Textile Technology section
Indorama: increased sales volume in 2020
The management team of chemical company Indorama Ventures Public Co. Ltd. (IVL), Bangkok/Thailand, used 2020 to “prepare for growth” by re-organizing the business, building strong leadership teams at every vertical.
IVL full year sales volumes for 2020 grew 18% to 14.08 million tons. The EBITDA declined by 3% to US$1.11 billion for 2020. The company has meanwhile created a portfolio that is resilient, sustainable and positioned for growth.
With 123 operating sites in 33 countries the company is well positioned to reap the benefits from consumptions recovery in 2021 in all 3 segments and the various businesses therein. With the rollout of vaccines and easing of Covid 19 restrictions, a rebound in polyester fiber demand is expected, consequently improving PX, PTA and MEG demand and spreads, as well as demand for the Lifestyle Fibers. Increased mobility is expected to improve demand for Mobility Fibers, while higher gasoline demand is expected to improve MTBE spread. Demand for the PET, Hygiene Fibers, and HVA IOD portfolios are expected to remain robust.
Photo: Aloke Lohia (CEO of Indorama)
INDA: 7 new Board members
The Association of the Nonwovens Fabrics Industry, INDA, Cary, NC/USA, announced the membership election of seven industry leaders to serve on its Board of Directors for a three-year term. These accomplished professionals represent a cross-section of INDA membership and bring a high level of expertise and insight to the management of the association:
• Richard Altice - President and CEO, NatureWorks
• Ashish Diwanji - Ph.D., President, Lydall Performance Materials, Inc.
• Lee Ellen Dreschler - Senior Vice President Corporate R&D, Procter & Gamble Co.
• Barbara Lawless - Business Director, Nonwoven Medical Fabrics, Precision Fabrics Group, Inc.
• David K. Smith - Senior Vice President Engineered Performance Products Autovation, Milliken & Company
• Mike Tuck - VP Global Product Supply, Procurement, and Manufacturing, Owens and Minor Products Div.
• Robert Weilminster - Executive Vice President & General Manager, Hygiene – US & Canada, Berry Global
INDA’s Board of Directors provides strategic stewardship for the association. The Board provides oversight of INDA’s finances and direction for its operating plans as well as counsel to the President to organize and perform activities that contribute to the success of the nonwovens industry and its members.
Rudolf: bio-inspired fluorine-free, water repellent finishes
Mother Nature has designed many ways to benefit from water and to be sheltered from it. Biologically inspired engineering has been used by the producer of textile auxiliaries Rudolf GmbH, Geretsried/Germany, to produce Bionic-Finish Eco for use on textiles and apparel for protection against water.
Bionic-Finish Eco comes as a reviewed and extended family of non-halogenated, APEO-free, fluorine-free formulations suited for different materials and designed for different applications and needs. Still very much based on patented dendrimer technology, the new and strengthened Bionic-Finish Eco product portfolio provides non-fluorinated and highly durable water repellent textile finishes for high-performance, professional applications (e.g. when brushing resistance is required). It delivers highly efficient and durable performance with low application amounts thus does not affect fabric feel and appearance. The technology fulfills a range of challenging technical requirements (e.g. minimal impact on flame retardant properties of technical fibers), and is suitable for both sportswear and outdoor applications, as well as for casual apparel and fashion clothing.
The formulation is bluesign approved, ZDHC chemical gateway certified and compliant with most RSLs; Bionic-Finish Eco new portfolio includes universal and versatile solutions targeting the most standard requirements, as well as customized solutions that meet more demanding and specific expectations such as improved resistance to dry-cleaning.
IKV: Prof. Georg Menges dies
On February 28, 2021, Prof. Georg Menges Professor emeritus, holder of the Chair of Plastics Processing and head of the Institute for Plastics Processing at RWTH Aachen University (IKV), Aachen/Germany, passed away at the age of 97.
After gaining his PhD from the former Technical University of Stuttgart, in 1965 he was appointed to the newly established Chair for Plastics Processing of TH Aachen, which he held until he became professor emeritus in 1989. At the same time, he was appointed head of the IKV.
