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Converting CO2 to Solid Carbon Nanofibers (c) Zhenhua Xie/Brookhaven National Laboratory and Columbia University; Erwei Huang/Brookhaven National Laboratory
22.01.2024

Converting CO2 to Solid Carbon Nanofibers

Tandem electrocatalytic-thermocatalytic conversion could help offset emissions of potent greenhouse gas by locking carbon away in a useful material.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and Columbia University have developed a way to convert carbon dioxide (CO2), a potent greenhouse gas, into carbon nanofibers, materials with a wide range of unique properties and many potential long-term uses. Their strategy uses tandem electrochemical and thermochemical reactions run at relatively low temperatures and ambient pressure. As the scientists describe in the journal Nature Catalysis, this approach could successfully lock carbon away in a useful solid form to offset or even achieve negative carbon emissions.

Tandem electrocatalytic-thermocatalytic conversion could help offset emissions of potent greenhouse gas by locking carbon away in a useful material.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and Columbia University have developed a way to convert carbon dioxide (CO2), a potent greenhouse gas, into carbon nanofibers, materials with a wide range of unique properties and many potential long-term uses. Their strategy uses tandem electrochemical and thermochemical reactions run at relatively low temperatures and ambient pressure. As the scientists describe in the journal Nature Catalysis, this approach could successfully lock carbon away in a useful solid form to offset or even achieve negative carbon emissions.

“You can put the carbon nanofibers into cement to strengthen the cement,” said Jingguang Chen, a professor of chemical engineering at Columbia with a joint appointment at Brookhaven Lab who led the research. “That would lock the carbon away in concrete for at least 50 years, potentially longer. By then, the world should be shifted to primarily renewable energy sources that don’t emit carbon.”

As a bonus, the process also produces hydrogen gas (H2), a promising alternative fuel that, when used, creates zero emissions.

Capturing or converting carbon?
The idea of capturing CO2 or converting it to other materials to combat climate change is not new. But simply storing CO2 gas can lead to leaks. And many CO2 conversions produce carbon-based chemicals or fuels that are used right away, which releases CO2 right back into the atmosphere.

“The novelty of this work is that we are trying to convert CO2 into something that is value-added but in a solid, useful form,” Chen said.

Such solid carbon materials—including carbon nanotubes and nanofibers with dimensions measuring billionths of a meter—have many appealing properties, including strength and thermal and electrical conductivity. But it’s no simple matter to extract carbon from carbon dioxide and get it to assemble into these fine-scale structures. One direct, heat-driven process requires temperatures in excess of 1,000 degrees Celsius.

“It’s very unrealistic for large-scale CO2 mitigation,” Chen said. “In contrast, we found a process that can occur at about 400 degrees Celsius, which is a much more practical, industrially achievable temperature.”

The tandem two-step
The trick was to break the reaction into stages and to use two different types of catalysts—materials that make it easier for molecules to come together and react.

“If you decouple the reaction into several sub-reaction steps you can consider using different kinds of energy input and catalysts to make each part of the reaction work,” said Brookhaven Lab and Columbia research scientist Zhenhua Xie, lead author on the paper.

The scientists started by realizing that carbon monoxide (CO) is a much better starting material than CO2 for making carbon nanofibers (CNF). Then they backtracked to find the most efficient way to generate CO from CO2.

Earlier work from their group steered them to use a commercially available electrocatalyst made of palladium supported on carbon. Electrocatalysts drive chemical reactions using an electric current. In the presence of flowing electrons and protons, the catalyst splits both CO2 and water (H2O) into CO and H2.

For the second step, the scientists turned to a heat-activated thermocatalyst made of an iron-cobalt alloy. It operates at temperatures around 400 degrees Celsius, significantly milder than a direct CO2-to-CNF conversion would require. They also discovered that adding a bit of extra metallic cobalt greatly enhances the formation of the carbon nanofibers.

“By coupling electrocatalysis and thermocatalysis, we are using this tandem process to achieve things that cannot be achieved by either process alone,” Chen said.

Catalyst characterization
To discover the details of how these catalysts operate, the scientists conducted a wide range of experiments. These included computational modeling studies, physical and chemical characterization studies at Brookhaven Lab’s National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II)—using the Quick X-ray Absorption and Scattering (QAS) and Inner-Shell Spectroscopy (ISS) beamlines—and microscopic imaging at the Electron Microscopy facility at the Lab’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN).

On the modeling front, the scientists used “density functional theory” (DFT) calculations to analyze the atomic arrangements and other characteristics of the catalysts when interacting with the active chemical environment.

“We are looking at the structures to determine what are the stable phases of the catalyst under reaction conditions,” explained study co-author Ping Liu of Brookhaven’s Chemistry Division who led these calculations. “We are looking at active sites and how these sites are bonding with the reaction intermediates. By determining the barriers, or transition states, from one step to another, we learn exactly how the catalyst is functioning during the reaction.”

X-ray diffraction and x-ray absorption experiments at NSLS-II tracked how the catalysts change physically and chemically during the reactions. For example, synchrotron x-rays revealed how the presence of electric current transforms metallic palladium in the catalyst into palladium hydride, a metal that is key to producing both H2 and CO in the first reaction stage.

For the second stage, “We wanted to know what’s the structure of the iron-cobalt system under reaction conditions and how to optimize the iron-cobalt catalyst,” Xie said. The x-ray experiments confirmed that both an alloy of iron and cobalt plus some extra metallic cobalt are present and needed to convert CO to carbon nanofibers.

“The two work together sequentially,” said Liu, whose DFT calculations helped explain the process.

“According to our study, the cobalt-iron sites in the alloy help to break the C-O bonds of carbon monoxide. That makes atomic carbon available to serve as the source for building carbon nanofibers. Then the extra cobalt is there to facilitate the formation of the C-C bonds that link up the carbon atoms,” she explained.

Recycle-ready, carbon-negative
“Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis conducted at CFN revealed the morphologies, crystal structures, and elemental distributions within the carbon nanofibers both with and without catalysts,” said CFN scientist and study co-author Sooyeon Hwang.

The images show that, as the carbon nanofibers grow, the catalyst gets pushed up and away from the surface. That makes it easy to recycle the catalytic metal, Chen said.

“We use acid to leach the metal out without destroying the carbon nanofiber so we can concentrate the metals and recycle them to be used as a catalyst again,” he said.

This ease of catalyst recycling, commercial availability of the catalysts, and relatively mild reaction conditions for the second reaction all contribute to a favorable assessment of the energy and other costs associated with the process, the researchers said.

“For practical applications, both are really important—the CO2 footprint analysis and the recyclability of the catalyst,” said Chen. “Our technical results and these other analyses show that this tandem strategy opens a door for decarbonizing CO2 into valuable solid carbon products while producing renewable H2.”

If these processes are driven by renewable energy, the results would be truly carbon-negative, opening new opportunities for CO2 mitigation.

Source:

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Bakery Pexels at Pixabay
08.01.2024

BakeTex: Textile baking mat supports bakeries in saving energy

The ongoing energy crisis is increasingly pushing the bakery trade to its limits. Bakeries everywhere are having to close because they can no longer afford the sharp rise in the cost of electricity and gas. The use of energy-efficient ovens and the optimisation of production processes are important components that help to save energy. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Application Centre for Textile Fibre Ceramics TFK in Münchberg have now developed another building block: a textile baking base.
 
In bakeries, trays are normally used as a base for the baked goods in combination with baking paper or flour, which not only leads to large amounts of waste, but also to health problems (baker's asthma). The baking trays are also heavy and their mass increases the energy consumption in the oven, as they have to be heated with every baking process.

The ongoing energy crisis is increasingly pushing the bakery trade to its limits. Bakeries everywhere are having to close because they can no longer afford the sharp rise in the cost of electricity and gas. The use of energy-efficient ovens and the optimisation of production processes are important components that help to save energy. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Application Centre for Textile Fibre Ceramics TFK in Münchberg have now developed another building block: a textile baking base.
 
In bakeries, trays are normally used as a base for the baked goods in combination with baking paper or flour, which not only leads to large amounts of waste, but also to health problems (baker's asthma). The baking trays are also heavy and their mass increases the energy consumption in the oven, as they have to be heated with every baking process.

With this in mind, the Bavarian Research Foundation approved a research project in 2021 to develop an alternative to conventional baking trays, which was successfully completed in 2023. The project partners were the Fraunhofer Application Centre for Textile Fibre Ceramics TFK from Münchberg, Fickenschers Backhaus GmbH from Münchberg and Weberei Wilhelm Zuleeg GmbH from Helmbrechts.

The aim of the project was to develop an energy-saving, pollutant-free and reusable textile baking mat with an integrated non-stick effect for use in industrial bakeries. Lightweight and heat-resistant textiles offer the potential to lower the preheating temperature in the oven and thus reduce energy consumption.
 
In a first step, a thin para-aramid fabric made of 120 g/m² long staple fibre yarn was therefore produced and stretched on a metallic frame. "The leno weave proved to be particularly suitable for the weave. Its characteristic lattice structure ensures that the textile is not only light but also permeable to air," says Silke Grosch from the Fraunhofer Application Centre TFK.

"In addition, by fixing the threads in place, the fabric cannot warp during washing and retains its shape for a long time." Finally, a full-surface silicone coating ensures that the baked goods do not stick to the baking base. This means that the previously necessary baking paper and flour layer can be dispensed with. To ensure that the rolls come out of the oven just as crispy and brown as with a standard baking tray, only the baking programme needs to be adjusted. Another key advantage of the textile baking tray is that it can be folded and therefore stored in a space-saving manner.

In the course of the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), the baking tray will be equipped with intelligent additional functions. On the one hand, the production data in the bakery can be determined using RFID chips or QR codes, and on the other hand, baked goods can be advertised in a targeted manner using customised branding.

Prof. Dr Frank Ficker, Head of the Fraunhofer Application Centre TFK, sums up: "With the textile baking base, we have developed a contemporary and resource-saving product together with our project partners that is characterised by its low weight and high flexibility. Together with the potential energy savings, this makes it interesting for many bakeries."

The Fraunhofer Application Centre for Textile Fibre Ceramics TFK in Münchberg specialises in the development, manufacture and testing of textile ceramic components. It is part of the Fraunhofer Centre for High Temperature Lightweight Construction HTL in Bayreuth, a facility of the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC with headquarters in Würzburg.

Source:

Fraunhofer Application Centre for Textile Fibre Ceramics
Translation Textination

Silk Provides the Building Blocks to Transform Modern Medicine Photo: Jenna Schad
31.10.2023

Silk Provides the Building Blocks to Transform Modern Medicine

Tufts researchers harness protein from silk to make virus-sensing gloves, surgical screws that dissolve in your body, and other next-generation biomedical materials

About a mile northwest of Tufts’ Medford/Somerville campus, on the fourth floor of a refurbished woolen factory, there is a shrine to silk. Glass vases filled with silkworm cocoons and washed silk fibers sit artfully on a shelf across from a colorful drawing of the life cycle of Bombyx mori, the domesticated silk moth. Farther in, more cocoons in wall-mounted cases border a large, close-up image of silk fibers, and displays hold dozens of prototypes made from silk, including smart fabrics, biosensors, a helmet that changes color upon impact, and potential replacements for materials like leather, plastic, and particle board.

Tufts researchers harness protein from silk to make virus-sensing gloves, surgical screws that dissolve in your body, and other next-generation biomedical materials

About a mile northwest of Tufts’ Medford/Somerville campus, on the fourth floor of a refurbished woolen factory, there is a shrine to silk. Glass vases filled with silkworm cocoons and washed silk fibers sit artfully on a shelf across from a colorful drawing of the life cycle of Bombyx mori, the domesticated silk moth. Farther in, more cocoons in wall-mounted cases border a large, close-up image of silk fibers, and displays hold dozens of prototypes made from silk, including smart fabrics, biosensors, a helmet that changes color upon impact, and potential replacements for materials like leather, plastic, and particle board.

The only things missing are the silkworms themselves, but Fiorenzo Omenetto, the director of Silklab and the Frank C. Doble Professor of Engineering at Tufts, said they will be arriving soon. The lab is building a terrarium so that visitors can view the animals.
“We’re going to have a celebration of silkworms and moths,” Omenetto said.

Silk has been cultivated and harvested for thousands of years. It is best known for the strong, shimmering fabric that can be woven from its fibers, but it also has a long history of use in medicine to dress injuries and suture wounds. At Silklab, Omenetto and his colleagues are building on silk’s legacy, proving that this ancient fiber could help create the next generation of biomedical materials.

Silk moth caterpillars, known as silkworms, extrude a single sticky strand of silk from their mouths to form cocoons, which are harvested by silk farmers to make silk thread. At its core, silk is a mixture of two proteins: fibroin, which provides the fiber’s structure, and sericin, which binds it together. With a few steps in the lab, Tufts researchers can remove the sericin and dissolve the fibers, turning a dry cocoon into a fibroin-filled liquid.

“Nature builds structural proteins that are very tough and very strong,” Omenetto said. “Your bricks are these fibroin proteins floating in water. From there, you can build whatever you want.”
Starting with shipments of dried cocoons from silk farms, Omenetto and his colleagues have been able to create gels, sponges, clear plastic-like sheets, printable inks, solids that look like amber, dippable coatings, and much more.

“Each of the materials that you make can contain all these different functions, and there’s only 24 hours in a day,” Omenetto said with a laugh. “This is why I don’t sleep.”

Biocompatible and Biodegradable
When Omenetto arrived at Tufts almost two decades ago, his research was focused on lasers and optics—silk wasn’t in the picture. But a chance conversation with David Kaplan, the Stern Family Professor of Engineering and chair of the biomedical engineering department, set him on a new path.

Kaplan, who has been working with silk since the early ’90s, was designing a silk scaffold that would help rebuild a person’s cornea, allowing cells to grow between the layers. He needed a way to ensure that the growing cells would have enough oxygen and showed the small, transparent sheet to Omenetto, who was immediately intrigued by the material. Omenetto was able to use his lab’s lasers to put tiny holes in Kaplan’s silk cornea. More collaborations quickly followed.
“We’ve worked together incessantly since then,” Kaplan said.

