Textination Newsline

Reset
28 results
© ITM/TUD - Biomimetic fish fin with dielectric elastomer actors und fiber reinforcement.
08.11.2022

Funding for Fibre-Elastomer Composites: Intelligent materials for robotics and prostheses

  • Successful approval of the 2nd funding period of the DFG Research Training Group 2430 "Interactive fibre-elastomer composites"

Researchers based in Dresden are going to develop a completely new class of materials in which actuators and sensors are integrated directly into flexible fibre composites – contrary to the state of the art. To this end, the German Research Foundation (DFG) approved the 2nd phase of Research Training Group 2430 "Interactive Fibre-Elastomer Composites" at TU Dresden in cooperation with the Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden. The spokesperson is Professor Chokri Cherif from the Institute for Textile Machinery and High-Performance Textile Materials Technology (ITM) at TU Dresden. A total of 22 doctoral students will be supported in eleven interdisciplinary sub-projects over the next 4.5 years, in addition to material and project funding.
 

  • Successful approval of the 2nd funding period of the DFG Research Training Group 2430 "Interactive fibre-elastomer composites"

Researchers based in Dresden are going to develop a completely new class of materials in which actuators and sensors are integrated directly into flexible fibre composites – contrary to the state of the art. To this end, the German Research Foundation (DFG) approved the 2nd phase of Research Training Group 2430 "Interactive Fibre-Elastomer Composites" at TU Dresden in cooperation with the Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden. The spokesperson is Professor Chokri Cherif from the Institute for Textile Machinery and High-Performance Textile Materials Technology (ITM) at TU Dresden. A total of 22 doctoral students will be supported in eleven interdisciplinary sub-projects over the next 4.5 years, in addition to material and project funding.
 
As a result the simulation-based development of intelligent material combinations for so-called self-sufficient fibre composites shall be available. Actuators and sensors are already integrated into the structures and no longer placed subsequently, as it is actual the case. In the first funding phase, the important basis for the large two-dimensional deformations in soft, biomimetic structures were developed. The further funding by the DFG is a confirmation of the outstanding results achieved so far. Building on this, the second funding phase will focus on ionic and helical actuator-sensor concepts. Combined with intelligent design and control algorithms, self-sufficient, three-dimensionally deforming material systems will emerge. This will make these systems more robust, complex preforming patterns can be customised at the desired location - reversibly and contact-free.
 
Fibre composites are used increasingly in moving components due to their high specific stiffness and strengths as well as the possibility of tailoring these properties. By integrating adaptive functions into such materials, the need for subsequent actuator placement is eliminated and the robustness of the system is significantly improved. Actuators and sensors based on textiles, such as those being researched and developed at the ITM, are particularly promising in this respect, as they can be integrated directly into the fibre composites during the manufacturing process.

With their innovative properties, interactive fibre-elastomer composites are predestined for numerous fields of application in mechanical and vehicle engineering, robotics, architecture, orthotics and prosthetics: Examples include systems for precise gripping and transport processes (e.g. in hand prostheses, closures and deformable membranes) and components (e.g. trim tabs for land and water vehicles).

More information:
robot Fibers Composites Funding
Source:

TU Dresden: Institute for Textile Machinery and High Performance Textile Materials (ITM)

Photo: Marlies Thurnheer
25.10.2022

Textile Electrodes for Medtech Applications

  • Successful financing round for Empa spin-off Nahtlos

Nahtlos, an Empa spin-off, has received 1 million Swiss francs in a first round of financing from a network of business angels from Switzerland and Liechtenstein and from the Startfeld Foundation. With this funding, Nahtlos aims to drive the market entry of its newly developed textile-based electrode for medical applications.

  • Successful financing round for Empa spin-off Nahtlos

Nahtlos, an Empa spin-off, has received 1 million Swiss francs in a first round of financing from a network of business angels from Switzerland and Liechtenstein and from the Startfeld Foundation. With this funding, Nahtlos aims to drive the market entry of its newly developed textile-based electrode for medical applications.

Over the past two years, Nahtlos, an Empa spin-off, has developed novel textile-based electrodes for recording heart activity (electrocardiogram, ECG) – for example, to detect atrial fibrillation – and for electrostimulation therapies, for example, to preserve the muscle mass in paralyzed patients. Textile-based electrodes enable gentle and skin-friendly application, even if the electrodes have to be worn for several days or even weeks. The textile electrode is thus the first alternative to the gel electrode, which was developed 60 years ago and is still considered the standard for medical applications today.

Nahtlos founder and former Empa researcher Michel Schmid and co-founder and business economist José Näf have further developed the textile-based technology, which was developed and patented at Empa in various projects funded by Innosuisse, among others. The goal was to produce a product for long-term medical applications that reliably records ECG signals for up to several weeks, achieves a high level of patient acceptance and is cost-effective for the healthcare provider. Today, the patent for textile-based electrode technology is owned by Nahtlos after reaching a milestone.

Financing by business angels and Startfeld Foundation
Schmid and Näf were looking for investors to certify their product, set up production and develop the market – and recently found what they were looking for: In a seed financing round, the two young entrepreneurs were able to acquire 1 million Swiss francs from business angels from Switzerland and Liechtenstein as well as from the Startfeld Foundation. Nahtlos was supported in setting up its company by Startfeld, the start-up promotion arm of Switzerland Innovation Park Ost (SIP Ost), in the form of coaching, consulting and early-stage financing. Nahtlos is also based in the Innovation Park Ost, where innovations are initiated and accelerated through collaboration between start-ups, companies, universities and research institutions.

Together with Empa and Nahtlos, SIP Ost was present at OLMA this year. Visitors could learn live and on the spot about Empa's research activities in the field of Digital Health as well as about the Nahtlos technology and its textile electrodes for health monitoring.

Submarine sensors have lots to tell us about the situation below the surface. Fraunhofer IZM has mounted sensor systems on the two manta ray fins of the unmanned underwater vehicle designed by EvoLogics. (c) EvoLogics GmbH
11.10.2022

Textile Skin & Smart Sensors: Robo-Ray in Search of Munitions

Giant arsenals of unexploded ordinance are sitting on the ocean floor, lost in battle or dumped as waste. The risky job of detecting these underwater hazards is currently given to submarines specially fitted for the purpose. But even they cannot get to some of the tighter or harder to reach spots, forcing expert divers to go down and take over the often life-threatening work.

A German research consortium including Fraunhofer IZM is now using a submarine robot that is as nimble and mobile as a manta ray and equipped with innovative connected sensors on its fins to gather more information about its surroundings. It can measure water pressure so precisely that metal objects can be detected on the ocean floor, even if they are covered by sediment.

Giant arsenals of unexploded ordinance are sitting on the ocean floor, lost in battle or dumped as waste. The risky job of detecting these underwater hazards is currently given to submarines specially fitted for the purpose. But even they cannot get to some of the tighter or harder to reach spots, forcing expert divers to go down and take over the often life-threatening work.

A German research consortium including Fraunhofer IZM is now using a submarine robot that is as nimble and mobile as a manta ray and equipped with innovative connected sensors on its fins to gather more information about its surroundings. It can measure water pressure so precisely that metal objects can be detected on the ocean floor, even if they are covered by sediment.

Unmanned underwater vehicles or UUVs have been in use for several years, but high-tech pioneers for reliable underwater communication and innovative bionics like EvoLogics GmbH have let themselves be inspired by marine life like manta rays and adapted their look and technical anatomy to the submarine world.

With the enormous “wingspan” of their fins, manta rays are known to cover vast distances, while their extremely flexible vertebrae means that they can make surprisingly sharp turns on their seemingly weightless journey through the sea. Their robotic cousins can be very agile as well, but they were not smart enough yet to replace the professional divers who had to scour the sea floor for hours, looking for lost ordinance from the First or Second World War or other hazardous metal waste before offshore wind farms could be built or intercontinental cables could be put down. Now, the new robo ray will make it possible to detect submarine hazards with a whole battery of sensors.

The “Bionic RoboSkin” project, supported by Germany’s Ministry of Education and Research, is working to give the manta-shaped UUVs a flexible bionic sensor skin to help them navigate their underwater world. The skin is made from a compound fabric that is fitted with sensor elements and water-resistant connectors to supply the sensors with power and transmit their data. Researchers from Fraunhofer IZM have taken on the challenge of developing these integrated sensor modules with which the UUVs can detect touch or the proximity of objects and virtually see and analyze their surroundings. The project consortium is headed by EvoLogics GmbH and includes other experts in the field from TITV Greiz, Sensorik Bayern GmbH, the diving specialists of BALTIC Taucherei- und Bergungsbetrieb Rostock GmbH, and GEO-DV GmbH, all with one mission: To create a new generation of robots that can support their human partners with a range of semi or fully automated services and functions.

Their capabilities will not be limited to the sea: The researchers are looking at a second use case for a land-based robot sensor platform, fittingly called “Badger” or “Dachs” in German. It will navigate by GPS and be fitted with ground penetrating radar to detect metal objects below ground or conduct other ground survey work in harder to reach places (including tunneling work).

Under the robotic manta ray’s deceptively lifelike shell lies intricate technology: A permeable and therefore pressure-neutral fabric skin is created and fitted with integrated microelectronics for touch, flow, motion, and position sensors. This textile skin is then pulled tight over the robotic fins, creating a soft robotics machine that can sense its surroundings. The team at Fraunhofer IZM is responsible for the electronics that make this possible: They developed sensor nodes suitable for submersible use that can collect and pre-process the sensor data. These nodes do not only have to be fit for purpose, they also need to be extremely miniaturized to fit underneath the thin fabric skin and integrate the necessary connectors. In active operations below the waterline, these sensors can track parameters like acceleration, pressure, or absorbency. The researchers also included LEDs in the circuit board design that let the robotic manta rays communicate with human divers, for instance to signal a turn.

