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Photo: Bcomp
22.11.2022

Made in Switzerland: Is Flax the New Carbon?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source:

Bcomp; BMW Group

Photo: Performance Days
18.10.2022

Eco Award & Performance Award for innovative winter fabrics 24/25

  • Jury presents two awards for outstanding fabric Innovation

The next PERFORMANCE DAYS will take place from November 3-4, 2022 at the MOC Ordercenter in Munich. Visitors also have the opportunity to follow the events online. Thanks to the new platform The Loop, all important information is available all year round, including current trends, new material innovations and extended tools for ease of use. The focus of the curated PERFORMANCE FORUM continues in winter honoring the winners of both awards. This year, in addition to a PERFORMANCE AWARD, the jury also presented an ECO PERFORMANCE AWARD.

  • Jury presents two awards for outstanding fabric Innovation

The next PERFORMANCE DAYS will take place from November 3-4, 2022 at the MOC Ordercenter in Munich. Visitors also have the opportunity to follow the events online. Thanks to the new platform The Loop, all important information is available all year round, including current trends, new material innovations and extended tools for ease of use. The focus of the curated PERFORMANCE FORUM continues in winter honoring the winners of both awards. This year, in addition to a PERFORMANCE AWARD, the jury also presented an ECO PERFORMANCE AWARD.

Sustainable & innovative: the award winners of the Winter 2024/25 season
As part of the winter edition of the sourcing fairs, the fabric highlights plus accessory trends in the individ-ual categories for the winter season 2024/25 will be on display at the PERFORMANCE FORUM.
 
Particularly striking this year was the high levels of innovation and quality of many submitted fabrics on the one hand, but on the other hand – also as a result of this year’s Focus Topic – the sustainable component. “We wish to enable our visitors to make the best decision in terms of material selection, also in terms of CO2 neutrality and ultimately also in terms of textile recyclability,” states Marco Weichert, CEO of PERFORMANCE DAYS.  

Nevertheless, the road to CO2 neutrality remains a long one, yet the approaches adopted with the Focus Topic ongoing until the coming spring can be seen in a positive light. In general, manufacturers are increasingly relying on the use of natural fibers when possible, such as Tencel™ or other plant fibers – most of them also prove a low CO2 balance during production. The issue of recycling comes with many new facets and wide spanning trends. The portfolio ranges from the recycling of marine waste, such as old buoys, plastic waste or fishing nets, to the recycling of waste from the automotive and computer industries, such as old car tires or computer chips. Natural dyeing methods are also gaining in importance, as is the return of fabrics to the textile cycle.

In the Marketplace, visitors have the opportunity to view over 19,000 products from exhibitors, including the fabric highlights of the individual categories at the PERFORMANCE FORUM. In order for visitors to experience the fabrics in terms of haptics, design and structure in as realistic a form as possible, the PERFORMANCE FORUM has been equipped with innovative 3D technology, including innovative tools such as 3D images, video animations and U3MA data for download.

The jury has also presented two awards for outstanding fabrics for the Winter Season 2024/25 – with the PERFORMANCE AWARD going to Long Advance Int. Co Ltd., and the ECO PERFORMANCE AWARD to PontetortoSpa.

The ECO PERFORMANCE AWARD goes to “9203/M/RC” from PontetortoSpa: High Performance despite maximum sustainability
The fabric is a blend of 23 % hemp, 69 % recycled polyester and 9 % recycled elastane. Moreover, the material boasts a low CO2 footprint during production and focuses on low release levels of microplastics into the environment. “9203/M/RC” belongs to Pontetorto's Techno Stretch organic series, which boast an excellent 4-way stretch with great elasticity. In addition, it guarantees fast drying and optimal breathability. The polyester yarn is manufactured by the mechanical recycling of plastic bottles. Hemp, the most water–repellent among natural fibers, allows for quick drying and provides optimal comfort. Hemp is considered an extremely sustainable natural fiber due to its origin from an anti–bacterial plant that requires neither pesticides nor chemical fertilizers during its growth and consumes extremely little water.

PERFORMANCE AWARD for “LPD-22015-Y4E” from Long Advanced Int. Co. Ltd.: Perfect recycling for top performance
The monocomponent 2layer fabric is a mixture of 45 % polyester mechanical stretch and 55 % recycled polyester from recycled textiles, laminated with a PET Membrane, with a weight of 147 grams.
The special feature of the “LPD 22015-Y4E” is the recycling of fabric and cutting waste. Waste is thus returned to the textile cycle and used to spin new yarn. In the future, manufacturers will have to ensure that all fabric can be recycled. Accordingly, the production of waste is then reduced by 30 % compared to conventional processes. Furthermore, the jury praised the feel and the extraordinary look of the material.

The entire PERFORMANCE FORUM including both awards can be experienced live at the fair on October 26-27, 2022 in Portland, Oregon, and in Munich at the PERFORMANCE DAYS fair on November 03-04, 2022. As of now, all innovative materials can also be found online in the Marketplace of the PERFORMANCE DAYS Loop, with the option to order free samples directly from the exhibitor.

First tests with free-form tiles made of wood short fiber filament. (Photo: LZH) Photo: LZH. First tests with free-form tiles made of wood short fiber filament.
19.09.2022

Sustainability in 3D Printing: Components made of Natural Fibers

3D printing has been in use in architecture for a while, and now it is to become ecologically sustainable as well: Together with partners, the LZH is researching how to produce individual building elements from natural fibers using additive manufacturing.

3D printing has been in use in architecture for a while, and now it is to become ecologically sustainable as well: Together with partners, the LZH is researching how to produce individual building elements from natural fibers using additive manufacturing.

In the project 3DNaturDruck, architectural components such as facade elements shall be created from natural fiber-reinforced biopolymers in 3D printing. To this end, the scientists will develop the corresponding composite materials from biopolymers with both natural short fibers and natural continuous fibers and optimize them for processing with the additive manufacturing process FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling). The project partners' goal is to enable smart and innovative designs that are both ecological and sustainable.
 
The goal: highly developed components made from sustainable materials
Within the project, different natural fiber-reinforced biopolymer composites will be investigated. The partners are researching both processing methods with very short natural fibers, such as from wood and straw, and a method for printing continuous fibers from hemp and flax in combination with biopolymers. The LZH then develops processes for these new materials and adapts the tools and nozzle geometries of the FDM printer. A pavilion with the 3D-printed facade elements is planned as a demonstrator on the campus of the University of Stuttgart.
 
The project partners want to explore how additive manufacturing can be used to simplify manufacturing processes for architectural components. Natural fiber-reinforced biopolymers are particularly suitable for producing components with complex geometries in just a few steps and with low material and cost requirements. With their research, the partners are also working on completely new starting conditions for the fabrication of newly developed architectural components: For example, the topology optimization of components according to their structural stress can be easily implemented with additive manufacturing.

Enabling the natural fiber trend in architecture also using additive manufacturing
There is great interest in the use of natural fibers in structural components in architecture and construction because natural fibers have several advantages. They have good mechanical properties combined with low weight and are widely available. As a renewable resource with in some cases very short renewal cycles, they are also clearly a better ecological alternative than synthetic fibers.

In additive manufacturing, large-format elements for the architectural sector have so far mostly been manufactured with polymers based on fossil raw materials. Research in the project 3DNaturDruck should now make the use of natural fibers in architecture possible for additive manufacturing as well.

About 3DNaturDruck
The project 3DNaturDruck is about the design and fabrication of 3D-printed components made of biocomposites using filaments with continuous and short natural fibers.

The project is coordinated by the Department of Biobased Materials and Materials Cycles in Architecture (BioMat) at the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart. In addition to the LZH, project partners include the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut (WKI) and the industrial companies Rapid Prototyping Technologie GmbH (Gifhorn), ETS Extrusionstechnik (Mücheln), 3dk.berlin (Berlin) and ATMAT Sp. Z o.o. (Krakow, Poland).

