Textile Technology section
Uster: innovations in technology and quality management
The provider of textile testing and quality control solutions, Uster Technologies AG, Uster/Switzerland, recently launched the Uster Q-Bar 2 and Uster Fabriq Expert for inspection and monitoring at the ITMA 2019 in Barcelona/Spain.
The Uster Q-Bar 2 represents the next generation of the original on-loom monitoring and inspection system, offering user-friendly design and operational improvements for weaving. The equipment brings many advantages, including indication of the defect location, and better access to make maintenance tasks easier. It is positioned immediately behind the reed on each machine – the ideal location for earliest detection of fabric defects. This means the operator can respond quickly to alarms and stop signals, thus minimizing material waste. A red LED guides the operator to the exact position of defects, and lights at the side of the unit show system status. Fabric faults are categorized and saved, creating a ‘defect map’ for each roll which can be recalled and reviewed later via the intuitive touchscreen. The system reduces the need for post-weaving inspection for most applications.
The Uster Fabriq Expert is the key to early detection of quality issues, based on comprehensive quality data gathered during on-loom inspection of fabrics. It provides weavers with an overview of their entire installation via Uster Q-Bar 2 systems fitted over each machine. The quality data can be used to compare the performance of the same styles on different machines, for example. Another benefit is an indication of when to replace spare parts, preventing faults which could occur with worn-out parts.
Kraig Biocraft: construction of research laboratory in Vietnam completed
The producer of genetically engineered spider silk-based fibers Kraig Biocraft Laboratories Inc., Ann Arbor, MI/USA, has completed construction of its new biotech research laboratory in Vietnam. The new laboratory suite is located within the company’s recombinant spider silk production facility in Quang Nam and consists of 11 separate labs. These new labs are a key piece of the company’s spider silk commercialization program and were part of the, now complete, renovation efforts at the Prodigy Textiles factory, the company’s wholly owned subsidiary and production arm.
The new laboratory suite was built to support production ramp up and will serve as a testing and quality control facility for the commercialization of the company’s recombinant spider silk technologies. To ensure compliance with regulations, related to genetically modified technologies, it was built to the design and specification of the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST). The labs are intended for the development of future innovations in spider silk fibers and products to complement the existing technologies, which are now moving to commercialization.
Heat-MX: animal-free down feather material
The supplier of thermal insulation products, Heat-MX worldwide, Laval/Canada, will launch a new technology, nDown, during the trade fair Preview in Seoul from August 28-30, 2019 in Seoul/Korea.
This technology enables a wide range of products to be created, such as garments, home textiles, sleeping bags, etc., with the look and feel of equivalent products containing natural down feather material without using any animal-based ingredients. It also provides other benefits for consumers such as ease of maintenance (easy home wash, no dry cleaning necessary), no odor, durability, etc., while helping lower the cost of manufacturing.
nDown addresses a strong trend in animal protection as well as environmental benefits, 2 of the most significant trends in the global textile industry. There are many products in the market that try to mimic the performance of down feather such as batted nonwovens, loose polyester fibers, fiber-balls, etc. However, these man-made products fall invariably short in performance in several key aspects, e.g. warmth/weight ratio, volume recovery, filler-clumping after wash, etc., when compared with high quality down feather material in its optimum state. In addition, the affinity of natural down feather material to moisture and sweat, thus creating fertile ground for bacterial growth, makes it impractical to use it for products subject to high level of activities, e.g. outdoors, sportswear, military, etc.
The non-animal-based nDown technology not only overcomes all these limitations but also offers many other environmental and performance benefits.
eurolaser: laser cutting for wool
Until now, textiles had to be protected from fraying after cutting with knife cutters by means of linking or edging. Using the new Cut’n’Protect Technology from the producer of laser systems, eurolaser GmbH, Lüneburg/Germany, means that these additional work steps are not required. This saves time because the laser provides lasting protection from fraying merely because of the cutting process.
This decisive advantage of the laser compared to conventional processing methods has been used with synthetic textiles for many years and works perfectly. eurolaser’s patented Cut’n’Protect Technology now makes all of the advantages of lasers available for wool for the first time. There are no material distortions, tool wear or changeover times.
The new technology was presented for the first time at the ITMA in Barcelona/Spain in June 2019.
Composite Germany: continuing decline in composites business sentiment
For the 13th time, the trade association Composites Germany e.V., Berlin/Germany, has released current key performance indicators (KPI) for the fiber-reinforced plastics market. Again, the survey covered all the member companies of the 4 biggest umbrella organizations of Composites Germany: AVK, CCeV, CFK-Valley and the VDMA Working Group on Hybrid Lightweight Construction Technologies.
The last survey already included a fairly cautious evaluation of the business situation and this decline in sentiment continues to cast a cloud over the current survey.
In the last study, 69% of respondents rated the situation in Germany as generally or even very positive – in the current survey this number has fallen to 64%. In other words, 1/3 of respondents now view the current business situation (see Fig.) with some degree of concern. Respondents have a similar assessment of the other regions considered in the survey (worldwide and Europe).
