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06.07.2021

»Waste4Future«: Today's Waste becomes Tomorrow's Resource

Fraunhofer Institutes pave new ways in plastics recycling

A sustainable society, the renunciation of fossil raw materials, climate-neutral processes - also the chemical industry has committed itself to these goals. For the industry, this means a huge challenge within the next years and decades. This structural change can succeed if all activities - from the raw material base to material flows and process technology to the end of a product's life cycle - are geared towards the goal of sustainable value creation. The key to this is innovation.

Fraunhofer Institutes pave new ways in plastics recycling

A sustainable society, the renunciation of fossil raw materials, climate-neutral processes - also the chemical industry has committed itself to these goals. For the industry, this means a huge challenge within the next years and decades. This structural change can succeed if all activities - from the raw material base to material flows and process technology to the end of a product's life cycle - are geared towards the goal of sustainable value creation. The key to this is innovation.

Plastics such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) or polystyrene (PS), which are currently produced almost entirely from fossil raw materials, are fundamental to many everyday products and modern technologies. The carbon contained in plastics is an important resource for the chemical industry. If it is possible to better identify such carbon-containing components in waste, to recycle them more effectively, and to use them again to produce high-quality raw materials for industry, the carbon can be kept in the cycle. This not only reduces the need for fossil resources, but also pollution with CO2 emissions and plastic waste. At the same time, the security of supply for industry is improved because an additional source of carbon is tapped.

The "Waste4Future" lighthouse project therefore aims to create new opportunities for recycling plastics in order to make the carbon they contain available as a "green" resource for the chemical industry. "We are thus paving the way for a carbon circular economy in which valuable new base molecules are obtained from plastic waste and emissions are largely avoided: Today's waste becomes tomorrow's resource," says Dr.-Ing. Sylvia Schattauer, deputy director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS, which is heading the project. "With the know-how of the participating institutes, we want to show how the comprehensive recycling of waste containing plastics without loss of carbon is possible and ultimately economical through interlocking, networked processes." The outcome of the project, which will run until the end of 2023, is expected to be innovative recycling technologies for complex waste that can be used to obtain high-quality recyclates.

Specifically, the development of a holistic, entropy-based assessment model is planned (entropy = measure of the disorder of a system), which will reorganize the recycling chain from process-guided to material-guided. A new type of sorting identifies which materials and in particular which plastic fractions are contained in the waste. Based on this analysis, the total stream is separated and a targeted decision is then made for the resulting sub-streams as to which recycling route is the most technically, ecologically and economically sensible for this specific waste quantity. What cannot be further utilized by means of mechanical recycling is available for chemical recycling, always with the aim of preserving the maximum possible amount of carbon compounds. Burning waste containing plastics at the end of the chain is thus eliminated.

The challenges for research and development are considerable. These include the complex evaluation of both input materials and recyclates according to ecological, economic and technical criteria. Mechanical recycling must be optimized, and processes and technologies must be established for the key points in the material utilization of plastic fractions. In addition, suitable sensor technology must be developed that can reliably identify materials in the sorting system. Machine learning methods will also be used, and the aim is to link them to a digital twin that represents the properties of the processed materials.

Another goal of the project is the automated optimization of the formulation development of recyclates from different material streams. Last but not least, an economic evaluation of the new recycling process chain will be carried out, for example with regard to the effects of rising prices for CO2 certificates or new regulatory requirements. The project consortium will also conduct comprehensive life cycle analysis (LCA) studies for the individual recycling technologies to identify potential environmental risks and opportunities.

For the development of the corresponding solutions, the participating institutes are in close exchange with companies from the chemical industry and plastics processing, waste management, recycling plant construction and recycling plant operation, in order to consider the needs of industry in a targeted manner and thus increase the chances of rapid application of the results achieved.

The following Institutes are involved in the Fraunhofer lighthouse project "Waste4Future":

  • Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS (lead)
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Non-Destructive Testing IZFP
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Materials Recycling and Resource Strategy IWKS
  • Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB
  • Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques FHR
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV
Grafic: Gerd Altmann, pixabay
19.01.2021

IW Association Survey: Textile industry and Banks particularly pessimistic

Things can only get better

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

Things can only get better

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source:

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

02.01.2018

THAILAND'S TEXTILE INDUSTRY ON NEW PATHS

  • Good chances for synthetic fibers and functional textiles

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

  • Good chances for synthetic fibers and functional textiles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More information:
Thailand
Source:

Waldemar Duscha, www.gtai.de

ISPO MUNICH 2017 © Messe München GmbH
23.08.2016

ISPO TEXTRENDS: TEXTILE TRENDS FOR FALL/WINTER 2018/2019

  • Trend preview for designers and product developers
  • Registration for ISPO TEXTRENDS 2017 available now
Together with trend experts, ISPO monitors influences, themes and colors that will shape fabric innovations for Fall/Winter 2018/2019. The textile trends are developed on the basis of these findings. They steer the work of designers and product developers and provide comprehensive predictions for future trend developments. Three megatrends focus on new market segments, the latest in functionality and the subject of sustainability. Companies wishing to showcase their products at ISPO TEXTRENDS can register now at www.textrends.ispo.com
 