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture through the Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V. under the funding code 2220NR295C.

Source:

Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

Photo: pixabay, Hilary Clark
01.02.2022

Cotton Fibers 2.0: Fireproof and comfortable

A new chemical process developed by Empa turns cotton into a fire-resistant fabric, that nevertheless retains the skin-friendly properties of cotton.

Conventional flame retardant cotton textiles suffer from release of formaldehyde and are uncomfortable to wear. Empa scientists managed to circumvent this problem by creating a physically and chemically independent network of flame retardants inside the fibers. This approach retains the inherently positive properties of cotton fibers, which account for three-quarters of the world's demand for natural fibers in clothing and home textiles. Cotton is skin-friendly because it can absorb considerable amounts of water and maintain a favorable microclimate on the skin.

A new chemical process developed by Empa turns cotton into a fire-resistant fabric, that nevertheless retains the skin-friendly properties of cotton.

Conventional flame retardant cotton textiles suffer from release of formaldehyde and are uncomfortable to wear. Empa scientists managed to circumvent this problem by creating a physically and chemically independent network of flame retardants inside the fibers. This approach retains the inherently positive properties of cotton fibers, which account for three-quarters of the world's demand for natural fibers in clothing and home textiles. Cotton is skin-friendly because it can absorb considerable amounts of water and maintain a favorable microclimate on the skin.

For firefighters and other emergency service personnel, protective clothing provides the most important barrier. For such purposes, cotton is mainly used as an inner textile layer that needs additional properties: For example, it must be fireproof or protect against biological contaminants. Nevertheless, it should not be hydrophobic, which would create an uncomfortable microclimate. These additional properties can be built into the cotton fibers by suitable chemical modifications.

Durability vs. toxicity
"Until now, it has always taken a compromise to make cotton fireproof," says Sabyasachi Gaan, a chemist and polymer expert who works at Empa's Advanced Fibers lab. Wash-durable flame retardant cotton in industry is produced by treating the fabric with flame retardants, which chemically links to the cellulose in the cotton. Currently, the textile industry has no other choice than to utilize formaldehyde-based chemicals – and formaldehyde is classified as a carcinogen. This has been an unsolved problem for decades. While formaldehyde-based flame retardant treatments are durable, they have additional drawbacks: The -OH groups of cellulose are chemically blocked, which considerably reduces the capability of cotton to absorb water, which results in an uncomfortable textile.

Gaan knows the chemistry of cotton fibers well and has spent many years at Empa developing flame retardants based on phosphorus chemistry that are already used in many industrial applications. Now he has succeeded in finding an elegant and easy way to anchor phosphorous in form of an independent network inside the cotton.

Independent network between cotton fibers
Gaan and his colleagues Rashid Nazir, Dambarudhar Parida and Joel Borgstädt utilized a tri-functional phosphorous compound (trivinylphosphine oxide), which has the capability of reacting only with specifically added molecules (nitrogen compounds like piperazin) to form its own network inside cotton. This makes the cotton permanently fire-resistant without blocking the favorable -OH groups. In addition, the physical phosphine oxide network also likes water. This flame retardant treatment does not include carcinogenic formaldehyde, which would endanger textile workers during textile manufacturing. The phosphine oxide networks, thus formed, does not wash out: After 50 launderings, 95 percent of the flame retardant network is still present in the fabric.

To render additional protective functionalities to the flame retardant cotton developed at Empa, the researchers also incorporated in situ generated silver nanoparticles inside the fabric. This works nicely in a one-step process together with generating the phosphine oxide networks. Silver nanoparticles provide the fiber with antimicrobial properties and survive 50 laundry cycles, too.

A high-tech solution from the pressure cooker
"We have used a simple approach to fix the phosphine oxide networks inside the cellulose," Gaan says. "For our lab experiments, we first treated the cotton with an aqueous solution of phosphorus and nitrogen compounds and then steamed it in a readily available pressure cooker to facilitate the crosslinking reaction of the phosphorus and the nitrogen molecules." The application process is compatible with equipment used in the textile industry. "Steaming textiles after dyeing, printing and finishing is a normal step in textile industry. So it doesn't require an additional investment to apply our process," states the Empa chemist.

Meanwhile, this newly developed phosphorus chemistry and its application is protected by a patent application. "Two important hurdles remain," Gaan says. "For future commercialization we need to find a suitable chemical manufacturer who can produce and supply trivinylphosphine oxide. In addition, trivinylphosphine oxide has to be REACH-registered in Europe."

Contact:
Dr. Sabyasachi Gaan
Advanced Fibers
Phone: +41 58 765 7611
sabyasachi.gaan@empa.ch
 
Contact:
Prof. Dr. Manfred Heuberger
Advanced Fibers
Phone: +41 58 765 7878
manfred.heuberger@empa.ch

A gel that releases drugs
The novel phosphorus chemistry can also be used to develop other materials, e.g. to make hydrogels that can release drugs upon changes in pH. Such gels could find application in treating wounds that heal slowly. In such wounds, the pH of the skin surface increases and the new phosphorus-based gels can be triggered to release medication or a dye that alerts doctors and nurses to the problem. Empa has also patented the production of such hydrogels.

Source:

EMPA, Rainer Klose

(c) STFI
14.12.2021

Funding Project Raw Material Classification of Recycled Fibers

For centuries, old textiles have been used to make tear fibers and processed into new textile products. This effective recycling is one of the oldest material cycles in the world. Today, it is not only clothing that is recycled, but also high-quality technical textiles. As the products of the textile industry evolve, so do the demands on textile recycling. The basis for this is a clear assessment and classification of raw materials.

For centuries, old textiles have been used to make tear fibers and processed into new textile products. This effective recycling is one of the oldest material cycles in the world. Today, it is not only clothing that is recycled, but also high-quality technical textiles. As the products of the textile industry evolve, so do the demands on textile recycling. The basis for this is a clear assessment and classification of raw materials.

In the research project of the German Institutes of Textile and Fiber Research Denkendorf (DITF) and the Sächsisches Textilforschungsinstitut e.V. (STFI - Saxony Textile Research Institute), a methodology is being developed that will make it possible to analyze the tearing as well as the subsequent processes with regard to fiber quality. The systematic analysis should make it possible to optimize the subsequent spinning processes in such a way that the recycled content of the yarn can be increased without the yarn properties differing significantly from those of a yarn consisting of 100% good fibers. These yarns can then be processed into sustainable textile products such as clothing or composite components.

The project, which is funded by the BMWi/IGF, is scheduled to run for two years and will end on December 31, 2022. The main benefits for the participating companies are to enable them to make greater use of secondary raw materials, to open up new markets through technologies or products developed in the project, to initiate synergies and long-term cooperation, and to prepare a joint market presence.    

The project includes several steps:

  • Material selection and procurement
    Cotton fibers to be processed are obtained from used textiles (T-shirts) and waste from the cotton spinning mill. Aramid fibers are processed from used protective clothing and technical textiles.
  • Optimization of the preparation / dissolution of the textiles
    To ensure that the fibers are detached from the corresponding textiles as gently as possible and with a not too high reduction, exact settings have to be found for the tearing process, which are technologically very demanding and require a lot of experience.
  • Determination of the quality criteria for the evaluation of the fiber dissolution
    In order to define the quality criteria, the fibers coming from the tearing mill are determined by means of an MDTA-4 measuring device from Textechno GmbH & Co. KG. The criteria determined are to be used to characterize the (lowest possible) fiber shortening caused by the tearing process.
  • Determination of optimized settings in the spinning process
    In order to determine the optimum settings for producing a yarn from the recycled fibers, they are spun after the rotor spinning process. By adjusting the spinning process, the aim is to produce a yarn that has good uniformity and also appropriate firmness.
  • Production and comparison of yarns from recycled raw materials
    In order that the recycled fibers - consisting of aramid and cotton - can each be used to produce an area-measured material, the material is to be processed at industrial scale. For this purpose, the fibers are processed over a complete blowroom line with following sliver production over adapted cards. After drawing and the following roving production, yarns are produced according to the rotor or ring spinning process. The finished yarns are used to produce knitted fabrics.
  • Coordination, analysis of results and preparation of reports
    The final report is prepared by the DITF and the STFI. The results will be transferred through publications, technical information to associations and trade fair presentations. Regular meetings with the participating companies are planned.

