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Carl Meiser GmbH & Co. KG (c) Carl Meiser GmbH & Co. KG
06.10.2020

Nopma - Experts for antimicrobial finishing: Technical textile coatings from the Swabian Alb

The Carl Meiser GmbH & Co. KG - started in the early 1950s as a day- and nightwear manufacturer. Over the last 20 years the company has become a specialist in the field of technical textiles. With its brand nopma Technical Textiles the company is present as developer and producer of textile solutions via coatings. The main products are nopma anti-slip - textiles with anti-slip effect, nopma adhesion - adhesive pre-coated films, spacer fabrics and substrates for lamination in automotive interiors, nopma ceramics - abrasive more resistant textile surfaces and nopma silicones - silicone coatings on textile surfaces.

Textination talked to the managing director, Jens Meiser, who joined the company in 2005, realigned the division and developed it into a service provider, about his plans and objectives.

The Carl Meiser GmbH & Co. KG - started in the early 1950s as a day- and nightwear manufacturer. Over the last 20 years the company has become a specialist in the field of technical textiles. With its brand nopma Technical Textiles the company is present as developer and producer of textile solutions via coatings. The main products are nopma anti-slip - textiles with anti-slip effect, nopma adhesion - adhesive pre-coated films, spacer fabrics and substrates for lamination in automotive interiors, nopma ceramics - abrasive more resistant textile surfaces and nopma silicones - silicone coatings on textile surfaces.

Textination talked to the managing director, Jens Meiser, who joined the company in 2005, realigned the division and developed it into a service provider, about his plans and objectives.

Founded in 1952, Carl Meiser GmbH & Co.KG has changed from a day- and nightwear manufacturer to an innovator in the field of technical textiles, presenting themselves as a specialist for plastic-based coating processes. If you had to introduce yourself in 100 words to someone who does not know the company: What has influenced you most in this development process and what makes you unique?
Innovation is the new normal - This has been true for the textile industry not just since Sars CoV-2. Our industry was one of the first to be disrupted in the early 1990s and has always been subject to constant change. This urge for further development, which is essential for survival, has left its mark on us intensively and has enabled us to manage huge leaps in innovation in recent years

Today we regard ourselves as an innovative development and production service provider with a focus on textile coating. We develop and produce almost exclusively customized special solutions.

Through the combination of coatings on textiles these hybrid materials receive completely new properties.

You manufacture exclusively at your location in Germany. Why? Have you never been tempted to set up subsidiaries in other countries, for example to benefit from lower wage levels?
Today we supply global supply chains from our headquarter in southern Germany. Although we produce in a high-wage country, much more important for us are know-how and the drive of our team to create something new. Globalization will continue to be the key to success in the future. Therefore, subsidiaries in North America and Asia could be very interesting for us in the medium- and long-term perspective. However, this is still too early for us.

You use CIP and Kaizen techniques intensively in your company. How did a Japanese concept come about in the Swabian Alb?
KAIZEN, the change for the better, are actually German virtues. The urge to improve and optimize things is in all of us. Due to the continuous improvement process we do not stand still but evolve constantly. Besides, there is the personal affinity to Japan. A look at another culture simply opens the horizon. And if you additionally recognize parallels in the working methods, it’s even better. 

10 years ago, you turned your attention to new markets: aviation, automotive, protection, caravan and furniture manufacturing, to name just a few. Some of these segments have collapsed significantly during the Covid 19 pandemic. What market development do you expect in the medium term and what consequences will this have for your company?
Of course, the aviation or automotive industry, for example, have substantial problems during or due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Quite honestly, many of these problems existed before. They were further tightened, as if a fire accelerator has been used. Of course, these cut-backs are also hitting us hard economically. But we are pursuing long-term goals. As a medium-sized company, you have to have the resilience to continue on your path. Thanks to our specialisation and the split of our industrial sectors, which we drive forward every day, we manage to decouple ourselves more and more from economic developments in individual industries. For our customers this is a great advantage of relying on a very stable partner with long-term orientation.

We are positive about the future. Megatrends like sustainability, digitization and ongoing globalization will lead to new business models in the above-mentioned sectors, as in many others, and to renewed growth. Our coatings on textiles and flexible woven materials can contribute a wide range of solutions to this. If, for example, materials become lighter with identical usage properties or suddenly become biodegradable, because of biodegradable plastics, many new opportunities will arise.

Tailor-made instead of solutions for major customers: The topic of individualization down to batch size 1 is making up a large part of the discussion today. In 2015, you opened a large development laboratory where you have a wide range of testing technologies for textiles and plastics available. What do you think about individual product solutions, and in which application areas have you successfully implemented them?
In principle, we do not use any standards. We live individualization with the smallest possible batch sizes. In our field, we do not manage batch size 1, but we start with MOQs of 300 running meters at process-safe series production. We have very few finished products, and above all we have no collections. Our development laboratory is the key for this. Together with our customers we have the possibilities to realize very lean development processes.

Even on a laboratory scale, we can develop and test new products within just a few hours. We then strive to scale up to production at a very early stage in order to obtain production series results. This way, we offer our clients speed and power that represent a special potential for our partners.

You register important input factors in the production process and evaluate them in monthly environmental analyses. What are these factors in concrete terms and to what extent have their analyses already changed production operations? How do you define environmental management for your company?
For us, environmental management means a holistic approach. In principle, we operate production units and manufacture products that consume many resources. Due to the high production volumes, this continues to accumulate. Because of this, it is self-understanding that we record and evaluate our input and output flows and derive measures from them. This makes economic sense, but is also necessary because of our responsibility for our environment. Specifically, these are energy consumption values, consumption data of primary chemicals, electricity load peaks, our Co2 footprint, just to name a few. This consideration has changed us in many areas. Today we operate a power plant with gas condensing technology, our free roof areas are greened or carry photovoltaic modules, we offer our employees and visitors electric filling stations and finally we have converted the entire power supply of our factory to environmentally friendly hydroelectric power.

With nopma, you have been building up a brand for the technical textiles industry since several years and communicate this via an Individual website parallel to Carl Meiser GmbH & Co. KG. How did this brand name come about and what is the product portfolio behind it?
This is the name of a first technical textile product from the 1990s. It was a textile - coated with dots. Dots on a knitted fabric. NOPMA. My father created this brand.

In 2016 you invested in an additional production line for nopma products and were able to start a directly serial delivery in the NAFTA area. How do you currently assess the market opportunities for North America and Mexico?
We continue to see opportunities in globalization and thus on the North American market also. However, these markets are still severely affected by the pandemic and there are major distortions. When these return to normal, we surely will see more success on these markets again.

As an innovation leader, Meiser offers solvent-free PU adhesive systems as pre-coatings for lamination. How do you assess the importance of such innovations in the context of REACH?
These innovations offer our customers the opportunity to decouple themselves from the pressure REACH triggers in some industries. However, we also have some products that have been developed newly in recent months. This keeps us busy, but also creates opportunities to open up new market segments.

How have you felt about the corona era to date - as a company and personally? What would you on no account want to go through again and what might you even consider maintaining on a daily basis?
I think this time has also strengthened us as a society, as people and even as entrepreneurs. Each crisis you go through makes you a little more relaxed for the unforeseen, but also more motivated to achieve your goals. In my opinion, there have been a lot of positive things in the last few months. Suddenly, for example, digitalization tools have become accepted in our everyday lives, and I feel that people are paying more attention to others again. Hopefully this will stay this way.

The futuristic "tube" escalator at the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall is just as impressive as the building itself and the longest escalator in western Europe. In August, a start-up based in Cologne installed an UV technology that keeps the handrails clean at all times. At the same time, you presented an antiviral functional coating that can be applied to all textiles in the form of yard goods. How does this work and for what purposes will this technology be suitable?
We have already been working with antimicrobial finishing techniques for many years. This already started with the swine flu in 2009/2010, when we made initial contacts with a young start-up and launched a development. Due to a lack of market interest, however, this had to be discontinued after a few months. Today we are experts in the field of "antimicrobial equipment by means of coatings". We were also able to build up an enormous amount of knowledge on the subject of approval and biocide regulation. Today, we can support our customers holistically in these areas. The function by skin-compatible active substances from the cosmetics sector with a vesicle booster can kill viruses and bacteria within a few minutes.
Since the pandemic has shown us the enormous importance of a new level of hygiene, the applications are very diverse and differentiated. We have already realized the use in personal protective equipment, work furniture, vehicles and for example gloves. In principle, every application is predestined where textile carriers are exposed to many touches by different persons in high frequency. Here our nopma products offer a new level of protection and hygiene.

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?
We fail again and again. This is part of the game. But it has never happened that we did not learn anything. The pandemic situation is another good example. In spring we accepted our corporate responsibility for our society and were one of two companies in Baden-Württemberg to achieve certification for FFP protective masks. Since we did not want to participate in the revolver market at that time, we offered these products only to the public sector at favourable pre-crisis prices. However, the decision makers could not make up their minds for weeks and did not order. This disappointed our whole team very much at that time. Today we have overcome this and have taken a lot of knowledge with us from this development.


The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

Venue Messe Frakfurt (c) Mese Frankfurt GmbH
22.09.2020

Heimtextil 2021 to be held in May

The next Heimtextil has been postponed from January and will now be held concurrently with Techtextil and Texprocess 2021 in Frankfurt from 4 to 7 May 2021. This will result in exciting synergistic effects for the sector.
 
The current situation with respect to the corona pandemic and the associated international travel restrictions have caused Messe Frankfurt to postpone the next Heimtextil, the world’s biggest trade fair for home and contract textiles, from the planned dates in January until 4 to 7 May 2021.
     

The next Heimtextil has been postponed from January and will now be held concurrently with Techtextil and Texprocess 2021 in Frankfurt from 4 to 7 May 2021. This will result in exciting synergistic effects for the sector.
 
The current situation with respect to the corona pandemic and the associated international travel restrictions have caused Messe Frankfurt to postpone the next Heimtextil, the world’s biggest trade fair for home and contract textiles, from the planned dates in January until 4 to 7 May 2021.
     
“The bulk of the international home and contract textiles sector want us to hold Heimtextil 2021. Many companies are hoping to give their businesses a boost by taking part in the fair following the restart. And we consider it a greater obligation than ever before that we play our part in this”, explains Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt. “However, the current travel restrictions and the renewed increase in the number of infections represent a big hurdle for our very international trade fair. We are in constant contact with our exhibitors and the appropriate authorities and will do everything in our power to ensure a safe and successful Heimtextil 2021.”

Over 90 percent of exhibitors come to Heimtextil in Frankfurt from outside Germany. As part of the preparatory work for an international trade fair of this kind in January, it is necessary, for example, to commission stand-construction companies, ship the goods and book flights and hotels in September. Thus, in view of the current travel restrictions, holding Heimtextil 2021 in May instead of January offers greater planning certainty for all involved.
 
“The trend-oriented order cycles of the home and contract textiles sector require an annual event towards the beginning of the year. Techtextil and Texprocess are biennial trade fairs and are next due to be held in May 2021. For Heimtextil, this is an opportunity to join forces with the two internationally successful textile trade fairs and present the entire textile value chain simultaneously at Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre”, says Olaf Schmidt, Vice President Textiles and Textile Technologies.

Additionally, holding Heimtextil concurrently with Techtextil, the leading international trade fair for technical textiles and nonwovens, and Texprocess, the leading international trade fair for processing textile and flexible materials, offers a host of exciting synergistic effects for the sector.

The close proximity to suppliers and buyers of technical textiles and nonwovens with innovative functionalities, as well as machines and the latest technologies for processing textile and flexible materials, is certain to generate interesting new perspectives for both visitors and exhibitors of Heimtextil. Indeed, the two textile fairs already aim at the home-textile sector with the ‘Hometech’ segment.
 
“We are confident that the situation with respect to the corona pandemic will have eased significantly by May, next year, and are looking forward to holding a successful and safe event together with our partners from the sector”, says Olaf Schmidt.