All of these components and sensor packages are integrated by means of a highly miniaturized embedding method and protected from the cold and wet environment by a robust case. Despite this, the footprint of the embedded modules is amazingly small at 23 x 10.5 x 1.6 mm³, fitting a complete sensor package and microcontroller in something the size of a common door key. The case itself works as a conductor by creating the mechanical and electrical contact with the sensor skin itself. The researchers chose a modular two-part design from their original vision of the product: The embedding module combines the individual electronic components on a millimeter scale for exceptional integration; the module case acts as the mechanical interface with the skin and makes the system as robust as it has to be for its destined purpose. The coupling between module and case relies on a seemingly simple clipping action: Small pins on the connector surface on the skin and tiny hooks on the sensor module itself snap together to form an easily de- and attachable interface. The resulting system is modular to allow easy reconfiguration.

The researchers at Fraunhofer IZM will now subject their robotic manta ray to a series of tests with their project partners. The results and findings from the “Bionic RoboSkin” project will likely be of use for many other projects and contribute to more pressure-neutral and reliable packaging solutions for flexible, mobile, and smarter service robots.

The “Bionic RoboSkin” project is supported through the VDI/VDE-IT by the Ministry of Education and Research (funding code 16ES0914) as part of the federal government’s research and innovation campaign 2016 to 2020 “Microelectronics from Germany – Driver of Innovation for the Digital Economy”.

Source:

Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM

First tests with free-form tiles made of wood short fiber filament. (Photo: LZH) Photo: LZH. First tests with free-form tiles made of wood short fiber filament.
19.09.2022

Sustainability in 3D Printing: Components made of Natural Fibers

3D printing has been in use in architecture for a while, and now it is to become ecologically sustainable as well: Together with partners, the LZH is researching how to produce individual building elements from natural fibers using additive manufacturing.

3D printing has been in use in architecture for a while, and now it is to become ecologically sustainable as well: Together with partners, the LZH is researching how to produce individual building elements from natural fibers using additive manufacturing.

In the project 3DNaturDruck, architectural components such as facade elements shall be created from natural fiber-reinforced biopolymers in 3D printing. To this end, the scientists will develop the corresponding composite materials from biopolymers with both natural short fibers and natural continuous fibers and optimize them for processing with the additive manufacturing process FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling). The project partners' goal is to enable smart and innovative designs that are both ecological and sustainable.
 
The goal: highly developed components made from sustainable materials
Within the project, different natural fiber-reinforced biopolymer composites will be investigated. The partners are researching both processing methods with very short natural fibers, such as from wood and straw, and a method for printing continuous fibers from hemp and flax in combination with biopolymers. The LZH then develops processes for these new materials and adapts the tools and nozzle geometries of the FDM printer. A pavilion with the 3D-printed facade elements is planned as a demonstrator on the campus of the University of Stuttgart.
 
The project partners want to explore how additive manufacturing can be used to simplify manufacturing processes for architectural components. Natural fiber-reinforced biopolymers are particularly suitable for producing components with complex geometries in just a few steps and with low material and cost requirements. With their research, the partners are also working on completely new starting conditions for the fabrication of newly developed architectural components: For example, the topology optimization of components according to their structural stress can be easily implemented with additive manufacturing.

Enabling the natural fiber trend in architecture also using additive manufacturing
There is great interest in the use of natural fibers in structural components in architecture and construction because natural fibers have several advantages. They have good mechanical properties combined with low weight and are widely available. As a renewable resource with in some cases very short renewal cycles, they are also clearly a better ecological alternative than synthetic fibers.

In additive manufacturing, large-format elements for the architectural sector have so far mostly been manufactured with polymers based on fossil raw materials. Research in the project 3DNaturDruck should now make the use of natural fibers in architecture possible for additive manufacturing as well.

About 3DNaturDruck
The project 3DNaturDruck is about the design and fabrication of 3D-printed components made of biocomposites using filaments with continuous and short natural fibers.

The project is coordinated by the Department of Biobased Materials and Materials Cycles in Architecture (BioMat) at the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart. In addition to the LZH, project partners include the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut (WKI) and the industrial companies Rapid Prototyping Technologie GmbH (Gifhorn), ETS Extrusionstechnik (Mücheln), 3dk.berlin (Berlin) and ATMAT Sp. Z o.o. (Krakow, Poland).

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture through the Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V. under the funding code 2220NR295C.

Source:

Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

Photo: Pixabay
12.07.2022

Study on Click & Collect in the Fashion Industry

Study reveals need for action

How well are online and in-store businesses linked in the German fashion industry? How smoothly do omnichannel models like click & collect work? And how satisfactory is this for consumers? These questions were addressed by the Cologne-based company fulfillmenttools as part of its study "Click & Collect in the German Fashion Industry".

Study reveals need for action

How well are online and in-store businesses linked in the German fashion industry? How smoothly do omnichannel models like click & collect work? And how satisfactory is this for consumers? These questions were addressed by the Cologne-based company fulfillmenttools as part of its study "Click & Collect in the German Fashion Industry".

For the study, around 80 of the largest fashion retailers in Germany were examined in the first and second quarters of 2022. Of these, 22 companies in the sample offered Click & Collect as part of their service portfolio and could be analyzed in detail as part of test purchases. The mystery shoppers focused on how Click & Collect orders are processed via the retailers' online stores, the shopping experience when picking up the merchandise at the stores, and the handling of the returns process. The result: there is a clear need for optimization in all steps. According to the study, none of the retailers analyzed is currently in a position to offer its customers a consistent and convenient omnichannel experience.

In the fashion industry in particular, Click & Collect allows customers to benefit from on-site service and the convenience of online shopping. Immediate fitting, simple returns and no shipping costs are just a selection of the many advantages. Last but not least, the restrictions imposed in the wake of the Corona pandemic have accelerated the spread of Click & Collect in the retail sector. But how well does it work and how is it perceived by customers? "There is currently still a lack of data in operational practice that illustrates how well Click & Collect is implemented in reality from the customer's point of view. That's why we took a closer look at the status quo of Click & Collect models in the German fashion industry," says project manager Marleen Ratert.

In the study of around 80 of the largest fashion retailers in Germany, it was initially surprising that only 22 of the 80 (27%) retailers surveyed offer Click & Collect as an option for their customers in their service portfolio.

In analyzing and evaluating the companies that offer Click & Collect, the focus was on the entire journey of a customer order: ordering process, communication, pickup, returns processing and refunding.

According to the study's authors, a positive aspect is that the ordering process in the online store runs smoothly at most fashion retailers. However, customer communication before, during and after the click & collect order process was generally deficient. Missing order confirmations and non-existent information about delivery time and pick-up time were particularly negative.

he German fashion retailers performed worst in the area of the collection process. In particular, long delivery times, a lack of service points at the point of sale, and forms that have to be filled out by hand are the main reasons for dissatisfaction with the pickup process. In the area of returns processing, it was primarily the lack of digitization of the process that stood out: A large proportion still work with manual forms. However, the majority of fashion retailers in Germany have no problems processing the payment afterwards.

Monolithic IT structures, different solutions for many operational areas, traditional processes, missing interfaces - the reasons for the problems with the quick and easy introduction of omnichannel processes are numerous on the part of the companies. The demands of customers, on the other hand, have risen rapidly in recent years.

The checklist for successful omnichannel retailers provides tips and tricks for optimizing online and offline business in a process- and customer-oriented manner:

SIMPLIFY ONLINE ORDERS

  • Prominently feature Click & Collect as a service in the online store in order to draw customers' attention to it more quickly and fully exploit sales potentials
  • Improve availability of Click & Collect products

CREATE SEAMLESS IN-STORE EXPERIENCES

  • Install service points for picking up orders and clearly mark them as such to avoid waiting times at the checkout and provide customers with better orientation
  • Make store staff aware of upselling and cross-selling opportunities to encourage additional purchases

OPTIMIZE PROCESSES

  • Pick online orders in the store to significantly speed up delivery times and easily meet delivery promises
  • Digitize handover and return processes to make store operations more efficient and reduce the workload on staff
  • Regularly test omnichannel processes to identify gaps in communication and potential for optimization

IMPROVE SERVICE QUALITY

  • Implement end-to-end communication throughout the process to keep customers informed about the status of their order at all times
  • Offer various return options to best meet customer expectations

Modular software-as-a-service solutions for fulfillment processes are available to simplify complex processes for retailers, reduce the workload of employees and prevent errors in order picking. The entire study (in German) is available for download here.

Source:

fulfillmenttools.com / REWE digital

(c) MAI Carbon
24.05.2022

From waste to secondary raw material - wetlaid nonwovens made from recycled carbon fibers

MAI Scrap SeRO | From Scrap to Secondary Ressources – Highly Orientated Wet-Laid-Nonwovens from CFRP-Waste

The »Scrap SeRO« project is an international joint project in the field of »recycling of carbon fibers«.

The technical project goal is the demonstration of a continuous process route for processing pyrolytically recycled carbon fibers (rCF) in high-performance second-life component structures. In addition to the technological level, the focus of the project is particularly on the international transfer character, in the sense of a cross-cluster initiative between the top cluster MAI Carbon (Germany) and CVC (South Korea).

MAI Scrap SeRO | From Scrap to Secondary Ressources – Highly Orientated Wet-Laid-Nonwovens from CFRP-Waste

The »Scrap SeRO« project is an international joint project in the field of »recycling of carbon fibers«.

The technical project goal is the demonstration of a continuous process route for processing pyrolytically recycled carbon fibers (rCF) in high-performance second-life component structures. In addition to the technological level, the focus of the project is particularly on the international transfer character, in the sense of a cross-cluster initiative between the top cluster MAI Carbon (Germany) and CVC (South Korea).

Through direct cooperation between market-leading companies and research institutions of the participating cluster members, the technical project processing takes place in the context of the global challenge of recycling, as well as the need for increased resource efficiency, with reference to the economically strategic material carbon fibers.

Efficient processing of recycled carbon fibers
The technological process route within the project runs along the industrial wet-laying technology, which is comparable to classic paper production. This enables a robust production of high-quality rCF nonwovens, which are characterized, among other things, by particularly high homogeneity and stability of characteristic values.

A special development focus is on a specific process control, which allows the generation of an orientation of the individual fiber filaments in the nonwoven material.

The given preferred fiber direction of the discontinuous fiber structure opens up strong synergy effects in relation to increased packing densities, i.e. fiber volume content, as well as a significantly optimized processing behavior in relation to impregnation, forming and consolidation, in addition to a load path-oriented mechanics.

