Enhancing Our Capabilities to Meet NASA’s Needs

At Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM), we design, develop, and manufacture high quality engineered webbing, tape, and narrow fabric. While our products’ applications vary across a range of industries, we focus particularly on the technology needed to manufacture specialized webbing for critical use applications.

We are proud of the role our critical use products have played in the aerospace industry, as well as our trusted partnership with NASA on recent projects. Last year, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden visited our facility to support our work on a new space mission technology, declaring, “From this day on, the path to Mars goes through Bally, Pennsylvania.”

In order to enhance our product capabilities to meet NASA’s needs, we have been implementing innovative weaving technologies using high strength fibers such as Kevlar®, Technora®, and Vectran® to develop complex webbing for aerospace products.

adapt2These lightweight materials comprise 3-D woven fabrics and multifunctional thermal protection system (TPS) padding for NASA directed commercial sector space vehicles. Our TPS padding was selected as the critical component of the heat shield on the Orion Crew Capsule, which helps protect against the extreme temperatures of atmospheric re-entry during missions to the moon, asteroids, or Mars.

We provide customers with robust complex materials optimized for the low pack volume and high energy absorption that critical use applications demand. Our advanced launch and recovery decelerator webbing has been key to the successful design of space rocket launch vehicles and capsule recovery programs. We also design T, X, and Pi shaped webbing for lighter-than-air inflatable airships, surveillance aerostats, and NASA directed commercial sector space vehicles (COTS).

Our high performance webbing has appeared in a variety of other aerospace, space, and commercial applications such as parachutes, flight suits, seat belts, seat construction, cargo netting reinforcement tapes, and crew safety components. We ensure that all of our products pass strict Mil-Spec, PIA-Spec, and Department of Defense Berry Amendment requirements for the procurement of fabrics and textiles.

BRM was proud to be featured as a Phase II Company in NASA’s ­highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program for our four year support of the Orion project, as well as our current work for an upcoming EM-1 mission. We are grateful for NASA’s commitment to integrating small businesses into its contractor base, and we are dedicated to leveraging our unique strengths to help pioneer the future of space exploration.

Want to Learn More?
Since 1923, Bally Ribbon Mills has been a leader in the design, development, and manufacture of 2-D and 3-D specialty webbing. Our custom engineering and diverse weaving technologies enable us to provide advanced products for both commercial and critical use applications.

To learn more about how 3-D woven composites outperform their metallic counterparts to support critical use applications, download our eBook The Benefits of 3-D Woven Composites.

The Benefits of 3-D Woven Composites

What is Webbing?

Webbing is a strong woven fabric distinguishable by its assorted material compositions, strength differences, and widths. Appearing across a broad range of applications and industries, webbing can be found in military gear, hiking and camping gear such as harnesses, and automotive safety features like seatbelts.

Once made of natural fibers such as cotton or flax, modern webbing is now usually made of fibers including strands of nylon or polyester woven on a loom to create flat strips. For extreme applications, webbing is even available in high-strength materials such as Dyneema® and Kevlar®.

Types and Properties of Webbing

There are two basic types of webbing, identifiable by their shape and distinct physical properties:mil_spec_webbing

  • Flat webbing (or solid webbing) – Fibers solidly woven to create flat webbing.

Properties: Available in different breaking strengths, this style can carry out a number of basic applications. While the flat shape is well suited for applications in which material is sewn directly into a larger product, it can be susceptible to abrasion due to its stiffer nature in comparison to tubular webbing.

  • Tubular webbing – Generally thicker, this type of webbing is known to be more flexible than flat webbing.

Properties: Soft and pliable, this style allows for a variety of uses in comparison to its flat counterpart. It is also less susceptible to wear and tear, and is able to handle dynamic functions, such as holding knots.


Webbing is an adaptable component that appears in a diverse range of applications. Examples of common industries and specific uses include:

  • Military – Specialized Mil-Spec and PIA-Spec (Parachute Industry Association) narrow webbing is manufactured as Class 1 (critical use, shuttle loom) or Class 1a (critical use, shuttleless / needle loom) to deliver payloads safely and reliably.
  • Aerospace – High strength specialty webbing appears in parachutes, flight suits, seat belts, cargo netting reinforcement, and crew safety components.
  • Safety webbing – Webbing enables civilian safety through applications such as chin and shoulder straps, lap belts, harnesses, binding tapes, and shock absorbing webbing.
  • Commercial webbing –Webbing is found in everyday commercial applications such as backpack straps and pet leashes.