NEU: Nextrade - the digital marketplace
For the first time, Messe Frankfurt will provide a supplementary digital service in connection with Heimtextil 2021: Nextrade, an order and data-management portal offering new opportunities through digital 24/7 business relationships between trade-fair participants, especially against the background of the Covid-19 pandemic. There, dealers can place their orders with suppliers around the clock and, therefore, do so independently of any official pandemic regulations applying at the time. Nextrade also offers suppliers completely new sales and distribution channels, especially internationally. Nextrade was launched in conjunction with the Ambiente, Tendence and Nordstil consumer-goods and lifestyle trade fairs. As the first digital B2B market place for home and living, the portal brings together demand and supply from the whole sector and thus produces great value added for both sides:: www.nextrade.market

Techtextil / Texprocess
At the biennial Techtextil, the leading international trade fair for the sector in Frankfurt am Main, international exhibitors present the complete spectrum of technical textiles, functional apparel textiles and textile technologies for all areas of application. Techtextil is held concurrently with Texprocess, the leading trade for the garment and textile processing industry, which is aimed primarily at manufacturers of garments, fashions, upholstered furniture and leather products.

More information:
Heimtextil 2021
Source:

Messe Frankfurt GmbH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

This interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

Photo: Pixabay
28.04.2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source:

Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics, ITWM

TECHNICAL TEXTILES CONTINUE STEDAY RISE IN SHARE OF TOTAL EU TEXTILE PRODUCTION Foto: Gerd Altmann, Pixabay
26.11.2019

TECHNICAL TEXTILES CONTINUE STEDAY RISE IN SHARE OF TOTAL EU TEXTILE PRODUCTION

  • European Textile and Clothing Sector consolidates satisfactory evolution in 2018

The EU textile and Clothing industry finished the year 2018 with a consolidation of the positive key figures achieved over the last 5 years. First data published by Eurostat enhanced by EURATEX’s own calculations and estimates show a total industry turnover of € 178 billion, a minimal increase to last year’s € 177.6 billion, but significantly above the 2013 figure of € 163.8 billion. Investments of € 5.0 billion again increased slightly, as they did every year since 2013.

Employment of 1.66 million registered a small dip compared to 2017 but remained essentially unchanged over the last 5 years – a remarkable achievement for a sector that keeps realizing labour efficiencies. As a result, the average turnover per employee has increased from 97,000 € in 2013 to 107,000 € in 2018. Over the last 10 years, turnover and value-added per employee have increased by over 30%.

  • European Textile and Clothing Sector consolidates satisfactory evolution in 2018

The EU textile and Clothing industry finished the year 2018 with a consolidation of the positive key figures achieved over the last 5 years. First data published by Eurostat enhanced by EURATEX’s own calculations and estimates show a total industry turnover of € 178 billion, a minimal increase to last year’s € 177.6 billion, but significantly above the 2013 figure of € 163.8 billion. Investments of € 5.0 billion again increased slightly, as they did every year since 2013.

Employment of 1.66 million registered a small dip compared to 2017 but remained essentially unchanged over the last 5 years – a remarkable achievement for a sector that keeps realizing labour efficiencies. As a result, the average turnover per employee has increased from 97,000 € in 2013 to 107,000 € in 2018. Over the last 10 years, turnover and value-added per employee have increased by over 30%.

The brightest spot again is the export figure, which grew by 7% compared to last year and for the first time reached € 50 billion. The industry’s extra-EU exports which now stand at 28% of annual turnover, up from less than 20% 10 years ago, is the clearest proof of the increasing global competitiveness of Europe’s textile and clothing companies.

European high quality textiles and premium fashion products are in growing demand, both in high income countries such as the United States (our biggest export destination in non-European countries with € 6 billion), Switzerland, Japan or Canada, but also emerging countries such as China and Hong Kong (over € 6.7 billion in combined exports), Russia, Turkey and the Middle-East.

European exports benefit from faster economic growth in many non-European markets, but also from better market access as a result of successful EU trade negotiations with countries such as South Korea, Canada or Japan.

Since 2015, export growth has slightly outpaced import growth, which means that our trade deficit of approximately € 65 billion has stopped widening. Rather than an absolute import growth, recent  years have brought important shifts in the main import countries. While China remains by far the number one import source, lower cost countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam have gained in relative importance, especially for clothing.

Technical textiles are an undisputed success story of the European industry. Exact figures for this part of the industry are difficult to compute due to the dual use of many yarns and fabrics for both technical and conventional applications. National statistics become available only with a significant time lag or remain unpublished for smaller EU countries. For 2016, EURATEX estimates that EU industry turnover of technical textiles, (including yarn-type, fabric-type and non-woven materials but excluding any made-up articles) reached about € 24 billion or 27% of total textile industry turnover. Over the years this percentage has steadily grown and is expected to continue to do so in the future.

Italy and Germany are Europe’s biggest producers of technical textiles, each producing over € 4.5 billion worth of technical textiles per year. The highest share for technical textiles in national textile turnover is registered in Scandinavian countries such as Sweden and Finland and central European countries such as Germany, the Czech Republic or Slovenia. The fastest growth of technical textiles over the last 10 years has been achieved by Poland, followed by Belgium, Austria and Portugal. This clearly demonstrates that technical textiles are gaining in importance all over Europe.

Labour productivity is much higher in the technical textiles part of the industry. Turnover per employee stands at € 215,000, more than twice the average textile and clothing industry rate. In this regard, EURATEX Innovation & Skills Director Lutz Walter indicates how “innovation and employee expertise are fundamental to reach and defend the strong technical textile position of the EU industry”.

In terms of international trade, both exports and imports of technical textiles have grown continuously over the years, with an almost zero trade balance in Euro terms. However, when looking into the product category types, it is clear that Europe’s trade balance is massively positive in higher added value products such as medical textiles, highly technical finished fabrics and non-wovens, but negative in such categories as bags, sacks, tarpaulins or cleaning cloths.

Again the United States is Europe’s largest technical textiles customer, followed by China, which has registered very fast growth in recent years.

 

More information:
Euratex Technical Textiles
Source:

EURATEX

DIGITALE PROZESSKETTE SICHERT ZUKUNFT DES LEICHTBAUS © Reed Exhibitions Deutschland GmbH
10.09.2019

DIGITAL PROCESS CHAIN SECURES THE FUTURE OF LIGHTWEIGHT CONSTRUCTION

  • At COMPOSITES EUROPE from 10 to 12 September
     
  • Incubator of ideas for multi-material lightweight construction
     
  • „Ultralight in Space“: Market study examines lightweight construction trends in aerospace

Whenever there’s movement, mass and weight quickly become destroyers of energy. From 10 to 12 September, the Lightweight Technologies Forum (LTF) at COMPOSITES EUROPE in Stuttgart will show how lightweight construction contributes to more efficient and better cars, airplanes and machines. The focus at the Forum will be on the commercially viable implementation of cross-material and holistic lightweight construction systems. The way to get there is through the digitalisation of the process chain.

  • At COMPOSITES EUROPE from 10 to 12 September
     
  • Incubator of ideas for multi-material lightweight construction
     
  • „Ultralight in Space“: Market study examines lightweight construction trends in aerospace

Whenever there’s movement, mass and weight quickly become destroyers of energy. From 10 to 12 September, the Lightweight Technologies Forum (LTF) at COMPOSITES EUROPE in Stuttgart will show how lightweight construction contributes to more efficient and better cars, airplanes and machines. The focus at the Forum will be on the commercially viable implementation of cross-material and holistic lightweight construction systems. The way to get there is through the digitalisation of the process chain.

From the idea to the component – that’s the path the Lightweight Technologies Forum aims to illuminate and support. To that end, the forum will gather current lightweight construction projects in Stuttgart, including from automotive engineering, aerospace and mechanical engineering – precisely those industries whose stringent material, safety and reliability demands make them idea generators for many other industries.
The commonality that runs through all the projects: a consistently digital process chain contributes significantly to the implementation of innovations. Another focus area is connecting and joining technology in multi-material lightweight construction.

"The Lightweight Technologies Forum is conceived as a cross-industry and cross-material incubator of ideas, a place where all stakeholders can consider new concepts. For that, we’re bringing successful flagship projects to Stuttgart”, says Olaf Freier, who on behalf of organiser Reed Exhibitions is responsible for the programme of the forum.

The growing significance of digitalisation and bionics
Support in putting together the forum programme comes from Automotive Management Consulting (AMC). The consulting company specialises in lightweight construction strategies, processes and structures in the automotive industry. “Lightweight construction requires comprehensive, systematic thinking”, says Rainer Kurek, the managing director of AMC. “The most important key factor, though, is the digitalisation of the process chain. Only virtual and simulation-driven design work can bring about competitive lightweight construction products, because they’re launched faster and ensure process safety while costing far less in development”, Kurek adds.

„Ultralight in Space“: Market study on lightweight construction trends in the aerospace industry
When it comes to ultra-lightweight construction, space travel has played a pioneering role since its inception, having driven many disciplines to new record performances. In cooperation with the Luxembourg-based aerospace suppliers GRADEL, AMC are currently conducting a market study to examine the latest technological trends. The results will be revealed at the LTF in Stuttgart on 10 September.
"Even though aerospace is a niche business: technical solutions that meet the stringent material demands here lead the way into the future, which in turn impacts other industries. That’s why it’s important to know the customer’s needs as well as the lightweight strategies, processes, structures and material decision-making of this market”, Rainer Kurek says assuredly.

Also underlining how important space travel is for the development of new technologies is Claude Maack, managing director of GRADEL: “All components are exposed to extreme conditions. Right from the launch of the rocket, they have to withstand enormous acceleration forces. In space, material must resist radiation exposure – and for many years. Then there are the high temperature differences from minus 185 to plus 200 degrees Celsius – alternating every couple of hours from one extreme to the other.“

The material question: Composites with biggest growth potential
Metals currently hold the largest market share among lightweight materials – but fibre-reinforced composites are said to have the biggest growth potential. More and more often they get to apply their strengths in lightweight construction. In the exhibition area, the LTF demonstrates how glass-fibre reinforced (GFRP) and carbon-fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) play to their strengths in hybrid structural components.
On display, among other things, will be an ultra-lightweight seat by Automotive Management Consulting (AMC), Alba tooling & engineering and csi entwicklungstechnik GmbH, which was presented as a feasibility study – based on the lightweight construction innovation xFK in 3D – and virtual prototype at the 2018 LTF.

The innovative ultra-lightweight seat, which only weighs 10 kg, is based on a special winding process for fibre-composite components. The  “xFK in 3D process” uses a resin-impregnated continuous fibre from which components are wound and produced without waste to match the load. Conceivable uses for the concept seat include the so-called hypercars, sports cars and the air taxis of the future. Just a few weeks ago, the prototype was presented to the public and swiftly recognised with the German Innovation Award.

Exhibitors will be presenting additional lightweight construction solutions in the adjacent Lightweight Area. Some examples include structural components, semi-finished goods, technical textiles, adhesives and resins for automotive engineering and aerospace.

Altogether, visitors of the Lightweight Technologies Forum and COMPOSITES EUROPE will meet 300 exhibitors from 30 countries who will come to Stuttgart to showcase the entire process chain of fibre-reinforced plastics – from materials to machines for processing to concrete application examples from automotive engineering, aerospace, mechanical engineering, construction, wind power, and the sports and leisure sector. Besides new products, a special focus of the trade fair will be on advances in process technologies for large-scale series production.  
 

Textildruckerei Mayer: Innovation management in Swabian © Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH
03.09.2019

CEO Michael Steidle (Textildruckerei Mayer): Innovation Management in Swabian

  • “Keep it up! is not an option"

The textile printing company Mayer is a family business on the Swabian Alb. As a leader in textile printing, in screen, rouleaux, rotary, sublimation and flock printing and as well as in 3D coating, the enterprise is increasingly applying its leading expertise to the field of technical textiles. An in-house quality management system ensures the traceability of all production processes, an environmental portfolio the efficient use of energy, sustainability and resources. Textination talked to Managing Director Michael Steidle.

  • “Keep it up! is not an option"

The textile printing company Mayer is a family business on the Swabian Alb. As a leader in textile printing, in screen, rouleaux, rotary, sublimation and flock printing and as well as in 3D coating, the enterprise is increasingly applying its leading expertise to the field of technical textiles. An in-house quality management system ensures the traceability of all production processes, an environmental portfolio the efficient use of energy, sustainability and resources. Textination talked to Managing Director Michael Steidle.

Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH is a family business that has been active in textile printing and finishing for 45 years. If you had to introduce yourself in 100 words to someone who doesn't know the company, what makes you unique?
Over the past ten years or so, our family-owned company based in rural Baden-Wurttemberg has changed from a classic textile printing company into a system supplier. A central precondition for this is our knowledge of our own strengths. We rely on proven printing solutions. We do not rush into exchanging them with the latest trend. Instead, we examine whether another, innovative application can be found for them. Or whether one it is possible to combine the tried and tested with a new approach. For example, we were able to solve electronic requirements by printing technology. This area is our second focus. I am a Master of electronic engineering and completed my apprenticeship at Bizerba, a worldwide leading specialist in industrial weighing and labeling technologies. My wife brought me to the textile industry.

In which product area do market and customers challenge you in particular? And on which socially relevant areas do you see a particularly great need for innovation in the upcoming 10 years? What is your assessment that textile finishing will be able to offer solutions?
Mobility is an issue that will be of great concern to all of us in the coming years. In this area trump is what brings little weight, can be produced in a resource-saving way and is easy to shape. All these requirements are met by textile carrier materials and composites. However, textiles as a pure material are still not well-known in public and in our target industries. This understanding should be promoted.

Were fashion and clothing yesterday and do hybrid product developments like your ceramic-coated high-tech fabrics represent the future? When would the company name have to be adjusted, and how long will you keep your broad range of products and services?
In any case, it is true that the textile market, especially the clothing sector, is becoming smaller and smaller in Germany, while the market for technical textile solutions is growing. Of course, this also has an impact on our business and our priorities. Textiles are now found in so many products - we would never have dreamed about before!

As far as the company name is concerned, we have discussed it extensively. We decided to keep it because it is still right. The textiles we talk about are mostly a functional material, but they still remain textiles. And the technology with which we manufacture our high-tech coatings continues to be the printing technology ...

"Without innovation no future" - In five years time, you celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary, with which fundamental corporate decisions will you then have secured the future of your customers and employees?
You already mentioned the landmark decision: "Innovation, innovation, innovation." We can secure our future through innovation only. This means that we must constantly question ourselves and be prepared to be widely interested in attending trade fairs and exhibitions and find out what people are looking for.

Innovation manager or tinkering: What does it mean for a medium-sized family business high up on the Swabian Alb having to profile on specialties in the niche? What advantages do you see compared to large companies?
The Swabian Alb is a traditional textile region. In 1980, about 30,000 people worked here in the textile industry. In 2005 it was barely a sixth. There is not much else left to do than to look for profitable niches and to show a clear profile. Perhaps the special thing about it is that we are not alone in this. Basically, all successful textile companies in our region have undergone a similar process.

As a small - and owner-managed - company, we have the shortest and fastest decision-making channels. That makes us more flexible than a big company. A budget is not questioned five times, but it is decided. If we make a trial, we can evaluate it in the evening and react the very next day. If something doesn't work, we don't need a meeting – then that's it.

At the same time, we do not automatically have a budget for research and development. We first have to carve this out elsewhere. And we do so in the knowledge that it can also be for the trash can. Within the framework of this budget, entrepreneurs have the greatest possible freedom.

To break new ground means decisiveness, overcoming fears - and thus the courage to fail. Not every project can succeed. Which entrepreneurial decision are you particularly glad to have made in retrospect? What makes you proud?
That's easy (Michael Steidle laughs)! We have realized a company’s request that has driven us for months, which in the end has also awakened personal ambition. That was the introduction to these technical coatings, the key and door opener for technical textiles in general. In doing so, I revived old resources, almost by chance. Meaning: my knowledge in electronics. That's when I realized that with a textile you can do completely different things. When you see the finished product on sale after two or three years, it makes the whole team proud!

Every man for himself, God for us all: With which sectors in the textile industry and from neighboring sectors do you want to get closer cooperation beyond competitive borders? For which higher-level problems do you consider this to be indispensable?
Actually, it is not so much a matter of competitive boundaries - cooperation with innovative competitors would always be good for the end product, but that is the case in every industry!

For us, cooperation with other companies in the textile chain is important, i.e. the upstream company. Let’s assume that I am looking for a special fabric for my coating, which in turn has to be made from a special yarn. Then I am already dependent on two companies. Fortunately, we have innovative companies right on our doorstep. But sometimes we have to go further to find the right partner. Characteristics such as willingness to take risks, a common entrepreneurial interest and a passion for the final product are enormously important in a successful cooperation.

Together with your customers, universities, specialist institutes and research institutes, porject-related you work on market-ready solutions. Do you think Germany is a good breeding ground for innovative entrepreneurs? What should happen to stay successful in international competition?
The cooperation with the institutes makes perfect sense; after all, it is their task to carry out research for companies that cannot shoulder such assignments 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 per se have a different objective than a company: We need to bring a promising idea to market as soon as possible so that it generates a return. A research institute does not have this pressure.

And Germany as a location? Germany is a brilliant location! But we have an infrastructure bottleneck: I mean roads and internet connections as well as access to funding or venture capital. That does not exist in Germany in the true sense anyway. Finding investors for an idea is therefore extremely difficult.

Let me give you an example: Over the years, I have received around 14,000 euros in subsidies for a coating innovation. An American entrepreneur had a very similar idea. He was able to raise about $ 35 million within three years through venture capital, crowd funding, and grants. In the end, he did not even know what he should spend the whole money on!

In addition, for us as a company in Germany, the large, open economic area of Europe is important!

You are the first textile printing company to be certified for screen printing as well as for rotary and rouleaux printing according to the GOTS standard. How important do you consider such certification as a unique selling point in the competition?
Such certifications are important because we work with clients in the upper and premium segments. Especially in times in which - undoubtedly justified - ever greater demands are placed on sustainable business and also the external presentation receives a steadily growing attention, we can support our clients this way. We therefore offer different printing methods, all of which are certified. One thing we have to be aware of is, that if we - and all the other members of the textile chain – charge the additional costs, the price mark-up would be so enormous that nobody would accept it anymore.

How do you feel about the willingness to perform of the succeeding generation? And who would you recommend to join the textile industry and to whom would you dissuade from it?
We work a lot with students and interns. Every year we give two students the opportunity to work and research in our company for their master's thesis. With these young talents, we often experience great commitment and the ambition to bring their own project to a meaningful completion. At the same time, it is difficult for us to fill our apprenticeships; the idea of working eight hours daily, five days a week seems daunting.

And who would I recommend to join the textile industry? For decades, we vehemently discouraged our offspring from working in the textile industry, because one said it has no future ... As a true high-tech industry, it is interesting for engineers, process engineers, chemists or electronic engenieers. Very important: for people with visions! If you are looking for the classic textile industry you have to be prepared to work worldwide and you will not be unemployed. Many companies are desperately looking for plant managers or managing directors for their non-European branches.

 

Wireless Power Transmission for Technical Textiles Bild von Gerd Altmann auf Pixabay
27.08.2019

WIRELESS POWER TRANSMISSION FOR TECHNICAL TEXTILES

The trend towards the "Internet of Everything" is ongoing. Whether in industrial, medical or everyday applications, more and more electrical devices are connected to each other, record sensing values, exchange data and react to them. Due to smaller structures, new processing possibilities and new flexible materials, such systems are also being used more and more frequently in the textile sector. For example, medical measurements can be recorded directly on a garment, actuators such as EMS electrodes can be integrated directly into the textile or functions such as MP3 players, GPS receivers, fall detectors, heating structures and much more can be embedded simply and intuitively in textiles. Communication and data exchange usually take place wirelessly via WLAN, Bluetooth, RFID or, in the future, via the 5G network.

The trend towards the "Internet of Everything" is ongoing. Whether in industrial, medical or everyday applications, more and more electrical devices are connected to each other, record sensing values, exchange data and react to them. Due to smaller structures, new processing possibilities and new flexible materials, such systems are also being used more and more frequently in the textile sector. For example, medical measurements can be recorded directly on a garment, actuators such as EMS electrodes can be integrated directly into the textile or functions such as MP3 players, GPS receivers, fall detectors, heating structures and much more can be embedded simply and intuitively in textiles. Communication and data exchange usually take place wirelessly via WLAN, Bluetooth, RFID or, in the future, via the 5G network.

Electrical energy is required for such applications and functions. Despite the efforts to further minimize the energy demand of electronic circuits, it is not always possible to operate these systems completely energy autonomously. Therefore, energy storage devices such as batteries or rechargeable accumulators are necessary for operation. The big advantage of recharging is that smaller, more compact energy storage devices can be used to achieve the same or an increased service life running time. There are two basic concepts for recharging a battery with electrical energy. On the one hand wired and with connections like a micro-USB cable. On the other hand wireless via wireless power transmission. With wired solutions, contacts can wear out or be added by fuzz, especially in the textile sector. In addition, the connecting process is less flexible and uncomfortable.

Wireless concepts offer several advantages and are therefore better suited. For example, the electronics including energy storage can be completely encapsulated, since no galvanic contacts are required. Among other things, this makes the textile directly machine-washable, because the electronics are protected from water, detergents and sweat. This means that no components need to be removed from the textile when washing. A further purely practical advantage is the simplicity of charging. With the suitable concept, the textile can be hung on hangers, placed in laundry baskets or, ideally, simply placed in the washing machine and charged without any further action of the user. The result is an uncomplicated, charming way of operating smart textiles.

There are several concepts and possibilities for wirelessly supplying a textile with energy. The most popular and at the same time most efficient method is the inductive power transmission [1]. Two coils are inductively coupled to each other and thus transmit energy wirelessly (Figure 2). Air, wood, plastic, but also liquids such as water or human tissue can be penetrated a few centimeters almost loss-free.  There are also various concepts for integrating electronics into textiles. From the production of the entire circuit on thin printed circuit boards to complete textile integration, a wide variety of mixtures are possible. The easiest concepts to develop are those in which all circuit parts are manufactured on printed circuit boards. Thin printed circuit boards can have substrate thicknesses of a few tenths of a millimeter (Figure 1). But flexible possibilities such as manufacturing on silicones are also conceivable. Among other things, the sensors and microcontrollers as well as the coil for inductive energy transfer to the substrate are manufactured. This complete printed circuit board then only has to be connected to the textile, whether by gluing, sewing or insertion.

Concepts in which the receiver coil is integrated into the textile go one step further. For example, ultra-fine wires or strands are woven or embroidered and the textile material thus becomes the substrate itself as a functionalized textile. The rest of the circuit, which is still integrated on a conventional substrate, is then connected to the coil and the textile. Since some of the spools can have diameters of a few centimeters, one can gain in flexibility because the textile spool can move almost freely. With a complete textile integration, the components are finally attached to the textile and the conductor paths are embroidered or woven in.

Consistently implemented and used, wireless power transmission as a simple and convenient charging method of textiles can thus contribute to sustainably strengthen the market for smart textiles improving handling and user experience.

Source:

Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems ENAS
Authors: Dominik Schröder, Dr. Christian Hedayat

Imagine a truck tarp that can harvest the energy of sunlight! Picture by Peter H. on Pixabay
20.08.2019

TEXTILE BASED SOLAR CELLS

Imagine a truck tarp that can harvest the energy of sunlight!

Imagine a truck tarp that can harvest the energy of sunlight!
With the help of new textile-based solar cells developed by Fraunhofer researchers, semitrailers could soon be producing the electricity needed to power cooling systems or other onboard equipment. In short, textile-based solar cells could soon be adding a whole new dimension to photovoltaics, complementing the use of conventional silicon-based solar cells. Solar panels on building roofs are a common enough sight today – as are large-scale solar parks. In the future, we may well see other surfaces being exploited for photovoltaic generation. Truck tarps, for example, could be used to produce the electricity consumed by the driver when underway or parked up for the night, or to power electronic systems used to locate trailers in shipping terminals. Similarly, conventional building facades could be covered with photovoltaic textiles in place of concrete render. Or the blinds used to provide shade in buildings with glass facades could be used to create hundreds of square meters of additional surface for producing power.

