Textile Technology section
The Lycra Company: Advanced Textile Innovation Center in China
The provider of fiber and technology solutions for the global apparel and personal care industries, The Lycra Company, Wilmington, DE/USA, (formerly the Apparel & Advanced Textiles business of Invista S.a.r.l., Wichita, KS/USA) officially opened its new Advanced Textile Innovation Center (ATIC) in Nanhai, Guangdong/China, on May 16, 2019. The new 4,500 m² research and development (R&D) laboratory, the company’s fourth, represents an increase in the company’s global R&D capabilities.
Scientists at the R&D center will help customers throughout Asia, as well as Western-based companies with local sourcing offices, create innovative fabrics and garments using The Lycra Company’s branded textile solutions, which include Lycra fiber, Lycra HyFit fiber, Coolmax fiber and Thermolite fiber. The research team will also engage with customers in opportunity identification, as well as the development and commercialization of new polymers, fibers and textile technologies.
In the ATIC real world manufacturing processes including knitting, weaving, dyeing and finishing can be simulated. In addition, the lab has garment engineering, fabric certification and analytical testing tools to help customers achieve desired performance attributes for their fabrics or garments.
Lenzing: fiber tracing with blockchain technology
The producer of cellulosic fibers, Lenzing AG, Lenzing/Austria, will use blockchain technology to support its Tencel branded lyocell fiber business, ensuring complete transparency and traceability for brands and consumers of the fibers in the finished garment. After evaluating various initiatives Lenzing decided to join the platform of the technology company TextileGenesis, Hong Kong/China, to accomplish this goal.
The supply chain transparency from wood to garment and home textiles will enable all customers and partners to identify Tencel fibers and the respective wood source in each production and distribution step. Thanks to a QR code on the final garment, consumers will be able to detect the origin of the clothes they intend to buy.
Lenzing will carry out several pilot tests over the next few months involving partners along the entire value chain. The platform is expected to be fully operational as of 2020.
Techtextil/Texprocess: high internationality
With a total of 1,818 exhibitors from 59 countries and, in all, some 47,000 trade visitors from 116 countries, the largest editions of Techtextil and Texprocess ever to be held ended in Frankfurt/Germany. From May 14-17, 2019, the international trade fair for technical textiles and nonwovens, Techtextil and the international trade fair for processing textile and flexible materials Texprocess again became the platform for users of technical textiles from the widest variety of sectors, as well as for manufacturers of apparel, upholstered furniture and leather products.
1,080 (72%) of the exhibitors were from abroad. After Germany, the 5 biggest exhibitor nations were Italy (134), China (113), France (103), Switzerland (63) and the UK (62). Taking part for the first time or returning after a period of absence were Brazil, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Tunisia. Additionally, 14 countries were represented by national pavilions. Particular exhibitor growth was registered from Turkey, the Czech Republic, China, the USA and Taiwan.
There was, amongst others, strong representation at the Techtextil for suppliers of fabrics for functional apparel and of smart textiles with integral lighting, heating and sensory functionality, which are used in sportswear, fashionwear, outdoor clothes and workwear.
The Texprocess was also all about digital solutions for the sector – from fully networked production lines in the form of micro-factories and machines capable of autonomous learning, to cloud-based collaboration between designers, product developers, manufactures and retailers across national boundaries.
With ‘Sustainability at Techtextil and Texprocess’ both trade fairs focused on the approaches that its exhibitors are adopting to sustainability issues. A dedicated exhibition guide took visitors straight to the relevant exhibitors. Also, for the first time, in 2019 there were 2 winners of the Techtextil Innovation Award in the sustainability category.
Techtextil/Texprocess: sustainability a major topic
“Sustainability at Techtextil” and “Sustainability at Texprocess” are the 2 topics by which these leading international trade fairs for technical textiles and nonwovens, Techtextil, and for the processing of textile and flexible materials, Texprocess, in Frankfurt/Germany from May 14-17, 2019, will be explicitly turning their focus for the first time onto their exhibitors' approaches to sustainability, also with a broad complementary program on this topic. Among those contributing will be major players in the industry, such as the international luxury group Kering, Paris/France, the producer of cellulosic fibers, Lenzing AG, Lenzing/Austria, and the e-commerce company Zalando, Berlin/Germany. In addition, numerous event formats will be taking up the topic of sustainability at both fairs. Taking Towards sustainability as its motto, the Techtextil Forum on May 14, 2019 will be providing a series of contributions devoted exclusively to sustainable textile innovations.
For the first time the Techtextil Innovation Award will be presented to 2 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.
ITMF: new IPCC - Tracing Capital Intensity in the Textile Industry
The International Production Cost Comparison (IPCC), published by the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF), Zurich/Switzerland, is designed to trace the implications of the growing capital intensity in the primary textile industry.
