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(c) Fraunhofer IAP
08.06.2021

Fraunhofer IAP: Recyclable, Fiber-reinforced Material made from Bio-based Polylactic Acid

"Packaging made from bio-based plastics has long been established. We are now supporting the further development of these materials for new areas of application. If in the future the market also offers plant-based materials for technically demanding tasks such as vehicle construction, the bioeconomy will take a decisive step forward," explained Uwe Feiler, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, in Potsdam. The occasion was the handover of a grant to the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP. The Fraunhofer IAP wants to develop a composite material that consists entirely of bio-based polylactic acid (PLA) and is significantly easier to recycle than conventional fiber composites.

"Packaging made from bio-based plastics has long been established. We are now supporting the further development of these materials for new areas of application. If in the future the market also offers plant-based materials for technically demanding tasks such as vehicle construction, the bioeconomy will take a decisive step forward," explained Uwe Feiler, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, in Potsdam. The occasion was the handover of a grant to the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP. The Fraunhofer IAP wants to develop a composite material that consists entirely of bio-based polylactic acid (PLA) and is significantly easier to recycle than conventional fiber composites.

The German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) is intensively promoting the development of biomaterials as part of its Renewable Resources funding program. More than 100 projects are currently underway, covering a wide range of topics: from plastics that are degradable in the sea to natural fiber-reinforced lightweight components for the automotive sector. The projects are supported by the Agency for Renewable Resources, the BMEL project management agency responsible for the Renewable Resources funding program.

Easier recycling of fiber-reinforced plastics
PLA is one of the particularly promising bio-based materials. The global market for this polymer is growing by around 10 percent a year. PLA is also used, among other things, as a matrix in fiber-reinforced plastics. In these mechanically resilient plastics, reinforcing fibers are embedded in a plastic matrix.

The Fraunhofer IAP project is now focusing on these reinforcing fibers: "We are further developing our PLA fibers in order to transfer them to industrial scale together with partners from industry. These fibers are ideally suited for reinforcing PLA plastics. The resulting self-reinforcing single-component composite promises great recycling benefits. Since the fiber and the matrix of PLA are chemically identical, complex separation steps are not necessary," explains Dr. André Lehmann, expert for fiber technology at Fraunhofer IAP.

Novel PLA fibers and films are more thermally stable
The challenge with this approach is that conventional PLA has a relatively low temperature resistance. Technical fibers can be produced most economically using the melt spinning process. The Fraunhofer IAP team is now using more thermally stable stereocomplex PLA (sc-PLA) for the fibers. The term stereocomplex refers to a special crystal structure that the PLA molecules can form. Sc-PLA fibers have a melting point that is 40 - 50 °C higher and can therefore withstand the incorporation process in a matrix made of conventional PLA. In the project, the researchers are developing and optimizing a melt spinning process for sc-PLA filament yarns. The partner in this work package is Trevira GmbH, a manufacturer of technical and textile fiber and filament yarn specialties that are in demand from automotive suppliers and contract furnishers, among others. Furthermore, the development of a manufacturing process for sc-PLA reinforced flat films is planned. The international adhesive tape manufacturer tesa SE is participating in this task, and will test the suitability of sc-PLA films as adhesive foils. In a third work package, the Fraunhofer IAP will finally process the filaments in a double pultrusion process to produce granules suitable for injection molding.

Bio-based solutions for the automotive and textile industries
The scientists led by Dr. André Lehmann are certain that the self-reinforced PLA material can conquer many new areas of application. The automotive and textile industries are already showing interest in bio-based materials that are also easier to recycle. In terms of price, PLA would already be competitive here, and now the material is also to be made technically fit for the new tasks.

Professor Alexander Böker, head of Fraunhofer IAP, says: "The steadily growing demand from industry for sustainable solutions underlines how important it is to develop biobased and at the same time high-performance materials. With our research, we are also actively driving the development of a sustainable and functioning circular economy and therefore very much welcome the support from the federal government."

Information on the project is available at fnr.de under the funding code 2220NR297X.

(c) Porsche AG
04.05.2021

Fraunhofer: Lightweight and Ecology in Automotive Construction

  • The “Bioconcept-Car” moves ahead

In automobile racing, lightweight bodies made from plastic and carbon fibers have been standard for many years because they enable drivers to reach the finish line more quickly. In the future, lightweight-construction solutions could help reduce the energy consumption and emissions of everyday vehicles. The catch is that the production of carbon fibers is not only expensive but also consumes considerable amounts of energy and petroleum. In collaboration with Porsche Motorsport and Four Motors, researchers at the Fraunhofer WKI have succeeded in replacing the carbon fibers in a car door with natural fibers. This is already being installed in small series at Porsche. The project team is now taking the next step: Together with HOBUM Oleochemicals, they want to maximize the proportion of renewable raw materials in the door and other body parts - using bio-based plastics and paints.

  • The “Bioconcept-Car” moves ahead

In automobile racing, lightweight bodies made from plastic and carbon fibers have been standard for many years because they enable drivers to reach the finish line more quickly. In the future, lightweight-construction solutions could help reduce the energy consumption and emissions of everyday vehicles. The catch is that the production of carbon fibers is not only expensive but also consumes considerable amounts of energy and petroleum. In collaboration with Porsche Motorsport and Four Motors, researchers at the Fraunhofer WKI have succeeded in replacing the carbon fibers in a car door with natural fibers. This is already being installed in small series at Porsche. The project team is now taking the next step: Together with HOBUM Oleochemicals, they want to maximize the proportion of renewable raw materials in the door and other body parts - using bio-based plastics and paints.

Carbon fibers reinforce plastics and therefore provide lightweight components with the necessary stability. Mass-produced natural fibers are not only more cost-effective but can also be produced in a considerably more sustainable manner. For the “Bioconcept-Car” pilot vehicle, researchers at the Fraunhofer WKI have developed body parts with 100 percent natural fibers as reinforcing components.

“We utilize natural fibers, such as those made from hemp, flax or jute. Whilst natural fibers exhibit lower stiffnesses and strengths compared to carbon fibers, the values achieved are nonetheless sufficient for many applications,” explained Ole Hansen, Project Manager at the Fraunhofer WKI. Due to their naturally grown structure, natural fibers dampen sound and vibrations more effectively. Their lesser tendency to splinter can help to reduce the risk of injury in the event of an accident. Furthermore, they do not cause skin irritation during processing.

The bio-based composites were successfully tested by the Four Motors racing team in the “Bioconcept-Car” on the racetrack under extreme conditions. Porsche has actually been using natural fiber-reinforced plastics in a small series of the Cayman GT4 Clubsport since 2019. During production, the researchers at the Fraunhofer WKI also conducted an initial ecological assessment based on material and energy data. “We were able to determine that the utilized natural-fiber fabric has a better environmental profile in its production, including the upstream chains, than the fabric made from carbon. Thermal recycling after the end of its service life should also be possible without any problems,” confirmed Ole Hansen.

In the next project phase of the "Bioconcept-Car", the researchers at the Fraunhofer WKI, in collaboration with the cooperation partners HOBUM Oleochemicals GmbH, Porsche Motorsport and Four Motors, will develop a vehicle door with a biogenic content of 85 percent in the overall composite consisting of fibers and resin. They intend to achieve this by, amongst other things, utilizing bio-based resin-hardener blends as well as bio-based paint systems. The practicality of the door - and possibly additional components - will again be tested by Four Motors on the racetrack. If the researchers are successful, it may be possible to transfer the acquired knowledge into series production at Porsche.

The German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) is funding the “Bioconcept-Car” project via the project-management agency Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e. V. (FNR).

Background
Sustainability through the utilization of renewable raw materials has formed the focus at the Fraunhofer WKI for more than 70 years. The institute, with locations in Braunschweig, Hanover and Wolfsburg, specializes in process engineering, natural-fiber composites, surface technology, wood and emission protection, quality assurance of wood products, material and product testing, recycling procedures and the utilization of organic building materials and wood in construction. Virtually all the procedures and materials resulting from the research activities are applied industrially.

 

  • EU Project ALMA: Thinking Ahead to Electromobility

E-mobility and lightweight construction are two crucial building blocks of modern vehicle development to drive the energy transition. They are the focus of the ALMA project (Advanced Light Materials and Processes for the Eco-Design of Electric Vehicles). Nine European organizations are now working in the EU project to develop more energy-efficient and sustainable vehicles. Companies from research and industry are optimizing the efficiency and range of electric vehicles, among other things by reducing the weight of the overall vehicle. The Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM is providing support with mathematical simulation expertise.

According to the low emissions mobility strategy, the European Union aims to have at least 30 million zero-emission vehicles on its roads by 2030. Measures to support jobs, growth, investment, and innovation are taken to tackle emissions from the transport sector. To make transport more climate-friendly, EU measures are being taken to promote jobs, investment and innovation. The European Commission's Horizon 2020 project ALMA represents one of these measures.

(c) JUMBO-Textil GmbH & Co. KG. CEO Andreas Kielholz (r.) and Business Development Manager Patrick Kielholz in the state-of-the-art production facility of JUMBO-Textil GmbH & Co. KG.
23.03.2021

JUMBO-Textil – Innovative Narrow Textiles redefined

A dynamic family business as a future-oriented solution partner for high-tech elastics
 
The various branches of the German textile and fashion industry generate a combined annual turnover of around € 32 billion. Of the approximately 1,400 companies, the vast majority are medium-sized. Special solutions made in Germany are in demand. The importance of technical textiles has been growing for years - as has their share of turnover. Textination spoke with Andreas and Patrick Kielholz about innovative product solutions, the importance of family businesses in today's world, traditions and innovations, challenges and the courage to fail, aircraft construction, the automotive industry, medical technology and diving suits.

A dynamic family business as a future-oriented solution partner for high-tech elastics
 
The various branches of the German textile and fashion industry generate a combined annual turnover of around € 32 billion. Of the approximately 1,400 companies, the vast majority are medium-sized. Special solutions made in Germany are in demand. The importance of technical textiles has been growing for years - as has their share of turnover. Textination spoke with Andreas and Patrick Kielholz about innovative product solutions, the importance of family businesses in today's world, traditions and innovations, challenges and the courage to fail, aircraft construction, the automotive industry, medical technology and diving suits.


The history of today's company "JUMBO-Textil GmbH & Co. KG" goes back to the last millennium. Founded in 1909 in Wuppertal, you have moved beyond the production of pure yard goods for the lingerie industry and are now a demanded competence partner for high-tech solutions for narrow textiles. Which industries do you focus on when developing your technical textiles?

Andreas Kielholz: JUMBO-Textil focuses on particular competences in the field of narrow textiles and not on specific industries. We produce narrow fabrics, narrow braids and knitted fabrics. In these three fields we bring out our special competences: Elastics, individual solutions and individually fabricated elements in combination with non-textile components. There is, of course, a long-standing intensive cooperation with customers from the automotive industry, for example. In this sense, JUMBO-Textil is also an "interior expert". However, this does not imply a focus on a specific industry. Quite the opposite: We are very broadly positioned in terms of industries. New sectors are opening up all the time; most recently, we supplied the toy industry with textiles specially developed for babies and toddlers. We also supplied the medical technology sector with narrow-textile solutions in form of skin-friendly elastics.


Speaking of Elastics - how did the specialization come about?

Patrick Kielholz: The specialization in elastic narrow textiles began as early as the 1920s. In our entrance area you can see one of the first specialized braiding machines that was purchased for this purpose. It is about 100 years old. A landmark decision: It made the step from apparel textiles to technical textiles, which - many years later – became essential for survival, if not possible, then at least considerably easier.
 

What characterizes elastics? Why is the property so important for technical textiles?

Andreas Kielholz: Technical textiles, as well known, are textiles that are developed for a specific technical function. They have to, if you like, be capable of doing something: securing a load, sealing an opening, protecting from heat ... Many of these industrial functions can only be accomplished with elastic textiles - from applications in aircraft construction to protective suits for divers and to textiles in medicine. It is often the specific, highly precisely defined strength-elongation-ratio that makes use in such extreme, highly demanding applications possible. Innovative fibers are manufactured and finished by us on highly modern, digitally controlled equipment. In this way, we achieve highest precision and safety in the elongation properties and and produce a textile high-tech product with high-performance fibers for extreme, often individually requested technical applications.
 

And what does your product portfolio look like for your customers as a whole?

