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Cost-effective Ways to minimize Risks in the Supply Chain Photo: Pixabay
28.07.2020

Fraunhofer ITWM: Cost-effective Ways to minimize Risks in the Supply Chain

  • Algorithms for optimized supply chains

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the economy hard. What lessons can be learned from this experience? And what’s the best way for companies to protect themselves against this kind of crisis in the future? The answer will certainly involve a combination of different approaches – but new mathematical methods developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM look likely to be a very promising piece of the puzzle. These methods aim to calculate how the risks posed by supply shortages can be reduced significantly at very little extra cost.

  • Algorithms for optimized supply chains

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the economy hard. What lessons can be learned from this experience? And what’s the best way for companies to protect themselves against this kind of crisis in the future? The answer will certainly involve a combination of different approaches – but new mathematical methods developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM look likely to be a very promising piece of the puzzle. These methods aim to calculate how the risks posed by supply shortages can be reduced significantly at very little extra cost.

 Nobody ever expected hospitals to be struggling to get hold of the face masks and other personal protective equipment they need. The supply chain had always run smoothly in the past, yet the coronavirus crisis has now caused shortages of these products on multiple occasions. Previously, these supply chains had worked well – but the necessary restrictions on the global flow of goods led them to collapse.In many cases, for example, Chinese suppliers were unable to make deliveries even while factories in Germany were still working as normal, a situation that had a knock-on effect on goods production in Germany. And viruses are not the only potential risk: international suppliers can be paralyzed by all kinds of unforeseen factors, from natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, storms and floods to strikes or other unexpected political developments. If a company chooses to rely on just one supplier for its production needs in order to reduce costs, this can have devastating consequences that may even bring production to a complete standstill. It can take a very long time indeed for other suppliers to ramp up their production and start delivering the required products.
 
Analyzing and safeguarding supply chains
This is where methods developed by Fraunhofer ITWM come into play. “The algorithms analyze how diversified the supply chains are in different areas of the company and thus how great the risk is of running into critical supply problems in an emergency, in other words in the event of regional or global disruption,” says Dr. Heiner Ackermann, deputy head in the Department of Optimization at Fraunhofer ITWM in Kaiserslautern. “The question is how you can minimize the risk of supply shortfalls without incurring significant additional costs.” The dilemma is similar to that of buying a house: Is it best to opt for the lowest possible interest rates, even though there is a risk that follow-up financing will offer much worse rates? Or is it best to play safe and pay slightly higher interest rates from the start if that means having the reassurance of reasonably priced financing for the entire term?
 
Companies also have to get the right balance between risk and costs. If a company chooses to rely solely on the cheapest supplier, they are taking a major risk. But if they procure a raw material from multiple suppliers at the same time, that risk drops significantly. “And in this case the difference in cost is much lower than the difference in risk,” says Ackermann. In other words, the risks fall dramatically even when a company increases its costs by just a few percent – so it is possible to eliminate much of the risk by accepting just a slight rise in costs. Companies can use the algorithm to discover what would work best in their particular situation. “This method lets companies optimize their supply chains based on multiple criteria, helping them to find the optimal balance between costs and risks,” says Ackermann. “The underlying algorithms work equally well whether you are dealing with supply shortages caused by an earthquake or a virus. So, unlike existing software solutions, we don’t try to make assumptions as to the likelihood of any particular scenario.” With this new method, a company starts by entering various parameters – for example areas in which they think disruption could be likely and how long that disruption might last. The algorithms then calculate various cost/risk trade-offs for this exact raw material, including the possible allocations of suppliers that would correspond to each point on the scale. They even take into account options such as storing critical products in order to cushion any temporary supply shortfalls.
 
Substituting raw materials during supply shortages      
Another option the algorithms take into account is whether a raw material could potentially be replaced by different materials in the event of a supply bottleneck. If so, this can be taken into consideration from the start. Essentially, the method calculates the costs and risks of different courses that a company can follow in regard to their suppliers. Procter & Gamble is already using a software-based variant of this methodology which has been specially tailored to its needs.

Source:

Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM

Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH, Michael Steidle (c) Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH
21.07.2020

„COVID-19 - We could and should have appeared better as noble knights" Michael Steidle, Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH

  • Interview with Michael Steidle, Managing Director Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH

At least Europe seems to be able to breathe a sigh of relief after weeks of lockdown during the corona pandemic. The textile industry, an industry that has lived globalisation for so many years, is facing the challenge of maintaining its place in the new normal and building on its previous performance as quickly as possible.
Textination talked to three company representatives along the textile chain about personal and operational experiences.

  • Interview with Michael Steidle, Managing Director Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH

At least Europe seems to be able to breathe a sigh of relief after weeks of lockdown during the corona pandemic. The textile industry, an industry that has lived globalisation for so many years, is facing the challenge of maintaining its place in the new normal and building on its previous performance as quickly as possible.
Textination talked to three company representatives along the textile chain about personal and operational experiences.

The Interview with Michael Steidle, managing director at the textile printing company Heinrich Mayer GmbH, marks the provisional end of our series that started with Wolfgang Müller, Head of Sales & Services at Mayer & Cie. GmbH & Co. KG and was continued by Andreas Merkel, managing director of Gebr. Otto Baumwollfeinzwirnerei GmbH & Co. KG. The textile printing company Mayer, a family business on the Swabian Alb, is a leader in textile printing, in screen, rouleaux, rotary, sublimation and flock printing and as well as in 3D coating. They are increasingly using these skills in the area of technical textiles.

How have you felt about the corona era to date - as a company and personally?
What would you on no account want to go through again and what might you even consider maintaining on a daily basis?

 The corona time hit us hard. At the beginning of April, sometimes it felt like the lights would go out within the next 24 hours. In numbers there is a drop in sales of 30 percent.
And that's not just the way we are, this crisis has incredibly broader implications. Involved in the word of the Chamber of Commerce I am concerned with many companies in the region. Sectors that would not come to mind spontaneously also feel the effects. This also includes recycling companies. After all, there is also less commercial waste when companies are on short-time work.
At a personal level you can deal with the crisis, hand hygiene, sneeze etiquette, you can learn all of this. But we miss people-to-people contacts. We have a teenage daughter; young people in particular lack the ability to be out and about with their peers.

 
What has the pandemic meant for your company so far?
As I said, the Corona period brought us a significant drop in sales. That means we think twice before spending money. At the beginning of the year we moved to our new, spacious company building. There are still a few small investments to be made. So far, we have put it off until the situation has calmed down again. And so do many. The economic network extremely got out of hand due to the lockdown.
We applied for short-time work, which has been running for three months now. However, you have to see how long that makes sense. Our customers also had a drop in sales, which they first of all have to recover.

 
What adjustments or innovations to your product portfolio have you felt obliged by the pandemic to undertake?
The mask production was a very strong topic in April and May, the phone almost rang continuously. This enabled us to compensate for many orders that were lost otherwise.
We reacted quickly, not only printing masks classically, but also developing coatings for medical face masks and protective clothing. The coatings that we offer are antibacterial and have the lotus effect. This results in the formation of droplets in the aerosols. We have had checked and certified these innovations in an urgent procedure.
We converted our machines ad hoc so that we could apply innovative coatings instead of paint. This was even possible for ready-made masks.
In general, I rate this ability to react quickly as one of our great strengths. We are a small company, so the path from idea to implementation is rather short. If we recognize a trend, an opportunity in our industry, we examine ourselves: Do we have resources that could be used or adapted to offer a solid, marketable solution in a very short time? This refers to know-how, ideas, machines and, for larger projects, also partners. Experience has shown that on the one hand we have the necessary imagination, but on the other hand we also have a fairly realistic view of ourselves. If we can answer the question with “yes”, then we get started without delay. We can evaluate a trial in the evening and continue working on it the next day. There is no need for a meeting with five persons beforehand.
 

What are your views on global supply chains in the future, and will you be drawing consequences for your procurement policy?
We cannot avoid global supply chains; and it will remain this way. In the short term, you may reflect on regional procurement, as far as that is still possible. Many things are simply no longer available and the development over the past 30 years cannot be turned back. Let's take pigment paint: it comes from India and China, otherwise it doesn't exist anymore. Nobody in Europe can keep the prices. And yes, that also means that the production of systemically relevant products can no longer be guaranteed.

          
How do you rate the importance of partnerships within the industry in the future? Does Covid-19 have the potential to promote the creation of new cooperation arrangements in the industry? Or have they already taken shape?
Existing partnerships are important. We must keep the ball rolling: Interrupted projects have to be continued with existing partners.
I think it is important to maintain partnerships at eye level. Sure, now everyone has to see how they can make ends meet. It will be shown, however, who works loyally in the long term and with respect to the business.
Personally, it is important for me to be true to my word. Only a few days ago I spoke to a student, whom we promised her internship and a corresponding payment in February. This young woman can start her internship with us; what paying is concerned, I had to tell her honestly that we have to talk about it again. Fortunately, that was not a problem. It is important to the student that she can complete the required internship at all. This is not so easy since most companies do not accept anyone right now. That is understandable too, but we will need the well-trained people again soon, that’s for sure!

 
What initiatives or approaches for your industry would you welcome for the near future?
I would be very interested in a positive and comprehensive description of what value added is still available in Germany. An initiative that illustrates that the textile industry is an important industry, with many companies that have been family-owned for generations, often with a young, dynamic management and high-quality products. Really nobody has that on his radar. Just today, two designers from a company nearby visited us. They were surprised which services we offer in the field of technical textiles - they were not even aware of it.
The textile industry has played itself down for a long time, that has to stop. Of course, we no longer have added value like the machine building industry. But now, in the corona crisis, it would have been the right time to take advantage of the situation and to initiate much-needed lobbying..


What would you like to see as part of the German textile industry? Do you feel that the status of the German textile industry has changed as a result of the pandemic, especially in respect of public procurement?
No, only at very short notice. Everything was taken during the crisis, the main thing was that the requested product, i.e. masks and protective clothing, was even available. Now the old cycle is back: I have a certain budget, where can I get the most for it? This is frustrating because the willingness to face this challenge was high on the part of the companies.
We also have driven the development and had our coatings for masks certified in an urgent process. Others have switched their entire production at a significant cost to meet demand. Nobody became a millionaire this way.
I think the textile industry could have sold better here. We could and should have appeared better as noble knights. Unfortunately, this was lost in the heat of the battle.

Until now the big issues have been globalisation, sustainability / climate change / environmental protection, digitisation, the labour market situation and so on. Where do they stand now and how must we rate them against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic?
We take sustainability into account with our certifications, with GOTS and ISO 9001. Digitisation does not work quickly for us; it will take years before we can digitise processes. Sure, in administration we are now increasingly working with web meetings and video conferences, but personal contact is important to me. I regularly give lectures; my next one will be at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences and I very much hope that it can take place. I am just a guy for direct contact.
The labour market situation depends on the pandemic and how it develops. In any case, it remains difficult to get young people excited about textile professions. When I open a mobile phone store, I don't need a day to have my employees together. When we present ourselves at a training fair, we are happy to have a handful of good conversations.
Training is so valuable. Someone who has one will always have a different status than an unskilled person, even if - at some point - he works in a completely different branch. The dual training system is absolutely untouchable for me, because we live from this economic performance. We have nothing else but our knowledge. And we have to keep developing because only the high level gives the necessary output.
 

What lessons are to be learnt in respect of these targets for the post-corona era?
Innovation, innovation, innovation. You must not stand still. Nobody knows what to do next. But in three years from now I have to live from what I am developing today, just like I live from what I developed three years ago. Now, in times of Corona, it is much harder to remember, but it does not help: I can’t stand still, waiting for what is happening next, being like a deer caught in the headlights.

This interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

Gebr. Otto Baumwollfeinzwirnerei GmbH & Co. KG (c) Gebr. Otto Baumwollfeinzwirnerei GmbH & Co. KG
14.07.2020

Interview with Andreas Merkel, Managing Director Gebr. Otto GmbH & Co. KG

"OTTO has already survived two world wars and a pandemic in 1918, we will survive this one as well"

At least Europe seems to be able to breathe a sigh of relief after weeks of lockdown during the corona pandemic. The textile industry, an industry that has lived globalisation for so many years, is facing the challenge of maintaining its place in the new normal and building on its previous performance as quickly as possible.

Textination talked to three company representatives along the textile chain about personal and operational experiences.

"OTTO has already survived two world wars and a pandemic in 1918, we will survive this one as well"

At least Europe seems to be able to breathe a sigh of relief after weeks of lockdown during the corona pandemic. The textile industry, an industry that has lived globalisation for so many years, is facing the challenge of maintaining its place in the new normal and building on its previous performance as quickly as possible.

Textination talked to three company representatives along the textile chain about personal and operational experiences.

Andreas Merkel, Managing Director of Gebr. Otto Baumwollfeinzwirnerei GmbH & Co. KG, takes over the second part of our series of interviews and succeeds Wolfgang Müller, Head of Sales & Service at the textile machinery company Mayer & Cie. GmbH & Co. KG. The spinning mill, which was founded in Dietenheim in 1901, is now considered as one of the most modern ones in Europe. The management decided against relocating production abroad and relies on premium yarns made from natural fibers as well as tailor-made customer solutions.

How have you felt about the corona era to date - as a company and personally?
What would you on no account want to go through again and what might you even consider maintaining on a daily basis?

The lockdown period was something surreal to me. It was difficult to understand what was real and what was virtual. I found it positive that the crisis brought people closer together and that they gave more appreciation to things people had taken for granted, such as their own workplace.
Overall, I have remembered the past few months as not being such a negative time. Of course, this is also because we as a company have got off lightly so far. We have no external obligations such as rents, leasing contracts and so on to serve. We also see a clear upward trend again.    
          
What has the pandemic meant for your company so far?
The enterprise Gebrüder Otto has existed since 1901, we have already weathered a pandemic - the Spanish flu in 1918 - and we will survive this too. Of course, many orders suddenly broke off, and we had to cope with parts of the company in short-time work. Incidentally, an extremely sensible government offer that helped us to react quickly.
But I have the impression that the crisis is going to get off to a good start and I don't think we will stay at the current low level for a long time. As it looks now, we no longer need to take advantage of the short-time work in the spinning mill we had requested for July.
I am worried about the companies that will be hit hard by this crisis, especially in our industry, of course. We are already noticing insolvencies of long-established companies. The textile value chain in Germany is already very limited; let’s hope that this pandemic doesn’t shrink it any further.
 
What adjustments or innovations to your product portfolio have you felt obliged by the pandemic to undertake?
We saw a positive development even before the pandemic: More and more customers are asking about sustainable products, which we offer in a wide range.
Last year we started building up the brand "Cotton since 1901 - made in Germany" and launched it in April this year. We want to make the fact even clearer that we offer a regional, transparent and sustainable product with our cotton yarns made in Dietenheim. We have been based in Germany for almost 120 years and are part of our cityscape and local life. We - and our product - stand for consistency, responsibility and the highest quality standards.
Our yarns are the DNA of a high quality garment. Products that are made from "Cotton since 1901" are provided with a corresponding hang tag in the shops.
We are happy that we were able to launch this brand despite the difficulties that the corona measures implicated. Because now the topic is more important than ever. I recently had a conversation with a customer: Nothing works except in the sustainable segment. In short: high-quality products remain in demand, while it is becoming more and more difficult on the average market.

What are your views on global supply chains in the future, and will you be drawing consequences for your procurement policy?
In Germany, we have a high degree of company-internal value-add, we spin, twist and dye. Our cotton is extra-long-staple and we source it from Spain and Israel, from long-term suppliers. Because of Corona, there was no reason for our procurement to take consequences.
However, the crisis will have made it clear to many people that mass products used in daily life are no longer so easy to manufacture on their doorstep. But we need a reliable and high availability in Germany. That is why we should strengthen regional production, also in the long term. Sure, this is only possible in cooperation with customers and partners who appreciate these values. That doesn't work if everyone just looks at the price. Pricing is not everything. From this perspective, the pandemic was certainly an important catalyst.
 
How do you rate the importance of partnerships within the industry in the future?
Does Covid-19 have the potential to promote the creation of new cooperation arrangements in the industry? Or have they already taken shape?

Vertical partnerships are becoming increasingly important. Well, the shrinkage of the industry implicates this anyway. But we have to work together even more and the quality of the partnerships needs to become closer.
If one of the remaining specialists fails - let's assume that the companies that are now going bankrupt would have to close completely - then everyone else will be affected. There are no such specialists ten a penny, if they fall away, then some products cannot be manufactured locally anymore. You can build a fantastic car, no matter how good, if you don't have someone who can provide you with the steering wheel, you don't have a finished car.

What initiatives or approaches for your industry would you welcome for the near future?
Regional products should be given a parent brand so that consumers can recognize a regionally manufactured product as such. There was something like this in Switzerland with Swisscotton. I have suggested this several times in the association of the textile industry. It would be best for the industry if all manufacturers jointly build up such a regional label. After all, consumers are ready to spend money if they know where a product comes from and that it was manufactured fairly and sustainably. Everyone would benefit from such transparent added value. And digitization offers the ideal platform for this.

What would you like to see as part of the German textile industry?
Do you feel that the status of the German textile industry has changed as a result of the pandemic, especially in respect of public procurement?

As far as public procurement is concerned, I cannot answer this question because it does not really affect us.
But of course the pandemic has shown how fatal it can be if products are no longer manufactured in Germany, for example if antibiotics are market under the name of German companies but are actually manufactured on the other side of the world.
At the end of the day, the question arises: being a part of the textile industry – are we systemically relevant? Partly yes, I think, because if tomorrow
nobody produces yarns in Germany or Europe anymore, this will have consequences for systemically relevant products. And, as you know, you only realise that things can get tight when there is a bang. That is why I think that in a country like Germany there must be a basic supply of products and technology. After all, it's also about further development, about innovations. If I want to make a virus-free mask, I need local partners.

Until now the big issues have been globalisation, sustainability / climate change / environmental protection, digitisation, the labour market situation and so on.
Where do they stand now and how must we rate them against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic?

For us at Otto, sustainability and environmental protection have been a long-standing central corporate value. We produce our electricity partly independently, from hydropower. Our products and processes have been certified according to the highest standards. In my lectures, I often show how much water is needed to produce cotton, and how precious this raw material is in itself.
Together with the valuable regional added value, this gave rise to our new brand "Cotton since 1901". There will be a QR code on the hang tags on the finished garments, so that the buyer can check what is inside the product.
Such approaches, which are sustainable and regional, are a mega opportunity that we have to use. The corona crisis had demonstrated this very clearly.
 
What lessons are to be learnt in respect of these targets for the post-corona era?
I'm afraid things will go on as before in many areas. But still: We looked at the medical manufacturers who suddenly could no longer deliver everyday medicines. And we have seen the conditions under which meat products are produced.
Do we want that? No. In the end, consumers value flawless products - and we should deliver them.

This interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

07.07.2020

Mayer & Cie.: “COVID-19 - A Challenge without a Blueprint”

Interview with Wolfgang Müller, Head of Sales & Service at Mayer & Cie. GmbH & Co. KG

At least Europe seems to be able to breathe a sigh of relief after weeks of lockdown during the corona pandemic. The textile industry, an industry that has lived globalisation for so many years, is facing the challenge of maintaining its place in the new normal and building on its previous performance as quickly as possible.

Textination talked to three company representatives along the textile chain about personal and operational experiences.

Wolfgang Müller, Head of Sales & Service at Mayer & Cie. GmbH & Co. KG will start the three-part series. The world market leader for circular knitting machines, founded in 1905 in Albstadt / Baden-Württemberg, employs around 400 people worldwide and today offers an international network of more than 80 sales and service representatives.

Interview with Wolfgang Müller, Head of Sales & Service at Mayer & Cie. GmbH & Co. KG

At least Europe seems to be able to breathe a sigh of relief after weeks of lockdown during the corona pandemic. The textile industry, an industry that has lived globalisation for so many years, is facing the challenge of maintaining its place in the new normal and building on its previous performance as quickly as possible.

Textination talked to three company representatives along the textile chain about personal and operational experiences.

Wolfgang Müller, Head of Sales & Service at Mayer & Cie. GmbH & Co. KG will start the three-part series. The world market leader for circular knitting machines, founded in 1905 in Albstadt / Baden-Württemberg, employs around 400 people worldwide and today offers an international network of more than 80 sales and service representatives.

How have you felt about the corona era to date - as a company and personally?
What would you on no account want to go through again and what might you even consider maintaining on a daily basis?

The corona era is a challenge without a blueprint. Because it is not an economic crisis as previously understood we have no tried and tested solutions with which to react to the situation. Nevertheless, and this is my personal opinion, there is never only a downside even though the pandemic situation has, of course, had the worst conceivable effect on our order intake.
A positive aspect is that we are forced to deal with issues we would otherwise have put off until the future. Web meetings and virtual trade fairs instead of travelling half way round the world. We can use the time gained to optimise our processes.
When the lockdown began I personally had more time for myself and a few hours more sleep than otherwise. But that positive side effect is already history.    
          
What has the pandemic meant for your company so far?
Let me go back a little further. The trade dispute between the United States and China and many other, smaller local conflicts led to the textile machinery market having faced an understandably most reluctant client base since 2018. After this rather lengthy lean period we noted from the beginning of 2020 a growing inclination to invest once more. Of course, corona abruptly interrupted that trend. So the pandemic hit us at a time when the industry was recovering. We now have a steady order intake once more, but at a lower level than we need if we are to fully utilise our production capacity. So after the summer holidays we will switch to short-time working until the situation is back to normal.
 
What adjustments or innovations to your product portfolio have you felt obliged by the pandemic to undertake?
Contact and travel bans have not only shown us how useful video conferences are; they have also demonstrated most vividly how important digital solutions are – and that we need to work on them intensively. Prior to the corona outbreak, we invested a great deal of time and knowledge in this area so that we were able to unveil knitlink at the 2019 ITMA 2019.
A Web shop for spare parts and our new service approach are both based on knitlink. Using a ticket system that we are developing from our CRM system along with digital measures in service support we can assist our customers faster and at less expense than previously. In addition, our customers will in future be able to record and analyse the production data of their Mayer circular knitting machines.

What are your views on global supply chains in the future, and will you be drawing consequences for your procurement policy?
We as suppliers noticed at the outset of the corona crisis in March that the desire for short supply chains on the part of clothing manufacturers was leading to more orders from countries closer to Europe. Now that the situation is hopefully starting to ease off, this trend is still apparent.
As for our own supply chain, throughout the entire lockdown phase we have had gratifyingly few problems and no downtimes whatever.
 
How do you rate the importance of partnerships within the industry in the future?
Does Covid-19 have the potential to promote the creation of new cooperation arrangements in the industry? Or have they already taken shape?

Cooperation arrangements can be a great enrichment. For over a year and a half we have been collaborating with a design studio in Amsterdam. Our partner Byborre not only develops designs of its own; it also supports sportswear and clothing manufacturers step by step in developing their textiles.
The customer uses his own partners and suppliers while Byborre supplies the machinery and parameters needed to manufacture the desired fabrics.
Byborre could be described as a kind of “translator,” interpreting between us, the machine manufacturers, and those who use the fabrics that are made on our machines.
We as engineers know of course what our machines are capable of accomplishing. Jointly with Byborre we coax new designs and uses out of these capabilities.
Apart from that we cooperate in various bodies such as the VDMA’s Marketing and Trade Fair Committee.
These, however, are not cooperation arrangements arising from or as a consequence of Covid-19. We have no such cooperation to report.