About Bally Ribbon Mills

With almost a century of experience designing, developing, and manufacturing woven webbing, Bally Ribbon Mills can meet all of your webbing needs, from everyday applications to highly-specialized Mil-Spec and PIA-Spec components. Our team works tirelessly to ensure we are an industry leader among specialty textiles.

webbingTo learn more, download our guide, Webbing 101: Properties, Materials, and Techniques today.

Why 3-D Woven Composites Surpass its Metallic Counterpart

3-D weaving is a cutting edge process that offers consumers joints and other parts with an optimal blend of strength, durability, and structural integrity.

Ideal for use within the aerospace industry, 3-D woven joints are considerably lighter than traditional metal joints without sacrificing exceptional strength and durability. This, unsurprisingly, results in a great deal of cost savings for the aerospace industry and the businesses involved within it.

Three-dimensional weaving offers a range of benefits for consumers, each of which saves cost and enhances product performance. Employing a 3-D woven composite in lieu of metallic structures will offer consumers a material that is lightweight, stronger than its metallic counterparts, and free of corrosion. In fact, the utilization of three-dimensional structures and fabrics may lead to a 30% reduction in aircraft weight and, subsequently, a reduction in total operational costs spent during an aircraft’s lifetime.

Employing a 3-D woven structure is the simplest and most efficient method of incorporating composite parts into future products. 3-D woven composites are produced near-net shape, meaning the composite requires minimal processing to be installation ready. 2-D laminated composites, on the other hand, require a lengthy and technically challenging lamination process. Cutting out the lengthy processes associated with 2-D composite methods means saving energy, time, and, subsequently, money.

3-D woven composites are completed as one piece — they do not require cutting, plying, or stitching, as 2-D laminated composites do, and require minimal machining. Without multiple layers laminated together, 3-D woven composites cannot become delaminated. The inherent inability of 3-D woven composite structures to delaminate is arguably one their greatest advantages. Design flexibility and the capacity to tailor composite properties to specific applications are also crucial 3-D weaving benefits.

Employment of 3-D woven joint technologies can provide enhancements in damage resistance without sacrificing weight. At Bally Ribbon Mills, our advanced products group has developed the technology to 3-D weave intricate net shapes, including pi (π), “T,” double “T,” “H,” and more.

brm_3dcompositesBally Ribbon Mills has played an essential role in the design, development, and manufacture of specialized products for a range of industries since 1923. We are committed to providing high quality materials with exemplary efficiency.

To learn more about the benefits of 3-D composite structures, download our eBook The Benefits of 3-D Woven Composites.

What Are The Advantages of 3-D Composites Over 2-D?

Discover how 3-D composites create product consistency in the aerospace industry.

adapt2Composite parts are specially engineered components made of two or more polymers with different physical and chemical properties. These compositions make up a broad range of aerospace components, including wings, tails, fuselages, and propellers. Though manufacturers have traditionally fabricated compositions with 2-D laminated composite parts, newer 3-D continuously woven structures are becoming the aerospace trend.

Conventional 2-D compositions can present a number of challenges, including structural delamination and cracking, lack of broad use from one project to the next, high costs, and a significant time investment to create the compositions. To remedy these common 2-D problems, manufacturers are now embracing 3-D woven composites, as an improvement to the traditional 2-D joints and a solution to their associated weaknesses.

2-D compositions typically fail manufacturers in two ways: cracking and delamination. In aerospace applications, repeated cyclic stress and impact causes separation and fraying of the composite layers. Unlike solid metals, compositions are weak and unable to contort to absorb kinetic energy. The inability to adjust to this impact creates fractures in the composition’s surface, known as matrix cracks.

Once a 2-D composite begins to develop small transverse matrix cracks, any additional impact will cause them to extend to neighboring plies with different fiber orientations, thus beginning the delamination process. The initial matrix crack that starts this process is called the critical matrix crack. Once this crack has developed, delamination will continue to spread and damage the other composition joints over time.

The higher damage resistance and greater fracture toughness of 3-D woven composites can reduce the prevalence of – or even entirely eliminate – many of these issues. The interlocking 3-D-woven reinforcement gives composite materials stronger out-of-plane properties to protect from warping and delamination.

In comparison to 2-D compositions, 3-D woven composites offer enhanced performance over 2-D alternatives, and the ability to rapidly produce materials using 3-D weaving compresses lead times and reduces overall labor and tooling costs.

brm_3dcompositesBally Ribbon Mills (BRM) creates these intricate composites using a 3-D continuous weaving technique. With our experience developing quasi-isotropic technology for the US Air Force Research Lab and recently completing a 3-D woven materials contract for NASA’s space flight applications, we are a trusted supplier on the cutting edge of high performance structural composite parts.

