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(c) Toray
23.11.2021

Toray Industries: A Concept to change Lives

Founded in January 1926, Tokyo-based Japanese chemical company Toray Industries, Inc. is known as the world's largest producer of PAN (polyacrylonitrile)-based carbon fibers. But its overall portfolio includes much more. Textination spoke with Koji Sasaki, General Manager of the Textile Division of Toray Industries, Inc. about innovative product solutions, new responsibilities and the special role of chemical companies in today's world.

Toray Industries is a Japanese company that - originating in 1926 as a producer of viscose yarns - is on the home stretch to its 100th birthday. Today, the Toray Group includes 102 Japanese companies and 180 overseas. They operate in 29 countries. What is the current significance of the fibers and textiles business unit for the success of your company?

Founded in January 1926, Tokyo-based Japanese chemical company Toray Industries, Inc. is known as the world's largest producer of PAN (polyacrylonitrile)-based carbon fibers. But its overall portfolio includes much more. Textination spoke with Koji Sasaki, General Manager of the Textile Division of Toray Industries, Inc. about innovative product solutions, new responsibilities and the special role of chemical companies in today's world.

Toray Industries is a Japanese company that - originating in 1926 as a producer of viscose yarns - is on the home stretch to its 100th birthday. Today, the Toray Group includes 102 Japanese companies and 180 overseas. They operate in 29 countries. What is the current significance of the fibers and textiles business unit for the success of your company?

The fibers’ and textiles’ business is both the starting point and the foundation of Toray's business development today. We started producing viscose yarns in 1926 and conducted our own research and development in nylon fibers as early as 1940. And since new materials usually require new processing methods, Toray also began investing in its own process technology at an early stage. On the one hand, we want to increase our sales, and on the other hand, we want to expand the application possibilities for our materials. For this reason, Toray also began to expand its business from pure fibers to textiles and even clothing. This allows us to better respond to our customers' needs while staying at the forefront of innovation.

Over the decades, Toray has accumulated a great deal of knowledge in polymer chemistry and organic synthesis chemistry - and this know-how is the foundation for almost all of our other business ventures. Today, we produce a wide range of advanced materials and high-value-added products in plastics, chemicals, foils, carbon fiber composites, electronics and information materials, pharmaceuticals, medicine and water treatment. However, fibers and textiles remain our most important business area, accounting for around 40% of the company's sales.

What understanding, what heritage is still important to you today? And how do you live out a corporate philosophy in the textile sector that you formulate as "Contributing to society through the creation of new value with innovative ideas, technologies and products"?

Toray has consistently developed new materials that the world has never seen before. We do this by focusing on our four core technologies: Polymer chemistry, organic synthetic chemistry, biotechnology and nanotechnology. We do this by focusing on our four core technologies: Polymer chemistry, organic synthetic chemistry, biotechnology and nanotechnology. For textiles, this means we use new polymer structures, spinning technologies and processing methods to develop yarns with unprecedented properties. We always focus on the needs and problems of the market and our customers.

This approach enables us to integrate textiles with new functions into our everyday lives that natural fibers and materials cannot accomplish. For example, we offer sportswear and underwear that absorb water excellently and dry very quickly, or rainwear and outdoor clothing with excellent water-repellent properties that feature a less bulky inner lining. Other examples include antibacterial underwear, uniforms, or inner linings that provide a hygienic environment and reduce the growth of odor-causing bacteria. People enjoy the convenience of these innovative textiles every day, and we hope to contribute to their daily comfort and improve their lives in some way.

In 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 sustainable development goals – simply known as the 2030 Agenda, which came into force on January 01, 2016. Countries were given 15 years to achieve them by 2030. In your company, there is a TORAY VISION 2030 and a TORAY SUSTAINABILITY VISION. How do you apply these principles and goals to the textile business? What role does sustainability play for this business area?

Sustainability is one of the most important issues facing the world today - not only in the textile sector, but in all industries. We in the Toray Group are convinced that we can contribute to solving various problems in this regard with our advanced materials. At the same time, the trend towards sustainability offers interesting new business approaches. In our sustainability vision, we have set four goals that the world should achieve by 2050. And we have defined which problems need to be addressed to achieve this.

We must:

  1. accelerate measures to combat climate change,
  2. implement sustainable, recycling-oriented solutions in the use of resources and in production,
  3. provide clean water and air, and
  4. contribute to better healthcare and hygiene for people around the world.

We will drive this agenda forward by promoting and expanding the use of materials that respond to environmental issues. In the textile sector, for example, we offer warming and cooling textiles – by eliminating the need for air conditioning or heating in certain situations, they can help reduce energy costs. We also produce environmentally friendly textiles that do not contain certain harmful substances such as fluorine, as well as textiles made from biomass, which use plant-based fibers instead of conventional petrochemical materials. Our product range also includes recycled materials that reduce waste and promote effective use of resources.

The TORAY VISION 2030, on the other hand, is our medium-term strategic plan and looks at the issue of sustainability from a different angle: Toray has defined the path to sustainable and healthy corporate growth in it. In this plan, we are focusing on two major growth areas: Our Green Innovation Business, which aims to solve environmental, resource and energy problems, and the Life Innovation Business, which focuses on improving medical care, public health, personal safety and ultimately a longer expectancy of life.

Innovation by Chemistry is the claim of the Toray Group. In a world where REACH and Fridays for Future severely restrict the scope of the chemical industry, the question arises as to what position chemistry can have in the textile industry. How do chemistry, innovation and sustainability fit together here?

The chemical industry is at a turning point today. The benefits that this industry can bring to civilization are still enormous, but at the same time, disadvantages such as the waste of resources and the negative impact on the environment and ecosystems are becoming increasingly apparent. In the future, the chemical industry will have to work much more towards sustainability - there is no way around it.

As far as textiles are concerned, we believe there are several ways to make synthetic materials more sustainable in the future. One of these, as I said, is materials made from plants instead of petrochemical raw materials. Another is to reduce the amount of raw materials used in production in the first place – this can be achieved, for example, by collecting and recycling waste materials from production or sales. Biodegradable materials that reduce the impact of waste products on the environment are another option worth pursuing, as is the reduction of environmentally harmful substances used in the production process. We are already looking at all of these possibilities in Toray's synthetic textiles business. At the same time, by the way, we make sure to save energy in our own production and minimize the impact on the environment.

Toray's fibers & textiles segment focuses on synthetic fibers such as nylon, polyester and acrylic, as well as other functional fibers. In recent years, there has been a clear trend on the market towards cellulosic fibers, which are also being traded as alternatives to synthetic products. How do you see this development – on the one hand for the Toray company, and on the other hand under the aspect of sustainability, which the cellulosic competitors claim for themselves with the renewable raw material base?

Natural fibers, including cellulose fibers and wool, are environmentally friendly in that they can be easily recycled and are rapidly biodegradable after disposal. However, to truly assess their environmental impact, a number of other factors must also be considered: Primarily, there is the issue of durability: precisely because natural fibers are natural, it is difficult to respond to a rapid increase in demand, and quality is not always stable due to weather and other factors.

Climatic changes such as extreme heat, drought, wind, floods and damages from freezing can affect the quantity and quality of the production of natural fibers, so that the supply is not always secured. In order to increase production, not only does land have to be cleared, but also large amounts of water and pesticides have to be used to cultivate it – all of which is harmful to the environment.

Synthetic fibers, on the other hand, are industrial products manufactured in controlled factory environments. This makes it easier to manage fluctuations in production volume and ensure consistent quality. In addition, certain functional properties such as resilience, water absorption, quick drying and antibacterial properties can be embedded into the material, which can result in textiles lasting longer in use.

So synthetic fibers and natural fibers, including cellulose fibers, have their own advantages and disadvantages – there is no panacea here, at least not at the moment. We believe: It is important to ensure that there are options that match the consumer's awareness and lifestyle. This includes comfort in everyday life and sustainability at the same time.

To what extent has the demand for recycled products increased? Under the brand name &+™, Toray offers a fiber made from recycled PET bottles. Especially with the "raw material base: PET bottles", problems can occur with the whiteness of the fiber. What distinguishes your process from that of other companies and to what extent can you compete with new fibers in terms of quality?

During the production of the "&+" fiber, the collected PET bottles are freed from all foreign substances using special washing and filtering processes. These processes have not only allowed us to solve the problem of fiber whiteness – by using filtered, high-purity recycled polyester chips, we can also produce very fine fibers and fibers with unique cross sections. Our proven process technologies can also be used to incorporate specific textures and functions of Toray into the fiber. In addition, "&+" contains a special substance in the polyester that allows the material to be traced back to the recycled PET bottle fibers used in it.

We believe that this combination of aesthetics, sustainability and functionality makes the recycled polyester fiber "&+" more competitive than those of other companies. And indeed, we have noticed that the number of requests is steadily increasing as companies develop a greater awareness of sustainability as early as the product planning stage.

How is innovation management practiced in Toray's textile division, and which developments that Toray has worked on recently are you particularly proud of?

The textile division consists of three sub-divisions focusing on the development and sale of fashion textiles (WOMEN'S & MEN'S WEAR FABRICS DEPT.), sports and outdoor textiles (SPORTS WEAR & CLOTHING MATERIALS FABRICS DEPT.) and, specifically for Japan, textiles for uniforms used in schools, businesses and the public sector (UNIFORM & ADVANCED TEXTILES DEPT.).

In the past, each division developed its own materials for their respective markets and customers. However, in 2021, we established a collaborative space to increase synergy and share information about textiles developed in different areas with the entire department. In this way, salespeople can also offer their customers materials developed in other departments and get ideas for developing new textiles themselves.

I believe that the new structure will also help us to respond better to changes in the market. We see, for example, that the boundaries between workwear and outdoor are blurring – brands like Engelbert Strauss are a good example of this trend. Another development that we believe will accelerate after the Corona pandemic is the focus on green technologies and materials. This applies to all textile sectors, and we need to work more closely together to be at the forefront of this.

How important are bio-based polyesters in your research projects? How do you assess the future importance of such alternatives?

I believe that these materials will play a major role in the coming years. Polyester is made from purified terephthalic acid (PTA), which again consists of paraxylene (PX) and ethylene glycol (EG). In a first step, we already offer a material called ECODEAR™, which uses sugar cane molasses waste as a raw material for EG production.

About 30% of this at least partially bio polyester fiber is therefore biologically produced, and the material is used on a large scale for sportswear and uniforms. In the next step, we are working on the development of a fully bio-based polyester fiber in which the PTA component is also obtained from biomass raw materials, such as the inedible parts of sugar cane and wood waste.

Already in 2011, we succeeded in producing a prototype of such a polyester fiber made entirely from biomass. However, the expansion of production at the PX manufacturer we are working with has proven to be challenging. Currently, we are only producing small sample quantities, but we hope to start mass production in the 2020s.

Originally starting with yarn, now a leading global producer of synthetic fibers for decades, you also work to the ready-made product. The range extends from protective clothing against dust and infections to smart textiles and functional textiles that record biometric data. What are you planning in these segments?

In the field of protective clothing, our LIVMOA™ brand is our flagship material. It combines high breathability to reduce moisture inside the garment with blocking properties that keep dust and other particles out. The textile is suitable for a wide range of work environments, including those with high dust or grease levels and even cleanrooms. LIVMOA™ 5000, a high quality, also demonstrates antiviral properties and helps to ease the burden on medical personnel. The material forms an effective barrier against bacteria and viruses and is resistant to hygroscopic pressure. Due to its high breathability, it also offers high wearing comfort.

Our smart textile is called hitoe™. This highly conductive fabric embeds a conductive polymer – a polymer compound that allows electricity to pass through - into the nanofiber fabric. hitoe™ is a high-performance material for detecting biosignals, weak electrical signals that we unconsciously emit from our bodies.

In Japan, Toray has developed products for electrocardiographic measurements (ECGs) that meet the safety and effectiveness standards of medical devices. And in 2016, we submitted an application to the Japanese medical administrative authorities to register a hitoe™ device as a general medical device – this registration process is now complete. Overall, we expect the healthcare sector, particularly medical and nursing applications, to grow – not least due to increasing infectious diseases and growing health awareness among the elderly population. We will therefore continue to develop and sell new products for this market.

In 1885, Joseph Wilson Swan introduced the term "artifical silk" for the nitrate cellulose filaments he artificially produced. Later, copper, viscose and acetate filament yarns spun on the basis of cellulose were also referred to as artifical silk. Toray has developed a new innovative spinning technology called NANODESIGN™, which enables nano-level control of the fineness and shape of synthetic fibers. This is expected to create functions, aesthetics and textures that have not existed before. For which applications do you intend to use these products?

In NANODESIGN™ technology, the polymer is split into a number of microscopic streams, which are then recombined in a specific pattern to form a new fiber. By controlling the polymer flow with extreme precision, the fineness and cross-sectional shape of the fiber can be determined much more accurately than was previously possible with conventional microfiber and nanofiber spinning technologies. In addition, this technology enables the combination of three or more polymer types with different properties in one fiber – conventional technologies only manage two polymer types. This technology therefore enables Toray to specify a wide range of textures and functions in the production of synthetic fibers that were not possible with conventional synthetic fibers – and even to outperform the texture and feel of natural fibers. Kinari, our artificial silk developed with NANODESIGN technology, is a prime example here, but the technology holds many more possibilities – especially with regard to our sustainability goals.