What initiatives or approaches for your industry would you welcome for the near future?
A positive mention must be made of offers by the state government to assist with digitisation projects that we must all take forward.
A strengthening of regional production would also be desirable. That said, even I cannot imagine how that could be achieved other than for high-quality or niche products.

What would you like to see as part of the German textile industry?
Do you feel that the status of the German textile industry has changed as a result of the pandemic, especially in respect of public procurement?

Although “textile” is part of our description as textile machinery manufacturers, our actual home is in the second part of the name – in mechanical engineering. Its status in Germany is, as is known, very high.
That of the textile industry is, from my external vantage point, unchanged. At the beginning of April, when face masks were desperately sought, there were many good intentions, but German firms that offered to manufacture them were refused long-term assurances by the government.
So naturally nobody invested in the idea and everything will probably remain as it is, with the price reigning supreme and competition continuing unabated.

Until now the big issues have been globalisation, sustainability / climate change / environmental protection, digitisation, the labour market situation and so on.
Where do they stand now and how must we rate them against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic?

The overriding issue right now is Covid-19, and everything else is subordinated to it. At the same time it functions like a magnifying glass. Take precarious jobs, for example. The high rates of infection in abattoirs have meant that they can no longer be ignored. Covid-19 has also created facts in respect of environmental protection. Next to nobody is flying, people are working from home and doing less shopping. That leads to lower emissions. The ailing global economy is a blessing for the planet. Germany too is likely to be on climate target for 2020; without corona we would have failed to do so. As for globalisation, it is at least marking time as regional production fills part of the bill.
How long that will continue to be the case remains to be seen, of course, but it is clear that we can be extremely flexible if we need to be.
 
What lessons are to be learnt in respect of these targets for the post-corona era?
There is unlikely to be a “post-corona era” inasmuch as we will no longer get rid of the virus. We must learn to cope with it.
The virus or rather the restrictions it has imposed on us have forced us to be creative. We must deal with existing processes differently – both in private life and professionally. By that I mean such everyday activities as shopping as well as Web meetings and working at home, which was not previously a widespread option at our company. They have certainly made us more efficient.
Another realisation applies to us as an SME just as it does to politics. We have an opportunity to master the crisis and maybe even gain in strength and size from it. But only because we have invested sensibly when times were good and above all managed our business soundly and solidly.

This interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

Source:

Textination GmbH

Compostable agricultural textiles with adjustable service life Foto: Pixabay
30.06.2020

Compostable agricultural textiles with adjustable service life

In the "AgriTex" innovation project, WESOM Textil GmbH, together with the Fiber Institute Bremen e.V. and the Institute for Polymer and Production Technologies e.V., has set itself the goal of developing a compostable technical textile that is to be used in agriculture, among other things. The project is funded over three years by the Central Innovation Program for SMEs (ZIM) and has a funding volume of around 570,000 Euros. A corresponding application was approved by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) in April 2020.

In the "AgriTex" innovation project, WESOM Textil GmbH, together with the Fiber Institute Bremen e.V. and the Institute for Polymer and Production Technologies e.V., has set itself the goal of developing a compostable technical textile that is to be used in agriculture, among other things. The project is funded over three years by the Central Innovation Program for SMEs (ZIM) and has a funding volume of around 570,000 Euros. A corresponding application was approved by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) in April 2020.

Plastics have become an integral part of our everyday lives and are used in a wide variety of areas. At the same time, pollution from plastic waste is one of the greatest global problems of our time. There are already various options for the sensible and environmentally friendly disposal of plastics, e.g. recycling or thermal recovery. However, it cannot always be guaranteed that the waste is also disposed of in the corresponding disposal routes. For example, in agriculture, even if used properly, a release cannot always be prevented or a return is not possible depending on the application. Biodegradable plastics can help to solve this problem, but many of today's products only rot very slowly, as otherwise the required stability and robustness cannot be guaranteed.
     
The aim of the "AgriTex" project partners is to develop an innovative, biodegradable textile for applications in agriculture. On the one hand, the textile withstands the highest mechanical and weather-related requirements during use, on the other hand it rots quickly after a predefined period of use under natural conditions in the environment or on the compost. This two-phase behavior is made possible by a new type of bicomponent fiber made from the biodegradable plastic PLA. The new technology is to be developed and tested using a hail protection net for fruit growing. Hail protection nets are exposed to considerable loads from various weather conditions and usually have to be replaced after a few seasons. Proper disposal of the old nets represents a considerable cost factor for agricultural businesses. With "AgriTex" the nets can be composted with other biological waste in a cost-neutral manner. In addition, unintentionally released netting components from the structure remain, e.g. by storms or damage caused by game, no longer in the long term in the environment and the pollution of ecosystems by plastic waste is effectively prevented. The ecological and economic advantages of the new technology are not only in demand in fruit growing, but will also be of interest for many other applications in agriculture, landscaping or fishing in the future.
 
The idea for the “AgriTex” project came about as part of the PREVON - Production Evolution Network innovation network, which is funded by the Central Innovation Program for SMEs (ZIM). As part of the membership, the partners are actively supported in the implementation of R&D projects and in securing funding.

More information:
agricultural textiles AgriTex
Source:

IWS Innovations- und Wissensstrategien GmbH

(c) Messe München
23.06.2020

ISPO Re.Start Days: New digital live conference

Orientation for the sports and outdoor industry on June 30 and July 1, 2020 

  • Digital live conference for the sports and outdoor industry
  • Main topics: digitization, sustainability and health
  • European Outdoor Group and Association of German Sports Retailers support event

In the course of the current corona pandemic, the international sports and outdoor industry is facing far-reaching challenges. The ISPO team also had to cancel OutDoor by ISPO 2020 and the ISPO SDG Summit and postpone the ISPO Digitize Summit. However, the focus and motto of the current anniversary year, "50 years of tomorrow", will remain.
 
Based on the feedback and needs of the most important industry stakeholders, ISPO developed a digital live conference for the sports and outdoor industry. The ISPO Re.Start Days on June 30 and July 1 2020 offer orientation and growth strategies during and after Corona.

Orientation for the sports and outdoor industry on June 30 and July 1, 2020 

  • Digital live conference for the sports and outdoor industry
  • Main topics: digitization, sustainability and health
  • European Outdoor Group and Association of German Sports Retailers support event

In the course of the current corona pandemic, the international sports and outdoor industry is facing far-reaching challenges. The ISPO team also had to cancel OutDoor by ISPO 2020 and the ISPO SDG Summit and postpone the ISPO Digitize Summit. However, the focus and motto of the current anniversary year, "50 years of tomorrow", will remain.
 
Based on the feedback and needs of the most important industry stakeholders, ISPO developed a digital live conference for the sports and outdoor industry. The ISPO Re.Start Days on June 30 and July 1 2020 offer orientation and growth strategies during and after Corona.

Based on this year's anniversary, ISPO proclaimed "50 years of tomorrow" at the beginning of this year. The existing events, supplemented by new formats, were intended to further promote sports and the outdoors and to make them drivers of global, sustainable change. However, the developments around the corona virus made the original planning obsolete. OutDoor by ISPO 2020 had to be cancelled, the premiere of the ISPO SDG Summit is postponed to 2021 and the ISPO Digitize Summit will be held at ISPO Munich 2021. But also, or especially under the new circumstances, the ISPO group continues to focus on its motto.

Digital format for a restart
"Corona is changing the world, the rules are just being rewritten" says Klaus Dittrich. The Chairman of the Board of Management of Messe München is certain: "We are living up to our pioneering role even in these difficult times and are making a fresh start with the sports and outdoor industry. We are focusing everything on the '50 years of tomorrow'.”

European Outdoor Group supports  SPO Re.Start Days
The digital live conference is aimed at an international audience and is developed in close cooperation with industry associations such as the European Outdoor Group (EOG) and the Association of German Sports Retailers (vds). Mark Held, President of the European Outdoor Group: "Access to nature is important and helpful for the well-being of all people.
This is where we continue to see a growing importance and major role for the outdoor industry. At the same time, however, we must discuss the negative consequences of the crisis for society and the economy as a whole and rethink the challenges it poses. We can only do this together and we will be fully involved.”
 
Focus on digitization, sustainability and health 
The event will focus on three main topics: Digitalization, Sustainability and Health. The program is dedicated to best cases in times of Corona and will present ideas, projects and campaigns implemented at short notice. Experts will talk about the boost the pandemic is giving digitization, which aspects of it will be preserved and which counter-movements are already forming as a result. Industry experts will show in which areas consumers are questioning the behavior of companies and how brands should react.

ISPO Re.Start Days

More information:
ISPO ISPO Munich
Source:

Messe München GmbH

(c) SANITIZED AG
16.06.2020

‘WHAT SMELLS LESS HAS TO BE WASHED LESS OFTEN’

Swiss Quality Principles plus Innovation Strength: Hygiene and Material Protection from SANITIZED 

SANITIZED AG is known as a worldwide leading Swiss company in hygiene functions and material protection for textiles and plastics. Globally oriented, pioneering work is done with federal thoroughness in the development of innovative, effective and safe technologies for antimicrobial equipment. Textination had the opportunity to speak to CEO Urs Stalder about the growing importance of hygiene in times of the pandemic.

Swiss Quality Principles plus Innovation Strength: Hygiene and Material Protection from SANITIZED 

SANITIZED AG is known as a worldwide leading Swiss company in hygiene functions and material protection for textiles and plastics. Globally oriented, pioneering work is done with federal thoroughness in the development of innovative, effective and safe technologies for antimicrobial equipment. Textination had the opportunity to speak to CEO Urs Stalder about the growing importance of hygiene in times of the pandemic.

Founded in 1935, the majority ownership of the public company SANITIZED still lies with the founding families. You are the market leader in Europe in hygiene functions and material protection for textiles and plastics. If you had to introduce yourself in 100 words to someone who doesn't know the company: What influenced you in particular in the development of the company and what made it unique?
Preventing odor in shoes, that's how it started in 1935. This is where our business model came from: the antimicrobial protection of plastics and textiles.
SANITIZED develops ready-to-use additives that are individually tailored to the protection goals of the end products and that work, for example, against the development of odors in work clothing, against permastink (resilient odors) in synthetic textiles or against mold growth.
The 360-degree service is unique: This includes backing in product development, support for all regulatory questions and assistance with marketing topics.
SANITIZED AG is globally active and yet committed to Swiss quality principles. More than 400 brands worldwide use the ingredient brand Sanitized® on their end products.

Think global – act local? You have sister companies in France, the United States and Asia. Your roots and headquarters are based in Switzerland. The pandemic is currently increasing the question of intact supply chains. What does this mean for your company in the future?
Indeed, the broad global positioning enables us to do business locally. The local anchoring results in synergies, also in sourcing. That will be even more important for us in the future. And, of course, the issues of speed and customer proximity are also positive aspects of this approach.

From textiles to plastic surfaces to cans: SANITIZED Preservation AG was founded in 2018 to take care of colors and coatings. SANITIZED is thus opening up another market. Which markets are you particularly interested in and which product areas do you feel particularly challenged by?
Customers want paints and varnishes without solvents, which is better for people and the environment. But with the alternative water-based products, there is a high risk of contamination by microbes. This starts with the production, continues with the storage in the can and also in the application. The result is mold formation.
Antimicrobial protection for paints or coatings is particularly relevant in hygiene-sensitive areas of industrial production and, of course, in the medical environment. The risk of contamination and mold multiplies in regions with high air humidity. This is another reason why India is a growth market for this business area.   

To break new ground means decisiveness, overcoming fears - and thus the courage to fail. Not every project can succeed. In retrospect - about which entrepreneurial decision are you particularly glad to have made it?
Let me mention just three decisions that are important for corporate development: This is definitely the foundation of the SANITIZED Preservation division. This is about the antimicrobial protection of paints and varnishes. This also includes setting up our in-house TecCenter, in which we can perform laboratory services even faster. It was recently accredited by the International Antimicrobial Council. And right now it is the sales cooperation with Consolidates Pathway on the US market for our textile hygiene function solutions.

