By Rachael S. Davis, Executive Editor.
Milltown, N.J-based Jason Mills LLC is a manufacturer of nylon and polyester
tricot and raschel knits as well as spacer mesh fabrics with a focus on industrial
fabrics, specialty textiles and technical textiles. The company has more than 100
established stock keeping units, and frequently engineers and develops materials
for specific customer needs.
Jason Mills offers one particular fabric in the recreational category — the
1920-12 — for the indoor golf simulator screen market. According to Michael
Lavroff, president, this market has grown exponentially over the past three to
five years as the use of the screens has expanded from public recreational
facilities and sporting goods places to hotels and homes in a golf fanatic’s
basement or garage.
One significant differentiator that sets Jason Mills apart from the competitionThere’s a lot of high-definition imagery and software involved with the simulatortechnology. Images are projected onto the fabric screen, and software calculatesthe distance of the ball and where it lands on the virtual fairway. The demandson the fabric used for the screen are significant — it needs to hold the image,drop the ball and not ricochet it back at the golfer, and also maintain itsstrength so the screen doesn’t break or tear as it takes repeated hits from thegolf ball.The market first emerged some eight to 10 years ago, and no one in the industryreally knew what type of fabric would work best. Thoughts were that the screenshould be firm because firmness equated with strength. However, firmer fabricswere loud when the ball hit and “the ball was coming back at the golfer like ithad hit a trampoline,” Lavroff said. Companies also had trouble meeting the flameresistant (FR) requirements. Jason Mills’ solution at that time was a productnamed 1925-12 — a 12-gauge raschel knit made using a heavy 1,000 denier polyesteryarn.But as technology advanced in the simulator market with higher definition imageryand improved ball-tracking mechanisms, higher demands were placed on the fabric.Jason Mills, anticipating that the market would soon require a different fabric,created its 1920-12 style. The fabric currently is not branded, but thecompany is debating naming the product “Iron Impact.” Designed as anultrastrong, single-layer application that can be used without a rearimpact screen. the fabric carries same weight and safety features as thecompany’s original 1925-12 fabric, but is tightly knit using more needlesper inch of fabric and a finer denier yarn. This construction compressesmore yarn into the same area to give a really nice tight fabric that isa great receptor for high definition imagery, but still maintains thenecessary strength, according to Lavroff. The fabric is dyed white, and treated with a FR finish that passesthe NFPA 701 large scale testing requirements.Jason Mills’ 1920-12 rraschel knit fabric.Raschel knit fabric,
Jason Mills’ 1920-12
in this market is the ability to offer wider-width products. “All of our fabrics
for the golf screen end use are a minimum of 120 inches wide” Lavroff said. “Most
of our competitors can only go 60 inches wide and then the fabric has to be seamed
together. Our wider width fabric avoids the need for a seam across the center of the
The company also has several other products in development for the screen market.
One is a spacer mesh with a tricot knit face and back. The cushioning between the
two layers deadens the sound and adds extra protection. The second new style is a
28-gauge raschel product that Lavroff thinks may be the most successful material
for the market yet.
Each golf simulator company has its own set of requirements and there is not a
one-size-fits-all product for the market. “This industry is so vast, and the
magic fabric for one company, is not the product another guy is looking for,”
said Lavroff. “But that points to an industry that is growing, and the key
here is to become the company that can provide the product lines that most
end users are looking for. We want to be the company to come to.”