Textile Technology section
Kuraray: new managing director for Kuraray Europe
Specialty chemicals producer Kuraray Europe GmbH, Hattersheim/Germany, has appointed Jun Inoue (photo) as the successor to Naoya Uehara who is moving to a new management role at Kuraray in Tokyo/Japan.
Inoue joins the management as co-managing director, alongside Dr. Matthias Gutweiler. He will also be in charge of the Advanced Materials division. In addition to the specialty chemicals business, he will therefore be responsible for the Elastomer, Dental, Industry and Microfibers business units. He intends to drive forward the focus on high-performance materials in Germany and Europe.
Priorities are materials with a strong sustainability profile and the establishment of innovative 5G technologies for production and service.
RadiciGroup: sustainable wearables
The first Oroblù-branded tights made in Italy from recycled plastic bottles are the result of a collaboration between the manufacturer of synthetic fibers and yarns, RadiciGroup, Gandino/Italy, and CSP International Fashion Group SpA, Ceresara/Italy.
The 2 companies, both of which are innovation and sustainability-oriented, decided to combine their know-how to create a high-performance, eco-friendly product. “Oroblù Save the Oceans” are black, 50-denier tights made of Repetable, a new polyester yarn derived from post-consumer recycled PET bottles. This process reduces CO2 emissions, as well as the consumption of water and energy.
Repetable yarn uses no virgin material and is colored by solution-dyeing, a method that saves water and electricity during production.
Flocus: sustainable and regenerative kapok fibers
Kapok is a non-food, vegan product that leaves no human footprint behind. Flocus BV, Enschede/Netherlands, offers a range of kapok textile materials such as fibers, yarns, textiles and nonwovens, which provide the textile industry with a naturally sustainable and regenerative alternative which has not been available before.
Flocus, also the name of the trademarked fiber, is a 100% sustainable open source textile concept in which buyers can tailor blend their needs for their sustainable collection. The company is testing the wide range of applications of Flocus kapok stuffing, yarns, fabrics, nonwovens for thermo and sound insulation, waddings, foam replacement, medical, automotive and technical uses and others.
Kapok is a natural fiber, traditionally used e.g. by local population in China and Indonesia for fillings but with no large-scale applications. The short staple fiber (2-4 cm length) is very light and hollow, and is characterized by a silky soft and dry touch of the fiber itself, antimoth and antimite properties as well as insulation properties comparable to down.
Kapok comes from a non-food fruit crop (Ceiba pentandra) that grows in many subtropical areas. They can be picked, like an apple, leaving the tree to grow and prosper. The kapok trees need no irrigation, no pesticides, and no fertilizers, they thrive only with natural resources. They can grow on hills, in a biodiverse environment, and on land which is not suitable for agricultural purposes – resulting in 100% positive impact on the environment.
RadiciGroup: circular fashion along the entire supply chain
The manufacturer of synthetic fibers and yarns, RadiciGroup, Gandino/Italy, is participating in the “Monitor for Circular Fashion”, an innovative Italian project launched by the SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan/Italy, and Enel X, Rome/Italy, with the objective of creating an Italian fashion community through the collaboration of the supply chain players most committed to the sustainability agenda.
The initiative aims to assess the state of maturity of the circular economy in the Italian fashion industry, to define an ambitious plan integrating circularity in fashion and to develop new concrete and measurable circular economy solutions through the sharing of best practices, with the goal of making the strategic fashion sector ever more sustainable.
Gregory: transparency in life cycle assessment
Sustainability does not have to take second place to functionality. For the backpack specialist Gregory Mountain Products, Salt Lake City, UT/USA, a data-based life cycle analysis (LCA) of the outdoor backpacks is the guideline for the entire production process.
A specially developed life cycle assessment tool measures the impact of the backpacks on the environment along the entire path from development to disposal. With the new Katmia & Kalmia trekking backpacks and the equally functional Resin daypack, the first 2 series were designed based on these analysis results. Made predominantly from recycled materials, their footprint is up to 58% lower than production with conventional polyamide.
Software developed in cooperation with Thinkstep, Stuttgart/Germany (now Sphera Solutions, Leinfelden-Echterdingen/Germany) analyses the LCA of the backpacks holistically and starts at the product development stage.