You state that innovation is embedded in the company's DNA. How do you live your inno-vation management and which role do the requirements of end consumers and your indus-trial customers play in this setting?
We ourselves as well as our global sales partners are in close contact with the manufacturers of textile products. This is also why we know the requirements and needs of the market. Sustainability is emerging from the niche in the mass market.
This is exactly what our product Sanitized® Odoractiv 10 has been developed for and awarded by the Swiss Innovation Award.
It is a dual-acting, biocide-free, patented technology against odor development and odor adsorption in textiles. Many customers appreciate our expertise and use it in the development of new products to create innovative textiles with additional benefits for the requirements of the market.

Tailor-made or solutions only for major customers? The topic of individualization up to lot size 1 takes up a lot of space today. What do you think about individual product solutions - or can you cover everything with the SANITIZED portfolio comprising 40 products?
We have a very versatile technology “kit” at our disposal. It is part of our daily business to respond individually to the special customer needs and the respective product requirements. We offer tailor-made recipes for this and our extensive application know-how flows into the advice for the individual application situation at the customer.

There are various definitions for sustainability. Customers expect everything under this term - from climate protection to ecology, from on-site production in the region to the ex-clusion of child labor, etc. Textile finishing does not always sound unproblematic. Public procurement is increasingly switching to sustainable textiles. What does this mean for SANITIZED and what do you do to bring the concept of sustainability to life for your company, and which activities and certifications do you focus on?
Resource conservation is a key issue for us. Since we “think” about the topic of sustainability along the entire production chain, including in research and development, resource-saving application techniques for the textile industry are important to us. Sanitized® additives can be integrated into standard production processes, so that additional energy is not required for complementary finishing processes.
Our portfolio also includes biocide-free products. Sanitized® Odoractiv10 prevents odors from sticking to textiles. Sanitized® Mintactiv uses the natural antibacterial effect of mint and was specially developed for cotton textiles.
And what smells less has to be washed less often. This saves water and electricity and extends the useful life of textiles.
          
SANITIZED supports its customers with a so-called 360° service. What do you mean by that and why don't you concentrate exclusively on the technical aspects of the products?
The SANITIZED brand wants to create real added value for its customers. That is why we have expanded our core competence as a developer and provider of innovative antimicrobial additives with an all-round service. The obvious thing to do is to support the production process, of course that is part of it. Furthermore; we also provide the latest knowledge on regulatory issues - world-wide. And we offer comprehensive marketing assistance for our license partners who use Sanitized® as an ingredient brand. Making correct advertising statements is important not only in times of Corona. Because it's always about transparency and security for people. Warning letters or delivery stops due to incorrect claims can be prevented.
Cooperation with the institutes is absolutely sensible; after all, it is their job to do research for com-panies that they cannot shoulder on their own. This includes testing facilities, as well as applying for funding, which is only possible in cooperation with research institutes. However, they are public institutions and therefore have different objectives per se than a company: We have to bring a promising idea to the market as quickly as possible to show a profit. A research institute does not have this pressure.

Which goal do you pursue with the website https://www.sanitized.house for example?
Yes, it may seem unusual when SANITIZED as a B2B company designs a platform for end customers. But more than 400 brands use Sanitized® as an ingredient brand. So, we are connected to the end customer in this way.
In the virtual house - Sanitized® the house -, visitors can playfully experience in which areas of life hygiene and material protection contribute to the quality of life. A click in the wardrobe links to products - including brand names - that have been equipped with Sanitized®: clothing in the wardrobe, the carpet in the living room or the towel in the bathroom. The best thing to do is try it yourself.

The company is working consistently on implementing Sanitized® as a brand. The hygiene function for textiles and plastics shall be documented and thus offer added value to customers and consumers. Co-branding is not always welcome, especially in the clothing, sports and outdoor sector. How rocky was the road until Sanitized® was advertised as an ingredient brand by 400 license partners on the product?
Of course, there are brands that do not want a second brand on their end product. But a trend is causing more and more manufacturers to rethink: Customers are increasingly asking questions about ingredients and their origins. Elucidation and transparency are growing needs. And that's exactly what we contribute to. In addition, this is an opportunity for a textile brand to stand out positively in the flood of suppliers. Differentiation through added value - donated by Swiss technology from SANITIZED. Those arguments work worldwide.

You have a diversified network. Just to mention to two of them - you have been a system partner since the foundation of bluesign® and you work closely with Archroma in sales matters. In which aspects do you see the special value of partnerships? Are there segments existing where you can imagine new partners and collaborations?
Partnerships are important and work if all pursue common goals and can mutually fertilize each other. For example, the partnership with the company Consolidates Pathway in the United States is brand new one.

For which socially relevant topics do you see a particularly great need for innovation and action in the next 5 years? What is your assessment that your company will be able to offer solutions for this with its products? And what role do the experiences from the corona pandemic play in this assessment?
Nobody can predict what the corona pandemic will change in the long term. Environmental protection and thus the conservation of our resources is and remains an important issue.
The fact that the textile industry can make a big contribution to this is slowly gaining awareness among the masses. Keywords are cheap production or water consumption for jeans production. People are becoming more sensitive to what companies and brands are doing. It will be all the more important to act and communicate openly and transparently.
For SANITIZED, it is a mission and a matter of course that only products with official approvals are used and that we work ac-cording to the bluesign principle. This is where traceability and transparency begin.


This interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

(c) Messe Frankfurt
09.06.2020

Goodbye Berlin - Hello Frankfurt! Premium / Seek and Neonyt switch from the Spree to the Main

  • Frankfurt am Main is to become the "new hotspot of the international fashion and lifestyle scene"

Messe Frankfurt and Premium Group launched the Frankfurt Fashion Week yesterday, on June 8, 2020, under the title "Unveiling The Unexpected". From summer 2021, the Rhine-Main metropolis will become the new home for a future-oriented fashion and lifestyle community, with trade shows, conferences, runways and events based on the two pillars of digitization and sustainability, according to the two exhibition companies.

  • Frankfurt am Main is to become the "new hotspot of the international fashion and lifestyle scene"

Messe Frankfurt and Premium Group launched the Frankfurt Fashion Week yesterday, on June 8, 2020, under the title "Unveiling The Unexpected". From summer 2021, the Rhine-Main metropolis will become the new home for a future-oriented fashion and lifestyle community, with trade shows, conferences, runways and events based on the two pillars of digitization and sustainability, according to the two exhibition companies.

The kick-off for Frankfurt Fashion Week is planned for summer 2021. Joining forces to get the event off the ground are the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds – Messe Frankfurt – and the organiser of Europe’s biggest fashion fair – the Premium Group – as the initiators, as well as the City of Frankfurt am Main and the German state of Hesse as hosts. Together they aim to create a brand-new ecosystem for tradeshows, conferences, runway shows and events for professionals and consumers in Frankfurt am Main.

 

“This will transform the financial centre of Frankfurt into a new hotspot for the international fashion and lifestyle scene and create a new, international fashion metropolis. Organising a Fashion Week in Frankfurt presents a unique economic opportunity for the City of Frankfurt am Main. We are expecting positive knock-on effects with the generation of more than 200 million euros per year for our hometown and the region,” emphasised the Senior Mayor of the City of Frankfurt am Main at press conference.

 

“It will bring a huge boost to the local hotel, hospitality and transportation sectors. Frankfurt is renowned for its style-defining impact on art, architecture and design and its unique club, bar and restaurant scene. Frankfurt Fashion Week will now also increase our appeal as an international fashion hotspot. We will be conveying the fashion and design theme to the rest of the city and complementing it with our own exciting events. It makes me proud that we have been able to attract these three prominent tradeshows with no less than 2,000 exhibitors from Berlin to Frankfurt,” concluded Feldmann.

“Securing this unique event for Frankfurt am Main is a huge opportunity to strengthen our image both nationally and internationally. In the next few years, the city is prepared to provide the necessary funds to show people from near and far that creative Frankfurt has what it takes to host a Fashion Week. Together with the State of Hesse and Messe Frankfurt, we, the City of Frankfurt, really want Frankfurt Fashion Week to get off to a flying start and make the city the fashion hotspot of Germany. And we will play our part in that,” adds Mayor and City Treasurer Uwe Becker, who together with the Councillor for Economic Affairs Markus Frank highlighted the development opportunities of Fashion Week in Frankfurt am Main.

Banking capital and fashion metropolis 
Skyscrapers and turn-of-the-century villas. Architectural eyesores and structural masterpieces. Business and culture. Red-light district and luxury shopping. It is against this backdrop that Frankfurt Fashion Week aims to inspire new momentum.

“The Rhine-Main Region is predestined to host an internationally significant event of this magnitude. We are cosmopolitan and international: out of the 6.2 million people living in Hesse, one third have their roots in other countries. And that makes the fashion here just as diverse and individual. At the same time, an event like the upcoming Frankfurt Fashion Week is of huge economic significance for Frankfurt as a trade fair location.

It is sending out an important and positive signal to an industry that has been particularly hard hit by the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The State of Hesse is committed to sustainable business practices, the conservation of resources and climate protection. Promoting the creative industries has been the aim of Hesse’s economic policy for years now. And as Frankfurt Fashion Week has made sustainability its overarching theme, it’s also a real gain from that perspective. There couldn’t be a better fit for Frankfurt and the State of Hesse,” says Tarek Al-Wazir, Hesse’s Minister of Economics, Energy, Transport and Housing and Vice Minister-President.   

A core component of Frankfurt Fashion Week are Europe’s biggest fashion fairs: PREMIUM, Europe’s relevant business platform for advanced women’s and menswear, SEEK, one of the most progressive tradeshows for contemporary fashion, and NEONYT, the leading hub for sustainable fashion. Together with the Fashionsustain and Fashiontech conferences, they are moving from Berlin to Frankfurt am Main.

“Five platforms, three tradeshows, two conferences, over 2,000 designers, brands and fashion companies – Frankfurt Fashion Week will become an extremely attractive and relevant destination for the international fashion business. We believe in the concept of a physical Fashion Week, but one that is different to anything we have seen before. Frankfurt Fashion Week will enable us to fully play to our textile strengths gained from over 50 textile tradeshows worldwide. And it will result in new synergies along the entire supply chain”, stated Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt.   

“Frankfurt Fashion Week is purposely aimed at a forward-looking, digital-savvy fashion and lifestyle community. B2B, B2C, B2P, P2P – all avenues are open. A synthesis of fashion, lifestyle, digital innovations and sustainability is always guaranteed to result in something new and unexpected. And that is exactly our aim. Unveiling the unexpected. Frankfurt is a fresh, new location for this. We’re looking forward to it,” says Anita Tillmann, Managing Partner of the Premium Group.

New Technology meets Applied Sustainability
Frankfurt Fashion Week wants to pool fashion, design, sustainability and technology, giving rise to unexpected cooperations and showing what is already possible today. ‘Applied Sustainability’ and ‘Applied Digitisation’ form the strategic pillars of the event. Frankfurt Fashion Week will make innovative, more sustainable products, collections and business models accessible to the wider market. At the same time, it also promotes the future-oriented interconnection of fashion and technology as part of the real-digital reality.

 

The Fraunhofer WKI double-rapier weaving machine with the Jacquard attachment in the upper of the photo.  © Fraunhofer WKI | Melina Ruhr. The Fraunhofer WKI double-rapier weaving machine with the Jacquard attachment in the upper of the photo.
02.06.2020

Fraunhofer WKI: Climate-friendly hybrid-fiber materials on the basis of renewable natural fibers

As a result of the new combination possibilities for bio-based hybrid-fiber materials achieved at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut WKI, the industrial application possibilities for renewable raw materials, for example in the automotive industry or for everyday objects such as helmets or skis, can be expanded.