One of those lines of research has been finding ways to use silk to help repair and regrow bone, blood vessels, nerves, and other tissue. Silk is biocompatible, meaning it doesn’t cause harm in the body and breaks down in predictable ways. With the right preparation, silk materials can provide necessary strength and structure while the body is healing.

“You can mold and shape silk to whatever you need, and it will hold that volume while the native tissue regrows into the space and the silk material degrades,” Kaplan said. “Eventually it’s 100 percent gone, and you’re back to your normal tissue.”

Some of this work has already been approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A company called Sofregen, which spun out of Kaplan and Omenetto’s research, is using an injectable silk-based gel to repair damaged vocal cords, the tissues that regulate air flow and help us speak.

On their own, sturdy silk structures can keep their size, shape, and function for years before degrading. But in some instances, such as those involving surgical screws and plates intended for use in rapidly growing children, this pace would be too slow. The researchers had to find a way to speed up the time it takes for dense silk biomaterials to break down. They introduced an enzyme that our bodies produce naturally into the silk to hasten the breakdown process. The idea is that the enzyme would sit dry and inactive within the silk device until the structure is installed in a person, then the device would hydrate and activate the enzyme to digest the material more rapidly.

“We can titer in just the right amount of enzyme to make a screw go away in a week, a month, a year,” Kaplan said. “We have control over the process.”

Currently, Kaplan and his lab are working on other small, degradable medical devices that would help cut down on the number of surgeries that patients need. Ear tubes, for example, are often surgically implanted to help alleviate chronic ear infections and then need to be surgically removed. Kaplan and his colleagues have designed silk-based ear tubes that degrade on their own and can even carry antibiotics.

“As someone with a daughter who went through six surgeries on her ear, I know how helpful this could be,” Kaplan said.

Source:

Laura Castañón, Tufts University, Massachusetts USA

offshore windpark Nicholas Doherty, unsplash
17.10.2023

Pyrolysis processes promise sustainable recycling of fiber composites

Wind turbines typically operate for 20 to 30 years before they are undergoing dismantling and recycling. However, the recycling of fiber composites, especially from the thick-walled rotor blade parts, has been inadequate until now. The prevailing methods involve thermal or mechanical recycling. For a sustainable and holistic recycling process, a research consortium led by Fraunhofer IFAM is pooling their expertise to recover the fibers through pyrolysis. Subsequent surface treatment and quality testing of the recyclates allow for them to be used again in industry.

Wind turbines typically operate for 20 to 30 years before they are undergoing dismantling and recycling. However, the recycling of fiber composites, especially from the thick-walled rotor blade parts, has been inadequate until now. The prevailing methods involve thermal or mechanical recycling. For a sustainable and holistic recycling process, a research consortium led by Fraunhofer IFAM is pooling their expertise to recover the fibers through pyrolysis. Subsequent surface treatment and quality testing of the recyclates allow for them to be used again in industry.

Today, the vast majority of wind turbines can already be recycled cleanly. In the case of rotor blades, however, recycling is only just beginning. Due to the 20-year operation period and the installation rates, the blade volume for recycling will be increasing in the coming years and decades. In 2000, for example, around 6,000 wind turbines were erected in Germany, which now need to be fed into a sustainable recycling process. In 2022, about 30,000 onshore and offshore wind turbines with a capacity of 65 gigawatts were in operation in Germany alone.

As wind energy is the most important cornerstone for a climate-neutral power supply, the German government has set itself the goal of further increasing its wind energy capacity by 2030 by installing larger and more modern turbines. Rotor blades will become longer, the proportion of carbon fibers used will continue to increase - and so will the amount of waste. In addition, the existing material mix in rotor blades is expected to increase in the future and precise knowledge of the structure of the components will become even more important for recycling. This underscores the urgency of developing sustainable processing methods, especially for recycling the thick-walled fiber composites in the rotor blades.

Economic and ecological recycling solution for fiber composites on the horizon
Rotor blades of wind turbines currently up for recycling consist of more than 85 percent of glass- and carbon-fiber-reinforced thermosets (GFRP/CFRP). A large proportion of these materials is found in the flange and root area and within the fiber-reinforced straps as thick-walled laminates with a wall thicknesses of up to 150 mm. Research into high-quality material fiber recycling as continuous fibers is of particular importance, not only because of the energy required for carbon fiber production. This is where the project "Pyrolysis of thick-walled fiber composites as a key innovation in the recycling process for wind turbine rotor blades" – "RE SORT" for short – funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection comes in. The aim of the project team is the complete recycling by means of pyrolysis.

A prerequisite for high-quality recycling of fiber composites is the separation of the fibers from the mostly thermoset matrix. Although pyrolysis is a suitable process for this purpose, it has not yet gained widespread adoption. Within the project, the project partners are therefore investigating and developing pyrolysis technologies that make the recycling of thick-walled fiber composite structures economically feasible and are technically different from the recycling processes commonly used for fiber composites today. Both quasi-continuous batch and microwave pyrolysis are being considered.

Batch pyrolysis, which is being developed within the project, is a pyrolysis process in which the thermoset matrix of thick fiber composite components is slowly decomposed into oily and especially gaseous hydrocarbon compounds by external heating. In microwave pyrolysis, energy is supplied by the absorption of microwave radiation, resulting in internal rapid heat generation. Quasi-continuous batch pyrolysis as well as microwave pyrolysis allow the separation of pyrolysis gases or oils. The planned continuous microwave pyrolysis also allows for the fibers to be preserved and reused in their full length.

How the circular economy succeeds - holistic utilization of the recycled products obtained
In the next step, the surfaces of the recovered recycled fibers are prepared by means of atmospheric plasmas and wet-chemical coatings to ensure their suitability for reuse in industrial applications. Finally, strength tests can be used to decide whether the recycled fibers will be used again in the wind energy industry or, for example, in the automotive or sporting goods sectors.

The pyrolysis oils and pyrolysis gases obtained in batch and microwave pyrolysis are evaluated with respect to their usability as raw materials for polymer synthesis (pyrolysis oils) or as energy sources for energy use in combined heat and power (CHP) plants (pyrolysis gases).

Both quasi-continuous batch pyrolysis and continuous-flow microwave pyrolysis promise economical operation and a significant reduction in the environmental footprint of wind energy. Therefore, the chances for a technical implementation and utilization of the project results are very good, so that this project can make a decisive contribution to the achievement of the sustainability and climate goals of the German Federal Government.

Source:

Fraunhofer-Institut für Fertigungstechnik und Angewandte Materialforschung IFAM

Carbon U Profil (c) vombaur GmbH & Co. KG
19.09.2023

"After all, a spaceship is not made off the peg."

Interview with vombaur - pioneers in special textiles
Technical narrow textiles, custom solutions, medium-sized textile producer and development partner for filtration textiles, composite textiles and industrial textiles: vombaur. Digitalisation, sustainability, energy prices, pioneering work and unbroken enthusiasm – Textination spoke to two passionate textile professionals: Carl Mrusek, Chief Sales Officer (CSO), and Johannes Kauschinger, Sales Manager for Composites and Industrial Textiles, at vombaur GmbH, which, as well as JUMBO-Textil, belongs to the Textation Group.
 

Interview with vombaur - pioneers in special textiles
Technical narrow textiles, custom solutions, medium-sized textile producer and development partner for filtration textiles, composite textiles and industrial textiles: vombaur. Digitalisation, sustainability, energy prices, pioneering work and unbroken enthusiasm – Textination spoke to two passionate textile professionals: Carl Mrusek, Chief Sales Officer (CSO), and Johannes Kauschinger, Sales Manager for Composites and Industrial Textiles, at vombaur GmbH, which, as well as JUMBO-Textil, belongs to the Textation Group.
 
If you look back at your history and thus to the beginnings of the 19th century, you will see a ribbon manufactory and, from 1855, a production of silk and hat bands. Today you produce filtration textiles, industrial textiles and composites textiles. Although you still produce narrow textiles today, the motto "Transformation as an opportunity" seems to be a lived reality at vombaur.
 
Carl Mrusek, Chief Sales Officer: Yes, vombaur has changed a few times in its almost 220-year history.  Yet the company has always remained true to itself as a narrow textiles manufacturer. This testifies to the willingness of the people in the company to change and to their curiosity. Successful transformation is a joint development, there is an opportunity in change. vombaur has proven this many times over the past almost 220 years: We have adapted our product portfolio to new times, we have built new factory buildings and new machinery, we have introduced new materials and developed new technologies, we have entered into new partnerships – as most recently as part of the Textation Group. We are currently planning our new headquarters. We are not reinventing ourselves, but we will go through a kind of transformation process with the move into the brand new, climate-friendly high-tech space.

 

Could you describe the challenges of this transformation process?
 
Johannes Kauschinger, Sales Manager for Composites and Industrial Textiles: A transformation usually takes place technically, professionally, organisationally and not least – perhaps even first and foremost – culturally. The technical challenges are obvious. Secondly, in order to manage and use the new technologies, appropriate expertise is needed in the company. Thirdly, every transformation entails new processes, teams and procedures have to be adapted. And finally, fourthly, the corporate culture also changes. Technology can be procured, expertise acquired, the organisation adapted. Time, on the other hand, cannot be bought. I therefore consider the greatest challenge to be the supply of human resources: In order to actively shape the transformation and not be driven by development, we need sufficient skilled workers.

 

Visiting your website, the claim "pioneering tech tex" immediately catches the eye. Why do you see your company as a pioneer, and what are vombaur's groundbreaking or pioneering innovations?

Carl Mrusek: With our unique machine park, we are pioneers for seamless circular woven textiles. And as a development partner, we break new ground with every order. We are always implementing new project-specific changes: to the end products, to the product properties, to the machines. It happens regularly that we adapt a weaving machine for a special seamless woven shaped textile, sometimes even develop a completely new one.
 
With our young, first-class and growing team for Development and Innovation led by Dr. Sven Schöfer, we repeatedly live up to our promise of "pioneering tech tex" by developing special textile high-tech solutions with and for our customers. At the same time, we actively explore new potentials. Most recently with sustainable materials for lightweight construction and research into novel special filtration solutions, for example for the filtration of microplastics. A state-of-the-art textile technology laboratory is planned for this team in the new building.

 

The development of technical textiles in Germany is a success story. From a global perspective, we manage to succeed with mass-produced goods only in exceptional cases. How do you assess the importance of technical textiles made in Germany for the success of other, especially highly technological industries?

Carl Mrusek: We see the future of industry in Europe in individually developed high-tech products. vombaur stands for high-quality, reliable and durable products and made-to-order products. And it is precisely this – custom-fit products, instead of surplus and throwaway goods – that is the future for sustainable business in general.

 

What proportion of your production is generated by being project-based as opposed to a standard range, and to what extent do you still feel comfortable with the term "textile producer"?

Johannes Kauschinger: Our share of special solutions amounts to almost 90 percent. We develop technical textile solutions for our customers' current projects. For this purpose, we are in close contact with the colleagues from our customers' product development departments. Especially in the field of composite textiles, special solutions are in demand. This can be a component for space travel – after all, a spaceship is not manufactured off the peg. We also offer high-quality mass-produced articles, for example in the area of industrial textiles, where we offer round woven tubulars for conveyor belts. In this sense, we are a textile producer, but more than that: we are also a textile developer.

 

In August, Composites Germany presented the results of its 21st market survey. The current business situation is viewed very critically, the investment climate is becoming gloomier and future expectations are turning negative. vombaur also has high-strength textile composites made of carbon, aramid, glass and hybrids in its portfolio. Do you share the assessment of the economic situation as reflected in the survey?

Carl Mrusek: We foresee a very positive development for vombaur because we develop in a very solution-oriented way and offer our customers genuine added value. This is because future technologies in particular require individual, reliable and lightweight components. This ranges from developments for the air taxi to wind turbines. Textiles are a predestined material for the future. The challenge here is also to offer sustainable and recyclable solutions with natural raw materials such as flax and recycled and recyclable plastics and effective separation technologies.

 

There is almost no company nowadays that does not use the current buzzwords such as climate neutrality, circular economy, energy efficiency and renewable energies. What is your company doing in these areas and how do you define the importance of these approaches for commercial success?

Carl Mrusek: vombaur pursues a comprehensive sustainability strategy. Based on the development of our mission statement, we are currently working on a sustainability declaration. Our responsibility for nature will be realised in a very concrete and measurable way through our new building with a green roof and solar system. In our product development, the high sustainability standards – our own and those of our customers – are already flowing into environmentally friendly and resource-saving products and into product developments for sustainable projects such as wind farms or filtration plants.

 

Keyword digitalisation: medium-sized businesses, to which vombaur belongs with its 85 employees, are often scolded for being too reluctant in this area. How would you respond to this accusation?

Johannes Kauschinger:

We often hear about the stack crisis at the present time. Based on this, we could speak of the stack transformation. We, the small and medium-sized enterprises, are transforming ourselves in a number of different dimensions at the same time: Digital transformation, climate neutrality, skilled labour market and population development, independence from the prevailing supply chains. We are capable of change and willing to change. Politics and administration could make it a bit easier for us in some aspects. Key words: transport infrastructure, approval times, energy prices. We do everything we can on our side of the field to ensure that small and medium-sized enterprises remain the driving economic force that they are.

 

 

How do you feel about the term shortage of skilled workers? Do you also take unconventional paths to find and retain talent and skilled workers in such a specialised industry? Or does the problem not arise?

Carl Mrusek: Of course, we are also experiencing a shortage of skilled workers, especially in the industrial sector. But the development was foreseeable. The topic played a major role in the decision to move together with our sister company JUMBO-Textil under the umbrella of the Textation Group. Recruiting and promoting young talent can be better mastered together – for example with cross-group campaigns and cooperations.

 

If you had to describe a central personal experience that has shaped your attitude towards the textile industry and its future, what would it be?

Johannes Kauschinger: A very good friend of my family pointed out to me that we live in an area with a very active textile industry, which at the same time has problems finding young talents. I visited two companies for an interview and already on the tour of each company, the interaction of people, machines and textiles up to the wearable end product was truly impressive. In addition, I was able to learn a profession with a very strong connection to everyday life. To this day, I am fascinated by the wide range of possible uses for textiles, especially in technical applications, and I have no regrets whatsoever about the decision I made back then.