The innovative wetlaid nonwovens are then further processed into thermoset and thermoplastic semi-finished products, i.e. prepregs or organosheets, using impregnation processes that are suitable for large-scale production.

rCF tapes are produced from this in an intermediate slitting step. By means of automated fiber placement, load path-optimized preforms can be deposited, which are then consolidated into complex demonstrator components.

The process chain is monitored at key interfaces by innovative non-destructive measurement technology and supplemented by extensive characterization methods. Especially for the processing of pyrolysed recycled carbon fibers, which were recovered from end-of-life waste or PrePreg waste, for example, there are completely new potentials with significant added value compared to the current state of the art for the overall process route presented here.

International Transfer
The fundamentally global challenge of recycling and the striving for increased sustainability is strongly influenced by national recycling strategies as a result of country-specific framework conditions. The globalized way in which companies deal with high-volume material flows places additional demands on a functioning circular economy. A networked solution can only be created on the basis of and in compliance with the respective guidelines and structural factors.

In the case of the high-performance material carbon fiber, there is a particularly high technical requirement for an ecologically and economically viable recycling industry. At the same time, the specific market size already opens up interesting scaling effects and potential for market penetration.

The Scrap SeRO project connects two of the world's leading top clusters in the field of carbon composites from South Korea and Germany on the basis of a cross-cluster initiative. As part of this first promising technology project, the foundation stone for future cooperation is to be laid that supports the effective recycling of carbon fibers. The project makes an important contribution to closing the material cycle for carbon fibers and thus paves the way for renewed use in further life cycles of this high-quality and energy-intensive material.

Info »Scrap SeRO«

  • Duration: 05/2019 – 04/2022
  • Funding: BMBF
  • Funding Amount: 2.557.000 €

National Consortium

  • Fraunhofer Institute for Casting, Composite and Processing Technology IGCV
  • ELG Carbon Fibre
  • J.M. Voith SE & Co. KG
  • Neenah Gessner
  • SURAGUS GmbH
  • LAMILUX Composites GmbH
  • Covestro Deutschland AG
  • BA Composites GmbH
  • SGL Carbon

International Consortium

  • KCarbon
  • Hyundai
  • Sangmyung University
  • TERA Engineering
Source:

Fraunhofer Institute for Casting, Composite and Processing Technology IGCV

(c) Vincentz Network GmbH & Co. KG / ALTENPFLEGE
26.04.2022

ALTENPFLEGE 2022: Intelligently equipped rooms for more independence in old age

Most people want to live as independently as possible in old age. Exhibitors at the industry's leading trade fair ALTENPFLEGE from April 26 to 28 in Essen, Germany will be showing how senior facilities with modern interior design and smart equipment meet this need.

Demand for forms of housing such as service living is on the rise. Studies predict a need for around 540,000 new service living units in the coming years. One of the major trends at this year's 32nd edition of the Altenpflege trade fair is how senior facilities are meeting the rapidly growing demand with flexible room design and digital support. They can be seen in the Aveneo special show, including intelligent systems for stove shut-off, lighting control and room temperature, as well as for fall sensors and emergency calls.

Most people want to live as independently as possible in old age. Exhibitors at the industry's leading trade fair ALTENPFLEGE from April 26 to 28 in Essen, Germany will be showing how senior facilities with modern interior design and smart equipment meet this need.

Demand for forms of housing such as service living is on the rise. Studies predict a need for around 540,000 new service living units in the coming years. One of the major trends at this year's 32nd edition of the Altenpflege trade fair is how senior facilities are meeting the rapidly growing demand with flexible room design and digital support. They can be seen in the Aveneo special show, including intelligent systems for stove shut-off, lighting control and room temperature, as well as for fall sensors and emergency calls.

Future tenants or buyers of serviced apartments are prepared to invest specifically in their own living environment (source: Terragon study 2021). The focus is on a feel-good atmosphere, a high level of security and the option of using care services if required. "This can be facilitated by a cleverly thought-out arrangement of the rooms within a serviced apartment, for example by arranging the bathroom and bedroom right next to each other and making the wall with the washbasin rotatable," explains Carolin Pauly, managing director of Universal Rooms, which considers itself to be the interface between the wishes of the operators and the products in the serviced apartment market. "The furniture and furnishings industry is called upon to design modern collections with hidden product features that make life easier in old age," Pauly demands. This could be, for example, a grab handle built into the washbasin or a dining table that can be accessed by a wheelchair.

Lighting management also plays an important role. It should convey a sense of well-being and security as well as provide orientation and safety. Age-related clinical pictures in particular place high demands on lighting. Here, lighting systems that simulate the natural day and night rhythm can provide help.

Living, care and digitalization combined
The Chief Executive Officer of the Evangelische Heimstiftung (EHS - Evangelical Home Foundation), Bernhard Schneider, sees "an individually and comfortably furnished apartment that uses intelligent technology to provide a great deal of security and self-determination" as the senior living of the future. "I am certain: In the future, in a sector-free setting, we will have to understand housing, nursing and care, and digitalization even more strongly as building blocks that can be combined as needed."

According to Schneider, this starts with housing: In a nursing apartment or an assisted living apartment, in a shared apartment or other form of communal living, in a residence or an intergenerational project. All forms of housing should be well integrated into the neighborhood - this requires reliable, financed advisory structures, for example through neighborhood managers. In addition, there is care, support and assistance, in the form of day or night care, a mobile service or volunteers. "And technology, for example through our Aladien system, i.e. with intelligent home emergency call, fall sensors, stove shut-off, roller shutters and light control, video door telephony, etc. In the future, Aladien will evolve into a service robot," predicts Schneider.

This makes it possible for people to live a self-determined life and participate in society, even in old age. That's what people want, he says: a pleasant living environment, social contacts, cultural offerings and the certainty that someone will take care of them if necessary. "What we need for this is political commitment in the form of an ambitious funding program for modern forms of housing in old age," demands the EHS CEO. This would not only help the older generation, but young families could also benefit because this would free up the far too spacious apartments and terraced houses of the older generation for them.


ALTENPFLEGE – Trade fair and congress for the care industry since 1990
The traditional leading trade show for the care industry has so far been held alternately in Hanover and Nuremberg. From this year it alternates between Essen and Nuremberg. It covers all segments of professional geriatric care: services and products for care and therapy, occupation and education, IT and management, nutrition and home economics, textiles and hygiene as well as space and technology. In more than 30 lecture blocks, the accompanying trade congress covers the current topics of the industry, such as digitalization, the future of professional nursing care, hospice and palliative care, training or the new collectively agreed payment under the Healthcare Development Act (Gesundheitsversorgungsweiterentwicklungsgesetz - GVWG).

Graphik: Pixabay
11.01.2022

FIMATEC innovation network enters second funding phase

The network for the development of fiber materials technology for healthcare and sports will receive funding from the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM) for another two years.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWi) approved a corresponding application in December 2021. This will continue to provide funding for the development of innovative functional fibers, smart textiles and application-optimized fiber composite materials until June 2023 and strengthen the technological competitiveness and innovative strength of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The network for the development of fiber materials technology for healthcare and sports will receive funding from the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM) for another two years.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWi) approved a corresponding application in December 2021. This will continue to provide funding for the development of innovative functional fibers, smart textiles and application-optimized fiber composite materials until June 2023 and strengthen the technological competitiveness and innovative strength of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

For this purpose, the FIMATEC innovation network combines competences from different engineering and scientific disciplines with small and medium-sized manufacturers and service providers from the target sectors in medicine and sports (e.g. orthopaedics, prosthetics, surgery, smart textiles) as well as players from the textile and plastics industry.      

This interdisciplinary combination of industrial partners and application-oriented research institutions increases competitiveness and enables the players to realise their technical research and development projects quickly and in a targeted manner. The focus for the joint R&D projects of the companies and research institutions is on the development of innovative materials and efficient manufacturing technologies. 
          
Fiber-based materials have become indispensable in many applications in medicine and sports. As a pure fiber, processed into a textile or as a fiber composite plastic, they offer an almost unlimited variety for adjusting property and functional profiles. At the same time, the demands on the range of functions, performance and cost-effectiveness are constantly increasing, so that there is great potential for innovation. Developments are driven on the one hand by new materials and manufacturing processes, and on the other by innovative applications. Products with new and superior functions create a technological advantage over international competitors and enable higher sales revenues. In addition, efficient processes, application-optimized materials or even the integration of functions into the basic structure of textile materials lead to lower production costs and improved marketing opportunities in the future.
For developments in this context, the partners have joined forces in the FIMATEC innovation network, thus combining their expertise. Within the network, innovative materials and processes are being developed jointly in the following areas and tested in future-oriented products and services:

  • Functional fibers
    Innovative fiber materials with integrated functionalities
  • Preforming
    Highly load path optimized fiber orientations for complex fiber composite components.    
  • Smart Textiles
    Textile-based sensors and actuators
  • Hybrid material and manufacturing technologies
    Application-optimized components through cross-technology solution approaches.    
  • Fiber composites  
    Intelligent matrix systems and function-optimized fiber materials.    
  • Fiber-reinforced 3D printing  
    High-quality additive manufacturing processes for the efficient production of individualized products.

 
17 network partners are researching fiber-based materials for medical and sports technologyCurrently, ten companies and seven research institutions are involved in FIMATEC. Interested companies and research institutions as well as potential users can continue to participate in the cooperation network or R&D projects. In the course of membership, the partners are actively supported in identifying and initiating innovation projects as well as securing financing through funding acquisition. One application for ZIM project funding has already been approved by FIMATEC in its first year.

The aim of the already approved project "CFKadapt" is to develop a thermoformable fiber-plastic composite material for optimally adaptable orthopedic aids such as prostheses and orthoses. In the "Modul3Rad" project, which is currently being worked out in detail, the project partners intend to develop a modular lightweight frame system for the construction of user-friendly therapy tricycles, suitable for everyday use by severely and very severely disabled children. Three further collaborative projects are already in the planning stage.

The technology and knowledge transfer enables in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access cutting-edge technological research, especially these are often denied access to innovations due to the lack of their own research departments. The IWS GmbH has taken over the network management for FIMATEC and supports the partners from the first idea to the search for suitable project partners and the preparation and coordination of funding applications. The aim is to obtain funding from the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM), which offers companies funding opportunities for a wide range of technical innovation projects in cooperation with research institutions.