ISPO is a renowned network for innovations. In combination with ISPO TEXTRENDS, it provides a platform for innovative fabrics and components in the textile sector.
  • Trend preview for designers and product developers
  • Registration for ISPO TEXTRENDS 2017 available now
Together with trend experts, ISPO monitors influences, themes and colors that will shape fabric innovations for Fall/Winter 2018/2019. The textile trends are developed on the basis of these findings. They steer the work of designers and product developers and provide comprehensive predictions for future trend developments. Three megatrends focus on new market segments, the latest in functionality and the subject of sustainability. Companies wishing to showcase their products at ISPO TEXTRENDS can register now at www.textrends.ispo.com
 
ISPO is a renowned network for innovations. In combination with ISPO TEXTRENDS, it provides a platform for innovative fabrics and components in the textile sector. Just recently the summer event was successfully launched for the first time at ISPO SHANGHAI. The well-established ISPO TEXTRENDS winter event will follow at ISPO MUNICH from February 5–8, 2017. Companies wishing to showcase their products at ISPO TEXTRENDS can register now at www.textrends.ispo.com. Which products can be entered in the race? Do they meet the expectations of the judging panel? The textile trends provide initial pointers and act as a guideline for participants when making their application. The textile trends consider various factors, from consumer behavior to the global economic situation. They also incorporate the influences of film, music and art on the industry and your products. The result is three megatrends, upcoming color trends and five detailed textile trends. As part of this, ISPO provides an exclusive initial glimpse of the sportswear market for Fall/Winter 2018/2019.
 
A quick look at textile trends for Fall/Winter 2018/2019
 
Megatrends – Opportunity Knocks, Perpetual Emotion, Infinite Act
The three megatrends will influence the textiles of Fall/Winter 2018/2019, crossing over into the sports market:
 
Opportunity Knocks calls for a focus on new market opportunities. The outdoor and activewear sector is no longer solely confined to a niche market. It is an opportunity to successfully expand product ranges.
 
With the Perpetual Emotion trend, positivity and confidence take a stand against the ever-increasing doom and gloom in the world. This trend is spearheaded by the desire to explore boundaries and provide the ultimate functionality without compromising style. Consumers expect the latest in functionality, enhanced comfort and a feeling like no other they’ve experienced when they wear the garment.
 
Infinite Act focuses on the message of sustainability combined with a strong corporate responsibility both to the environment and the workforce. Nanotechnology and biomimicry continue to make a mark, while the chemical industry and manufacturers of functional fabrics focus on their environmentally-friendly approach.
 
Color spectrum for Fall/Winter 2017/2018
 
The colors for the Fall/Winter season 2018/2019 are forward-looking, optimistic and focused. This season the active color spectrum is shifting to a slightly more powdery look compared to the traditionally bright best-selling tones. Deep reds and dark berry tones compliment envisaged shades of green and orange, presenting a warm but invigorating color spectrum inspired by nature.
 
Textile trends: Sensory, Allegiance, Myriad, Paragon, Transmutation
Five textile trends reflect numerous influences from consumer behavior to the global economic Situation.
 
Trend 1 – Sensory. This trend is about enhancing performance through fit, touch and visual appeal. The functionality on offer is manifested in fabrics, finishes, trims and accessories. This covers featherlight base layers to super soft insulation and multi-functional outer shells. Sensory pushes the boundaries of technology and textile manufacturing. 
 
Trend 2 – Allegiance. This trend teams the benefits of natural fibers with the guaranteed performance of advanced synthetic fabrics. The result is an increase in hybrid blends. From manufacturers of natural and synthetic yarn to textile suppliers and finishing producers, everyone is striving to deliver more environmentally sustainable products and manufacturing processes. This also influences the appearance. 
 
Trend 3 – Myriad. This trend is aimed at incredibly lightweight products crammed full of multi-functionality, enabling popular basics to be spruced up into new generation must haves. The developments in this section give rise to highly intelligent products that create new agility and improved functionality for the consumer. 
 
Trend 4 – Paragon. Paragon is geared toward everyone who strives to be the best in winter sports – the fabrics, trims and accessories make for a winning performance. Protective aspects also feature in this trend, from core stability and reflective elements to tear resistance and shock absorption. 
 
Trend 5 – Transmutation. This trend brings about fabrics and trims that adapt to different situations, especially through prints and yarn combinations inspired by metamorphism. Visually and structurally stimulating, products in this sector are screaming for attention in a whole host of scenarios, ranging from high-level performance and fun with a hint of glamour. 
 
Companies wishing to showcase their products at ISPO TEXTRENDS can register now at www.textrends.ispo.com . The application deadline is Sunday, October 30, 2016. An international expert judging panel will then assess all of the submissions. The selected materials will be exhibited at ISPO MUNICH 2017 in Hall C2.
 
The latest ISPO TEXTRENDS app reveals the best fabrics and components for making sportswear—get your copy from the ISPO SHOP.
 
More information on ISPO TEXTRENDS is available at www.textrends.ispo.com and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ispomunich
 
More information on textile trends is available on request from: stephanie.ledru@pascher-heinz.com