The American Floorcovering Alliance (AFA) hosted FloorTek 2021 in Dalton, Georgia, September 14-15, showcasing the latest innovations in floorcovering manufacturing and machinery.  

Exhibitors included equipment manufacturers for tufted carpet, resilient, adhesives, machinery and chemicals from the North Georgia area and around the world. 

"If you're a manufacturer for a floor covering business or you're a chemical customer, then you want to come and see the latest technology," said John Karr, president of AFA and Prodtek, a product development firm based in Dalton. "The people you see here are die hards; they've been around a long time and they are in it for the long term—like AFA, which has been around for 42 years."

Last October, AFA mapped out a 10-part plan to grow the association, beginning with a renovation of the group's headquarters in Dalton. 

"We have plans to add another floor to the building, make it a green or LEED-certified building with the addition of rainwater collection and solar panels to use as a primary teaching tool for organizations who might want to use it for idea incubation," Karr said. 

A new initiative the group is spearheading is coordinating for its membership is more affordable product testing for VOCs, phthalates and heavy metals. 

"Our latest technology is Tailored Loop, which is taking the industry by storm," said Zach Monroe, vice president of sales, tufting machinery manufacturer Card-Monroe. "It's the first time in the history of tufting that we are creating different carpet constructions by controlling the loop. We are able to make beautiful, crisp patterns that we are showing today in solid colors and we can inject other colors through our colorpoint technology."

Monroe said he seeing a nice resurgence in the residential market. "Even the plain cut piles that have died off to a degree have come back strong, around the world and especially in U.S. When the demand is there, we have a lot of great customers that see that new styling and the capabilities that it brings and invest in it to bring their customers something new." 

AFA, as a not-for-profit association, continues to partner with colleges to assist with the industry concerns of labor shortage in the region. Future Connections began in 2019 to assist students as they navigate into the future seeking a rewarding career. We are working to help fulfill the needs of the industry while helping students find a prospective career in the flooring industry.