To learn more about the advantages of 3-D weaving, download our eBook The Benefits of 3-D Woven Composites for more information.
Download The Benefits of 3-D Woven Composites

SONACA and BRM Win The JEC 2016 World Innovation Award – Space Category

After 4 years of intensive collaboration in developing an innovative cryogenic upper interstage composite ring demonstrator for new space launchers, SONACA (Belgium) and BRM (USA) win the JEC 2016 world innovation award in the space category. BRM

The development optimized the cross section of a circular 4.3 meter diameter ring. This resulted in an important weight saving at an affordable price.

The innovation consisted of making the best choice of composite materials and manufacturing processes (Weaving, Injection), validated by suitable simulations and tests, while ensuring the challenging industrial requirements were met (Net shape part, logistics, final assembly). The most advanced 3D orthogonal weaving process was used to produce a demonstrator ring with 90° segments based of carbon fiber dry preforms. Each segment was injected using Resin Transfer Molding process (RTM). The four segments were then assembled together by splicing.

SONACA and BRM signed a partnership agreement to consolidate the progress already achieved in the field of advanced structural composite parts, in order to offer high quality and competitive advanced composite structures to their customers.

Press contacts

BRM – Leon Bryn – T +1 610 845 2211 – M +1 267 918 3333


SONACA – Dorian Stuyts – T +32 71 255 749 – M +32 474 977 835


About BRM

BRM designs, develops and manufactures specialized woven webbing, narrow fabrics, specialty 2D and 3D woven engineered textiles and 3D complex woven structures. Since 1923 BRM has a long history of providing textiles to the world. Its group of 300 talented product designers, technicians, and engineers provide unrivaled experience to solve customer design challenges.


About SONACA Group

SONACA Group is a global Belgian company active in the development, manufacturing, and assembly of advanced structures for civil, military, and space markets. The group is especially known for its wing movables expertise where it is regarded the world leader serving most of the primes with a market share of over 50%. It has production facilities in China, Europe, North-America, and South-America and employs over 2500 people including 350 engineers. In response to strong demand from its customers, SONACA Group today also supplies engineering services, large sheet metal elements, wing plank, composite structures, and machined components.


“The need of such a cost effective and lightweight structural component is clearly expressed by the aerospace OEMs; it is definitely a value adding innovation, now ready for our customers.”

Hugues Langer, SONACA Development & Innovation director

“3D orthogonal woven preforms with carbon fiber combined with RTM process confirms its promises for the manufacturing of CFRP composite parts. This technology can also be used with other advanced fiber, opening innovative applications.”

Bernard Poulaert, SONACA Space projects Manufacturing manager

“Our Engineering, Prototype and Test teams contributed strongly to this ESA R&D project. They are everyday also offering their agile skills and expertise to companies that are targeting to consolidate their advance in their respective markets through SONACA Engineering & Test Services. Their combined expertise and agility can be used by worldwide organizations.”

Jean-Louis Magerman, SONACA Prototype and Test Services manager

To view the official press release, click here.

Bally Ribbon Receives ISO 13485 Medical Certification

Bally Ribbon Mills is proud to announce its certification to ISO 13485. For over 50 years, Bally Ribbon Mills has been supplying the highest quality medical products to its customers. Now we can certify those products to this rigorous international standard that governs the design and manufacture of medical devices and ensures that Bally Ribbon Mills:

  • manufactures products in a controlled work environment to ensure product safety
  • focuses on risk management activities and design control activities during product development
  • follows specific requirements for inspection and traceability for implantable devices
  • follows specific requirements for verification of the effectiveness of corrective and preventive actions

Our facility includes advanced weaving systems, yarn preparation, and inspection areas for the production of fabric to the most stringent requirements. Environmental sampling, data collection, storage, and alarms ensure complete environmental monitoring and redundancies.

Quality efforts also include an emphasis on continuous improvement and defect prevention. Tools include but are not limited to Management and Feasibility Reviews, AS9102 First Articles, FMEA’s, Control Plans, IQ-OQ-PQ’s, Process/Product Validation and Lean/Six Sigma best practices.

Visit our Medical page for more information and to download our ISO 13485 certification for your records.

The Path to Mars Goes Through Bally, PA

“From this day on, the path to Mars goes through Bally, Pennsylvania,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said during a tour and press conference at Bally Ribbon Mills. Mr. Bolden was at the company to see a new technology being developed for future space mission and also show his support for small businesses that are part of NASA’s programs for space exploration and research.

brm_and_nasa_visit01Bally Ribbon Mills has been picked to supply a critical component of the heat shield on the Orion Crew Capsule. The specially designed 3-D woven thermal protection system (TPS) will help protect the crew and capsule from the extreme temperatures during atmospheric re-entry. If future missions to the Moon, an asteroid, or Mars are to be successful, newer stronger materials must be used. Bally Ribbon Mills has developed a material that can survive the thermal protection needed while also providing key mechanical strength to the interface between the crew module and service module.