Patrick Kielholz: The spectrum ranges from woven tapes and belts to braided tape, tubular braids and braided cords to nets - in all widths, made from numerous raw materials and with specific, even demanding properties, special features and fabrications. As a solution partner, we often guide our customers from the initial idea to the finished product.
The importance of narrow textiles as components is growing visibly. Since they are very light, very efficient and at the same time very quiet, they are being used more frequently as an alternative to components made of other materials. The demands placed on the textiles are growing with their tasks: Their specifications are becoming increasingly more precise, the tolerances increasingly tighter. In the automotive sector and in protective equipment, for example, fire safety requirements play an important role. Therefore, we only have success with narrow textiles that are permanently flame retardant. We are currently addressing many inquiries for fitness bands with highly precisely defined strength-elongation-ratios. We are also responding to the sustainability question with our portfolio: We are increasingly working on projects with recycled materials or recyclable products. This development is embedded in a comprehensive sustainability strategy, which we are addressing for the entire Group - also in connection with the new planning of our sister company vombaur GmbH & Co KG.

 
What has particularly influenced the company's development process of about 110 years? Were there any significant changes of direction or decisions?

Andreas Kielholz: In the 1970s, we broadened our range enormously by no longer producing technical narrow textiles only for the apparel industry, but for all industries. At the same time, we continued to specialize - in elastics. This is not a contradiction: We implement what we are particularly good at, however, for all industries.
In the recent history of the company, we made a strong push with our new building in 2016. Optimal production conditions were created. With a variety of new production plants, we are at the advanced level of technology and high production capacity. The environment also has an effect on our team. You can feel that people enjoy working here. At the beginning of 2019, we again set an important strategic course when we combined our competencies with vombaur GmbH & Co KG under the umbrella of Textation Group GmbH & Co. KG.
 

These two traditional companies for demanding high-tech narrow textiles will remain independent as companies and brands. Why did you decide to take this step, what is the market response and what can you recommend to other producers in terms of partnerships?

Andreas Kielholz: We have had very good experiences as a sister company: Knowledge transfer, trade show appearances, digitization workshops - the partnership is beneficial in many ways. But - unlike in real life - we were able to choose our sister. The partner companies have to be compatible. Sure, you have to pay attention to that. They should have things in common without doing exactly the same thing. Because if they are too similar, there is a risk of competition, even cannibalization of one of the brands.
Our construct is perceived by our market companions as a good and elegant solution. We could serve as a role model for one or the other. Perhaps we will also expand our circle in the next few year, which we are open to. And our move has also been well received by our customers. In addition to all the other positive effects, succession issues can also be solved more easily in the Group. We are thereby demonstrating future prospects and security.
 

In the medium-sized textile industry, companies were and still are shaped by people - founding personalities, owners, families who live and breathe textile tradition and innovation. In your opinion, what qualities do people need to have in order to be successful in our niche-oriented German industry?

Andreas Kielholz: Successful and formative are people with curiosity and drive. People who like to explore new territories, first in their thinking and then consistently in their implementation. You should be able to inspire others in these explorations. In addition, you should keep a close eye on the market and act accordingly, i.e., constantly questioning the status quo. Self-criticism is therefore also important: Is our path still the right one? Are we fulfilling our aspirations? To move forward as a company, you have to work tirelessly not only in, but also on the company.    

Patrick Kielholz: The important thing is to recognize change and see it as an opportunity, not as a threat. I fully agree with that. However, I would strongly question the idea that it is the one founder, the one owner, and therefore individual people who make a company successful. We live in a very complex and fast-paced world that cannot be overseen and comprehended by a single person. Don't get me wrong, great ideas can come from individuals and help a company succeed. But we can't rely on that. A company today must be managed in such a way that ideas are developed by divergent teams. An environment must be created that gives each person the opportunity to make a difference. A leader must therefore understand how to develop functioning teams.
 

Mr. Kielholz Snr., you are the managing partner of JUMBO-Textil GmbH & Co. KG and one of the managing directors of vombaur GmbH & Co KG. For about two years now, you have your son Patrick at your side as Business Development Manager of JUMBO-Textil. How did that come about? Did you encourage your son to follow in your footsteps?

Andreas Kielholz: Not explicitly. My sons - there's also Kevin, Patrick's brother - had a lot of freedom in their childhood and youth. It was always up to them how they wanted to live their lives. During their school education and their studies, I tried to support everything in a trusting manner. Education has a lot to do with leading by example. I always had a lot of joy in what I did, even if it wasn't always easy. They witnessed this joy every day - and so I may have implicitly encouraged them.  
The fact that Patrick is now part of the team, performing a very good job and already bears a lot of responsibility - of course I'm very happy about that. He is a good, trustworthy corrective for me, because he can do some things better than I can. There is a high chance that Kevin will also join us after completing his technical studies.
 

Mr. Kielholz Jr., you completed your studies with a master's thesis on family businesses. How do you assess the future of family businesses in a global textile industry in general? And where do you see JUMBO-Textil here?

Patrick Kielholz: Family businesses are usually employers that retain their employees for a long time - by providing a family-like working environment and a corporate culture that creates trust. These include values that are important to the younger generations. Status symbols are becoming less important. This can create a working environment in which highly innovative and flexible work can be done - if it is not prevented by an overly patriarchal structure. Family businesses can usually still work on this. We are trying to create such an innovation-friendly environment in the Textation Group with JUMBO-Textil and vombaur, and in this way to be the best solution partner for narrow textiles in the future.
 

You manufacture exclusively in Germany. Why? Have you never been tempted to benefit from lower wage levels in other countries?

Andreas Kielholz: We position ourselves as a highly qualified solutions partner and aim to provide our customers with excellent expertise in the field of narrow textiles. We can do this best in a country with very good education and training opportunities, which for us, is Germany as a location. Of course, we also work in close cooperation with partners in Eastern Europe.
 

Customized instead of solutions for major customers: The topic of individualization up to batch size 1 takes up a lot of space today. At the new site in Sprockhövel, you have invested significantly in innovative production technology. What is your opinion of individual product solutions, and in which areas of application have you already implemented them successfully?
     
Andreas Kielholz: We don't produce tailored suits; we produce goods by the meter. Batch size 1 - this has a special meaning for us: We develop in exchange with our customers for one project - a car seat in an off-road vehicle, a crab on a crane, an exoskeleton, a baby grab ring, whatever - so we develop a textile component for this one project. Individually specified for the particular concrete application and its requirements - for example, with regard to elongation, temperature resistance, skin-friendliness, etc. All the properties of the textile are configured individually. And then it is produced in the required quantity. This is definitely a customized solution. So; if the customer project is the tailored suit, then "individualization up to batch size 1" is our day-to-day business. Because that's what we do.
 

What does it take for such solutions?

Patrick Kielholz: A close exchange is important for such individual solutions, but also precise industry knowledge and knowledge of the applicable standards. We assist some customers all the way to product registration and advice on technical delivery conditions and documentation. For individual solutions, know-how and experience go far beyond technical textile expertise. The key basis here is to understand the customer's product, the manufacturing process and its purpose. We want to offer a complete solution that provides the greatest value for the respective client company. This starts with the selection of the raw material and ends with the use by the end consumers..


Breaking new ground means being willing to make decisions, overcoming fears - and therefore also having the courage to fail. Not each project can succeed. In retrospect, which entrepreneurial decision are you particularly glad you made?

Andreas Kielholz: The courageous decisions to reconstruct JUMBO-Textil, the corporate alliance with vombaur and the planned new building here are among them - and: having my son on the Executive Board. He brings a new, different perspective to the company, which enriches us enormously. In addition, I simply enjoy it. Who sees their grown-up children every day?

Patrick Kielholz: Yes, that took courage to fail. (laughs) Seriously, not every result of a decision can be dated as firmly as the commissioning of our new building. We are right in the middle of some processes. We started digitization early on, for example, and it will certainly never be completed. It has an infinite number of facets - from materials management to product development, from quality assurance to internal and external processes. It’s an unbelievably dynamic topic that is constantly evolving and opening up new potential for improvement. You need smart people who want to work as a team to advance the issues, otherwise you'll be lagging behind instead of moving forward. The same applies to sustainability - also a topic that must be viewed as an opportunity rather than an unwanted evil, as is so often the case.

Andreas Kielholz: That's the crux of the matter: As a company, it's important not to be driven by such major issues, but to actively drive development forward yourself.
 

How important is the concept of sustainability in corporate decision-making? Which certifications do you use and where do you go beyond legal requirements?

Andreas Kielholz: Our quality management system is certified according to IATF 16949:2016, an extension of ISO 9001 developed by the automotive industry. We have also been awarded Formula Q-Capability according to the VW Group's customer-specific certification with a score of 95%. In the area of environment and sustainability, we are certified to the environmental management standard ISO 14001:2015, and many of our products meet the OEKO-TEX® Product Class I certificate. In addition, we expressly stand by the claim to enforce human rights, labor, social and ecological standards in economic value-added processes, as formulated in the Code of Conduct of the German Textile and Fashion Industry.

Patrick Kielholz: A specific feature of family businesses becomes apparent here as well. The demands on the company and the values it stands for are much more personal demands. People must and want to be measured against these demands as individuals. They cannot and do not want to hide in the anonymity of stock corporations. A family business owner is also personally connected to the stakeholders of his company and therefore has a stronger interest in pursuing social, environmental and economic sustainability.


How do you judge the efforts of other countries, such as China, to increasingly address the issue of sustainability? Will this mean that an important unique selling point in the comparison between Europe and Asia will be lost in the future?

Andreas Kielholz: The topic of sustainability has not yet reached its peak, in other words: demand will continue to rise here as well. China is getting stronger, but Europe is also working on not losing its pioneering role. Increased demand and competition will benefit us all, especially agile companies.
 

The COVID19 pandemic has also left its mark on the textile and clothing industry. When you look back on just under a year of "state of emergency" - what positive experiences do you take with you, where do you see a need for improvement, for what support are you grateful and where did you feel left alone?

Andreas Kielholz: By facing up to the challenges early on and - thanks to our timely, multi-layered controlling - always knowing where we stand, we were able to adapt quickly. This is how we have largely come through the crisis well. The newly developed forms of work - mobile working and video conferencing, partly also in-house - will continue to exist. We have also made significant progress in digitalisation and new media.

     
If you had to introduce your company in 100 words to someone who does not know JUMBO-Textil: What would you say? What makes you unique?

Patrick Kielholz: JUMBO-Textil is a solution partner - our customers are always at the center of our thoughts and actions. For them and their projects, we develop and manufacture sophisticated technical narrow textiles: precise, custom-fit and Made in Germany.

Andreas Kielholz: I don't even need that many words: Highest quality standards, intensive customer relationship, reliability and unique Elastics expertise.

Patrick Kielholz: These were eight. (laughs)

The Interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius,
Managing partner of Textination GmbH

 

Photo: Pixabay
16.02.2021

Carbon with Multiple Lives: Bringing Innovations in Carbon Fiber Recycling to Market

When it comes to the future of motorized mobility, everyone talks about the power drive: How much e-car, how much combustion engine can the environment tolerate and how much do people need? At the same time, new powertrains place ineased demands not only on the engine, but also on its housing and the car body: Carbon fibers are often used for such demanding applications. Like the powertrain of the future, the materials on the vehicle should also be environmentally friendly. That is why recycling of carbon fibers is required. Institutes of the Zuse Community have developed solutions for this.

Carbon fibers consist almost completely of pure carbon. It is extracted from the plastic polyacrylonitrile at 1,300 degrees Celsius, using a lot of energy. The advantages of carbon fibers: They have almost no dead weight, are enormously break-resistant and sturdy. These properties are needed, for example, in the battery box of electric vehicles in structural components of a car body.

When it comes to the future of motorized mobility, everyone talks about the power drive: How much e-car, how much combustion engine can the environment tolerate and how much do people need? At the same time, new powertrains place ineased demands not only on the engine, but also on its housing and the car body: Carbon fibers are often used for such demanding applications. Like the powertrain of the future, the materials on the vehicle should also be environmentally friendly. That is why recycling of carbon fibers is required. Institutes of the Zuse Community have developed solutions for this.

Carbon fibers consist almost completely of pure carbon. It is extracted from the plastic polyacrylonitrile at 1,300 degrees Celsius, using a lot of energy. The advantages of carbon fibers: They have almost no dead weight, are enormously break-resistant and sturdy. These properties are needed, for example, in the battery box of electric vehicles in structural components of a car body.

The Saxon Textile Research Institute (STFI), for instance, is currently working with industrial partners on combining the static-mechanical strengths of carbon fibers with vibration damping properties to improve the housings of electric motors in cars. The project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, is aimed at developing hybrid nonwovens that contain other fibers, in addition to carbon fiber, as a reinforcement. "We want to combine the advantages of different fiber materials and thereby develop a product that is optimally tailored to the requirements", explains Marcel Hofmann, head of department of Textile Lightweight Construction at STFI.