Carl Mrusek: I came into contact with the world of textiles and fashion at a young age. I still remember the first time I went through the fully integrated textile production of a company in Nordhorn with my father Rolf Mrusek. Since then, the subject has never left me. Even before I started my studies, I had made a conscious decision to pursue a career in this industry and to this day I have never regretted it, on the contrary. The diversity of the special solutions developed in the Textation Group fascinates me again and again.

 

vombaur is a specialist for seamless round and shaped woven narrow textiles and is known throughout the industry as a development partner for filtration textiles, composite textiles and industrial textiles made of high-performance fibres. Technical narrow textiles from vombaur are used for filtration – in the food and chemical industries, among others. As high-performance composite materials, they are used, for example, in aircraft construction or medical technology. For technical applications, vombaur develops specially coated industrial textiles for insulation, reinforcement or transport in a wide range of industrial processes – from precision mechanics to the construction industry. The Wuppertal-based company was founded in 1805. The company currently employs 85 people.

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Heimtextil Trends 24/25 © SPOTT trends & business for Heimtextil
12.09.2023

Heimtextil Trends 24/25: New Sensitivity

Under the theme "New Sensitivity", textile transformation is the focus of Heimtextil Trends 24/25. Three approaches show ways to a more sensitive world of textiles: the plant-based production of textiles, the support of textile cycles by technology and the bioengineered use of natural ingredients. In addition, Future Materials curates regenerative materials and designs.
 
After last year's focus on circular solutions, Heimtextil Trends 24/25 will once again shed light on transformative textile innovations.
Under the title "New Sensitivity," the focus is on innovations and changes in the composition of textiles, in addition to aesthetic aspects. "In this context, sensitivity means considering the impact on the environment when making a decision or creating a product. Understanding how natural ecosystems work and prioritising balance as the default are key," says Anja Bisgaard Gaede, Founder of SPOTT trends & business.

Under the theme "New Sensitivity", textile transformation is the focus of Heimtextil Trends 24/25. Three approaches show ways to a more sensitive world of textiles: the plant-based production of textiles, the support of textile cycles by technology and the bioengineered use of natural ingredients. In addition, Future Materials curates regenerative materials and designs.
 
After last year's focus on circular solutions, Heimtextil Trends 24/25 will once again shed light on transformative textile innovations.
Under the title "New Sensitivity," the focus is on innovations and changes in the composition of textiles, in addition to aesthetic aspects. "In this context, sensitivity means considering the impact on the environment when making a decision or creating a product. Understanding how natural ecosystems work and prioritising balance as the default are key," says Anja Bisgaard Gaede, Founder of SPOTT trends & business.

How does New Sensitivity translate into something concrete in the lifestyle industry, and what does having a sensitive approach to design and products mean? Also the adoption of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is transforming current times. AGI has the potential to bring innovative solutions and help tackle significant challenges, also in the textile industry. However, AGI can have the opposite effect on society. AGI needs the mindset of New Sensitivity that helps simplify complexity, expand creativity, and find unseen solutions, also within the world of textiles.
     
"With Heimtextil Trends 24/25: New Sensitivity, we encourage the textile industry to approach the future with thoughtfulness and consideration. Specifically, we see this change in three different trends for a more sensitive world of textiles: biotechnical, plant-based and technological," Bisgaard Gaede continues.

Plant-based: textiles made from plant crops or plant by-products
Plant-based textiles mean that the fibres are derived from something that grows rather than being synthetically produced. The sustainable advantage of plant-based textiles is that their origin is natural and, therefore, more able to recirculate in existing ecosystems. They can be divided into two groups. The first group of textiles are made from plant crops. New resilient crops like cactus, hemp, abaca, seaweed, and rubber offer new sustainable textile solutions. Because of mechanical extraction, they can grow despite climate changes and require fewer chemicals in their development. The second group consists of textiles made of plant by-products which are leftover raw materials from production such as banana, olive, persimmon and hemp.

Technological: technology and technical solutions transforming textiles
Technology can support the transformation of textiles through the use of different methods: upcycling and recycling of textiles, textile construction, and textile design. Due to decades of production, textiles are now a material available in abundance. Developing technologies for recycling textile waste and methods for upcycling textiles increases the circular usage of existing textiles. Furthermore, old textile construction techniques also offer pathways to sustainable solutions: For instance, using knitting technology for furniture upholstery produces less fabric waste; alternatively, weaving technique allows the creation of several colours using only a few coloured yarns. Textile Design Thinking is another method that addresses critical issues such as energy usage and durability of natural fibres and enhances these through technological textile advancement.

Bio-engineered: engineered to enhance bio-degrading
To a certain degree, bio-engineered textiles represent a fusion of plant-based and technological textiles. Bio-engineering bridges nature and technology and transforms the way textiles are made. They can be divided into two directions: fully bio-engineered and bio-degradable textiles. In the production of fully bio-engineered textiles nature-inspired strategies are adopted. Instead of growing plants and extracting their fibres, textiles are made from the protein, carbohydrates, or bacteria in corn, grass, and cane sugar. Manufacturing involves a bio-molecular process that creates filaments which are made into yarn. The sustainable advantage of bio-engineered textiles is that they can have some of the same functionalities as synthetically produced textiles, while still being biodegradable because of their natural origin. Biodegradable fibres can be added to conventional textiles like polyester to enhance the conventional textiles’ ability to revert to materials found in nature and hence biodegrade in natural environments such as water or soil. Although not biodegrading completely, these bio-enhanced textiles will biodegrade up to 93 % compared to conventional textiles.

Heimtextil Trends 24/25: new colourways
A sensitive approach to colouring methods is expressed by a dynamic yet subtle colour palette created through natural pigments deriving from the earth, as traditional colouring processes are brought to the next level through innovative bioengineering technology. In pursuit of creating colours that evoke emotions in our senses while at the same time respecting our values in protecting the environment, we see colour bacteria growing pigments generating hues with great richness and depth.
               
This New Sensitivity includes acceptance of natural colour flows, as colours may fade with time or morph into new colourways. The colourways for Heimtextil Trends 24/25 were inspired by natural colours deriving from avocado seeds, algae, living bacteria, antique pigments such as raw sienna, and bio-engineered indigo and cochineal. The high black component in most colours allows for widespread application and a greater variety of combinations. The punchy saturated accents enhance our senses as they lift our spirits. In contrast, the grounding neutrals in different shades of grey, terra and even dark purple allow for calmness and tranquillity.

Future Materials: regenerative design
How are regenerative textiles and materials defined? Regenerative design is dedicated to developing holistic creative practices that restore or renew resources, have a positive impact on the environment, and encourage communities to thrive. For Heimtextil 2024, design futures consultancy FranklinTill is curating a global showcase of cutting-edge textiles and materials to illustrate the principles of regenerative design and recognize pioneering designers, producers and manufacturers who are at the forefront of regenerative design.
The Trend Space at Heimtextil in Frankfurt, Germany, January 9-12, 2023, will showcase these pioneering solutions in an inspiring way. In addition, Heimtextil Trends will offer visitors orientation and insights into the future of home and contract textiles in the form of workshops, lectures and other interactive formats.

Source:

Heimtextil, Messe Frankfurt

Photo unsplash.com
05.09.2023

Ananas Anam and TENCEL™ collaborate with Calvin Klein

The search for better, planet-friendly footwear material reveals a solution in one unlikely ingredient: pineapple leaves. This unique textile ingredient is the recent focus of the latest footwear design collaboration between Ananas Anam, TENCEL™ and Calvin Klein, launching Calvin Klein’s first-ever trainer featuring a knitted upper made of PIÑAYARN® blended with TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers.

Known as “The Sustainable Knit Trainer”, the trainers are a timeless closet staple, available in classic colors such as black and off-white and etched with the signature Calvin Klein logo. The PIÑAYARN® knit upper, made of 70% TENCEL™ Lyocell and 30% Anam PALF™ pineapple leaf fiber, is both from botanic origin and bio-based.

The search for better, planet-friendly footwear material reveals a solution in one unlikely ingredient: pineapple leaves. This unique textile ingredient is the recent focus of the latest footwear design collaboration between Ananas Anam, TENCEL™ and Calvin Klein, launching Calvin Klein’s first-ever trainer featuring a knitted upper made of PIÑAYARN® blended with TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers.

Known as “The Sustainable Knit Trainer”, the trainers are a timeless closet staple, available in classic colors such as black and off-white and etched with the signature Calvin Klein logo. The PIÑAYARN® knit upper, made of 70% TENCEL™ Lyocell and 30% Anam PALF™ pineapple leaf fiber, is both from botanic origin and bio-based.

As the fashion sector has begun to realize the negative environmental effects of synthetic materials, a lot of brands have turned towards plant-based materials such as PIÑAYARN®. Using a low-impact manufacturing process, PIÑAYARN® is derived from pineapple leaf waste and involves a water-free spinning process. The addition of TENCEL™ Lyocell, a fiber made from wood pulp obtained from responsibly managed forests and produced using a solvent spinning process that recycles both the solvent and water at a recovery rate of more than 99%, offers full traceability of the TENCEL™ fiber in the final blended yarn.

Melissa Braithwaite, PIÑAYARN® Product Development Manager at Ananas Anam said “The inspiration for PIÑAYARN® came from the need to provide the textile industry with an alternative to overused, often polluting, conventional fibers, such as cotton or polyester. We have an abundance of available raw material within our business, and broadening our product offering means we can valorize more waste, increasing our positive impact on the environment and society.”

Indeed, as the consumer demand for more eco-responsible textile products and footwear grows, so too has the popularity of wood-based fibers as a material alternative. Ananas Anam and TENCEL™’s collaboration with Calvin Klein has been a success in that the physical characteristics and planet-conscious benefits of both PIÑAYARN® and TENCEL™ fibers complement each other perfectly, creating a blended material that is soft and usable for various woven and knitted applications.

For material developers like Ananas Anam seeking the ideal fiber blend partner to create PIÑAYARN®, TENCEL™ Lyocellfibers are celebrated for their versatility and ability to be blended with a wide range of textiles such as hemp, linen and of course Anam PALF™ pineapple leaf fiber, to enhance the aesthetics, performance and functionality of fabrics. Additionally, beyond being used in shoe uppers, TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers can be used in every part of the shoe including the upper fabric, lining, insoles, padding, laces, zipper and sewing thread. TENCEL™ Lyocell can also be used in powder form for use in the outsoles of shoes.

“We are extremely excited about this collaboration with Ananas Anam for the launch of The Sustainable Knit Trainer by Calvin Klein, an eco-responsible and planet-friendly shoe for conscious consumers. This partnership is the perfect example of our commitment to provide education and expertise to support anyone who chooses to improve the environmental and social credentials of their products by using more responsible materials,” said Nicole Schram, Global Business Development Manager at Lenzing.

Source:

Lenzing AG

chemical protective suits Photo: Pixabay, Alexander Lesnitsky
31.07.2023

DITF: Newly developed concept for chemical protective suits

A newly developed concept for chemical protective suits is designed to make use more comfortable and safer for the user. New materials and an improved design increase wearer comfort. The integration of sensor technology enables the monitoring of vital functions.

In the event of hazards from chemical, biological or radioactive substances, chemical protective suits (CSA) protect people from physical contact. CSAs consist of breathing apparatus, head protection, carrying frames and the suit itself. This adds up to a weight of around 25 kg. The construction of a multi-coated fabric makes the CSA stiff and provides for considerable restrictions in freedom of movement. As a result, the emergency forces are exposed to significant physical stress. For this reason, the total deployment time when using a CSA is limited to 30 minutes.

A newly developed concept for chemical protective suits is designed to make use more comfortable and safer for the user. New materials and an improved design increase wearer comfort. The integration of sensor technology enables the monitoring of vital functions.

In the event of hazards from chemical, biological or radioactive substances, chemical protective suits (CSA) protect people from physical contact. CSAs consist of breathing apparatus, head protection, carrying frames and the suit itself. This adds up to a weight of around 25 kg. The construction of a multi-coated fabric makes the CSA stiff and provides for considerable restrictions in freedom of movement. As a result, the emergency forces are exposed to significant physical stress. For this reason, the total deployment time when using a CSA is limited to 30 minutes.

In a joint project with various companies, institutes and professional fire departments, work is currently underway to completely redesign both the textile material composite and the hard components and connecting elements between the two. The goal is a so-called "AgiCSA", which offers significantly more comfort for the emergency forces due to its lighter and more flexible construction. The DITF subproject focuses on the development of a more individually adaptable, body-hugging suit on the one hand, and on the integration of sensors that serve the online monitoring of important body functions of the emergency personnel on the other.

At the beginning of the project, the DITF received support from the Esslingen Fire Department. They provided a complete CSA that is used as standard today. This could be tested at the DITF for its wearing properties. The researchers in Denkendorf are investigating where there is a need for optimization to improve ergonomic wearing comfort.

The aim is to construct a chemical- and gas-tight suit that fits relatively closely to the body. It quickly became clear that it was necessary to move away from the previous concept of using woven fabrics as the basic textile material and think in terms of elastic knitted fabrics. In implementing this idea, the researchers were helped by recent developments in the field of knitted fabric technology in the form of spacer fabrics. By using spacer textiles, many of the requirements placed on the base substrate can be met very well.

Spacer textiles have a voluminous, elastic structure. From a wide range of usable fiber types and three-dimensional design features, a 3 mm thick spacer textile made of a polyester pile yarn and a flame-retardant fiber blend of aramid and viscose was selected for the new CSA. This textile is coated on both sides with fluorinated or butyl rubber. This gives the textile a barrier function that prevents the penetration of toxic liquids and gases. The coating is applied to the finished suit by a newly developed spraying process. The advantage of this process over the conventional coating process is that the desired elasticity of the suit is retained.

Another innovation is the integration of a diagonal zipper. This makes it easier to put on and take off the suit. Whereas this was previously only possible with the help of another person, the new suit can in principle be put on by the emergency responder alone. The new design is modeled on modern dry suits with diagonal, gas-tight zippers.
The new AgiSCA also features integrated sensors that allow the transmission and monitoring of the vital and environmental data of the emergency worker as well as their location via GPS data. These additional functions significantly enhance operational safety.

For the hard components, i.e. the helmet and the backpack for the compressed air supply, lightweight carbon fiber-reinforced composite materials from Wings and More GmbH & Co. KG are used.
The first demonstrators are available and are available to the project partners for testing purposes. The combination of current textile technology, lightweight construction concepts and IT integration in textiles has led to a comprehensive improvement of a high-tech product in this project.
 