FIMATEC-netzwork partners
all ahead composites GmbH | Veitshöchheim | www.bike-ahead-composites.de
Altropol Kunststoff GmbH | Stockelsdorf | www.altropol.de
Diondo GmbH | Hattingen | www.diondo.com
Mailinger innovative fiber solutions GmbH | Sontra | www.mailinger.de
Sanitätshaus Manfred Klein GmbH & Co. KG | Stade | www.klein-sanitaetshaus.de
STREHL GmbH & Co KG | Bremervörde | www.rehastrehl.de
WESOM Textil GmbH | Olbersdorf | www.wesom-textil.de
Faserinstitut Bremen e.V. (FIBRE) | www.faserinstitut.de
E.F.M. GmbH | Olbersdorf | www.efm-gmbh.de
REHA-OT Lüneburg Melchior und Fittkau GmbH | Olbersdorf | www.rehaot.de
Fraunhofer-Institut für Fertigungstechnik und Angewandte Materialforschung IFAM | Bremen | www.ifam.fraunhofer.de
Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung Dresden e.V. (IPF) | www.ipfdd.de
Institut für Polymertechnologien Wismar e.V. (IPT) | www.ipt-wismar.de
Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH | Kaiserslautern | www.ivw.uni-kl.de

Associated network partners
9T Labs AG | Zürich, Schweiz | www.9tlabs.com
Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz, Institut für Kunststofftechnik (FHNW) | www.fhnw.ch
KATZ - Kunststoff Ausbildungs- und Technologie-Zentrum | Aarau, Schweiz | www.katz.ch

Source:

Textination / IWS Innovations- und Wissensstrategien GmbH

(c) STFI
14.12.2021

Funding Project Raw Material Classification of Recycled Fibers

For centuries, old textiles have been used to make tear fibers and processed into new textile products. This effective recycling is one of the oldest material cycles in the world. Today, it is not only clothing that is recycled, but also high-quality technical textiles. As the products of the textile industry evolve, so do the demands on textile recycling. The basis for this is a clear assessment and classification of raw materials.

For centuries, old textiles have been used to make tear fibers and processed into new textile products. This effective recycling is one of the oldest material cycles in the world. Today, it is not only clothing that is recycled, but also high-quality technical textiles. As the products of the textile industry evolve, so do the demands on textile recycling. The basis for this is a clear assessment and classification of raw materials.

In the research project of the German Institutes of Textile and Fiber Research Denkendorf (DITF) and the Sächsisches Textilforschungsinstitut e.V. (STFI - Saxony Textile Research Institute), a methodology is being developed that will make it possible to analyze the tearing as well as the subsequent processes with regard to fiber quality. The systematic analysis should make it possible to optimize the subsequent spinning processes in such a way that the recycled content of the yarn can be increased without the yarn properties differing significantly from those of a yarn consisting of 100% good fibers. These yarns can then be processed into sustainable textile products such as clothing or composite components.

The project, which is funded by the BMWi/IGF, is scheduled to run for two years and will end on December 31, 2022. The main benefits for the participating companies are to enable them to make greater use of secondary raw materials, to open up new markets through technologies or products developed in the project, to initiate synergies and long-term cooperation, and to prepare a joint market presence.    

The project includes several steps:

  • Material selection and procurement
    Cotton fibers to be processed are obtained from used textiles (T-shirts) and waste from the cotton spinning mill. Aramid fibers are processed from used protective clothing and technical textiles.
  • Optimization of the preparation / dissolution of the textiles
    To ensure that the fibers are detached from the corresponding textiles as gently as possible and with a not too high reduction, exact settings have to be found for the tearing process, which are technologically very demanding and require a lot of experience.
  • Determination of the quality criteria for the evaluation of the fiber dissolution
    In order to define the quality criteria, the fibers coming from the tearing mill are determined by means of an MDTA-4 measuring device from Textechno GmbH & Co. KG. The criteria determined are to be used to characterize the (lowest possible) fiber shortening caused by the tearing process.
  • Determination of optimized settings in the spinning process
    In order to determine the optimum settings for producing a yarn from the recycled fibers, they are spun after the rotor spinning process. By adjusting the spinning process, the aim is to produce a yarn that has good uniformity and also appropriate firmness.
  • Production and comparison of yarns from recycled raw materials
    In order that the recycled fibers - consisting of aramid and cotton - can each be used to produce an area-measured material, the material is to be processed at industrial scale. For this purpose, the fibers are processed over a complete blowroom line with following sliver production over adapted cards. After drawing and the following roving production, yarns are produced according to the rotor or ring spinning process. The finished yarns are used to produce knitted fabrics.
  • Coordination, analysis of results and preparation of reports
    The final report is prepared by the DITF and the STFI. The results will be transferred through publications, technical information to associations and trade fair presentations. Regular meetings with the participating companies are planned.

Textination spoke with Stephan Baz, Deputy Head of the Competence Center Staple Fiber, Weaving & Simulation, Head of Staple Fiber Technology and Markus Baumann, Research Associate at the Competence Center Staple Fiber, Weaving & Simulation (both DITF) as well as Bernd Gulich, Head of Department Nonwovens/Recycling and Johannes Leis, Research Associate Focus Nonwovens/Recycling (both STFI) about the current status of the funding project.

What is the current status of the project?
We are currently in the phase of carrying out trials and the iterative optimization of several project components. As expected, several loops are necessary for the mechanical preparation itself and also for the adjustment of the spinning process with the different variants. Ultimately, after all, the project aims at coordinating the processes of mechanical preparation and spinning as processing in order to achieve optimum results. At the same time, determining the quality criteria of the fibers produced is not trivial. This also requires the further development of processes and test methods that can be implemented productively in industry and that allow the quality of the fibers produced to be assessed effectively and unaffected by residual yarns, for example. What is really remarkable is the interest and willingness of the industry to drive the project work forward. The considerable quantities of materials required for our trials were purchased from ReSales Textilhandel und -recycling GmbH, Altex Textil-Recycling GmbH & Co. KG and Gebrüder Otto GmbH & Co. KG. Furthermore, with Temafa Maschinenfabrik GmbH, Nomaco GmbH & Co. KG, Schill + Seilacher GmbH, Spinnerei Neuhof GmbH & Co. KG and Maschinenfabrik Rieter AG, many members of the project-supporting committee are actively involved in the project, from consulting to the providing of technologies. The company Textechno Herbert Stein GmbH & Co. KG has provided a testing device of the type MDTA4 for the duration of the project and supports our work with regard to the evaluation of the mechanically prepared fibers. We are of course particularly pleased about this, as it has allowed us to look at and analyze several technologies in both mechanical preparation, testing and spinning. We expect to be able to make more detailed statements at the beginning of the coming year.

Which approaches do you think are particularly promising?
With regard to technologies, we must refer to the evaluation and analysis of the trials, which are currently still ongoing. We will be able to go into more detail in the first quarter of next year.

Of course, things are already emerging. With meta-aramid waste, promising approaches could be found very quickly; with post-consumer cotton, this is considerably more complex. Obviously, there is a link between the quality of the raw material and the quality of the products. In some cases, we have already been able to determine very low average fiber lengths in the procured goods; to a certain extent, these are of course directly reflected in the output of our processes. From this, and this is not a new finding, a great importance of the design of the textiles is again derived.

What are the challenges?
In addition to the expected high short fiber content, the residual yarns after the tearing process are an issue of particular focus. The proportion of these residual yarns can vary between the materials and preparation technologies, but the further dissolution of the products of the tearing process is essential.

If the processes are considered further in a utilization phase, the question of design naturally also arises for the best possible use of recycled fibers. Many problems, but also the approaches to solutions for the use of comparatively short fibers, can also be expected to apply to the (multiple) use of mechanically recycled fibers.

Can we speak of upcycling in the final product?
We see yarn-to-yarn recycling neither as upcycling nor downcycling, but as closed-loop recycling. The background is that the products are to go into the same application from which they came and have to compete with primary material. This means that certain specific requirements have to be met and at the same time there is considerable price pressure. In the case of downcycling, a significant reduction in properties is accepted, while in the case of upcycling, the higher-priced application can make up for the reprocessing effort. In the attempt to produce yarn material again from yarn material, both are only permissible to a small extent. This represents the particular challenge.

What does a recyclate prepared from used textiles mean for the spinning process?
Part of this question is to be answered in the project by the detailed classification of the processed fibers and is thus the subject of the tests currently underway. It turns out that, in addition to the rather obvious points such as significantly reduced fiber length, process disturbances due to undissolved fabrics and yarn pieces, there are also less obvious aspects to be considered, such as a significantly increased outgoing quantity for processing in the spinning process. The outgoing quantity is of particular interest here, because in the end the newly produced yarn should also contain a considerable proportion of prepared fibers.

What consequences does this have for textile machinery manufacturing?
The consequences that can already be estimated at the present time are that, particularly in the processing of cotton, the machinery in the spinning preparatory mill is specialized in the processing of (new) natural fibers with a certain amount of dirt. In contrast to new fibers, processed fibers are clean fibers with a significantly higher proportion of short fibers. Elements that are good at removing dirt also reject an increased amount of short fibers, which can lead to unintentionally high waste quantities under certain circumstances. It is therefore necessary to adapt the established machine technology to the new requirement profile of the raw material "processed fibers". Analogous adaptations are probably necessary along the entire processing chain up to the yarn. In the drafting system of the spinning machine, of course, this is due more to the high short fiber ratio than to elements that have been optimized for cleaning out dirt and foreign substances.

Source:

Textination GmbH

Photo: Pixabay
29.06.2021

A sustainable Circular Economy: Polypropylene Recycling from Carpet Waste

A significant part of carpet waste consists of petroleum-based polypropylene. As a non-recyclable product, disposing of it has previously meant incineration or landfill. However, a new solvent is now making it possible to recover virgin-standard polypropylene from carpet waste — with no perceptible reduction in quality. Developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP and its partners, the process also involves costs that are quite competitive. The development has taken place as part of the ISOPREP EU project.