Textination spoke with Stephan Baz, Deputy Head of the Competence Center Staple Fiber, Weaving & Simulation, Head of Staple Fiber Technology and Markus Baumann, Research Associate at the Competence Center Staple Fiber, Weaving & Simulation (both DITF) as well as Bernd Gulich, Head of Department Nonwovens/Recycling and Johannes Leis, Research Associate Focus Nonwovens/Recycling (both STFI) about the current status of the funding project.

What is the current status of the project?
We are currently in the phase of carrying out trials and the iterative optimization of several project components. As expected, several loops are necessary for the mechanical preparation itself and also for the adjustment of the spinning process with the different variants. Ultimately, after all, the project aims at coordinating the processes of mechanical preparation and spinning as processing in order to achieve optimum results. At the same time, determining the quality criteria of the fibers produced is not trivial. This also requires the further development of processes and test methods that can be implemented productively in industry and that allow the quality of the fibers produced to be assessed effectively and unaffected by residual yarns, for example. What is really remarkable is the interest and willingness of the industry to drive the project work forward. The considerable quantities of materials required for our trials were purchased from ReSales Textilhandel und -recycling GmbH, Altex Textil-Recycling GmbH & Co. KG and Gebrüder Otto GmbH & Co. KG. Furthermore, with Temafa Maschinenfabrik GmbH, Nomaco GmbH & Co. KG, Schill + Seilacher GmbH, Spinnerei Neuhof GmbH & Co. KG and Maschinenfabrik Rieter AG, many members of the project-supporting committee are actively involved in the project, from consulting to the providing of technologies. The company Textechno Herbert Stein GmbH & Co. KG has provided a testing device of the type MDTA4 for the duration of the project and supports our work with regard to the evaluation of the mechanically prepared fibers. We are of course particularly pleased about this, as it has allowed us to look at and analyze several technologies in both mechanical preparation, testing and spinning. We expect to be able to make more detailed statements at the beginning of the coming year.

Which approaches do you think are particularly promising?
With regard to technologies, we must refer to the evaluation and analysis of the trials, which are currently still ongoing. We will be able to go into more detail in the first quarter of next year.

Of course, things are already emerging. With meta-aramid waste, promising approaches could be found very quickly; with post-consumer cotton, this is considerably more complex. Obviously, there is a link between the quality of the raw material and the quality of the products. In some cases, we have already been able to determine very low average fiber lengths in the procured goods; to a certain extent, these are of course directly reflected in the output of our processes. From this, and this is not a new finding, a great importance of the design of the textiles is again derived.

What are the challenges?
In addition to the expected high short fiber content, the residual yarns after the tearing process are an issue of particular focus. The proportion of these residual yarns can vary between the materials and preparation technologies, but the further dissolution of the products of the tearing process is essential.

If the processes are considered further in a utilization phase, the question of design naturally also arises for the best possible use of recycled fibers. Many problems, but also the approaches to solutions for the use of comparatively short fibers, can also be expected to apply to the (multiple) use of mechanically recycled fibers.

Can we speak of upcycling in the final product?
We see yarn-to-yarn recycling neither as upcycling nor downcycling, but as closed-loop recycling. The background is that the products are to go into the same application from which they came and have to compete with primary material. This means that certain specific requirements have to be met and at the same time there is considerable price pressure. In the case of downcycling, a significant reduction in properties is accepted, while in the case of upcycling, the higher-priced application can make up for the reprocessing effort. In the attempt to produce yarn material again from yarn material, both are only permissible to a small extent. This represents the particular challenge.

What does a recyclate prepared from used textiles mean for the spinning process?
Part of this question is to be answered in the project by the detailed classification of the processed fibers and is thus the subject of the tests currently underway. It turns out that, in addition to the rather obvious points such as significantly reduced fiber length, process disturbances due to undissolved fabrics and yarn pieces, there are also less obvious aspects to be considered, such as a significantly increased outgoing quantity for processing in the spinning process. The outgoing quantity is of particular interest here, because in the end the newly produced yarn should also contain a considerable proportion of prepared fibers.

What consequences does this have for textile machinery manufacturing?
The consequences that can already be estimated at the present time are that, particularly in the processing of cotton, the machinery in the spinning preparatory mill is specialized in the processing of (new) natural fibers with a certain amount of dirt. In contrast to new fibers, processed fibers are clean fibers with a significantly higher proportion of short fibers. Elements that are good at removing dirt also reject an increased amount of short fibers, which can lead to unintentionally high waste quantities under certain circumstances. It is therefore necessary to adapt the established machine technology to the new requirement profile of the raw material "processed fibers". Analogous adaptations are probably necessary along the entire processing chain up to the yarn. In the drafting system of the spinning machine, of course, this is due more to the high short fiber ratio than to elements that have been optimized for cleaning out dirt and foreign substances.

Source:

Textination GmbH

(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

Photo: pixabay
10.08.2021

Stand-up paddle board made from renewable lightweight mater

Stand-up paddling has become a popular sport. However, conventional surfboards are made of petroleum-based materials such as epoxy resin and polyurethane.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut, WKI, want to replace plastic boards with sustainable sports equipment: They are developing a stand-up paddle board that is made from one hundred percent renewable raw materials. The ecological lightweight material can be used in many ways, such as in the construction of buildings, cars and ships.

Stand-up paddling has become a popular sport. However, conventional surfboards are made of petroleum-based materials such as epoxy resin and polyurethane.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut, WKI, want to replace plastic boards with sustainable sports equipment: They are developing a stand-up paddle board that is made from one hundred percent renewable raw materials. The ecological lightweight material can be used in many ways, such as in the construction of buildings, cars and ships.

Stand-up paddling (SUP) is a sport that is close to nature, but the plastic boards are anything but environmentally friendly. As a rule, petroleum-based materials such as epoxy resin, polyester resin, polyurethane and expanded or extruded polystyrene are used in combination with fiberglass and carbon fiber fabrics to produce the sports equipment. In many parts of the world, these plastics are not recycled, let alone disposed of correctly. Large quantities of plastic end up in the sea and collect in huge ocean eddies. For Christoph Pöhler, a scientist at Fraunhofer WKI and an avid stand-up paddler, this prompted him to think about a sustainable alternative. In the ecoSUP project, he is driving the development of a stand-up paddle board that is made from 100 percent renewable raw materials and which is also particularly strong and durable. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy IMW is accompanying the research work, with TU Braunschweig acting as project partner.

Recovering balsa wood from rotor blades
“In standard boards, a polystyrene core, which we know as styrofoam, is reinforced with fiberglass and sealed with an epoxy resin. We, instead, use bio-based lightweight material,” says the civil engineer. Pöhler and his colleagues use recycled balsa wood for the core. This has a very low density, i.e. it is light yet mechanically stressable. Balsa wood grows mainly in Papua New Guinea and Ecuador, where it has been used in large quantities in wind turbines for many years – up to six cubic meters of the material can be found in a rotor blade. Many of the systems are currently being disconnected from the grid. In 2020 alone, 6000 were dismantled. A large proportion of this is burnt. It would make more sense to recover the material from the rotor blade and recycle it in accordance with the circular economy. “This was exactly our thinking. The valuable wood is too good to burn,” says Pöhler.

