Apparel Innovation Centre

Testing apparel in chamber

The Apparel Innovation Centre, located in Calgary, Alberta, is North America’s apparel research and development facility, dedicated to fostering creative growth in the apparel industry. The Centre supports commercialization of market-driven innovations, significantly increasing the global competitiveness of the North American apparel industry. Opened in 2015, the Apparel Innovation Centre was established with funding from Western Economic Diversification and is jointly operated by Olds College and Alberta Garment.

View the Apparel Innovation Website


Apparel Innovation Centre logo

Our Services Include:

  • Apparel Testing
  • Thermal Comfort Testing
  • Hot Fluid and Steam Protection Testing
  • Apparel Product Consultation and Development

Apparel Testing

The Apparel Innovation Centre conducts world-class testing of apparel, fabrics, and other materials.

Specifically, the facility has one of the only full-scale Thermal Comfort Testing Chambers in North America, and it has the only full-scale Hot Fluid and Steam Protection Testing chambers in the world.

Thermal Comfort Testing

The Apparel Innovation Centre is home to the most advanced Thermal Comfort Testing system in the world.

The thermal comfort lab of the Apparel Innovation Centre is equipped with:

  • a sweating guarded hotplate with integrated chamber
  • a 34-zone “Newton” sweating thermal manikin with ManikinPC physiological model software, and
  • a customized walk-in climate chamber that ranges from sub-zero temperatures to 40 degrees celsius with varying humidity levels.

Our Newton thermal manikins running the ManikinPC physiological model represent the very best technology for simulating the human thermoregulatory system and for predicting human thermal comfort and thermal sensation values.

Pure virtual human models are well suited to the calculation of non-uniform boundary conditions such as solar loading, radiation, conduction, and convection, but these same models struggle when trying to account for clothing insulation values, convection coefficients and contact resistances. These limitations greatly impact the accuracy of comfort predictions.

Combining a virtual human model (ManikinPC) with a Newton thermal manikin eliminates the need to provide boundary conditions to the simulation model. Instead, the actual heat loss measurements from Newton are used in the virtual model calculations and the resulting predictions of thermal comfort are dramatically improved.

The Newton Manikin System can accurately and consistently evaluate the thermal comfort performance of apparel in a variety of environmental conditions.

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Hot Fluid and Steam Protection Testing

Did You Know:

  • There are almost as many burn injuries from hot liquids and steam hazards as there are from flash fires.
  • There is currently no legislation protecting workers from the hazards of hot liquid and steam hazards.
  • There are no safety standards to speak of that protect workers from these hazards.
  • There are no protective clothing systems that are protective against these hazards and comfortable to wear.

The Apparel Innovation Centre is equipped with the only facility of its kind in the world, and the  expert staff to work with any organization or company to test prototype garments for protection against hot fluid and steam burns.

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Apparel Product Consultation and Development

From concept to final prototype, the Apparel Innovation Centre helps entrepreneurs and companies create innovative apparel products. Some of our product development services include:

  • Idea generation/consultation
  • Design assistance
  • Prototype creation
  • Digitization of patterns
  • Size grading
  • Tech pack development
  • Sizing set production
  • Consulting services