The Chemnitz researchers would therefore complement previous nonwoven solutions. They look back on 15 years of working with recycled carbon fibers. The global annual demand for the high-value fibers has almost quadrupled in the past decade, according to the AVK Industry Association to around 142,000 t most recently. "Increasing demand has brought recycling more and more into focus", says Hofmann. According to him, carbon fiber waste is available for about one-tenth to one-fifth of the price of primary fibers, but they still need to be processed. The key issue for the research success of recycled fibers is competitive applications. STFI has found these not only in cars, but also in the sports and leisure sector as well as in medical technology, for example in components for computer tomography. "While metals or glass fibers cast shadows as potential competing products, carbon does not interfere with the image display and can fully exploit its advantages", explains Hofmann.
 
Using Paper Know-How
If recycled carbon fibers can pass through the product cycle again, this significantly improves their carbon footprint. At the same time it applies: The shorter the carbon fibers, the less attractive they are for further recycling. With this in mind, the Cetex Research Institute and the Papiertechnische Stiftung (PTS), both members of the Zuse Community, developed a new process as part of a research project that gives recycled carbon fibers, which previously seemed unsuitable, a second product life. "While classic textile processes use dry processing for the already very brittle recycled carbon fibers in fiber lengths of at least 80 mm, we dealt with a process from the paper industry that processes the materials wet. At the end of the process, in very simplified terms, we obtained a laminar mat made of recycled carbon fibers and chemical fibers", says Cetex project engineer Johannes Tietze, explaining the process by which even 40 mm short carbon fibers can be recycled into appealing intermediates.

The resulting product created in a hot pressing process serves as the base material for heavy-duty structural components. In addition, the mechanical properties of the semi-finished products were improved by combining them with continuous fiber-reinforced tapes. The researchers expect the recycled product to compete with glass-fiber-reinforced plastics, for example in applications in rail and vehicle construction. The results are now being incorporated into further research and development in
the cooperation network of Ressourcetex, a funded association with 18 partners from industry and science.

Successful Implementation in the Automotive Industry
Industrial solutions for the recycling of carbon fiber production waste are being developed at the Thuringian Institute of Textile and Plastics Research (TITK). Several of these developments were industrially implemented with partners at the company SGL Composites in Wackersdorf, Germany. The processing of the so-called dry waste, mainly from production, is carried out in a separate procedure. "Here, we add the opened fibers to various processes for nonwoven production", says the responsible head of the department at TITK, Dr. Renate Lützkendorf . In addition to developments for applications e.g. in the BMW i3 in the roof or rear seat shell, special nonwovens and processes for the production of Sheet Molding Compounds (SMC) were established at TITK. These are thermoset materials consisting of reaction resins and reinforcing fibers, which are used to press fiber-plastic composites. This was used, for example, in a component for the C-pillar of the BMW 7 Series. "In its projects, TITK is primarily focusing on the development of more efficient processes and combined procedures to give carbon fiber recycling materials better opportunities in lightweight construction applications, also in terms of costs", says Lützkendorf. The focus is currently on the use of CF recycled fibers in thermoplastic processes for sheet and profile extrusion. "The goal is to combine short- and continuous-fiber reinforcement in a single, high-performance process step."

1) Since February 1st, 2021, Dr.-Ing. Thomas Reussmann succeeds Dr.-Ing. Renate Lützkendorf, who retired 31 January.

Source:

Zuse Community

Grafic: Gerd Altmann, pixabay
19.01.2021

IW Association Survey: Textile industry and Banks particularly pessimistic

Things can only get better

At the turn of the year, the German Economic Institute (IW) traditionally asked German associations about their economic expectations for the coming year. Most industries are reporting incisive difficulties and are hoping for an improvement in 2021. However, many companies will cut jobs - especially where there were have been already problems before the pandemic started.

Things can only get better

At the turn of the year, the German Economic Institute (IW) traditionally asked German associations about their economic expectations for the coming year. Most industries are reporting incisive difficulties and are hoping for an improvement in 2021. However, many companies will cut jobs - especially where there were have been already problems before the pandemic started.

At the end of the year, the German economy looked back on one of the most difficult years in recent history. The Covid-19 pandemic already hit many companies in spring 2020, and the current winter and the second wave have put struggling sectors under further strain. It is still not possible to predict when the situation will noticeably improve. This is also reflected in the traditional IW association survey: 34 of 43 associations interrogated reported a worse economic situation than the year ago. Those reporting an improved or unchanged position were often already in a difficult economic situation in the previous year. These include, the automotive and chemical industries respectively.

Four out of five companies in Germany at the turn of 2020/2021 judge the mood even worse than a year before. This crisis-prone initial position partly explains in general optimistic business expectations for 2021. According to the IW’s association survey, higher economic activity is expected in 26 of 43 sectors. By contrast, 13 associations expect a decrease in production in 2021. While there is a moderate recovery in investments overall, employment is expected to decline further in 23 sectors.

Looking ahead to 2021, the IW Association Survey is dominated by confidence. This is not surprising understanding this confidence as an improvement on the crisis year 2020. The expected increases can be explained having the massive drop in view as well as a poor starting point in 2020. For a number of companies and entire industries, this hopeful outlook for 2021 does not necessarily mean a return to pre-crisis production levels. The IW business survey with more than 2,200 companies conducted in November 2020 consistently shows, that around half of the companies surveyed still expect shortfalls in production by 2022 compared to the pre-crisis level (IW Research Group Macroeconomic Analysis and Business Cycle, 2020).

Textile industry and banks particularly pessimistic
After all, most associations are confident with a view to 2021, expecting their situation to improve - although the pre-crisis level is not yet in sight for many sectors. 26 associations are planning increased production for the coming year. 13 associations - including shipbuilding and marine technology, textile and fashion associations, and the food industry - predict lower production. Banks and construction companies also have subdued expectations for 2021, although the pandemic has had relatively little impact on these industries up to now.

Less jobs in the automotive industry
The outlook for the employment market is less optimistic: Only five of 43 associations surveyed expect their member companies to employ more people in the coming year. This includes the construction industry and handicraft businesses, which already suffered from a shortage of skilled workers before the crisis. 23 associations expect a reduction in employment, especially for industrial site. Particularly pessimistic are associations with member companies facing structural adjustment burdens in addition to the corona pandemic – like in the area of finance:

In the previous years, fewer and fewer customers used branches of banks. The automotive industry is also planning with fewer employees: In addition to the weak global economy, are strict exhaust emission limits and quotas for electric mobility put companies under pressure. Exports, which are extremely important for the industry, decreased by a similar amount.

The few industry associations whose members - on average across all enterprises and subsectors - are in the same or better position than at the previous turn of the year, are often sectors that were already in a difficult economic situation at the turn of 2019/2020. The automotive industry, segments of the metal and electrical industry as well as the chemical industry point to this. The Covid-19 crisis already records a negative history for parts of the industry. 2019 the downturn in business was partly the result of a cyclical normalization after a phase of high capacity utilization. Above all, protectionism and geopolitical uncertainties weighed on global investment activity, and hit the German industry, which is heavily involved in the international capital goods business. Technological challenges - due to digitization and climate change for example - also created adjustment burdens.

Source:

German Economic Institute, Prof. Michael Grömling Head of the Macroeconomic Analysis and Business Cycle Research Group

Graphic: Pixabay
12.01.2021

East German Textile and Clothing Industry recorded a significant Drop in Sales in 2020

  • vti calls on health textiles purchasers to place more orders with domestic manufacturers
  • East German textile and clothing industry faces the Covid-19 crises with new ideas and products
  • Clothing sector more affected than the textile sector

The Association of the North-East German Textile and Clothing Industry (vti) calls on decision-makers in politics and authorities as well as in clinics and long-term care to order far more health protection textiles from local manufacturers than before. "That would be a logical step towards future-oriented, sustainable business - and furthermore in an exceptionally tough crisis situation. We are happy to arrange appropriate contacts with our companies," emphasized Dr.-Ing. Jenz Otto, Managing Director of the Chemnitz-based industry association, during an online press conference on January 8, 2021.

  • vti calls on health textiles purchasers to place more orders with domestic manufacturers
  • East German textile and clothing industry faces the Covid-19 crises with new ideas and products
  • Clothing sector more affected than the textile sector

The Association of the North-East German Textile and Clothing Industry (vti) calls on decision-makers in politics and authorities as well as in clinics and long-term care to order far more health protection textiles from local manufacturers than before. "That would be a logical step towards future-oriented, sustainable business - and furthermore in an exceptionally tough crisis situation. We are happy to arrange appropriate contacts with our companies," emphasized Dr.-Ing. Jenz Otto, Managing Director of the Chemnitz-based industry association, during an online press conference on January 8, 2021. “We don't understand the buying resistance concerning health textiles, even though the demand is huge. It is just as incomprehensible why there are still no noteworthy orders from authorities. In spring, the German federal government had already announced to provide 1 billion Euro with its economic stimulus package for national epidemic reserves for personal protective equipment. The federal states also had to take action in this regard and stock up. We urgently await the long-announced tenders for equipping the pandemic reserve stock. It is important that the purchase price is not the only measure of all things. Rather, criteria such as standard-compliant quality, traceable supply chains, the possibility of needs-based reorders and the multiple use of textiles are decisive for the safety of the population.”

When supply chains worldwide collapsed at the beginning of 2020, both authorities and many care and health facilities turned to textile companies for help. Many manufacturers launched both everyday masks and protective textiles that could be used in healthcare at short notice.
"These include highly effective bacteria and virus-repellent reusable products that enable effective textile management in the healthcare sector and at the same time prevent the piles of single-use waste from growing there," explained vti chairman Thomas Lindner, managing director of Strumpfwerk Lindner GmbH, Hohenstein-Ernstthal: “When the cheap imports from Asia reinstated, however, the interest decreased significantly. Nevertheless, numerous companies have continued to invest in new technology and aligned their production accordingly. For example, completely new production lines of face masks have been set up at several locations. Do not forget: The very expensive test procedures for medical and health textiles are a major challenge for us, the medium-sized businesses. In addition, there are still too few accredited test and certification bodies in Germany.” The fact that the companies were able to adapt to the new requirements at this rapid pace was primarily possible, because around 30 local companies and research institutes have been part of the health textiles network "health.textil", which is controlled by the vti and supported by the Free State of Saxony, for several years now. This alliance cooperates closely with practice partners such as the University Clinic of Dresden and the Elbland Clinics in Meißen. Nowadays it has expanded their activities to their neighbouring industry, research and application partner in Czech Republic. www.healthtextil.de

CO2 taxation puts medium-sized companies at a competitive disadvantage
Concerning the permanently relevant topic energy transition in Germany, vti General Manager Dr.-Ing. Jenz Otto points out that the economic framework conditions for medium-sized producers will continue to worsen with the introduction of the CO2 taxation in the midst of the current crisis. “The financial resources to be used for this will then be lacking for investments in innovative products and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes. Furthermore, our companies suffer significant competitive disadvantages compared to foreign competitors.” Björn-Olaf Dröge, managing director of the textile finishing company pro4tex GmbH, Niederfrohna, with around 100 employees, reported that the tax to be paid by his company for renewable energies adds up to around a quarter of a million euros annually. “Now the CO2 taxation for our natural gas consumption comes on top of that. For 2021 we anticipate an additional burden of almost 70,000 Euros.”

vti about the current situation in the East German industry
The East German textile and clothing industry recorded a significant loss in sales already in 2019. This trend has continued in 2020 being reinforced by the Covid-19 crises. Based on preliminary estimates, the vti assumes that the total turnover of the industry will be more than 11 percent below the previous year at the end of 2020, where the clothing sector is affected far more than the textile sector, with a decline of 35 percent. Exports, which are extremely important for the industry, also decreased in a similar magnitude. The job cuts have so far been relatively moderate, as many companies use the short-time working regulations and try to retain their permanent workforce. For 2021 the vti sees a gleam of hope in technical textiles, which have been in greater demand again in recent weeks - especially from the automotive industry. The employment cuts have so far been relatively moderate, as many companies use short-time working regulations and try to retain their permanent workforce. The vti sees a bright future for technical textiles in 2021, which have been in greater demand – especially in the automobile industry – in the last few weeks.

Of the around 16,000 employees, 12,000 work in Saxony and 2,500 in Thuringia. This makes this region one of the four largest German textile locations, along North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. It has modern spinning mills, weaving mills, knitting mills, warp knitting mills, nonwovens manufacturers, embroidery mills, finishing companies and clothing manufacturers as well as efficient research and educational institutions. 

Over half of the turnover in the East German textile and clothing industry has so far been attributa-ble to technical textiles, followed by home textiles with around 30 percent and the clothing sector with around 10 percent. The vti acts as a stakeholder at state, federal and EU level, tariff- and so-cial partner, as well as a service provider for its around 160 member companies.