By increasing the proportion of flax fiber in hybrid-fiber materials to up to 50 percent, the scientists have demonstrated that it is possible to significantly increase the biogenic proportion in composite materials. The special aspect of the tested methods: The fabrics can be individually composed with the help of a weaving machine. In this way, process steps in industrial production, in which materials first have to be merged together, can be omitted. This will achieve reductions in energy and CO2 throughout the entire production process.

As a result of the new combination possibilities for bio-based hybrid-fiber materials achieved at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut WKI, the industrial application possibilities for renewable raw materials, for example in the automotive industry or for everyday objects such as helmets or skis, can be expanded.

By increasing the proportion of flax fiber in hybrid-fiber materials to up to 50 percent, the scientists have demonstrated that it is possible to significantly increase the biogenic proportion in composite materials. The special aspect of the tested methods: The fabrics can be individually composed with the help of a weaving machine. In this way, process steps in industrial production, in which materials first have to be merged together, can be omitted. This will achieve reductions in energy and CO2 throughout the entire production process.

Successfully woven: Different hybrid fabrics
In view of the increased demands being placed upon environmental and climate protection, science and industry are seeking sustainable alternatives to conventional materials in all branches of production. As a material, natural fibers offer a sustainable solution. Due to their low density and simultaneous high stability, natural fibers can be used to produce highly resilient light-weight-construction materials which are easy to recycle. In the “ProBio” project, scientists from the Fraunhofer WKI have therefore addressed the question as to how the proportion of natural fibers in bio-based hybrid-fiber materials can be increased as significantly as possible. A double-rapier weaving machine with Jacquard attachment was thereby utilized in order to produce the bio-based hybrid-fiber materials.

The researchers thereby focused specifically on bio-based hybrid-fiber composites (Bio-HFC). Bio-HFC consist of a combination of cellulose-based fibers, such as flax fibers, and synthetic high-performance fibers, such as carbon or glass fibers, for reinforcement. Bio-HFC can be utilized in, for example, vehicle construction. As an innovation in the “ProBio” project, the researchers interwove differing fiber-material combinations, reinforcing fibers and matrix fibers with the aid of the double-rapier weaving machine. This procedure differs from the process in which finished fabrics are layered on top of one another.

“We have combined the advantageous properties of the fiber materials within a composite material in such a way that we have been able to compensate for weak points in individual components, thereby achieving new properties in some cases. In addition, we have succeeded in increasing the proportion of bio-based fibers to up to 50 percent flax fibers, which we have combined with 50 percent reinforcing fibers,” says project team member Jana Winkelmann, describing the procedure. The bio-hybrid textiles, each consisting of 50 percent by weight carbon and flax fabric, are introduced into a bio-based plastic matrix. The composite material possesses a flexural strength which is more than twice as high as that of the corresponding composite material made from flax-reinforced epoxy resin. This mechanical performance capability can significantly expand the application range of renewable raw materials for technical applications.

With the weaving machine, the scientists have successfully combined innovative light-weight-construction composite materials with complex application-specific fabric structures and integrated functions. Reinforcing fibers, such as carbon and natural fibers, as well as multilayer fabrics and three-dimensional structures, can be woven together in a single work step. This offers advantages for industrial production, as production steps in which materials first have to be merged together can be omitted. “We have succeeded, for example, in utilizing conductive yarns or wires as sensors or conductor paths directly in the weaving process, thereby producing fabrics with integrated functions. The introduction of synthetic fibers as weft threads enables the production of bio-hybrid composites with isotropic mechanical properties,” explains Ms. Winkelmann.

Weaving technology makes it possible to create new products with a high proportion of bio-based components on a pilot scale. The project results provide an insight into the diverse combination possibilities of natural and reinforcing fibers and demonstrate opportunities for utilization not only in vehicle construction but also for everyday objects such as helmets or skis. The results will be presented within the framework of the 4th International Conference on Natural Fibers, ICNF, July 2019 in Porto, Portugal. The “ProBio” project, which ran from 1st July 2014 to 30th June 2019, was funded by the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture (MWK).

Background
Sustainability through the utilization of renewable raw materials has formed the focus at the Fraunhofer WKI for more than 70 years. The institute, with locations in Braunschweig, Hanover and Wolfsburg, specializes in process engineering, natural-fiber composites, wood and emission protection, quality assurance of wood products, material and product testing, recycling procedures and the utilization of organic building materials and wood in construction. Virtually all the procedures and materials resulting from the research activities are applied industrially.

Source:

Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research WKI

TÜV Rheinland tests Corona Protection Materials and Occupational Safety Projects (c) TÜV Rheinland
26.05.2020

TÜV Rheinland tests Corona Protection Materials and Occupational Safety Projects

Since the outbreak of the global corona pandemic, the production and trade of suitable protective materials such as respiratory masks have become a high-risk area for all those involved.

"The quality and safety of the protective materials on offer is currently not only subject to considerable fluctuations, but more and more frequently goods are coming from dubious sources, are highly questionable in terms of hygiene, and in some cases completely unusable", explains Dipl.-Ing. Ralf Scheller, member of the Board of Management of TÜV Rheinland AG. "We are in direct contact with governments, ministries, local authorities and companies in the health sector worldwide and are increasingly experiencing cases and incidents in which supply chains simply collapse and overpriced goods do not arrive.

Since the outbreak of the global corona pandemic, the production and trade of suitable protective materials such as respiratory masks have become a high-risk area for all those involved.

"The quality and safety of the protective materials on offer is currently not only subject to considerable fluctuations, but more and more frequently goods are coming from dubious sources, are highly questionable in terms of hygiene, and in some cases completely unusable", explains Dipl.-Ing. Ralf Scheller, member of the Board of Management of TÜV Rheinland AG. "We are in direct contact with governments, ministries, local authorities and companies in the health sector worldwide and are increasingly experiencing cases and incidents in which supply chains simply collapse and overpriced goods do not arrive.

In some cases, criminal activity is behind this, for example when certificates are forged or goods are sold several times. This is why the experts in personal protective equipment (PPE) at TÜV Rheinland are increasingly being called in for on-site assignments in the manufacturing countries. They test the protective materials in their worldwide network of laboratories directly on site, check documents or monitor the transportation of goods from the manufacturer to the customer.

Support and assistance for multinational aid projects
"Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been supporting many multinational aid projects and are involved ourselves even in the Heinsberg district, where we have donated 9,000 FFP3 protective masks for the intensive medical care sector," explains Scheller. "Our colleagues in China have also recently supported a relief shipment of several million protective masks, protective clothing and gloves as well as many respirators through quality assurance measures in the supply chain, which was sent to the UK by a private donor".

When it comes to personal protective equipment, TÜV Rheinland's focus is on safety and quality. This makes it all the more important that safety clothing meets the relevant requirements so that its protective function can be guaranteed.

"Our experts carry out all relevant tests and certifications on personal protective equipment in accordance with PPE Regulation 2016/425. Thanks to many years of active committee work in the field of PPE, we are close to the market and have extensive know-how," knows Dr.-Ing. Kristina Fuhrmann, Head of the Textiles and PPE Department at TÜV Rheinland. "The specialist expertise we have gained in this way flows into our daily work and is reflected in our comprehensive services". For example, so-called "community masks" are subjected to numerous chemical and physical tests according to our own test specifications (2PFG S 0193/04.20) and can also be provided with a TÜV Rheinland test mark (tested for harmful substances). Community masks are mainly made of textile materials and serve as a barrier. Medical masks and surgical masks, on the other hand, can be tested or inspected by TÜV Rheinland Greater China. "Our services cover many types of protective clothing", says Fuhrmann. Added to this is the large range of medical products, such as respiratory equipment.

TÜV Rheinland also supports occupational safety projects in corona times
Shops, furniture stores and electronic markets are allowed to reopen, businesses are starting up their production as usual - the following applies to all of them: infection protection for employees must meet increased requirements and normal occupational health and safety must continue to be met. The framework for the extended protective measures is provided by the SARS-CoV-2- occupational safety standard of the Federal Ministry of Labor. Employers are obliged to define and implement suitable measures for their company and to monitor the control. The solutions are as individual as the companies themselves: Whereas in a production plant it is necessary to straighten out shift schedules and minimize employee contact, a sales outlet faces different challenges: For example, how can customer flows be managed to maintain minimum distances? How will customer advisors, cashiers or suppliers be protected?

"Our experts have developed a detailed guideline for the SARS-CoV-2 occupational safety standard of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to advise and support companies in the complex implementation of the strict requirements", explains Dipl.-Ing. Norbert Wieneke, business unit manager for company health management, occupational medicine and occupational safety at TÜV Rheinland. The requirements of the SARS-CoV-2 occupational health and safety standard include personal, organizational and constructional hygiene measures as well as the corresponding instructions. They go hand in hand with, and far beyond, offers of occupational medical and psychological advice for employees and risk groups. It is the employer's responsibility to identify suspected cases of corona among employees and, if an infection is detected, to establish a routine for pandemic preparedness in the company. In order to do justice to this comprehensive task, the expertise of occupational physicians, occupational safety specialists, industrial psychologists and health experts is required. These experts already work successfully together in TÜV Rheinland's interdisciplinary teams and implement cross-sector projects for their customers.

Source:

TÜV Rheinland

Used textiles Photo: bvse textile recycling association
20.05.2020

Corona-virus pushes Used Textiles Industry into Struggle for Survival

The measures to reduce the propagation speed of the COVID-19 epidemic require hourly new and flexible adjustments to system processes and business agreements. In these difficult times, the waste textile companies rely on a close solution-oriented dialogue with their contract partners.

The initiatives presented a common vision for social protection and responsible entrepreneurship in this crisis at the end of April.
 
The members of the board of directors at bvse textile recycling raise the alarm because the economic starting point for companies in the sector pf used textile is getting worse every day.
 
"An increasing number of sorting systems are applying for short-time work due to the corona crisis or are closing the factories completely due to quarantine measures," Martin Wittmann, the bvse vice president and chairman of the bvse textile recycling association, describes the current situation.

The measures to reduce the propagation speed of the COVID-19 epidemic require hourly new and flexible adjustments to system processes and business agreements. In these difficult times, the waste textile companies rely on a close solution-oriented dialogue with their contract partners.

The initiatives presented a common vision for social protection and responsible entrepreneurship in this crisis at the end of April.
 
The members of the board of directors at bvse textile recycling raise the alarm because the economic starting point for companies in the sector pf used textile is getting worse every day.
 
"An increasing number of sorting systems are applying for short-time work due to the corona crisis or are closing the factories completely due to quarantine measures," Martin Wittmann, the bvse vice president and chairman of the bvse textile recycling association, describes the current situation.

The amount of used clothing collected in Germany is declining sharply in many regions along with increasing social distancing, existing or expected curfew and associated closings of collection points and civic amenity sites.

"It looks even bleaker on the sales side. In the meantime, measures ordered worldwide, such as curfews and ban on meetings, prevent the opportunities to even generate any revenue. Due to official orders, second-hand shops have to close everywhere, including in Eastern Europe. This means that the demand for used clothing dries up almost completely.
The African markets are also suffering from the corresponding lack of demand, due to the lack of funds available from local consumers.

The markets necessary for the sale of sorted goods have collapsed globally since mid-March 2020. It is currently not possible to market wearable second-hand clothing, but also products in the recycling and cleaning rag segment. Thus, there are currently no prospects for generating revenue in the end customer area.
Since the transit time of a piece of used textile from the collection to the sorting to the final marketing in one of the global markets can take up to four months, this situation will certainly take just as long because a positive change in the current overall pandemic situation cannot be assumed.

The waste disposal companies active in Germany in the field of used textiles are therefore currently concerned only with maintaining the operational structures in order to find ways at a later time to be able to fulfill the previous agreements.