The EU alone produces around 1.6 million tons of carpet waste every year. The majority of this ends up being sent to landfill or incinerated, as carpet is a composite material that is not suitable for purely mechanical recycling methods. With carpet waste analysed in the project consisting of around a quarter polypropylene, a petroleum-based plastic, the result is a great deal of resources going to waste.

A significant part of carpet waste consists of petroleum-based polypropylene. As a non-recyclable product, disposing of it has previously meant incineration or landfill. However, a new solvent is now making it possible to recover virgin-standard polypropylene from carpet waste — with no perceptible reduction in quality. Developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP and its partners, the process also involves costs that are quite competitive. The development has taken place as part of the ISOPREP EU project.

The EU alone produces around 1.6 million tons of carpet waste every year. The majority of this ends up being sent to landfill or incinerated, as carpet is a composite material that is not suitable for purely mechanical recycling methods. With carpet waste analysed in the project consisting of around a quarter polypropylene, a petroleum-based plastic, the result is a great deal of resources going to waste.

Carpet recycling now possible thanks to a new process
A team of researchers, including from Fraunhofer IBP, has now developed a new recycling process as part of an EU project named ISOPREP (see logo). “For the first time, this is making it possible to recover polypropylene from carpet waste — and the outcome is virgin-quality,” says Maike Illner, a researcher at Fraunhofer IBP. Not only does this allow the recovered polypropylene to be used in lower-quality products (in a process known as downcycling), but it also means that the quality is similar to that of newly manufactured polypropylene, making the material suitable for high-quality products too.

The process is based on a special solvent in the form of an ionic liquid. With the right components, it is able to selectively extract polypropylene from carpet fibers. Before the team of experts applies the solvent, the carpet waste is cleaned — something which involves removing as much of the backing as possible — and broken down. Once the pretreatment is complete, the waste is fed into a reactor in which it undergoes treatment using the solvent. The polypropylene is selectively dissolved in the solvent, a method that provides an effective way of removing dyes and other additives. The process is already being used on an extensive laboratory scale involving several liters of the solvent — and now, the research consortium has set its sights on scaling the process up to a pilot plant with the ability to recycle a ton of carpet waste per day. The pilot plant is set to commence operation by the end of the project in March 2022.

Costs and environmental impact
A recycling process can only be deployed on a large scale if its costs are competitive. For this application, this means retaining as much of the expensive ionic liquid as possible in the cycle. “If loss rates can be kept to one percent or less, there is potential for the costs of the process to rival those of producing new polypropylene,” explains Illner. “We know this thanks to a preliminary economic analysis that we conducted at Fraunhofer IBP.” The analysis involved the Fraunhofer researchers investigating the quantities of material and energy that would be required for the process and what kind of product would be output, and then calculating the associated costs. The team also considered how the costs would develop over the long term.

Fraunhofer IBP is focusing on the ecological aspects of carpet recycling. It is able to draw conclusions from factors including a lifecycle assessment, which sheds light on the emissions that are produced during the recycling process, for example. If the consortium is able to achieve its aim of keeping solvent loss rates to one percent or less in this case too, primary energy requirements and greenhouse gas emissions will remain on a similar scale to those involved in producing new polypropylene.

Potential for transfer to other polypropylene waste streams
While carpet waste is the focus of this particular project, the process that has been developed has potential applications far beyond it. The experts involved believe that it could be transferred to a whole host of waste flows that contain polypropylene and are unsuitable for conventional recycling methods. “One example is polypropylene products that contain dyes and additives,” says Illner. “Until now, it has been difficult to extract them from plastic, which means that the recycled polypropylene has only been suitable for use in lower-quality products.” The new process separates the polypropylene not only from other materials, but also from dyes and other additives, allowing it to be used in high-quality applications.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement no. 820787.

(c) Fraunhofer IAP
08.06.2021

Fraunhofer IAP: Recyclable, Fiber-reinforced Material made from Bio-based Polylactic Acid

"Packaging made from bio-based plastics has long been established. We are now supporting the further development of these materials for new areas of application. If in the future the market also offers plant-based materials for technically demanding tasks such as vehicle construction, the bioeconomy will take a decisive step forward," explained Uwe Feiler, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, in Potsdam. The occasion was the handover of a grant to the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP. The Fraunhofer IAP wants to develop a composite material that consists entirely of bio-based polylactic acid (PLA) and is significantly easier to recycle than conventional fiber composites.

"Packaging made from bio-based plastics has long been established. We are now supporting the further development of these materials for new areas of application. If in the future the market also offers plant-based materials for technically demanding tasks such as vehicle construction, the bioeconomy will take a decisive step forward," explained Uwe Feiler, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, in Potsdam. The occasion was the handover of a grant to the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP. The Fraunhofer IAP wants to develop a composite material that consists entirely of bio-based polylactic acid (PLA) and is significantly easier to recycle than conventional fiber composites.

The German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) is intensively promoting the development of biomaterials as part of its Renewable Resources funding program. More than 100 projects are currently underway, covering a wide range of topics: from plastics that are degradable in the sea to natural fiber-reinforced lightweight components for the automotive sector. The projects are supported by the Agency for Renewable Resources, the BMEL project management agency responsible for the Renewable Resources funding program.

Easier recycling of fiber-reinforced plastics
PLA is one of the particularly promising bio-based materials. The global market for this polymer is growing by around 10 percent a year. PLA is also used, among other things, as a matrix in fiber-reinforced plastics. In these mechanically resilient plastics, reinforcing fibers are embedded in a plastic matrix.

The Fraunhofer IAP project is now focusing on these reinforcing fibers: "We are further developing our PLA fibers in order to transfer them to industrial scale together with partners from industry. These fibers are ideally suited for reinforcing PLA plastics. The resulting self-reinforcing single-component composite promises great recycling benefits. Since the fiber and the matrix of PLA are chemically identical, complex separation steps are not necessary," explains Dr. André Lehmann, expert for fiber technology at Fraunhofer IAP.

Novel PLA fibers and films are more thermally stable
The challenge with this approach is that conventional PLA has a relatively low temperature resistance. Technical fibers can be produced most economically using the melt spinning process. The Fraunhofer IAP team is now using more thermally stable stereocomplex PLA (sc-PLA) for the fibers. The term stereocomplex refers to a special crystal structure that the PLA molecules can form. Sc-PLA fibers have a melting point that is 40 - 50 °C higher and can therefore withstand the incorporation process in a matrix made of conventional PLA. In the project, the researchers are developing and optimizing a melt spinning process for sc-PLA filament yarns. The partner in this work package is Trevira GmbH, a manufacturer of technical and textile fiber and filament yarn specialties that are in demand from automotive suppliers and contract furnishers, among others. Furthermore, the development of a manufacturing process for sc-PLA reinforced flat films is planned. The international adhesive tape manufacturer tesa SE is participating in this task, and will test the suitability of sc-PLA films as adhesive foils. In a third work package, the Fraunhofer IAP will finally process the filaments in a double pultrusion process to produce granules suitable for injection molding.

Bio-based solutions for the automotive and textile industries
The scientists led by Dr. André Lehmann are certain that the self-reinforced PLA material can conquer many new areas of application. The automotive and textile industries are already showing interest in bio-based materials that are also easier to recycle. In terms of price, PLA would already be competitive here, and now the material is also to be made technically fit for the new tasks.

Professor Alexander Böker, head of Fraunhofer IAP, says: "The steadily growing demand from industry for sustainable solutions underlines how important it is to develop biobased and at the same time high-performance materials. With our research, we are also actively driving the development of a sustainable and functioning circular economy and therefore very much welcome the support from the federal government."

Information on the project is available at fnr.de under the funding code 2220NR297X.

Photo: pixabay
25.05.2021

Water Saving Solution for Textile Industry EC Project Waste2Fresh

The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT, with its long-term expertise in nanotoxicity and nanosafety testing, contributes to a new EC project for water saving solutions for textile industry. This industry uses a vast amount of water for different steps in the textile dyeing process. It also produces a lot of wastewater, which contains a range of chemicals and dyes.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT, with its long-term expertise in nanotoxicity and nanosafety testing, contributes to a new EC project for water saving solutions for textile industry. This industry uses a vast amount of water for different steps in the textile dyeing process. It also produces a lot of wastewater, which contains a range of chemicals and dyes.

Breakthrough innovations are needed in energy intensive industries to recycle water and create closed loops in industrial processes. 20% of global industrial water pollution comes from textile manufacturing. To reduce the high amount of freshwater used in textile industry, the EC-funded Waste2Fresh project will develop a closed-loop process for textile manufacturing factories in which wastewater is collected, recycled and used again. Novel and innovative catalytic degradation approaches with highly selective separation and extraction techniques will be developed, based on nanotechnology. According to the European Commission, such “closed loops“ would significantly reduce the use of fresh water and improve water availability in the relevant EU water catchment areas, as outlined in the Water Framework Directive.

Closed loop recycling system for wastewater from textile manufacturers
Waste2Fresh meets the above challenges and industry needs by developing and demonstrating (to TRL 7) a closed loop recycling system for wastewater from textile manufacturing factories; to counteract freshwater resource scarcities and water pollution challenges exacerbated by energy intensive industries which are major users of fresh water (for e.g., processing, washing, heating, cooling).

The Waste2Fresh technology is developed to reduce current use of freshwater resources and considerably increases the recovery of water, energy and other resources (organics, salts and heavy metals). The result is a 30% increase in resource and water efficiency compared to the state-of-the-art. The system will ultimately lead to considerable environmental improvements and accordingly reduce the EC and global environmental footprint.

Fraunhofer IBMT expertise in human-toxicity and -safety testing
The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT will be primarily responsible for performing nanotoxicity and nanosafety testing during the whole technology process (from development to demonstration), ensuring that the developed system and processes meet relevant safety regulations. The Fraunhofer IBMT collaborates with all consortium partners developing and using to develop approaches for ensuring that the developed nanomaterial-based components meet relevant health and safety standards during their use.

For the hazard assessment of the developed nanomaterials, the Fraunhofer IBMT will perform a set of in vitro toxicity studies using commercially available human cell lines. The results of this toxicity studies will be the basis for the development of relevant safety procedures for handling and using the developed recycling technology.