BMBF project "Development of a chemical protection suit with increased mobility for more efficient operational concepts through increased autonomy of the emergency forces (AgiCSA)".
The project addresses the objectives of the Federal Government's framework program "Research for Civil Security 2018-2023 and the funding measure "SME-innovative: Research for Civil Security" of July 3, 2018.

 

Source:

DITF Deutsche Institute für Textil- und Faserforschung

Thread-like pumps can be woven into clothes (c) LMTS EPFL
27.06.2023

Thread-like pumps can be woven into clothes

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) researchers have developed fiber-like pumps that allow high-pressure fluidic circuits to be woven into textiles without an external pump. Soft supportive exoskeletons, thermoregulatory clothing, and immersive haptics can therefore be powered from pumps sewn into the fabric of the devices themselves.

Many fluid-based wearable assistive technologies today require a large and noisy pump that is impractical – if not impossible – to integrate into clothing. This leads to a contradiction: wearable devices are routinely tethered to unearable pumps. Now, researchers at the Soft Transducers Laboratory (LMTS) in the School of Engineering have developed an elegantly simple solution to this dilemma.

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) researchers have developed fiber-like pumps that allow high-pressure fluidic circuits to be woven into textiles without an external pump. Soft supportive exoskeletons, thermoregulatory clothing, and immersive haptics can therefore be powered from pumps sewn into the fabric of the devices themselves.

Many fluid-based wearable assistive technologies today require a large and noisy pump that is impractical – if not impossible – to integrate into clothing. This leads to a contradiction: wearable devices are routinely tethered to unearable pumps. Now, researchers at the Soft Transducers Laboratory (LMTS) in the School of Engineering have developed an elegantly simple solution to this dilemma.

“We present the world’s first pump in the form of a fiber; in essence, tubing that generates its own pressure and flow rate,” says LMTS head Herbert Shea. “Now, we can sew our fiber pumps directly into textiles and clothing, leaving conventional pumps behind.” The research has been published in the journal Science.

Lightweight, powerful…and washable
Shea’s lab has a history of forward-thinking fluidics. In 2019, they produced the world’s first stretchable pump.

“This work builds on our previous generation of soft pump,” says Michael Smith, an LMTS post-doctoral researcher and lead author of the study. “The fiber format allows us to make lighter, more powerful pumps that are inherently more compat-ible with wearable technology.”

The LMTS fiber pumps use a principle called charge injection electrohydrodynamics (EHD) to generate a fluid flow without any moving parts. Two helical electrodes embedded in the pump wall ionize and accelerate molecules of a special non-conductive liquid. The ion movement and electrode shape generate a net forward fluid flow, resulting in silent, vibration-free operation, and requiring just a palm-sized power supply and battery.

To achieve the pump’s unique structure, the researchers developed a novel fabrication technique that involves twisting copper wires and polyurethane threads together around a steel rod, and then fusing them with heat. After the rod is removed, the 2 mm fibers can be integrated into textiles using standard weaving and sewing techniques.

The pump’s simple design has a number of advantages. The materials required are cheap and readily available, and the manufacturing process can be easily scaled up. Because the amount of pressure generated by the pump is directly linked to its length, the tubes can be cut to match the application, optimizing performance while minimizing weight. The robust design can also be washed with conventional detergents.

From exoskeletons to virtual reality
The authors have already demonstrated how these fiber pumps can be used in new and exciting wearable technologies. For example, they can circulate hot and cold fluid through garments for those working in extreme temperature environments or in a therapeutic setting to help manage inflammation; and even for those looking to optimize athletic performance.

“These applications require long lengths of tubing anyway, and in our case, the tubing is the pump. This means we can make very simple and lightweight fluidic circuits that are convenient and comfortable to wear,” Smith says.

The study also describes artificial muscles made from fabric and embedded fiber pumps, which could be used to power soft exoskeletons to help patients move and walk.

The pump could even bring a new dimension to the world of virtual reality by simulating the sensation of temperature. In this case, users wear a glove with pumps filled with hot or cold liquid, allowing them to feel temperature changes in response to contact with a virtual object.

Pumped up for the future
The researchers are already looking to improve the performance of their device. “The pumps already perform well, and we’re confident that with more work, we can continue to make improvements in areas like efficiency and lifetime,” says Smith. Work has already started on scaling up the production of the fiber pumps, and the LMTS also has plans to embed them into more complex wearable devices.

“We believe that this innovation is a game-changer for wearable technology,” Shea says.

More information:
EPFL Fibers exoskeleton wearables
Source:

Celia Luterbacher, School of Engineering | STI

Photo: Unsplash
13.06.2023

The impact of textile production and waste on the environment

  • With fast fashion, the quantity of clothes produced and thrown away has boomed.

Fast fashion is the constant provision of new styles at very low prices. To tackle the impact on the environment, the EU wants to reduce textile waste and increase the life cycle and recycling of textiles. This is part of the plan to achieve a circular economy by 2050.

Overconsumption of natural resources
It takes a lot of water to produce textile, plus land to grow cotton and other fibres. It is estimated that the global textile and clothing industry used 79 billion cubic metres of water in 2015, while the needs of the EU's whole economy amounted to 266 billion cubic metres in 2017.

To make a single cotton t-shirt, 2,700 litres of fresh water are required according to estimates, enough to meet one person’s drinking needs for 2.5 years.

  • With fast fashion, the quantity of clothes produced and thrown away has boomed.

Fast fashion is the constant provision of new styles at very low prices. To tackle the impact on the environment, the EU wants to reduce textile waste and increase the life cycle and recycling of textiles. This is part of the plan to achieve a circular economy by 2050.

Overconsumption of natural resources
It takes a lot of water to produce textile, plus land to grow cotton and other fibres. It is estimated that the global textile and clothing industry used 79 billion cubic metres of water in 2015, while the needs of the EU's whole economy amounted to 266 billion cubic metres in 2017.

To make a single cotton t-shirt, 2,700 litres of fresh water are required according to estimates, enough to meet one person’s drinking needs for 2.5 years.

The textile sector was the third largest source of water degradation and land use in 2020. In that year, it took on average nine cubic metres of water, 400 square metres of land and 391 kilogrammes (kg) of raw materials to provide clothes and shoes for each EU citizen.

Water pollution
Textile production is estimated to be responsible for about 20% of global clean water pollution from dyeing and finishing products.

Laundering synthetic clothes accounts for 35% of primary microplastics released into the environment. A single laundry load of polyester clothes can discharge 700,000 microplastic fibres that can end up in the food chain.

The majority of microplastics from textiles are released during the first few washes. Fast fashion is based on mass production, low prices and high sales volumes that promotes many first washes.

Washing synthetic products has caused more than 14 million tonnes of microplastics to accumulate on the bottom of the oceans. In addition to this global problem, the pollution generated by garment production has a devastating impact on the health of local people, animals and ecosystems where the factories are located.

Greenhouse gas emissions
The fashion industry is estimated to be responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions – more than international flights and maritime shipping combined.

According to the European Environment Agency, textile purchases in the EU in 2020 generated about 270 kg of CO2 emissions per person. That means textile products consumed in the EU generated greenhouse gas emissions of 121 million tonnes.

Textile waste in landfills and low recycling rates
The way people get rid of unwanted clothes has also changed, with items being thrown away rather than donated. Less than half of used clothes are collected for reuse or recycling, and only 1% of used clothes are recycled into new clothes, since technologies that would enable clothes to be recycled into virgin fibres are only now starting to emerge.

Between 2000 and 2015, clothing production doubled, while the average use of an item of clothing has decreased.

Europeans use nearly 26 kilos of textiles and discard about 11 kilos of them every year. Used clothes can be exported outside the EU, but are mostly (87%) incinerated or landfilled.

The rise of fast fashion has been crucial in the increase in consumption, driven partly by social media and the industry bringing fashion trends to more consumers at a faster pace than in the past.

The new strategies to tackle this issue include developing new business models for clothing rental, designing products in a way that would make re-use and recycling easier (circular fashion), convincing consumers to buy fewer clothes of better quality (slow fashion) and generally steering consumer behaviour towards more sustainable options.

Work in progress: the EU strategy for sustainable and circular textiles
As part of the circular economy action plan, the European Commission presented in March 2022 a new strategy to make textiles more durable, repairable, reusable and recyclable, tackle fast fashion and stimulate innovation within the sector.

The new strategy includes new ecodesign requirements for textiles, clearer information, a Digital Product Passport and calls companies to take responsibility and act to minimise their carbon and environmental footprints

On 1 June 2023, MEPs set out proposals for tougher EU measures to halt the excessive production and consumption of textiles. Parliament’s report calls for textiles to be produced respecting human, social and labour rights, as well as the environment and animal welfare.

Existing EU measures to tackle textile waste
Under the waste directive approved by the Parliament in 2018, EU countries are obliged to collect textiles separately by 2025. The new Commission strategy also includes measures to, tackle the presence of hazardous chemicals, calls producers have to take responsibility for their products along the value chain, including when they become wasteand help consumers to choose sustainable textiles.

The EU has an EU Ecolabel that producers respecting ecological criteria can apply to items, ensuring a limited use of harmful substances and reduced water and air pollution.

The EU has also introduced some measures to mitigate the impact of textile waste on the environment. Horizon 2020 funds Resyntex, a project using chemical recycling, which could provide a circular economy business model for the textile industry.

A more sustainable model of textile production also has the potential to boost the economy. "Europe finds itself in an unprecedented health and economic crisis, revealing the fragility of our global supply chains," said lead MEP Huitema. "Stimulating new innovative business models will in turn create new economic growth and the job opportunities Europe will need to recover."

sports Photo Pixabay
21.03.2023

3D-printed insoles measure sole pressure directly in the shoe

  • For sports and physiotherapy alike

Researchers at ETH Zurich, Empa and EPFL are developing a 3D-printed insole with integrated sensors that allows the pressure of the sole to be measured in the shoe and thus during any activity. This helps athletes or patients to determine performance and therapy progress.

In elite sports, fractions of a second sometimes make the difference between victory and defeat. To optimize their performance, athletes use custom-made insoles. But people with musculoskeletal pain also turn to insoles to combat their discomfort.

  • For sports and physiotherapy alike

Researchers at ETH Zurich, Empa and EPFL are developing a 3D-printed insole with integrated sensors that allows the pressure of the sole to be measured in the shoe and thus during any activity. This helps athletes or patients to determine performance and therapy progress.

In elite sports, fractions of a second sometimes make the difference between victory and defeat. To optimize their performance, athletes use custom-made insoles. But people with musculoskeletal pain also turn to insoles to combat their discomfort.

Before specialists can accurately fit such insoles, they must first create a pressure profile of the feet. To this end, athletes or patients have to walk barefoot over pressure-sensitive mats, where they leave their individual footprints. Based on this pressure profile, orthopaedists then create customised insoles by hand. The problem with this approach is that optimisations and adjustments take time. Another disadvantage is that the pressure-sensitive mats allow measurements only in a confined space, but not during workouts or outdoor activities.

Now an invention by a research team from ETH Zurich, Empa and EPFL could greatly improve things. The researchers used 3D printing to produce a customised insole with integrated pressure sensors that can measure the pressure on the sole of the foot directly in the shoe during various activities.

“You can tell from the pressure patterns detected whether someone is walking, running, climbing stairs, or even carrying a heavy load on their back – in which case the pressure shifts more to the heel,” explains co-project leader Gilberto Siqueira, Senior Assistant at Empa and at ETH Complex Materials Laboratory. This makes tedious mat tests a thing of the past. The invention was recently featured in the journal Scientific Reports.

One device, multiple inks
These insoles aren’t just easy to use, they’re also easy to make. They are produced in just one step – including the integrated sensors and conductors – using a single 3D printer, called an extruder.

For printing, the researchers use various inks developed specifically for this application. As the basis for the insole, the materials scientists use a mixture of silicone and cellulose nanoparticles.
Next, they print the conductors on this first layer using a conductive ink containing silver. They then print the sensors on the conductors in individual places using ink that contains carbon black. The sensors aren’t distributed at random: they are placed exactly where the foot sole pressure is greatest. To protect the sensors and conductors, the researchers coat them with another layer of silicone.

An initial difficulty was to achieve good adhesion between the different material layers. The researchers resolved this by treating the surface of the silicone layers with hot plasma.
As sensors for measuring normal and shear forces, they use piezo components, which convert mechanical pressure into electrical signals. In addition, the researchers have built an interface into the sole for reading out the generated data.

Running data soon to be read out wirelessly
Tests showed the researchers that the additively manufactured insole works well. “So with data analysis, we can actually identify different activities based on which sensors responded and how strong that response was,” Siqueira says.

At the moment, Siqueira and his colleagues still need a cable connection to read out the data; to this end, they have installed a contact on the side of the insole. One of the next development steps, he says, will be to create a wireless connection. “However, reading out the data hasn’t been the main focus of our work so far.”

In the future, 3D-printed insoles with integrated sensors could be used by athletes or in physiotherapy, for example to measure training or therapy progress. Based on such measurement data, training plans can then be adjusted and permanent shoe insoles with different hard and soft zones can be produced using 3D printing.

Although Siqueira believes there is strong market potential for their product, especially in elite sports, his team hasn’t yet taken any steps towards commercialisation.

Researchers from Empa, ETH Zurich and EPFL were involved in the development of the insole. EPFL researcher Danick Briand coordinated the project, and his group supplied the sensors, while the ETH and Empa researchers developed the inks and the printing platform. Also involved in the project were the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) and orthopaedics company Numo. The project was funded by the ETH Domain’s Advanced Manufacturing Strategic Focus Areas programme.

Source:

Peter Rüegg, ETH Zürich

Vadim Zharkov: https://youtu.be/x9gCrhIPaPM
28.02.2023

‘Smart’ Coating Could Make Fabrics into Protective Gear

Precisely applied metal-organic technology detects and captures toxic gases in air.

A durable copper-based coating developed by Dartmouth researchers can be precisely integrated into fabric to create responsive and reusable materials such as protective equipment, environmental sensors, and smart filters, according to a recent study.
 