This takes into account the manufacture of the raw materials, refinement, production and transport, as well as use and end-of-life of the products. The software enables products to be evaluated and intelligent design decisions to be made which reduce the impact on the environment as much as possible.
In addition to the carbon footprint, 5 other parameters are taken into account in the calculation: Acidification (negative impact on soil, forest and water), water pollution, ozone formation, primary energy demand (energy extracted from the earth) and blue water consumption (net intake and release from production to end of life of the product).
Covestro: production of CO₂-based surfactants
Washing with CO₂ technology could be a major milestone on the road to the Circular Economy. The specialty chemicals producer Covestro AG, Leverkusen/Germany, came another step forward in the ongoing development of its innovation on this front: As part of the "DreamResourceConti" project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Berlin, the production of CO₂-based surfactants and how they can be used to produce sustainable detergents and cleaning agents is examined.
Together with its academic partners RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, and the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin), both Germany, Covestro has now succeeded in replacing part of the ethylene oxide (EO) from petroleum needed for production with carbon dioxide, making surfactant materials much more sustainable.
In the future, up to 25% of the conventional ethylene oxide could be replaced by CO2. In addition, initial tests have shown that the novel CO2-based material can be used in standard formulations for detergents with comparable primary washing performance. In the further course of the project, a detailed characterization of the new materials by the TU Berlin will provide further insights into potential fields of application so that CO2 can be optimally utilized as a raw material.
Coloreel: advancing new coloration technologies for threads
Dyeing and finishing currently involves many washing and drying process steps which add a huge burden to the overall carbon footprint of finished garments and textile products. The latest fully digital technologies are making a big difference, such as the instant thread coloration technology of textile finishing company Coloreel AB, Jönköping/Sweden.
Initially targeting the embroidery market, Coloreel technology enables the high-quality and instant coloring of a textile thread while it is actually being used in production and can be paired with any existing embroidery machine without modification.
Based on a CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) ink system, Coloreel’s advanced rapid color formulation software and high-speed drive technology allow a single needle to carry out what previously required many multiples of them to do – and with much more consistent stitch quality.
Coloreel enables complete freedom to create unique embroideries without any limitations in the use of colors. Color changes along the thread can either be made rapidly from one solid color to another, or gradually, to make smooth transitions or any coloring effect desired.
This provides big benefits when it comes to sustainability. There is a significant reduction in wasted inks, while water usage is minimized, and production speeds are increased. The technology allows set-up and lead times to be reduced as well as significant flexibility in production schedules, while eliminating the need for large thread inventories.
Lanxess: carbon fiber smartphone
A new lightweight, slim design and sustainable smartphone is on the market this March: the Carbon 1 MK II from Berlin-based start-up company Carbon Mobile.
Designed and engineered in Germany, the Carbon 1 MK II reignites miniaturization and drives sustainability in connected devices by replacing plastics and aluminum with advanced composite materials for the first time with thermoplastic composite from the Tepex dynalite product range of Lanxess AG, Cologne/Germany. It is reinforced with fabrics of very fine 1K continuous carbon fiber filaments. The composite material, which was developed for extremely lightweight components subjected to considerable mechanical stress, allows very thin wall thicknesses. Furthermore, with its high degree of strength and rigidity, it also helps to make the housing very robust for day-to-day use.
The smartphone weighs only 125 g, thus making it a third lighter than conventional smartphones. At just 6.3 mm, it is also 25% thinner as well.
The Lycra Company: Denise Sakuma new VP of Brands and Marketing
The provider of fiber and technology solutions The Lycra Company, Wilmington, DE/USA, announces the promotion of Denise Sakuma to vice president of brands, marketing communications, and merchandising.
With years of experience in building brands, Sakuma leads the global brand marketing communication capabilities in retail merchandising, new product commercialization, sustainability, public relations, e-commerce, creative, and social media. She is also spearheading The Lycra Company’s digital transformation.
Before her new role, Sakuma served as director of global ready-to-wear, denim, and woven segments. She also previously held the role of Regional Business Director for South America for 5 years in São Paulo/Brazil. Prior to that, she was the company’s Global Brand and Communications Director.