What has the past period of the pandemic meant for Toray's textile business so far? To what extent has it been a burden, but in which areas has it also been a driver of innovation? What do you expect of the next 12 months?

The Corona catastrophe had a dramatic impact on the company's results: The Corona catastrophe had a dramatic impact on the company's results: In the financial year 2020, Toray's total sales fell by about 10% to 188.36 billion yen (about 1.44 billion euros) and operating profit by about 28% to 90.3 billion yen (about 690 million euros). The impact on the fiber and textile business was also significant, with sales decreasing by around 13% to 719.2 billion yen (approx. 5.49 billion euros) and operating profit by around 39% to 36.6 billion yen (approx. 280 million euros).

In the financial year 2021, however, the outlook for the fibers and textiles sector is significantly better: So far, the segment has exceeded its goals overall, even if there are fluctuations in the individual areas and applications. In the period from April to June, we even returned to the level of 2019. This is partly due to the recovering sports and outdoor sector. The fashion apparel market, on the other hand, remains challenging due to changing lifestyles that have brought lock-downs and home-office. We believe that a full recovery in business will not occur until the travel and leisure sector returns to pre-Corona levels.

Another side effect of the pandemic that we feel very strongly, is the growing concern about environmental issues and climate change. As a result, the demand for sustainable materials has also increased in the apparel segment. In the future, sustainability will be mandatory for the development and marketing of new textiles in all market segments. Then again, there will always be the question of how sustainable a product really is, and data and traceability will become increasingly important. In the coming years, the textile division will keep a close eye on these developments and develop materials that meet customers' needs.

About the person:
Koji Sasaki joined Toray in 1987. In his more than 30 years with the company, he has held various positions, including a four-year position as Managing Director of Toray International Europe GmbH in Frankfurt from 2016 to 2020. Since 2020, Koji Sasaki has been responsible for Toray's textile division and serves as acting chairman of Toray Textiles Europe Ltd. In these roles, he supervises the company's development, sales and marketing activities in the apparel segment, including fashion, sports and work or school uniforms.

The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, Managing partner Textination GmbH

(c) Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Jens Liebchen
31.08.2021

Textile Services Industry a key to providing sustainable solutions and eco-friendly best practice

How can the major sustainability challenges in the textile industry be met? The textile services industry, whose business model has always been based on durability and re-use, has an important role to play here as ambassador. In the run-up to Texcare International, Elena Lai, Secretary General European Textile Services Association (ETSA), talks about these challenges and her expectations for Texcare International from 27 November to 1 December 2021.

How can the major sustainability challenges in the textile industry be met? The textile services industry, whose business model has always been based on durability and re-use, has an important role to play here as ambassador. In the run-up to Texcare International, Elena Lai, Secretary General European Textile Services Association (ETSA), talks about these challenges and her expectations for Texcare International from 27 November to 1 December 2021.

The textile sector was identified as a priority sector in the European Green Deal and in the Circular Economy Action Plan. What are the implications for the European textile services industry?
Elena Lai:
We are in a truly historic and exciting time for the textile services industry. We are all well-aware that our industry is the key to providing sustainable solutions and ecofriendly best practice. We had a series of webinars at ETSA dedicated to sustainability and circular economy being key elements of the Green Deal and our larger companies such as industrial laundries, key textile manufacturers and innovative machinery companies, are all up to the task and providing effective solutions. Our national associations too, members of ETSA, are all working synergistically to exchange their best ways forward, in Europe and beyond as we have also partners from the US. These efforts within ETSA’s value chain make us really proud and eager to go the extra mile, guiding our members also towards those areas which seem to be the most challenging. For instance, the new EU Climate Law, which calls for 55% CO2 reductions by 2030: this means that European industries will all have to do better to make us reach these targets in less than nine years. We know ETSA could represent the right network to identify the best way forward on this issue and truly perform and deliver what the EU is advocating for.

How can the textile services industry contribute to achieving circular economy in the textile industry?
Elena Lai:
The business model of textile services is inherently circular. By having a business model which is focused on renting and reusing textiles we can see a litany of benefits that it can offer to the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan. Firstly, in renting textiles. Through rented textile services, textile service companies can extend the lifecycle of products and thus reduce the amount of production that is necessary to occur in the first place, while also reducing the amount of wastewater and energy needed in the laundry process. Secondly, through re-use and repair textile products can remain in consumer hands for longer, which is paramount as our industry is one that battles against planned obsolescence. Both of these are important pillars to our industries that will help both consumers and the planet. Lastly, by continuing to expand recycling and upcycling we can minimise waste, ensuring that a product stays inside the European economy as long as possible. These are all important steps and help us do our part to help Europe reach its emissions and sustainability goals.

Textile recycling is a very important point. How do you think the textile recycling rate can be increased?
Elena Lai:
The Commission will mandate separate waste sorting of textiles by the year 2025, thus recycling, upcycling and end of life re-use must be improved. A ban on the burning of unused textiles will also soon take effect, this will incentivise further recycling and waste reduction. Fundamentally what we in textiles services need to do is to continue to reduce, re-use and recycle. We can increase the rate of recycling by making consumers aware of rented textiles and textile services so to increase the public demand for such services.

How can sustainability in textile services be further improved?
Elena Lai:
In order to boost sustainability in our industry we need to build on the existing culture of innovation and entrepreneurship where exciting, new, out-of-the-box ideas can be developed and refined. EU programs like Horizon Europe, which emphasise green and digital solutions to common problems are an excellent way to empower citizens, textile service firms and local communities to take the initiative and take matters into their own hands. The EU’s Due Diligence legislation is one example of somewhere we can see both consumers and firms come together and take proactive action to improve sustainability, not only in textiles and textile services, but in European industry more broadly. To put it clearly, we have to strengthen our technological innovation while also empowering consumers, authorities and textile service firms, we believe our work at the EU level helps to make this a reality.

How does ETSA promote new projects in the field of sustainability?
Elena Lai:
We at ETSA have been hard at work lobbying EU policymakers for responsible legislation, while also spreading awareness of the industry’s best practice to the public. Recently ETSA has also become an EU Commission Climate Pact Ambassador. This is an exciting opportunity which will allow ETSA to work closely with European Institutions to inform and inspire real climate action amongst our members, national associations and the industry as a whole. ETSA is a platform where stakeholders, citizens, industries and European Union representatives can come together and have a dialogue on the best ways to improve Europe’s sustainability. Furthermore, we have been hard at work disseminating information on the best practice that will help Europe get to 55% emissions reductions, as well information on chemicals, waste-water, microplastics and other salient environmental issues. Our work is far from being done but we look forward to continuing to strive and advance via our focused Working Group on Environment and our webinars to make the world green and sustainable again.

What role will circular economy/sustainability play at Texcare?
Elena Lai:
A central role, several European and World Leaders have underlined, is that Climate Change is the most important issue of our time and it is imperative we act now. Climate Change is also an issue with a global spill over and therefore we all have a clear incentive to find solutions and work in synergy with each other. We need future-oriented dialogue which understands the urgent need for sustainability across the entire textile value chain. ETSA in synergy with one of our members, DTV, is working hard to put together a panel at Texcare dedicated to the sustainability debate, with lots of members and participants to get engaged.

What does ETSA expect from this year's Texcare?
Elena Lai:
We at ETSA are excited to be at Texcare, we think it’s a great opportunity to not only network and converse with other relevant actors in the industry but also to share best practice, concerns and most of all opportunities. Due to the pandemic we had a difficult year 2021 and this event will really enhance a stronger engagement of key actors in this sector. The need for green, sustainable and digital solutions is nonetheless imperative. We are looking forward to hearing of ways that the industry across the world not only continues to adapt to the evolving COVID situation, but also how it is embracing the green and digital transition that has been emphasised as being the futuristic approach by our EU policymakers. We at ETSA wholeheartedly look forward to this event.

Texcare International will take place from November 27 December 1, 2021 in Frankfurt am Main.

Photo: pixabay
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
(c) CHT Group
22.06.2021

CHT: "We are hiring." Humans Resources Policy in Times of Pandemic and Skills Shortage

The CHT Group is a globally operating company group for specialty chemicals. It has been in business for more than 65 years in a wide variety of industrial sectors and markets. Innovative and high-quality specialty chemicals alongside convincing services are just as much part of the portfolio as chemical auxiliaries and additives.

Textination spoke with Kurt Speckle [Head of Technical Service Dyestuffs] and Ursula Häberli [Head of Human Resources] specifically for the Textile Solutions division about the challenges of a successful human resources policy in such special times as a pandemic and the shortage of skilled workers.

The CHT Group is a globally operating company group for specialty chemicals. It has been in business for more than 65 years in a wide variety of industrial sectors and markets. Innovative and high-quality specialty chemicals alongside convincing services are just as much part of the portfolio as chemical auxiliaries and additives.

Textination spoke with Kurt Speckle [Head of Technical Service Dyestuffs] and Ursula Häberli [Head of Human Resources] specifically for the Textile Solutions division about the challenges of a successful human resources policy in such special times as a pandemic and the shortage of skilled workers.

The Technical Service Dyestuff department, headed by Kurt Speckle, who has worked for CHT for 32 years, currently comprises 16 people. It consists of a technical staff, which supports customers worldwide in the form of technical advice, on-site trials, lectures and in the creation of presentations, as well as a laboratory team, which handles inquiries regarding color settings, problem solutions, fastness, etc. Depending on the customer inquiry, both departments work hand in hand together.

The know-how and the heart of the technical staff consists of six people, all 50+, whom Kurt Speckle - with a grin - also calls "textile dinosaurs". In addition, young technicians with operational experience are being trained in order to be introduced to larger tasks. The apprenticeship training for textile laboratory technicians at CHT SWITZERLAND AG has a supporting effect.

As a globally operating company group for specialty chemicals, the CHT Group has been active in numerous industrial sectors and markets of 20 countries for more than 65 years. CHT Switzerland AG turns 50 this year and is the world's competence center for dyes. How has it been possible to establish and maintain such a good market position in dyes?

Kurt Speckle: In addition to the quality level of our products and the wide range of more than 700 products covering the various quality requirements of today's customers, CHT Switzerland also offers an excellent technical service for the product application. This globally known additional service makes us interesting for customers and generates inquiries worldwide. Transferring customer-specific problem solutions from our laboratory to production is one of the keys to our success.

In the Textile Solutions division, you have a wide range of specialty chemicals and dyes for textile production in your portfolio. In your opinion, in which direction is the textile industry currently moving in terms of dye chemistry - what trends do you see? What does this mean for your product range?

Kurt Speckle: One of the challenges today is to find the right dye gamma for the desired application. In recent years, we have constantly adapted the range to the new needs and requirements. In addition to these technical specifications, the entire textile finishing industry is also constantly confronted with new ecological and toxicological legal requirements. Textiles and also technical textiles not only have to meet certain fastness requirements, but also have to comply with countless label requirements. REACH and many labels lead to constant adjustments in the dye finishing to ensure that the products are up-to-date with the latest technology.

How does optimal teamwork work in the dyestuff team, and how can you ensure that the knowledge and experience gained over many years is passed on?

Kurt Speckle: Exchange of experience works with people who have practical experience. Only this can be built upon and new information can be stored accordingly. We operate and communicate on a common drive. Lively verbal communication is also essential for this. Our own tests in the laboratory and also in the production at customers' sites form the actual wealth of experience of our employees.

We are observing various megatrends that have taken a new turn as a result of the pandemic and that also directly affect your customers in the textile industry: Neo-ecology, connectivity and digitalization, health - to name just a few. To what extent does this challenge you as a service provider for your customers and as an employer? Is there a changed requirements profile for your employees?

Kurt Speckle: Due to the omission of traveling and direct customer contact, the working picture has of course changed. Due to the experience potential, however, many problem inquiries can be processed and solved via a wide variety of communication options. However, this cannot be seen as a sustainable and permanently established system. Experience and further development can only take place through practical trials on the most varied machines under the most varied conditions and with our dyes.

In which areas of training - whether at university or in apprenticeships - do you see a need for improvement in the curricula? Do career starters have the necessary skills for your company, or do you need to provide additional training in fundamental required areas?

Ursula Häberli: We train our future pool of specialists internally. In addition, we have several apprentices every year as textile and chemical laboratory technicians, whom we offer a permanent position afterwards. The training at the vocational school and in the advanced courses is excellent. The apprentices are challenged in many different areas. Textile laboratory assistants complete exactly the same training as chemical laboratory assistants, but have additional 240 lessons of textile training and textile courses. Textile laboratory assistants now require very extensive, in-depth and broad specialist knowledge. The textile industry is developing rapidly and new, complex content is constantly being added to the already very broad basic knowledge. We also actively support further education, for example the BSc Design & Technology at the Swiss Textile College. This training is broadly based and provides employees with good specialist knowledge and various additional essential skills.

What do you think about the personnel situation at CHT in general? Can you fill all positions? Who are you currently looking for most urgently?

Ursula Häberli: Our long-standing market presence and the good reputation we have built up over 50 years with our "customer first" approach always help us to attract talent. We are currently looking for a person as a textile technician for the Dyestuffs BU. Here we are planning early for the succession of a textile dinosaur who may retire in 2022. And for the Garment Team we are also looking for a textile technician.

The garment sector is a textile specialty that has been increasingly relocated to eastern countries in the last 10 years. Therefore, the search will certainly be a challenge.