 

Project funding: H2020-EU.2.1.5.3. - Sustainable, resource-efficient and low-carbon technologies in energy-intensive process industries

Duration: 12/2020- 11/2023

Coordinator:
KONYA TEKNIK UNIVERSITESI, Turkey

Project partners:
CENTRE FOR PROCESS INNOVATION LIMITED LBG, United Kingdom
ERAK GIYIM SANAYI VE TICARET ANONIM SIRKETI, Turkey
FRAUNHOFER GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER ANGEWANDTEN FORSCHUNG E.V., Fraunhofer-Institut für Biomedizinische Technik IBMT, Germany
INNOVATION IN RESEARCH & ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS, Belgium
INSTYTUT MOLEKULYARNOI BIOLOGII I GENETYKY NAN UKRAINY, Ukraine
L'UREDERRA, FUNDACION PARA EL DESARROLLO TECNOLOGICO Y SOCIAL, Spain
NANOFIQUE LIMITED, United Kingdom
NANOGENTECH LTD, United Kingdom
PCI MEMBRANES SPOLKA Z OGRANICZONA ODPOWIEDZIALNOSCIA, Poland
STIFTELSE CSDI WATERTECH, Norway
THE OPEN UNIVERSITY, United Kingdom
ULUDAG CEVRE TEKNOLOJILERI ARGE MERKEZI SANAYI VE TICARET LIMITED SIRKETI, Turkey
UNIVERSIDAD INDUSTRIAL DE SANTANDER, Colombia
UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI TRENTO, Italy
VEREALA GMBH, Switzerland
VSI SOCIALINES INOVACIJOS SVARESNEI APLINKAI, Lithiani

(c) Porsche AG
04.05.2021

Fraunhofer: Lightweight and Ecology in Automotive Construction

  • The “Bioconcept-Car” moves ahead

In automobile racing, lightweight bodies made from plastic and carbon fibers have been standard for many years because they enable drivers to reach the finish line more quickly. In the future, lightweight-construction solutions could help reduce the energy consumption and emissions of everyday vehicles. The catch is that the production of carbon fibers is not only expensive but also consumes considerable amounts of energy and petroleum. In collaboration with Porsche Motorsport and Four Motors, researchers at the Fraunhofer WKI have succeeded in replacing the carbon fibers in a car door with natural fibers. This is already being installed in small series at Porsche. The project team is now taking the next step: Together with HOBUM Oleochemicals, they want to maximize the proportion of renewable raw materials in the door and other body parts - using bio-based plastics and paints.

  • The “Bioconcept-Car” moves ahead

In automobile racing, lightweight bodies made from plastic and carbon fibers have been standard for many years because they enable drivers to reach the finish line more quickly. In the future, lightweight-construction solutions could help reduce the energy consumption and emissions of everyday vehicles. The catch is that the production of carbon fibers is not only expensive but also consumes considerable amounts of energy and petroleum. In collaboration with Porsche Motorsport and Four Motors, researchers at the Fraunhofer WKI have succeeded in replacing the carbon fibers in a car door with natural fibers. This is already being installed in small series at Porsche. The project team is now taking the next step: Together with HOBUM Oleochemicals, they want to maximize the proportion of renewable raw materials in the door and other body parts - using bio-based plastics and paints.

Carbon fibers reinforce plastics and therefore provide lightweight components with the necessary stability. Mass-produced natural fibers are not only more cost-effective but can also be produced in a considerably more sustainable manner. For the “Bioconcept-Car” pilot vehicle, researchers at the Fraunhofer WKI have developed body parts with 100 percent natural fibers as reinforcing components.

“We utilize natural fibers, such as those made from hemp, flax or jute. Whilst natural fibers exhibit lower stiffnesses and strengths compared to carbon fibers, the values achieved are nonetheless sufficient for many applications,” explained Ole Hansen, Project Manager at the Fraunhofer WKI. Due to their naturally grown structure, natural fibers dampen sound and vibrations more effectively. Their lesser tendency to splinter can help to reduce the risk of injury in the event of an accident. Furthermore, they do not cause skin irritation during processing.

The bio-based composites were successfully tested by the Four Motors racing team in the “Bioconcept-Car” on the racetrack under extreme conditions. Porsche has actually been using natural fiber-reinforced plastics in a small series of the Cayman GT4 Clubsport since 2019. During production, the researchers at the Fraunhofer WKI also conducted an initial ecological assessment based on material and energy data. “We were able to determine that the utilized natural-fiber fabric has a better environmental profile in its production, including the upstream chains, than the fabric made from carbon. Thermal recycling after the end of its service life should also be possible without any problems,” confirmed Ole Hansen.

In the next project phase of the "Bioconcept-Car", the researchers at the Fraunhofer WKI, in collaboration with the cooperation partners HOBUM Oleochemicals GmbH, Porsche Motorsport and Four Motors, will develop a vehicle door with a biogenic content of 85 percent in the overall composite consisting of fibers and resin. They intend to achieve this by, amongst other things, utilizing bio-based resin-hardener blends as well as bio-based paint systems. The practicality of the door - and possibly additional components - will again be tested by Four Motors on the racetrack. If the researchers are successful, it may be possible to transfer the acquired knowledge into series production at Porsche.

The German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) is funding the “Bioconcept-Car” project via the project-management agency Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e. V. (FNR).

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, surface technology, 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.

 

  • EU Project ALMA: Thinking Ahead to Electromobility

E-mobility and lightweight construction are two crucial building blocks of modern vehicle development to drive the energy transition. They are the focus of the ALMA project (Advanced Light Materials and Processes for the Eco-Design of Electric Vehicles). Nine European organizations are now working in the EU project to develop more energy-efficient and sustainable vehicles. Companies from research and industry are optimizing the efficiency and range of electric vehicles, among other things by reducing the weight of the overall vehicle. The Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM is providing support with mathematical simulation expertise.

According to the low emissions mobility strategy, the European Union aims to have at least 30 million zero-emission vehicles on its roads by 2030. Measures to support jobs, growth, investment, and innovation are taken to tackle emissions from the transport sector. To make transport more climate-friendly, EU measures are being taken to promote jobs, investment and innovation. The European Commission's Horizon 2020 project ALMA represents one of these measures.

26.01.2021

DBU-Funding: From 3D Knitting Machines to Washing without Water

Environmental protection through digitalization - funding for start-ups

Clothing on-demand, a new type of textile cleaning and locally generated green electricity - these three business ideas of “Digitale Strickmanufaktur” (Krefeld), “Infinity Startup” (Aachen) and “prosumergy” (Kassel) convinced the Green Start-up Program’s jury of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU). They will receive a total of around 370,000 euros in technical and financial support.

The DBU promotes company foundations and start-ups that combine solutions for the environment, ecology and sustainability in an innovative way with a focus on digitalization.
General conditions for promotion:

Environmental protection through digitalization - funding for start-ups

Clothing on-demand, a new type of textile cleaning and locally generated green electricity - these three business ideas of “Digitale Strickmanufaktur” (Krefeld), “Infinity Startup” (Aachen) and “prosumergy” (Kassel) convinced the Green Start-up Program’s jury of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU). They will receive a total of around 370,000 euros in technical and financial support.

The DBU promotes company foundations and start-ups that combine solutions for the environment, ecology and sustainability in an innovative way with a focus on digitalization.
General conditions for promotion:

  • in the founding phase as well as start-ups up to 5 years old
  • up to 125,000€ per project
  • up to 24 months duration

A cloud service for retail
The “Digitale Strickmanufaktur” wants to change the clothing industry sustainably. The founders are developing a cloud service that is directly linked to retail. Customers of the " “Digitale Strickmanufaktur” can order individualized garments in which size, color and design are adapted to their wishes. The order data is then transferred using the cloud, an online storage medium. They can be retrieved at any place in the world.

First order - then produce
If a customer orders a hat, for example, the order is automatically transmitted to 3D knitting machines. Then production begins, followed by shipment of the goods. The “Digitale Strickmanufaktur” produces knitwear on demand completely automatically with robots and a 3D knitting machine.

In this way, sales can be planned for retailers and not too much clothing is produced. Additionally: The products are manufactured close to the customer in Germany. Long transport routes and times are eliminated.

Washing without washing machine
The “RefresherBoxx” of the “Infinity Startup” is basically a mobile textile cleaner that does not require water or detergent. “Using a combination of different physical methods, it disinfects, dries and refreshes all kinds of textiles - especially those that can't be put in the washing machine, like leather, velvet and silk,” explains founder Stefan Chang. The “RefresherBoxx” is gentler, more environmentally friendly and only takes 30 minutes for one washing phase. According to Chang, the mobile textile cleaning system can be used in the medical sector, but also in the private and leisure sector.

Local power for commerce and e-mobility
The start-up "prosumergy" offers building owners and tenants a low-cost power supply from renewable energies that are mainly generated locally. "With the help of the DBU, we want to further develop our energy supply approach. By means of standardization and digitization, we want to develop concepts for the decentralized power supply of commercial properties and charging solutions for e-mobility," says founder Lena Cielejewski.

25 founding teams already funded
The three founding teams will now be funded for two years in the DBU's Green Start-up program. "They bring together solutions for the environment, ecology and sustainability with a focus on digitalization in an innovative way," said DBU Start-up coordinator Dr. Stefanie Grade. 22 other companies have already convinced the selection committee of themselves since the program was launched.

Contact details
Digitale Strickmanufaktur PoC GmbH (Krefeld)
Connecting textile trade and automated textile production with the help of cloud services
Contact Mr. Christian Zarbl
URL: digitale-strickmanufaktur.de

Infinity StartUp GmbH (Aachen)
Development, production and distribution of cleaning equipment for textiles, especially using physical methods, as well as development of related applications.
Contact Mr. Stefan Chang
URL: refresherboxx.com

prosumergy GmbH (Kassel)
prosumergy GmbH realizes decentralized energy supply projects as project developer and energy supplier
Contact Christopher Neumann
URL: prosumergy.de

Emma4Drive (c) Fraunhofer ITWM
03.11.2020

EMMA4Drive - Dynamic human model for more safety and comfort in autonomous vehicles

  • DFG and Fraunhofer support trilateral project on autonomous driving

For many employees, it is an inviting vision of the future: to drive to work in their own car and still make good use of the travel time: Reading news, checking e-mails or relaxing and enjoying the first coffee of the day. In the future, passengers of autonomous vehicles will be able to pursue new activities. However, this will require new (software) tools to understand customers’ expectations, strengthen trust and demonstrate safety. With the EMMA4Drive project, the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are funding the development of a dynamic human model for the development of (partially) autonomously driving vehicles.

