World-class fabrics the norm at Outdura

Oct. 06, 2013 @ 04:44 AM

In an iconic brick building in downtown Hudson, one company is bringing a history of textile manufacturing into the future.

The company is Outdura, a subsidiary of Sattler AG, an Austria-based textiles manufacturer. The building is the former Shuford Mills facility at 447 Main St. in Hudson, built in the early 1900s.

Today, Outdura manufactures high-quality fabrics for everything from duct tape to awnings, but outdoor fabrics are the company’s main product.

Outdura manufactures 100 percent solution-dyed fabrics, guaranteed to never fade, as demonstrated by a test stand just outside the facility, where fabrics have been enduring rain, snow, wind and beating sun for years without fading. And no matter what the color, Outdura can get it, in solids, stripes and patterns.

In the last four years, Outdura has won three “Design Excellence Awards” at the International Casual Furnishings Association’s Chicago trade show.

Since Outdura began operations in 2012, it has made improvements, upgrades and has expanded, and today the company is hiring about one new employee per month, adding to the current total of 80, said Jerry DeVos, human resources manager.

As far as updates, “There’s never an end to it,” DeVos said. The Austrian company has standing three- and five-year plans for improvement. In the next couple years, DeVos said, the iconic brick building could get a 21st-century upgrade with new offices added on with a sleek, modern, glass-and-steel design.

From the Hudson plant, the company ships to Hong Kong, Dubai, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, Peru, Australia and more, DeVos says, and hopes to gain a stronger foothold in Central and South American markets.

On average, 45,000 yards of fabric are produced per week at Outdura, but that number has been as high as 60,000.

But facilities is not the only focus of Outdura’s continuing progress, with employee-focused efforts like a 15-minute ergonomic warm-up for employees, to help fight workplace-related injuries like carpal tunnel. DeVos called it “the best thing we’ve done.”

Environmental responsibility is also a priority at Outdura, and even the scraps from cutting the fabric rolls is gathered and sold, keeping it out of local landfills.