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

The Fraunhofer WKI double-rapier weaving machine with the Jacquard attachment in the upper of the photo.  © Fraunhofer WKI | Melina Ruhr. The Fraunhofer WKI double-rapier weaving machine with the Jacquard attachment in the upper of the photo.
02.06.2020

Fraunhofer WKI: Climate-friendly hybrid-fiber materials on the basis of renewable natural fibers

As a result of the new combination possibilities for bio-based hybrid-fiber materials achieved at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut WKI, the industrial application possibilities for renewable raw materials, for example in the automotive industry or for everyday objects such as helmets or skis, can be expanded.

By increasing the proportion of flax fiber in hybrid-fiber materials to up to 50 percent, the scientists have demonstrated that it is possible to significantly increase the biogenic proportion in composite materials. The special aspect of the tested methods: The fabrics can be individually composed with the help of a weaving machine. In this way, process steps in industrial production, in which materials first have to be merged together, can be omitted. This will achieve reductions in energy and CO2 throughout the entire production process.

As a result of the new combination possibilities for bio-based hybrid-fiber materials achieved at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut WKI, the industrial application possibilities for renewable raw materials, for example in the automotive industry or for everyday objects such as helmets or skis, can be expanded.

By increasing the proportion of flax fiber in hybrid-fiber materials to up to 50 percent, the scientists have demonstrated that it is possible to significantly increase the biogenic proportion in composite materials. The special aspect of the tested methods: The fabrics can be individually composed with the help of a weaving machine. In this way, process steps in industrial production, in which materials first have to be merged together, can be omitted. This will achieve reductions in energy and CO2 throughout the entire production process.

Successfully woven: Different hybrid fabrics
In view of the increased demands being placed upon environmental and climate protection, science and industry are seeking sustainable alternatives to conventional materials in all branches of production. As a material, natural fibers offer a sustainable solution. Due to their low density and simultaneous high stability, natural fibers can be used to produce highly resilient light-weight-construction materials which are easy to recycle. In the “ProBio” project, scientists from the Fraunhofer WKI have therefore addressed the question as to how the proportion of natural fibers in bio-based hybrid-fiber materials can be increased as significantly as possible. A double-rapier weaving machine with Jacquard attachment was thereby utilized in order to produce the bio-based hybrid-fiber materials.

The researchers thereby focused specifically on bio-based hybrid-fiber composites (Bio-HFC). Bio-HFC consist of a combination of cellulose-based fibers, such as flax fibers, and synthetic high-performance fibers, such as carbon or glass fibers, for reinforcement. Bio-HFC can be utilized in, for example, vehicle construction. As an innovation in the “ProBio” project, the researchers interwove differing fiber-material combinations, reinforcing fibers and matrix fibers with the aid of the double-rapier weaving machine. This procedure differs from the process in which finished fabrics are layered on top of one another.

“We have combined the advantageous properties of the fiber materials within a composite material in such a way that we have been able to compensate for weak points in individual components, thereby achieving new properties in some cases. In addition, we have succeeded in increasing the proportion of bio-based fibers to up to 50 percent flax fibers, which we have combined with 50 percent reinforcing fibers,” says project team member Jana Winkelmann, describing the procedure. The bio-hybrid textiles, each consisting of 50 percent by weight carbon and flax fabric, are introduced into a bio-based plastic matrix. The composite material possesses a flexural strength which is more than twice as high as that of the corresponding composite material made from flax-reinforced epoxy resin. This mechanical performance capability can significantly expand the application range of renewable raw materials for technical applications.

With the weaving machine, the scientists have successfully combined innovative light-weight-construction composite materials with complex application-specific fabric structures and integrated functions. Reinforcing fibers, such as carbon and natural fibers, as well as multilayer fabrics and three-dimensional structures, can be woven together in a single work step. This offers advantages for industrial production, as production steps in which materials first have to be merged together can be omitted. “We have succeeded, for example, in utilizing conductive yarns or wires as sensors or conductor paths directly in the weaving process, thereby producing fabrics with integrated functions. The introduction of synthetic fibers as weft threads enables the production of bio-hybrid composites with isotropic mechanical properties,” explains Ms. Winkelmann.

Weaving technology makes it possible to create new products with a high proportion of bio-based components on a pilot scale. The project results provide an insight into the diverse combination possibilities of natural and reinforcing fibers and demonstrate opportunities for utilization not only in vehicle construction but also for everyday objects such as helmets or skis. The results will be presented within the framework of the 4th International Conference on Natural Fibers, ICNF, July 2019 in Porto, Portugal. The “ProBio” project, which ran from 1st July 2014 to 30th June 2019, was funded by the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture (MWK).

Background
Sustainability through the utilization of renewable raw materials has formed the focus at the Fraunhofer WKI for more than 70 years. The institute, with locations in Braunschweig, Hanover and Wolfsburg, specializes in process engineering, natural-fiber composites, wood and emission protection, quality assurance of wood products, material and product testing, recycling procedures and the utilization of organic building materials and wood in construction. Virtually all the procedures and materials resulting from the research activities are applied industrially.

Source:

Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research WKI

Foto: Vlad-Vasnetsov, PIXABAY
01.10.2019

FAIR TRADE MARKET CANADA

Economy
With an average GDP growth of 2% in 2018 and 2019, Canada now resembles the word’s 10th biggest economy and is worthy of a closer look wether it could serve as a sales market for investments.

Canada’s average GDP growth of 2 % in 2018 and 2019 initiates an examination if the country could serve as a market or if an investment in the country could be of value. In particular, the service sector, the manufacturing sector, energy and raw materials and agriculture form the Canadian economy. Canada’s business centers are Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, as well as the provinces Ontario and Quebec. The sometimes enormous distances between those regions should not be underestimated.

Economy
With an average GDP growth of 2% in 2018 and 2019, Canada now resembles the word’s 10th biggest economy and is worthy of a closer look wether it could serve as a sales market for investments.

Canada’s average GDP growth of 2 % in 2018 and 2019 initiates an examination if the country could serve as a market or if an investment in the country could be of value. In particular, the service sector, the manufacturing sector, energy and raw materials and agriculture form the Canadian economy. Canada’s business centers are Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, as well as the provinces Ontario and Quebec. The sometimes enormous distances between those regions should not be underestimated.

An inner-Canadian trade agreement that came into effect in 2017 aims on the reduction of trade barriers among Canada’s provinces. In addition to that, an investment plan for infrastructure by the government should enable public investments in the amount of roundabout €120 Bil. by 2028. With its national climate strategy and the ratification of the Paris climate agreement, Canada also pursues an ambitious climate policy. Today, more than 50% of the needed electricity is already created by using renewable energies, even though the country has got the third-biggest energy and raw materials reserves in the world.

Due to its dependency on export, Canada is involved in many trade agreements (about a dozen bilateral free trade agreements). The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico, which has been in existence since 1994, is expected to be renewed and replaced on January 1st 2020 by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) With the EU, Canada's second most important trading partner, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) has been provisionally in force since 21st September 2017. Furthermore, Canada signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP) at the beginning of 2018. Besides that, there are amongst other trade agreements with the EFTA-States, as well as South Korea and the Ukraine.

Automotive parts, oil and raw materials (excluding fuels) account for more than one third of Canada's total exports. The US are the biggest customer of Canadian goods with a share of 75.9% of exports. The majority of goods being imported in Canada are motor vehicles and automotive parts; machines and chemical products. The main exporters to Canada in 2017 were the US (51.3%) and China (12.6%), followed by Mexico (6.3%) and Germany (3.2%). Germany mainly exports cars and parts and machinery to Canada and imports raw materials.

Economy Data 2017/2018 (Estimations/Forecasts)
GDP 1,820 Bil. USD (2019)
Population 37.1 Mio. (2018)
Exports to Germany 4.4 Bil. Euro
Imports from Germany 9.7 Bil. Euro

Source: GTAI, AHK, AA

Fair market
The close economic relations with the US are also reflected in the exhibition industry. For Canadian exhibitors and visitors, it does not make much of a difference in terms of time and logistics whether a trade show takes place in the neighbouring United States or in Canada. Therefore, many of them take advantage of the opportunity to participate in international fairs in the US. However, some Canadian trade fairs are among the industry's leading trade shows in North America or even worldwide. These include, for instance, the GPS Global Petroleum Show (oil and gas industry) and the Buildings Show (construction industry), but also the PDAC (commodities) and Canada's Farm Progress Show (agriculture) fairs. For exhibitors and visitors from the US and from all over the world, participation at these fairs is indispensable. In addition to the international fairs, there are various regional fairs, which are mainly used by local companies of specific industries.
 
Just as in the US, in Canada it is common for trade fairs to be either organized by trade associations or in cooperation with a trade fair organizer. It also makes sense in Canada to first test the interest in one's own products at a trade show and, in a second step, to decide on a branch or a sales partner. Canadian trade fair visitors are accessible and relaxed, which facilitates the first conversation. The stand construction is usually less expensive than in Germany and the exhibition halls are more compact.

Since the mid-1970s, the Canadian Association of Exposure Management (CAEM) has represented the interests of the Canadian exhibition industry. The members are organizations or persons organizing trade fairs, consumer exhibitions or similar events. Fair-related service providers can become associated members. Among other, the association provides its members with ‘Best Practice Guidelines’ for health and safety. As a partner of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), CAEM also offers specific courses for the Canadian trade fair industry as part of the Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM).
 
Fairs und Organizers 
The Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA) approximately lists around 40 fairs in Canada every year. The majority of these events takes place in Toronto, followed by Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary.

Similar to the US, most of the fairs are being organized by the industry associations. Fairs and accompaniment-events are one of the key services for their members, but also the main source of income of the associations. With the main emphasis on metalworking and processing, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers organizes among other the FabTech Fair Canada. The vast majority of organizers only hosts one fair per year. The Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy & Petroleum (CIM), for instance, organizes the CIM Annual Convention (Mining) annually at changing places. The Society of Petroleum Engineers organizes the ATCE – Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition fair (Petrochemistry) - and the Woodworking Network carries out the WMS - Woodworking Machinery & Supply Expo (Woodworking).
 
Also, there are for-profit fair organizers, that host different fairs in Canada. The British company Informa PLC for instance has been active on the Canadian market since the takeover of the fair Fan Expo Canada in 2010. Over the years, the enterprise continuously extended its portfolio among other with the takeover of the company MMPI Canada. Dmg events also organizes various trade fairs in Canada, for example the trade show GPS - Global Petroleum Show & Conference. In the field of food and beverage the French company COMEXPOSIUM organizes the trade fair SIAL Canada. The activities of Messe Frankfurt GmbH and Deutsche Messe AG in the Canadian market are explained in more detail in the section "German Organizers".

Year Fairs in Canada*
2020 41
2019 46
2018 44
2017 43
2016 39
2015 41

* listed in AUMA fair database

German Organizers
The Messe Frankfurt GmbH has been active in Canada since 2005. Part of the Portfolio are two fairs, that take place simultaneously, the Waste & Recycling Expo Canada and the Municipal Equipment Expo.

Since 2014 the Deutsche Messe AG is represented in Canada by its subsidiary Hannover Fairs with the CanWEA fair (wind energy). The fair has been organized annually in collaboration with the Candian Wind Energy Association. Another cooperation with the solar industry association (Canadian Solar Industries Association) concerned the organization of the solar Canada fair, which was being held until 2019. The two fairs are being merged from 2020 on as Electricity Transformation Canada. In addition to that the Truck World fair is being organized in cooperation with Newcom Business Media every two years.

Contact
AHK Kanada
Deutsch-Kanadische Industrie- und Handelskammer  Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce Inc.  
480 University Avenue
Suite 1500
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1V2
Phone +1 416 598 33 55
Fax: +1 416 598 18 40
E-Mail: Info.toronto@germanchamber.ca  
Website: http://kanada.ahk.de
 
CAEM Canadian Association of Exposition Management
E-Mail: info@caem.ca
Website: https://caem.ca/
 
Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI)
E-Mail: info@gtai.de  
Webseite: www.gtai.de
 
Auswärtiges Amt
Botschaft der Bundesrepublik Deutschland Postadresse:
P.O. Box 379, Postal Station „A“ Ottawa, Ontario  K1N 8V4
Phone: +1 613-232-1101
Fax: +1 613-780-1527
Website: https://canada.diplo.de/ca-de

AUMA
Christine Zander  
Referent global markets
Regions: North America, Latin-America, Subsahara-Africa, South East Asia, Australia; Voting of foreign trade fair participations, EU-topics
Phone: +49 30 24000-125
Fax: +49 30 24000-320
E-Mail: c.zander@auma.de

 

 

China Gerd Altmann, Pixabay
17.09.2019

FAIR MARKET CHINA

The People's Republic of China has experienced unprecedented economic growth since the late 1970s, with average double-digit growth rates. Over the past 10 years, the country has become the export world champion and holds the position as the second largest economy after the USA for almost as long. Along with the economic boom, modern China faces major challenges, including high wage increases, massive environmental problems and overcapacity in many industrial sectors.
 