You have built a career portal for CHT at https://career-switzerland.cht.com. With this website, you directly address different target groups: Apprentices, students, young professionals and experienced professionals. What role do the "old stagers" play in the company group?

Ursula Häberli: The old stagers are sometimes called "dinosaurs" by us - textile workers like them, with an often lifelong career in the textile world, are rare, pessimistically speaking: dying out. But all joking aside, the old stagers are enormously important. It is up to them to actively pass on their knowledge to future generations. This is already working very well on a day-to-day basis. The dyestuff team - including the boss - deliberately sits together in one large room so that a lot can be overheard and discussed. The team recently launched the "Textile Lunches". These are short concise learning nuggets to share knowledge and experience.

Employer branding seems to have been the magic word for some time now. Create an attractive employer brand, focus on strengths such as open corporate culture, transparent communication, responsibility for one's own area and employee benefits - and all positions are filled very quickly. What does CHT think of employer branding, what experience have you had with it, and what special offers do you provide to prospective employees?

Ursula Häberli: With the career site https://career-switzerland.cht.com, we have deliberately chosen a modern, outward-looking tool to strengthen our employer brand. CHT ambassadors tell their stories and make job seekers want to join us and help shaping the future. Another big plus is that the workplace is located in a wonderful landscape with a high recreational value, close to Lake Constance and an impressive mountain landscape, where our employees like to spend their time.

For some time now, the CHT company group has been operating under a new claim: Chemistry with Character. This statement was created for marketing purposes, but it certainly also says something about the company. What does this claim mean in particular for your personnel policy? Who is already on your team? Who are you looking for? And how many rough edges are employees allowed to have?

Ursula Häberli: We are looking for doers with high team player qualities. That's what sets us apart and makes us prepared for the future. We offer an extremely exciting field of work that demands a high degree of personal responsibility, initiative and creativity. We are proud to be the competence center for dyes at the Montlingen site - one of the few companies in the geographic area of Eastern Switzerland / Vorarlberg / Southern Germany that still exists and will continue to exist for a long time.

 

The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, Managing partner Textination GmbH

Photo: pixabay
25.05.2021

Water Saving Solution for Textile Industry EC Project Waste2Fresh

The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT, with its long-term expertise in nanotoxicity and nanosafety testing, contributes to a new EC project for water saving solutions for textile industry. This industry uses a vast amount of water for different steps in the textile dyeing process. It also produces a lot of wastewater, which contains a range of chemicals and dyes.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT, with its long-term expertise in nanotoxicity and nanosafety testing, contributes to a new EC project for water saving solutions for textile industry. This industry uses a vast amount of water for different steps in the textile dyeing process. It also produces a lot of wastewater, which contains a range of chemicals and dyes.

Breakthrough innovations are needed in energy intensive industries to recycle water and create closed loops in industrial processes. 20% of global industrial water pollution comes from textile manufacturing. To reduce the high amount of freshwater used in textile industry, the EC-funded Waste2Fresh project will develop a closed-loop process for textile manufacturing factories in which wastewater is collected, recycled and used again. Novel and innovative catalytic degradation approaches with highly selective separation and extraction techniques will be developed, based on nanotechnology. According to the European Commission, such “closed loops“ would significantly reduce the use of fresh water and improve water availability in the relevant EU water catchment areas, as outlined in the Water Framework Directive.

Closed loop recycling system for wastewater from textile manufacturers
Waste2Fresh meets the above challenges and industry needs by developing and demonstrating (to TRL 7) a closed loop recycling system for wastewater from textile manufacturing factories; to counteract freshwater resource scarcities and water pollution challenges exacerbated by energy intensive industries which are major users of fresh water (for e.g., processing, washing, heating, cooling).

The Waste2Fresh technology is developed to reduce current use of freshwater resources and considerably increases the recovery of water, energy and other resources (organics, salts and heavy metals). The result is a 30% increase in resource and water efficiency compared to the state-of-the-art. The system will ultimately lead to considerable environmental improvements and accordingly reduce the EC and global environmental footprint.

Fraunhofer IBMT expertise in human-toxicity and -safety testing
The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT will be primarily responsible for performing nanotoxicity and nanosafety testing during the whole technology process (from development to demonstration), ensuring that the developed system and processes meet relevant safety regulations. The Fraunhofer IBMT collaborates with all consortium partners developing and using to develop approaches for ensuring that the developed nanomaterial-based components meet relevant health and safety standards during their use.

For the hazard assessment of the developed nanomaterials, the Fraunhofer IBMT will perform a set of in vitro toxicity studies using commercially available human cell lines. The results of this toxicity studies will be the basis for the development of relevant safety procedures for handling and using the developed recycling technology.

 

Project funding: H2020-EU.2.1.5.3. - Sustainable, resource-efficient and low-carbon technologies in energy-intensive process industries

Duration: 12/2020- 11/2023

Coordinator:
KONYA TEKNIK UNIVERSITESI, Turkey

Project partners:
CENTRE FOR PROCESS INNOVATION LIMITED LBG, United Kingdom
ERAK GIYIM SANAYI VE TICARET ANONIM SIRKETI, Turkey
FRAUNHOFER GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER ANGEWANDTEN FORSCHUNG E.V., Fraunhofer-Institut für Biomedizinische Technik IBMT, Germany
INNOVATION IN RESEARCH & ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS, Belgium
INSTYTUT MOLEKULYARNOI BIOLOGII I GENETYKY NAN UKRAINY, Ukraine
L'UREDERRA, FUNDACION PARA EL DESARROLLO TECNOLOGICO Y SOCIAL, Spain
NANOFIQUE LIMITED, United Kingdom
NANOGENTECH LTD, United Kingdom
PCI MEMBRANES SPOLKA Z OGRANICZONA ODPOWIEDZIALNOSCIA, Poland
STIFTELSE CSDI WATERTECH, Norway
THE OPEN UNIVERSITY, United Kingdom
ULUDAG CEVRE TEKNOLOJILERI ARGE MERKEZI SANAYI VE TICARET LIMITED SIRKETI, Turkey
UNIVERSIDAD INDUSTRIAL DE SANTANDER, Colombia
UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI TRENTO, Italy
VEREALA GMBH, Switzerland
VSI SOCIALINES INOVACIJOS SVARESNEI APLINKAI, Lithiani

Photo: pixabay
18.05.2021

ECO PERFORMANCE AWARD and PERFORMANCE AWARD for innovative Summer Fabrics 2023

The digital Performance Days will kick off on May 17 through to May 21, providing online access to even more information, current trends, all the latest material innovations and enhanced tools while providing all within the industry the opportunity to interact with one another and with exhibitors.

The focus of the trend-setting PERFORMANCE FORUM in summer will highlight the winners of the two awards. This year, the jury will present a PERFORMANCE AWARD as well as an ECO PERFORMANCE AWARD.

The digital Performance Days will kick off on May 17 through to May 21, providing online access to even more information, current trends, all the latest material innovations and enhanced tools while providing all within the industry the opportunity to interact with one another and with exhibitors.

The focus of the trend-setting PERFORMANCE FORUM in summer will highlight the winners of the two awards. This year, the jury will present a PERFORMANCE AWARD as well as an ECO PERFORMANCE AWARD.

Function revisited: Outstanding fabric innovations for the Summer 2023 season
Plant-based fibers such as hemp, organic cotton, bamboo, wool, kapok or coconut shell remain in demand, with manufacturers increasingly refraining from the use of environmentally harmful chemicals, avoiding micro plastics, advocating natural dyeing processes and striving to either return fabrics back into the cycle, to recycle plastic and other waste or to produce fibers in such a way that they are biodegradable.

In the Marketplace, visitors have the opportunity to view more than 9.000 exhibitors’ products, including the fabric highlights of the individual PERFORMANCE FORUM categories. In order to present the fabrics to visitors in digital form as realistically as possible in terms of feel, design and structure, the PERFORMANCE FORUM has been equipped with state-of-the-art 3D technology, including innovative tools such as 3D images, video animations and U3M files for download.

Exceptional: PERFORMANCE AWARD & ECO PERFORMANCE AWARD Winners
For the Spring/Summer 2023 season, the jury also presented two awards for outstanding new developments – so in addition to the PERFORMANCE AWARD, presented to the winner Trenchant Textiles, there is also an ECO PERFORMANCE AWARD winner, in this year’s case, Utenos Trikotazas.

Sustainability at the highest level, wellbeing for body & soul:
With its fully biodegradable, brushed fleece material made of 11% hemp, 63% organic cotton and 26 % Tencel, Utenos Trikotazas fully convinced the jury and picked up the ECO PERFORMANCE AWARD for its sustainable comfort. The extremely comfy material is pleasant on the skin and impresses with an incredibly soft feel. Hemp is known for its natural anti-bacterial properties and natural UV protection. In combination with organic cotton and Tencel, this fabric guarantees ideal warmth and odour regulation.

Function redesigned, breaking down borders and creating space for the new: In keeping with the Focus Topic of the digital fair week “Still Physical – Your Success Story of 2020”, Trenchant Textiles combined functional features with fashionable design in its new fabric construction, fully deserving of the PERFORMANCE AWARD. The membrane on the outer side, SlickrB, is made of non-toxic, sustainable polypropylene membrane. By printing dot patterns on the surface of the membrane, the fabric provides greater abrasion resistance while maintaining its breathability properties. Absolutely revolutionary: patterns and colors can be altered individually according to preference. The inner liner made of N15DW (15D woven polyamide) also provides tear resistance as well as sufficient, adequate stretch.

Photo: pixabay
11.05.2021

Turning Pineapple Leaves - a sustainable Alternative to Leather

  • Spanish entrepreneur Carmen Hijosa is nominated for European Patent Office (EPO) prize European Inventor Award 2021 for her sustainable alternative to leather
  • Development of a process for turning pineapple leaves into a soft, durable and versatile natural material
  • Environmentally-friendly alternative supports local farming communities and is sought after by major international fashion brands

The European Patent Office (EPO) announces that Spanish entrepreneur Carmen Hijosa has been nominated in the "SMEs" category of the European Inventor Award 2021 for developing a leather alternative made from pineapple leaf fibres. Her innovative textile uses a waste resource and can be produced with less impact on the environment compared with making cow leather.

  • Spanish entrepreneur Carmen Hijosa is nominated for European Patent Office (EPO) prize European Inventor Award 2021 for her sustainable alternative to leather
  • Development of a process for turning pineapple leaves into a soft, durable and versatile natural material
  • Environmentally-friendly alternative supports local farming communities and is sought after by major international fashion brands

The European Patent Office (EPO) announces that Spanish entrepreneur Carmen Hijosa has been nominated in the "SMEs" category of the European Inventor Award 2021 for developing a leather alternative made from pineapple leaf fibres. Her innovative textile uses a waste resource and can be produced with less impact on the environment compared with making cow leather. Hijosa has been commercialising her invention through her London-based SME since 2013, and today her natural leather alternative supports farming communities and cooperatives in the Philippines and is sought after by major international fashion brands.
 
The winners of the 2021 edition of the EPO's annual innovation prize will be announced at a ceremony starting at 19:00 CEST on 17 June which has this year been reimagined as a digital event for a global audience.

Inventing a natural textile from waste pineapple leaf fibre  
Conventional leather production is controversial, given the vast resources needed to raise cattle for slaughter, the risk of pollution posed by the chemical-heavy tanning process, and the often dire working conditions in tanneries. Hijosa experienced the reality of global leather production first-hand while working as a World Bank textile design consultant in the Philippines in 1993.

Moved by the negative environmental and social impacts of the local leather production process, she decided to develop a sustainable textile that was suitable for export and made better use of Filipino skills and raw materials. “Pineapple leaf fibres are very strong, fine and flexible, and have been used in the Philippines for 300 years in traditionally hand-woven textiles,” explains Hijosa. “I began to think: ‘What if I make a mesh with these pineapple leaf fibres, which is not unlike leather – a mesh of fibres?’.”
She set out to replicate leather’s mesh of collagen fibres, diving into a 12-year research and development process that involved completing several textile degrees, setting up a company and refinancing her house to keep researching and complete her PhD, before successfully creating the textile called Piñatex and perfecting its production. This involves stripping the cellulose fibres from leaves and first manufacturing textile grade fibres. These are then processed into a non-woven mesh textile, which is further enhanced and softened into a leather alternative.

The raw material that forms the base of Hijosa’s textile is a by-product of pineapple harvesting in the Philippines, offering an additional income to farmers and using an otherwise discarded resource. This waste source is significant with the world’s top ten pineapple producing countries creating enough leaves to potentially replace more than 50% of the world’s leather output with Hijosa’s material. Piñatex also requires much less water than textiles such as cotton, which consumes over 20 000 litres of water per kilogram. What is more, it is produced using fewer chemicals and less CO2 compared with leather production, further enhancing the sustainability credentials of Hijosa’s textile.

Innovation offering consumers more sustainable choices
In 2011, Hijosa filed a patent application for the textile and its production, before founding Ananas Anam as a start-up in 2013 to launch Piñatex commercially. For her, this part of the process was essential: “The IP was a pivotal part for securing funds, securing the product’s future and its market potential.” Today, she remains Chief Creative & Innovation Officer and is at the forefront of new developments in plant-based, waste-based textiles. Her pioneering work has positioned the company as a market leader at a time where consumers are starting to push for more sustainable choices.