The coating responds to the presence of toxic gases in the air by converting them into less toxic substances that become trapped in the fabric, the team reports in Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Precisely applied metal-organic technology detects and captures toxic gases in air.

A durable copper-based coating developed by Dartmouth researchers can be precisely integrated into fabric to create responsive and reusable materials such as protective equipment, environmental sensors, and smart filters, according to a recent study.
 
The coating responds to the presence of toxic gases in the air by converting them into less toxic substances that become trapped in the fabric, the team reports in Journal of the American Chemical Society.

The findings hinge on a conductive metal-organic technology, or framework, developed in the laboratory of corresponding author Katherine Mirica, an associate professor of chemistry. First reported in JACS in 2017, the framework was a simple coating that could be layered onto cotton and polyester to create smart fabrics the researchers named SOFT—Self-Organized Framework on Textiles. Their paper demonstrated that SOFT smart fabrics could detect and capture toxic substances in the surrounding environment.

For the newest study, the researchers found that—instead of the simple coating reported in 2017—they can precisely embed the framework into fabrics using a copper precursor that allows them to create specific patterns and more effectively fill in the tiny gaps and holes between threads.

The researchers found that the framework technology effectively converted the toxin nitric oxide into nitrite and nitrate, and transformed the poisonous, flammable gas hydrogen sulfide into copper sulfide. They also report that the framework’s ability to capture and convert toxic materials withstood wear and tear, as well as standard washing.
 
The versatility and durability the new method provides would allow the framework to be applied for specific uses and in more precise locations, such as a sensor on protective clothing, or as a filter in a particular environment, Mirica said.

“This new method of deposition means that the electronic textiles could potentially interface with a broader range of systems because they’re so robust,” she said. “This technological advance paves the way for other applications of the framework’s combined filtration and sensing abilities that could be valuable in biomedical settings and environmental remediation.”
The technique also could eventually be a low-cost alternative to technologies that are cost prohibitive and limited in where they can be deployed by needing an energy source, or—such as catalytic converters in automobiles—rare metals, Mirica said.
 
“Here we’re relying on an Earth-abundant matter to detoxify toxic chemicals, and we’re doing it without any input of outside energy, so we don’t need high temperature or electric current to achieve that function,” Mirica said.

Co-first author Michael Ko, initially observed the new process in 2018 as he attempted to deposit the metal-organic framework onto thin-film copper-based electrodes, Mirica said. But the copper electrodes would be replaced by the framework.

“He wanted it on top of the electrodes, not to replace them,” Mirica said. “It took us four years to figure out what was happening and how it was beneficial. It’s a very straightforward process, but the chemistry behind it is not and it took us some time and additional involvement of students and collaborators to understand that.”

The team discovered that the metal-organic framework “grows” over copper, replacing it with a material with the ability to filter and convert toxic gases, Mirica said. Ko and co-author Lukasz Mendecki, a postdoctoral scholar in the Mirica Group from 2017-18, investigated methods for applying the framework material to fabric in specific designs and patterns.

Co-first author Aileen Eagleton, who is also in the Mirica Group, finalized the technique by optimizing the process for imprinting the metal-organic framework onto fabric, as well as identifying how its structure and properties are influenced by chemical exposure and reaction conditions.

Future work will focus on developing new multifunctional framework materials and scaling up the process of embedding the metal-organic coatings into fabric, Mirica said.

Source:

Dartmouth / Textination

Photo: Bcomp
22.11.2022

Made in Switzerland: Is Flax the New Carbon?

  • Bcomp wins BMW Group Supplier Innovation Award in the category “Newcomer of the Year”

The sixth BMW Group Supplier Innovation Awards were presented at the BMW Welt in Munich on 17 November 2022. The coveted award was presented in a total of six categories: powertrain & e-mobility, sustainability, digitalisation, customer experience, newcomer of the year and exceptional team performance.

Bcomp won the BMW Group Supplier Innovation Award in the Newcomer of the Year category. Following a successful collaboration with BMW M Motorsport for the new BMW M4 GT4 that extensively uses Bcomp’s powerRibs™ and ampliTex™ natural fibre solutions and BMW iVentures recently taking a stake in Bcomp as lead investor in the Series B round, this award is another major step and recognition on the path to decarbonizing mobility.

  • Bcomp wins BMW Group Supplier Innovation Award in the category “Newcomer of the Year”

The sixth BMW Group Supplier Innovation Awards were presented at the BMW Welt in Munich on 17 November 2022. The coveted award was presented in a total of six categories: powertrain & e-mobility, sustainability, digitalisation, customer experience, newcomer of the year and exceptional team performance.

Bcomp won the BMW Group Supplier Innovation Award in the Newcomer of the Year category. Following a successful collaboration with BMW M Motorsport for the new BMW M4 GT4 that extensively uses Bcomp’s powerRibs™ and ampliTex™ natural fibre solutions and BMW iVentures recently taking a stake in Bcomp as lead investor in the Series B round, this award is another major step and recognition on the path to decarbonizing mobility.

“Innovations are key to the success of our transformation towards electromobility, digitalisation and sustainability. Our award ceremony recognises innovation and cooperative partnership with our suppliers – especially in challenging times,” said Joachim Post, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Purchasing and Supplier Network at the ceremony held at BMW Welt in Munich.

BMW first started to work with Bcomp’s materials in 2019 when they used high-performance natural fibre composites in the BMW iFE.20 Formula E car. From this flax fibre reinforced cooling shaft, the collaboration evolved and soon after, the proprietary ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ natural fibre solutions were found successfully substituting selected carbon fibre components in DTM touring cars from BMW M Motorsport. By trickling down and expanding into other vehicle programs, such developments highlight the vital role that BMW M Motorsports plays as a technology lab for the entire BMW Group. This continues in the form of the latest collaboration with Bcomp to include a higher proportion of renewable raw materials in the successor of the BMW M4 GT4.

With the launch of the new BMW M4 GT4, it will be the serial GT car with the highest proportion of natural fibre components. Bcomp’s ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ flax fibre solutions can be found throughout the interior on the dashboard and centre console, as well as on bodywork components such as the hood, front splitter, doors, trunk, and rear wing. Aside from the roof, there are almost no carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) components that were not replaced by the renewable high-performance flax materials. “Product sustainability is increasing in importance in the world of motorsport too,” says Franciscus van Meel, Chairman of the Board of Management at BMW M GmbH.

Bcomp is a leading solutions provider for natural fibre reinforcements in high performance applications from race to space.

The company started as a garage project in 2011 with a mission to create lightweight yet high performance skis. The bCores™ were launched and successfully adopted by some of the biggest names in freeride skiing. The founders, material science PhDs from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), used flax fibres to reinforce the balsa cores and improve shear stiffness. Impressed by the excellent mechanical properties of flax fibres, the development to create sustainable lightweighting solutions for the wider mobility markets started.

Flax is an indigenous plant that grows naturally in Europe and has been part of the agricultural history for centuries. It requires very little water and nutrients to grow successfully. In addition, it acts as a rotational crop, thus enhancing harvests on existing farmland. Neither cultivation nor processing of the flax plants requires any chemicals that could contaminate ground water and harvesting is a completely mechanical process. After harvesting the entire flax plant can be used for feed, to make oil and its fibres are especially used for home textiles and clothing. The long fibre that comes from the flax plant possesses very good mechanical properties and outstanding damping properties in relation to its density, making it especially suited as a natural fibre reinforcement for all kinds of polymers.

The harvesting and processing of flax takes place locally in the rural areas it was grown in. Using European flax sourced through a well-established and transparent supply chain it allows to support the economic and social structure in rural areas thanks to the large and skilled workforce required to sustain the flax production. When it comes to the production of technical products like the powerRibs™ reinforcement grid, Bcomp is investing in local production capacities close to its headquarters in the city of Fribourg, Switzerland, thus creating new jobs and maintaining technical know-how in the area. The production is built to be as efficient as possible and with minimal environmental impact and waste.

Further strengthening the local economy, Bcomp aims to hire local companies for missions and with the headquarters being located in Fribourg’s “Blue Factory” district, Bcomp can both benefit from and contribute to the development of this sustainable and diverse quarter.

Source:

Bcomp; BMW Group

Foto: Lalit Kumar, Unsplash
29.03.2022

The man-made fibers industry at the turning point of time

"You don't tear down a house before the new one is ready for occupancy."

Textination talked to the Managing Director of the Industrievereinigung Chemiefaser e.V., Dr. Wilhelm Rauch, about his assessment of the turning point that the man-made fibers industry is currently facing. What are the risks and threats, and what needs to change in order to remain a competitive player on the global market.

"You don't tear down a house before the new one is ready for occupancy."

Textination talked to the Managing Director of the Industrievereinigung Chemiefaser e.V., Dr. Wilhelm Rauch, about his assessment of the turning point that the man-made fibers industry is currently facing. What are the risks and threats, and what needs to change in order to remain a competitive player on the global market.

US President Joe Biden has called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin a war criminal in connection with the invasion of Ukraine. The United Nations' highest court, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, has ordered Russia to immediately end its war against Ukraine. How do you personally assess Russia's behavior?
Dr. Rauch:
With family roots in the Rhineland, Central and East Germany, I grew up at a time when, as a result of the division of Europe, families were separated and people were ruthlessly shot in the middle of Germany who wanted to cross the inner-German demarcation line towards the West. Since 1989, the fall of the Iron Curtain has led us into a period that lasted more than 30 years and allowed us, at least in Europe, to experience an era of peaceful coexistence between the great power blocs, intensive trade relations and prosperous states.

It is more than shocking to see today how Russia is trying to turn back the wheel of history in Europe with a brutality that the youngest generation growing up in Europe has fortunately not had to experience so far, and it brings back the worst memories of the Cold War, which everyone hoped would never return. If today in Ukraine even facilities for the peaceful use of nuclear energy are fired upon, a dimension has been reached that one does not want to extrapolate any further. In addition to the unspeakable human suffering caused, which we can only begin to alleviate by accepting Ukrainian refugees, in the long term all trust in political promises is being gambled away, which, however, is essential both for peaceful coexistence and for economic cooperation. We are facing a reordering of the world in which supply relationships and dependencies with or on autocratic states must be evaluated much more sensitively for each individual case.

The economic consequences of the Russia-Ukraine conflict are becoming increasingly clear. The Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) is correcting its forecast for 2022, but does not yet see a recession. What are your expectations for the industry in the current fiscal year?
Dr. Rauch:
The man-made fibers industry has been severely affected by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in the last two years. Planned investments were first postponed and then finally abandoned. By the end of 2022, three man-made fibers producers will close their doors in Germany compared to 2019. The industry started the current year on a very hopeful note, although previous issues such as REACH and, above all, energy costs were already increasing in severity before the Russia-Ukraine war. The economic consequences of the war will have a negative impact both directly in the form of increased energy prices and indirectly through changes in international competitive conditions.

What do the war in Ukraine and the economic sanctions against Russia entail for the upstream supply chains of the manmade fiber industry?
Dr. Rauch:
The immediate upstream supply chains will not be affected much by this war at first. However, we must expect supply chains in other industries to be disrupted. If, for example, certain raw materials or products are no longer available, this can have a noticeable impact, starting with logistics (mobility) and extending to components in production technology facilities. An example of this is the availability of cable harnesses, which were previously produced in Ukraine and are indispensable in many electronic components for man-made fibers production.

What is the relevance of Ukraine and Russia as sales markets for IVC member companies?
Dr. Rauch:
If we take the last year before the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic as the reference year, exports to Ukraine and the Russian Federation account for around 1.6% of total exports of man-made fibers from Germany. On average, a loss of sales to these countries can be tolerated, although it should not be forgotten that in individual cases - depending on a company's product portfolio - the impact can be quite significant. Looking beyond the horizon, it is not only the direct exports of man-made fibers to the war region that are of significance, but also deliveries of products in which man-made fibers are processed. Here, there are now interrupted supply relationships that result in order losses for the man-made fibers industry.

Certain industries are particularly affected by the consequences - what does this mean for the man-made fibers sector as a supplier industry?
Dr. Rauch:
Wherever production is cut back along the downstream value chain in which man-made fibers were used, the effects will be noticeable with a temporal delay. This applies, for example, to deliveries to the automotive sector, where the production of new vehicles comes to a standstill due to a lack of components originating from Ukraine.

How are exploding energy prices and the gas embargo affecting man-made fibers producers in the DACH region?
Dr. Rauch:
Even before the Russia-Ukraine war, European energy costs were already at a level that hit our members hard. For example, European gas costs currently rose by ten times from approx. 12 EUR/MWh to approx. 120 EUR/MWh as a result of the war, while in the USA they "only" rose by two and a half times from approx. 8 EUR/MWh to approx. 18 EUR/MWh. The situation is similar for electricity prices in Germany in particular, which have also risen by a factor of 10 from an already high level. Further price increases in Europe cannot be ruled out, but are more likely. Against this background, moderate adjustments in man-made fibers prices are only a drop in the bucket. A market development with virtually exploding energy costs cannot be reliably depicted by any company, nor can it be priced in such a way as to cover costs.

As the industry association of the man-made fibers industry, what do you think of "Freeze for Peace" or a stop to all Russian gas and raw material imports?
Dr. Rauch:
In Germany in particular, we have deliberately made ourselves dependent on Russian gas, contrary to all international warnings, by defining it as necessary for the bridge technology of electricity generation that we will need after the shutdown of coal- and nuclear-based power plants, before the availability of a sufficient amount of so-called "green" energy is assured. Gas is also needed for heating purposes and as a raw material, so it takes on the function of an all-rounder.

A boycott-related import stop would not only have serious negative consequences for the man-made fibers sector, but for the entire German industry and the majority of private households. As I mentioned at the beginning, it is the order of the day to help alleviate human suffering by taking in Ukrainian refugees. But this is not the end of the crisis. It must be assumed that the war situation will not be resolved in the near future. However, in order to cope with a protracted crisis situation, our economic strength must be maintained in order to be able to cope with the challenges ahead. An import freeze would be counterproductive in this respect. Since, due to the latest developments, gas deliveries are now to be paid for in rubles, there is rather a risk that Russia, for its part, will stop gas deliveries. In their effect, the two scenarios do not differ. The only thing that is certain is the fact that the availability of Russian gas to Europe is no longer guaranteed. Ultimately, the Russian demand to switch payments to rubles, which is not only aimed at revaluing the ruble, makes it clear that Russia is not dependent on Europe as a buyer of its gas. This would mean that a "freeze for peace" would lead to nothing. In the Far East, there is already a potential buyer of Russian gas to obtain it cheaply and safely, and which is also a major competitor of the European chemical fiber industry: China.