The People's Republic of China has experienced unprecedented economic growth since the late 1970s, with average double-digit growth rates. Over the past 10 years, the country has become the export world champion and holds the position as the second largest economy after the USA for almost as long. Along with the economic boom, modern China faces major challenges, including high wage increases, massive environmental problems and overcapacity in many industrial sectors.
 
Unlike at the beginning of the opening policy more than 40 years ago, when foreign investors with the appropriate technology and know-how were targeted, China is now pursuing a strategy to strengthen the domestic market. With the support of the "Made in China 2025" decree adopted in 2015, the Middle Kingdom is to become one of the leading industrial nations in three ten-year programs by 2045. In doing so, the government is focusing on promoting innovation, increasing production efficiency, optimizing the industrial structure and "green" production. Key sectors such as robotics, medical technology, electromobility and modern agricultural technology are defined as particularly eligible. The development of Industry 4.0 is also of great importance.

Economic data 2018/2019* (estimates and forecasts)
GDP      USD 14,217 billion*
Population    1,395.4 billion
Exports    USD 2,487.4 billion
Exports to Germany EUR 106.3 billion
Imports USA 2,135.6 Mrd. billion
Imports from Germany EUR 93.1 billion 

    Source: GTAI, Ministry of Foreign Affairs    

China's regions have developed at different rates. Although the economically strong regions at the east and southeast coast of the country generate about half of the annual GDP, the areas in central and western China are recovering dynamically. With the "go-west" policy, since the turn of the millennium, the Chinese government has been increasingly working to promote and develop the western regions, increasing the attractiveness of the affected regions to foreign investment and business settlements. 

Another ambitious project is designed for decades: The “One Belt and One Road” initiative, i.e. the revival of the "Silk Road", which connects more than 60 states in Asia and Europe via land and water. Planned and already implemented billion investment in the construction of ports, railways and telecommunications equipment. Opportunities for German companies exist above all for providers of special equipment in rail, shipping, port and aviation technology. 
 
German-Chinese economic relations have developed very well in recent decades. At the beginning of 2014, the first Chinese Chamber of Commerce (CHKD) in Europe was founded in Berlin to promote the intensification of trade relations. Since 2011, Germany and China have been conducting regular government consultations that include comprehensive strategic partnerships.  

In 2018, German exports to China amounted to EUR 93 billion. Imports from China today amount to more than EUR 100 billion. With a trade volume of about EUR 200 billion in 2018, Germany is by far China's most important European trading partner. For Germany, the People's Republic of China is again the most important trading partner in Asia and the third most important worldwide. The main products supplied to China are machinery, motor vehicles and automotive parts, electrical engineering and chemical products. Around 5,200 German companies are based in China; around 900 Chinese companies have settled in Germany. 
          
Trade Fair Industry
Although China's economy is slowing, the world's second-largest economy continues to grow. Investments worth billions in infrastructure, housing, climate and environmental protection, combined with the construction and expansion of trade fair venues, have made China the most important trade fair venue in Asia, and this position is undisputed. Especially in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, the professionalism of the trade fair organizers is high, above all because of the numerous international cooperation. 
 
The fairs in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou continue to characterize the Chinese fair landscape. Beijing as an important trade fair location is characterized by its proximity to political decision-makers and the extensive expansion of infrastructure. The majority of the major trade fairs take place in Shanghai and the concentration of international organizers is high.  

The increased reorientation of the Chinese economy on the domestic market also influences the further development of the Chinese trade fair landscape, as the exhibition industry is increasingly turning to the service sector, digitization, automation, health, education and high-quality consumption.  

The "New Silk Road" project also has a major influence on the Chinese trade fair industry: Chinese organizers are increasingly conducting trade fairs and trade fair participations in countries that are to be linked via the Silk Road. In 2018, 76 trade fair organizers were involved in 718 trade fairs in 33 countries, an increase of around 14% compared to the previous year. Most of the fairs were classified as multi-sector and machine-building exhibitions. With an increase of 19% compared to the previous year, the majority of the exhibition-related projects were realized in Russia.

Country Number of Fairs Exhibitors from China
Russia 132 3,870
India 89 3,129
United Arab Emirates 82 3,906
Turkey 30 1,728
Thailand 47 1,641

Since 2015, the Chinese State Council has been pursuing the strategy of making the domestic trade fair industry more international and transparent by 2020. For example, the approval of new trade fairs is to be gradually decentralized and responsibility transferred to the provinces. There is a noticeable professionalization of trade fairs outside the traditional trade fair locations of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. In addition, China has developed into the world's largest e-commerce market, i.e. online platforms are used as distribution channels for products. This development is also increasingly affecting trade fairs as a marketing instrument, as traditional aspects of trade fairs are virtualized.   
 
The main problem for the Chinese trade fair industry remains the great complexity of the Chinese trade fair market with its many trade fair offerings, which vary greatly in terms of quality. In addition, the "Go West" strategy of the Chinese government to promote and develop the western regions has resulted in a large number of trade fair centers that are often not profitable due to their low capacity utilization. In 2018, for example, around 9.83 million m2 of exhibition space is said to have been available in 164 exhibition centers in China. More than half of the exhibition grounds had a utilization rate of less than 10%. The competition between trade fair locations for trade show themes and thus exhibitors and visitors lead to overlapping themes and schedules. Sufficient information or independently collected data on space utilization, exhibitor and visitor numbers are scarce and make it difficult for everyone involved to make the right trade fair selection.

Trade fair cities and exhibition venues
In China, many large exhibition centers have been built during the last 10 years. In 2018, 164 exhibition centers with a hall area capacity of 9.83 million m² were counted. That were 11 exhibition centers or 480,000 m² more than in 2017. Shanghai is the most important exhibition hub in the country - two of the largest exhibition centers are located here.

The 10 largest fairgrounds in China (more than 100,000 m²)
Venue     Gross hall size in m²
National Exh. & Conv. Ctr (NECC), Shanghai 400,000
China Import & Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou 338,000
Kunming Dianchi Intern. Conv. & Exh. Centre 300,000
Western China International Expo City, Chengdu 205,000
Chongqing International Expo Centre 200,000
Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC) 200,000
Wuhan International Expo Centre 150,000
Nanchang Greenland International Expo Center 140,000
Xiamen International Conference & Exhibition Center 140,000
GD Modern International Exhibition Center, Houjie 130,000

Additional fairgrounds were built over the last years e.g.in the provinces Shandong and Guangdong. With a covered exhibition area of 1.54 million m2 spread over 21 fair grounds the southern province Guangdong takes the top position in China.

German Engagement
In a comparison of countries, the People's Republic of China takes first place concerning German trade fair organizers’ self-organized events abroad. The concepts of these events are based on the standards of leading international trade fairs in Germany. Almost all major German trade fair organizers are active in China. By far the most attractive market is the economic metropolis of Shanghai.

Outside the leading trade fair cities of Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, German organizers are active in Chengdu, Changsha, Foshan, Nanjing, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Qingdao and Xian. 

Year Number GTQ** China (without Hongkong) Shanghai
2019* 324 86 51
2018 321 88 51
2017 300 83 50
2016 296 84 49
2015 295 84 49

* preliminary
**Self-organized events by German trade fair organizers are advertised by AUMA with the label "German Trade Fair Quality Abroad" (GTQ). 
Source: AUMA database
 
Foeign Trade Fair Program 
In the PRC, German companies can present themselves at numerous well-established trade fairs under the umbrella brand "made in Germany" within the Foreign Trade Fair Program. The trade fair participations in the form of German Pavilions cover a large part of the capital goods sector, such as mechanical engineering, food and packaging machinery, automotive supply industry, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, agricultural technology, health care to chemical and environmental engineering. But also, furniture, fashion and consumer goods fairs have been an important part of the program for many years. China is the most important trade fair venue for German companies within the Foreign Trade Fair Program, with Shanghai remaining by far the most important trade fair location.

Contacts
Delegation of German Industry and Commerce Beijing
E-Mail: info@bj.china.ahk.de 
Homepage: http://www.china.ahk.de

Delegation of German Industry and Commerce Shanghai
E-Mail: office@sh.china.ahk.de  
Homepage: http://www.china.ahk.de

Delegation of German Industry and Commerce Guangzhou
E-Mail: info@gz.china.ahk.de  
Homepage: http://www.china.ahk.de

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
E-Mail: embassy@peki.diplo.de  
Homepage: http://www.peking.diplo.de

AUMA e.V.
Natalja Winges
Manager
Regions: Eastern Europe, Central and East Asia
Tel.: +49 30 24 000 124 Fax: +49 30 24 000 320
E-Mail: n.winges@auma.de

More information:
China trade fairs
Source:

AUMA Association of the German Trade Fair Industry

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.  
 

Composites Europe 2019 (c) Photos: Reed Exhibitions/ Oliver Wachenfeld
30.07.2019

COMPOSITES EUROPE 2019: Digital Process Chain makes Fibre Composites Competitive

  • Strong Triple: COMPOSITES EUROPE, International Composites Conference and Lightweight Technologies Forum
  • “Process live” special areas showcase technological progress
  • Co-located event: Foam Expo Europe

The composites industry provides important impetus – for lightweight construction and material innovations in automotive, aviation, mechanical engineering, construction, wind power as well as in the sports and leisure sectors. So in international competition it is solutions with a high degree of automation that are in demand. COMPOSITES EUROPE from 10 to 12 September will present the trends and advances in the production and processing of fibre-reinforced plastics in Stuttgart. The trade fair will be accompanied by the International Composites Conference and the Lightweight Technologies Forum. Also held in parallel at the Messe Stuttgart premises will be Foam Expo Europe.

  • Strong Triple: COMPOSITES EUROPE, International Composites Conference and Lightweight Technologies Forum
  • “Process live” special areas showcase technological progress
  • Co-located event: Foam Expo Europe

The composites industry provides important impetus – for lightweight construction and material innovations in automotive, aviation, mechanical engineering, construction, wind power as well as in the sports and leisure sectors. So in international competition it is solutions with a high degree of automation that are in demand. COMPOSITES EUROPE from 10 to 12 September will present the trends and advances in the production and processing of fibre-reinforced plastics in Stuttgart. The trade fair will be accompanied by the International Composites Conference and the Lightweight Technologies Forum. Also held in parallel at the Messe Stuttgart premises will be Foam Expo Europe.

Trade fair visitors will meet with over 300 exhibitors from 30 nations who will be displaying materials, technical solutions and innovative application examples in Stuttgart. Apart from novel products the trade fair will place special emphasis on innovative process engineering. Visitors will learn about the state of play in serial production and new applications in the composites industry in the exhibition area as well as on numerous special areas, on themed guided tours, at the accompanying International Composites Conference and at the Lightweight Technologies Forum, which is dedicated to the trends in multi-material lightweight construction.

“Process live”: Technologies in Synergy
Perfectly coordinated processing and manufacturing processes will be centre stage at the “Process live” event. On shared exhibition space machinery and equipment manufacturers will exhibit their technologies in concert and – what’s more – in operation so as to show the different individual processes in a real context.  

On display, to name but one exhibit, is VAP®, the Vacuum Assisted Process patented by Airbus, which will be in the limelight in the Trans-Textil and Composyst special area. This process permits the one-step production of large-surface and geometrically complex components without an autoclave, which is why it is particularly suitable for structural components in aviation, wind power, shipbuilding, in rail and road transport, in machinery and device manufacturing as well as in architecture and in the leisure industry.

The “Process live” special area care of cutting specialists GUNNAR from Switzerland specifically targets the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) with its small and medium-sized companies. Jointly with laser projection expert LAP and composites engineering expert SCHEURER Swiss, GUNNAR introduces a connected overall process that fuses modern machinery and software with specialists’ manual jobs. The point of departure here is an automated manufacturing process for sorted layer placement in small and medium quantities involving a certain degree of skilled labour.

Fibre composite specialist Hacotech will present CNC-controlled cutting processes and various finishing possibilities in cooperation with Aristo Graphic Systeme and Lavesan. Alongside cutting, production preparation and customised sizing, the production of dimensionally correct templates and the cutting and custom-sizing of composite materials and prepregs will be on show.

Cutting technology is also centre stage in the special area of Rebstock Consulting, Broetje-Automation and Zünd Systemtechnik, which will be taking part in “Process live” with “Automated Sorting and Kitting”.