Since the entire sandwich material used in conventional boards is to be completely replaced, the shell of the ecological board is also made from one hundred percent bio-based polymer. It is reinforced with flax fibers grown in Europe, which are characterized by very good mechanical properties. To pull the shell over the balsa wood core, Pöhler and his team use the hand lay-up and vacuum infusion processes. Feasibility studies are still underway to determine the optimal method. The first demonstrator of the ecological board should be available by the end of 2022. “In the interests of environmental protection and resource conservation, we want to use natural fibers and bio-based polymers wherever it is technically possible. In many places, GFRP is used even though a bio-based counterpart could do the same,” Pöhler sums up.

Patented technology for the production of wood foam
But how is it possible to recover the balsa wood from the rotor blade — after all, it is firmly bonded to the glass-fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) of the outer shell? First, the wood is separated from the composite material in an impact mill. The density differences can be used to split the mixed-material structures into their individual components using a wind sifter. The balsa wood fibers, which are available as chips and fragments, are then finely ground. “We need this very fine starting material to produce wood foam. Fraunhofer WKI has a patented technology for this,” explains the researcher. In this process, the wood particles are suspended to form a kind of cake batter and processed into a light yet firm wood foam that holds together thanks to the wood’s own binding forces. The addition of adhesive is not required. The density and strength of the foam can be adjusted. “This is important because the density should not be too high. Otherwise, the stand-up paddle board would be too heavy to transport.”

Initially, the researchers are focusing on stand-up paddle boards. However, the hybrid material is also suitable for all other boards, such as skateboards. The future range of applications is broad: For example, it could be used as a facade element in the thermal insulation of buildings. The technology can also be used in the construction of vehicles, ships and trains.

(c) Porsche AG
04.05.2021

Fraunhofer: Lightweight and Ecology in Automotive Construction

  • The “Bioconcept-Car” moves ahead

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

  • The “Bioconcept-Car” moves ahead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

  • EU Project ALMA: Thinking Ahead to Electromobility

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

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

(c) 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

PERFORMANCE DAYS Nothing to Waste - Closing the Loop (c) PERFORMANCE DAYS
20.10.2020

PERFORMANCE DAYS Nothing to Waste - Closing the Loop

  • Finite resources and endless mountains of rubbish set the tone of the upcoming 25th edition of PERFORMANCE DAYS. Closing the loop means nothing is wasted, not even time, as recycled clothing gets recycled again and again.

In keeping with this topic, the trade fair organizers are planning expert discussion panels to help present the facts as well as visions of the future. Expect the corresponding displays of sustainable materials, chosen by the PERFORMANCE FORUM Jury. Look for materials such as fibers from recycled PET bottles, recyclable mono-component materials or blends, and shirts that decompose to biomass in a "Cradle-to-Cradle" approach. "Nothing to Waste - Closing the Loop" is open to the public at the Messe München fairgrounds and as a Digital Fair online starting on December 9-10, 2020.

  • Finite resources and endless mountains of rubbish set the tone of the upcoming 25th edition of PERFORMANCE DAYS. Closing the loop means nothing is wasted, not even time, as recycled clothing gets recycled again and again.

In keeping with this topic, the trade fair organizers are planning expert discussion panels to help present the facts as well as visions of the future. Expect the corresponding displays of sustainable materials, chosen by the PERFORMANCE FORUM Jury. Look for materials such as fibers from recycled PET bottles, recyclable mono-component materials or blends, and shirts that decompose to biomass in a "Cradle-to-Cradle" approach. "Nothing to Waste - Closing the Loop" is open to the public at the Messe München fairgrounds and as a Digital Fair online starting on December 9-10, 2020.

The PERFORMANCE DAYS trade fair has chosen a new Focus Topic that concerns not only our own industry. The textile industry has long been achieving more efficient production by recycling its own waste products and using recycled materials from outside the industry, for example, PET-bottles. Nevertheless, textiles exist alongside glass, paper, metal, and plastics as a separate branch of waste management. Despite ambitious efforts at recycling by the waste and textile industries, the efficient use of textile waste as a resource remains a challenge. Compounding this challenge are the difficulties caused by a global world: production, consumers, and disposal sites are miles apart, shared expert knowledge about the other industries is lacking, and international standards and political support are nearly non-existent.

Final destination: the waste bin
Information from the Federal Office for the Environment shows that 0.8% of the oil produced is used in the textile industry for the production of new textiles. But the costly processing chain of this finite resource ends all too quickly in waste. A Greenpeace survey reveals outdated fashions or clothing of worn quality is thrown away within three years, only to land in the trash dumpsters. The European Environmental Agency estimates that 5.8 million tons of used textiles are discarded every year and either incinerated, used for landfill, or taken to mechanical-biological sewage treatment plants. Even if used clothing is collected by state or private companies, in many cases it cannot be sold (as second hand), donated, or recycled (into rags or insulating material). In the best case scenario, it is incinerated and converted to thermal energy.

Recycling and circular design
From an economic and environmental perspective, the term recycling refers to waste-free products, waste avoidance, and waste recovery and disposal. In our industry as it stands, recycling at the end of the product life cycle usually means converting the product into some other product, i.e., not clothing. This is the "Open-Loop" process. Accordingly, textiles are eventually incinerated, but the amount of energy recovered can vary greatly depending on how efficiently the waste incineration plant works. Such devaluing of the product to a product with less value than the original product is known as Downcycling. However, Downcycling is not the only solution: the "Closed-Loop" approach has the goal of making new clothes out of old ones through recycling. The closed loop for renewable natural resources, for example, can mean that natural fibers used in textiles will end up becoming soil, which is the nutrient for new natural fibers, i.e., a cradle-to-cradle approach. Synthetic garments similarly require extracting the man-made fibers and reprocessing them to produce another garment.

Planning for the end in advance
Rather than thinking about recycling opportunities at the end of the product life cycle, brands can already begin developing closed loop options while in the design phase. Among other things, designing out the waste can reduce the environmental impact of the products. To extend the useful life, consider leasing the materials and/or adding labels with instructions for disposal, repair, or repurposing. And, what about the idea of preparing 100% used textiles that can be reintroduced into the supply chain as 100% new textiles? Separating the different types of fiber used in blends is complex, cost-intensive, and further complicated when labels are non-existent (or no longer existing) or it is simply not (yet) technically possible. More and more clothing makers and suppliers are trying to avoid mixing fibers and are switching to "mono-materials" or "mono-components." Shirts are easy to make in this way, but if you add buttons, zippers, etc., the issue becomes more complex.

Nothing to waste - not even time
If you are like many end consumers, brand managers, and producers and want to make use of valuable resources in a more sustainable manner, register now on the trade fair website under "Visitor Login." There you can access a free trade fair ticket for December 9-10, 2020. You can also learn about the complimentary and soon to be expanded offers at the Digital Fair. Don’t forget to sign-up for the free Newsletter mailings. 

•     09.-10. December 2020      DIGITAL FAIR  Trends Winter 2022/23 

 

UPDATE
CoVid-19 continues to keep the world on edge. Many PERFORMANCE DAYS visitors, as well as exhibitors, have already announced that travelling to Munich in December would be simply impossible for them. Due to the increasing number of infections, further international travel bans and company-internal travel restrictions are now threatening. As a result, the December 2020 edition of PERFORMANCE DAYS will unfortunately not take place at the Messe München, but as Digital Fair! On the planned dates of December 09-10, both approved and advanced new tools will go online and provide further proof of PERFORMANCE DAYS’ expansion of its pioneering role in creating a digital textile trade fair experience.

 

Photocredits: Hohenstein
01.09.2020

Research Projects of the Zuse Community: Think about Recycling when Designing …

How applied research in cooperation with industry can lead to high-quality recycling solutions is explained by the Zuse community with its "Design for Recycling" series.

How applied research in cooperation with industry can lead to high-quality recycling solutions is explained by the Zuse community with its "Design for Recycling" series.

Artificial Turf of the Future
Textiles are much more than just clothes. The industry is a key customer for both synthetic and natural fibers. However, their textile products are often close to the consumer - this applies, for example, to the leisure industry or sports field construction, as is the case with artificial turf.
     