The new publication “Tracing Capital Intensity in the Textile Industry 2018” describes manufacturing and total costs of yarn/fabric broken down into various cost elements at different stages of the textile value chain. The 2018 edition adds the segment finishing to the historical cost analysis in spinning, draw texturing, weaving, and knitting. For the first time also, the geographic coverage counts Pakistan and Bangladesh besides Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Turkey, the USA and Vietnam.
The goal of the report is to allow for a better appreciation of the relative importance of the cost elements and their respective influence on the total costs. In the category Spinning Ring/NE30 for example, the report shows that countries with high manufacturing cost (i.e., in US$/kg of yarn, Italy = 2.35, Korea = 1.60, USA = 1.54) also have the higher share of labor cost (respectively 33%, 27%, and 31%).
The IPCC further covers the categories Texturing (75den/72F), Weaving Rotor Yarn Fabric, Weaving Textured Yarn Fabric, Knitting Rotor Yarn Fabric, Knitting Textured Yarn Fabric, Finishing - Knit - Continuous Open Width (COW), and Finishing - Knit - Discontinuous (JET).
PFNonwovens: preliminary unaudited results for 2018
The nonwovens group PFNonwovens a.s. (previously Pegas Nonwovens), Znojmo/Czech Republic, recorded consolidated sales of CZK 6.5 billion (€ 252 million) in 2018, up by 5.1%. EBIT amounted to CZK 879.5 million (€34.2 million), up by 22.5% compared with 2017.
In the 4th quarter of 2018 (Q4/2018), consolidated sales reached CZK 1.7 billion (€ 65.5 million), up by 16.2% year-on-year. EBIT for Q4/2018 declined by 2.4% CZK 227.9 million (€ 8.9 million) in comparison to Q4/2017.
Concerning investment, the construction of the South African plant is proceeding according to plan. The Znojmo-Přímětice/Czech Republic semi-commercial production line project has entered its realization phase. Building modifications have been completed and currently the production line is in the process of being installed. Everything is continuing according to the approved schedule and commercial operations on the line are planned for the Q3/2019.
PFNonwovens manufactures polypropylene/polyethylene nonwovens for the hygiene, industrial, construction, agricultural, medical and other specialized sectors. These textiles are primarily used for the manufacture of baby diapers, feminine hygiene and adult incontinence products.
Teijin: sales of jointly developed fan-cooled jackets steadily rising
The producer of advanced fibers and composites, Teijin Ltd., Tokyo/Japan, has begun producing an expanded lineup of fan-cooled jackets that the company developed with Makita Corp., Anjo/Japan, a leading manufacturer of electric power tools. The jackets, which were introduced in 2018, use pressure-controlled fan cooling to circulate air inside their outer shells and inner linings.
The jointly developed lineup has been expanded to offer jackets with detachable sleeves and a full-body jump suit capable of circulating cooling air around both the upper and lower torsos. Also, some jackets newly allow the wearer to run the power switch cord into either the left or right pocket from inside the jacket. Furthermore, the lineup has been expanded with new colors, new sizes (5L to 7L) and new applications (full-harness safety belt, weed-trimming design, etc.).
Meanwhile, unique fan-cooled jackets continue to be adopted by an increasingly wide range of companies for extended uses including sports apparel and work uniforms. As a result, Makita is forecasting that the lineup’s annual sales will quadruple in 2019.
Infinited Fiber Co.: new partnerships with H&M, Fortum and Virala
The textile startup Infinited Fiber Company Ltd. (IFC), Espoo/Finland, has raised €3.7 million in funding from 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.
IFC is currently running a 50-ton pilot plant in Finland and plans to increase the annual capacity of the next generation sustainable textile fiber production up to 500 tons in order to meet the growing demand from the market.
In addition to cotton rich textile waste, the IFC manufacturing process can use most material containing cellulose, e.g. recycled paper, cardboard and agricultural waste such as straw - nevertheless the up-cycled fiber will be the same. Properties of the Infinited Fiber include a natural soft look and feel, consistent proven quality, 30-40% and better color uptake than competing fibers. It is antibacterial and bio-degradable and has vey good moisture absorption qualities. The fiber is re-usable forever, carbon neutral and applicable like natural cotton without any microplastics harming the environment, according to the company.
The business model of IFC is to license the Infinited Fiber technology for global fiber producers in textile and nonwovens industries. The end-use applications include fashion, disposable personal care products (e.g. wipes, diapers, pads) and technical products (e.g. automotive filters, dairy, construction applications). The sale of the first licensed commercial plant with a capacity of 25,000 tons is scheduled for 2020-2021.