Since 2013 the turnover of Hijosa’s company has roughly doubled every year through to 2019 and grown by 40% in 2020. It employs around 10 staff in its London site and works with factories in the Philippines and Spain, as well as the biggest Filipino pineapple-growing collective, which comprises 700 families who benefit from an additional income by supplying waste leaves. Piñatex is currently used by almost 3.000 brands in 80 countries. It can be found in a growing range of products – from trainers to jackets, car interiors, handbags and even in the world’s first all-vegan hotel suite.

A range of other plant-based alternatives to leather exist or are in development – based on anything from apple cores to mushrooms – highlighting the trend towards plant and waste-based textiles. The combined global leather (animal and synthetic) market was valued at EUR 374 billion in 2017, and although real leather is becoming scarce and therefore expensive, the overall market is predicted to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 5.40% until 2025. Although recent volcanic eruptions near their factories in the Philippines and pandemic-related restrictions have temporarily slowed production, Hijosa says the company’s outlook remains strong as consumers are starting to push for more sustainable choices.


Dr. Carmen Hijosa
… was born in Salas, Asturias, Spain, on 17 March 1952. After moving to Ireland at the age of 19, Hijosa co-founded the luxury leather manufacturing company Chesneau Leather Goods in 1977. There, she also served as director of design and sold to high-end clients such as Harrods. After running the company for 15 years, she began working as a textile consultant for the World Bank, as well as at research institutes in Germany and Ireland on EU-funded projects in the 1990s, bringing her textile design expertise to developing markets. In 1993, the World Bank asked her to consult on the Philippine leather industry. Seeing the industry’s negative environmental and social impact, she was driven to develop a sustainable alternative (a leather replacement derived from pineapple leaves). From 2009 to 2014, Hijosa completed a PhD in textiles at the Royal College of Art in London, further developing her prototype textile. In 2013, she founded the company Ananas Anam Ltd. to commercialise the leather alternative. Carmen Hijosa holds one European patent, EP2576881, granted in 2018.

About the European Inventor Award
The European Inventor Award is one of Europe's most prestigious innovation prizes. Launched by the EPO in 2006, it honours individual inventors and teams of inventors whose pioneering inventions provide answers to some of the biggest challenges of our times. The finalists and winners are selected by an independent jury consisting of international authorities from the fields of business, politics, science, academia and research who examine the proposals for their contribution towards technical progress, social development, economic prosperity and job creation in Europe. The Award is conferred in five categories (Industry, Research, SMEs, Non-EPO countries and Lifetime achievement). In addition, the public selects the winner of the Popular Prize from among the 15 finalists through online voting.

(c) Porsche AG
04.05.2021

Fraunhofer: Lightweight and Ecology in Automotive Construction

  • The “Bioconcept-Car” moves ahead

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

  • The “Bioconcept-Car” moves ahead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

  • EU Project ALMA: Thinking Ahead to Electromobility

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

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

photo: pixabay
20.04.2021

Biomolecules from renewable Raw Materials for the Textile Industry

Water-repellent and more: coating textiles sustainably with chitosan

Textiles can be coated with the biopolymer chitosan and thus made water-repellent by binding hydrophobic molecules. The good thing is that this can also replace toxic and petroleum-based substances that are currently used for textile finishing. In the last few years Fraunhofer IGB and partners in the HydroFichi project have researched how this can be done: A technology has been developed to provide fibers with the desired properties using biotechnological processes and chitosan.

Water-repellent and more: coating textiles sustainably with chitosan

Textiles can be coated with the biopolymer chitosan and thus made water-repellent by binding hydrophobic molecules. The good thing is that this can also replace toxic and petroleum-based substances that are currently used for textile finishing. In the last few years Fraunhofer IGB and partners in the HydroFichi project have researched how this can be done: A technology has been developed to provide fibers with the desired properties using biotechnological processes and chitosan.

The manufacture of textiles is, even nowadays, still largely characterized by the use of chemicals: biotechnological processes, enzymes and renewable raw materials have so far played a subordinate role. For example, at present chiefly perfluorinated chemicals are used when finishing textiles to obtain water- and oil-repellent properties. These are harmful to health and also only degradable to a small degree, which is why they remain in the environment for so long.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB has been researching sustainable biobased alternatives for some time. In the HydroFichi project – short for Hydrophobic Finishing with Chitosan – which was completed at the end of January 2021, researchers at the institute developed a way of producing chitosan from waste streams and using the biopolymer not only as a sizing agent in the processing of yarns, but also for the functionalization of textiles in the finishing process.

Chitosan from waste for environmental protection, medical purposes or textiles
Chitosan is a renewable raw material that is derived from chitin; after cellulose, it is the second most common naturally occurring biopolymer. Sources of the nitrogen-containing polysaccharide can be crab shells from fishing waste, insect skins and shells that result from the production of animal feed, or – as a vegan variant – the cell walls of mushrooms. The structure of the two molecules is very similar; the only difference is an acetyl group, which is removed when it is converted to chitosan. Chitin is insoluble in water and most organic solvents. Chitosan is also not readily soluble; however, the addition of mild acids makes the biopolymer water-soluble and it can therefore be used as a textile auxiliary.

In order to isolate chitosan from a particular waste stream, chitin must first be obtained from the starting materials by means of demineralization and deproteinization and then its derivative chitosan. The properties of chitosan can be individually adapted by choosing the appropriate conditions. The biomolecule produced in this way can be used directly in a wide variety of practical applications – for example as a flocculant in wastewater treatment or as a drug carrier in medicines.

There are also numerous conceivable uses for chitosan in the textile industry. In sizing, for example, the efficiency of the natural substance has proved convincing in pilot scale tests carried out by the German Institutes of Textile and Fiber Research Denkendorf. Here, the effectiveness was shown in the significantly lower roughness of the yarns after weaving textile fabrics. The values achieved with chitosan from insects were comparable to those from commercial crab shells. In the future, this fact will enable completely new possibilities of extraction in line with the bioeconomy.

As a renewable raw material, chitosan replaces fossil chemicals
“Our aim in the HydroFichi project was to provide the textile industry with a raw material for a wide variety of applications that can be obtained from renewable educts, at the same time avoiding chemicals that damage the environment and health,” explains project manager Dr. Achim Weber, deputy head of the innovation field Functional Surfaces and Materials at Fraunhofer IGB. “In addition to simple coating with chitosan, which protects the fibers, we were also able to use the substance as an anchor molecule to create cross-linking points for a wide variety of functional groups and thus to provide textiles with specific properties such as making them water-repellent. Chitosan can therefore function as a matrix material or template at the same time, and this can be done with a wide variety of fiber materials.”

The finishes were evaluated using standardized tests, but also with specially designed test stands and methods. For example, measurements on treated textiles showed contact angles of over 140°. This means that the fabrics are very water-repellent and confirms that the processing of the textiles has been successful. In a next step, the technology developed at the IGB is to be transferred from the laboratory scale to the much larger pilot scale in order to make the sustainable biomolecule ready for market use as quickly as possible, for example in the sports and outdoor sector.

For the first time biotechnological processes in textile finishing
In the project, the IGB scientists and four partners from the textile industry – the German Institutes of Textile and Fiber Research Denkendorf (DITF), J.G. Knopf's Sohn GmbH, Helmbrechts, and Textilchemie Dr. Petry, Reutlingen – were able for the first time to establish biotechnological processes in raw material extraction and finishing that have proven to be compatible with all textile processes. So far, this is a unique selling point in the finishing of textiles. “We have all recognized the great potential of chitosan for efficient hydrophobization and as a functional carrier. And, thanks to the good cooperation, we were able to successfully establish techniques for tailor-made functionalization of textiles,” adds Dr. Thomas Hahn, who conducts research in the innovation field of Industrial Biotechnology at the IGB. “In addition, other fields of application for the biopolymer are very promising. That is why we initiated the follow-up project ExpandChi immediately after HydroFichi, in which together with our partners techniques are to be developed to use biobased chitosan as a functional carrier to replace other synthetic polymers, for example for a special anti-wrinkle or flame-retardant coating. The textile industry is very interested in utilizing such a sustainable biomolecule as quickly as possible.“

The “HydroFichi” project was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under promotional reference 031B0341A; the follow-up project “ExpandChi”, which began in February 2021, is funded under promotional reference 031B1047A.

(c) PERFORMANCE DAYS functional fabric fair
29.12.2020

PERFORMANCE DAYS: Positive Feedback for Online Fair and sustain & innovate Conference

As a result of the Corona pandemic, the PERFORMANCE DAYS fair on December 9th - 10th and the accompanying sustain&innovate conference for sustainability on December 10 could only take place in digital form. Nevertheless: exhibitors, visitors and partners can look back on a successful event. The focus topic “Nothing to Waste – Closing the Loop“ relating to the issue of the textile circular economy in the course of the sustain&innovate conference also provided great discussion material while generating a positive response.

As a result of the Corona pandemic, the PERFORMANCE DAYS fair on December 9th - 10th and the accompanying sustain&innovate conference for sustainability on December 10 could only take place in digital form. Nevertheless: exhibitors, visitors and partners can look back on a successful event. The focus topic “Nothing to Waste – Closing the Loop“ relating to the issue of the textile circular economy in the course of the sustain&innovate conference also provided great discussion material while generating a positive response.

The PERFORMANCE DAYS team also expresses its satisfaction. Because despite the event being solely a digital event on the 9th and 10th of December 2020, an estimated 15,000 participants made extensive use of the comprehensive online offerings of the 191 digital exhibitors, among them drirelease/OPTIMER, Merryson, Stotz, HeiQ, Schoeller Textil, Long Advance, Dry-Tex, Utenos, Fidlock, Cifra, dekoGraphics and Jia Meir, during the week of the fair. The popular “Contact Supplier” function was supplemented with a new online tool that allows exhibitors to be contacted directly via chat, call or per video. A total of 3,250 fabric sample orders were placed with exhibitors. The variety on offer included fabric innovations for Autumn/Winter 2022/2023 within the top class PERFORMANCE FORUM and an extensive digital supporting program via live-stream with informative webinars, talks and rounds of discussions. Best of all: the resulting videos will be available on demand on the PERFORMANCE DAYS website free of charge.  
 
Finally standard: PERFORMANCE FORUM with sustainable materials
Innovative, sustainable and cutting-edge: the 240 fabrics plus accessory trends at this year’s PERFORMANCE FORUM impressed throughout with exciting environmentally conscious solutions. Natural fibers such as hemp, organic cotton, bamboo, wool or coconut shell remain in demand, while manufacturers are also increasingly refraining from the use of environmentally harmful chemicals, avoiding microplastics, advocating natural dyeing processes and either trying to return fabrics to the cycle, recycle plastic and other waste in order to produce fibres in such a way that they are biodegradable. This environmental awareness is also reflected in this year’s FOCUS TOPIC – so here the 24 best fabrics not only score in terms of sustainability, but also demonstrate that they are both functional and can be returned to the textile cycle, true to the motto “Nothing to Waste – Closing the Loop.   

In the Marketplace section, visitors have the opportunity to view more than 9,500 exhibitor products, including the fabric highlights of the individual categories of the PERFORMANCE FORUMS. In order to be able to digitally present the fabrics to visitors as realistically as possible in terms of feel, design and structure, the Forum has been equipped with innovative 3D technology, including innovative tools such as 3D images, video animations and U3M files for download.  

From fiber to fiber: successful sustain&innovate conference generates discussion  
Textile circular economy is considered part of the solution to the global waste problem, curbing the consumption of resources and reducing climate damaging greenhouse gases. But what exactly is the circular economy and how can it succeed? Most importantly, how far are fiber manufacturers in developing mono-component fabrics that can eventually be returned back into the textile cycle?    
The Focus Topic of this year’s sustainability conference, launched in cooperation with SPORTSFASHION by SAZ, offered a platform for discussion and strove to enlighten with evocative talks, discussion rounds and webinars. Christiane Dolva, Head of Sustainability at Fjällräven, got to the heart of the matter at the start of the expert talks on the second day of the fair, outlining how important emotional consistency is for the brand itself and ultimately also for the consumer – especially when it comes to textile recycling. Durability, good quality, in combination with timeless design are more important than ever today and in the future in terms of sustainable action. Added to this is the possibility of reviving products by means of a repair service. Equally exciting: the development of new technologies in terms of recycling. Erik Bang from the H&M Foundation provided a first glimpse of the new Greenmachine, which should make it possible to separate mixed fabrics such as cotton and polyester as early as 2021. Alternatively, old clothing is converted into new fibres thanks to companies such as WornAgain, Re:newcell, Spinnova or Infinited Fiber, which soon promises to be more than just a mere vision. For those who wish to gain insight into the supply chain of their purchased garment, the start-up know your stuff lets customers track the journey of the respective garment by simply scanning a QR code on the garment in a store or online.    
 
Free extensive retrospective
The next edition of PERFORMANCE DAYS is planned as a hybrid fair and will take place on May 19th and May 20th, 2021 in Munich as well as online. Until then, the PERFORMANCE DAYS platform will remain accessible, for instance with the Marketplace and further inspiring topics of (video) material stories to make online sourcing even easier. The talks from the first day of the fair and the conference will be accessible free of charge on the fair website.