"What we urgently need now are common, fair and economically sound solutions with all of our contractual partners so that both sides can survive this crisis. The situation in many municipal, charitable and private places currently looks like that we maintain the services of waste collection and recycling at high costs, but currently do not know whether we will be compensated for this due to force majeure,” stated Wittmann.   

As a start, some companies in the industry have therefore already concluded agreements with municipalities. In return for a provisional suspension of payment obligations for the rental of container spaces or collected goods, the private companies want to do everything possible to ensure that the recycling of used clothes and cleaning of the collection points in the interest of the com-mon good, despite their own staff shortages and difficult conditions remains guaranteed.

“At the same time, we would like to appeal to everyone involved that there is understanding for late pick-ups and container empties caused by the crisis. We urge the citizens not to put any collectibles next to the containers. As long as we have enough staff, every container will be emptied,” promised Martin Wittmann, Vice President of the bvse.

12.05.2020

TEXTILE INITIATIVES INVITE GOVERNMENTS AND ENTERPRISES TO ACT

In a joint declaration, ten initiatives and organizations working for better working conditions in the textile industry call on governments and textile companies to take urgent action in the corona crisis.
End of April, the initiatives presented a common vision for social security and responsible entrepreneurship in this crisis.
 
In the joint statement AGT, amfori, Better Buying, Fair Labor Association, Fair Wear Foundation, ETI Norway and ETI UK, IDH, the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles and Solidaridad expressed deep concern for the health and livelihoods of millions of workers in the clothing industry and their families.
 
Covid-19 is having a devastating impact on the global textile industry. Most factory workers earned too little to care adequately for themselves and their families. As social security systems are lacking in many countries, the current crisis has hit these people particularly hard.

In a joint declaration, ten initiatives and organizations working for better working conditions in the textile industry call on governments and textile companies to take urgent action in the corona crisis.
End of April, the initiatives presented a common vision for social security and responsible entrepreneurship in this crisis.
 
In the joint statement AGT, amfori, Better Buying, Fair Labor Association, Fair Wear Foundation, ETI Norway and ETI UK, IDH, the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles and Solidaridad expressed deep concern for the health and livelihoods of millions of workers in the clothing industry and their families.
 
Covid-19 is having a devastating impact on the global textile industry. Most factory workers earned too little to care adequately for themselves and their families. As social security systems are lacking in many countries, the current crisis has hit these people particularly hard.

Workers need aid funds
In their letter to the governments in the producing countries, the initiatives and organizations appeal to protect the incomes and health of the workers and to support employers in this task: “The factories must pay wages and salaries on time to ensure the workers who remain actively employed. "

If factories have to close temporarily, it should be a top priority for all concerned to support the workers directly or to help them access financial ressources. This is the only way they can bridge the time while they cannot work.

Governments of the importing countries and multilateral organizations should also act now. In addition to providing support for retail and brand companies, they should also provide aid funds for people in the producing countries.

Seven of the ten initiatives and organizations are member-based and represent around 2,000 retail and brand companies that are currently facing immense challenges. Despite the dramatic situation, companies are required to comply with their due diligence requirements and to find solutions together with their business partners. The declaration contains a list of important points that textile companies worldwide should consider.
This includes:  

  • Companies should support factories to implement the necessary security measures to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Orders that have already been completed and are in production should be paid in full if possible.
  • Companies are advised to avoid the termination of planned orders.
  • They should be flexible when factories have to change delivery times and / or change payment methods.
  • They should not end business relationships without first looking for alternatives with their local partners.

Rehearsal for the future
Urgent action is now necessary in the crisis. But long-term systemic improvements in textile supply chains should already be considered and shaped. Fair payment and partnership-based cooperation between retailers, brands and suppliers should become the “new normal” after the crisis and are just as important as social security.    

"The current situation also offers the opportunity to make social security systems more sustainable so that times of unemployment do not immediately threaten the existence of workers," the statement said. The initiatives and organizations are also working on additional recommendations to support companies and other actors in the post-crisis period.

The text of the declaration is available for separate download.

Source:

Partnership for Sustainable Textiles

Bild: Christine Sponchia auf Pixabay
05.05.2020

COVID-19: German Down and Feather Industry exemplary in Terms of Hygiene

  • Update on the economic situation of the industry
  • Supply availability secured for the next half-year
  • E-commerce wins in the crisis
  • Sector survey of the Association of the German Down and Feather Industry VDFI and Traumpass e.V. on the occasion of the Corona crisis

The corona pandemic not only poses great challenges for each and every one of us, but also for our businesses as an industry. The decisions of the Federal Government and the federal states to close down shops and restrict freedom of mobility have hit the predominantly medium-sized down and feather industry hard, not only on the sales side, but also through their trading partners. The declining demand was compounded by the industry's international dependencies within the supply chains, since the filling material, the covers and the packaging materials are largely imported.

  • Update on the economic situation of the industry
  • Supply availability secured for the next half-year
  • E-commerce wins in the crisis
  • Sector survey of the Association of the German Down and Feather Industry VDFI and Traumpass e.V. on the occasion of the Corona crisis

The corona pandemic not only poses great challenges for each and every one of us, but also for our businesses as an industry. The decisions of the Federal Government and the federal states to close down shops and restrict freedom of mobility have hit the predominantly medium-sized down and feather industry hard, not only on the sales side, but also through their trading partners. The declining demand was compounded by the industry's international dependencies within the supply chains, since the filling material, the covers and the packaging materials are largely imported. The closure of the borders within Europe and the overall tense global logistics situation contributed significantly to the worsening of the situation.
 
In the past few days, the federal and state governments have started cautious attempts to ease the contact bans and to revive the economy with a sense of proportion. The opening of shops and the continuation of business activities prompted the down and feather associations to question the status quo of the sector with an extensive survey.

Although the companies named significant losses in their turnover, they currently still got off relatively lightly compared with other sectors. Two thirds of the companies stated that they had suffered up to 25% sales losses due to the corona crisis. Approximately 17% reported a decline of up to 50%, the ones with same percentage were much harder hit with a decline of up to 75%.

On the occasion of Heimtextil in January 2020, the association's sector statement had described the position of the specialised trade as still stable from the bedding manufacturers' point of view: By expanding the range of services, such as cleaning down and feathers or refilling existing bedding, the local store was increasingly becoming a point of contact for consumers. Supporting the advisory competence and the deployment of sleep experts made an impact. This picture has changed significantly as a result of the contact ban:

The clear loser in terms of demand on the various sales channels, caused by the shop closures, was the traditional retail: 92% of the surveyed manufacturing companies registered declining demand for the retail trade, 90% for the furniture trade and 80% for the specialty stores. Even for the discounters, whose opening hours were not affected, 33% noted a drop in demand; 44% estimated the demand situation as unchanged. The winner in the crisis was the e-commerce, although perhaps to a lesser extent than expected: 45% of the German down and feather producers recorded an increase in demand, 36% estimated the level as unchanged.

In terms of supply capability, the industry in Germany considers itself as well positioned: Two thirds see no bottlenecks for the fulfilment of closed contracts within the next three months, and the majority also offers free capacities beyond that. And 55% guarantee this ability to deliver even for the next six months, including the satisfaction of additional requirements.

While 2019 was a year of consolidation for the German down and feather sector and, after difficult months with sharply increased raw material prices, a calming down on a high level prevailed, good results from the previous year were maintained and, in some cases, even increased, the assessment for 2020 is much more pessimistic.

As far as the price situation for the coming autumn/winter season is concerned, member companies were correspondingly cautious in their forecasts.    
The unresolved and in some cases very fragile situation in the supplier countries currently not allows to make reliable statements. At the earliest in late summer, a well-founded opinion can be obtained. Especially since 45% of the companies expect to be confronted with requests for price reductions.
 
The down and feather industry is a professional when it comes to hygiene. The highest purity requirements are placed on down and feathers: Before being used as filling material, they must be cleaned by thorough water washing and dried at a temperature of at least 100°C, usually higher. This ensures that bedding meets the hygiene requirements of European Standard EN 12935 with reliably killing bacteria, viruses and other germs. In addition to the applicable standards, the companies have taken additional precautions to protect employees, trade partners and consumers.

In addition to the intensive workplace and hand disinfection, which all manufacturers have increased, the companies focused particularly on the equalization of the workforce. 73% designed home office workplaces for employees outside production, 45% introduced strict shift separation, two thirds shifted working hours and changed the use of common rooms in order to have as few employees as possible in the company at the same time and thus minimized the risk of infection. At the same time, many companies started the production of mouth and nose masks and made their sewing facilities available for this purpose. A list of the manufacturing companies is available from the Association of the German Down and Feather Industry VDFI e.V.

With the start of the lockdown, the German government had announced extensive financial aid, which focused on bridging payments for small businesses, granting loans, short-time work and tax deferrals. Improvements had to be made for small and medium-sized enterprises. In the recent weeks, the sector has not primarily addressed the question for bridging loans nor reducing the interest burden; emergency aid in the form of financial injections and non-repayable grants was also of interest only to one third. The majority of the association members concentrated on measures to secure liquidity (45%), tax deferrals and the suspension of advance payments of VAT (73%) as well as the changeover to short-time work (73%) and the accelerated processing and granting of short-time work compensation (45%). Also, two thirds requested binding statements on the easing of the contact ban and on the economic upturn.

An update on the industry survey is planned for late summer 2020.

Source:

VDFI e.V. / Traumpass e.V.

Photo: Pixabay
28.04.2020

Meltblown Productive: Fraunhofer ITWM vs. Corona - With Mathematics Against the Crisis

  • Meltblown Productive – ITWM Software Supports Nonwoven Production for Infection Protection

Simulations by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM make processes in the manufacturing of nonwovens more efficient. Within the anti-corona program of Fraunhofer the production of infection protection is optimized.
 
Nonwovens production is currently attracting more attention than ever before from the general public, because in times of the corona pandemic, nonwovens are vital for infection protection in the medical sector and also for the protection of the entire population. Disposable bed linen in hospitals, surgical gowns, mouthguards, wound protection pads and compresses are some examples of nonwoven products.

  • Meltblown Productive – ITWM Software Supports Nonwoven Production for Infection Protection

Simulations by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM make processes in the manufacturing of nonwovens more efficient. Within the anti-corona program of Fraunhofer the production of infection protection is optimized.
 
Nonwovens production is currently attracting more attention than ever before from the general public, because in times of the corona pandemic, nonwovens are vital for infection protection in the medical sector and also for the protection of the entire population. Disposable bed linen in hospitals, surgical gowns, mouthguards, wound protection pads and compresses are some examples of nonwoven products.

IEspecially in intensive care and geriatric care, disposable products made of nonwovens are used due to the special hygiene requirements. At the moment there are clear bottlenecks in the production of these materials. For the meltblown nonwovens class, however, it is difficult to increase production efficiency because meltblown processes are highly sensitive to process fluctuations and material impurities.
 
Although nonwovens are not all the same, the rough principle of their production is relatively similar to all industrially manufactured nonwovens: molten polymer is pressed through many fine nozzles, stretched and cooled down in an air stream and thus deposited into the typical white webs. "Meltblown" stands for the submicron fiber process whose nonwovens are responsible for the decisive filter function in face masks.
 
With meltblown technology, nonwoven fabrics are produced directly from granules. A special spinning process in combination with high-speed hot air is used to produce fine-fibered nonwovens with different structures. The fibers are highly stretched by the turbulent air flow. During this process they swirl in the air, become entangled and fall more or less randomly onto a conveyor belt where they are further consolidated - a very complex process. Nonwovens manufacturers around the world are striving to massively increase their production capacities.
 