On sports fields, textiles are, so to speak, trampled underfoot, namely when playing on artificial turf. In Germany alone there are around 5,000 artificial turf pitches registered for football. But under the green stubble hides a heavy burden - for clubs and the environment. According to information from the IAKS Germany trade association, around 5 kg of granulate per square meter of artificial turf is infilled in Germany, and this figure is likely to be considerably higher in other countries. "In the case of artificial turf with a fiber length of 42 mm, only 12 mm look out of the mass of infill materials that have been applied to the surface," Dr. Ulrich Berghaus of Morton Extrusionstechnik GmbH, a leading manufacturer of artificial turf, explains. Nowadays, a new pitch is calculated to contain almost 50 percent of the old pitch - as infill material. But as a microplastic this can cause problems - alternatives have to be found. Together with the Aachen Institute for Floor Systems (TFI), Morton Extrusionstechnik is working on the artificial turf of the future, which can do without problematic infill materials.

The researchers at the TFI are now called upon to ensure that the nubs of the artificial turf will hold well in the carrier material in future, even without polyurethane and latex. "Ideally, artificial turf would be made of just one polymer," TFI project manager Dirk Hanuschik says. Because, similar to food packaging, inseparable material composites are poison for high-quality recycling. Hanuschik and his team are therefore researching with their industrial partner into an artificial turf design that does not require any polyurethane or latex for the backing of the carrier material. In a thermobonding facility, the artificial turf nubs are to be melted directly onto the base material, not glued on. Nevertheless, a durability of around 12-15 years is the goal - as with artificial turf laid today. He can test the new materials on the industrial coating plant, which is on a smaller scale at the TFI. The first production plant is scheduled to go into operation as early as the middle of next year.
     
"The practical project of the TFI is an excellent example of how industrial research from the Zuse community creates concrete benefits for people through sustainable recycling management. Research on 'Design for Recycling' is the focus of many of our institutes. Their close cooperation with companies and their interdisciplinary approach offer the best conditions for further innovations," explains the President of the Zuse Community, Prof. Martin Bastian.


Recycling in the Fashion Industry
Recycling is more than just a trend. In the future, fashion should increasingly include useful recycling: People in Germany buy an average of 26 kg of textiles per capita per year, including 12-15 kg of clothing. Given these large quantities, high-quality recycling is a major challenge. Improved recycling includes a circular economy that thinks about the "life after", i.e. the next or renewed product, already when designing products. A current research project of the Zuse community shows how this can work for clothing.
     
Beverage bottles made of the plastic PET are already ideally suited for recycling, and not only for packaging, because of their purity of type. Under the motto "From the fiber to the fiber", this is what the applied research in the joint project DiTex is using for rental linen. The fibers used come from recycled PET bottles, and the rented linen itself is to be recycled back into linen after its first life cycle.

"Rented linen is also well suited to the 'Design for Recycling' concept because its use can be precisely tracked, which provides optimum conditions for recycling," project manager Dr. Anja Gerhardts from the Hohenstein Research Institute explains. The institute from Baden-Württemberg is responsible for textile testing and product specifications in the project initiated and coordinated by the Institute for Ecological Economic Research (IÖW). For benefit rather than ownership, the partners in the alliance are developing a recyclable line of bed linen, as well as polo and business shirts. The shirts will serve as uniforms for police and rescue services.

Intelligent label stores information
The laundry is equipped with a digital tracking ID throughout the entire usage cycle. This "intelligent" label stores information such as fiber origin, material composition and composition of the textile. This enables recycling companies to sort the products better, increase the recycling share and upgrade them. Numerous washing trials are now being carried out at Hohenstein to test how well the tracking tool is performing and what the tensile strength, degree of whiteness, color quality, durability and wearing comfort of the textiles are when they are washed, spun and dried up to 200 times in commercial textile services. "In DiTex we bring users, procurers and recyclers of textiles to one table to make recyclable product design a reality", Anja Gerhardts explains.

"Practical research on fibers and textiles is one of the core competences of many of our institute, be it for industrial technical products or consumer-oriented products. Projects like DiTex show innovative solutions for design for recycling. Thanks to the interdisciplinary approach in our association, other industries can also learn from such solutions," explains Dr. Annette Treffkorn, managing director of the Zuse community.

Source:

Zuse-Gemeinschaft

Gebr. Otto Baumwollfeinzwirnerei GmbH & Co. KG (c) Gebr. Otto Baumwollfeinzwirnerei GmbH & Co. KG
14.07.2020

Interview with Andreas Merkel, Managing Director Gebr. Otto GmbH & Co. KG

"OTTO has already survived two world wars and a pandemic in 1918, we will survive this one as well"

At least Europe seems to be able to breathe a sigh of relief after weeks of lockdown during the corona pandemic. The textile industry, an industry that has lived globalisation for so many years, is facing the challenge of maintaining its place in the new normal and building on its previous performance as quickly as possible.

Textination talked to three company representatives along the textile chain about personal and operational experiences.

"OTTO has already survived two world wars and a pandemic in 1918, we will survive this one as well"

At least Europe seems to be able to breathe a sigh of relief after weeks of lockdown during the corona pandemic. The textile industry, an industry that has lived globalisation for so many years, is facing the challenge of maintaining its place in the new normal and building on its previous performance as quickly as possible.

Textination talked to three company representatives along the textile chain about personal and operational experiences.

Andreas Merkel, Managing Director of Gebr. Otto Baumwollfeinzwirnerei GmbH & Co. KG, takes over the second part of our series of interviews and succeeds Wolfgang Müller, Head of Sales & Service at the textile machinery company Mayer & Cie. GmbH & Co. KG. The spinning mill, which was founded in Dietenheim in 1901, is now considered as one of the most modern ones in Europe. The management decided against relocating production abroad and relies on premium yarns made from natural fibers as well as tailor-made customer solutions.

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?

The lockdown period was something surreal to me. It was difficult to understand what was real and what was virtual. I found it positive that the crisis brought people closer together and that they gave more appreciation to things people had taken for granted, such as their own workplace.
Overall, I have remembered the past few months as not being such a negative time. Of course, this is also because we as a company have got off lightly so far. We have no external obligations such as rents, leasing contracts and so on to serve. We also see a clear upward trend again.    
          
What has the pandemic meant for your company so far?
The enterprise Gebrüder Otto has existed since 1901, we have already weathered a pandemic - the Spanish flu in 1918 - and we will survive this too. Of course, many orders suddenly broke off, and we had to cope with parts of the company in short-time work. Incidentally, an extremely sensible government offer that helped us to react quickly.
But I have the impression that the crisis is going to get off to a good start and I don't think we will stay at the current low level for a long time. As it looks now, we no longer need to take advantage of the short-time work in the spinning mill we had requested for July.
I am worried about the companies that will be hit hard by this crisis, especially in our industry, of course. We are already noticing insolvencies of long-established companies. The textile value chain in Germany is already very limited; let’s hope that this pandemic doesn’t shrink it any further.
 
What adjustments or innovations to your product portfolio have you felt obliged by the pandemic to undertake?
We saw a positive development even before the pandemic: More and more customers are asking about sustainable products, which we offer in a wide range.
Last year we started building up the brand "Cotton since 1901 - made in Germany" and launched it in April this year. We want to make the fact even clearer that we offer a regional, transparent and sustainable product with our cotton yarns made in Dietenheim. We have been based in Germany for almost 120 years and are part of our cityscape and local life. We - and our product - stand for consistency, responsibility and the highest quality standards.
Our yarns are the DNA of a high quality garment. Products that are made from "Cotton since 1901" are provided with a corresponding hang tag in the shops.
We are happy that we were able to launch this brand despite the difficulties that the corona measures implicated. Because now the topic is more important than ever. I recently had a conversation with a customer: Nothing works except in the sustainable segment. In short: high-quality products remain in demand, while it is becoming more and more difficult on the average market.