  • DFG and Fraunhofer support trilateral project on autonomous driving

For many employees, it is an inviting vision of the future: to drive to work in their own car and still make good use of the travel time: Reading news, checking e-mails or relaxing and enjoying the first coffee of the day. In the future, passengers of autonomous vehicles will be able to pursue new activities. However, this will require new (software) tools to understand customers’ expectations, strengthen trust and demonstrate safety. With the EMMA4Drive project, the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are funding the development of a dynamic human model for the development of (partially) autonomously driving vehicles.

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM and the company fleXstructures are developing a muscle-activated human model together with scientists from the Institute for Engineering and Computational Mechanics (ITM) at the University of Stuttgart.

This model dynamically simulates the interaction of human body parts and the vehicle seat during driving maneuvers. The resulting software prototype, EMMA4Drive, will be used as a digital image of the passenger and will analyze and evaluate his safety and ergonomics during driving maneuvers.

Realistic movements instead of quasi-static investigations
So far, human models have been used either in crash simulations to estimate the risk of injury or in ergonomic analyses. In crash analyses, detailed, computationally intensive models are used for calculations in the millisecond range, which are not suitable for the simulation of dynamic driving maneuvers, because here longer processes have to be simulated. In contrast, human models for ergonomics analysis are based on the simplified kinematics of a multi-body model and so far, only allow quasi-static investigations. Realistic postures and movements during new activities can only be modeled with a lot of effort using these models.

"The by us developed prototypical human model EMMA uses an optimization algorithm to automatically calculate new postures and movement sequences with the associated muscle activities," explains Dr. Joachim Linn, head of the department "Mathematics for the Digital Factory" at the Fraunhofer ITWM, the special feature of EMMA. "This means that the new motion sequences for (partially) autonomous driving can be implemented and examined comparatively easily in the simulation model - for example when the driver takes over the steering wheel."

EMMA4Drive thus enables a comparatively simple implementation of new movement patterns and an efficient virtual examination of safety, comfort and ergonomics in (partially) autonomous driving. "Our goal is to have a further developed prototype of our digital human model EMMA available at the end of the project, which we can use to investigate and improve seating and operating concepts when driving semi-autonomous or fully autonomous vehicles," Joachim Linn explains.

DFG and Fraunhofer support six trilateral projects with EUR 5 million
In the trilateral project EMMA4Drive, the University of Stuttgart contributes extensive experience in the fields of active human modeling, vehicle safety and model reduction. The Fraunhofer ITWM contributes expertise in multibody-based human modeling and motion optimization by means of optimal control. The company fleXstructures develops, distributes and maintains the software family IPS including the digital human model IPS IMMA, which simulates motion sequences during assembly work.

"EMMA4Drive - Dynamic human model for autonomous driving" is one of six projects funded by the DFG and Fraunhofer. The aim of the EUR five million funding is to involve companies in research innovations at an early stage. Three project partners each from universities, Fraunhofer Institutes and industry are cooperating on the basis of a joint working program. The Fraunhofer experts take the lead in the exploitation of the project results for the application partners or other interested parties from industry.

Source:

Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM

pixabay: stock exchange2 (c) pixabay
27.10.2020

Medium-sized Businesses: High debt, declining Profits and Financing Gap due to Covid-19

  • After the corona shock, European SMEs are showing very high levels of debt, a considerable deterioration in profitability in some cases, and insufficient capitalization
  • The Covid-19 pandemic is particularly affecting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in France and Italy
  • Compared to its European counterparts, German SMEs have come through the crisis relatively well so far
  • Already before the crisis 20% "zombies" among Italian SMEs, in France 11%, Germany 10%  

In France and Italy in particular, the Covid-19 pandemic is taking a toll on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): they are currently lacking financial resources totaling an estimated EUR 100 billion - despite the extensive economic stimulus packages and after the exclusion of so-called "zombie" companies.

  • After the corona shock, European SMEs are showing very high levels of debt, a considerable deterioration in profitability in some cases, and insufficient capitalization
  • The Covid-19 pandemic is particularly affecting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in France and Italy
  • Compared to its European counterparts, German SMEs have come through the crisis relatively well so far
  • Already before the crisis 20% "zombies" among Italian SMEs, in France 11%, Germany 10%  

In France and Italy in particular, the Covid-19 pandemic is taking a toll on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): they are currently lacking financial resources totaling an estimated EUR 100 billion - despite the extensive economic stimulus packages and after the exclusion of so-called "zombie" companies. In Germany too, SMEs lacking around EUR three billion of financial resources for a sufficient recapitalization. In view of the lack of EUR 70 billion in Italy and around EUR 29 billion in France, however, the local SMEs are in a much better position. This is the conclusion of a recent analysis by the world's leading credit insurer Euler Hermes.

"European SMEs have a very high level of debt, significantly deteriorated profitability and insufficient capitalization," Ron van het Hof, CEO of Euler Hermes in Germany, Austria and Switzerland says. "In the medium term, this is a very bad combination for the solvency of these companies. In Italy and France in particular, Covid-19 is making the situation increasingly acute, even if the numerous economic stimulus packages have at least avoided a short-term liquidity crisis. German SMEs have once again proven to be relatively robust and have so far come through the crisis relatively well compared to their European counterparts."

In this country too, debt has increased as a result of numerous liquidity measures. In France in particular, however, it is almost twice as high in relation to gross domestic product (81% of GDP) as in Germany (43% of GDP). In Italy, the debt of 65% of GDP is above average also in a European comparison (average: 63%).

In terms of profitability, French SMEs are at the bottom of the European league
"French small and medium-sized companies are now at the bottom of the European league in terms of profitability, even behind Italy," Ana Boata, Head of Macroeconomics at Euler Hermes says. "The profitability of French SMEs has fallen dramatically by 7 percentage points (pp) since the beginning of the year compared to -0.6 pp in Germany. In Italy, we estimate that profitability has also fallen by up to 3pp[1]. With 33%, the equity ratio in Italy is the lowest and thus well below the 40% that is generally considered as being adequate. Accordingly, Italy is the country where the greatest need for additional funding for recapitalization exists."

In France, the equity ratio of SMEs is 37%, while in Germany, at 39%, only slightly below the recommended capital adequacy level. In their analysis, the economists have already deducted such companies that were already practically unviable before the Covid 19 pandemic.

"A majority of medium-sized companies are proving to be very robust even in the current crisis, especially in Germany, Van het Hof says. "This fact, however, must not hide the fact that there are numerous zombie companies in their shadow in Europe - even before the Covid-19 pandemic. In Italy, for example, even before the crisis, around one-fifth of the SMEs were no longer economically viable, while in France (11%) and Germany (10%) only about half as many were known. However, this number is likely to have increased dramatically with the current crisis, as have the financing requirements of SMEs. The situation will be particularly tight for companies and sectors that had little buffer before the crisis."

In Germany, the equity ratio before the pandemic was particularly low in the transportation industry: in shipping it was around 32%, in aviation 29%. With Covid-19 the existing financing gap has widened again. In France and Italy, companies in the hotel and restaurant industry as well as in mechanical engineering and trade had particularly bad starting positions and therefore have the greatest need for capital now.

The complete study can be found here: https://ots.de/lYcKea 

[1] Figures are currently available for Germany and France until H1 2020, in Italy only for Q1 2020. The decline in profitability of up to 3pp in Italy is an expert estimate.

Euler Hermes is the world leader in credit insurance and a recognized specialist in bonding and guarantees, debt collection and protection against fraud or political risks. Every day, Euler Hermes monitors and analyzes the insolvency of more than 80 million small, medium and multinational companies through its proprietary monitoring system. Overall, the expert analyses cover markets that account for 92% of the global gross domestic product (GDP).


Please read the attached document for notes regarding forward-looking statements.

Source:

Euler Hermes Deutschland

Photo: Wilhelm-Lorch-Foundation.
11.08.2020

Wilhelm Lorch Foundation: Demand and Support - Qualifying young and up-and-coming Talents

  • Interview with Klaus Kottmeier, Elke Giese, Markus Gotta, Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Maike Rabe

In June 1988, the shareholders and management of Deutscher Fachverlag announced the Wilhelm Lorch Foundation to the textile and garment industry. Its purpose is to promote vocational training, including student assistance as well as science and research.

Upon its establishment, the Foundation received an initial endowment of DM 300,000 from Deut-scher Fachverlag. Today, the Foundation has assets of approx. 2,85 m. Euro (as at Dec 2019). Since 1988, the foundation has awarded sponsorship prizes of around EUR 1,933,564 (as of June 2020) to date, in order to fund the initial and further training of young people from all areas of the textile industry, with a particular focus on young and up-and-coming talents.

  • Interview with Klaus Kottmeier, Elke Giese, Markus Gotta, Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Maike Rabe

In June 1988, the shareholders and management of Deutscher Fachverlag announced the Wilhelm Lorch Foundation to the textile and garment industry. Its purpose is to promote vocational training, including student assistance as well as science and research.

Upon its establishment, the Foundation received an initial endowment of DM 300,000 from Deut-scher Fachverlag. Today, the Foundation has assets of approx. 2,85 m. Euro (as at Dec 2019). Since 1988, the foundation has awarded sponsorship prizes of around EUR 1,933,564 (as of June 2020) to date, in order to fund the initial and further training of young people from all areas of the textile industry, with a particular focus on young and up-and-coming talents.

Textination talked to the former chairman of the supervisory board of Deutscher Fachverlag GmbH, the current member of the executive board and founding member of the foundation, Klaus Kottmeier, as well as three members of the board of trustees: Mrs. Elke Giese - trend analyst and fashion journalist, Markus Gotta, managing director of Deutscher Fachverlag GmbH, and Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Maike Rabe, who will take over the chairmanship of the foundation board on September 1, 2020, about the challenging task of continuing successfully the foundation's work in an environment characterized by the pandemic.