Glass-fiber fabric as a solar-cell substrate
At the heart of such visions are pliable, textile-based solar cells developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems ENAS, Sächsisches Textilforschungsinstitut e.V and industrial partners erfal GmbH & Co. KG, PONGS Technical Textiles GmbH, Paul Rauschert GmbH & Co. KG and GILLES PLANEN GmbH. “There are a number of processes that enable solar cells to be incorporated in coatings applied to textiles,” explains Dr. Lars Rebenklau, group manager for system integration and electronic packaging at Fraunhofer IKTS. In other words, the substrate for the solar cells is a woven fabric rather than the glass or silicon conventionally used. “That might sound easy, but the machines in the textile industry are designed to handle huge rolls of fabric – five or six meters wide and up to 1000 meters in length,” explains Dr. Jonas Sundqvist, group manager for thin-film technology at Fraunhofer IKTS. “And during the coating process, the textiles have to withstand temperatures of around 200 °Celsius. Other factors play a key role too: the fabric must meet fire regulations, have a high tensile strength and be cheap to produce. “The consortium therefore opted for a glass-fiber fabric, which fulfills all of these specifications,” Rebenklau says.

An emphasis on standard processes
Researchers also faced the challenge of how to apply the wafer-thin layers that make up a solar cell – the bottom electrode, the photovoltaic layer and the top electrode – to the fabric. These layers are between one and ten microns in thickness. By comparison, the surface of the fabric is like a mountain range. The solution was first to apply a layer that levels out the peaks and troughs on the surface of the fabric. For this purpose, researchers opted for a standard process from the textile industry: transfer printing, which is also used to rubberize fabrics. All the other processes have been adapted in such a way that they can be easily incorporated in standard production methods used in the textile industry. For example, the two electrodes – which are made of electrically conductive polyester – and the photovoltaic layer are applied by means of the common roll-to-roll method. The solar cells are also laminated with an additional protective layer in order to make them more robust.

Fabric-based solar cells ready for market launch in around five years
The research team has already produced an initial prototype. “This has demonstrated the basic functionality of our textile-based solar cells,” Rebenklau says. “Right now, they have an efficiency of between 0.1 and 0.3 percent.” In a follow-up project, he and the team are seeking to push this over the five percent mark, at which point the textile-based solar cells would prove commercially viable. Silicon-based solar cells are significantly more efficient, at between ten and 20 percent. However, this new form of solar cell is not intended to replace the conventional type, merely offer an alternative for specific applications. In the coming months, the team will be investigating ways of enhancing the service life of the fabric-based solar cells. If all goes according to plan, the first textile-based solar cells could be ready for commercialization in around five years. This would fulfill the original goal of the PhotoTex project: to provide new stimulus for Germany’s textile industry and improve its competitiveness.

Photo: PREMIÈRE VISION
16.07.2019

PREMIÈRE VISION PARIS IN 09/2019: SPORT, PERFORMANCE AND FASHION

THE INSEPARABLE TRIO UNVEILS ITS NEW STRENGTHS
The next edition of Première Vision Paris, taking place from 17 to 19 September 2019 at Paris Nord Villepinte, will present the new materials and creative stimuli for the autumn-winter 2020-21 season.

This major event for all fashion industry players brings together, twice a year, the six principle activities in the upstream sector: yarns, fabrics, leathers, designs, accessories and clothing. 

THE INSEPARABLE TRIO UNVEILS ITS NEW STRENGTHS
The next edition of Première Vision Paris, taking place from 17 to 19 September 2019 at Paris Nord Villepinte, will present the new materials and creative stimuli for the autumn-winter 2020-21 season.

This major event for all fashion industry players brings together, twice a year, the six principle activities in the upstream sector: yarns, fabrics, leathers, designs, accessories and clothing. 

In the spotlight: the pinnacle of sportswear, its influence on collections and the development of accompanying technological innovations and technical materials. To address these issues, which now permeate all of fashion, Première Vision’s Sport & Tech sector will be prominently featured at the next show. Located in the textile universe of Première Vision Fabrics, in Hall 6, it will bring together 80 exhibiting weavers - including 8 newcomers - to accompany brands and designers looking for inspiration. Their new products will be unveiled in a dedicated space, the Sport & Tech forum, designed around a core theme of «A matter of protection» (protection and innovation).
 
Sportswear gains ground, playing a major role in collections
The global sportswear market grew steadily between 2011 and 2016, reaching $280 billion in 20161. It has entered into consumer habits and is synonymous with comfort and technical expertise, as well as style and creativity. And France is no exception: according to a recent study2, French consumers wear sport clothes 1 day out of 5, and 25% of consumers see the latter as a «trend». This growing phenomenon has a significant influence on the industry and on those who design and produce clothing and accessories, whether fashion brands using technical materials for their ready-to-wear collections or sports brands developing lifestyle lines. It was to best support these brands that Première Vision developed an offer specially focused on this area within its flagship event: Première Vision Paris.
     
Protection and insulation: technological contributions
Each edition, the Première Vision teams identify a strong theme based on their international research. As sport wear collections grow increasingly popular, the added performance and technology in these product lines is becoming ever more critical. Consumers have been able to try out the innovative features integrated in their sport apparel for several years now, and expect the same functionality in their everyday clothing. «A matter of protection» has thus been selected as the season’s theme for the Sport & Tech sector. A fashion theme that will be particularly highlighted in the dedicated forum, which will present a broader offer of fabrics and high-performance materials from the show’s weavers, knitters and finishers to meet the needs of industry professionals.

Marguerite Coiraton, Show Manager of Première Vision Fabrics and in charge of the Sport & Tech trail, added: « The September 2019 edition is particularly interested in how clothes are used to protect against the elements, a theme which will certainly dominate the autumn-winter 20-21 collections. This concept encompasses, for example, insulation, with the development of thermo-active materials, fabrics and fibres equipped with nanotechnologies, and intelligent augmented protection».

In addition to the dedicated sector within Fabrics, Première Vision also offers a Sport & Tech itinerary - available on the show app - bringing together nearly 700 exhibitors specialised in sports and technical materials who can be found at the show. This complete panorama comprises spinners, weavers, knitters, tanners, accessory makers, textile designers and fashion manufacturers.
 
SPOTLIGHT ON: A preview of a selection of Sport & Tech exhibitors

  • Polartec: an insulation solution used by outdoor sports enthusiasts for nearly twenty years, Polartec® fabrics come in a variety of textures and weights and are specifically designed to improve performance in a wide range of environments;
  • Pontetorto SportSystem: founded in 1952, Pontetorto offers a wide range of products from polar fleeces to stretch fabrics, including multilayers, windproofs, waterproof membranes and breathable materials;
  • Schoeller textiles: a Swiss company specialised in developing innovative textiles, especially warm and resistant fabrics. ‘Cosmopolitan’, its multifunctional collection, perfectly meets the growing demand for high-performance style, with fabrics where outstanding performance features do not preclude a natural feel and perfect comfort;
  • Swing by Gruppocinque: an Italian fabric manufacturer using innovative technologies and finishings such as resins, membranes and high-performance treatments;
  • Mackent: has an offer of highly original textiles with a focus on shock-absorbing spacer knits for lingerie/ ready-to-wear pieces;
  • Sportwear Argentona: a Spanish brand specialising in fabric manufacturing, is presenting its ‘2.0 fabrics’ with excellent breathability and high comfort. These are adaptable, lightweight, elastic, compressing with an innovative aesthetic.
  • Global Merino: a maker of technical textiles using merino wool as a base product. It identifies the performance requirements of the item to be created and develops the fabric according to the end use;
  • Shepherd: a vertically integrated producer of merino knits and apparel, including the world’s finest 13.5-micron merino fabric.

New performance codes to better identify innovation
4 new Performance Codes will be introduced at Première Vision Paris in September 2019:  

  • Downproof, to indicate which fabrics will properly block feathers in quiltings;
  • Multilayer, used very often for fabrics for the world of sports performance;
  • Washable, for wash-resistant leathers;
  • Ultralight, used exclusively for accessory components.

A varied and experiential Sport & Tech universe
A.    A virtual reality experience so visitors can fully immerse themselves in the theme

To offer visitors a live experience, Première Vision has designed a digital animation about the theme of protection. Using virtual reality, it is designed to expose visitors to a variety of environments and external elements (cold, wind, etc.).

B.    Dedicated fashion information
Protection doesn’t preclude creativity and style, in fact quite the opposite is true. This season will be marked by fantasy, with materials combining strong colours, prints, motifs and shine. Visitors will thus find an exclusive and creative Sport & Tech forum, built around the following 4 themes: Tech Tailoring, Ski Touring, Soft Outdoor and Snow Fun. It will bring together samples, components and clothing prototypes.

C.    A comprehensive and high-level conference program to help guide visitors in their choices
This edition, the conferences will be held in very central locations at the show. A space in Hall 3 will host the conferences focusing on innovation, and a space in Hall 6 will be reserved for conferences on fashion trends.

Here are some of the upcoming presentations dedicated to the world of Sport & Tech (Hall 6 conference space) taking place at Première Vision Paris September 2019:

  • A conference by Pascal Monfort, founder of the REC trendsmarketing consulting firm, on the theme «The sport & fashion couple: more than ever inseparable!»;
  • The presentation of a study on sport and fashion conducted in the French market by Union Sport & Cycle, which assessed the expectations of 12,500 consumers;
  • Conferences decoding the fashion trends: « Performance, the challenge in fashion » and «Fashion & Sports major influences and innovations for AW 2021» including exhibitors’ pitchs to present their latest innovations.

Sources : 1: Euromonitor International, 2: « Union Sport & Cycle » Study

Fotos: (c) ITMA
25.06.2019

A MORE INTERNATIONAL ITMA 2019 SETS NEW RECORD WITH BIGGEST NUMBER OF EXHIBITORS

Since its launch in 1951, ITMA has enjoyed wide industry recognition as the world’s largest textile and garment technology exhibition. This year’s exhibition in Barcelona sees its reputation solidify further with the largest gathering of exhibitors in its history. The record number of exhibitors totaling 1,717 from 45 countries has set a new milestone.

Speaking at the press conference on the opening day of the 18th edition of the exhibition, Mr Fritz P. Mayer, President of the European Committee of Textile Machinery Manufacturers (CEMATEX), said: “The global economy is still facing challenges, accentuated by trade tensions and disruption. However, textile being the world’s oldest manufacturing industry has demonstrated its resilience over the years. 

Since its launch in 1951, ITMA has enjoyed wide industry recognition as the world’s largest textile and garment technology exhibition. This year’s exhibition in Barcelona sees its reputation solidify further with the largest gathering of exhibitors in its history. The record number of exhibitors totaling 1,717 from 45 countries has set a new milestone.

Speaking at the press conference on the opening day of the 18th edition of the exhibition, Mr Fritz P. Mayer, President of the European Committee of Textile Machinery Manufacturers (CEMATEX), said: “The global economy is still facing challenges, accentuated by trade tensions and disruption. However, textile being the world’s oldest manufacturing industry has demonstrated its resilience over the years. 

“This is also the spirit of our exhibitors who continually innovate and launch new technologies and solutions. We are glad that ITMA has been providing a reputable platform for textile machinery manufacturers to market their innovations. This has enabled us to record the largest number of exhibitors in ITMA’s history.”

The exhibits are showcased over 114,500 square metres of net exhibit space, a 9 per cent increase over the previous edition in 2015. The exhibition occupies all nine halls of the Gran Via venue, including the space under the linkway. To allow more companies to participate, many exhibitors were allocated lesser stand space than what they had originally applied for.  

Mr Charles Beauduin, Chairman of ITMA Services, organiser of ITMA 2019 enthused: “The exhibition would have been larger if we had not turned away applicants due to a lack of space. Unfortunately, we could not accommodate a wait-list of about 250 applicants who booked some 8,200 square metres.”

He added: “ITMA has also evolved into a more international exhibition with a rich diversity of technology offerings from both East and West. Almost half of the total number of exhibitors are from non CEMATEX countries. This augurs well for the development of ITMA into a definitive textile and garment platform for the industry.”

International participation
Of the total number of exhibitors, over half are from CEMATEX countries; the balance comprising companies from other parts of Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas. Reflecting the international composition of the participants, the largest number of exhibitors are from Italy (364 exhibitors), China (276 exhibitors), Germany (222 exhibitors), India (169 exhibitors) and Turkey (164 exhibitors).