What are your views on global supply chains in the future, and will you be drawing consequences for your procurement policy?
In Germany, we have a high degree of company-internal value-add, we spin, twist and dye. Our cotton is extra-long-staple and we source it from Spain and Israel, from long-term suppliers. Because of Corona, there was no reason for our procurement to take consequences.
However, the crisis will have made it clear to many people that mass products used in daily life are no longer so easy to manufacture on their doorstep. But we need a reliable and high availability in Germany. That is why we should strengthen regional production, also in the long term. Sure, this is only possible in cooperation with customers and partners who appreciate these values. That doesn't work if everyone just looks at the price. Pricing is not everything. From this perspective, the pandemic was certainly an important catalyst.
 
How do you rate the importance of partnerships within the industry in the future?
Does Covid-19 have the potential to promote the creation of new cooperation arrangements in the industry? Or have they already taken shape?

Vertical partnerships are becoming increasingly important. Well, the shrinkage of the industry implicates this anyway. But we have to work together even more and the quality of the partnerships needs to become closer.
If one of the remaining specialists fails - let's assume that the companies that are now going bankrupt would have to close completely - then everyone else will be affected. There are no such specialists ten a penny, if they fall away, then some products cannot be manufactured locally anymore. You can build a fantastic car, no matter how good, if you don't have someone who can provide you with the steering wheel, you don't have a finished car.

What initiatives or approaches for your industry would you welcome for the near future?
Regional products should be given a parent brand so that consumers can recognize a regionally manufactured product as such. There was something like this in Switzerland with Swisscotton. I have suggested this several times in the association of the textile industry. It would be best for the industry if all manufacturers jointly build up such a regional label. After all, consumers are ready to spend money if they know where a product comes from and that it was manufactured fairly and sustainably. Everyone would benefit from such transparent added value. And digitization offers the ideal platform for this.

What would you like to see as part of the German textile industry?
Do you feel that the status of the German textile industry has changed as a result of the pandemic, especially in respect of public procurement?

As far as public procurement is concerned, I cannot answer this question because it does not really affect us.
But of course the pandemic has shown how fatal it can be if products are no longer manufactured in Germany, for example if antibiotics are market under the name of German companies but are actually manufactured on the other side of the world.
At the end of the day, the question arises: being a part of the textile industry – are we systemically relevant? Partly yes, I think, because if tomorrow
nobody produces yarns in Germany or Europe anymore, this will have consequences for systemically relevant products. And, as you know, you only realise that things can get tight when there is a bang. That is why I think that in a country like Germany there must be a basic supply of products and technology. After all, it's also about further development, about innovations. If I want to make a virus-free mask, I need local partners.

Until now the big issues have been globalisation, sustainability / climate change / environmental protection, digitisation, the labour market situation and so on.
Where do they stand now and how must we rate them against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic?

For us at Otto, sustainability and environmental protection have been a long-standing central corporate value. We produce our electricity partly independently, from hydropower. Our products and processes have been certified according to the highest standards. In my lectures, I often show how much water is needed to produce cotton, and how precious this raw material is in itself.
Together with the valuable regional added value, this gave rise to our new brand "Cotton since 1901". There will be a QR code on the hang tags on the finished garments, so that the buyer can check what is inside the product.
Such approaches, which are sustainable and regional, are a mega opportunity that we have to use. The corona crisis had demonstrated this very clearly.
 
What lessons are to be learnt in respect of these targets for the post-corona era?
I'm afraid things will go on as before in many areas. But still: We looked at the medical manufacturers who suddenly could no longer deliver everyday medicines. And we have seen the conditions under which meat products are produced.
Do we want that? No. In the end, consumers value flawless products - and we should deliver them.

This interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source:

Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research WKI

The Performance days as digital fair instead of conventional event (c) PERFORMANCE DAYS
21.04.2020

PERFORMANCE DAYS: DIGITAL FAIR INSTEAD OF CONVENTIONAL EVENT IN APRIL 2020

  • Staying on the pulse of textile development with the "Digital Fair"
  • The virtual trade fair steps up to the starting block

Although the industry will not be meeting in person to share the latest trends in functional fabrics for the Summer 2022 season on April 22-23 in Munich, PERFORMANCE DAYS is still going to take place — in a new format! The organizers have responded quickly to the new situation and have created a virtual alternative to stay in touch with visitors, exhibitors and partners that enables them to share the innovations in the industry: the DIGITAL FAIR is born.

Even if a personal impression of the latest fabric trends for summer 2022 is not possible this season, interested "trade fair visitors" can still find all the important developments on the website www.performancedays.com.   

  • Staying on the pulse of textile development with the "Digital Fair"
  • The virtual trade fair steps up to the starting block

Although the industry will not be meeting in person to share the latest trends in functional fabrics for the Summer 2022 season on April 22-23 in Munich, PERFORMANCE DAYS is still going to take place — in a new format! The organizers have responded quickly to the new situation and have created a virtual alternative to stay in touch with visitors, exhibitors and partners that enables them to share the innovations in the industry: the DIGITAL FAIR is born.

Even if a personal impression of the latest fabric trends for summer 2022 is not possible this season, interested "trade fair visitors" can still find all the important developments on the website www.performancedays.com.   

Visitors to the DIGITAL FAIR www.performancedays.com/digital-fair.html, can not only see the interesting fabrics at the popular PERFORMANCE FORUM, they can also experience everything a visitor could do at the real fair — just in digital form. Here is an overview:

SUPPLIER WORLD  
Initiating a contact has never been easier than it is now with the exclusive online profiles of each exhibitor. The curated exhibitors show their most important fabrics, as well as brand new videos of their latest products and expanded information. Visitors can get to know the suppliers digitally, make direct contact, and even order fabric samples online.  

COLOR TRENDS
Appropriately matching designer Nora Kühner’s webinar, the new color trends for summer 2022 will soon be available online as "early color information." The color chart for winter 2021/22 trends can already be ordered free of charge on the website.

EXPERT TALK WEBINARS
What about the lectures we look forward to attending at the fair? No problem! The Expert Talks will take place as webinars on April 22 and 23, 2020. The program agenda will be posted on the website soon. The webinars include a presentation of the fabric highlights of the PERFORMANCE FORUM by Ulrike Arlt, as well as a talk on the new color trends by Nora Kühner. If you register in time for the webinar, you will be able to ask questions during the talks. The webinars (less the interactive comment function) will be available online after the fair.

FORUM FABRICS, FORUM ACCESSORIES
The 240 best fabrics are shown by category along with the best accessories: The categories include a range from Baselayer to Outer Midlayer and 3-Layer as well as Safety & Durability fabrics. All products shown in the forum are sustainable — the materials,     
processing, and treatments! The products on exhibit at the PERFORMANCE FORUM have been carefully selected by the PERFORMANCE FORUM JURY, which, because of the current situation, met via video conference link. A written summary of the trends per category provides visitors a quick overview. Fabric samples can be tested and samples ordered all with one click. Two AWARD winners have been chosen and can be found in this area with all their details as well as all Jury Like fabrics and accessories.

FOCUS TOPIC
Visitors interested in the current FOCUS TOPIC can learn virtually about the current topic, which features natural fibers and natural functions like new yarn technologies and treatments. The theme "INSPIRED BY NATURE — FROM FIBERS TO GREEN TREATMENTS" summarizes facts and good-to-know information while letting you read up on the 24 best fabrics for this topic.   

SPORTSFASHION by SAZ
PERFORMANCE DAYS has put together a comprehensive opportunity at short notice so that visitors and exhibitors can get in touch with each other despite all adversity and exchange information about all the latest trends. The magazine SPORTSFASHION by SAZ as partner has produced an online edition of the DIGITAL FAIR that provides more details about the exhibitors and trends and can be viewed and downloaded as a PDF by all trade fair visitors and exhibitors for free.    

The next regular event is planned for October 28th and 29th in Munich.