Prof. Menges quickly established himself as the creative driving force of the rapidly growing institute and succeeded in winning numerous companies in the still young plastics industry as cooperation partners and members of the IKV Sponsors' Association. With the rapidly increasing demand for plastics, the field of plastics technology also developed as a scientific discipline, and Menges established the IKV as a leading research and training institute devoted to the entire range of topics from materials technology and design engineering to the various processes for the processing and machining of plastics.
For his merits in the field of plastics technology, he received numerous high national and international awards. Of particular note are the award of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, first class, the golden handicrafts insignia, membership of the Plastics Hall of Fame of the Plastics Academy, USA, and the award of an honorary doctorate from the Montan University Leoben/Austria.
Dornbirn GFC: 1st GFC-Asia in Korea
Intended to be held in 2020 but canceled and rescheduled due to Covid-19, the 1st International Dornbirn GFC-ASIA (Dornbirn-GFC@2021) will be held in Daegu/Korea from March 23-24, 2021. Due to the still critical pandemic-related restrictions in most countries, the event will be a hybrid conference that will be held both ‘in-person’ in Daegu and online (recorded for EU) around the world.
Dornbirn-GFC@2021 aims to knowledge exchange and share experiences and research results for the sustainability in the textile sector. It will start with a new V-nomics perspective, shape a better future, and a hyper-collaboration between Asia and EU Textile industries.
The opening lecture will be held by Robert van de Kerkhof (CEO, Lenzing AG, Lenzing/Austria) on “Strategic partnerships for systemic change”. There will also be a presentation from Pierre Wiertz (General Manager of Edana, Brusseles/Belgium) on nonwovens. Furthermore, technical lectures from representative Korean companies such as Samsung, Hyundai Motors, Hyosung, Kolon and Huvis will also be presented.
Dornbirn-GFC@2021 will cover the new developments of fiber innovation, technical textile inclusive non-woven and functional textiles, sustainability and circular economy to a wide range of applications of woven textiles and nonwovens.
For further information: http://www.dornbirngfc-asia.com/
Autoneum: operating profit achieved thanks to profitable H2/2020
Due to the pandemic-related decline in global vehicle production, sales by the automotive supplier Autoneum Management AG, Winterthur/Switzerland, decreased by 24.2% to CHF 1.74 billion in 2020, in local currencies sales decreased by 18.7%. The company achieved an EBIT of CHF 27.8 million (2019: CHF -32.9 million). While the corona virus pandemic – due to temporary production stoppages – led to a market slump in the 1st half (H1) of 2020, the recovery and pent-up demand in H2/2020 were also clearly reflected in Autoneum’s revenue.
At -28.8%, the decline in revenue at Business Group (BG) Europe reflected the regional, pandemic-marred market development. Sales decreased to CHF 641.8 million (2019: CHF 900.9 million) with an EBIT of CHF 21.5 million (2019: CHF 51.0 million).
BG North America’s fall in sales of 24.8% reflected the adverse regional market dynamics. Impacted by the market development sales fell to CHF 753.5 million (2019: CHF 1.002 billion). Significant operational and thus financial improvements were made in 2020 under the ongoing turnaround program. The BG increased its EBIT remarkably to CHF -43.6 million (2019: CHF –134.8 million).
With a sales decline of just -7.8%, BG Asia significantly outperformed the market. It was able to increase its EBIT in 2020 to CHF 22.2 million (2019: CHF 11.9 million).
BG SAMEA (South America, Middle East and Africa) also significantly outperformed the market, which contracted sharply as a result of the corona virus crisis. Due to the strong depreciation of various currencies in this region, sales fell 29.7% to CHF 88.4 million. Through prompt adjustment of costs in response to reduced volumes, BG SAMEA generated a slightly improved EBIT of CHF 10.9 million (2019: CHF 10.7 million).
Global automobile production is expected to increase in 2021 compared to 2020, even though the number of vehicles produced is still not forecast to reach the level of 2019. Autoneum’s revenue development is expected to be in line with the market.
Oerlikon: operationally climate neutral by 2030
In its first Sustainability Report, technology group Oerlikon Management AG, Pfäffikon/Switzerland, has selected 8 out of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) where the company can make the most difference for its stakeholders.
Environmental, social and governance targets for 2030 have been set by the Group in areas that align most closely with its operations, policies and capabilities. These targets, for example using only energy from renewable sources and increasing the number of women in leadership roles, have been selected with care and consideration in areas where Oerlikon can make the greatest impact.