Digital Twin Optimizes Meltblown Process    
This is where the software of the ITWM comes into play. "Our Fiber Dynamics Simulation Tool FIDYST is used to predict the movement of the fibers, their falling and the orientation with which they are laid down on the conveyor belt. Depending on the process settings, turbulence characteristics are generated and thus nonwoven qualities are created that differ in structure, fiber density and strength," explains Dr. Walter Arne from the Fraunhofer ITWM. He has been working at the institute for years on the simulation of various processes involving fibers and filaments.

The methodology is well transferable to meltblown processes. In these processes, one of the specific features is the simulation of filament stretching in a turbulent air flow - how the stretching takes place, the dynamics of the filaments and the diameter distribution. These are all complex aspects that have to be taken into account, but also the flow field or the temperature distribution. The simulations of the scientists at the Fraunhofer ITWM then provide a qualitative and quantitative insight into the fiber formation in such meltblown processes - unique in the world in this form when it comes to simulate a turbulent spinning process (meltblown).

Nonwoven Manufacturers benefit from Simulation
What does this mean for the industry? The production of technical textiles becomes more efficient, but the nonwovens can also be developed without having intensive productions tests in a real facility. This is because the simulations help to forecast and then optimize the processes using a digital twin. In this way, production capacities can be increased while maintaining the same product quality. Simulations save experiments, allow new insights, enable systematic parameter variations and solve up-scaling problems that can lead to misinvestments during the transition from laboratory to industrial plant.

Making a Contribution to Overcome the Crisis With Many Years of Expertise
"We want to demonstrate this in the project using a typical meltblown line as an example - for this we are in contact with partner companies," says Dr. Dietmar Hietel, head of the department "Transport Processes" at the Fraunhofer ITWM. "Within the framework of Fraunhofer's anti-corona program, we want to use our developed expertise and our network to contribute to overcome the crisis", reports Hietel. His department at the Fraunhofer ITWM has been pursuing research in the field of technical textiles for around 20 years. Due to its current relevance, the project not only got off to a quick start, but the implementation and results should now also be implemented quickly: The project is scheduled to run from April 15th 2020 to August 14th 2020. The kick-off meeting took place on April 17th 2020 via video conference.
 
The project "Meltblown productive" and the results are certainly interesting for nonwoven producers. The production of many mass products has often been outsourced to Asia in the past decades; the nonwovens manufacturers remaining in Germany and Europe tend to focus more on high-quality technical textiles. In the medium and longer term, this will also be a scientific preliminary work when production capacities in Germany and Europe are expanded by new plants. One lesson to be learned from the crisis will also be to reduce the dependence on producers in Asia, especially as a precautionary measure for crisis scenarios.

Source:

Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics, ITWM

The Performance days as digital fair instead of conventional event (c) PERFORMANCE DAYS
21.04.2020

PERFORMANCE DAYS: DIGITAL FAIR INSTEAD OF CONVENTIONAL EVENT IN APRIL 2020

  • Staying on the pulse of textile development with the "Digital Fair"
  • The virtual trade fair steps up to the starting block

Although the industry will not be meeting in person to share the latest trends in functional fabrics for the Summer 2022 season on April 22-23 in Munich, PERFORMANCE DAYS is still going to take place — in a new format! The organizers have responded quickly to the new situation and have created a virtual alternative to stay in touch with visitors, exhibitors and partners that enables them to share the innovations in the industry: the DIGITAL FAIR is born.

Even if a personal impression of the latest fabric trends for summer 2022 is not possible this season, interested "trade fair visitors" can still find all the important developments on the website www.performancedays.com.   

  • Staying on the pulse of textile development with the "Digital Fair"
  • The virtual trade fair steps up to the starting block

Although the industry will not be meeting in person to share the latest trends in functional fabrics for the Summer 2022 season on April 22-23 in Munich, PERFORMANCE DAYS is still going to take place — in a new format! The organizers have responded quickly to the new situation and have created a virtual alternative to stay in touch with visitors, exhibitors and partners that enables them to share the innovations in the industry: the DIGITAL FAIR is born.

Even if a personal impression of the latest fabric trends for summer 2022 is not possible this season, interested "trade fair visitors" can still find all the important developments on the website www.performancedays.com.   

Visitors to the DIGITAL FAIR www.performancedays.com/digital-fair.html, can not only see the interesting fabrics at the popular PERFORMANCE FORUM, they can also experience everything a visitor could do at the real fair — just in digital form. Here is an overview:

SUPPLIER WORLD  
Initiating a contact has never been easier than it is now with the exclusive online profiles of each exhibitor. The curated exhibitors show their most important fabrics, as well as brand new videos of their latest products and expanded information. Visitors can get to know the suppliers digitally, make direct contact, and even order fabric samples online.  

COLOR TRENDS
Appropriately matching designer Nora Kühner’s webinar, the new color trends for summer 2022 will soon be available online as "early color information." The color chart for winter 2021/22 trends can already be ordered free of charge on the website.

EXPERT TALK WEBINARS
What about the lectures we look forward to attending at the fair? No problem! The Expert Talks will take place as webinars on April 22 and 23, 2020. The program agenda will be posted on the website soon. The webinars include a presentation of the fabric highlights of the PERFORMANCE FORUM by Ulrike Arlt, as well as a talk on the new color trends by Nora Kühner. If you register in time for the webinar, you will be able to ask questions during the talks. The webinars (less the interactive comment function) will be available online after the fair.

FORUM FABRICS, FORUM ACCESSORIES
The 240 best fabrics are shown by category along with the best accessories: The categories include a range from Baselayer to Outer Midlayer and 3-Layer as well as Safety & Durability fabrics. All products shown in the forum are sustainable — the materials,     
processing, and treatments! The products on exhibit at the PERFORMANCE FORUM have been carefully selected by the PERFORMANCE FORUM JURY, which, because of the current situation, met via video conference link. A written summary of the trends per category provides visitors a quick overview. Fabric samples can be tested and samples ordered all with one click. Two AWARD winners have been chosen and can be found in this area with all their details as well as all Jury Like fabrics and accessories.

FOCUS TOPIC
Visitors interested in the current FOCUS TOPIC can learn virtually about the current topic, which features natural fibers and natural functions like new yarn technologies and treatments. The theme "INSPIRED BY NATURE — FROM FIBERS TO GREEN TREATMENTS" summarizes facts and good-to-know information while letting you read up on the 24 best fabrics for this topic.   

SPORTSFASHION by SAZ
PERFORMANCE DAYS has put together a comprehensive opportunity at short notice so that visitors and exhibitors can get in touch with each other despite all adversity and exchange information about all the latest trends. The magazine SPORTSFASHION by SAZ as partner has produced an online edition of the DIGITAL FAIR that provides more details about the exhibitors and trends and can be viewed and downloaded as a PDF by all trade fair visitors and exhibitors for free.    

The next regular event is planned for October 28th and 29th in Munich.

Source:

PERFORMANCE DAYS functional fabric fair

Protective masks for Augsburg University Hospital (c) Fraunhofer IGCV
14.04.2020

Protective equipment from 3d printers

  • Fraunhofer IGCV supplies protective equipment made via 3d printers to university hospital Augsburg

For more than a week, the Institute for Materials Resource Management at the University of Augsburg has been supplying the University Hospital Augsburg with protective masks from 3D printers. In order to meet the enormous demand for absolutely necessary protective equipment for the the needs of hospital staff, a call for support was sent to cooperation partners - Augsburg University of Applied Sciences and Fraunhofer IGCV are stepping in.
 

  • Fraunhofer IGCV supplies protective equipment made via 3d printers to university hospital Augsburg

For more than a week, the Institute for Materials Resource Management at the University of Augsburg has been supplying the University Hospital Augsburg with protective masks from 3D printers. In order to meet the enormous demand for absolutely necessary protective equipment for the the needs of hospital staff, a call for support was sent to cooperation partners - Augsburg University of Applied Sciences and Fraunhofer IGCV are stepping in.
 

Fast communication in the research network:
Production of 3D-printed parts accelerates in the shortest possible time
Without further ado, an internal university group searched for possibilities of manufacturing via 3D printing. Prof. Dr. Markus Sause and Prof. Dr. Kay Weidenmann of the Institute for Materials Resource Management at the University of Augsburg immediately agreed and pulled out all the stops to start production as quickly as possible. In order to provide as many protective masks as possible in the shortest possible time, an appeal was also made to existing cooperation partners. They found what they were looking for in their direct colleague Prof. Dr. Johannes Schilp, Professor of Production Informatics at the University of Augsburg and Head of the Processing Technology Department at the Augsburg Fraunhofer IGCV: Max Horn, research associate at the Fraunhofer Institute, and Paul Dolezal from the FabLab (production laboratory) at Augsburg University of Applied Sciences immediately promised their help. "Thanks to the excellent cooperation of our team, the first parts were produced in our laboratory for additive manufacturing just a few hours after the first telephone call," Max Horn recalls. "With the support of the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences and the Fraunhofer IGCV, the production capacity of 50 masks per day could be significantly increased," Markus Sause is pleased to report.
          

Printing masks with Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) was selected as the manufacturing process for the face protection. This means that the mask is created by forcing fusible plastic through a nozzle and applying it in layers in individual lanes. In addition to an extensive laboratory for metal-based additive manufacturing, the Fraunhofer IGCV operates a new laboratory unit with various FDM printers. Due to the simplicity of the process and its great flexibility, it is particularly suitable for prototypes and sample components. "However, the masks produced are by no means only illustrative objects", adds Georg Schlick, Head of the Components and Processes Department at the Fraunhofer IGCV. The team processed durable polymers for the parts, which have good resistance to the disinfectants used in the hospital. This results in high-quality components that are ideally suited for multiple use.
 
Additive manufacturing for flexible production
In the meantime, some bottlenecks have been overcome: The Institute for Materials Resource Management at the University of Augsburg is switching back to production processes for the manufacture of face masks that are better suited for the production of large quantities. "The great strength of additive manufacturing lies rather in the production of very complex components with smaller quantities," explains Matthias Schmitt, group leader for additive manufacturing at the Fraunhofer IGCV. "But 3D printing also enables us to act at very short notice and to compensate for lack of capacity for almost any component as required," Schmitt continues. Thanks to the flexibility, motivation and expertise of all cooperation partners, a complete production and supply chain for the face masks was implemented within a few days. Georg Schlick therefore emphasizes the need for good networking and rapid exchange between the research institutions. "The close networking within the 3D printing community enables short communication channels and fast action. This can save lives in this case."

Source:

Fraunhofer Institute for Casting, Composite and Processing Technology IGCV

Foto: Pixabay
07.04.2020

Natural textile sector responds to Corona with creativity and cooperation

While you can read everywhere that the fashion industry is on the verge of collapse and is demanding funding from the government, many textile and leather companies with an ethical background are actively and jointly working on creative solutions so to avoid closing.
It is now becoming clear that smaller sustainability pioneers have some advantages over the retail giants and big brands. Flexibility, a strong connection between suppliers and customers and credibility are now paying off.

While you can read everywhere that the fashion industry is on the verge of collapse and is demanding funding from the government, many textile and leather companies with an ethical background are actively and jointly working on creative solutions so to avoid closing.
It is now becoming clear that smaller sustainability pioneers have some advantages over the retail giants and big brands. Flexibility, a strong connection between suppliers and customers and credibility are now paying off.

Mobility is trump card
The precarious economic situation in the stationary retail sector forces companies to take new and creative paths. Close and emphatic customer loyalty and the flexibility of smaller shopkeepers pave the way. And the ideas and measures are manifold. Some redirect their goods to online trading, offer a delivery service.  Life videos from the shops, which present and explain the goods, or participation campaigns for consumers are further examples. Manufacturers and brands are also rethinking. For example, some companies are producing face masks to cushion the decline in sales somewhat, while others are shifting the short-term production focus to basic products that are easy to market online.
 