Source:

PERFORMANCE DAYS functional fabric fair

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

© Reed Exhibitions/David Faber © Reed Exhibitions/David Faber
05.02.2019

LIVING & INTERIORS 2019: LIVING AS AN EXPRESSION OF PERSONALITY

Austria's most important public exhibition in the high-quality furniture and furnishing sector, "Wohnen & Interieur" at Messe Wien, is in the starting blocks for the coming spring. From 9 to 17 March 2019, organizer Reed Exhibitions will once again open the four exhibition halls, A to D, for the 18th edition of the fair. Structured subject areas and a focus on design worlds refresh the established exhibition format.

It is said that the personality of the people is reflected in their own four walls. One is aware spending the majority of the time indoors. And here we should feel comfortable, quasi "native", relaxed - and some even speak of a "therapeutic" effect of the living environment on the individual. Inspira tions and trends for your own four walls can be seen in a wide range at Austria's largest interior design trade fair, Wohnen & Interieur, including advice, trade fair offers and immediate purchase.

Austria's most important public exhibition in the high-quality furniture and furnishing sector, "Wohnen & Interieur" at Messe Wien, is in the starting blocks for the coming spring. From 9 to 17 March 2019, organizer Reed Exhibitions will once again open the four exhibition halls, A to D, for the 18th edition of the fair. Structured subject areas and a focus on design worlds refresh the established exhibition format.

It is said that the personality of the people is reflected in their own four walls. One is aware spending the majority of the time indoors. And here we should feel comfortable, quasi "native", relaxed - and some even speak of a "therapeutic" effect of the living environment on the individual. Inspira tions and trends for your own four walls can be seen in a wide range at Austria's largest interior design trade fair, Wohnen & Interieur, including advice, trade fair offers and immediate purchase.

At home connected with nature
The more hectic the world appears out there, the more important becomes an oasis of peace in your own four walls. And as people become more and more aware of themselves, concepts such as sustainability and environment gain in importance.
Everyone is talking about "Natural Living" this year - natural materials are very much in vogue, wood dominates the popularity scale. Pollutant-free tanned leather, cork, natural fibers from coconut and sisal to cotton and linen are in demand. Also, in the spirit of a "green stamp", preference is given to local products, a topic in which Austrian manufacturers with top-quality and likeable products are on top and present themselves accordingly at the W & I.    

Trend colors convey a sense of life
Life-affirming, happy coral red - Living Coral - radiates warmth and brings energy, comfort and security. Also important are delicate Ice Cream Colors, which can be ideally combined with each other and especially with natural wood tones. But also, exciting wall colors as well as striking statement wallpapers and wall tattoos are new favorites. Alternatively: wallpapers with a touch of vintage. Fabrics in gold, honey and brown tones correspond to blue nuances of turquoise, royal and petrol as well as pink and red shades.

Little space - plenty of room for ideas  
"Mindful architecture" addresses mindful design that harmonizes body and mind. And "Slow Living" brings peace to mind, this is based on clear forms, preferably universities and dispenses with unnecessary frills. Flows from the fields of design, fashion, society, politics and anthropology are expressed in the living environment - practical furniture increasingly plays a role: intelligent furniture solutions, foldable furniture, from the dining table to the bar table, from the stool to the side table and stackable shelf variants are used in urban scenes, Where living space is becoming more and more precious and therefore more limited, the challenge for planning professionals and interior design professionals. Furniture becomes multifunctional applicable and versatile, without much effort, of course.

Upcycling to „Smart Living“
And again, the topic of sustainability emerges, a consciousness without a warning finger: Recycled materials come to life or old furnishings are "revamped" and shines in new splendor.
"Smart Living", the digitization in your own household, from safety and comfort through to energy management, is entering all generations - this market is rapidly expanding worldwide.

ISPO MUNICH 2017 © Messe München GmbH
23.08.2016

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

  • Trend preview for designers and product developers
  • Registration for ISPO TEXTRENDS 2017 available now
Together with trend experts, ISPO monitors influences, themes and colors that will shape fabric innovations for Fall/Winter 2018/2019. The textile trends are developed on the basis of these findings. They steer the work of designers and product developers and provide comprehensive predictions for future trend developments. Three megatrends focus on new market segments, the latest in functionality and the subject of sustainability. Companies wishing to showcase their products at ISPO TEXTRENDS can register now at www.textrends.ispo.com
 
ISPO is a renowned network for innovations. In combination with ISPO TEXTRENDS, it provides a platform for innovative fabrics and components in the textile sector.
  • Trend preview for designers and product developers
  • Registration for ISPO TEXTRENDS 2017 available now
Together with trend experts, ISPO monitors influences, themes and colors that will shape fabric innovations for Fall/Winter 2018/2019. The textile trends are developed on the basis of these findings. They steer the work of designers and product developers and provide comprehensive predictions for future trend developments. Three megatrends focus on new market segments, the latest in functionality and the subject of sustainability. Companies wishing to showcase their products at ISPO TEXTRENDS can register now at www.textrends.ispo.com
 
ISPO is a renowned network for innovations. In combination with ISPO TEXTRENDS, it provides a platform for innovative fabrics and components in the textile sector. Just recently the summer event was successfully launched for the first time at ISPO SHANGHAI. The well-established ISPO TEXTRENDS winter event will follow at ISPO MUNICH from February 5–8, 2017. Companies wishing to showcase their products at ISPO TEXTRENDS can register now at www.textrends.ispo.com. Which products can be entered in the race? Do they meet the expectations of the judging panel? The textile trends provide initial pointers and act as a guideline for participants when making their application. The textile trends consider various factors, from consumer behavior to the global economic situation. They also incorporate the influences of film, music and art on the industry and your products. The result is three megatrends, upcoming color trends and five detailed textile trends. As part of this, ISPO provides an exclusive initial glimpse of the sportswear market for Fall/Winter 2018/2019.
 
A quick look at textile trends for Fall/Winter 2018/2019
 
Megatrends – Opportunity Knocks, Perpetual Emotion, Infinite Act
The three megatrends will influence the textiles of Fall/Winter 2018/2019, crossing over into the sports market:
 
Opportunity Knocks calls for a focus on new market opportunities. The outdoor and activewear sector is no longer solely confined to a niche market. It is an opportunity to successfully expand product ranges.
 
With the Perpetual Emotion trend, positivity and confidence take a stand against the ever-increasing doom and gloom in the world. This trend is spearheaded by the desire to explore boundaries and provide the ultimate functionality without compromising style. Consumers expect the latest in functionality, enhanced comfort and a feeling like no other they’ve experienced when they wear the garment.
 
Infinite Act focuses on the message of sustainability combined with a strong corporate responsibility both to the environment and the workforce. Nanotechnology and biomimicry continue to make a mark, while the chemical industry and manufacturers of functional fabrics focus on their environmentally-friendly approach.
 
Color spectrum for Fall/Winter 2017/2018
 
The colors for the Fall/Winter season 2018/2019 are forward-looking, optimistic and focused. This season the active color spectrum is shifting to a slightly more powdery look compared to the traditionally bright best-selling tones. Deep reds and dark berry tones compliment envisaged shades of green and orange, presenting a warm but invigorating color spectrum inspired by nature.
 
Textile trends: Sensory, Allegiance, Myriad, Paragon, Transmutation
Five textile trends reflect numerous influences from consumer behavior to the global economic Situation.
 
Trend 1 – Sensory. This trend is about enhancing performance through fit, touch and visual appeal. The functionality on offer is manifested in fabrics, finishes, trims and accessories. This covers featherlight base layers to super soft insulation and multi-functional outer shells. Sensory pushes the boundaries of technology and textile manufacturing. 
 
Trend 2 – Allegiance. This trend teams the benefits of natural fibers with the guaranteed performance of advanced synthetic fabrics. The result is an increase in hybrid blends. From manufacturers of natural and synthetic yarn to textile suppliers and finishing producers, everyone is striving to deliver more environmentally sustainable products and manufacturing processes. This also influences the appearance. 
 