Composite producer Saertex and chemical company Scott Bader will demonstrate the RTM process for producing and curing a laminate that complies with the highest fire protection requirements in as little as 1 hour.   

5th International Composites Conference (ICC)
Serial production, stable processes, new markets – the International Composites Conference (ICC) is set to inject a fresh breeze for innovations into the market and to this end brings together processors and users of fibre-reinforced plastics from all over Europe. For the first time, this renowned Conference will be held in parallel with COMPOSITES EUROPE. The lecture programme put together by the trade association Composites Germany and the trade fair will also move closer in terms of content.  

One of tomorrow’s cross-cutting themes keeping the entire industry on its toes are multi-material solutions in nearly all industrial applications. In the construction sector the Conference also deals with the rising use of carbon concrete. Process engineering will focus on processing thermoplastic materials for serial production and stable processes for thermoset plastic processing.  

The partner country of the Conference is the United Kingdom. Especially against the backdrop of the current Brexit debate the ICC aims to foster exchange among all European countries. After all, the UK is among the biggest producers of composites components in Europe.

Themed Tours on Digitalisation, Fibre Glass, Thermoplastics, Automotive and Wind Power
Guided tours and hands-on demonstrations in the exhibition halls complement the conference programme. Themed guided tours revolving around composites application, materials and markets guide trade fair visitors and congress delegates right to the stands of selected exhibitors, who will share with visitors their innovations in the fields of digitalisation of composites production, automotive manufacturing, building and construction, fibreglass, new mobility, thermoplastic materials and wind power.  

New ideas on special areas and joint stands
“Material and Production Technology” is the name of the new special area set up under the guidance of the Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) of the RWTH Aachen University. In cooperation with other institutes such as the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) the IKV will place manufacturing technology centre stage at the trade fair. In particular, the special area will trace the path from scientific development to practical, industrial implementation.

Tomorrow’s automotive experts will also be given a separate forum: under the heading “Formula Student” students and trainees will present to visitors racing cars and bikes they have engineered.

Lightweight Technologies Forum: platform for multi-material lightweight construction
Lightweight construction remains a driver across the board for many developments in the composites sector. The Lightweight Technologies Forum (LTF) held as part of COMPOSITES EUROPE makes it clear how lightweight construction can be achieved in an economical and resource-efficient manner. This Forum views itself as a cross-industry and multi-material think tank where all parties involved can reflect on these new concepts.

To this end, the Forum in Stuttgart pools lightweight construction projects from automotive manufacturing, aviation and aerospace and mechanical engineering, to name but a few industries that serve as a driving force for many sectors with high demands made on materials, security and reliability.  

This year’s keynote speakers include Airbus Innovation Manager Peter Pirklbauer, lightweight construction expert Prof. Jörg Wellnitz (TU Ingolstadt), Dutch racing driver Jeroen Bleekemolen and lightweight construction, aviation and aerospace specialist Claus Georg Bayreuther (AMC). In their talks they will provide an overview of reference projects and novel manufacturing and joining technologies.  

Combining its own exhibition space with a lecture forum, the LTF demonstrates how glass-fibre reinforced plastics (GRP) and carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) leverage their strengths mixed with other materials in hybrid structural components. Exhibitors at the Forum and in the neighbouring Lightweight Area include “Leichtbau-Zentrum Sachsen” (Lightweight Construction Center Saxony), Chem-Trend, Gößl + Pfaff, Krempel, Mitsui Chemicals Europe, Leichtbau BW, the VDMA, Gustav Gerster, Potters Ballotini (UK), Yuho (Japan), Riba Composites (Italy) and Stamixco (Switzerland) as well as the journals Lightweight Design (Springer Fachmedien) and Automobil Industrie (Vogel Communications Group), to name but a few.

“Ultralight in Space”: market study on lightweight construction trends in the aerospace industry
The aerospace industry has always served as a pioneer for ultra-lightweight construction pushing many disciplines to their limits as a driver of innovation. The latest technical trends are currently under scrutiny via a market study carried out by consultancy Automotive Management Consulting (AMC) in cooperation with the Luxembourg-based aerospace OEM GRADEL. The results will be presented for the first time at the LTF in Stuttgart on 10 September.  

Presentation of the AVK Innovation Prize
Innovative products and applications in fibre-reinforced plastics, manufacturing processes and the latest insights from research and science, will again be recognised by the German trade association AVK – Industrievereinigung Verstärkte Kunststoffe e. V. with its renowned Innovation Prize. The winners will be announced as part of the trade fair on 10 September and the award-winning products and projects will be on display in a special area.

Presentation of the SMB-BMC Design Award
The European Alliance for SMC BMC will announce the winners of the SMC BMC Design Award 2019 – also on 10 September. The contest already held for the second time now, honours and promotes the design excellence of students or young design professionals who use SMC and BMC components (sheet and bulk moulding compounds) in their designs. This year saw sustainable mobility take centre stage as a theme.

COMPOSITES Night
The event to celebrate the midway point of the trade fair: the COMPOSITES Night at the end of the second trade fair day offers visitors and exhibitors additional opportunities for networking. Participants are in for buffets and live music at the Stage Palladium Theater in Stuttgart.

Matchmaking programme makes trade fair visit more efficient
Thanks to the complimentary networking & meeting platform “matchmaking” visitors and exhibitors can already reach out to contacts in the run-up to COMPOSITES EUROPE. Who is at the trade fair? Who has answers to your specific questions? Who can you team up with to turn new ideas into practice? The matchmaking platform allows you to “filter” and make direct appointments with potential cooperation partners by product category, industry, country, or company.

Career & Composites
With its career&composites stand COMPOSITES EUROPE targets students and graduates who can come here to establish contact with potential employers. On the special area the exhibitors present their companies to interested junior employees and attract attention to vacancies and career opportunities via a Job Wall.

Co-located with Foam Expo Europe
COMPOSITES EUROPE will be co-located with Foam Expo Europe for the first time. This trade fair covers the supply chain of technical foam production and presents moulded, rigid and soft foam solutions – from raw materials to equipment and machinery. The parallel exhibition dates generate special synergies for gaining an overview of lightweight construction materials for such shared applications as the automotive, aviation, construction and sports & leisure industries.

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.

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

 

 

 

 

(c) Deutsche Messe AG
22.01.2019

DOMOTEX 2019 - A TRADE FAIR TO CONNECT THE CONTINENTS

  • Final Release

The latest edition of DOMOTEX – the world’s leading showcase for carpets and floor coverings (January 11 to 14) – has underscored its reputation as the sector’s biggest and most important hub for business, innovations and trends. Over 1,400 exhibitors from more than 60 nations came to Hannover to kick off a successful new year of business. With close to 90 percent of all attendees having decision-making authority, the caliber of the show’s visitors remained extremely high – a fact confirmed by exhibitors. Due to growing market concentration, DOMOTEX recorded a slight dip in attendance. According to the exhibition survey, the order situation of exhibitors remained constant, while the purchasing volume per visitor went up. About 70 percent of all DOMOTEX attendees once again came from abroad – a clear sign of the flagship fair’s international appeal.

  • Final Release

The latest edition of DOMOTEX – the world’s leading showcase for carpets and floor coverings (January 11 to 14) – has underscored its reputation as the sector’s biggest and most important hub for business, innovations and trends. Over 1,400 exhibitors from more than 60 nations came to Hannover to kick off a successful new year of business. With close to 90 percent of all attendees having decision-making authority, the caliber of the show’s visitors remained extremely high – a fact confirmed by exhibitors. Due to growing market concentration, DOMOTEX recorded a slight dip in attendance. According to the exhibition survey, the order situation of exhibitors remained constant, while the purchasing volume per visitor went up. About 70 percent of all DOMOTEX attendees once again came from abroad – a clear sign of the flagship fair’s international appeal. In terms of visitor backgrounds, attendance was notably up on the part of wholesale and retail professionals. The figures also revealed an increase in attendance by architects, interior designers and contract business professionals. In addition, DOMOTEX 2019 saw an increase in the amount of display space sold.

“Thanks to its strong international drawing power, DOMOTEX serves as the sector’s definitive global marketplace. The positive and optimistic outlook on the 2019 business year that was tangible in the trade fair halls proves the success of this year’s exhibition,” said Dr. Andreas Gruchow, the Managing Board member in charge of DOMOTEX at Deutsche Messe.

“Manufacturers and customers as well as partners, architects and designers from all over the world come together to network at DOMOTEX, spawning new business relationships and collaborative opportunities previously not deemed possible,” remarked Sonia Wedell-Castellano, the new global director for DOMOTEX, adding: “That’s what this year’s theme of Create’N’Connect is all about.”

Upbeat mood among exhibitors
Fabian Kölliker, Head of Marketing at the Swiss Krono Group, voiced early praise for the professional nature of the event: “We are very satisfied with the number, quality and internationality of attendees. Even after day two of the fair, we are already extremely happy with our success so far.”

The Balta Group has remained faithful to DOMOTEX since the origin of the fair. As Marketing Director Geert Vanden Bossche reports: “The rug business is a global business and this is the best place to connect with people and customers from around the world. In only four days we can meet with a lot of customers, giving a good return on our investments.”

For Myriam Ragolle, Managing Director of Ragolle Rugs, DOMOTEX represents the ideal opportunity to present the new products to a worldwide audience within just a four-day period: “It is impossible to achieve that by traveling. We can also make contacts with new customers from all over the world. This makes DOMOTEX unique.”

Exhibitors from the skilled trades also expressed keen satisfaction with the run of the show: “Here at DOMOTEX 2019, we have once again succeeded in impressing a trade audience from Germany and abroad,” said Julian Utz, CEO of Uzin Utz, adding: “The show’s international focus gives us access to exactly the right potential customers.” As he pointed out, Uzin Utz is strongly focused on Asian and Arab-speaking markets. “So the strong turnout by customers from these regions is a real boon for us.”

The benefits of attending DOMOTEX
Susanne Gerken, a Color & Trim designer at Volkswagen, came to DOMOTEX 2019 to catch the latest trends and check out innovative materials. As she pointed out, color trends and issues such as sustainability, recycling and new material lifecycles are all equally applicable to the automotive industry, and her takeaway was much more than just new impressions: “At DOMOTEX I picked up several ideas I can use to great advantage in my work.”

In contrast, business matters were the prime objective for Alex Hosseinnia, CEO of Dallas Rugs in Dallas, Colorado: “My line of work is all about buying and selling,” he said, adding that what he liked about DOMOTEX was the way it made it easy for him to meet up with suppliers, and that it was an ideal place to discover the latest trends and fashions, for example colors and patterns, that were “likely to be showing up in U.S. retail channels in the course of the next year or two.”

“CREATE’N’CONNECT” at DOMOTEX 2019
The inspiring “Framing Trends” showcase in Hall 9 proved its worth. In its second year, it once again featured impressive displays of innovative products by manufacturers, artists, designers and students. International architects, designers, planners and influencers were particularly appreciative of “Framing Trends” as the beating heart of the event. The new showcase has proven to be highly effective at bringing visitors together and spawning lively interaction and business dialogue.

Under the motto of “Gaining Ground”, the “Treffpunkt Handwerk” skilled trades hub in Hall 13 proved popular among interior designers, parquet and floor layers, painters and varnishers. The hands-on demo area gave flooring experts an opportunity to see innovative floor treatment and finishing tools and machinery in action while comparing notes with fellow professionals.

Digital tools for sales and marketing in the floor covering industry
A key topic at the event involved solutions for the digital presentation of carpets and floor coverings. The new digital solutions ran the gamut of VR and AR applications, including visualization aids for every aspect of the marketing mix, plus innovative software which makes it easy for customers to discover and choose their favorite designs and collections while providing retailers with new options for digital product presentation and sales.

 

Show Preview COMPOSITES EUROPE 2018: Focus on process technologies (c) COMPOSITES EUROPE
09.10.2018

SHOW PREVIEW COMPOSITES EUROPE 2018: FOCUS ON PROCESS TECHNOLOGIES

  • Premiere: “Process live” format
  • Lightweight Technologies Forum to present hybrid lightweight construction
  • Trade fair kick-off event: International Composites Congress (ICC)

In the competition of lightweight construction and design materials, composites are among the winners – automotive engineering, aerospace, wind energy, boatbuilding and construction can no longer do without glass- and carbon-fibre reinforced plastics (GFRP & CFRP). Nevertheless, the greatest impetus right now is coming from the composites industry itself: technological advancements in the process chain. From 6 to 8 November, COMPOSITES EUROPE in Stuttgart will drive home that point.