Supply chain safety
The leather and textile industry are currently not only facing the problem of falling sales. The fragile global markets, which supply raw materials and services for large corporations, are currently becoming a threat. If the economies in China and Bangladesh come to a standstill, the German fashion market will no longer be able to obtain sufficient goods in the short term. Companies that produce in Germany or in other economically stable countries are now at an advantage.  Some of the companies that purchase raw materials from abroad are already ordering them for the next production cycle, on the one hand to give the supplier a certain amount of security, and on the other hand to be prepared for the post Corona era.

Community spirit
An ethical business practice does not only mean acting in an environmentally and socially responsible manner with regard to supply chains. Credibility, trust and empathy are just as important now if the fashion industry does not want to lose itself in price dumping and fierce competition. The press talks about billion-dollar cancellations, corona bargains and bankruptcies. Many IVN members show that there is another way. Suppliers tell us that they are holding back orders until the end of April in order to give the trade some financial leeway. Retailers usually at least consult with their suppliers if they are unable to call up a complete order. Retailers with online shops spontaneously take in goods from friendly brands, even if the products do not fit into the company's own portfolio. Brands advertise their customers' sales channels in social media, orders are bundled. People talk to each other - the customer with the supplier, but also competitors with competitors.

Slow fashion
Conventional fashion is subject to extremely fast cycles - "fast fashion" is the keyword. To a lesser extent, the fashion industry at least follows the seasonal seasons. Currently, the spring collection is hanging in the shops and cannot be sold in June. This is no different for sustainable fashion. However, the fashion trends are less pronounced, so that the current merchandise can still be worn next spring. The sustainable consumer attaches somewhat less importance to the fashion aspect and green fashion is fashionable but also tends to be more timeless than conventional fashion.

The mood
Naturally, companies from the natural fashion scene are now also forced to reduce their operating costs if they want to survive. This means short-time work, and if the situation continues for a longer period of time, this will certainly include layoffs. And of course, all niche market players are also deeply concerned. But whoever we have spoken to so far, we hear stories of opportunity, gratitude and activity.
Some see an opportunity in involuntary pauses - for example, this forced pause is certainly beneficial to climate protection. There is a very real chance also, that the fashion cycle can now be shifted back a month and thus be brought back into line with the real situation.

Many IVN members are grateful, for example, that they are based in Germany. The health care system is at least still stable at present and the black zero enables our government to set up a rescue fund. Many are also grateful for the solidarity and trust that is shown to them. From the end consumer to the business partner to the landlord, who would rather reduce or suspend a rent claim than lose a long-term tenant.
The mood is battered, but not yet in the basement. It is to be hoped that everyone will soon be able to resume their economic activities in the normal framework and that the privileges and advantages enjoyed by the sustainable fashion industry will be sufficient to ensure that everyone comes through this crisis as unscathed as possible.

 

Source:

Internationaler Verband der Naturtextilwirtschaft e.V.

Foto: Pixabay
01.04.2020

COVID-19 | Strengthening ambulant Home Care

... to relieve the Burden on Hospitals

In order to relieve the clinics in the coming weeks and months in the fight against COVID-19, ambulant care, for example of home-ventilated patients by homecare companies, must not be neglected.

"Homecare companies that provide patients with respiratory therapies, artificial nutrition and other vital medical aids in their home environment are part of the critical infrastructure and must now also be strengthened. We also need a protective umbrella for this ambulant care of seriously chronically ill patients", demanded BVMed Managing Director Dr. Marc-Pierre Möll. Together with 15 other associations, BVMed has presented a corresponding position paper on the topic of "Relieving the burden on clinics through safe outpatient care with medical aids" in the "Interest Group for the Provision of Medical Aids" (IGHV).

The IGHV paper lists the following demands, among others:    

... to relieve the Burden on Hospitals

In order to relieve the clinics in the coming weeks and months in the fight against COVID-19, ambulant care, for example of home-ventilated patients by homecare companies, must not be neglected.

"Homecare companies that provide patients with respiratory therapies, artificial nutrition and other vital medical aids in their home environment are part of the critical infrastructure and must now also be strengthened. We also need a protective umbrella for this ambulant care of seriously chronically ill patients", demanded BVMed Managing Director Dr. Marc-Pierre Möll. Together with 15 other associations, BVMed has presented a corresponding position paper on the topic of "Relieving the burden on clinics through safe outpatient care with medical aids" in the "Interest Group for the Provision of Medical Aids" (IGHV).

The IGHV paper lists the following demands, among others:    

  • Auxiliary means providers must be considered as a central stabilizer of outpatient care when distributing protective equipment.
  • Compensation payments must - analogous to the regulations for hospitals and doctors - also extend to service providers and manufacturers of medical aids.
  • The providers and manufacturers of assistive devices are system-relevant partners of outpatient care and as such part of the critical infrastructure. They must be involved in the corresponding exemption regulations and support measures.

 "Homecare professionals need medical protective equipment because they provide care directly to the patient. It is important to recognize and promote this vital patient care in the home environment or care facilities as part of the critical infrastructure," says BVMed Managing Director Möll.

The homecare companies organized at BVMed are increasingly reporting massive problems in the procurement of the necessary protective equipment such as protective masks and glasses. If the necessary medical devices can no longer be procured, the nursing staff of the homecare companies are thus unable to provide outpatient care for this often-geriatric patient group. "The patients would then have to be admitted to hospitals, which is absolutely counterproductive in the current situation," BVMed already complained in mid-March in a letter to the Federal Government Commissioner for Nursing Care.
The additional expenses for coronavirus-related additional expenses of the providers of medical aids should also be reimbursed to them.

Analogous to the regulations for hospitals, the homecare companies also require a corresponding surcharge for medical protective equipment for cases in which protective clothing must be used due to an infection or a suspected case.

More information:
corona virus BVMed
Source:

BVMed

Photo: Pixabay
24.03.2020

Coronavirus: Cancellations and Postponements of German Exhibitions May Cost up to 3 Billion Euro

  • Calculation by AUMA - Association of the German Trade Fair Industry concerning the macroeconomic impact for Germany based on ifo-survey

Germany as a trade fair venue has already been hit hard by cancellations and postponements of trade fairs. Trade fair organisers and service providers like booth constructors are already suffering from heavy financial losses. Many other branches of business are affected as well, especially the hotel and catering industry, the transport industry and numerous local suppliers and contractors. These industries are suffering considerable losses in sales with a direct impact on employees. Due to sales losses the tax revenue will fail, hence cities or regions are directly affected economically.

  • Calculation by AUMA - Association of the German Trade Fair Industry concerning the macroeconomic impact for Germany based on ifo-survey

Germany as a trade fair venue has already been hit hard by cancellations and postponements of trade fairs. Trade fair organisers and service providers like booth constructors are already suffering from heavy financial losses. Many other branches of business are affected as well, especially the hotel and catering industry, the transport industry and numerous local suppliers and contractors. These industries are suffering considerable losses in sales with a direct impact on employees. Due to sales losses the tax revenue will fail, hence cities or regions are directly affected economically.

AUMA’s Institute of the German Trade Fair Industry has forecasted the consequences for Germany for the first time based on the calculation of the ifo Institut in regard to the macroeconomic relevance of German trade fairs in 2018.

Thus a loss of about three billion Euro for the national economy is to be expected – just by cancellations and postponements of trade fairs. This affects more than 24,000 jobs and tax authorities will miss over 470 million Euro of tax revenue.

These sums do not include lost sales of companies, which had expected to generate turnover during the trade fair. These figures are many times higher than the above-mentioned sums and can only be substituted to a limited extent through other measures. No other marketing device is able to represent a company and its products as comprehensively as the personal contact.

“Almost all plans for trade fairs during the next months are null and void. Organisers, exhibitors, visitors and contractors are losing any planning reliability. They have high up-front costs without the prospect of any benefit or they suffer from severe and acute loss of sales. The trade fairs’ annual contribution of more than 28 billion Euro to the national economy could decrease by 10%. It has to be made sure that the (German) economy – particularly small and medium-sized enterprises – in future will be able to utilise the highly effective instrument called “Messe” (trade fair) and can continue cooperating with potent contractors. Without governmental support this can hardly be realised, despite great efforts of the exhibition industry itself.”

Germany is number one worldwide in terms of organising international trade fairs. Annually 160 to 180 international trade fairs take place in Germany, with 180.000 exhibitors and ten million visitors. Partners from all over the world meet up on German exhibition sites.

German exhibiting companies are investing almost half of their b2b communication budgets in trade fair participations. The expenses of exhibitors and visitors for trade fairs in Germany result in macroeconomic production effects of more than 28 billion Euro. More than 230,000 jobs are ensured by the organisation of trade fairs. Tax revenues based on trade fairs sum up to approx. 4.5 billion Euro annually.

More information:
trade fairs Coronavirus
Source:

AUMA Ausstellungs- und Messe-Ausschuss der Deutschen Wirtschaft e.V.

Foto: Pixabay
18.03.2020

CORONA CRISIS: BTE CALLS FOR RETHINKING OF AUTUMN DELIVERIES AND CONCESSION OF LESSORS

The effects of the corona virus on the textile and fashion trade are dramatic. The vast majority of businesses have suffered high double-digit sales losses in recent weeks, which are already leading to initial liquidity bottlenecks. Business closures that have already been forecast or decided upon will further aggravate the situation considerably.
 
At the moment, no one can seriously predict how long the corona crisis will last and whether it will not flare up again in autumn after an interim slowdown. "The entire textile and fashion industry must therefore take precautions now so that there is a chance that trade and industry will return to reasonably calm waters in the second half of the year," recommends BTE President Steffen Jost.

The effects of the corona virus on the textile and fashion trade are dramatic. The vast majority of businesses have suffered high double-digit sales losses in recent weeks, which are already leading to initial liquidity bottlenecks. Business closures that have already been forecast or decided upon will further aggravate the situation considerably.
 
At the moment, no one can seriously predict how long the corona crisis will last and whether it will not flare up again in autumn after an interim slowdown. "The entire textile and fashion industry must therefore take precautions now so that there is a chance that trade and industry will return to reasonably calm waters in the second half of the year," recommends BTE President Steffen Jost.

Because it is already clear that at the end of the spring/summer season there will be high losses and many insolvencies because the actual merchandise can no longer be sold. Jost: "A repetition of this situation in autumn is likely to irreversibly damage the diverse structure of the fashion retail landscape!

In this situation, trade and industry must work closely together and act in partnership. It is imperative that the orders placed a few weeks ago need to be renegotiated. Under no circumstances the situation should arise, that new autumn goods are delivered without consultation, although the retail warehouses are still full of spring goods and at the same time new waves of infection are rolling through the country!
     
BTE President Steffen Jost therefore urgently appeals to the partners in the industry to coordinate the organization of deliveries of autumn goods with the fashion trade already now. "In order not to jeopardize the existence of small, medium and even larger fashion retailers even more, there must be no prohibitions on thinking here." Otherwise, there will be an even stronger wave of insolvencies, which cannot be in the interest of the suppliers either. "A fashion trade, that essentially consists only of verticals and large online retailers, is causing major problems for the vast majority of brand producers".
 
The official business closings in almost all federal states lead many textile and fashion shops to the economic abyss. The top priority now is to cut costs and secure liquidity. In this context, the lessors would also have to pay their share. "Landlords must not ignore the corona crisis and continue to charge their usual rents," says BTE President Steffen Jost.

It would be best if the landlords completely waived their rent claims during the time of the forced business closures. At least a significant cut is absolutely necessary.

"Otherwise, many businesses will not survive the next few months and we will see an explosion in vacancies," warns Jost. This could not be in the interests of the landlords, since empty stores do not generate rental income and even depress the general level of rents.

"Above all, institutional investors and lessors have to put aside their return considerations and save the livelihoods of their tenants in their own interests," warns the BTE President. "Otherwise the landlords slaughter the cow they want to milk!"

 

More information:
Coronavirus corona virus
Source:

BTE e.V.