CEMATEX countries continue to occupy the largest exhibit space, taking up 65% of the total net exhibit space. Italy booked 26% of the space, followed by Germany which booked 18%. The top non-CEMATEX countries are: Turkey with 9%, China with 8%, and India with 5% of the space booked.

Product sectors
Visitors can expect to source a wide range of integrated solutions across the entire value chain in 19 exhibit sectors. Printing, which has seen many advances being made in the last few years, is an exciting growth sector. Chalking up a 38 per cent increase in the number of exhibitors compared with the previous exhibition, it is one of the top five sectors at ITMA 2019:

  • Finishing - 325 exhibitors
  • Spinning - 281 exhibitors
  • Weaving - 182 exhibitors
  • Printing - 157 exhibitors
  • Knitting - 136 exhibitors

Nonwoven and technical textiles due to their wide range of applications continue to be an important sector at ITMA 2019. Garment making, which has been impacted by digitalisation and fast fashion, is also making a bigger impact at ITMA.

Mr Mayer said, “We are extremely pleased to bring garment technology back in focus at ITMA. While ITMA has been traditionally strong in textile making technologies, we are glad that we are able to present garment making solutions from some of the world’s most renowned technology providers. There is an increase of 27 per cent in number of exhibitors as compared with ITMA 2015." Completing the entire value chain is the showcase on fibres, yarn and fabrics. The addition of innovative fabrics in the fibre and yarn chapter at ITMA further completes the sourcing experience for buyers.
 
Focus on innovation
The theme of ITMA 2019 is ‘Innovating the World of Textiles’. To support the innovation drive, CEMATEX has introduced the ITMA Innovation Lab. A new umbrella branding of a series of activities, the Lab includes the Research and Innovation Pavilion, ITMA Speakers Platform, ITMA Sustainable Innovation Award and Innovation Video Showcase. Speakers from the industry have been invited to share their perspectives and experiences at the Speakers Platform which will be held from 21 to 25 June. A finance forum was also held on 21 June.

Co-located events and industry engagement
To encourage the exchange of knowledge, collaboration and networking, several events are staged alongside ITMA 2019. The ITMA-EDANA Nonwovens Forum and Textile Colourant and Chemical Leaders Forum have met with overwhelming response and seats have been added. Similar strong response has also been received by partner events, including the Better Cotton Initiative Seminar, European Digital Textile Conference, TexSummit Global, Planet Textiles, SAC & ZDHC Manufacturer Forum and Texmeeting by TEXFOR.

“The series of co-located events is part of ITMA’s outreach programme to engage industry partners and to create an inclusive platform for the global textile and garment community. We have over 190 international, regional and local organisations lending their support to our exhibition,” Mr Mayer said. ITMA 2019 is held at Fira de Barcelona Gran Via venue till 26 June. The opening hours are from 10.00am to 6.00pm daily, except 26 June when the exhibition will end at 4.00pm.

About CEMATEX & ITMA
The European Committee of Textile Machinery Manufacturers (CEMATEX) comprises national textile machinery associations from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It is the owner of ITMA and ITMA ASIA. Considered the ‘Olympics’ of textile machinery exhibitions, ITMA has a 68-year history of displaying the latest technology for every single work process of textile and garment making. It is held every four years in Europe.

 

More information:
ITMA 2019
Source:

CEMATEX & ITMA Services

(c) Messe Frankfurt
14.05.2019

Prize winners of the “Textile Structures for New Building” have been chosen

Eight projects receive awards in the "Textile Structures for New Buildings” competition. For the 15th time, the competition for young talent during Techtextil will honour innovative approaches and excellent material solutions from the world of textile construction.
 
The winners of the student competition “Textile Structures for New Building” have now been decided. An international jury of renowned civil engineers and architects has awarded six prizes and two commendations. On the occasion of Techtextil, which will take place in Frankfurt am Main from 14-17 May 2019, the student competition organised jointly by the international association TensiNet as sponsor and Techtextil will award prizes for the 15th time for innovative ideas for building with textiles and textile-reinforced materials.

Eight projects receive awards in the "Textile Structures for New Buildings” competition. For the 15th time, the competition for young talent during Techtextil will honour innovative approaches and excellent material solutions from the world of textile construction.
 
The winners of the student competition “Textile Structures for New Building” have now been decided. An international jury of renowned civil engineers and architects has awarded six prizes and two commendations. On the occasion of Techtextil, which will take place in Frankfurt am Main from 14-17 May 2019, the student competition organised jointly by the international association TensiNet as sponsor and Techtextil will award prizes for the 15th time for innovative ideas for building with textiles and textile-reinforced materials.

‘We're really pleased that, together with the international association TensiNet, we are once again able to sponsor students who have submitted work of a very high quality. Presenting these awards during Techtextil also gives young students and professionals at the start of their careers the chance to come into contact with other universities, the textile technology industry and the construction industry’, explains Michael Jänecke, Director Brand Development Technical Textiles & Textile Processing at Messe Frankfurt.

The submitted works covered a very wide range of services and variety of topics and focused among other things on material applications, building designs, utilisation concepts and environmental solutions as well as assembly and construction concepts.
All prizes and commendations will be presented at a Techtextil ceremony on 14 May 2019 at 4 p.m. as well as during a special show in the foyer of hall 4.2.

Micro architecture
One prize was awarded to the project ‘Airdapt’. Rebecca Schedler from the Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin developed an adaptable kinetic wall system that offers the possibility of dividing large rooms into smaller working areas that can become more or less transparent and more or less sound-absorbing depending on requirements.

Macro architecture
The first prize in this category goes to Hugo Cifre from the Universidad Europea de Madrid/Espacio La Nube and Miguel Angel Maure Blesa from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid for the project ‘Bubble’. This pneumatically supported walk-in cuboid has a square layout and a height of approx. 4 metres. The entrances are elegantly integrated into the geometry and become effective when the cuboid is under slight positive air pressure. Attracted by the unusual object, visitors are literally ‘sucked into’ the interior.

Second prize goes to Thitiwut Pakdee, Surakist Hunpaisarn and Chonticha Wimonchailerk from the Thai Thammasat University for their work ‘Membrane Shelter for Shipyard’, which provides a membrane canopy for the site of a former shipyard in Ayutthaya (Thailand) to protect the plant from direct sunlight, wind and rain. The concept was inspired by the sails and waves of classic shipbuilding.

Ruichen Tang from the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid has been awarded third prize for the entry ‘Tensegrity Cloud’.
The visual lightness of the ‘basic modules’ formed by this design, which consist of a textile-covered steel frame, is supplemented by a structural advantage, namely that the forces within the overall self-stabilising system balance each other out.

Urban Living – City of the Future
Based on this year's special Techtextil theme, Masa Zujovic, Isidora Kojovic and Nevena Jeremic from the University of Belgrade – Faculty of Architecture (Serbia) will receive an award for their ‘Voro-Membrane’ design. What at first glance seems convincing as an aesthetic solution for providing shade in public street spaces is based on the mathematical pattern of Voronoi structures. The resulting exciting interplay of light and shadow could be further explored in an urban context and applied to a wide variety of situations.

Material innovations
In this category, Magdalena Wierzbicka from the Dutch Piet Zwart Institute has been awarded a prize for her project ‘Woven Spaces - Porcelain Textiles’. Here, the jury honours the fact that the contribution draws on the Thuringian tradition of porcelain lace from the late 19th century and transforms it into a modern design language.

Commendation
The project ‘A Catalyst for Urban Renewal’ by Galen Rochon from Canada’s Dalhousie University – School of Architecture receives a commendation. In this design for the Prince of Wales Bridge in Ottawa, an industrial monument that has lain unused for 20 years, various possibilities were shown for hanging double-curved membrane surfaces in the existing, regularly structured truss construction and stiffening them if necessary.

Commendation
The design ‘XCape’ submitted by Lobke Beckfeld from the Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin also received praise. It presents a hybrid vehicle whose space is generated by variable folding configurations and can be used in a variety of ways.

Prizewinners can look forward to prize money totalling 8,000 euros.

(c) Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH
30.04.2019

SUSTAINABILITY A MAJOR TOPIC AT TECHTEXTIL AND TEXPROCESS

"Sustainability at Techtextil" and "Sustainability at Texprocess" are the two topics by which these leading international trade fairs for technical textiles and non-wovens, and for the processing of textile and flexible materials, will be explicitly turning their focus for the first time onto their exhibitors' approaches to sustainability. To this will be added a broad complementary programme on this topic. Among those contributing will be major players in the industry, such as Kering, Lenzing and Zalando.

"Sustainability at Techtextil" and "Sustainability at Texprocess" are the two topics by which these leading international trade fairs for technical textiles and non-wovens, and for the processing of textile and flexible materials, will be explicitly turning their focus for the first time onto their exhibitors' approaches to sustainability. To this will be added a broad complementary programme on this topic. Among those contributing will be major players in the industry, such as Kering, Lenzing and Zalando.

Fibres made of recycled polyester, bio-based high-tech textiles, waterconserving dyeing and finishing processes, functional and work clothing, using little or no solvents and adhesives: in the field of technical textiles, and when processing textile and flexible materials, more and more firms are adopting approaches to greater sustainability. Through "Sustainability and Techtextil" and "Sustainability at Texprocess" the leading international trade fairs, from 14 to 17 May, will be demonstrating exactly these approaches taken by their exhibitors. In addition, numerous event formats will be taking up the topic of sustainability at both fairs.

Fair guide for selected exhibitors
In the run-up to Techtextil and Texprocess exhibitors at both fairs were able to submit their approaches and evidence of their work on every aspect of sustainability to the fairs' organisers. An independent, international jury of experts on sustainability assessed the submissions, in accordance with the relevance and validity of current national and international product-sustainability labels, such as currently mainly Bluesign, Cradle-to-Cradle, EU Eco Label, ISO 14001, GOTS, GRS as well as SteP by Oeko-Tex.

Overall, 47 firms were selected, including 44 exhibitors at Techtextil and three at Texprocess. Visitors who are interested will find the selected firms in their own Fair Guide, which will be available at the Fair, via filter function under "Sustainability" in the online visitor search facility, and on both fairs' apps. In addition, the exhibitors so selected will be publicizing their participation at their exhibition stands.

Members of the international jury of experts: Chairman: Max Gilgenmann, Consulting Service International Ltd. (Germany and China); Claudia Som, Empa (Switzerland); Jan Laperre, Centexbel (Belgium); Heike Illing-Günther, Textile Institute of Saxony (Sächsisches Textilinstitut e.V., Germany); Karla Magruder, Fabrikology (USA); Lauren Zahringer, SAC Social Apparel Coalition (Netherlands).

Techtextil Forum featuring theme of sustainability
Taking "Towards sustainability" as its motto, the Techtextil Forum on 14 May between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. will be providing a series of contributions devoted exclusively to sustainable textile innovations. Chaired by Braz Costa, managing director of the Portuguese technology centre CITEVE, among the topics on the programme will be: textile recycling (TWD Fibres, Velener Textil), sustainable construction with wool (Minet S.A., Romania), sustainable textile coatings (Centexbel), biopolymers (RWTH Aachen University), traceability of GMO-free cotton (Hohenstein Institute) and low-cost, bio-based carbon fibres (Jules Verne Research Institute, France).

Techtextil Innovation Award
For the first time the Techtextil Innovation Award will be presented to two firms in the category of sustainability. The winners will be announced and the awards presented on the first day of the fair during the opening ceremony. During the whole time of the fair visitors will also be able to find out about the prize-winners and their award-winning projects at the Techtextil Innovation Award Exhibition Area in Hall 4.2.

Texprocess Forum with branch of Fashionsustain Conference
Through a branch of Fashionsustain Berlin, Messe Frankfurt's conference on every aspect of sustainable textile innovations, the Texprocess Forum on the morning of the 14 May will be devoted exclusively to the theme of sustainability in the textile and fashion industries in all its aspects. The first keynote, "Sustainable innovation – a matter of survival", will come from Micke Magnusson, co-founder of the Swedish start-up We are Spindye. Next, posing the question "Is Sustainability the Key to Textile Innovations?", will come a discussion by leaders in the industry such as Clariant Plastics and Coatings, Indorama, Lenzing, Perpetual Global, Procalçado S.A., Kering und Zalando. Fashionsustain will be chaired among others by Karla Magruder, founder of Fabrikology International.