Oerlikon’s 2020 Sustainability Report is prepared according to the internationally recognized GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards, underlining the Group’s commitment to transparently sharing its sustainability achievements and progress, and is accessible online at www.sustainabilityreport.oerlikon.com.
Huntsman/Sciessent: partnership for sustainable microbe and odor-resistant textiles
As consumers around the world begin paying more attention to health and hygiene, a strategic partnership has been formed to help mills and brands deliver active wear, outerwear, home textiles and other products with long-lasting protection against microbial growth and odor.
The manufacturer of textile chemicals and dyes, Huntsman Textile Effects, Singapore, and the provider of customized antimicrobial, odor control and water repellent solutions Sciessent, Beverly, MA/USA, cooperate to bring state-of-the-art antimicrobial and odor-control solutions to the market. Huntsman Textile Effects will also become the exclusive distribution partner of Sciessent’s Agion Antimicrobial, Lava XL anti-odor solution, and dual-action Active XL.
Agion Antimicrobial is designed with smart-release technology. It delivers long-lasting protection by releasing its active antimicrobial agents only when needed. It can be built-in or applied via padding, exhaust or package yarn to any textile alongside other functional finishes and is durable up to 100 home washes.
Lava XL is a next-generation non-bioactive odor-control solution, ideal for sportwear and athleisure wear. The triple action technology utilizes zeolite minerals with a large surface area to capture, absorb and degrade odors as they pass through the fabric.
Agion Active XL combines the advanced dual technologies of Agion Antimicrobial and Lava XL to deliver very good odor protection. The antimicrobial fights odor-causing bacteria on the garment, while the odor-control solution captures odor generated by sweat on the skin.
The Sciessent solutions are easily integrated into the finishing process and can be combined with a range of other finishes, including Huntsman Textile Effects’ durable water repellents and comfort systems to cost-effectively produce high-performance textile products that are safe and sustainable.
Human Solutions/Avalution: acquisition by Humanetics Group
Adding critical tools used by vehicle designers around the globe to develop interior environments for occupants that are safe, comfortable and ergonomically pleasing, the Humanetics Group, Farmington Hills, MI/USA, has acquired Human Solutions GmbH and Avalution GmbH, both Kaiserslautern/Germany.
Despite the acquisition by Humanetics, a global leader in safety testing and developer of bio-fidelic crash test dummies, software modeling and custom sensor solutions, Human Solutions and Avalution will continue to be led by the founder and managing director Dr. Andreas Seidl from their headquarters. The acquisition does not include the sister companies Assyst GmbH, Munich/Germany, AVM GmbH, Berlin/Germany and Sistemi Assyst, Lainate/Italy, which will remain independent.
For nearly 20 years, Human Solutions has been a leader in the mobility sector for virtual ergonomics design through its Ramsis software. Avalution is a specialist in 3D body scanning and has the largest international database of human body dimensions and shapes. The combined tools are used by most major vehicle manufacturers, aerospace companies and defense groups.
Both are also used in the fashion industry, sports equipment and helmet design, and uniform and industrial clothing designers to ensure sizing is adapted for a broad range of body types and humans of all sizes.
Oerlikon: good results for 2020 despite Covid-19
In an extraordinarily challenging year 2020, the technology group Oerlikon Management AG, Pfäffikon/Switzerland, delivered resilient results. While the Manmade Fibers Division delivered stable results, the Surface Solutions Division felt the impacts of pandemic-weakened end markets, particularly in the aerospace sector.
Sales of Manmade Fibers Division decreased slightly by 4.0% to CHF 1.061 billion. After securing record wins for filament equipment at the beginning of 2020 (total value of more than CHF 600 million), the Division proved to be highly resilient for the remainder of the year, even after the outbreak of Covid-19. The nonwovens business benefited from the unanticipated surge in demand for protective wear and masks. Year-on-year, order intake decreased slightly by 2.3% to CHF 1.097 billion compared to CHF 1.122 billion in 2019. Operational EBIT for the Manmade Fibers division in 2020 was CHF 120 million (2019: CHF 119 million), or 11.3% of sales (2019: 10.8%).
Sales and orders for man-made fibers systems both exceeded CHF 1 billion for the year, and the Division has full order books for filaments and nonwovens equipment for the next 2 years and the books are being filled into 2023.