To be an inventor means more than creating a solution to a problem. It’s an expression of creativity with boundless possibilities.
As the original pioneers of hook and loop technology, we’ve created innovative solutions for almost 70 years! Beginning with a visionary inventor, inspired by a routine walk in the woods, to the talented idealists that have taken the imaginary and seamlessly brought new technologies into existence, the VELCRO® Brand understands what it means to be an inventor!
At Velcro Companies, we celebrate innovation every day. That’s why we’re spotlighting team members and solutions, who have helped flourish great ideas within the walls of our organization.
Designing Next Generation Solutions
Located at the Velcro Companies Innovation and Technology Center (ITC) in Manchester, N.H., Chris Gallant’s career spans over 22 years. As Global Innovation Manager, Chris and his team help to develop next-generation solutions within different markets, spanning across the apparel, medical, construction, packaging, personal care, transportation, and military industries.
When beginning a project, Chris and his team look to gain insights within each market’s consumers.
“To create a solution, we get as good of an understanding of what we call the ‘voice of customer’ as we can. Then you get a team together and brainstorm solutions. Sometimes you have a “eureka” moment …and other times. it’s close to hitting the mark.”
Since hook and loop’s existence, Velcro Companies has continuously evolved hook and loop technology. In the two decades Chris has worked for the company, its success has amazed him. “We have more than 400 active patents right now, and we’re constantly generating intellectual property. Our company was the first to create this invention,” and since then, this ingenuity motivates Chris and his team to keep creating.
Tell us about your favorite products you’ve worked on?
We had attempted in the market to sell some hook and loop as a closure for flexible packaging for food products, but the big downside of that is when you peel hook and loop, sometimes the fibers from the loops will break off. You don’t want to have fibers in your food. Forming a product entirely out of the plastic side eliminates this problem. We did a lot of prototyping, and finally. we found designs that worked. Then we made the tooling to start developing the product. It was a long gestation from the original project till when we went to market. For some products, it can be five or six years.
We patented that product to protect the intellectual property. Known as the PRESS-LOK® closure system, it is integrated into all kinds of packages such as, dog food, snacks, cheeses, and most recently on the Mentos™ Pure Fresh Gum Wallet Packs. I love how you can see the product on the market with our logo on it. I worked on this project from the very beginning, and I love showing it to people and saying, “Hey, we made this!”
Next on the Horizon
When thinking about new projects underway, Chris emphasizes exploration projects focused on sustainable products. In addition to these advances, he and his team are focusing on driving innovation in miniaturizing hooks, making them soft to the touch, lightweight, and at a lower cost, finding ways to ensure the new hook technology that is being created, also still interacts with traditional inexpensive loops.
Motivated by the love for his job, Chris is continuously inventing: “This is the best job in the company. I truly believe that. This is where we get to experiment with new technologies, we get to do research, and we get to come up with the next big thing. We’re given the authority to go out and try new ideas. If we have a good proposal, many times the company has been willing to invest in that.” Velcro Companies celebrates the ingenuity and passion for these inventions, allowing the company and its employees to flourish.
Together, we improve daily life by creating connections that reflect natures genius. The burdock will always be at the center of our mission, but the people and our diverse solutions are what makes us unique.