Are agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar a good substitute solution for gas and oil supplies from Russia?
Dr. Rauch:
It is not a question of evaluating a measure in the sense of good or bad, but of whether it appears suitable in this particular situation to reduce unilateral dependencies on an aggressor before sustainable solutions are available in sufficient quantity. In this respect, there should initially be no ideological barriers in the measures to be examined for feasibility. The agreements concluded with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar after certainly careful political scrutiny are individual decisions and represent only one piece in the mosaic among many.

Does the saying "First we had bad luck, then we were not lucky at all" apply to the current economic performance of the industry - or: how do you assess the influence of the Corona pandemic and the war situation in this respect?
Dr. Rauch:
Both the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war are events with a global character. While the first event affected all countries equally sooner or later, the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war must be assessed in a more differentiated manner. The consequences of the war primarily affect companies in Europe, and there in particular those countries which - as mentioned above - have placed themselves in unilateral dependencies like Germany. This does not apply to the man-made fibers industry in particular. Although there are many fellow sufferers in other industries, this does not improve the situation, of course.

What does the industry expect from the political leaders in Berlin and Brussels in the future?
Dr. Rauch:
The wish list can be fixed to a few core elements:
In the long term, we need a supply of energy and raw materials that is not based on the dependence of a few autocratic states. On the way there, against the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine war, previous exit scenarios from coal and nuclear energy must be reconsidered without prejudice with regard to their timeline. Or to put it more concisely: You don't tear down a house before the new one is ready for occupancy.

But energies from renewable raw materials must also be offered at prices that allow global competitiveness. According to a study by DECHEMA and FutureCamp, the chemical industry has calculated a price of 4 ct/kWh (including all taxes and fees). We are miles away from this today.

The revision of REACH must not lead to further bureaucracy and requirements that tie up capacity in companies. What we need in Europe is not dotting the i on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, but to ensure that we do not slide down the levels step by step and that the i dot floats in the air without an "i".

European economic policy must focus on the international competitiveness of European industry. It is not sufficient to consider and regulate the European Union only from the point of view of the internal market. The planned carbon border mechanism is such an example. It is intended to impose customs duties on imports that carry a high CO2 burden. This may protect the domestic market, but it does nothing at all to help export-oriented European industry such as the man-made fibers sector on the international world market, because European production costs remain too high by global standards despite the carbon border taxes.

The European Commission must increasingly recognize the European industry and with it the man-made fibers industry as problem solvers. Man-made fibers are indispensable as products for the energy turnaround (rotor blades for wind turbines), lightweight construction in mobility (lightweight car bodies in composite systems), sustainable road construction (geotextiles to reinforce the road surface and increase its service life), reduction of steel-reinforced concrete and thus cement, sand and gravel (reinforcement with high-tensile man-made fibers) and medical products (medical masks, bandaging materials, stents).

In Europe, we again need more market economy and no small-scale regulations that are adapted again and again and proliferate into an impenetrable thicket.

With all the wishes to politicians mentioned above, let me finally mention the following with regard to the current situation: In 1961, after the Berlin Wall was built, Russian and American tanks faced each other at Checkpoint Charlie at a distance of less than 50 meters, ready to fire.

A year later, in October 1962, nuclear-equipped American and Russian naval units met head-on in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Both John F. Kennedy and Nikita S. Khrushchev - bitter rivals in the contest of political systems - were sensible enough at the time not to let the situation escalate.

At present, I wish our national, European and transatlantic politicians’ unconditional determination in the defense of our free democratic values, but I also appeal to all politicians worldwide to take to heart one of Albert Einstein's fundamental perceptions: "I don't know what weapons will be used in the Third World War. But I can tell you what they'll use in the Fourth - rocks!"

Source:

Textination

The Interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

(c) nova-Institut GmbH
07.12.2021

Finalists for „Cellulose Fibre Innovation of the Year 2022” announced

Cellulose Fibre Innovation of the Year 2022: Cellulose Fibre Solutions are expanding from hygiene and textiles as well as non-wovens up to alternatives for carbon fibres for light-weight applications.

Great submissions made the nomination for the Innovation Award difficult. All of them present promising sustainable solutions in the field of cellulose fibres value chain. Six of them now get the chance to demonstrate their potential to a wide audience in Cologne (Germany), and online.

Cellulose Fibre Innovation of the Year 2022: Cellulose Fibre Solutions are expanding from hygiene and textiles as well as non-wovens up to alternatives for carbon fibres for light-weight applications.

Great submissions made the nomination for the Innovation Award difficult. All of them present promising sustainable solutions in the field of cellulose fibres value chain. Six of them now get the chance to demonstrate their potential to a wide audience in Cologne (Germany), and online.

For the second time, nova-Institute grants the “Cellulose Fibre Innovation of the Year” within the framework of the “International Conference on Cellulose Fibres 2022” (2-3 February 2022). The advisory board of the conference nominated six  products, ranging from cellulose made of orange- and wood pulp to a novel technology for cellulose fibre production. The presentations, election of the winner by the conference audience and the award ceremony will take place on the first day of the conference.

Cellulose fibres show an increasingly expanding wide range of applications, while at the same time markets are driven by technological developments and political framework conditions, especially bans and restrictions on plastics and increasing sustainability requirements. The conference provides rich information on opportunities for cellulose fibres through policy assessment, a session on sustainability, recycling and alternative feedstocks as well as latest development in pulp, cellulose fibres and yarns. This includes application such as non-wovens, packaging and composites.

Here are the nominees:
Carbon Fibres from Wood – German Institutes of Textile and Fiber Research Denkendorf (Germany)
The HighPerCellCarbon® technology is a sustainable and alternative process for the production of carbon fibres made from wood. The technology starts with wet spinning of cellulosic fibres using ionic liquids (IL) as direct solvent in an environmentally friendly, closed loop filament spinning process (HighPerCell® technology). These filaments are directly converted into carbon fibres by a low-pressure stabilisation process, followed by a suitable carbonisation process. No exhaust fumes or toxic by-products are formed during the whole process. Furthermore, the approach allows a complete recycling of solvent and precursor fibres, creating a unique and environmentally friendly process. Carbon fibres are used in many lightweight applications and the fibres are a sustainable alternative to fossil-based ones.

Fibers365, Truly Carbon-Negative Virgin Fibres from Straw – Fibers365 (Germany)
Fibers365 are the first carbon-negative virgin straw fibres on the market. The Fibers365 concept is based on a unique, state of the art process to provide functional, carbon negative, and competitive non-wood biomass products such as virgin fibres for paper, packaging and textile purposes as well as high value process energy, biopolymer and fertilizer side streams. The products are extracted from the stems of annual food plants such as straw by a chemical-free, regional, farm level steam explosion pulping technology, allowing an easy separation of the fibres from sugars, lignin, organic acid and minerals. In the case of annual plants, CO2 emissions are recaptured within 12 months from their production date, offering “instant”, yearly compensation of corresponding emissions.

Iroony® Hemp and Flax Cellulose – RBX Créations (France)
Iroony® is a branded cellulose made by RBX Créations from hemp. This resistant hemp plant grows quickly within in a few months, massively captures carbon and displays a high content of cellulose. The biomass is directly collected from French farmers who cultivate without chemicals or irrigation, in extended rotation cycles, contributing to soil regeneration and biodiversity. For a diversified supply, the hemp can be combined with organically-grown flax. Through its patented process, RBX Créations extracts high-purity cellulose, perfectly suitable for spinning technologies such as HighPerCell® of DITF research centre. The resulting fibres display versatile properties of fineness, tenacity and stretch, for applications like clothing or technical textiles. Iroony® combines low impact, trackability and performance.

SPINNOVA, Sustainable Textile Fibre without Harmful Chemicals – Spinnova (Finland)
Spinnova’s innovative technology enables production of sustainable textile fibres in a mechanical process, without dissolving or any harmful chemicals. The process involves use of paper-grade pulp and mechanical refining to turn pulp into microfibrillated cellulose (MFC). The fibre suspension consisting of MFC is extruded to form textile fibre, without regeneration processes. The Spinnova process does not generate any side waste, and the environmental footprint of SPINNOVA® including 65 % less CO2 emissions and 99 % less water compared to cotton production. Spinnova’s solution is also scalable: Spinnova targets to reach 1 million tonnes annual production capacity in the next 10 to 12 years.    

Sustainable Menstruation Panties: Application-driven Fibre Functionalisation – Kelheim Fibres (Germany)
Kelheim’s plant-based and biodegradable fibres contribute significantly to a sustainable future in the field of reusable hygiene textiles. Through innovative functionalisation they are specifically adjusted to the requirements of the single layers and thereby reach a performance comparable to that of synthetic fibres. A unique duality in fibre technology is created: sustainably manufactured cellulosic fibres that allow for high wearing comfort and reusability with extraordinary, durable performance. Fibre concepts comprise Celliant® Viscose, an in-fibre infrared solution and Danufil® Fibres in the top sheet, Galaxy, a trilobal fibre for the ADL, Bramante, a hollow viscose fibre, in the absorbing core and a water repellent woven fabric, a biodegradable PLA film or a sustainable coating as a back sheet.

TENCEL™ branded Lyocell Fibre made of Orange and Wood Pulp – Orange Fiber (Italy)
Orange Fiber is the world's first company to produce a sustainable textile fibre from a patented process for the extraction of cellulose to be spun from citrus juice leftovers, which are more than 1 million tonnes a year just in Italy. The result of our partnership with Lenzing Group, leading global producer of wood-based specialty fibres, is the first ever TENCEL™ branded lyocell fibre made of orange and wood pulp. A novel cellulosic fibre to further inspire sustainability across the value chain and push the boundaries of innovation. This fibre, part of the TENCEL™ Limited Edition initiative, is characterized by soft appeal and high moisture absorbance and has already obtained the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certificate and is undergoing a diverse set of other sustainability assessments.

(c) PERFORMANCE DAYS
16.11.2021

PERFORMANCE DAYS 2021: Hybrid Event in December

From December 1 to 2, 2021, the industry will meet up again live at the trade fair center in Munich. Trade visitors, industry insiders and experts can look forward to inter-personal exchanges, intensive networking, exciting fabric innovations and various other program highlights. The fair will go ahead in strict compliance with the current official hygiene regulations and in close cooperation with the Messe München authorities. Planned as a hybrid event, PERFORMANCE DAYS offers the possibility to follow what is on offer digitally.

From December 1 to 2, 2021, the industry will meet up again live at the trade fair center in Munich. Trade visitors, industry insiders and experts can look forward to inter-personal exchanges, intensive networking, exciting fabric innovations and various other program highlights. The fair will go ahead in strict compliance with the current official hygiene regulations and in close cooperation with the Messe München authorities. Planned as a hybrid event, PERFORMANCE DAYS offers the possibility to follow what is on offer digitally.

Live in Munich: PERFORMANCE DAYS in Hall A6
In Hall A6 on the grounds of the New Trade Center in Munich, trade visitors can look forward to an extensive portfolio of exhibitors showcasing their latest functional textiles and fabric innovations for the upcoming winter season, winter 2023/24. Exhibitors who are unable to present their highlights on site can also be accessed via the PERFORMANCE DAYS LOOP digital platform throughout the course of the fair. As part of the newly developed “remote booths” concept, trade visitors will for the first time also find collections from exhibitors who cannot be in Munich in person for the trade show. Interactive exchanges via chat, call or video call is planned.

Two further PERFORMANCE DAYS fairs are planned as live events: The Functional Fabric Fair by PERFORMANCE DAYS in Portland, Oregon, USA on November 17-18, 2021 and Functional Textiles Shanghai by PERFORMANCE DAYS on December 6-7, 2021. Registration is open at www.functionalfabricfair.com/ and www.functionaltextilesshanghai.com/

PERFORMANCE FORUM together with USA Fair
As part of the PERFORMANCE FORUM, a select jury of experts assembles for two days prior to the fair to exchange views on the latest fabric innovations for the winter 23/24 season. In order to ensure a more global market overview, the PERFORMANCE FORUM will curate highlights for the first time in conjunction with the US fair in Portland. Consequently, the next fair in Munich will not only feature the latest products from exhibitors at the Munich fair, but also highlights from the fair in Portland. This year’s Focus Topic in cooperation with the Vaude Academy will engage with the topic “The Sustainable Future of Nylon” and a specific hand-chosen selection of fabric materials. Furthermore, as part of the winter fair, the “sustain & innovate” conference on sustainability, organized in close cooperation with SAZsport, will take an in-depth look at the topic comprising all its aspects along with speakers, webinars and discussion rounds. The program will be broadcast live from the fair and thus accessible for all who wish to follow it online in digital form.  

Eco Award and Performance Award for Innovative Winter Fabrics 23/24
This year, in addition to a PERFORMANCE AWARD, the jury also presented an ECO PERFORMANCE AWARD. An integral part of the winter edition of PERFORMANCE DAYS is the presentation of the fabric highlights and accessory trends in the respective categories for the Winter Season 2023/24 at the PERFORMANCE FORUM. The well-known segments will be joined for the first time this winter by the Shoes & Bags category, while the renowned Lifestyle Category will be continued under its new title, “Function Meets Fashion”. The high level of innovation and quality of many of the fabrics submitted this year are particularly striking.

“The fusion of the two PERFORMANCE FORUMs of our fairs in Munich and Portland has lead to a significant increase in quality and innovation. Thanks to the new partnership, not only were we able to get new, exciting manufacturers on board, but there was also a significant increase in participation in general“, says Marco Weichert, CEO of PERFORMANCE DAYS.

Natural fabrics such as organic cotton, wool or canvas remain in demand. These are joined by significantly more plant fibers such as hemp, coconut shell, bamboo or fibers derived from pineapple or banana leaves. The additional use of castor oil, zinc or ginger supports the antibacterial effect, ensures enhanced breathability, optimum temperature management and makes the fabric soft, light and kind to the skin. The topic of recycling presents itself in various new facets and features exciting trends. The portfolio ranges from the recycling of marine waste, such as old buoys, plastic waste or fishing nets, to the recycling of waste from the automotive and computer industries, such as old car tires or computer chips. Natural dyeing methods are also gaining increasing importance, as is the recycling of materials into the textile loop.

