“Coats is a pioneering company aiming to deliver further revenue growth from higher performance and value enhancing new products that do not even exist today,” says Rajiv Sharma, group chief executive, Coats. “To facilitate that we are developing three dedicated Innovation Hubs at key locations around the world. Customer-centric innovation is an important part of our future growth strategy and the inauguration of the Innovation Hub – America is a key milestone.”