The most importantt links:
Highlights of Expert Talks & Webinars
https://www.performancedays.com/digital-fair/expert-talk-webinar.html

Marketplace:
https://www.performancedays.com/marketplace.html

3D-Forum:
https://www.performancedays.com/digital-fair/forum-highlights/3d-forum.html

PERFORMANCE COLORS by Nora Kühner
https://www.performancedays.com/digital-fair/color-trends.html

More information:
Performance Days
Source:

PERFORMANCE DAYS functional fabric fair

Carl Meiser GmbH & Co. KG (c) Carl Meiser GmbH & Co. KG
06.10.2020

Nopma - Experts for antimicrobial finishing: Technical textile coatings from the Swabian Alb

The Carl Meiser GmbH & Co. KG - started in the early 1950s as a day- and nightwear manufacturer. Over the last 20 years the company has become a specialist in the field of technical textiles. With its brand nopma Technical Textiles the company is present as developer and producer of textile solutions via coatings. The main products are nopma anti-slip - textiles with anti-slip effect, nopma adhesion - adhesive pre-coated films, spacer fabrics and substrates for lamination in automotive interiors, nopma ceramics - abrasive more resistant textile surfaces and nopma silicones - silicone coatings on textile surfaces.

Textination talked to the managing director, Jens Meiser, who joined the company in 2005, realigned the division and developed it into a service provider, about his plans and objectives.

The Carl Meiser GmbH & Co. KG - started in the early 1950s as a day- and nightwear manufacturer. Over the last 20 years the company has become a specialist in the field of technical textiles. With its brand nopma Technical Textiles the company is present as developer and producer of textile solutions via coatings. The main products are nopma anti-slip - textiles with anti-slip effect, nopma adhesion - adhesive pre-coated films, spacer fabrics and substrates for lamination in automotive interiors, nopma ceramics - abrasive more resistant textile surfaces and nopma silicones - silicone coatings on textile surfaces.

Textination talked to the managing director, Jens Meiser, who joined the company in 2005, realigned the division and developed it into a service provider, about his plans and objectives.

Founded in 1952, Carl Meiser GmbH & Co.KG has changed from a day- and nightwear manufacturer to an innovator in the field of technical textiles, presenting themselves as a specialist for plastic-based coating processes. If you had to introduce yourself in 100 words to someone who does not know the company: What has influenced you most in this development process and what makes you unique?
Innovation is the new normal - This has been true for the textile industry not just since Sars CoV-2. Our industry was one of the first to be disrupted in the early 1990s and has always been subject to constant change. This urge for further development, which is essential for survival, has left its mark on us intensively and has enabled us to manage huge leaps in innovation in recent years

Today we regard ourselves as an innovative development and production service provider with a focus on textile coating. We develop and produce almost exclusively customized special solutions.

Through the combination of coatings on textiles these hybrid materials receive completely new properties.

You manufacture exclusively at your location in Germany. Why? Have you never been tempted to set up subsidiaries in other countries, for example to benefit from lower wage levels?
Today we supply global supply chains from our headquarter in southern Germany. Although we produce in a high-wage country, much more important for us are know-how and the drive of our team to create something new. Globalization will continue to be the key to success in the future. Therefore, subsidiaries in North America and Asia could be very interesting for us in the medium- and long-term perspective. However, this is still too early for us.

You use CIP and Kaizen techniques intensively in your company. How did a Japanese concept come about in the Swabian Alb?
KAIZEN, the change for the better, are actually German virtues. The urge to improve and optimize things is in all of us. Due to the continuous improvement process we do not stand still but evolve constantly. Besides, there is the personal affinity to Japan. A look at another culture simply opens the horizon. And if you additionally recognize parallels in the working methods, it’s even better. 

10 years ago, you turned your attention to new markets: aviation, automotive, protection, caravan and furniture manufacturing, to name just a few. Some of these segments have collapsed significantly during the Covid 19 pandemic. What market development do you expect in the medium term and what consequences will this have for your company?
Of course, the aviation or automotive industry, for example, have substantial problems during or due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Quite honestly, many of these problems existed before. They were further tightened, as if a fire accelerator has been used. Of course, these cut-backs are also hitting us hard economically. But we are pursuing long-term goals. As a medium-sized company, you have to have the resilience to continue on your path. Thanks to our specialisation and the split of our industrial sectors, which we drive forward every day, we manage to decouple ourselves more and more from economic developments in individual industries. For our customers this is a great advantage of relying on a very stable partner with long-term orientation.

We are positive about the future. Megatrends like sustainability, digitization and ongoing globalization will lead to new business models in the above-mentioned sectors, as in many others, and to renewed growth. Our coatings on textiles and flexible woven materials can contribute a wide range of solutions to this. If, for example, materials become lighter with identical usage properties or suddenly become biodegradable, because of biodegradable plastics, many new opportunities will arise.

Tailor-made instead of solutions for major customers: The topic of individualization down to batch size 1 is making up a large part of the discussion today. In 2015, you opened a large development laboratory where you have a wide range of testing technologies for textiles and plastics available. What do you think about individual product solutions, and in which application areas have you successfully implemented them?
In principle, we do not use any standards. We live individualization with the smallest possible batch sizes. In our field, we do not manage batch size 1, but we start with MOQs of 300 running meters at process-safe series production. We have very few finished products, and above all we have no collections. Our development laboratory is the key for this. Together with our customers we have the possibilities to realize very lean development processes.

Even on a laboratory scale, we can develop and test new products within just a few hours. We then strive to scale up to production at a very early stage in order to obtain production series results. This way, we offer our clients speed and power that represent a special potential for our partners.

You register important input factors in the production process and evaluate them in monthly environmental analyses. What are these factors in concrete terms and to what extent have their analyses already changed production operations? How do you define environmental management for your company?
For us, environmental management means a holistic approach. In principle, we operate production units and manufacture products that consume many resources. Due to the high production volumes, this continues to accumulate. Because of this, it is self-understanding that we record and evaluate our input and output flows and derive measures from them. This makes economic sense, but is also necessary because of our responsibility for our environment. Specifically, these are energy consumption values, consumption data of primary chemicals, electricity load peaks, our Co2 footprint, just to name a few. This consideration has changed us in many areas. Today we operate a power plant with gas condensing technology, our free roof areas are greened or carry photovoltaic modules, we offer our employees and visitors electric filling stations and finally we have converted the entire power supply of our factory to environmentally friendly hydroelectric power.

With nopma, you have been building up a brand for the technical textiles industry since several years and communicate this via an Individual website parallel to Carl Meiser GmbH & Co. KG. How did this brand name come about and what is the product portfolio behind it?
This is the name of a first technical textile product from the 1990s. It was a textile - coated with dots. Dots on a knitted fabric. NOPMA. My father created this brand.

In 2016 you invested in an additional production line for nopma products and were able to start a directly serial delivery in the NAFTA area. How do you currently assess the market opportunities for North America and Mexico?
We continue to see opportunities in globalization and thus on the North American market also. However, these markets are still severely affected by the pandemic and there are major distortions. When these return to normal, we surely will see more success on these markets again.

As an innovation leader, Meiser offers solvent-free PU adhesive systems as pre-coatings for lamination. How do you assess the importance of such innovations in the context of REACH?
These innovations offer our customers the opportunity to decouple themselves from the pressure REACH triggers in some industries. However, we also have some products that have been developed newly in recent months. This keeps us busy, but also creates opportunities to open up new market segments.

How have you felt about the corona era to date - as a company and personally? What would you on no account want to go through again and what might you even consider maintaining on a daily basis?
I think this time has also strengthened us as a society, as people and even as entrepreneurs. Each crisis you go through makes you a little more relaxed for the unforeseen, but also more motivated to achieve your goals. In my opinion, there have been a lot of positive things in the last few months. Suddenly, for example, digitalization tools have become accepted in our everyday lives, and I feel that people are paying more attention to others again. Hopefully this will stay this way.

The futuristic "tube" escalator at the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall is just as impressive as the building itself and the longest escalator in western Europe. In August, a start-up based in Cologne installed an UV technology that keeps the handrails clean at all times. At the same time, you presented an antiviral functional coating that can be applied to all textiles in the form of yard goods. How does this work and for what purposes will this technology be suitable?
We have already been working with antimicrobial finishing techniques for many years. This already started with the swine flu in 2009/2010, when we made initial contacts with a young start-up and launched a development. Due to a lack of market interest, however, this had to be discontinued after a few months. Today we are experts in the field of "antimicrobial equipment by means of coatings". We were also able to build up an enormous amount of knowledge on the subject of approval and biocide regulation. Today, we can support our customers holistically in these areas. The function by skin-compatible active substances from the cosmetics sector with a vesicle booster can kill viruses and bacteria within a few minutes.
Since the pandemic has shown us the enormous importance of a new level of hygiene, the applications are very diverse and differentiated. We have already realized the use in personal protective equipment, work furniture, vehicles and for example gloves. In principle, every application is predestined where textile carriers are exposed to many touches by different persons in high frequency. Here our nopma products offer a new level of protection and hygiene.

To break new ground means decisiveness, overcoming fears - and thus the courage to fail. Not every project can succeed. In retrospect - about which entrepreneurial decision are you particularly glad to have made it?
We fail again and again. This is part of the game. But it has never happened that we did not learn anything. The pandemic situation is another good example. In spring we accepted our corporate responsibility for our society and were one of two companies in Baden-Württemberg to achieve certification for FFP protective masks. Since we did not want to participate in the revolver market at that time, we offered these products only to the public sector at favourable pre-crisis prices. However, the decision makers could not make up their minds for weeks and did not order. This disappointed our whole team very much at that time. Today we have overcome this and have taken a lot of knowledge with us from this development.


The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

Cell cultures or microorganisms can already replace many animal experiments. This is even more successful if the technologies are integrated into suitable data models. Photo: EMPA
04.08.2020

Nanosafety Research without Animal Testing

  • Risk analyses for nanoparticles

In order to reduce the number of animal experiments in research, alternative methods are being sought. This is a particular challenge if the safety of substances that have hardly been studied is to be ensured, for instance, the completely new class of nanomaterials. To accomplish just that, Empa researchers are now combining test tube experiments with mathematical modelling.

  • Risk analyses for nanoparticles

In order to reduce the number of animal experiments in research, alternative methods are being sought. This is a particular challenge if the safety of substances that have hardly been studied is to be ensured, for instance, the completely new class of nanomaterials. To accomplish just that, Empa researchers are now combining test tube experiments with mathematical modelling.

They are already in use in, say, cosmetics and the textile industry: Nanoparticles in sun blockers protect us from sunburn, and clothing with silver nanoparticles slows down bacterial growth. But the use of these tiny ingredients is also linked to the responsibility of being able to exclude negative effects for health and the environment. Nanoparticles belong to the still poorly characterized class of nanomaterials, which are between one and 100 nanometers in size and have a wide range of applications, for example in exhaust gas catalytic converters, wall paints, plastics and in nanomedicine. As new and unusual as nanomaterials are, it is still not clear whether or not they pose any risks to humans or the environment.

This is where risk analyses and life cycle assessments (LCA) come into play, which used to rely strongly on animal experiments when it came to determining the harmful effects of a new substance, including toxicity. Today, research is required to reduce and replace animal experiments wherever possible. Over the past 30 years, this approach has led to a substantial drop in animal testing, particularly in toxicological tests. The experience gained with conventional chemicals cannot simply be transferred to novel substances such as nanoparticles, however. Empa scientists are now developing new approaches, which should allow another substantial reduction in animal testing while at the same time enabling the safe use of nanomaterials.

"We are currently developing a new, integrative approach to analyze the risks of nanoparticles and to perform life cycle assessments," says Beatrice Salieri from Empa's Technology and Society lab in St. Gallen. One new feature, and one which differs from conventional analyses, is that, in addition to the mode of action of the substance under investigation, further data is included, such as the exposure and fate of a particle in the human body, so that a more holistic view is incorporated into the risk assessment.

These risk analyses are based on the nanoparticles' biochemical properties in order to develop suitable laboratory experiments, for example with cell cultures. To make sure the results from the test tube ("in vitro") also apply to the conditions in the human body ("in vivo"), the researchers use mathematical models ("in silico"), which, for instance, rely on the harmfulness of a reference substance. "If two substances, such as silver nanoparticles and silver ions, act in the very same way, the potential hazard of the nanoparticles can be calculated from that," says Salieri.

But for laboratory studies on nanoparticles to be conclusive, a suitable model system must first be developed for each type of nanoparticle. "Substances that are inhaled are examined in experiments with human lung cells," explains Empa researcher Peter Wick who is heading the "Particles-Biology Interactions" lab in St. Gallen. On the other hand, intestinal or liver cells are used to simulate digestion in the body.

This not only determines the damaging dose of a nanoparticle in cell culture experiments, but also includes all biochemical properties in the risk analysis, such as shape, size, transport patterns and the binding – if any – to other molecules. For example, free silver ions in a cell culture medium are about 100 times more toxic than silver nanoparticles bound to proteins. Such comprehensive laboratory analyses are incorporated into so-called kinetic models, which, instead of a snapshot of a situation in the test tube, can depict the complete process of particle action.

Finally, with the aid of complex algorithms, the expected biological phenomena can be calculated from these data. "Instead of 'mixing in' an animal experiment every now and then, we can determine the potential risks of nanoparticles on the basis of parallelisms with well-known substances, new data from lab analyses and mathematical models," says Empa researcher Mathias Rösslein. In future, this might also enable us to realistically represent the interactions between different nanoparticles in the human body as well as the characteristics of certain patient groups, such as elderly people or patients with several diseases, the scientist adds.