Not only do they view the general business situation more critically than in the last survey, they are also more pessimistic about their own individual business situations. While 83% of the respondents rated their own business situation worldwide as positive or even very positive in the last survey, this figure has now dropped to 64%.
In contrast to the rather negative evaluation of the current and future business situation, investment climate indicators (capital investment and HR planning) continue to be quite positive. For example, only 8% of respondents expect a reduction in employee numbers, while 30% expect to hire new staff. Correspondingly, 37% of those surveyed expect their companies to become even more involved in composites in the future. Only 2% expect their involvement in the sector to decline.
As before, to ensure a smooth comparison with the previous surveys, the questions in this half-yearly survey had been left unchanged. Once again, the data obtained in the survey was largely qualitative in relation to current and future market developments.
Fig.: Business situation in Germany in H1/2019
BST: restructuring in subsidiary areas
The engineering company BST eltromat International GmbH, Bielefeld/Germany, a subsidiary of the elexis Group, Wenden/Germany, has decided to close parts of its BST ProControl business unit. Deliveries of new measuring systems and system upgrades from BST ProControl will cease at the end of 2019. The Service department will remain in place. A team of 7 people will continue to serve the existing customers of BST ProControl around the world. This includes after sales support, help desk, service technician visits to customers and the delivery of spare parts and radiation sources.
Oerlikon: contracts for 120 spinning positions with Chinese yarn manufacturers
The machine and system builder Oerlikon Barmag, Chemnitz/Germany, a subsidiary of the Oerlikon Manmade Fibers segment of Oerlikon Management AG, Pfäffikon/Switzerland, has signed contracts for 2 orders with a total of 120 spinning positions for manufacturing polyamide POY yarn with Chinese yarn manufacturers.
All spinning positions will be equipped with the EvoQuench radial quenching system for polyamide. Currently, Oerlikon Barmag is the world’s only supplier of an already operating radial quenching concept for polyamide. The benefits of radial quenching vis-à-vis conventional cross-flow quenching when manufacturing microfibers lie in a more production-reliable manner with fewer yarn breaks.
The new systems are scheduled to begin manufacturing in early 2021.
Infinited Fiber Co.: investment to advance innovative fiber solutions technology
The textile startup Infinited Fiber Company Oy (IFC), Espoo/Finland, has received its largest single investment from global resource-based manufacturer RGE (Royal Golden Eagle) Pte. Ltd., Singapore, to advance innovative fiber solutions technology.
RGE joins a group of investors including the apparel retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M), Stockholm/Sweden, the energy supplier Fortum, Espoo, and venture capital and private equity company Virala Oy AB, Helsinki/Finland, to help IFC scale up its technology that turns textile waste and other pulp-based materials into new textile fibers. A strategic cooperation agreement was also signed between RGE and IFC to commercialize the startup’s technology.
Since early 2018, IFC has been operating a 50 ton/year pilot plant in Espoo that produces Infinited Fiber for testing purposes with global brand owners and their manufacturers. Recently, the company leased production facilities in Valkeakoski/Finland, for a new pre-commercial 500 ton/year plant and customer training center that will start up in early 2020.
IFC has raised €8 million of funds in 2019, including €1.96 million recently awarded by the European Innovation Council (EIC).
Delta Galil: sales +10% in H1/2019
The underwear and activewear specialist Delta Galil Industries, Ltd. Tel Aviv/Israel, has reported a 10% increase in sales of $373.9 million for the 2nd quarter (Q2) of 2019. Sales for the first 6 months (H1) of 2019 also increased 10% to $739.3 million.
Operating profit in Q2/2019 increased 27% to $14.3 million, while operating profit for H1/2019 was $24.8 million, a 2% decrease compared to the same period 2018.
EBITDA was $37.3 million in Q2/2019, up 63% from $22.9 million in the same quarter last year. For H1/2019, EBITDA was $68.0 million, an increase of 53% (H1/2018: $44.3 million).
Full-year 2019 EBIT is expected to range between $112 million-$117 million, representing an increase of 14-19% from the 2018 actual EBIT of $98 million.
Mayer & Cie.: machine study for weft knitting
The knitting machine manufacturer Mayer & Cie. GmbH & Co. KG, Albstadt/Germany, is taking a fresh look at a proven procedure, weft knitting, and combining it with circular knitting. At the ITMA in June 2019 in Barcelona/Spain, a weft knit machine study demonstrated a new technique of manufacturing textile fabrics.
The most striking difference between a conventional circular knitting machine and the Weftnit 3.2 is the needles it uses. In the past, all Mayer circular knitting machines used latch needles; the Weftnit 3.2 relies on bearded needles. This has several advantages for the user. As the head of a bearded needle is thinner than that of a latch needle, stitch formation is especially gentle. This effect is enhanced if the stitch forming is based on the weft knitting principle using only 2 steps and requiring a lower yarn tension than circular knitting does. Bearded needles can be expected to have a longer service life – an effect that will be reflected in production costs.