Innovation Roadshow features sustainable footwear production
Next at the Fashionsustain Conference fibre manufacturer Lenzing, knitting-machinery producer Santoni and shoe-component manufacturer Procalçado S.A. will be presenting the Innovation Roadshow, entitled "The Future of Eco-Conscious Footwear Manufacturing." The roadshow will be supported by the Messe Frankfurt Texpertise Network. It will feature examples of the sustainable production process of a shoe, thus demonstrating how a fundamental change to sustainability can already be a reality in the fashion and textile industries today. The panel will be chaired by Marte Hentschel, founder of Sourcebook, the B2B network for the fashion industry.

Kettherstellung (c) Schmitz Textiles Kettherstellung (c) Schmitz Textiles
23.04.2019

Interview with CEO Stefan Ruholl (Schmitz Textiles): We are Textile

  • Innovations for Indoor and Outdoor Applications

At the beginning of 2018, the textile company Schmitz-Werke GmbH & Co. KG, Emsdetten, was restructured. In order to be able to react more quickly and flexibly to the markets and their demands, the brands drapilux, swela and mobiltex have since been combined under Schmitz Textiles.

Managing Director of this legally independent company is Stefan Ruholl, who has been working for Schmitz-Werke for more than 30 years, answering the questions of Textination. In 1996 he became head of the finishing department, three years later head of production and development for the textile finishing division, in the beginning of 2000 technical director, and finally 2018 he took over the management of the business unit and of the company Schmitz Textiles.

  • Innovations for Indoor and Outdoor Applications

At the beginning of 2018, the textile company Schmitz-Werke GmbH & Co. KG, Emsdetten, was restructured. In order to be able to react more quickly and flexibly to the markets and their demands, the brands drapilux, swela and mobiltex have since been combined under Schmitz Textiles.

Managing Director of this legally independent company is Stefan Ruholl, who has been working for Schmitz-Werke for more than 30 years, answering the questions of Textination. In 1996 he became head of the finishing department, three years later head of production and development for the textile finishing division, in the beginning of 2000 technical director, and finally 2018 he took over the management of the business unit and of the company Schmitz Textiles.

Schmitz Textiles is a family business that has been offering textile solutions for indoor and outdoor applications for more than 90 years. If you had to introduce yourself in 100 words to someone who doesn't know the company, what makes you unique?
As an almost fully integrated manufacturer in Germany, we have advantages that many other market players are likely to envy. We can respond flexibly, technically and with good service to the needs of our customers. Under the drapilux brand, we distribute intelligent design textiles for the contract sector, outdoor and sun protection fabrics under the swela brand and textiles for the automotive segment under the still young label mobiltex. All brands benefit from the broad know-how in production and product development. A few years ago, Germany as production location may have been regarded more negatively as a pure cost factor, but today we see this as valued by our partners as a clear strategic advantage.

In which product areas do market and partners particularly challenge you?
And with which product innovations in the field of technical textiles do you think you can move most?

In each of our fields of activity, we are confronted with comprehensive challenges. At drapilux, for example, we have to meet strict safety requirements in the context of fire protection certifications for the use of our materials on cruise ships and have invested massively in this subject. The sun protection sector is characterized by high demands on color and light fastness combined with optimum resilience - here we were able to gain a major technological advantage with the change from acrylic to polyester qualities years ago.
With the new, award-winning development of our convertible top fabric for mobiltex, also based on polyester, we were able to realize product properties that are completely new in this form in this segment.

For which socially relevant topics do you see particularly great need for innovation in the upcoming 10 years
and what is your assessment that the textile industry will be able to offer solutions with its products?

When we look at the next ten years, then it is surely the topic of sustainability that is already omnipresent today. At the moment we are living in a phase where we want sustainable products on the one hand, but, on the other hand, the willingness to pay higher prices for them is not yet pronounced and people tend towards staying with conventional products. This will change. Sustainable products from companies that really live sustainability in the dimensions of ecology, economy and society will win the race. The textile industry offers the best conditions to turn this vision into reality - albeit under investment in production and research and development.

Today, product and technology innovations mean to a large extent digitalization of production and business processes.
New business models often aim at verticalization and demand the path to batch size 1 - what does this mean for Schmitz Textiles?

For an industrial company with a B2B focus, such as Schmitz Textiles, "batch size 1" must be answered with a certain bandwidth. However, in principle, this topic is not new to us, for example in yarn dyeing, we can couple micro-installations for larger batches - and conversely control correspondingly smaller batches through our process chain. In the digital printing sector for the contract business, we are very individually and customer-oriented positioned with a minimum quantity of 25 meters. For our sister company and customer markilux we are supplier for their "Color on Demand" offer for the individual awning cloth with a choice of 1625 RAL colors. With an industrial production scale, you can hardly get much closer to "lot size 1".

To break new ground means decisiveness, overcoming fears - and with that the courage to fail. Not every project can succeed.
Which entrepreneurial decision are you particularly happy about having made it in retrospect?

If we look further back, about ten years ago, the decision to invest in digital printing and to build up know-how and our own production capacities was the right one. Having passed through these learning curves enables us today to expand our offer into the outdoor market without major problems. We are currently more convinced than ever that by entering the automotive segment with the still young mobiltex brand, we have established a new, important keystone for the long-term future of Schmitz Textiles.

The textile industry has been growing steadily worldwide for decades. The consumption of chemical and textile fibres more than quadrupled between 1975 and 2016. In terms of sustainability, there is, to put it mildly, a mixed feedback for our industry.
What is Schmitz Textiles concentrating on in order to fulfil their social responsibility?

If textiles are produced exclusively in Germany, the regulatory framework already requires a certain sustainable orientation. But of course, there is also room for maneuver. In order to meet the high demands of a sustainable and environmentally friendly production, we operate a very high expenditure. For example, all dyestuffs and textile auxiliaries are first checked for compliance with laws and regulations and for environmental and occupational safety aspects before they are used in-house. In addition, voluntary measures were implemented in the area of production long before legislation came into force, such as regenerative thermal post-combustion for the post-treatment of process exhaust air from finishing plants. This ensures that no harmful emissions are caused by exhaust air, waste water or noise. Many projects have also been successfully implemented for energy recovery from process waste water and process exhaust air. All process waste is either returned to the production workflow, recycled or professionally disposed of. A contribution to environmental protection, that should not be underestimated, is the use of synthetic fibres (here: polyester), which can be modified with much less chemicals than natural fibres and are much more durable.
 
The next Techtextil is just around the corner. What are your expectations at the Frankfurt trade fair?
We are a young but at the same time an almost 100-year-old company, having emerged from the corporate reorganization of Schmitz-Werke GmbH + Co. KG on January 1, 2018. Consequently, we are exhibiting for the first time as Schmitz Textiles GmbH + Co KG with our three brands mobiltex, swela and drapilux. We want to present ourselves as a textile competence center. However, the automotive textiles theme will be somewhat in the foreground. We are exhibiting a complete convertible roof with our mobiltex 388 soft top fabric, which was nominated for the German Innovation Award 2019 by the German Design Council, and we are confident that we may accept an award at the end of May.

 

Source:

The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

As part of its Newsline, Textination will give innovation leaders of the industry a special place to talk about success, experiences, forecasts and trends.

(c) Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH
09.04.2019

Clothing Production in the Future

Individualisation, automation and digitalisation: micro-factories are the way forward for the future of clothing production and will be the main theme of Texprocess in Frankfurt am Main from 14 to 17 May 2019.

“Send your favourite design to the manufacturer today via an app and wear your individually designed, perfectly fitting trainers or shirt tomorrow.
It’s a long time since this was just a pipe dream for the future,” says Michael Jänecke, Director Brand Management Technical Textiles and Textile Processing at Messe Frankfurt. “Behind it, however, lies a host of complex processes, involving production, processing and logistics. Micro-factories, based on networked and integrated procedures, represent the progressive way of making textile processing quicker, more flexible and, because it is more local, also more sustainable; whilst, at the same time, producing personalised products.”

Individualisation, automation and digitalisation: micro-factories are the way forward for the future of clothing production and will be the main theme of Texprocess in Frankfurt am Main from 14 to 17 May 2019.

“Send your favourite design to the manufacturer today via an app and wear your individually designed, perfectly fitting trainers or shirt tomorrow.
It’s a long time since this was just a pipe dream for the future,” says Michael Jänecke, Director Brand Management Technical Textiles and Textile Processing at Messe Frankfurt. “Behind it, however, lies a host of complex processes, involving production, processing and logistics. Micro-factories, based on networked and integrated procedures, represent the progressive way of making textile processing quicker, more flexible and, because it is more local, also more sustainable; whilst, at the same time, producing personalised products.”

In a total of four micro-factories at the up-coming Texprocess, trade visitors will be able to get an idea of how integrated textile processing works and where micro-factories are already being used.


Digital Textile Micro-Factory: on-demand and virtual reality
Following the success of the last event, Texprocess, in collaboration with the German Institutes of Textile and Fibre Research in Denkendorf (Institute für Textil- und Faserforschung Denkendorf – DITF) and partners from industry, will once again be presenting a ‘Digital Textile Micro-Factory’ display - and thus fully networked production chains - live in Hall 4.1. New this year: the ‘Digital Textile Micro-Factory’ will showcase three production lines – one for apparel manufacture, one for 3D-knitted shoes and one for processing technical textiles, largely for the motor-vehicle and furniture industries.

‘Fashion Line’ integrates virtual prototypes and customer interaction
The fashion industry plays a central role in the ‘Digital Textile MicroFactory’. The customer’s digital doppelganger is becoming more and more important in development departments in the apparel industry as the starting point for individualised and perfectly fitting clothes and for links with finishing departments. In the context of the micro-factory’s production line, it is the key feature.

The production line demonstrates the various stages involved, including CAD/Design, printing, cutting out, assembly, finishing and labelling. New approaches also combine 3D simulations of clothing with direct data transfer in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Instead of presenting the customer with physical examples of the clothing to be produced, the examples are visualised as virtual objects. And during the production process, the customer has the opportunity for direct input into the design of the product in question. This direct interaction between the 3D simulation of an item, the representation in VR/AR displayed on the customer’s own hardware and the direct impact on the production process has never been shown before in this way. Partners of the ‘Fashion Line’ are: Assyst (CAD/design), Mitwill (materials), Caddon, ErgoSoft, Mimaki and Multiplot (printing), Zünd (cutting), Juki and Stoll (assembling), Veit (finishing) and Vuframe (AR/VR).

3D knitting on the way to Industry 4.0
From 3D image to finished prototype in 18 minutes: the future is here in the world of knitting too! The ‘Digital Textile Micro-Factory’ at Texprocess and Techtextil shows a workflow which enables 3D-knitted uppers for shoes to be produced directly from the customer’s own particular foot measurements.
The ‘3D-knitting Line’ of the micro-factory demonstrates the process from the 3D model to the creation of a geometrically accurate knitting pattern by the software, based on the 3D data set, and the development of a specification of the final knitting data, through to the manufacture of a 3D-knitted prototype. Knitting is the additive manufacturing process for textiles. The ‘3D-knitting Line’ is partnered by Stoll.

Processing technical textiles in the micro-factory
Industry 4.0 live: the focus of the third production line of the ‘Digital Textile Micro-Factory’ 2019 is on the automated processing of technical textiles, personalised for the individual customer, taking us right through to the finished product. Trade visitors will see here on-demand inkjet printing and networked machines with integrated sensors, which are linked through a bus system – a future-oriented topic for integrated manufacturing. A robot arm with a special claw for use with textiles sorts the cut items as they emerge from the cutter in a free-moving open shuttle. The items to be sewn are conveyed automatically to the sewing stations. Tracing and tracking procedures show the progress of each order through the individual stages of the manufacturing process using an auto ID. In addition, the display will also show how creative ideas from the Cloud can be incorporated in the manufacture of technical products. Technology meets creativity. Partners of the production line: Mitwill (design), ErgoSoft (RIP), Caddon (colour management), HP (large-format inkjet printing), Zünd (cutting), Dürkopp Adler (networking, integration of an open shuttle, sewing), Veit (finishing), Next Robotics (material handling).