The figure 3 seems to play a very special role for the Wilhelm Lorch Foundation (WLS). In 1988 announced on the occasion of the 30th Forum of the TextilWirtschaft, it was endowed with assets of DM 300,000. 2019 marked the 30th anniversary of the award of the sponsorship prizes. If you had to introduce the WLS in 100 words to someone who does not know the foundation: Which 3 aspects have particularly influenced its development and made it unique?

Klaus Kottmeier: In more than 30 years the WLS has been in existence, the foundation has received great support all over the sector from the very beginning. This continues to this day and is not only reflected in the financial support provided by generous grants, but above all in an active commitment of many sector leaders on the foundation board and board of trustees. A second aspect is the unique range in the topics of the support, which extends across design, business and technology, covering young talents in retail as well as university graduates, but also involving educational institutions themselves. And thirdly, the motivation of so many applicants we experience every year, who prepare their applications with incredible diligence and thus impressively demonstrate their willingness to perform.

 

The name of the foundation is a tribute to Wilhelm Lorch, the publisher and founder of the trade journal Textil-Wirtschaft and thus of Deutscher Fachverlag, who died in 1966. Which of his characteristics and traits do you still see as exemplary for the next generation in our industry today?

Klaus Kottmeier: We are a publishing media house where professional journalism based on sound research always forms the basis. This is associated with classic values such as entrepreneurial courage and will, diligence and discipline, but also a sense of responsibility and team spirit, which were exemplified by our founder and which still form the culture of our company today. These all are qualities young people should take to heart and which, coupled with a passion for their profession, encourage them to continue on their path.

 

According to its statutes, the primary purpose of the foundation is the awarding of "... awards and prizes to graduates of continuation schools of the German retail textile trade, textile-technical training institutes and [...] for final degree or doctoral theses from universities, as far as these deal with textile topics.” How nationally and internationally does the WLS work?

Prof. Maike Rabe: The prizes are mainly awarded to graduates and applicants from Germany and German-speaking countries, but there are also always talents from Europe, who have close ties to the German market.

Markus Gotta: The focus is clearly on the core market of Germany or Germany-Austria-Switzerland respectively, which we cover with the TW - accordingly, we do not advertise internationally, but there is no exclusion for foreign applicants, the only requirement is that the submitted works and reports must be written in German or English.

 

Over the past 31 years in which the foundation has been awarding prizes to people, projects and works, you have met many young talents who have moved our industry or will certainly do so. Are there any unusual stories or special award winners that have remained in your memory? And how do you assess the development of the applicants' educational level over the years?

Elke Giese: The applicants come from very different schools and universities, differing significantly in their profiles and focus. The demands on teaching have grown enormously, especially as a result of increasing digitization. Since the job profiles in the fashion business are also constantly changing and will continue to be subject to major changes in the future, the challenges for schools and students remain very high.
From each year, particularly talented and creative personalities remain in one's memory. To name one, Elisa Paulina Herrmann from Pforzheim, who was twice among the prize winners in 2017 and 2019 with her bachelor's and then master's thesis. Her ability and originality were overwhelming for the board of trustees. She now creates exclusive knitwear collections for Gucci. Among the young men is Niels Holger Wien, who received WLS funding in 1995. He has been the specialist for color trends and zeitgeist of the German Fashion Institute for many years and is currently president of the world's most important color committee INTERCOLOR.

Klaus Kottmeier: There are many award winners who have subsequently made a great career, to name just one example, Dr. Oliver Pabst, current CEO of Mammut Sports Group AG and WLS award winner in 1994.

 

Due to its proximity to TextilWirtschaft, the foundation is primarily associated with fashion design and topics related to clothing production or marketing. In 2020 you have put Smart Textiles in the virtual spotlight with two project sponsorships. How do you see future topics in the field of technical textiles? Can you imagine creating a new focus on that field?

Prof. Maike Rabe: First of all, the WLS supports talented young people who, thanks to their training, can take up a career in the entire textile and clothing industry. Of course, this also includes the field of technical textiles, which is of great importance in terms of production in Germany being a technological leader. Here the boundaries to clothing are fluid, just think of outdoor or sports equipment.    „    

Klaus Kottmeier: Our excellently staffed board of trustees is open to all innovative topics in the industry. Innovations in the field of technical textiles in particular are important topics for the future. In 2017, for example, the sponsorship award went to the Anna-Siemsen-School, a vocational school for textile technology and clothing in Hanover, through which we supported the procurement of a pattern design software.

 

The Wilhelm Lorch Foundation has set itself the goal of supporting qualified young people in the textile and fashion industry. However, you preclude the support for business start-ups. In times, in which start-ups receive increasing attention not only through corresponding TV formats but also through industry associations, there must be reasons for this. What are they and how do you assess future prospects?

Klaus Kottmeier: Support for business start-ups is precluded by §2 of our statutes, which defines the purpose of the foundation. The WLS is exclusively dedicated to the charitable purpose. Support for start-ups and business start-ups would contradict this. We therefore concentrate fully on the further education of young professionals in the sector and the promotion of educational institutions, from which the entire sector benefits.

Prof. Maike Rabe: WLS funding is aimed at further developing the skills of graduates and young talents from the sector. They should receive specific further training, possibly reach a further academic degree, and also learn in an interdisciplinary manner. All of this benefits the sector as a whole and this is our strict objective.


          
The foundation also promotes the training and further education of young and up-and-coming talents who are already working in the textile retail trade. Grants are available to cover course or study fees for further qualification. The closure of shops caused by the lockdown  during the pandemic hit the stationary retail trade hard, and even today we are still miles away from regular business operations. Against this background, how do you see focused funding opportunities for further training in the e-commerce sector?

Markus Gotta: The topics of stationary retail and e-commerce can't really be separated, both have long since become part of the basic requirements in fashion sales and thus also of the topics of training and further education in general.
 
Prof. Maike Rabe: E-commerce has become an integral part of our industry and is naturally reflected in many grants and subsidies. The junior staff members are allowed to make their own suggestions as to where and how they would like to train. We support this. But we would also like to strengthen the connection between stationary and digital trade in particular. Our prize winners have come up with wonderful concepts for both sales channels, and of course they can be combined.

 

Breaking new ground means willingness to make decisions, overcoming fears - and thus courage to fail. Not every project can succeed. In retrospect, which decisions in your foundation work are you particularly happy to have made?

Markus Gotta: That we implemented the Summer School project last year. We broke new ground with the foundation, and this - in cooperation with the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences - was very successful.

Elke Giese: Especially in the field of design and creation, it is important to recognize an applicant's future creative potential from the work at hand and the information provided by the applicant. I am therefore always particularly pleased when the board of trustees makes courageous and progressive decisions.    

 

The Wilhelm Lorch Foundation offers project funding of € 10,000 to universities and educational institutions. They do not make any thematic restrictions here, but simply demand that there must be a clear reference to the sustainable further training of young up-and-coming talents in the textile and fashion industry. According to which criteria do you finally decide which project will be funded?

Elke Giese: One criterion is the relevance for future developments in the textile and fashion industry. Projects in recent years have enabled schools and educational institutions to train on laser cutters and 3D printers, for example, but also to purchase modern knitting machines or software programs.

Prof. Maike Rabe: All the projects submitted are evaluated very strictly by the jury's experts using a points-based system. This results in a shortlist which is presented to the board of trustees and intensively discussed by them. In this way, we ensure that all submitted applications are honored and that we then award the Wilhelm Lorch Prize to the outstanding project submissions in a joint consensus. The most important criteria are sustainable teaching of innovative learning content, practical training and the feasibility of the submitted project.

 

There are many different definitions of sustainability. Customers expect everything under this term - from climate protection to ecology, from on-site production in the region to the exclusion of child labor etc. Public procurement is increasingly switching to sustainable textiles. What does this mean for WLS, and what are you doing to promote sustainable thinking and acting, not only among young professionals?

Prof. Maike Rabe: At the foundation, we base our definition of "sustainability" on the 1987 report of the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, the so-called Brundtland Commission: "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". The textile and clothing sector plays a pioneering role as a globally enormously connected industry with complex supply chains, which should definitely also play a model role. We therefore make it a priority for all award winners to observe these criteria and at the same time try to provide a platform for people who, through their work and actions, offer suggestions for improvement or even already implement improvements.

 

Virtual instead of red carpet: Usually the awards are presented in the festive setting of the TextilWirtschaft Forum. In 2020, due to the Covid-19, there was only a digital version in the form of a short film. How important do you consider networking opportunities that arise from meeting influential personalities face-to-face? Or has such a format become obsolete in the age of video conferencing?

Prof. Maike Rabe: It is certainly remarkable what digital event formats can achieve. But one thing doesn't work: spontaneity, personal contact and closeness. Therefor it is a real pity that the Forum had to be cancelled this year due to corona. Especially for career starters, the chance for direct networking is of great value.

Markus Gotta: The need for personal exchange and meetings will continue to be of great importance and demand in the future. And I can say at this point: We are already working on the plans for the TW Forum 2021 as a live and meeting event with the top decision-makers in the sector.

 

In which socially relevant areas do you see a particularly great need for innovation and action during the next five years? What is your assessment that funding - for example from the Wilhelm Lorch Foundation - can provide targeted support for solutions? And what role do the experiences from the corona pandemic play in this assessment?

Prof. Maike Rabe: We don't think in five-year periods, today's world requires much greater agility - this applies to the Foundation as well as to the entire industry. With each award we re-orientate ourselves towards current topics. Topics such as aesthetics, function and innovation will certainly continue to play a major role, as will quality instead of quantity, eco-social justice and customer loyalty. It is also important, however, that our economy, which is strongly supported by medium-sized companies, is clearly perceived by the public and in politics; we still have to work on that.

Klaus Kottmeier: I gladly agree with Prof. Rabe's closing statement. Agility is also of great importance in a media company like ours. We live in a constant transformation process with constant changes that have to be faced. The corona pandemic has shown us very impressively how quickly original plans can become waste. Today, and more than ever before in the future, a constant willingness to change is required, and this applies not only to us but also to our hopeful young employees.
 

The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius,
CEO 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) 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

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.