The Walmart Foundation and the U.S. Conference of Mayors announced NC State as one of this year’s Innovation Fund grant recipients for their innovation in improving textile weaving efficiency. NC State will receive nearly $575,000. The 2016 round of grants are focused on innovations in textile manufacturing processes. Dr. Abdel-Fattah Mohamed Seyam, professor and Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor in the Department of Textile and Apparel Management in the Wilson College of Textiles, is the principal investigator on the winning proposal. 

“Our team is excited and proud to be selected to receive this award from the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund. While the proposed research is challenging, we are confident that we’ll achieve the project goals and play a part in driving weaving manufacturing costs down and bringing back jobs to the United States,” Seyam said.

As part of this round of grants from the fund, the Walmart Foundation granted $573,999 to NC State for their proposal for improving weaving efficiency, the slowest process in the pipeline of fabric manufacturing, by developing a loom beam winding procedure and developing a warp sheet reservoir mechanism.

“This grant will foster new team efforts to bring manufacturing jobs to Raleigh and provide practical academic experiences for the future employers of the students involved. This is an exciting opportunity to partner with NC State, the Walmart Foundation and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to make Raleigh an even more attractive place to live, work, and study,” said Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane.

NC State is one of five universities that will receive a total of $2.84 million in grants from the fund to support research proposals that strive to create new manufacturing technologies and reduce the cost of producing goods in the U.S. with the ultimate goal of creating jobs that support America’s growing manufacturing base. The fund was formed to provide a total of $10 million in grants over the course of five years, focusing specifically on advancing the production or assembly of consumer products in the U.S. This is the second round of grants awarded by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. An NC State Wilson College of Textiles team was also awarded in 2014 for implementing new technologies in both fabric printing and cut-and-sew automation on furniture cushions. 

“Through these grants we hope to help remove the barriers to revitalizing and growing U.S. apparel manufacturing, while creating more sustainable production processes,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “The U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund is part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s broader commitment to foster new economic growth and opportunity and create stronger communities.”

Seyam has been a faculty member in the Wilson College of Textiles since 1991. He has also been an instructor at both Alexandria University and Mansoura University, Egypt, and a research engineer for Burlington Industries, N.C. and a project manager for Valdese Textiles in Valdese, North Carolina. In addition to his research initiatives, Seyam teaches fabric formation and structures at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He teaches short courses and workshops in advanced woven fabric design, nonwovens and new developments in weaving and weaving preparation technologies.

Support for the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund is part of Walmart’s larger commitment to help revitalize U.S. manufacturing. In January 2013, Walmart announced a commitment to buy an additional $250 billion in products that support U.S. jobs by 2023.  

For more information on Walmart’s commitment to U.S. manufacturing, please visit http://corporate.walmart.com/global-responsibility/us-manufacturing.