As a result of these novel risk analyses for nanoparticles, the researchers also hope to accelerate the development and market approval of new nanomaterials. They are already being applied in the "Safegraph" project, one of the projects in the EU's "Graphene Flagship" initiative, in which Empa is involved as a partner. Risk analyses and LCA for the new "wonder material" graphene are still scarce. Empa researchers have recently been able to demonstrate initial safety analyses of graphene and graphene related materials in fundamental in vitro studies. In this way, projects such as Safegraph can now better identify potential health risks and environmental consequences of graphene, while at the same time reducing the number of animal experiments.

More information:
Empa nano particles
Source:

EMPA

INVENTING TECHNOLOGIES NO ONE CAN COPY… I.S.T © I.S.T Corporation
03.03.2020

INVENTING TECHNOLOGIES NO ONE CAN COPY… I.S.T

NEW HIGH-TECH FIBERS AND YARNS FOR THE SPORTS AND LEISURE MARKET 

With its trade fair premiere at this year's ISPO Munich at the end of January, a newcomer in the sportswear and outdoor market has achieved a well-received appearance: For the first time in Europe, the Japanese company I.S.T Corporation presented its new high-tech fiber and a spinning technology with amazing possibilities at their booth with extensive augmented reality technology. In the sports industry, I.S.T is only known to a few, although there have been first cooperations with well-known manufacturers such as Patagonia in the last seasons.

NEW HIGH-TECH FIBERS AND YARNS FOR THE SPORTS AND LEISURE MARKET 

With its trade fair premiere at this year's ISPO Munich at the end of January, a newcomer in the sportswear and outdoor market has achieved a well-received appearance: For the first time in Europe, the Japanese company I.S.T Corporation presented its new high-tech fiber and a spinning technology with amazing possibilities at their booth with extensive augmented reality technology. In the sports industry, I.S.T is only known to a few, although there have been first cooperations with well-known manufacturers such as Patagonia in the last seasons.

The CEO and president, Ms. Toshiko “Toko” Sakane, answered Textination's questions. She has been running the company - founded by her father - since November 2016. After completing her bachelor's degree in sociology / human sciences, she worked in the office of the House of Representatives of the Japanese Parliament and the former Japanese Minister of Health and Social Affairs. Later she was managing director of the I.S.T Corporation in Parlin, New Jersey, USA, founded in 2000 - a manufacturer of unique, high-temperature resistant resin materials.

I.S.T is a Japanese company with a comparatively young history. Originally founded in 1983 as an R&D company, you are now also based in the United States and in China. If you had to introduce yourself in 100 words to someone who doesn't know the company: What makes you unique?
I.S.T Corporation is an R&D-oriented Japanese material company with the claim to "invent technologies that no one can imitate". What makes us uniquely competent is our integrated process of material development, innovating our own in-house production methodologies and advancing production technologies. Through this end-to-end cycle, we can achieve various advantages including developing complete original products, securing best quality assurance, and, most importantly, letting us discover new innovations. I.S.T is committed to keep innovating new technologies so they can contribute to enriching people’s lives more.   

Your slogan is: make the impossible possible. In which markets and from which industries do you feel particularly challenged? And with which product innovations for the textile industry do you think you can move the most?
I.S.T’s focus is sporting goods and apparel industry because materials used in this industry demand a wide variety of functionalities and are likely used in extreme conditions. We find it challenging and exciting to offer our advanced innovations. As for the textile industry, we believe our KARL KARL™ spinning technology offers a new great solution for winter active inner wears because it offers all the functions they want, such as warmness, being light-weighted, and easy-care.

A central guideline of the company is the motto "Inventing technologies no-one can copy". Patent protection and a consistent brand policy characterize your activities in the market. But patents can expire and brands can be copied, what makes you uncopiable?
A patent or brand can be copied. However, what makes it impossible to copy us is that our core technologies are embedded throughout our integrated process of material development, in-house production methodologies and advancing production technologies. For example, our KARL KARL™ technology is spinning technology that offers multiple functionalities in one yarn and also can be applied to all different types of and hybrid yarns.
There are some other companies that claim their yarns having a similar function with ours, but those are single function and in a particular type of yarn. This is the most fundamental and significant difference between technologies and competitors. Other companies may be able to copy a single function from us, but it will never be the same as our products that are the results of layers and layers of our integrated innovations.
          
Initially focused on selling technology, you are now a major fiber producer yourself. In addition, you have expanded your portfolio in the past 15 years - for example in the wool market - through acquisitions in Japan and China. Where do you see I.S.T as a player in the textile sector in 2030?
Just as you see a GORE-TEX tag on any outerwear, I would like to see brand names produced by I.S.T on every sports and fashion apparel and people instantly recognize it as the sign of most advanced functional materials.

For the first time you attended ISPO Munich 2020 in January as an exhibitor to present the high-tech fiber IMIDETEX® and new KARL KARL™ yarns to the sporting goods and outdoor industry. What is so special about these two products and what makes them so suitable for use in these markets?  
IMIDETEX®, made of 100% polyimide resin and commonly used in outer space, has possess various advantageous characteristics that other existing super fibers couldn’t overcome, including it being high UV resistant, heat resistant, low water absorption, and has a high tensile strength.
Examples of possible applications for the outdoor market as in composites, would include highly resistive but also durable golf shafts or tennis rackets that can minimize the impact sent to players, and a bicycle that can absorb the shock from the ground throughout a long and competitive race. As for textile, it makes an incredibly durable sail that endures an unforgiving sun. Finally, as yarns IMIDETEX® makes a light-weighted but super strong ropes that people can trust their lives with. IMIDETEX® can provide great performances in extreme natural conditions.
KARL KARL™ is the patented spinning technology that multiplies one core thread with another thread. By expanding the yarn structure itself, it achieves lightness and warmness, which are two seemingly opposite characters to coexist. This technology can be applied to wool, cotton, silk, polyester, nylon … plus there are endless possibilities of developing new yarns by combining different characteristic yarns.
These materials by I.S.T are unrivaled and present infinite possibilities for richer designs in sports fashion scenes.

In a world in which great value is placed on nature and natural materials, man-made fibers are not always welcome. On your website you postulate, I.S.T contributes to the people around the world through chemistry for a better life style. Which aspects make a good case for that?
Our brand-new product, faux-fur, made with KARL KARL™ technology is a good example of our contribution to keep the good balance of natural and synthetic.
The real fur is fashionable but it’s a symbol of animal abuse nowadays. To conserve the nature, our KARL KARL™ faux-fur offers an alternative to fashion, while preventing polluting the ocean from using micro fibers.    

In which socially relevant subject areas do you see a particularly great need for innovation and action during the next 5 years? What is your assessment that your company will be able to offer solutions for this with its products?
We believe that light-weight is a major key factor for better lives and the planet because it allows to save energies and expand the performances.
As the first step, we are bringing in our light-weight technologies, such as IMIDETEX® composites and KARL KARL™ technology, to sporting gears and apparels to support our active lifestyle before extending those technologies to all other markets that can benefit from them.

There are various definitions for sustainability. Customers expect everything under this term - from climate protection to ecology, from local on-site production to the exclusion of child labor etc. What do you do to bring this term to life for your company and what activities or certifications do you rely on?
I.S.T's taking this subject seriously in any aspects. We aggressively approach to research and develop technologies and materials that can support human lives and planet, as well as bringing in sustainable methods and materials to our operations. For instance, we are developing a yarn making from cellulose taken out of used papers without using any harmful chemicals to humans. Also, we invested in a state-of-the-art low emission production facility to make Polyimide materials.
We are RWS (Responsible Wool Standard) certified yarn spinner as far as wool is concerned and we are using RWS certified wool fiber. As for polyester, we are using GRS (Global Recycled Standard) certified recycled polyester and as for cotton, we are using organic cotton fiber. Moreover, our company values producing materials that last forever and not to produce any wastes and/or one-time use materials.
          
Where do you get your inspiration from to research certain technologies or products? Which orders or inquiries from the textile supply chain play a decisive role?
You may think that our life is already filled with things and there isn’t a thing that we cannot get in this world. And yes, we have everything. Yet there are some functions you wish you had in addition to full of those things.
The original idea of developing KARL KARL™ technology was that we wanted to adapt functions like lightness, warmness, quick-drying and easy-care that synthetic fibers have, into natural fibers such as wool and cotton because, obviously natural fibers are much friendlier to human and the earth than petroleum-based fibers.
We believe in and keep our corporate missions: “Develop and manufacture products no others have tried before” and “Handle high-value added products”. Our inspirations for R&D come from our belief, “bringing a wish into a reality”. We do not get an inspiration from others. Our innovations inspire customers and the market.

Breaking new ground means willingness to make decisions, overcoming fears - and thus courage to fail. Not every project can succeed. In retrospect, which entrepreneurial decision are you particularly happy to have made?
Actually, for us, there is no such thing as failed projects because we never give up until each and every project becomes successful.
By carrying on our original corporate missions of “Develop and manufacture products no others have tried before” and “Confront difficulties” that my father, the founder of I.S.T, established almost forty years ago, I.S.T members including myself have learned the joy of overcoming problems and of feeling the victory.
When I took over the business, I have set my goal to “move forward to the global market to inspire the world with our technologies”.
Most recently, by making the decision to enter the sporting gears and apparel market and receiving very positive responses at the ISPO Munich 2020, I’m very pleased that we have made one step forward toward my goal.

The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

04.02.2020

The fashion market: A move towards responsible consumption?

A study by the IFM - Première Vision chair
The fashion market in Europe and the United States:  A move towards responsible consumption?

Eco-responsible consumption is no longer a fashion trend, but a major groundswell now impacting the entire sector, from material sourcing to the consumer and the textile and manufacturing industries.
This is one of the major findings of a recent study by the Institut Français de la Mode as part of the IFM - Première Vision Chair that surveyed 5,000 consumers, who constitute a representative sample for France, Germany, Italy and the United States.

A study by the IFM - Première Vision chair
The fashion market in Europe and the United States:  A move towards responsible consumption?

Eco-responsible consumption is no longer a fashion trend, but a major groundswell now impacting the entire sector, from material sourcing to the consumer and the textile and manufacturing industries.
This is one of the major findings of a recent study by the Institut Français de la Mode as part of the IFM - Première Vision Chair that surveyed 5,000 consumers, who constitute a representative sample for France, Germany, Italy and the United States.

"For the first time, this study helps us better understand consumers' perceptions of the responsible fashion market and its products, and decipher their buying motivations and obstacles," said Gilles Lasbordes, Managing Director of Première Vision.
 
A real enthusiasm  
Eco-responsible fashion products are essential. Nearly 50% of European consumers report having purchased an eco-friendly fashion item in 2019 along with 46% of French consumers (including recycled, organic, made in France, and second-hand textiles).  

"These figures show consumers are committed to a level well above the estimate we would have expected, and indicate a real maturity in terms of their expectations. However, fashion is lagging behind other sectors such as food: the proportion of consumers who have purchased organic food products is over 60% in all countries. By the same token, especially in France and Italy, organic beauty products are meeting with real success, with 57% of French consumers purchasing them in 2019," notes Gilles Lasbordes.

In France, the 46% of consumers who bought eco-responsible fashion products are projected to spend an average of 370 Euros on fashion products (clothing and shoes) in 2019. Nationally, the average budget for eco-responsible fashion purchases per French consumer is 170 Euros, which is about 25% of the average budget for clothing and shoes in France.

What's driving this enthusiasm? In France and Italy, preserving and protecting the environment are the principal motivations behind such purchases. Consumers also pay special attention to the non-use of toxic chemicals. These concerns are well reflected in initiatives such as the Fashion Pact launched in the run-up to the G7 in Biarritz last summer.
     
Natural fibres and prices
The study also shows that, when searching for more responsible fashion products, consumers are very strongly guided by the choice of materials. They prefer natural fibres and recycled raw materials when they can, in particular when they are informed of their presence. Preconceived ideas about which materials are considered most harmful to the environment concern polyester, acrylic, polyamide and leather, respectively.

One of the other findings of this survey concerns barriers to consuming more responsible fashions, with one of the main barriers being a lack of information. The consumers feel they have a genuine lack of knowledge about eco-responsibility (its definition and criteria). Some 50.4% of French consumers admit to not knowing enough to select the right products.
 
Beyond a lack of education, another difficulty is access to these fashions, which consumers report not knowing where to find. This is a genuine obstacle for 39.8% of the French consumers canvassed. A lack of clarity of the offer - not much transparency on the part of brands, a multiplicity of certificates - and an under-representation of players - only 23% of French consumers reported knowing responsible fashion brands - is compounded, to a lesser extent, by the question of price, which is a barrier for 33% of French consumers.

On the other hand, style no longer represents an obstacle to the purchase of responsible products. Contrary to perceptions of only a few years ago, consumers today are aware that responsible fashion can be creative, desirable and respectful of the environment and people.

Lastly, consumers seeking to buy more responsible products are now faced with an offer that is still insufficiently developed in terms of their expectations. At the same time, second-hand purchases are increasing and feeding this trend: 56.1% of American women and 42.2% of French women purchased second-hand goods in 2019.
     