In the Marketplace, visitors have the opportunity to view over 13,000+ products from exhibitors, including the fabric highlights of the individual categories at the PERFORMANCE FORUM. In order to be able to present the fabrics to the digital visitors as realistically as possible in terms of feel, design and structure, the PERFORMANCE FORUM has been equipped with groundbreaking 3D technology, including innovative tools such as 3D images, video animations and U3M files for download.

In addition to the PERFORMANCE AWARD WINNER, which goes to drielease/Optimer, there is also an ECO PERFORMANCE AWARD WINNER, awarded to Long Advance.

Completely new look: With the innovative Dricomfort Geo, drirelease turns to a blend of 6 % Lycra, 44 % polyester and 50 % recycled polyester. The processing of the various fibers in the knitting process, in combination with the Dricomfort GEO finishing, makes the reversible interlock fabric unique.

Unique, new pattern and knit designs are possible thanks to a special jacquard knitting process used to process the recycled polyester yarn. The material impresses with its lightness and versatility. The GEO technology also ensures optimal body temperature management. The adaptable technology provides excellent thermal regulation features through efficient heat management and enhanced moisture transport to optimize comfort and performance. Moreover, GEO boasts UV protection up to 50+.

New recycling variant: Long Advance presents LNT-21191-Z4C, a post consumer nylon that opens up a new world to recycling. The fabric, which consists of 7 % elastane and 93% recycled polyamide via Mass Balance, introduces new facets to the topic of recycling. BASF is using tire waste from now on and processes them into a new fiber. fiber. Due to the recycling, the need for synthetic fabrics are reduced to replace petroleum-based plastics with plastics made from renewable raw materials.

(c) Messe Frankfurt GmbH / SPOTT for Heimtextil
07.09.2021

Next Horizons: Heimtextil presents Trends 2022/23

With “Next Horizons”, Heimtextil is presenting its design forecast for the new season 2022/23 – analysed by international trend researchers and packed with valuable inspiration and inspiring content. The new trend themes take sustainability and resource conservation in the heart of their approach. The international trade fair for home and contract textiles takes place from 11 to 14 January 2022 in Frankfurt am Main.

With “Next Horizons”, Heimtextil is presenting its design forecast for the new season 2022/23 – analysed by international trend researchers and packed with valuable inspiration and inspiring content. The new trend themes take sustainability and resource conservation in the heart of their approach. The international trade fair for home and contract textiles takes place from 11 to 14 January 2022 in Frankfurt am Main.

Three international design agencies form the Heimtextil Trend Council. Together, they develop a well-founded global vision of the coming interior trends. Alongside the Heimtextil Trend Council, Heimtextil management has established a trend forecast for the coming season and presented it live via an online conference on 1 September 2021 from Frankfurt am Main. Trend Council members Anja Bisgaard Gaede from SPOTT trends & business, Anne Marie Commandeur from Stiljinstituut Amsterdam and Kate Franklin and Caroline Till from London studio FranklinTill shared their insights into the future of the industry. Designers, interior architects and decorators get inspired by the design forecast for the new season.

Next Horizons: long-term and circular mindset
The Next Horizons are not a fixed goal or a finish line – they are mindsets. These are made up of long-term thinking, accepting that the best way to impact the world is simply not to. Paradoxically, we have begun our transition to sustainability by addressing the problems within our manufactured system instead of transforming our approach to not create waste or imbalance. Transforming our nexus begins with accepting our economies are embedded within nature. The composition of design should be accessed, made and recirculated in tune with a long-term and circular mindset and simply not create waste. The Heimtextil Trends 22/23 “Deep Nature”, “Hyper Nature”, “Beyond Identity” and “Empowered Identity” explore these new mindsets for “Next Horizons”.

Heimtextil Trends in a new digital format
With “Next Horizons”, Heimtextil is breaking new ground and, for the first time, making trend information fully available in a digital format. The brand-new online platform of Heimtextil introduces the trends richly illustrated via colours, short films, bespoke imagery, key designer features and a soundtrack. The new online platform and all trend activities are directed by SPOTT trends & business from Denmark.

The Future Materials Library is now digital
Curated by Futures Agency FranklinTill, The Future Materials Library was launched in 2020 and is now available online at www.heimtextil-trends.com/future. This collection of exciting interior material innovations from around the world celebrates radical designers, innovative manufacturers and environmentally conscious producers who are helping to turn the current, linear system of production and consumption into a circular model.

Heimtextil Trends 22/23 – overview
Deep Nature – Rebalance by relearning

“Deep Nature” explores our ecosystem’s strategies: it’s our legacy and future all at once. We need to relearn and give into untamed texture, slow process, natural structures and living colours. “Deep Nature” is a long-term transformation and relearning process which gives us the ability to rebalance the natural world for a regenerative future. The colour scale for “Deep Nature” has a harmonious and soft expression used for untamed patternmaking. Mouldy, herbal tones and delicate tones of blue and rouge create a calm, tonal, and earthy approach.

Hyper Nature – Reconnect with nature via technology
“Hyper Nature” is about reconnecting to nature through technology. The theme is a digital facilitator of nature’s blueprint, fusing technology and nature for a protopia state and creating a better tomorrow step by step. Responsive materials, technical fibres, fluid patterns and microscopic structure describes materials and textiles for “Hyper Nature”. Bioscience brings inspiration to colours of both bright and lucid and blurred nuances of green and grey. Reflections and artificial light create new perceptions of nature-based colours. Coral, salmon and light raspberry are highlights.

Beyond Identity – Values more than physical attributes
“Beyond Identity” addresses the future with hopeful messages and soft and powerful defiance toward existing norms, leaving identity in flux. For the world of home interiors and textiles “Beyond Identity” works with recycled synthetic fabric, vintage silk and satin, natural-coloured textiles and new cellulose-based textiles. They are formed via the uncontrolled colouration process of a pastel-coloured look resembling the constant flux of identity. The colours scale for “Beyond Identity” features a range of pastels, complemented with a familiar grey and pale khaki as muted transferral colours.

Empowered Identity – Empower artisanship to sustain culture
“Empower Identity” is about creating sustainable cultural connections, renewing artisan sources of inspiration in a collaborative way. Empowering Identity encourages forming new connections between heritage cultures and future generations. Recycled and heritage textiles combined with textile craft techniques as tufting, embroidered appliqué and Cross-stitch are in focus in “Empower Identity”. Primary colours resemble their colour pigment origins to support the heritage expression of the theme. Sparks of coral and a greyed lilac accompany these primary tones. Multi-coloured usage is key.

(c) Neonyt/Messe Frankfurt GmbH
30.03.2021

Circularity and Fashion: Interview about the Business and Communication Platform Neonyt

Circular instead of throwaway economy - from fast fashion to zero-waste philosophy. The key elements of the circular economy in the fashion business are: Avoiding waste and pollution through new processes, continuous recycling of products and materials, and regeneration of natural systems. Textination talked with Olaf Schmidt, Vice President of Textiles & Textile Technologies, and Thimo Schwenzfeier, Show Director of Neonyt, from Messe Frankfurt about the Neonyt trade show as a business and communication platform for circularity & fashion.
 
It has been about 10 years since Messe Frankfurt ventured onto the "sustainable" fashion trade show stage. Initially with the Ethical Fashion Show, then with the Greenshowroom, there were two trade show formats in Berlin dedicated to the topic of green fashion. What prompted you as a trade show organizer to launch such a special format in Germany at that time?

Circular instead of throwaway economy - from fast fashion to zero-waste philosophy. The key elements of the circular economy in the fashion business are: Avoiding waste and pollution through new processes, continuous recycling of products and materials, and regeneration of natural systems. Textination talked with Olaf Schmidt, Vice President of Textiles & Textile Technologies, and Thimo Schwenzfeier, Show Director of Neonyt, from Messe Frankfurt about the Neonyt trade show as a business and communication platform for circularity & fashion.
 
It has been about 10 years since Messe Frankfurt ventured onto the "sustainable" fashion trade show stage. Initially with the Ethical Fashion Show, then with the Greenshowroom, there were two trade show formats in Berlin dedicated to the topic of green fashion. What prompted you as a trade show organizer to launch such a special format in Germany at that time?

Olaf Schmidt: Messe Frankfurt's Texpertise Network brings together the world's most important textile trade shows - at around 60 events worldwide, we show what drives the textile and fashion industry. We present the current topics and trends and set impulses for the entire textile value chain. Messe Frankfurt recognized the need for a suitable platform for the future topic of sustainability at an early stage. It was therefore obvious to expand our expertise in the field of fashion and to meet the demand from this segment. To achieve this, we have adapted and realigned existing formats: After launching the Ethical Fashion Show in Paris in 2004, Messe Frankfurt France took over the event in 2010. Two years later, Messe Frankfurt founded the Ethical Fashion Show Berlin in Germany and found, with the moving of the event to the polarizing capital, the ideal location for the coming years. Messe Frankfurt merged the already existing Greenshowroom with the Ethical Fashion Show, and from January 2015 the two shows took place in one venue. For Messe Frankfurt, hosting these events was the next logical step on our way to a sustainable fashion future - the concept is now established in the sustainable fashion market and has a continuous growth potential. The merging of the trade show duo in 2019, with the current name Neonyt, allowed us, our exhibitors and visitors a new content orientation and a holistic approach to the topic of sustainability as well as a more direct access to the conventional fashion market, especially with regard to retail. In summer 2021, Neonyt will take place for the first time in the new fashion hotspot Frankfurt as part of the new Frankfurt Fashion Week.

 
In 2019, both event formats were merged, the new trade show Neonyt was born and 1 + 1 became what? What components does Neonyt offer in addition to the previous trade show concepts, what is so "new-new" and how did you actually come up with the name?

Thimo Schwenzfeier: One plus one, as you so nicely put it, did not simply add up to two with Neonyt. One plus one equals unique, neo-new, internationally relevant: Among other things, the trade show business was supplemented by the international conference format Fashionsustain and a showcase to gradually bring
together the topic of sustainability with the topics of technology, innovation and prepress. Our content creator format Prepeek ensures the necessary lifestyle and the fashion show provides the glamour of the fashion world. Neonyt combines the most important elements of the international textile and fashion industry - style, business, inspiration, innovation, knowledge, fun and community. And that is exactly what makes Neonyt so "new-new". Progressive and polarizing - the artificial word Neonyt is derived from the ancient Greek word "neo" (eng. new, revolutionary) and the Scandinavian word "nytt" (eng. new). "The renewed new" - Neonyt is our synonym for the fundamental transformation process of the textile and fashion industry, a reinterpretation of what has already been there and our commitment not to stand still and to promote positive change together.

 
For the Neonyt trade show format, you have teamed up with partners - for example, for conferencing components and in the design area. What expertise do they provide, and what is the added value for exhibitors and visitors?

Thimo Schwenzfeier: We know which future topics our brands and the community are currently dealing with and therefore create the right platform - for personal encounters and exchange, for networking and successful business deals. To put it simply: we organize trade shows, we organize events, we provide the right setting, we connect people and business. Neonyt therefore forms the global interface between the various players in the textile and fashion industry - between industry, trade, politics, services and consumption. And so that a lively, transparent and, above all, authentic dialog can develop between all counterparts, we naturally draw on the knowledge of industry experts and form strong partnerships to push fashion and sustainability forward. Only together can we achieve real change and guarantee that our community is provided with sufficient and, above all, the right information to make self-determined decisions.
 

In recent years, the keyword circularity - or rather closing the loop - has been encountered everywhere in the fashion industry. Whether Stella McCartney, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, or large retail groups - many players and decision-makers are of the opinion that the future of the fashion world lies only in a circular economy and not in downcycling of any kind. What is Neonyt's view on this?
         
Thimo Schwenzfeier: That's right, the concept of circular economy is not new, nor is it limited to the textile and fashion industry. Circularity - actually the ultimate for every product, every industry, for our global society. The concept is supposedly simple: All materials and products are kept in a closed loop, the useful life is increased and at the end of the product life cycle everything is recycled. Many sustainable fashion labels are already showing how it's done. Neonyt brands are right at the forefront and are already implementing practices that should become the norm as soon as possible: starting with T-shirts or shoes made from recycled materials and take-back systems for collection items. As well as compostable clothing that "dissolves" at the end of the product life cycle and breaks down into its natural components, and on to repair services and leasing models for denim and co. - thinking holistically, acting in a sustainable manner and producing in a circular way are definitely the trends of the coming fashion seasons and at least one important, if not the most important, component of the future fashion world.

 
For the idea of a circular economy to be implemented successfully, there needs to be an interplay between technology, production, design and sales. What presentation options and forms of communication does Neonyt have in store for the various components?  

Thimo Schwenzfeier: The combined innovative power of technology, sustainability and digitization is an important driver of the current developments in the textile and fashion industry - including the topic of circularity. Processes and production sequences are changing along the entire value chain - the industry has to reinvent itself for the most part. Neonyt shows how this can work successfully in the long term, with the internationally established Fashionsustain conference format - including spin-offs in China, Europe and the USA - and the supplementary Showcase. Together, these two formats offer the ideal mix of orientation and inspiration to prepare the industry for the future. Virtual fashion, authentic brands and textile value chains, science and innovation as well as retail, business models and impact investment - at Fashionsustain, top-class experts will exchange ideas with an interested professional audience and discuss the change and new solutions in the textile and fashion industry. The Neonyt Showcase takes a deeper look at the topics and innovations presented and discussed on the Fashionsustain stage. Expert knowledge on-demand, so to speak: whether microfactories or installations - Neonyt brands as well as brands from the rest of the Texpertise Network of Messe Frankfurt, such as exhibitors at Texprocess, get the chance to present sustainable innovations, new technologies and materials, initiatives, change-maker campaigns or research projects. Here they interact directly and practically with Neonyt's international cross-sector community.
 

Last year was an unprecedented challenge for trade show companies due to the pandemic situation. Neonyt was also affected by this - and physical events had to be canceled. With a digital format "Neonyt on Air" you have tried to offer exhibitors and visitors an alternative platform. What has been your experience: Did the focus of the trade show and its community perhaps even help to make such a virtual event easier to launch? 