Trend 3 – Myriad. This trend is aimed at incredibly lightweight products crammed full of multi-functionality, enabling popular basics to be spruced up into new generation must haves. The developments in this section give rise to highly intelligent products that create new agility and improved functionality for the consumer. 
 
Trend 4 – Paragon. Paragon is geared toward everyone who strives to be the best in winter sports – the fabrics, trims and accessories make for a winning performance. Protective aspects also feature in this trend, from core stability and reflective elements to tear resistance and shock absorption. 
 
Trend 5 – Transmutation. This trend brings about fabrics and trims that adapt to different situations, especially through prints and yarn combinations inspired by metamorphism. Visually and structurally stimulating, products in this sector are screaming for attention in a whole host of scenarios, ranging from high-level performance and fun with a hint of glamour. 
 
Companies wishing to showcase their products at ISPO TEXTRENDS can register now at www.textrends.ispo.com . The application deadline is Sunday, October 30, 2016. An international expert judging panel will then assess all of the submissions. The selected materials will be exhibited at ISPO MUNICH 2017 in Hall C2.
 
The latest ISPO TEXTRENDS app reveals the best fabrics and components for making sportswear—get your copy from the ISPO SHOP.
 
More information on ISPO TEXTRENDS is available at www.textrends.ispo.com and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ispomunich
 
More information on textile trends is available on request from: stephanie.ledru@pascher-heinz.com
 IVC introduces the 16th Edition of the Study "The Fiber Year" with Key Sector Data © The Fiber Year GmbH
10.05.2016

IVC INTRODUCES THE 16TH EDITION OF THE STUDY "THE FIBER YEAR" WITH KEY SECTOR DATA

  • Fiber Production for the first Time in five Years lower than Consumption
In a press conference on May 3rd 2016, the industry association IVC published in an established tradition both the national and the global sector data: Andreas Engelhardt, CEO of The Fiber Year GmbH left no question about all important raw materials, natural and synthetic fibers and nonwovens unanswered and presented In his study a forecast horizon till 2020. 20 country profiles of leading production as well as consuming nations completed next to statements from sector experts and an extensive statistical annex the new edition. The key messages were focused on production, consumption and trading volume.
 
For the first time in five years fiber production is less than consumption
 
Since 2008 the global fiber production dropped again for the first time.
  • Fiber Production for the first Time in five Years lower than Consumption
In a press conference on May 3rd 2016, the industry association IVC published in an established tradition both the national and the global sector data: Andreas Engelhardt, CEO of The Fiber Year GmbH left no question about all important raw materials, natural and synthetic fibers and nonwovens unanswered and presented In his study a forecast horizon till 2020. 20 country profiles of leading production as well as consuming nations completed next to statements from sector experts and an extensive statistical annex the new edition. The key messages were focused on production, consumption and trading volume.
 
For the first time in five years fiber production is less than consumption
 
Since 2008 the global fiber production dropped again for the first time. The global volume fell by 0.7% to 94.9 million tons. The decline was decisive caused due to cotton which experienced its steepest decline in forty years. The production in the current season is estimated with 22.0 million tons, a decrease of 15.6% compared to the previous season.  With a slight decrease in demand by 2.2% at the same time the stocks remain with over 20 million tons still at an enormous height. High growth rates of China's chemical fiber industry let expect a massive supply surplus. The global fiber demand in the past year has grown to 96.7 million tons. This represents an increase of 3.1% over the previous year, the weakest growth in four years due to a continuously decreasing growth of demand.
 
With a world population of about 7.3 billion people, this results in an average consumption per capita of 13.3 kg of textile materials for garments, home textiles, carpets and technical textiles. Synthetic fibers showed an increase of 6.6% to 60.7 million tons, significantly driven by a growth of polyester. The increase is largely caused by the area of filament yarn, as staple fibers achieved a moderate growth of 2.4% only. This can be seen as a recovery after this part of the sector showed in the last year a decline for the first time since 2008.
 
Cellulose fibers showed for the first time after seven years with strong growth a slight fall in production of 1.2% to 6.1 million tons. The market is almost completely dominated by staple fibers. Due to a growth across Europe and Asia viscose fibers could increase their volume by 1.1% to 4.9 million tons. In contrast Acetate showed a loss in a second consecutive year. A decreasing production activity was seen in all markets and regions with a global slump of 7.5% to 0.9 million tons. This drastic cut was significantly stronger than the losses in the end-use consumption, which can be seen as a clear indication of global destocking. The long-term shrinkage of cellulosic yarns for textile applications has developed further, so that the global supply of about 350 000 tons is equivalent to the level of the early 1930s.
 
The market for natural fibers experienced with a reduction of 13.2% to 28.1 million tons the biggest annual decline since 1986, which is mainly due to cotton. The production of wool was unchanged at 1.1 million tons while for bast fibers a reduction of about 5% is expected.
 
In a focus on the different countries, the People's Republic of China could further strengthen its dominant position with an increase in production output by 8.9% to more than 47 million tons. The United States could consolidate their second place despite a slight  decline of 2.5% to 2.9 million tons, while India experienced a continued decline in the fifth following year to 2.6 million tons.
 
Trading volume grows unabated
 
According to the World Trade Organization (WTO) during the year 2014 the textile and clothing exports reached around USD 820 billion. The for the yearbook researched trade flows of 26 countries and the EU (28) estimate that the worldwide export will fall to USD 780 billion in 2015. While the Chinese exports developed a first decrease in six years, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam were able to continue to raise their export value. The dynamic development particular of Vietnam with its booming textile industry can be attributed to the influence of free trade agreements.
 
Fiber production in Germany
 
Despite international trends and many political challenges, which increasingly plague the German chemical fiber producers, man-made fibers "made in Germany" are still no dying species, Dr. Wilhelm Rauch, managing director of the industry association said.
 
While in 2014 the chemical fiber industry in Germany suffered a decline in production volumes of 6.1%, the production volume stabilized at almost the same prior-year level. The production of cellulosic fibers remained with a reduction of - 6.8% (previous year - 8.6%) - conform to the worldwide slump of cotton. Synthetic fibers (in particular Polyester) however achieved a slight increase of + 1.6% (last year - 4.9%). Thus the reduction in production volumes kept with - 0.9% in limits.
 
As consequences of this a sales decline of - 4.8% and associated necessary personnel adjustments with -1.4% are alarming signals, that the site conditions for chemical fiber producers in Germany (and Europe) are urgently in a need of improvement. A positive turnaround could certainly bring a fair competition protecting and an industry-friendly approach of the EU business policy. But the emphasis of the current policy debates - about the recognition of the market economy status of China as an example of politically motivated developments let suppose a very different intension, so Mr. Rauch. Despite unfavorable economic expectant conditions it is to owe the commitment and innovation power of the local manmade fiber sector that they claim to withstand the international competition.  
 
Nevertheless, the sector would appreciate a somewhat lower political headwind.
 
Fiber processing
 
In 2015 the processing of all types of fiber in Germany could not keep the level of the previous year and suffered a decrease of -11.6%. The total imports of chemical fibers - mostly from the 28 EU countries with +54% followed by Asia with + 40% - show a plus of 1.1% (synthetic staple fibers +1.9% and filaments +1.7%), while cellulosic fibers suffered a slump of -7.4%. The total export is declining slightly (- 2.0%). Despite the reduction of total exports, here the shares in the various regions of the world compared to the previous year stood unchanged.
 
Further information is available at:
 
Andreas Engelhardt 
CEO
The Fiber Year GmbH 
Hauptstraße 19 
9042 Speicher, Schweiz 
Tel.: + 41 / 71 / 450 06 82 
 
Creta Gambillara
Economics and Public Relations
Industrievereinigung Chemiefaser e.V.
Mainzer Landstraße 55
60329 Frankfurt am Main
Tel.: 069 / 279971 – 39