Smart Textiles Micro-Factory: industrial-type production of smart textiles
In their ‘Smart Textiles Micro-Factory’, located in the walkway between Halls 4.1 and 5.1, the Institute for Textile Technology (ITA) at the RWTH Aachen University, together with partners from industry and research, will be producing a ‘smart’ pillow which, with the help of integrated LEDs, provides new ways of interaction. With this demonstration, the partners in the project will present an exemplary, industrial-style manufacturing process for a smart textile from design to finished product. The prototype of the pillow was displayed in advance at Heimtextil 2019. The following are all involved in the ‘Smart Textiles Micro-Factory’: the Institute for Textile Technology (ITA) of the RWTH Aachen University (project coordination), Gerber Technology GmbH (cutting), the Korea Institute for Industrial Technology KITECH (electronics), VETRON TYPICAL Europe GmbH (sewing), Wear it GmbH (product design and concept) and ZSK Stickmaschinen GmbH (embroidery).
 
World of Digital Fashion: customisation of apparel
Six companies have grouped together under the ‘World of Digital Fashion’ umbrella. They work in areas of visualisation, CAD-cutting systems, automated body measurement, cutting out and process automation. Together, they will be showcasing, in Hall 4.0, ways of integrating and combining their products in a variety of workflows within the value creation chain and will enable visitors to experience what the digital process chain is like in practice. The focus will fall particularly on the customisation of apparel and fashion items. Partners of the ‘World of Digital Fashion’ are: Browzwear Solutions and Tronog (visualisation), Software Dr. K. Friedrich (CAD), Fision (automated body measurement), Bullmer (cutting), as well as Gertsch Consulting and Mode Vision (process automation).

Micro-factory presented by Efka and Gemini: easy to implement
Manufacturers of drive mechanisms for industrial sewing machines Efka will,in collaboration with CAD suppliers Gemini, be showcasing the production of a knitted garment that can be individually designed. The core element of their micro-factory, which closely reflects industrial practice, is the link to the sewing stage of production, something which is already available today as an economic, partially automated solution. The display presents a solution that can be easily implemented and adopted by most companies, using already available resources.

 

More information:
Texprocess
Source:

Messe Frankfurt Exhibtion GmbH

CHINA'S TEXTILE AND APPAREL INDUSTRY FEELS US PUNITIVE TARIFFS Photo: Pixabay
05.03.2019

CHINA'S TEXTILE AND APPAREL INDUSTRY FEELS US PUNITIVE TARIFFS

  • Nevertheless - automation, environmental compatibility and energy efficiency increase machine imports

China's textile and clothing industry is modernizing. High-quality textile machines are in demand. But because of the trade dispute with the USA, investments are also postponed.

How the trade dispute between the USA and China affects its business is currently being discussed by China's textile and apparel manufacturers - and in particular by the companies located in the high-quality sector: Of the approximately USD 119 billion, that they sold abroad in 2018, about two thirds went to the United States.

  • Nevertheless - automation, environmental compatibility and energy efficiency increase machine imports

China's textile and clothing industry is modernizing. High-quality textile machines are in demand. But because of the trade dispute with the USA, investments are also postponed.

How the trade dispute between the USA and China affects its business is currently being discussed by China's textile and apparel manufacturers - and in particular by the companies located in the high-quality sector: Of the approximately USD 119 billion, that they sold abroad in 2018, about two thirds went to the United States.

According to the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), 41 percent of the clothing sold in the USA, 72 percent of the shoes and 84 percent of the accessories come from China. On the other hand, the producers of intermediate products or textiles are less or hardly affected by the punitive tariffs, because here the dependence on the USA is not quite as great. Apparel manufacturers in Vietnam and Bangladesh, for example, generally are also buying in China.

Following previous punitive tariffs on Chinese imported goods, in September 2018 the USA imposed a 10 percent punitive tariff on a wide range of other Chinese imported goods, including goods from the textile and clothing industry. On January 1. 2019, the tariffs should originally be raised to 25 percent, but at the beginning of December 2018 US President Trump and China's President Xi agreed not to increase the tariffs until March 1st 2019.

Companies are reluctant to invest
It is hardly possible to make predictions about the outcome of the conflict. In view of the uncertainty, many of the companies affected are therefore waiting for the time being. German textile machine manufacturers are also feeling the effects of this, whether due to lower demand for machines from Germany or locally. According to a representative of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) in Beijing, many investments have been stopped.

But apart from the upheavals, the modernization process of the Chinese textile and clothing industry is far from complete. Gone are the days when the numerous street markets in China were flooded with cheap clothes. They're hard to find these days. Their manufacturers either had to modernize or have since disappeared from the market.

Number of Chinese textile and clothing companies down sharply
China's textile and clothing industry has been through tough years of consolidation and modernization. In fact, between 2013 and 2017 alone, the number of predominantly private-sector companies in the sector fell by almost 11 percent to around 33,500.

Chinese customers don't want any more junk - and can usually afford better. According to the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), they spent about RMB 1,371 billion; equivalent to about USD 207 billion; (1 USD = about 6.6114 RMB, annual mean rate 2018) on clothing and shoes in 2018. This is 8 percent more than in the previous year.

Rising personnel costs force automation
On the one hand, consumer demand has grown and led companies to invest in better machines, on the other hand, the constant pressure on personnel costs has forced them to automate their processes. Between 2010 and 2017, the number of employees in the sector fell from 10.9 million to 7.8 million.

Many have tried (and are trying) to escape the pressure by relocating their companies - for example to the interior of the country, where the wages are lower, or to cheaper foreign countries. However, the great migration movement did not take place, as most of them see themselves too strongly interwoven with their suppliers. Some are also skeptical about the move to the West, arguing that it would only be a temporary solution - and that sooner or later the wages there would follow.

Traditionally, the industry has concentrated on the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang and Shandong. There, the average gross monthly wages of urban workers rose between 2013 and 2017 (latest available figures) by between 38.9 per cent (Fujian) and 48.5 per cent (Guangdong) - with significantly lower inflation rates.

Development of the Chinese textile and clothing industry 2013 to 2017
(% change over previous year) *)
  2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Cjamge
Number of companies 37,376 36,642 36,488 35,197 33,326 -5.3
.Textile industry 21,666 20,821 20,545 19,752 18,726 -5.2
.Clothing industry 15,710 15,821 15,943 15,445 14,600 -5.5
Number of employees in 1,000 persons n.a. n.a. 9,140 8,667 7,784 -10.2
.Textile industry n.a. n.a. 4,645 4,362 3,912 -10.3
.Clothing industry n.a. n.a. 4,495 4,305 3,872 -10.1
Turnover in RMB bn. 5,553 5,934 6,222 6,458 5,700 -11.7
.Textile industry 3,608 3,829 3,999 4,084 3,611 -11.6
.Clothing industry 1,945 2,105 2,223 2,374 2,089 -12.0

*) only companies with an annual turnover of more than RMB 20 million are included.
Source: National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)

Environmental legislation and energy efficiency as additional investment drivers
The industry also has to deal with a generally stricter environmental legislation, which increasingly is being implemented. Added to this is the growing importance of the energy efficiency aspect.

Both are good news for German textile machinery manufacturers, according to VDMA estimates. As a result, the market for high-tech machines is expanding and the resulting demand is still far from being met by local production. China imported USD 4.2 billion worth of textile machinery in 2018, an increase of 6.7 percent over the previous year. A further customer potential arises from the growing importance of technical textiles.

According to Chinese customs statistics, German suppliers supplied textile machinery worth USD 1.1 billion to China in 2017 (latest available data) - a whopping 28.3 percent more than in the previous year. Despite this success, however, they had to cede their previous leading position as the main supplier country to Japan. However, this statistic shows only one side of the medal. Almost all well-known manufacturers are now represented in China with their own production facilities - and no figures are available about their activities.

Imports of textile machinery to China by selected countries
(SITC item 724; in US$ million, change from previous year and percentage share)
  2015 2016 2017 Change Share 2017
Total, thereof from 3,354 2,907 3,897 34.1 100.0
.Japan 728 765 1.169 52.8 30.0
.Germany 1,219 851 1.101 29.4 28.3
.Italy 415 347 448 29.1 11.5
.Taiwan 206 187 203 8.6 5.2
.Belgium 134 124 173 4.0 4.4
.Switzerland 104 111 126 13.5 3.2

Sources: UN-Comtrade; Calculations by Germany Trade & Invest

Environmental model companies point the way ahead

Already today there are manufacturers with ambitious plans in environmental protection. One of them is the Dongrong Group. Based in Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, the Cashmere company has been selected by the government of the Autonomous Region, together with a dairy company, as a model company for environmental protection. This included President and owner Cheng Xudong having his company - by the way inspired by the German Pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai 2008 - sealed energetically (albeit not with materials "Made in Germany").

The next big step will be the purification of the company's own waste water. "Cheng describes his goal as follows: "Fish, suitable for consumption in our canteen, should be able to swim in it. The company is already now growing vegetables for the canteen itself. In his efforts it is financially supported by the state. But certainly not all entrepreneurs are so ambitious.

And there is still an old Chinese saying for many companies: "The sky is high - and the emperor is far away". In other words, what the central government decides in Beijing does not necessarily have to be implemented in the huge hinterland. But all these efforts show in which direction the journey goes.

 

More information:
China USA Tariffs
Source:

Stefanie Schmitt, Germany Trade & Invest www.gtai.de

Photo: Pixabay
26.02.2019

TURKEY REMAINS AN IMPORTANT MARKET FOR GERMAN TEXTILE MACHINERY

  • Competition from the Far East increases modernization pressure

Turkey is an important market for German manufacturers of textile machinery. However, the textile and clothing industry has a problem: exports have been stagnating for years.

  • Competition from the Far East increases modernization pressure

Turkey is an important market for German manufacturers of textile machinery. However, the textile and clothing industry has a problem: exports have been stagnating for years.

The Turkish textile industry is broadly based: Companies manufacture all intermediate products in the country, including yarns, fibers and fabrics. Production along the entire textile value chain means great sales potential for German suppliers of textile machinery. In fact, Turkey is the second most important export market for German spinning, weaving, textile finishing machines and the like after China, as it can be seen from the figures of the Federal Statistical Office Destatis.Nevertheless, the sector is not a growth market. Apart from a few outliers upwards and downwards, Turkish textile machinery imports have remained at the same level for several years. This is due to the fact that Turkish exports of textiles and clothing are also stagnating. Particularly noticeable: companies benefited only marginally from the weak lira last year.

Textile and apparel industry benefits little from weak lira
Year Turkish exports of clothing and textiles (in US$ billion) Annual change (in %)
2015 26.3 -10.3
2016 26.1 -0.6
2017 26.7 2.1
2018 27.7 3.6

Source: Turkish Statistical Office TÜIK (http://www.tuik.gov.tr)

Increasing pressure from the Far East
Turkish clothing manufacturers are increasingly feeling the effects of competition from the Far East. Despite the high number of informal workers, wages in Turkey have risen to such an extent that they cannot keep up with the low wages of Asian sewing factories. The geographical advantage of Turkish companies over Chinese competitors is at stake because of the new Silk Road and the development of faster transport routes. Free trade agreements that the European Union is currently negotiating with India and South Korea will further increase the pressure on Turkish producers.

Slump in 3rd quarter 2018
In addition, there is the difficult economic situation in the country: the Turkish lira reached a record low, especially in the months of August to October 2018, and commercial banks raised their lending rates. As a result, financing costs for machinery from abroad suddenly increased, orders from Turkey failed to materialize, especially in the third quarter. The German knitting machine manufacturer Mayer & Cie has also noticed this, as Stefan Bühler, who is responsible for the Turkish business, reports: "In the last three months of 2018, the market was virtually dead. In the meantime, however, the industry is gradually recovering.

Akar Textile plans new factory
Announcements about new investments cannot yet be heard at this time. As early as June 2018, Akar Textile (http://www.akartextile.com) announced that it would build a new factory for 47 million Turkish lira (TL) in the municipality of Savur in southeastern Turkey. 3,000 employees are there to become employed. Akar Textile produces for companies such as C&A, Mango and H&M. Only a few months after the announcement of the project, the economic crisis in Turkey deepened in September. The extent to which the turbulence has affected the project implementation is not known.