  • Premiere: “Process live” format
  • Lightweight Technologies Forum to present hybrid lightweight construction
  • Trade fair kick-off event: International Composites Congress (ICC)

In the competition of lightweight construction and design materials, composites are among the winners – automotive engineering, aerospace, wind energy, boatbuilding and construction can no longer do without glass- and carbon-fibre reinforced plastics (GFRP & CFRP). Nevertheless, the greatest impetus right now is coming from the composites industry itself: technological advancements in the process chain. From 6 to 8 November, COMPOSITES EUROPE in Stuttgart will drive home that point.

Trade fair visitors will meet more than 350 exhibitors from 30 countries who in Stuttgart will present state-of-the-art technology and the potential of fibre-reinforced composites – in the exhibition area as well as in numerous event areas, lecture forums and themed tours.

With the new “Process live” format, coordinated processing and manufacturing processes will become the visible focus of this year’s COMPOSITES EUROPE. Mechanical and plant engineering companies will get together in group exhibits to showcase their technologies in live interactions – thus enabling visitors to experience sub-processes presented in a larger context.

Partnerships in the process chain accelerate growth in the industry
Among others, the cutting specialists Gunnar (Switzerland), the composites automation experts Airborne (Netherlands) and the gripping systems providers Schmalz (Germany) will join forces to create a combined production cell in a process-safe depiction of the entire value chain from roller materials to the finished layer structure of a composite component. In this setup, interlocking hardware components are fully connected with each other via software. “Cooperation among processors is getting closer and closer. These partnerships within the process chain are accelerating the growth of the composites industry; that’s what we want to show with the new ‘Process live’ format”, says Olaf Freier, event director of COMPOSITES EUROPE.

Lightweight Technologies Forum: Platform for multi-material lightweight construction
Besides the optimisation of the process chain, industry research today is heavily focused on the use of GFRP and CFRP in multi-material systems. The Lightweight Technologies Forum will once again demonstrate how composites play to their strengths alongside other materials in the material mix for hybrid structural components. A total of 16 exhibitors will present materials, tools and exhibits here – from fillers to bonding agents and presses for laminating different materials to semi-finished hybrid products.

In various presentations, experts will provide an overview of new products in manufacturing and joining technology as well as applications and lightweight engineering references from the automotive, aerospace and construction sectors. Support for the Lightweight Technologies Forum is provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

From digitalisation to recycling: Know-how in the supporting programme
A presentation programme, themed tours and special areas complete the COMPOSITES EUROPE lineup. Manufacturing technology, recycling, digitalisation and thermoplastics will be central themes in the programme of the COMPOSITES Forum, which will also feature exhibitors presenting application examples from automotive engineering, aerospace, construction, mechanical engineering, wind energy and shipbuilding.

Themed guided tours, meanwhile, will lead visitors straight to the stands of selected exhibitors ready to explain the latest innovations in fibreglass, thermoplastics, automotive engineering, wind energy and construction.

Special areas and group stands to highlight new ideas
Hosting the special area “Industry meets Science”, the Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV), the leading European research institute for plastics technology based in Aachen, will showcase developments in process technology, design, quality assurance and repair.

The exhibitors at the “Bio-Based Composites Pavilion”, which will again be set up in cooperation with the nova-Institute, will reflect the development of the market for green composites. The focus will be on application options of wood-polymer composites (WPC), natural fibre composites (NFC), bio-based thermoplastics and thermosets for composites, and bio-based plastics.

Moreover, numerous young companies will thrill visitors with fresh ideas: the industry newcomers will present themselves at a group stand funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). They will cover a wide range of topics from semi-finished carbon-fibre products to metal foams to production lines for multi-material 3D fibre laminates.

Even the automotive experts of tomorrow will have their own forum at the trade fair: under the banner of “Formula Student”, students and apprentices will show visitors racecars they themselves have designed.

Kick-off event: 4th International Composites Congress (ICC)
The International Composites Congress (ICC) will once again kick off COMPOSITES EUROPE. In a series of presentations starting the day before the trade fair (5 and 6 November), international experts at the event with the headline topic “Composites – On the Path to Becoming a Key Industry?” will speak about and discuss applications, materials, process technologies and market prospects.

More information:
Composites Composites Europe
Source:

Reed Exhibitions Deutschland GmbH

Taiwan's Textile Industry sustains its Position with Innovations Photo: Pixabay
25.09.2018

TAIWAN'S TEXTILE INDUSTRY SUSTAINS ITS POSITION WITH INNOVATIONS

  • Manufacturers rely, among others, on German Machines

Tokyo (GTAI) - When it comes to functional textiles, Taiwan belongs to the international top league. To ensure that this remains the case, industry manufacturers invest in modern equipment and innovations.

Taiwan is an important global supplier of functional textiles. The sector wants to maintain this position and expand it as much as possible. They are therefore investing in new capacities, research and development. There are good sales opportunities for suppliers of pre-products and equipment.

The demand for functional textiles is increasing in the sports, leisure and footwear industries. In other sectors, such as the automotive and medical industries, building materials and agricultural aids, these are also increasingly being used. Functional textiles are usually not recognizable as Taiwan products. Nevertheless, some of them are very visible.

  • Manufacturers rely, among others, on German Machines

Tokyo (GTAI) - When it comes to functional textiles, Taiwan belongs to the international top league. To ensure that this remains the case, industry manufacturers invest in modern equipment and innovations.

Taiwan is an important global supplier of functional textiles. The sector wants to maintain this position and expand it as much as possible. They are therefore investing in new capacities, research and development. There are good sales opportunities for suppliers of pre-products and equipment.

The demand for functional textiles is increasing in the sports, leisure and footwear industries. In other sectors, such as the automotive and medical industries, building materials and agricultural aids, these are also increasingly being used. Functional textiles are usually not recognizable as Taiwan products. Nevertheless, some of them are very visible.

For example, at least 15 out of 32 teams at the 2018 FIFA World Cup wore clothing made with textiles of Taiwanese origin for internationally renowned brand names, according to the Taiwan Industrial Development Bureau (IDB). According to the Taiwan Footwear Manufacturers Association, Taiwanese manufacturers are responsible for approximately 80 percent of all sports shoes produced worldwide.

Textile manufacturers invest
Far Eastern New Century (FENC) is one of the largest textile manufacturers on the island. Its production capacity is nowadays mainly located abroad with productions in China, Japan, the USA and Vietnam. FENC is also expanding its capacity in Taiwan. Polyester spunbonded nonwovens have been produced for the Asian market in a joint venture with Freudenberg in Germany since 1987.

Freudenberg Far Eastern Spunweb has announced that it will set up a third production line for nonwovens at the Tayuan plant, thereby increasing the existing production of 20,000 tons by 11,000 tons per year. Construction of the new production facility, which is scheduled to start operations in 2020, has now begun. The latest automated production technology is to be used. According to the company, the investments amount will approximately be at USD 43 million.

Biggest companies in the textile industry in Taiwan by sales
(in USD million; change compared to previous year in %)

Company 2016 2017 Change
Far Eastern New Century Corp. 6,679 7,157 0.,9
Formosa Taffeta Co., Ltd. 1,233 1,337 2.2
Shinkong Synthetic Fiber Corporation 1,066 1,200 6.1
Eclat Textile Co., Ltd. 759 796 -1.2
Makalot Industrial Co., Ltd. 685 735 1.2
Tainan Spinning Co., Ltd. 602 692 8.3

Source: CommonWealth Magazine, Taiwan Stock Exchange

Germany remains an important equipment supplier
Taiwan's textile manufacturers import their equipment mainly from China, Japan and Germany, with some of the machines produced in China coming from companies with Japanese, German, Italian or Taiwanese parent companies. German deliveries declined by 13.7 percent to USD 71.1 compared to 2016 million in 2017. However, Taiwan's imports from Germany increased by 24.3 percent in the first six months of 2018, exceeding deliveries from Japan at USD 42.5 million.

The fact that the import of equipment remains at a high level has to do with the fact that companies in the textile industry in Taiwan are modernizing existing plants and converting them to Industry 4.0. In addition, the number of textile manufacturers in Taiwan has increased in recent years. According to statistics from the Taiwan Federation of Textiles, the number of companies rose from 3,143 to 3,214 between 2014 and 2017.

Main suppliers of textile machinery *)
to Taiwan (USD million; change in % compared to previous year)

Supplying country 2016 2017 Change
China 108.7 111.0 2.1
Japan 97.2 97.2 0
Germany 82.5 71.1 -13.7
Italy 32.8 23.8 -27.3
Switzerland 13.6 14.1 3.6
USA 19.2 12.1 -37.2
Total 405.4 364.7 -10.0

*) HS-Codes 8444-8453; without 8450
Source: Customs Statistics, Ministry of Finance

Core functions remain in Taiwan
By contrast, the production value of the textile sector fell slightly. In local currency terms, it fell in 2017 compared with 2016 by 1.7 percent. Converted to US dollars, the production value of textiles was USD 9 billion, according to the statistics from the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The production of synthetic fibers stagnated at just under USD 3 billion in 2017.

Taiwan is home to the headquarters of the often family-run textile companies. Purchasing and marketing decisions are mainly made here, and, last but not least, research and development are carried out here too. For example, several manufacturers are currently developing smart textiles with integrated temperature control, heart and location functions.

Foreign activities are diversified
The textile manufacturers are investing predominantly in new capacities outside Taiwan. For example, FENC 2018 is expanding its capacity for PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and terephthalic acid (PTA), which among others are required for the production of synthetic fibers. Together with an Indonesian and a Mexican partner, FENC acquires two new plants of a bankrupt US company in West Virginia and Texas. Among other things, this reduces the risk of possible trade restrictions and, conversely, increases the opportunity to benefit from free trade agreements.

Vietnam is also a focus of investment. Here, most Taiwanese textile companies are in the process of establishing or expanding new capacities. FENC, Formosa Taffeta, Eclat, Makalot and several others invested in the southeast Asian tigerland several years ago. By contrast, new investments in China have become rare, primarily due to rising wage costs.

 

More information:
Taiwan
Source:

Jürgen Maurer, Germany Trade & Invest www.gtai.de

Photo: Pixabay
29.05.2018

ITALIAN FASHION INDUSTRY ON COURSE FOR INNOVATION

  • FOCUS ON DIGITIZATION AND SUSTAINABILITY

Mailand (GTAI) - The Italian fashion industry is changing. The digitalization of production and the growth in online trading are forcing a rethinking in the traditional sector. The topic of sustainability is becoming increasingly important. Against this background, Italian fashion houses are increasingly investing in their future strategies. German companies see good business opportunities as technology partners.

The Italian fashion industry is one of the core sectors of the Italian economy. In 2017, the sector increased its sales by 2.4 percent to EUR 54.1 billion, as reported the industry association Confindustria Moda. For 2018, the association expects a further increase of 2.6 percent to EUR 55.4 billion. The goal is to exceed the EUR 60 billion by 2020.

  • FOCUS ON DIGITIZATION AND SUSTAINABILITY

Mailand (GTAI) - The Italian fashion industry is changing. The digitalization of production and the growth in online trading are forcing a rethinking in the traditional sector. The topic of sustainability is becoming increasingly important. Against this background, Italian fashion houses are increasingly investing in their future strategies. German companies see good business opportunities as technology partners.

The Italian fashion industry is one of the core sectors of the Italian economy. In 2017, the sector increased its sales by 2.4 percent to EUR 54.1 billion, as reported the industry association Confindustria Moda. For 2018, the association expects a further increase of 2.6 percent to EUR 55.4 billion. The goal is to exceed the EUR 60 billion by 2020.

But the sector is developing inconsistently. Sales of intermediate products such as fabrics have been stagnating for years, while sales of end products such as clothing, shoes and bags are increasing. Both areas grew in 2017. End products (+2.9 percent) continue to be more successful than primary products (+2.2 percent). The main reason for the positive development of the fashion industry in recent years is the strong export demand for Italian products. In 2017 exports rose by a total of 3.5 percent and exceeded the EUR 30 billion mark for the first time.

The main export hits are clothing (one third of fashion exports), leather goods (around 20 percent) and shoes (around 18 percent), followed by fabrics (9 percent) and home textiles (9 percent). Sector representatives are concerned about developments in some important sales markets. Exports to the USA and Japan declined in 2017, the rising demand from China and Russia could not compensate these losses.

Significant rise in fashion imports
Domestic demand for fashion stagnated in 2017, while significantly more preproducts from the Far East and end products from industrialized countries were imported. Overall, imports increased by 2.2 percent to EUR 21.1 billion in 2017, Confindustria is expecting a further increase of 2.4 percent in 2018.