While at Bally Ribbon Mills, Mr. Bolden was given a tour of the factory and saw firsthand how the woven TPS is manufactured. The technology being developed would not have been possible but for the help and partnership of NASA.

Read more across the internet…

The Morning Call

WFMZ 69 News


JEC Europe Composites Show and Conference 2015

Visit Us at
Hall 7.3 – Booth C62!

Bally Ribbon Mills is proud to announce our attendance once again to the JEC Composites Conference. JEC is the largest composites industry organization in Europe and in the world with a network of 250,000 professionals from 100 different countries.

Engineers will be available to discuss your specific applications and design challenges. On display will be various composite parts including:

  • 3D Woven Joints
  • 3D Advanced Composite Structures
  • Polar / Spiral Woven Structures
  • Specialty Braids
  • High Performance Carbon Tapes and Webbing

Bally Ribbon Mills has earned a reputation for fulfilling the aerospace industry’s most demanding requirements across a wide range of applications. Bally’s products set the industry’s standards and exceed it expectations.

For more information or to set up a meeting contact Leon Bryn, leonbryn@ballyribbon.com

Bally Ribbon Mills presents at IFAI Expo 2014



Bally Ribbon Mills’ employee Louis Franconi recently gave a presentation about our medical device weaving capabilities at the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) Expo 2014. Mr. Franconi described the advantages of various weaving methods in the production of fabrics for medical devices. He also spoke about a new weaving technique Bally Ribbon Mills has been researching for the past decade. It is called Quad Axial Isotropic Weaving. We add another dimension to the normally 2 dimensional structure of woven goods.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more. Visit us at our medical page.

Join us at the IFAI Expo 2014

Receive a 50% DISCOUNT for the
IFAI Specialty Fabrics Expo &
Advanced Textiles Expo

Minneapolis Convention Center
Minneapolis, MN
October 14th – 16th, 2014


Come join Bally Ribbon Mills at the IFAI Specialty Fabrics Expo and the Advanced Textiles Expo. Our booth number is A2225 located within the Advanced Textiles section of the conference center. A discount pass is available for download, courtesy of Bally Ribbon Mills and the Industrial Fabrics Association International.

Medical Textile Education Opportunity

Bally’s Louis Franconi will be giving an educational presentation on Medical Devices, Fibers, 3D Structures, and Quad Axial Isotropic Woven Narrow Fabric Medical Devices on Tuesday, October 14th at 9:30. This is a great opportunity to learn about new developments and innovations of woven products that support the medical device industry.
We hope to see you there!

About Bally Ribbon Mills

BRM is a leader in the design, development, and production of engineered narrow woven webbing, tape, and specialty fabric. For 90 years we have supplied the world with the highest quality webbing backed by unparalleled customer service and engineering support. Be confident that Bally Ribbon Mills will supply you with the best fabric for your products.


Bally Ribbon Mills offers a full range of services to cover every aspect of your product requirements including; design, prototyping, and full-scale production. Some examples include:

Shuttle • Needle • Jacquard • Specialty Broad and Braiding

Small custom lots • Large production lots • Spectrophotometer color matching


Flame treat • Abrasion resistance • Stiffness • Water proof


Bally Ribbon Mills’ weaving and processing capabilities are second to none. With all the fibers available to us, your product can be engineered specifically for your application.


Bally Ribbon Mills is committed to producing products that meet all performance requirements and the highest in quality standards.

Bally Ribbon Mills’ Quality Management System is certified to ISO 9001:2008 and
AS 9100:2009. We also maintain compliance to additional industry specific standards such as TS 16949 and ISO 13485 in support of our customers.

Quality efforts include an emphasis on continuous improvement and defect prevention. Tools include but are not limited to Management and Feasibility Reviews, AS9102 First Articles, FMEA’s, Control Plans, IQ-OQ-PQ’s, Process/Product Validation, and Lean/Six Sigma.


Cut your research time in half by
downloading our Webbing 101 Guide.

Inside, we highlight topics such as:

  • Common Specifications: (Mil-Spec, PIA, & UL)
  • Fabrication Methods: (Braiding, Jacquard Loom, Shuttle Loom, etc.)
  • Weave Types: (Basket, Plain, Satin, Twill)

Additional Resources