Technical textiles as a driving force for growth
Far Eastern competition is increasing the pressure to modernize the Turkish textile industry. In the future, industry will have to compete primarily with high-quality products. Growth impulses are currently coming from the sector of technical textiles. According to industry reports, more than 200 small and medium-sized enterprises are already producing technical textiles and nonwovens in Turkey. These textiles and fabrics are being used in the automotive, packaging and cosmetics industries.

In June 2018, the Turkish METYX Group (http://www.metyx.com) invested in its machinery parc. The company is manufacturing technical textiles and has ordered a line of warp knitting machines from the German textile machine manufacturer Karl Mayer. The manufacturer of composite materials is thus increasing its capacity by 12,000 tons of glass and carbon fibers. In recent years, more and more research and development centers have emerged to promote the necessary technology transfer in the industry. The Institute for Technical Textiles at RWTH Aachen University (ITA) founded a research center in Istanbul in October 2016. In the Teknosab industrial zone in Bursa the BUTEKOM research and development center for textile technology was established in 2008. The institute offers training as well as research and development cooperation to and with companies.

However, many medium-sized textile companies often lack the money to invest in modern machinery. The short planning horizon makes an access to research and development more difficult. As a member of the management board of the German-Turkish Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Frank Kaiser has been observing the Turkish business landscape for eight years. He points out that the textile manufacturers, like other medium-sized companies in the country too, often plan in short terms. "In view of the volatile business environment, this is rational," Kaiser explains.

Turkish imports of textile machinery and exchange rate comparison  1)
Year Import from Germany
(in USD million)
Total imports
(in USD million)
Exchange rate
(1 US$ = ?TL)
2009 143 505 1.55
2011 521 1,851 1.67
2013 619 2,211 1.90
2015 382 1,398 2.72
2017 447 1,478 3.65
2018 1) 2) 490 1,774 4.81

1) the slump in the 3rd quarter is not yet visible in the annual figures for 2018; it will not become noticeable until 2019
Sources: UN-Comtrade, TurkStat 2), Bundesbank

 

 

 

 

12.02.2019

TECHNICAL TEXTILES ARE A SUCCESSFUL INDUSTRY IN ISRAEL

  • Israeli Manufacturers with increasing Presence on the World Market

The production of technical textiles is one of the leading sectors of the Israeli textile industry. Their success is not least due to intensive research and development. In view of the fierce international competition facing the Israeli textile industry, high-quality and innovative products are indispensable for stabilizing this
industry. One of the sectors that best manage this modernization is the production of technical textiles.

In 2017, this product category accounted for an estimated USD 600 million or nearly one-third of the total sales generated by the textile and apparel industry. With an export share of around 70 percent, the division is also strongly world market-oriented and accounted for USD 414 million, 43 percent of Israeli textile and clothing exports in 2017.

  • Israeli Manufacturers with increasing Presence on the World Market

The production of technical textiles is one of the leading sectors of the Israeli textile industry. Their success is not least due to intensive research and development. In view of the fierce international competition facing the Israeli textile industry, high-quality and innovative products are indispensable for stabilizing this
industry. One of the sectors that best manage this modernization is the production of technical textiles.

In 2017, this product category accounted for an estimated USD 600 million or nearly one-third of the total sales generated by the textile and apparel industry. With an export share of around 70 percent, the division is also strongly world market-oriented and accounted for USD 414 million, 43 percent of Israeli textile and clothing exports in 2017.

The production of technical textiles is based not least on strong domestic demand. The largest domestic customers include the armed forces and security forces, which demand high functionality and top quality from their suppliers. Among other things, this market segment produces bulletproof textiles, special textiles for uniforms, carrier bags for sensitive devices under field conditions and camouflage nets.

Strong domestic demand helps product development
As the Fashion & Textile Industries Association explained to Germany Trade & Invest in January 2019, direct contact with the military and internal security institutions helps companies to offer tried and tested products. In addition, according to Maya Herscovitz, director of the association, former members of the armed forces and security forces who are familiar with the requirements for corresponding products are active in the manufacturing companies.    
 
Other domestic customer industries are construction and agriculture. Building construction is increasingly relying on modern building materials, including lightweight and highly insulating textiles. The agricultural sector, on the other hand, contributes only 1.2 percent to the gross domestic product, but is capital-intensive and innovation-oriented. Safety nets are a popular agrotechnical product. In September 2018, Israeli agronomist Yossi Ofir pointed out in a contribution that climate change is leading to an increasing use of shadow nets. Last but not least, more and more Israeli farmers covered entire orchards with shade nets. 

Networking with the high-tech industry
The anchoring in the domestic market and the direct contact to customers accelerate the development of new products. At the same time, the technical textiles sector is embedded in the high-tech scene. For example, manufacturers integrate research results from nanotechnology and materials science into their products.

An example of this is Marom Dolphin, which manufactures military and civilian products and uses plastics, metal and composite materials to increase the strength of its textile products or reduce their weight. A leading manufacturer of technical textiles is Hagor Industries, which offers combat vests, protective vests, backpacks and tents of all sizes among other things, while Source - Shoresh produces textile hiking accessories. These and similar manufacturers are represented on numerous export markets.

Some companies do not offer finished products, but technological solutions. Nano Textile, for example, has launched an antibacterial sonochemical coating for textiles. Hospitals are planned as a main field of application, but according to company information other fields of application such as aircraft construction and public transport, restaurants and hotels or baby clothing may also open up. Gideon Guthrie Technical Textile also offers research and development (R&D) services in cooperation with Israeli and foreign textile manufacturers.

In addition to the activities of the company's own R&D departments, research is also carried out at universities. For example, the textile coating technology used by Nano Textile was developed at the Israeli Bar Ilan University. The Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art is home to CIRTex (The David & Barbara Blumenthal Israel Center for Innovation and Research in Textiles). The center carries out applied research on new products, production processes and applications for textiles and promotes cooperation between established companies on the one hand and start-ups and individual inventors on the other. Industrial textile research and development is supported by the Innovation Authority.

According to the trade association, the production of technical textiles will continue to increase in the coming years. As Maya Herscovitz explained to Germany Trade and Invest, manufacturers of technical textiles invest large amounts not only in the development of new products, but also in the modernization and automation of production processes. This was not only necessary for reasons of cost savings, but also because of the shortage of skilled workers on the labour market.

Israel is a net exporter of technical textiles
Der mit großem Abstand wichtigste Exportposten im Bereich technischer Textilien (SITC 657) sind The by far most important export item in the technical textiles sector (SITC 657) are nonwovens (SITC 657.2). They accounted for 67.1 percent of total exports of technical textiles in 2017, or USD 278 million. Second place went to batting, wicks and goods and products for technical use made of textile materials. With an export value of USD 88 million, they accounted for 21.6 percent of industry exports.

The most important export market in 2017 was the USA, followed by the Netherlands and Germany in a great distance. The Federal Republic of Germany purchased technical textiles worth USD 44.7 million (10.8 percent of Israeli exports) from Israel.

With USD 136 million imports accounted for 32.6 percent of exports. The three most important supplier countries - China, Turkey and Italy - were almost on a par at USD 25 million, USD 24.8 million and USD 24.2 million. Germany ranked fifth and, with a delivery value of USD 11.2 million, achieved an import market share of 8.3 percent.

Source:

Wladimir Struminski, Germany Trade & Invest www.gtai.de

Textile innovations ‘made in Germany’ in demand in the USA (c) KameraStudio for Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH
05.06.2018

Textile innovations ‘made in Germany’ in demand in the USA

‘High-Tex from Germany’ at Techtextil North America and Texprocess Americas shows again how innovative the German textile industry is.

Back to the USA: ‘High-Tex from Germany’ made a guest appearance at Techtextil North America and Texprocess Americas in Atlanta for the second time from 22 to 24 May 2018. At the special exhibition organised by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie – BMWi) in cooperation with the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (Messeausschuss der Deutschen Wirtschaft e.V. – AUMA), a total of 66 companies presented technical textiles, nonwovens, textile-processing machines, smart textiles and textile-research projects to the trade visitors. The textile sector made its first appearance in the USA in 2000. This was followed by highly successful presentations in Shanghai in 2002, in Mumbai in 2007 and in Moscow in 2012.

‘High-Tex from Germany’ at Techtextil North America and Texprocess Americas shows again how innovative the German textile industry is.

Back to the USA: ‘High-Tex from Germany’ made a guest appearance at Techtextil North America and Texprocess Americas in Atlanta for the second time from 22 to 24 May 2018. At the special exhibition organised by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie – BMWi) in cooperation with the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (Messeausschuss der Deutschen Wirtschaft e.V. – AUMA), a total of 66 companies presented technical textiles, nonwovens, textile-processing machines, smart textiles and textile-research projects to the trade visitors. The textile sector made its first appearance in the USA in 2000. This was followed by highly successful presentations in Shanghai in 2002, in Mumbai in 2007 and in Moscow in 2012.

“Taking ‘High-Tex from Germany’ to Atlanta again was a very good decision. The southeast of the USA has a long tradition of textile manufacturing. It is home to many companies that are always on the lookout for innovative textiles and machines for textile production and processing”, explained Detlev Rünger, German Consul General in Atlanta during the ‘High-Tex from Germany’ press conference. “Fairs bring people together. And this was evident here in Atlanta. With the overseas exhibition programme, we give small to medium-sized companies the chance to show their products in foreign markets”, said Patrick Specht of the Trade Fair Policy and EXPO Participations division of the BMWi.

“‘High-Tex from Germany’ within the framework of Techtextil North America and Texprocess Americas was a very good platform for our small to medium-sized companies. After Techtextil and Texprocess in Frankfurt, these two events are the second-most important editions of the trade-fair duo. ‘High-Tex from Germany’ came fully up to our expectations and anyone who failed to take part missed a great opportunity to be noticed”, said Marc Lorch, Member of the Board of Zwissler Holding, who represented the participating companies as exhibitor president.

Michael Metzler, Sales President of ZSK Stickmaschinen, confirmed this saying, “A German pavilion of this scope makes us extremely visible. Thanks to the excellent organisation, we were also able to concentrate on promoting our company and products.” In addition to the appealing exhibition-stand concept and the excellent organisation, the companies taking part were particularly pleased with the high visitor standard. “We regularly exhibit at Techtextil North America but taking part in ‘High-Tex for Germany’ resulted in our best ever day at a fair here. The pavilion is a real eye-catcher”, said Thomas Wiederer, Area Sales Manager, Brückner Textile Technologies. “The visitors to our exhibition stand were very interested in our products. We gained potential customers and were able to make numerous high-grade contacts. The level of interest shown in our highly innovative e-textile solutions, which are completely new in the sector, was very high. We are looking forward to the follow-up phase”, said Andreas Lanyi, Vice President Digital Unit and Internet of Things of the Hamburg-based start-up, Lunative Laboratories.

Besides gaining new customers, the focus of the companies taking part in ‘High-Tex from Germany’ was on cultivating customer relations. “The German pavilion in Atlanta once again gave us a good opportunity to get to know the US market better. We have had a factory in the vicinity of Atlanta for two years now and aim to expand our network in the long term”, said Ronny Schröder, Associate Sales Director Technical and Comfort Products, Sandler. “We like making presentations within the framework of the German pavilion very much”, added Georg Voggenreiter, Technical Sales, Maschinenfabrik Herbert Meyer. “Once again, ‘High-Tex from Germany’ was a good starting point for cultivating contacts with our customers in the USA.”

The companies taking part in ‘High-Tex from Germany’ made their presentations on around 1,300 square metres of exhibition space with their own exhibition stands, with selected exhibits on a central ‘Plaza’, in guided tours and no less than 35 lectures. Additionally, the German Institutes of Textile and Fibre Research (Deutsche Institute für Textil- und Faserforschung – DITF), the Association of the Finishing, Yarns, Woven Fabrics and Technical Textiles Industry (Industrieverband Veredlung, Garne, Gewebe und Technische Textilien – IVGT), the Tübingen-Reutlingen-Zollernalb location agency and the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S. provided insights into current research projects and offered information about the sector.