Made in…
For a majority of the French consumers surveyed, an eco-responsible fashion product must be manufactured in France (80%) or Europe (46%). This preference for national production is slightly lower in Italy (65%) and Germany (71%) but remains strong. "A product has to be manufactured as close as possible to the market where it is sold in order to reduce the negative impact of transport as much as possible," says a French consumer.  

Also, among the criteria to be met for socially responsible production, consumers emphasise respect for the health and safety of employees, a criteria that ranks far ahead of issues related to wages and discrimination of people employed in the sector.
 
A guiding hand to the fashion ecosystem
"The fashion ecosystem is being shaken up by this environmental phenomenon, with consumption in a state of strain and a slight decline in the mid-range, for example. This study will be useful to steer the sector, guide the market, provide precise analytic keys for industry and brands wishing to expand their offer. And that is also our objective and the role of Première Vision," underlines Gilles Lasbordes.

The consumption of eco-responsible fashion represents a significant growth opportunity for brands and labels. The next few years will certainly see the introduction of a new system that is more respectful of the environment and the social conditions under which goods are produced.

The results of this study were also used to enrich the experience of the show's 2,055 exhibitors - spinners, weavers, tanners, textile designers, accessory manufacturers and fashion manufacturers - and its 56,000 visitors - international groups and fashion brands - at Première Vision Paris last year 17 to 19 September in Villepinte.

 

More information:
Sustainable Apparel
Source:

Chair Institut Français de la Mode - Première Vision

ISPO TREND REPORT (c) Messe München GmbH
28.01.2020

ISPO: SPORT BECOMES A SYNONYM FOR HEALTH

TREND REPORT

  • Winter sports trends for 2020/2021
  • The winter sports industry is increasingly focusing on sustainability
  • ISPO Munich (January 26 to 29) to showcase next season’s products

Health will be one of the next decade’s megatrends. The sports industry is, for its part, one of the growth drivers, not least because society now views fitness as a synonym for health. In the future, athleticism will have an ever greater bearing on our everyday lives.

TREND REPORT

  • Winter sports trends for 2020/2021
  • The winter sports industry is increasingly focusing on sustainability
  • ISPO Munich (January 26 to 29) to showcase next season’s products

Health will be one of the next decade’s megatrends. The sports industry is, for its part, one of the growth drivers, not least because society now views fitness as a synonym for health. In the future, athleticism will have an ever greater bearing on our everyday lives.

“Medical fitness” refers to ensuring both a sporty lifestyle and the right medical care tailored to the individual needs. Winter sports are also set to assume a challenging yet important role in the future as a vehicle for teaching values within society. Veit Senner, Professor of Sports Equipment and Sports Materials at the Technical University of Munich, says: “Sports must be used as an emotional Trojan Horse for teaching skills and in particular for teaching values.”

There are also other challenges that will need to be faced in the next few years: Children and adolescents need to be encouraged to lead more active lifestyles and our aging population needs to be kept fit and mobile for as long as possible. Senner believes that winter sports could hold the key for today’s youth: “We need to demonstrate the kinds of educational content and values that can be taught through sports.” Attractive products and services therefore need to be created for children. The latest winter sports trends and pro ducts will be showcased at ISPO Munich from January 26 to 29.

Textile manufacturers are giving the winter sports industry an eco-boost
Swedish label Klättermusen impressed the ISPO Award jury so much with its first fully compostable down jacket “Farbaute” that they named it the Gold Winner in the Outdoor category and the winner of the ISPO Sustainability Award.

The first 100% biodegradable down jacket biologically decomposes on the compost heap after around three months (all apart from the zippers and a few snap fasteners which can be removed and reused).

When washed it does not release any microplastics into the environment. Norwegian clothing manufacturer Helly Hansen is launching a new membrane technology for winter 2020/2021 which can be produced without any additional chemicals. The microporous Lifa Infinity membrane is made using a solvent-free process and, together with a water-repellent Lifa outer material, provides extremely impressive protection from the elements. Helly Hansen’s new Lifa Infinity Pro technology also uses the spinning jet dyeing process whereby the color pigments are already injected during the fiber production process. This can save up to 75% water. What’s more, no harmful wastewater is produced.

The winter sports industry is increasingly focusing on sustainability
“The really big trend is for biopolymer fabrics and materials,” says Senner. “The idea is to replace the many different types of plastics that are used in the sports industry with biopolymers.” Together with his team, he is working hard to conduct in-depth research in both areas. This is a trend which French ski brand Rossignol has also identified, whereby it has focused on the use of raw and recycled materials for the production of its new Black Ops Freeride skis. The Black Ops Sender TI model was crowned the winner in its category by the ISPO Award jury.

Alpina Sports is also exploring new ecological avenues and launching a completely sustainable back protector made from 100% sheep’s wool, obtained exclusively from sheep in Switzerland and Norway. The back protector, which consists of three layers of pressed sheep’s wool, meets the standards for protection class 1 and boasts all the impressive properties that the natural material has to offer: In icy temperatures it remains supple, can both warm and cool the wearer, and is odorless. The ISPO Award jury chose Alpina Sports’ “Prolan Vest” as the “Product of the Year”* in the Snowsports Hardware category.

Swedish label Spektrum uses plant-based polymers made from castor oil as well as corn and recycled polyester for its ski and snowboard goggles. The ISPO Award jury was extremely impressed with both the ecological aspects and the execution and named the “Östra Medium” model the Gold Winner.

Bild von Michael de Groot auf Pixabay
13.08.2019

TRADE FAIR MARKET NETHERLANDS

  • EXPORT NATION WITH LARGE TRADE FAIR PORTFOLIO

The economy is flourishing and economic forecasts are rising: The Netherlands is one of the five largest export nations in the world.  Motor of the Dutch economy and at the same time the cultural center is the Randstad region, which comprises the major cities Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. The most important trade fair venues in the country are also located here, off from the seat of the government in The Hague.

  • EXPORT NATION WITH LARGE TRADE FAIR PORTFOLIO

The economy is flourishing and economic forecasts are rising: The Netherlands is one of the five largest export nations in the world.  Motor of the Dutch economy and at the same time the cultural center is the Randstad region, which comprises the major cities Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. The most important trade fair venues in the country are also located here, off from the seat of the government in The Hague.
The trade fair venue of Amsterdam, which is operated by RAI Amsterdam, the Dutch trade fair company with the highest turnover, is of primary importance here. The ISE Integrated Systems Europe, IBC - International Broadcasting Convention and the Modefabriek are among the trade fairs with the largest number of visitors and an international focus. Due to the proximity of the market, however, national and regional trade fairs can also be of interest to German companies.
 
Economy
The Dutch economy is flourishing, above all due to private consumption and investment activity of companies. The Dutch economy is expected to grow by 3% in 2018 and 2.6% in 2019, according to Germany Trade & Invest. To the Dutch gross domestic product (GDP) 55% services, 12% industrial production and 4% by the construction industry contribute.

The Netherlands is one of the five largest export nations in the world. They are particularly dependent on the world trade, as around 45% of exports are re-exports. 75% of the Netherlands' exports go to the EU, 25% thereof to Germany. This makes Germany the Netherlands' most important foreign trade partner. In terms of imports, China has meanwhile taken the first place, followed by Germany, Belgium, the USA and Great Britain. From a German perspective, the Netherlands, with a trade volume of EUR 167.3 billion in 2017, was Germany's second most important trading partner (after China).
 
German exports of pharmaceuticals, food, machinery and motor vehicles play a particularly important role in the German-Dutch trade. Imports to Germany include food, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, gas and electronics.

The four large cities Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, located in the west of the country, are grouped together under the name Randstad. This region is the engine of the Dutch economy and the cultural center of the country. The Randstad is home to 42% of the total population. Half of all jobs are located there. Consequently, half of the GDP is generated in the Randstad.

Economic data 2017/2018 (estimates/forecasts)
GDP 733.1 bn. EUR
Residents  17.1 bn. EUR
Exports to Germany 91.3 bn. EUR
Imports from Germany 85.8 bn. EUR

  Source: AHK, Ministry of Foreign Affair, GTAI
   
Exhibition industry
180 trade fairs were organized in the Netherlands in 2017. As in the previous year, 68% of these trade fairs were nationally oriented, while 21 trade fairs had an international reach (12%). This means that fewer international trade fairs took place than in the previous year (26), but four more than 2015 (19), which is the more meaningful year of comparison due to many trade fairs with a two-year cycle. 45,144 exhibitors and 1.7 million trade visitors took part in the 180 trade fairs in 2017. The 21 international trade fairs, which had 9,527 exhibitors and 310,065 visitors, were also very successful.

Between 2010 and 2014, there were significantly more trade fairs than in 2017, around 230 trade fairs per year. The decline primarily affects national trade fairs and is attributable to cooperation between organizers and the consolidation of trade fairs. The average number of exhibitors and visitors in 2017 was significantly higher than in 2014, while the number of trade fairs with an international orientation changed only slightly.

In 2017 a total of 539 professional trade fairs and public exhibitions took place in the Netherlands. 6.3 million visitors came to see the products and services on offer from 101,780 exhibitors. These figures were announced by the Dutch industry association Centrum Voor Live Communication (CLC-VECTA).

  2017 2016 2015 2014
Industry and consumer fairs 539 608  562 579
Thereof industry fairs 180 214 207 231
- thereof international 21 26 19 28
Consumer fairs 359 394 355 348

Source: Jaarcijfers Beurzen 2017, CLC-VECTA

Trade fair organizations
The trade fair industry in the Netherlands is represented by the association CLC-VECTA. This is the industry association for companies and professionals who organize, host and provide trade shows, conventions and events. The network has around 200 members. CLC-VECTA publishes annual figures on the Dutch trade fair market and provides information about events in the industry.

In the smaller NVBO (Nederlandse Veriniging van Beursorganisatoren) with 18 members, mostly smaller Dutch trade fair organizers are organized usually without an exhibition venue of their own.
For their foreign trade activities, Dutch companies are looking for international platforms abroad, especially in Germany. In 2017, 5,576 companies from the Netherlands exhibited at 148 trade fairs in Germany. This corresponds to 59% of companies represented at international trade fairs in the Netherlands.
 
The AUMA trade fair database lists between 85 and 90 trade fairs in the Netherlands every year. Only individual trade fairs have tested figures. Due to the proximity of the market, national and regional trade fairs may be of interest to German companies.

The Dutch industry association CLC-VECTA announces the number of exhibition organizers at 270 in 2017. Of these, 95 organizers organized 180 trade fairs. Most fairs are organized by Easyfairs, Jaarbeurs Utrecht and RAI Amsterdam.

Trade fairs and organizers
Of the 25 most visited trade fairs in 2017, six are internationally oriented:

Exhibition City Organizer Number of visitors Number of
exhibitors
ISE - Integrated Systems Europe Amsterdam Integrated Systems Europe 73,413 1,192
IBC - International Broadcasting Convention Amsterdam International Broadcast Convention 57,669 1,076
Modefabriek Amsterdam Modefabriek BV 38,000 600
Europort Rotterdam Rotterdam Ahoy 26,733 1,100
METSTRADE - Marine Equipment Trade Show Amsterdam RAI Amsterdam 24,865 1,552
Aquatech Amsterdam Amsterdam RAI Amsterdam 20,490 909

Contact

German-Dutch Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Website: https://www.dnhk.org/

German Embassy Den Haag
Website: https://niederlande.diplo.de/nl-de/vertretungen/botschaft

German Consulate General Amsterdam
Website: https://niederlande.diplo.de/nl-de/service/generalkonsulat1

Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI)
E-Mail: info@gtai.de
Website: http://www.gtai.de

AUMA
Heike Schöttle
Specialist global markets
Regions: Western Europe, Middle East / North Africa, South Asia
Tel.: +49 30 24000-126
Fax: +49 30 24000-320
E-Mail: h.schoettle@auma.de

Source:

AUMA Ausstellungs- und Messe-Ausschuss der Deutschen Wirtschaft e.V.

Copyright photos: MEX Exhibitions Pvt. Ltd. / Messe Frankfurt
06.08.2019

DIGITEX SHOW 2019 GEARS UP FOR ANOTHER MILESTONE

Digital textile printing technologies to take Centre Stage at Gartex Texprocess India 2019 – the 3-day comprehensive exhibition on complete supply-chain of garmenting & textile manufacturing solutions

India’s leading trade show, dedicated completely to garmenting and textile manufacturing solutions and technologies, Gartex Texprocess India is scheduled from 10-12 August 2019. Spread over 1,50,000 sq. ft. exhibit area, the show will be held across six halls in Pragati Maidan, wherein more than 200 companies will display over 400 brands. A hub dedicated completely for showcasing and highlighting latest developments in machinery, inks, software and services in digital textile printing, the Show is designed to take the country’s fabric printing & apparel industry to the next level.

Digital textile printing technologies to take Centre Stage at Gartex Texprocess India 2019 – the 3-day comprehensive exhibition on complete supply-chain of garmenting & textile manufacturing solutions

India’s leading trade show, dedicated completely to garmenting and textile manufacturing solutions and technologies, Gartex Texprocess India is scheduled from 10-12 August 2019. Spread over 1,50,000 sq. ft. exhibit area, the show will be held across six halls in Pragati Maidan, wherein more than 200 companies will display over 400 brands. A hub dedicated completely for showcasing and highlighting latest developments in machinery, inks, software and services in digital textile printing, the Show is designed to take the country’s fabric printing & apparel industry to the next level.