Germany is one of the most important markets for Italian fashion manufacturers; Italian shoes and bags are particularly popular with German customers. In return, Germany, with imports worth EUR 1.3 billion (plus 4.1 percent), ranked fourth as a supplier country in 2017, behind China, France and Spain. Clothing accounts for about half of German fashion imports and textiles for the other half. Germany is an important supplier of technical textiles, including sports goods and for the automotive industry.

Many companies strengthen their online presence  
The digitalization of the Italian industry does not stop at the fashion industry either. Thanks to the new technologies, traditional manufacturers can increasingly reach their customers directly without intermediaries.

How well this works was demonstrated by the Italian start-up company Yoox, an online luxury fashion retailer. Founded in 2000, the company merged with the French online fashion company and strong competitor Net-a-Porter in 2015. The Group is now active in 180 countries and generated sales of EUR 2.1 billion in 2017.
Many companies are strengthening their online presence and using their stores primarily as showcases to promote brands or new collections. The company Beste with the still new brand for men Monobi is an actual example. The traditional fashion houses Loro Piana and Zegna have been active in this direction already for several years.

Industry 4.0 sets impulses
Digitalization also makes new production processes possible for fashion houses. The networking of machines reduces production times, increases efficiency and reduces electricity and water consumption. In addition, manufacturers get the opportunity to offer tailormade solutions. Digitalization also ensures through just-in-time concepts that inventories and sales areas can be reduced, which leads to falling costs.

Well-known Italian fashion houses are investing heavily into the future. The luxury company Gucci has invested around EUR 100 million in a new innovation center, the so called ArtLab, in the greater Florence area. The company Beste has started two research projects in the field of Industry 4.0. The intensive research focuses on the development of new, environmentally friendly materials and the development of a digital platform for the planning, production and distribution of garments.

Sustainability is increasingly becoming a sales argument
The topic of sustainability is becoming increasingly important. The National Chamber of Italian Fashion (CNMI), for example, organizes discussion rounds on the subject. The fashion house Ferragamo has presented a sustainability plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption. A new development by Ferragamo is also a sustainable fabric made from orange peels.

Gucci, Armani, Bulgari, the list of the world-famous Italian fashion companies is long. At the same time, Italy also has a large number of small and very small companies in the fashion sector. In 2017, the average number of employees in the companies was 9. Small and medium-sized com-panies also rely on sustainability.

The major Italian bank Unicredit, together with the European Investment Bank, is providing low interest loans for small and medium-sized fashion companies (up to 250 employees) for relevant investments. Similar programs are provided by the major bank Intesa Sanpaolo.

Source:

Robert Scheid, Germany Trade & Invest www.gtai.de

RETAIL IN HONG KONG EXPECTS STRONG UPTURN Photo: Pixabay
27.03.2018

RETAIL IN HONG KONG EXPECTS STRONG UPTURN

  • Sales increase of 4 to 6 per cent targeted for 2018
  • Population favors traditional shopping experience

Hong Kong (GTAI) - Hong Kong's favorite pastime is shopping. Chinese tourists also visit the city just for shopping quite often. The demand for jewelry, watches and cosmetics in particular is booming. The retail sales of the Special Administrative Region (SVR) is expected to rise to around USD 60 billion in 2018. The status-conscious consumers prefer Italian and French luxury goods. German providers can score in certain categories.

  • Sales increase of 4 to 6 per cent targeted for 2018
  • Population favors traditional shopping experience

Hong Kong (GTAI) - Hong Kong's favorite pastime is shopping. Chinese tourists also visit the city just for shopping quite often. The demand for jewelry, watches and cosmetics in particular is booming. The retail sales of the Special Administrative Region (SVR) is expected to rise to around USD 60 billion in 2018. The status-conscious consumers prefer Italian and French luxury goods. German providers can score in certain categories.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) retail sector experienced one of its worst years of recent history in 2016. According to the statistics office, sales shrank nominally by 8 percent compared to the previous year. On the one hand, domestic consumers showed themselves buttoned-up side in the face of a rather sluggish economy. Private consumption rose in real terms by just under 2 percent.
 
On the other hand, the number of foreign visitors decreased. The tourism authority counted around 57 million arrivals in 2016 only, which was almost 5 percent less than in 2015. Three quarters of the tourists traditionally come from the neighboring Chinese mainland and are particularly eager to buy. But in 2016, they restricted their purchases.

Domestic consumption rose in real terms by nearly 7 percent in the third quarter of 2017
However, the second half of 2017 brought the turnaround. The overall economy of SVR revived noticeably. Consumer spending in the third quarter increased by nearly 7 percent in real terms compared to the same period of the previous year. The number of tourists also rose again. From January to December, the authorities registered a growth of more than 3 percent.

Foreign visitor arrivals in Hong Kong (in millions)
Year Visitors
2014 60.8
2015 59.3
2016 56.7
2017 58.5
2018 *) 60.0

*) Forecast
Source: Hong Kong Tourism Board

Retail sales rose in 2017 as a result by just over 2 percent to more than USD 57 billion. Especially at the end of the year, business had developed very briskly. In the fourth quarter, revenues increased by nearly 6 percent compared to the same quarter of the previous year. That leaves the economic researchers hoping for 2018. The auditing company PWC, for example, expects a market growth of 4 to 6 percent. As a result, the total revenues should rise to around USD 60 billion. It would thus be on about the same level as in 2014, but only in nominal terms.

Hong Kong retail sales (in USD bn, change on year to year in %)
Year Value Change
2015 60.9 -3.7
2016 56.0 -8.1
2017 57.2 2.2
2018 *) about 60,0 4.0 to 6.0

*) Forecast
Source: 2014 til 2017: Hong Kong Statistical Office; 2018: PwC

The individual sectors of the retail trade developed very differently in 2017. The demand for electronic articles was weakening. But the business with jewelry, watches and cosmetics flourished. These are small and light goods, that Chinese tourists usually can take across the border without customs clearance. The equally lively sales of food and beverages as well as motor vehicles is mainly due to the greater spending pleasure of domestic consumers.

Retail sales in 2017, by product group
(in USD bn, year-on-year change in %)
Product group Value Change
Jewelry and Watches 9.6 3.4
Textiles 7.7 0.2
Medicine and Cosmetics 5.6 5.5
Food and Beverages 5.4 3.2
Electronic Articles 3.1 -9.0
Automotive, incl. parts 2.0 3.1
Furniture 0.9 2.2
Books and Stationery 0.9 1.0

Source: Hong Kong Statistical Office
 
For German providers of consumer goods, the former British colony is a not unattractive market. Although the population of 7.4 million is quite small, it has a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita that is at the level of Germany. Since there is virtually no manufacturing industry, almost all goods need to be imported. The Chinese tourists increase the volume of demand. In 2017 45 million visitors from the People's Republic came to Hong Kong. Many of them came just for one day, whose only goal was shopping.

German consumer goods are quite popular with both domestic consumers and Chinese tourists. However, there are big differences between the different sectors. Apparel, leather goods and cosmetics are dominated by French and Italian brands in the upper market segment. For furniture (especially kitchens) or stationery German suppliers however play a significant role. Also body care and food "Made in Germany" enjoy a great popularity.

Big chains dominate the market
The retail sector is predominantly in the hands of large corporations. In the food sector the chains Wellcome and ParknShop dominate, in the drugstore area Watsons and Mannings as well as in the electronics division Fortress and Broadway. The e-commerce however has undermined its dominant position a bit.
However - the population still prefers the traditional shopping experience. Purchasing via the Internet does not yet play a major role for the end customer as in other countries around the world. But it has changed the business in the B2B area. In the meantime restaurants and hotels mostly shop online.

Internet addresses
Name Internet address
Census and Statistics Department http://www.censtatd.gov.hk/home/index.jsp (Homepage); http://www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp320.jsp?tableID=089&ID=0&productType=8
(Overview of retail sales);
http://gia.info.gov.hk/general/201802/01/P2018020100410_277399_1_1517469181773.pdf
(Detailed retail sales statistics)
Hong Kong Tourism Board http://partnernet.hktb.com/filemanager/intranet/pm/VisitorArrivalStatistics/ViS_Stat_E/VisE_2017/Tourism%20Statistics%2012%202017.pdf
(Visitor Information and arrivals)  


   

 

More information:
Hong Kong Retail
Source:

Roland Rhode, Germany Trade & Invest www.gtai.de

02.01.2018

THAILAND'S TEXTILE INDUSTRY ON NEW PATHS

  • Good chances for synthetic fibers and functional textiles

Bangkok (GTAI) - Thailand's textile industry is in transition and is increasingly positioning itself in new markets with higher added value. Synthetic fibers became an important foothold on the basis of innovative raw materials, while functional textiles are grateful to customers in a dozen sectors. In addition, there is the traditional silk craft, which can be marketed by international design and attractive fashion shows - and this at top prices.

  • Good chances for synthetic fibers and functional textiles

Bangkok (GTAI) - Thailand's textile industry is in transition and is increasingly positioning itself in new markets with higher added value. Synthetic fibers became an important foothold on the basis of innovative raw materials, while functional textiles are grateful to customers in a dozen sectors. In addition, there is the traditional silk craft, which can be marketed by international design and attractive fashion shows - and this at top prices.

The Thai textile industry is changing. As a part of the long-term national development strategy “Thailand 4.0” , new technologies are designed to help innovative products breakthrough in key emerging markets, backed by concerted efforts in design, fashion and marketing. The industrial foundation ensures the availability of a complete value chain from fiber production, yarn spinning, fabric weaving and processing to the production of clothing.
The long-term strategy has been outlined by the Thailand Textile Institute (THTI) in its "Thailand Textile and Fashion Industries Development Strategy 2015-2030". Three phases are planned from the regional center for textile and fashion retail, to the development of creative products for international brands, and finally the breakthrough as the global market leader in fashion design, including Thai components. The concrete catalog of measures includes an industrial fashion zone, a pilot fiber plant, a development center for yarn, fabrics and fashion products as well as a regional fashion academy.

Broad spectrum for innovations
A diversified petrochemical industry with high-quality downstream products provides a rich foundation for a wide variety of synthetic fibers. The main products are polyester, nylon, rayon and acrylic polymers. The range of applications is quite broad, including apparel, medical technique, hygiene and automotive manufacturing. For polyester, Thailand ranks ninth in the world with an annual production of 621,000 tons, the larger producers include Indorama Polyester, Teijin Polyester or Thai Toray.

Increased research and development efforts with both artificial and natural textile fibers are paving the way for functional textiles. There are a dozen applications in this broad future market: Agrotex, Mobiltex, Medtex, Hometex, Oekotex, Packtex, Buildtex, Clothtex, Indutex, Geotex, Protex and Sportex. The leaders in this branch are companies such as Asahi Kasei, Perma, Saha Seiren, PJ Garment or TP Corporation. Thailand also wants to play an active role in shaping the future market of "smart fabrics" - such as fabrics with UV protection or antibacterial and fire-resistant properties.

Renaissance of the silk
On elegant paths also the traditional over generations grown art of silk crafts is moving. Thanks to the rich raw material base, the kingdom is considered to be the world's fourth largest silk producer. In the preference of visitors from abroad, silk products are at the eighth place in the souvenir statistics 2015 with USD 149 mio.
The origins of silk were characterized by the craftsmanship weaving with regional origin characteristics such as at the Lumphun Broocade Thai Silk, the Phu Thai Praewa Silk or the Surin Hole Silk. The change to innovative products took place with the growing demands of customers. New technologies produced goods of higher value, which were also became promoted with new stronger marketing ideas.

Jim Thompson and Passaya are considered two major pioneers of world-class luxury silk brands. Jim Thompson generates USD 72 mio thanks to modern design and premium products. Passaya won international awards for outstanding innovations in design as well as in the production process. Public support has been provided by promotional events such as "Proud Pastra", which recently completed USD 1.5 mio  in trade surplus. The Ministry of Commerce also intends to establish a silk center in the northeastern Korat under the state-sponsored so-called OTOP scheme (One Tambon One Product).

The entire industry has currently  4,700 textile and garment manufacturers with over 500,000 workers, including 730 textile companies for technical textiles. The export value amounted to USD 6.45 billion in 2016, which represented about 3 percent of total exports. The national retail sector recorded steady growth rates averaging 3.5 percent per year over the period 2011-2016.

In addition to production, Thailand also tries to profile itself as a fashion hub for regional and international fashion shows. The most important events are the "Bangkok International Couture Fashion Week", "Elle Bangkok Fashion Week" and the "Bangkok International Fashion Fair". The first national designer brands have already made their debuts on the catwalk, such as Sretsis, Naraya, Dry Clean Only or Disaya. Sretsis, founded by three sisters, became successfully supported by some big names such as Beyoncé, Paris Hilton, January Jones and Zooey Deschanel.

More information:
Thailand
Source:

Waldemar Duscha, www.gtai.de