Request for Proposal
Status: RFP is Closed

Alternative Fasteners to Replace Hook and Loop Technology

Request Number
Due Date
Dec 4, 2015
Program Manager

Nick Kacsandi, M.S.


The client seeks external partners for a range of opportunities, including contract research, custom design, joint development, technology licensing or acquisition, and supply of commercial technologies. Please refer to the “Items To Be Submitted” section in the document below for the full list of non-confidential information requested by the client.



The client wishes to conduct preliminary discussions with top-rated partners no later than January 2016.


Phase 1 - Proof of technical concept (6 months)

Phase 2 - Further timelines or milestones will vary depending on the nature of the proposed engagement.



Funding exists for a range of opportunities including consulting, testing, proof of concept, and/or technology development / acquisition / licensing. Financial terms may vary depending on the nature and scope of the proposed business arrangement. All final terms and conditions are subject to direct negotiation with the client.

RFP was closed on

RFP Title


Alternative Fasteners to Replace Hook and Loop Technology
RFP Description
NineSigma, representing A Global Apparel Manufacturer, invites proposals for technologies capable of creating a high-integrity bond that equals or exceeds “hook-and-loop” or “hook-and-pile” fastener performance under environmental extremes. Respondents from across the landscape of industry, academia and research are invited to respond.

Touch fastener technologies – also known as “hook-and-loop” or “hook-and-pile” fasteners – have widespread global applications from apparel to aerospace. Traditionally comprised of fabrics that are sewn or bonded to opposing surfaces to be joined, these fasteners are prone to wear, napping, agglomeration of dirt and debris, and generally diminished efficacy over long-term use. Furthermore, the material make-up of many current hook-and-loop products is such that environmental factors like high temperatures and required routine cleaning can result in accelerated degradation or debonding. Although some flame-resistant versions of the technology do exist, they can often degrade some critical performance characteristics and are therefore not universally viable.


NineSigma’s client seeks to identify technologies to replace hook-and-loop fasteners as a mechanism for creating secure closures on protective gear and apparel. Ideal solutions will incorporate onto a flexible textile matrix and form a demonstrable seal, closure, or fastening such that the end item’s edges are not readily separated without manual manipulation. The proposed approach should remain incorporated onto the based textile substrate in the presence of high or low temperatures, humidity, and airborne debris, as well as during repeated flexion and abrasion. The successful technology must also withstand repeated cleaning or laundering cycles without loss of efficacy. The client is interested in any proposals describing novel materials, designs, methods or mechanisms by which to achieve this goal at a cost competitive to that of commercial hook-and-loop. Developmental solutions are of interest, however any such proposals must include a reasonable description of solution provider’s ability to support efforts through proof of concept and commercialization.


Anticipated Project Phases or Project Plan

Phase 1 – Proof of Technical Concept

Phase 2 – To be determined in accordance with the proposed scope of work.


Criteria for Moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2

  • Proof of concept against the client’s specifications
  • Full technical report including:
    • Efficacy of closure as compared to Hook-and-loop baseline
    • Material specification, including regulatory
    • Application methods
  • Plan for optimization, manufacturing and scale-up

Key Success Criteria

The successful technology will:

  • Create a secure closure or seal between two garment edges
    • Must exceed strength and performance of hook-and-loop
    • Must allow for easy manual open and close
    • Must be ergonomically sound
  • Be compatible with or adaptable to flexible textile matrices
  • Be highly durable against extreme environmental conditions
    • Temperature from 0oF to 1000oF
    • Humidity from 0-100%
    • Exposure to dirt, dust and debris
    • Repeated flexing and abrasion
  • Maintain efficacy >5 years without the need for replacement
    • Use cycles: >2600
    • Monthly cleaning cycles
  • Manufactured and sourced in a manner compliant with USA industry regulations
    • Preferred solutions will be USA-sourced due to requirements for Berry Amendment compliance; however the client welcomes all potential solutions with high technical merit.
Possible Approaches

Possible approaches might include, but are not limited to:

  • Magnetic technologies
  • Alternative hook-and-loop technologies
  • Smart material solutions
  • Shape-memory materials or alloys
  • Biomimetic or biologically-inspired materials or designs
  • Novel mechanical closure designs
  • Solutions from adjacent industries, including but not limited to:
    • Automotive; Aerospace; Protective Apparel; Sporting Equipment; Hazard Response; Textile Science; Nonwovens; Etc.


Please note that technologies capable of improving the performance of traditional hook-and-loop under the indicated conditions are also of interest as a secondary solution. Any such proposals should clearly indicate  the nature of their proposed solution, evidence of efficacy with traditional hook-and-loop, and evidence of cost-competitiveness with the current standard. Such solutions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Coatings or surface treatments to prevent adhesion of debris
  • Technologies to improve bond strength between the hook-and-loop and the textile substrate
  • Approaches that prevent degradation, fraying or napping of hook-and-loop
Approaches not of Interest

The following approaches are not of interest:

  • Traditional closure technologies such as snaps, fasteners, zippers, buttons, etc.
  • Approaches the compromise the integrity of the base textile substrate
  • Approaches that are not safe for human contact and use
  • Approaches that are flammable or have high thermal conductance
  • Approaches that cause radio frequency interference
Items to be Submitted

To respond, please make sure you are registered in NineSights, as it will prompt you to log in. Then, use the Response options at the top or bottom of the page. You may submit supplemental files in addition to your completed response form.


Appropriate responses will use the response form and address the following:

  • Non-confidential description of proposed technology

    • Technical maturity of the approach (concept, prototype, ready to commercialize, commercialized)
    • Position on intellectual property
    • Supporting documentation (product literature, publications, patents, etc.)
  • Discussion of ability to address the items outlined in “Key Success Criteria” above
  • Overview of team experience and professional / technical expertise
  • Desired relationship with the sponsor
  • Proposed financials (cost/price, consulting rates, budget, etc.)
  • Proposed timeline (if applicable)
Preferred Collaboration Types