The 4th edition of the Show is gearing up incorporating DIGITEX Show highlighting the developments and innovations taking place in the digital textile printing technology, which is eventually picking up fast in the apparel manufacturing industry across the country. More than 20,000 enthusiastic visitors are expected to witness the latest developments during the three days of extreme business activities. They would not only take a glimpse of what new has hit the turf in the digital textile printing, but will also experience the newest technologies through various live demonstrations that the leading brands catering to the solution for soft signage and sublimation printing would put on the display.

The transformation in digital technologies over the past few years has been tremendous, which the organisers found important to bring forth under the DIGITEX @ Gartex Texprocess 2019. The advancement in technologies and rapidly increasing awareness has brought it at a revolution of sorts. Digitex hopes to become a one-stop solution hub for the latest machinery, inks, software and services to serious buyers and decision makers of the digital textile printing industry. The Show would also witness renowned brands offering live demo of their respective machines to let the visitors feel and appreciate the development taking place in the fabric digital printing arena which is slowly but steadily picking up.

Ever since direct to garment (DTG) printing has been introduced, textile printing industry has started finding new horizons with a fast and flexible production solution that delivers exceptional image quality, which in turn is opening up new doors of opportunities for those who are willing to enter into the apparel industry or are eager to expand their garmenting & textile business. Digitex @ Gartex Texprocess India is an important event for the digital printing technology leaders as it offers them the perfect Launchpad as far as Indian market is concerned.

Moreover, experts feel that increasing thrust and resultant R&D investment in progression of digital textile printing technology will further boost the growth avenues for the digital textile industry in near future. Meanwhile, increasing popularity of polyester as an alternative to cotton as a textile fabric further creates opportunities for digital textile printing equipment providers to expand their business. Attributing to such significant demand for digital textile printing technology, there is scope for manufacturers to enhance their business in time to come.

Many leading names like ColorJet India, Fortuna Colours & Prints Llp, Apsom Technologies, Kornit Digital, True Colors Group, Epson India, Jaysynth Dyestuff (India) Ltd., etc. are lined up with their new arrivals and eagerly awaiting the Show dates to launch their latest printers. Featuring continuous production and a wide range of printing capabilities, most of these new age digital textile printers work on minimal maintenance and come with easy cleaning options for smooth operation. All these activities clearly evince that overall textile printing technology market has positive growth prospects, riding on the back of the country’s burgeoning textile industry.

Companies like Arrow Digital, AT Inks, Britomatics, Cosmic Trends, DCC Print Vision Llp, E.I.DuPont India Pvt. Ltd. Electronics For Imaging India Pvt. Ltd. (Efi Optitex), Epson India, Fortuna Colours & Prints Llp, Ganpati Graphics, Grafica Flextronica, Green Printing Solution, Green Tech, Hi Tech Marketing, HP India Sales Pvt. Ltd., Jay Chemicals Industries Ltd., JN Arora & Co., Kamal Sales Corp., KNR Technology Company, Mac Printing Solutions, Mouvent, Negi Sign Systems & Supplies Co., Orange O Technology Pvt. Ltd., Somya Digital Technologies, Spintex Pvt. Ltd./Aura, Tanya Enterprises, Texzium International Pvt. Ltd./Wenli, Veekay Enterprises, & many more are coming up with their technological innovations to showcase their latest product range under the DIGITEX.
 
The extensive exhibit profile ranging from new printers and inks to upcoming techniques will explore new and exciting opportunities offered by digital printing for home furnishing & interior decoration, apparel & fashion and corporate interiors. On the display will be digital textile machinery, digital textile printing machines, dye sublimation process, screen printing machines, t-shirt printing machines, transfer printing process, digital textile printing chemicals, digital textile printing inks (disperse, reactive and pigment inks), heat transfer machines, sublimation paper, software & many more.

Moreover, it’s a great opportunity for digital printing companies, signage industry stakeholders, screen printing industry people from graphic arts industry, merchandisers and other industry players to interact with the leading digital printing technology suppliers and to witness the latest range and innovations in the sector. This is because following the advent of digital printing solution, the applications of fabric or textile is not limited only to the clothing and home furnishing, but has gone far beyond to include signage, flags, posters, back-lit, front-lit, etc. to bring forth a wholesome idea that where all digital textile printing technology can be used.

Points to be noted are numerous benefits of soft signage. Textile or soft signage presses are very eco-friendly, run over water-based inks with little to no odour and low power consumption. Soft signage facilitates customers save on shipping because of being much lighter in weight than other materials used in the signage and graphics industry. Also, fabric-printed signs fold up to create smaller packages, again decreasing shipping costs. But overall, the Show would be a win-win for business visitors as it has much more than focusing on digital printing technology, bringing entire value chain of garmenting and textile printing manufacturing solution under one roof.

Organised by the MEX Exhibitions Pvt. Ltd. in association with Messe Frankfurt India, Gartex Texprocess, this year, will have three more shows apart from the Digitex. These are namely, FABRIC & TRIMS SHOW: A focused area to source all embellishments & fabrics, DENIM SHOW: A zone that aims to bring together the denim supply chain under one roof, and INDIA LAUNDRY SHOW: An ideal platform offering a wide range of business and networking opportunities to manufacturers, suppliers and service providers in the laundry and dry-cleaning industries.

Additionally, there are a couple of focus areas i.e., EMBROIDERY ZONE highlighting the significant evolution that has been taking place in the invention of new technologies and machinery for embroidery. The top variants of embroidery machines, software & allied products will be highlighted in this dedicated segment. Another focus area is GARMENTING & APPAREL MACHINERY that would showcase technological developments in the Garment & Apparel Manufacturing Sector.

Broad exhibit categories at Gartex Texprocess 2019 include embroidery machines, cutting and sewing machines, fabrics & accessories, needles & threads, laundry & washing equipment, finishing equipment, laser cutting machines, digital textile printing machines, automation and software.

Source:

MEX Exhibitions Pvt. Ltd. / Messe Frankfurt

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

COMPOSITES EUROPE 2019: Digital Process Chain makes Fibre Composites Competitive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by pexels.com
11.06.2019

From PET Bottles to Textile Recycling: Where Does the Sports Industry Stand?

  • Recycling: The System in the Sports and Outdoor Industry needs Solutions

Old PET bottles are nowadays used to make polyester clothing, and there are also sports jerseys, outdoor jackets, shirts, trousers and bikinis made of plastic waste. But can textiles and shoes also be recycled? The good news is that some solutions have already been found. However, textiles and shoes can only be recycled with a massive reduction in quality.
 
Recycling of Shoes Possible Since 2018
The world's first industrial recycling plant for all types of footwear has been in operation in Germany since June 2018. It was established by Soex Recycling Germany GmbH from Bitterfeld, which in cooperation with European companies has developed a shoe recycling plant within five years.

More information:
Recycling recycling fibers
Source:

Messe München GmbH

Kettherstellung (c) Schmitz Textiles Kettherstellung (c) Schmitz Textiles
23.04.2019

Interview with CEO Stefan Ruholl (Schmitz Textiles): We are Textile

  • Innovations for Indoor and Outdoor Applications

At the beginning of 2018, the textile company Schmitz-Werke GmbH & Co. KG, Emsdetten, was restructured. In order to be able to react more quickly and flexibly to the markets and their demands, the brands drapilux, swela and mobiltex have since been combined under Schmitz Textiles.

Managing Director of this legally independent company is Stefan Ruholl, who has been working for Schmitz-Werke for more than 30 years, answering the questions of Textination. In 1996 he became head of the finishing department, three years later head of production and development for the textile finishing division, in the beginning of 2000 technical director, and finally 2018 he took over the management of the business unit and of the company Schmitz Textiles.

  • Innovations for Indoor and Outdoor Applications

At the beginning of 2018, the textile company Schmitz-Werke GmbH & Co. KG, Emsdetten, was restructured. In order to be able to react more quickly and flexibly to the markets and their demands, the brands drapilux, swela and mobiltex have since been combined under Schmitz Textiles.

Managing Director of this legally independent company is Stefan Ruholl, who has been working for Schmitz-Werke for more than 30 years, answering the questions of Textination. In 1996 he became head of the finishing department, three years later head of production and development for the textile finishing division, in the beginning of 2000 technical director, and finally 2018 he took over the management of the business unit and of the company Schmitz Textiles.

Schmitz Textiles is a family business that has been offering textile solutions for indoor and outdoor applications for more than 90 years. If you had to introduce yourself in 100 words to someone who doesn't know the company, what makes you unique?
As an almost fully integrated manufacturer in Germany, we have advantages that many other market players are likely to envy. We can respond flexibly, technically and with good service to the needs of our customers. Under the drapilux brand, we distribute intelligent design textiles for the contract sector, outdoor and sun protection fabrics under the swela brand and textiles for the automotive segment under the still young label mobiltex. All brands benefit from the broad know-how in production and product development. A few years ago, Germany as production location may have been regarded more negatively as a pure cost factor, but today we see this as valued by our partners as a clear strategic advantage.

In which product areas do market and partners particularly challenge you?
And with which product innovations in the field of technical textiles do you think you can move most?

In each of our fields of activity, we are confronted with comprehensive challenges. At drapilux, for example, we have to meet strict safety requirements in the context of fire protection certifications for the use of our materials on cruise ships and have invested massively in this subject. The sun protection sector is characterized by high demands on color and light fastness combined with optimum resilience - here we were able to gain a major technological advantage with the change from acrylic to polyester qualities years ago.
With the new, award-winning development of our convertible top fabric for mobiltex, also based on polyester, we were able to realize product properties that are completely new in this form in this segment.

For which socially relevant topics do you see particularly great need for innovation in the upcoming 10 years
and what is your assessment that the textile industry will be able to offer solutions with its products?

When we look at the next ten years, then it is surely the topic of sustainability that is already omnipresent today. At the moment we are living in a phase where we want sustainable products on the one hand, but, on the other hand, the willingness to pay higher prices for them is not yet pronounced and people tend towards staying with conventional products. This will change. Sustainable products from companies that really live sustainability in the dimensions of ecology, economy and society will win the race. The textile industry offers the best conditions to turn this vision into reality - albeit under investment in production and research and development.

Today, product and technology innovations mean to a large extent digitalization of production and business processes.
New business models often aim at verticalization and demand the path to batch size 1 - what does this mean for Schmitz Textiles?

For an industrial company with a B2B focus, such as Schmitz Textiles, "batch size 1" must be answered with a certain bandwidth. However, in principle, this topic is not new to us, for example in yarn dyeing, we can couple micro-installations for larger batches - and conversely control correspondingly smaller batches through our process chain. In the digital printing sector for the contract business, we are very individually and customer-oriented positioned with a minimum quantity of 25 meters. For our sister company and customer markilux we are supplier for their "Color on Demand" offer for the individual awning cloth with a choice of 1625 RAL colors. With an industrial production scale, you can hardly get much closer to "lot size 1".

To break new ground means decisiveness, overcoming fears - and with that the courage to fail. Not every project can succeed.
Which entrepreneurial decision are you particularly happy about having made it in retrospect?

If we look further back, about ten years ago, the decision to invest in digital printing and to build up know-how and our own production capacities was the right one. Having passed through these learning curves enables us today to expand our offer into the outdoor market without major problems. We are currently more convinced than ever that by entering the automotive segment with the still young mobiltex brand, we have established a new, important keystone for the long-term future of Schmitz Textiles.

The textile industry has been growing steadily worldwide for decades. The consumption of chemical and textile fibres more than quadrupled between 1975 and 2016. In terms of sustainability, there is, to put it mildly, a mixed feedback for our industry.
What is Schmitz Textiles concentrating on in order to fulfil their social responsibility?

If textiles are produced exclusively in Germany, the regulatory framework already requires a certain sustainable orientation. But of course, there is also room for maneuver. In order to meet the high demands of a sustainable and environmentally friendly production, we operate a very high expenditure. For example, all dyestuffs and textile auxiliaries are first checked for compliance with laws and regulations and for environmental and occupational safety aspects before they are used in-house. In addition, voluntary measures were implemented in the area of production long before legislation came into force, such as regenerative thermal post-combustion for the post-treatment of process exhaust air from finishing plants. This ensures that no harmful emissions are caused by exhaust air, waste water or noise. Many projects have also been successfully implemented for energy recovery from process waste water and process exhaust air. All process waste is either returned to the production workflow, recycled or professionally disposed of. A contribution to environmental protection, that should not be underestimated, is the use of synthetic fibres (here: polyester), which can be modified with much less chemicals than natural fibres and are much more durable.
 
The next Techtextil is just around the corner. What are your expectations at the Frankfurt trade fair?
We are a young but at the same time an almost 100-year-old company, having emerged from the corporate reorganization of Schmitz-Werke GmbH + Co. KG on January 1, 2018. Consequently, we are exhibiting for the first time as Schmitz Textiles GmbH + Co KG with our three brands mobiltex, swela and drapilux. We want to present ourselves as a textile competence center. However, the automotive textiles theme will be somewhat in the foreground. We are exhibiting a complete convertible roof with our mobiltex 388 soft top fabric, which was nominated for the German Innovation Award 2019 by the German Design Council, and we are confident that we may accept an award at the end of May.

 

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The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

As part of its Newsline, Textination will give innovation leaders of the industry a special place to talk about success, experiences, forecasts and trends.