Thursday, July 21, 2011

Oldest Manufacturer of BDU Fabrics Halts Production

Lowell Textile Mill, Photo by Aaron Morton
In what may be another sign of a troubled economy, it was reported yesterday that the Textile Finishing Company, Bradford Printing and Finishing, LLC (BPF) has closed its doors till additional cash flow rolls in to float their payroll. With 100 years in the industry, the company touts itself as the longest running producer of the BDU (Battle Dress Uniform). 

The major focus of the Rhode Island based business is on Military fabrics and collaborated with the DOD on  the development of the Marine Corps' MARPAT pattern, the Army's Universal Camouflage Pattern, and the Navy's Navpat. They also own the rights to the U.S. Air Force's Digital Tiger Stripe Pattern. out of Connecticut reported that the company sent 48 employees home due to lack of cash flow to cover their paychecks. It is stated that recent flooding resulted in $4 million in damages and losses is to blame, and their expected Federal Disaster Grant is not being distributed by the State fast enough to keep its employees on the job. However, this is just part of their worries as it also states they have lost 60-70% of their business over the past few years. 

Obviously there is a confluence of problems that is causing Bradford Printing to shut its doors, one hopes temporarily. However, this problem may throw a wrench in at least one camouflage designer's master plans when it comes to the U.S. Army Camouflage Improvement Effort Solicitation. Roggenwolf had submitted its response to the solicitation with printing and other production figures as well as requested samples utilizing the services of BPF. 

Tiwaz Family of Patterns
All is said and done for the submission and assuming that their is interest in their Tiwaz Family of Camouflage Pattern, one would expect other printers to come knocking at their door. 

The opportunity to garner business resulting from any subsequent contract would be an enticing incentive. However, this begs the question, would the quotes and multiple variables fitted into the solicitation match up with another vendor? 

With Duro Industries snatching up a good sum of military business with its exclusive distribution partnership with Crye Precision on the MultiCam Camouflage pattern, gaining back lost business could be a tough proposition for Bradford Printing. With the entire Army and Air Force in Afghanistan switching from UCP and Digital Tiger Stripe to OCP (MultiCam), one can see how the change in climate of the Military Textile Printing business could leave some companies on tough times. At last check Duro is pumping out yards of fabric faster than you can say Betsy Ross, despite a fire at one of their factories less than a year ago. 

One hopes the Bradford Printing will get its bridge funding to keep afloat and allow hard working Americans to return to work. In response to this development and the unknown, the camouflage designer and founder of Roggenwolf responded for comment: 

"Nick Griseto and BPF were prepared to take a chance on Roggenwolf Tiwaz, and even believed that it stood a better than average chance against the other contenders he'd seen -- and you have to remember that he and his people had seen the patterns full-size and in real life, and therefore had a much fuller appreciation of what it really does than the tiny edited-for-public-consumption images on my Web site could ever convey. So I feel that I should respect his confidence in Roggenwolf and repay it in kind; I have no immediate plans to seek a partnership with another printer. I know what's it's like, to be out of work; and the guys and gals from BPF have my full support.

If things don't go the way I would like and Roggenwolf finds itself in the running without BPF's support, then I'll either have to find another mill or pull out of the race. It's that simple. If I find another partner, I won't be asking for more money from U.S. Army, I never viewed the Solicitation as an opportunity to gouge the U.S. Government. On the other hand, another mill might charge more per yard than BPF would. I have no control over that. If worse comes to worst and I have to pull out of the race, then at least I'll have a spare family of patterns to license. Roggenwolf isn't a one-trick pony, like some other camouflage developers; but it never hurts to have something fully developed and ready to go, when customers come calling." - Mr. Brad Turner

Full Closure Notice Article at: Bradford Printing closes; 48 out of work

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