Olaf Schmidt: Corona has already changed a lot and will certainly continue to do so in one way or another. Nevertheless, it will continue to be our task as trade show organizers to offer the industry the best possible meeting platforms for presenting their new products worldwide. We are convinced that people will continue to want to meet in person and discuss new products as well as services in the future. This is particularly the case in the textile sector, where haptics plays a very crucial role. We expect that there will even be a certain catch-up effect after the crisis. Because what the last two very successful digital seasons of Neonyt on Air, for example, have nevertheless shown clearly: Fashion lives from personalities, presentation and inspiration. Digital formats can support this, but they cannot fully replace it.
 
Thimo Schwenzfeier: The digital Neonyt on Air was far from being a total replacement for the original physical seasons, but nevertheless a huge success. For one week, fashion, lifestyle and digital experts were discussing about more authenticity, immediacy and transparency in the textile and fashion industry in numerous keynotes, interviews and panel discussions. With more than 24,000 international followers on Instagram, we generated around 50,000 impressions and more than 4,700 content interactions with our presenting partners Grüner Knopf, Hessnatur and Oeko-Tex in just five days. These figures show, that the topic of sustainability has arrived in the middle of society and is being discussed across all industries. I think that the polarization and, above all, the prevailing restrictions, as far as trade and commerce are concerned, have certainly contributed to holding a successful digital format. Digitization was truly the booster for the fashion industry in this case: Instead of replacing personal exchange, it helps to maintain and expand the business activities of brands, especially in the current times. And quite clearly, the need for exchange in the fashion industry and the motivation to initiate together a change are still enormous. Neonyt on Air has once again shown us that clearly. However, we are already looking forward to the next physical edition of Neonyt.
 

The COVID-19 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 for and where did you feel you were left on your own? 

Olaf Schmidt: A year like no other - that can clearly be said about the last one. The Corona pandemic caught everyone off guard - us as trade show organizers, but of course also our exhibitors, visitors and partners. Especially in the near future, we must continue to expect, that trade shows can only be held under stricter health and safety regulations at first. Messe Frankfurt reacted quickly and developed a comprehensive safety and hygiene concept. One thing was clear: we all had to adjust and deal with a new situation. And so far, we've done a great job together, the team understanding among each other, the close contact - although physically at a distance, but globally networked - between all those involved, makes me feel positive about the future. For me, an important realization of this global pandemic, a credo almost, is to be open to new ways and opportunities and to find ways to combine things rather than separate them: Hybrid solutions, so to speak.    

Thimo Schwenzfeier: There was no master plan for Neonyt, and in places there was also the impression that we now had to "reinvent the wheel": How does collaboration work when face-to-face meetings cannot take place? Can digitized contact compensate for the social distancing that is currently being imposed and still make it possible to work closely together? How can business relationships be maintained when stores are closed? How can priorities be set when well-tested solutions and established annual plans lose their validity? Who am I, who are 'the others' and what defines community? Never have questions about our creation and existence, about what makes us who we are and what we want to be, been more relevant than right now. One thing that I take away from the current situation and that allows me to continue to look forward positively despite difficult circumstances is the fact, that cohesion and solidarity with one another - both privately and professionally - have become increasingly important. Like a magnifying glass, the crisis has magnified existing opportunities, but also challenges, and brought the essentials into focus. I think that if we continue to try to experience things more consciously and not take them for granted, we will manage together to create a " new normal " and leave this crisis with more strength.
 

As in the past in Berlin, Neonyt is currently also located in Frankfurt in the environment of the Fashion Week and conventional trade shows. Can you imagine that a special event concept like Neonyt will be unnecessary in a few years, because the circularity concept will have established itself in the clothing industry worldwide?

Olaf Schmidt: A clear no. Sustainability per se is already no longer a unique selling point. The important thing is to keep up with the times, to follow trends or, even better, to track down new trends yourself and develop them further. Things, strategies, concepts will always change - if last year showed us one thing, it was certainly that. It is more than desirable that we all learn from this crisis and reflect on the really important values, on solidarity between partners, on climate protection and sustainability. It may be exactly for this reason, that companies that place particular emphasis on sustainability will emerge even stronger from this crisis. So you can be sure that we, as a leading international trade show organizer for the textile industry, will continue to focus on sustainability and support future-oriented companies and solutions. However, this will not make our formats obsolete due to the establishment and normalization of holistic business practices in the textile industry. But it is impossible to make an exact forecast for the coming decades. Over the last few months, we have all noticed ourselves in our personal everyday lives or in our professional lives, how uncertain and volatile the future is. What is clear, however, is that the fashion industry - the world in general - will change even faster than before. And therein lies the opportunity for formats like Neonyt. The ten-year history shows in how many directions Neonyt has already developed, content focal points have been shifted and it has reinvented itself - this will also be the case in the future.
 

Mr. Schwenzfeier, in addition to your role as Director of Marketing Communications for Messe Frankfurt's textile exhibitions, you have also been Show Director of Neonyt since 2018. You have spoken to many exhibitors and visitors - which ideas or creations have particularly impressed you?

Thimo Schwenzfeier: I think it's not so much the individual innovations or creations of the exhibitors at our trade shows. And I deliberately choose the plural here. Because in my function as Director of Marketing Communications in the Textiles & Textile Technologies division of Messe Frankfurt, Neonyt is just one of "my" events. I think it's more the variety of fashion, technical and professional innovations that brands, labels, companies, start-ups and designers present every year. But if I really had to choose one innovation, it would probably be the vegan "Currywurst" sneakers made of red pepper and recycled PET bottles - the same label also offers shoes made of wood, stone, coffee and mushrooms or now even meteorite particles. It is impressive to experience every season anew of how creative the textile and fashion industry is.
 

Breaking new ground means being willing to make decisions, overcoming fears - and thus also having the courage to fail. Not every project can succeed. In retrospect, about which entrepreneurial decision by Messe Frankfurt are you particularly glad, that you made?
 
Olaf Schmidt: Clearly the decision to create Neonyt. To establish our own trade show format for fashion, sustainability and innovation and to integrate the freedom and lifestyle, which entail this topic, into our event. After more than a decade, we may be saying goodbye to Berlin in 2021, but not to our community and our spirit. Together we look back on many fashionable seasons and great locations in the capital: starting in the Hotel Adlon Kempinski to the Ewerk, the Postbahnhof, the Kronprinzenpalais, the Funkhaus and the Kraftwerk to the last physical event in Tempelhof. With the turn of the year and in the setting of Frankfurt Fashion Week, Neonyt is about to move to the metropolis by the Main. In Frankfurt, worlds collide: Skyscrapers and 19th-century villas. Architectural sins and masterpieces. Business and middle class. Red-light district and luxury boulevard. Frankfurt Fashion Week sets new impulses in this area of conflict. And in the middle of all this is Neonyt. The signs are pointing to a new beginning - a restart for the entire fashion industry, together we are taking sustainability to the next level - the focus topics Applied Sustainability and Applied Digitization are creating a completely new Fashion Week ecosystem in the metropolis by the Main.
 

If everything works out, Neonyt can be held again as a face-to-face event for the first time in July 2021. What are your plans? What and who can visitors look forward to? And what backup is there for a worst-case scenario?

Thimo Schwenzfeier: Of course, due to the currently ongoing tense situation around Covid-19, it is difficult to make binding statements about the next physical event. However, we are cur rently expecting the situation to ease into the summer summer 2021 is therefore on the health of everyone - exhibitors, visitors, partners and employees of Neonyt. Messe Frankfurt has developed a concept that includes detailed hygienic measures: Hygiene, distance and fresh air supply are important factors, which we coordinate with the responsible authorities in Frankfurt and those in charge of Frankfurt Fashion Week. In due course, the Neonyt community will receive advice and recommendations for the trade show attendance and participation, that comply with current regulations. We have not yet thought about a concrete backup for a worst-case scenario, as we are currently anticipating a physical B2B event - but the last two seasons have shown, should it not be possible to hold the Neonyt face-to-face, that we are quite well positioned with the digital Neonyt on Air and could certainly adapt the format for another summer event. We regularly exchange ideas with all market participants and try to get a sense of opinions and wishes from our community through surveys. Wait and see, one might say - in the end, we also have to act according to what the current health situation allows and what decisions are made by politicians.

The Interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius,
Managing Partner, Textination GmbH

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.

(c) Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH
22.12.2020

Decade of Action: Texpertise Network launches further measures to implement the Sustainable Development Goals

Since 2019, the Messe Frankfurt Texpertise Network has been working with the Conscious Fashion Campaign and the United Nations Office for Partnerships to bring the Sustainable Development Goals to all 58 textile events in the network worldwide. Numerous measures have already been implemented. Others are imminent.

Shortly before the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutérrez hailed the start of the Decade of Action. As of 2020, the international community now has just ten years to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to which the UN Member States committed themselves in the 2030 Agenda. As part of the collaboration with the Conscious Fashion Campaign and the United Nations Office for Partnerships, the Messe Frankfurt Texpertise Network will put the SDGs on the agenda of additional events in December, thus further supporting their implementation in the fashion and textile industry.

Since 2019, the Messe Frankfurt Texpertise Network has been working with the Conscious Fashion Campaign and the United Nations Office for Partnerships to bring the Sustainable Development Goals to all 58 textile events in the network worldwide. Numerous measures have already been implemented. Others are imminent.

Shortly before the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutérrez hailed the start of the Decade of Action. As of 2020, the international community now has just ten years to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to which the UN Member States committed themselves in the 2030 Agenda. As part of the collaboration with the Conscious Fashion Campaign and the United Nations Office for Partnerships, the Messe Frankfurt Texpertise Network will put the SDGs on the agenda of additional events in December, thus further supporting their implementation in the fashion and textile industry.

Virtual event “Discover the SDGs – To Power the Decade of Action”
From 1-30 December 2020, the Texpertise Network is taking part in the virtual learning experience “Discover the SDGs”, which was initiated by the Conscious Fashion Campaign in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Partnerships. The aim of the event is to strengthen the knowledge and commitment within the fashion industry that is needed to further support the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. One component of the event is a virtual and interactive exhibition on the 17 goals, as well as on-demand discussions with industry leaders, United Nations representatives and advocates of the United Nations, including Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board, and Thimo Schwenzfeier, Director Marketing Communications Textiles and Textile Technologies at Messe Frankfurt, as well as from Kering, Lenzing, Allbirds, Arch and Hook, Artistic Milliners, Orta, ITL, Vogue Business, CFDA, Collina Strada and the Swarovski Foundation.

“This is a critical time to accelerate partnerships to address the world's biggest challenges – from eliminating poverty, hunger and inequalities to reversing climate change and unsustainable consumption and production practices,” said Annemarie Hou, acting Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Partnerships. “The fashion industry is an important ally for the United Nations in this Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs by 2030.”

Conscious Fashion Campaign becomes a presenting partner of Frankfurt Fashion Week
Joining forces to improve the fashion industry: Frankfurt Fashion Week is positioning itself as the host of the future of fashion and actively driving forward the transformation towards a future-oriented, more sustainable fashion and textile industry. All decision-makers looking to instigate this change will be coming together in Frankfurt am Main from 5-9 July 2021. The initiators of Frankfurt Fashion Week – Messe Frankfurt and the Premium Group – have achieved a real coup: Conscious Fashion Campaign, working in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Partnerships, will be the presenting partner. Messe Frankfurt will build on its collaboration with the United Nations Office for Partnerships. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be a prerequisite for exhibitors by 2023. And the Frankfurt Fashion SDG Summit by CFC is set to become the leading international conference for sustainability in the fashion world.

Expansion of internal sustainability communication
17 goals, 58 textile events worldwide, around 600,000 visitors and 23,000 exhibitors in 2019: with its global events, the Messe Frankfurt Texpertise Network offers unique reach for supporting the SDGs, even during the corona pandemic. The participating subsidiary companies, sales partners and Messe Frankfurt partners abroad who organise the relevant events play an important role in this. To actively expand knowledge about and further commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, the Texpertise Network is organising several online seminars, including for staff members in Argentina, Ethiopia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa and the USA and thus expanding its internal sustainability communication.

SDG actions up to now
Ever since the expanded collaboration between the Messe Frankfurt Texpertise Network, the Conscious Fashion Campaign and the United Nations Office for Partnerships was announced at the UN headquarters in New York in December 2019, the international Messe Frankfurt textile events have implemented numerous measures to support the SDGs.

At the Messe Frankfurt textile events in Germany alone, a number of things came to fruition: the most recent physical and digital editions of Heimtextil, the leading trade fair for home and contract textiles and Neonyt, global hub for fashion, sustainability and innovation, offered panel discussions, press conferences and video messages, including with the Conscious Fashion Campaign and United Nations Office for Partnerships. An SDG Lounge in the Green Village at Heimtextil and selfie walls with the SDGs inspired exhibitors, visitors and influencers alike to engage with the 17 goals and share them on their social network channels. Podcasts were produced that can still be listened to on the Neonyt and Heimtextil channels and Neonyt also hosted e.g. the influencer challenge “Let's wear the goals!”.

A great deal has also already been achieved internationally: in March 2019, Neonyt organised a showcase with selected Neonyt brands to mark the foundation of the “UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion” in Nairobi. Techtextil India launched Techtextil NEXT at its 2019 edition, India’s first hackathon for technical textiles and sustainability. Among those who attended were Shrikar Dhole, founder and CEO of the SDG Foundation and Niharika Gautam, who campaigns for the achievement of the SDGs in the fashion industry and co-leads the fashion section of the All Ladies League Delhi. The Heimtextil Russia 2020 Digital Edition was able to attract a prominent figure to give a message of greeting, namely Vladimir Kuznetsov, head of the UN Information Centre (UNIC) in Moscow. The digital edition of Texworld USA (now Texworld New York City) and Apparel Sourcing USA in summer 2020 offered a talk by the Conscious Fashion Campaign and supported the production of a podcast with Claire Kells from the UN Global Compact.

With its SDG actions to date, Messe Frankfurt Texpertise Network is estimated to have reached around 146,000 visitors, 170,000 followers on social media channels and 65,000 subscribers to newsletters about participating events at home and abroad. Added to this is also the approx. 2.5 million followers of the influencers involved in the actions.