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(c) Messe Frankfurt GmbH / SPOTT for Heimtextil
07.09.2021

Next Horizons: Heimtextil presents Trends 2022/23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Jens Liebchen
31.08.2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: pixabay
20.07.2021

Closed-Loop Recycling Pilot Project for Single Use Face Masks

  • Circular economy for plastics: Fraunhofer, SABIC, and Procter & Gamble join forces

The Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Circular Plastics Economy CCPE and its Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT have developed an advanced recycling process for used plastics. The pilot project with SABIC and Procter & Gamble serves to demonstrate the feasibility of closed-loop recycling for single-use facemasks.

The transformation from a linear to a circular plastics economy can only succeed with a multi-stakeholder approach. The Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Circular Plastics Economy CCPE combines the competencies of six institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and cooperates closely with partners from industry. Together, we work on systemic, technical and social innovations and keep an eye on the entire life cycle of plastic products.  

  • Circular economy for plastics: Fraunhofer, SABIC, and Procter & Gamble join forces

The Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Circular Plastics Economy CCPE and its Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT have developed an advanced recycling process for used plastics. The pilot project with SABIC and Procter & Gamble serves to demonstrate the feasibility of closed-loop recycling for single-use facemasks.

The transformation from a linear to a circular plastics economy can only succeed with a multi-stakeholder approach. The Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Circular Plastics Economy CCPE combines the competencies of six institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and cooperates closely with partners from industry. Together, we work on systemic, technical and social innovations and keep an eye on the entire life cycle of plastic products.  

Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT is a pioneer in sustainable energy and raw materials management by supplying and transferring scientific results into companies, society and politics. Together with partners, the dedicated UMSICHT team researches and develops sustainable products, processes and services which inspire.

Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT, SABIC and Procter & Gamble (P&G) are collaborating in an innovative circular economy pilot project which aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of closed-loop recycling of single-use facemasks.

Due to COVID-19, use of billions of disposable facemasks is raising environmental concerns especially when they are thoughtlessly discarded in public spaces, including - parks, open-air venues and beaches. Apart from the challenge of dealing with such huge volumes of essential personal healthcare items in a sustainable way, simply throwing the used masks away for disposal on landfill sites or in incineration plants represents a loss of valuable feedstock for new material.

“Recognizing the challenge, we set out to explore how used facemasks could potentially be returned into the value chain of new facemask production,” says Dr. Peter Dziezok, Director R&D Open Innovation at P&G. “But creating a true circular solution from both a sustainable and an economically feasible perspective takes partners. Therefore, we teamed up with Fraunhofer CCPE and Fraunhofer UMSICHT’s expert scientists and SABIC’s T&I specialists to investigate potential solutions.”

As part of the pilot, P&G collected used facemasks worn by employees or given to visitors at its manufacturing and research sites in Germany. Although those masks are always disposed of responsibly, there was no ideal route in place to recycle them efficiently. To help demonstrate a potential step change in this scenario, special collection bins were set up, and the collected used masks were sent to Fraunhofer for further processing in a dedicated research pyrolysis plant.

“A single-use medical product such as a face mask has high hygiene requirements, both in terms of disposal and production. Mechanical recycling, would have not done the job” explains Dr. Alexander Hofmann, Head of Department Recycling Management at Fraunhofer UMSICHT. “In our solution, therefore, the masks were first automatically shredded and then thermochemically converted to pyrolysis oil.

Pyrolysis breaks the plastic down into molecular fragments under pressure and heat, which will also destroy any residual pollutants or pathogens, such as the Coronavirus. In this way it is possible to produce feedstock for new plastics in virgin quality that can also meet the requirements for medical products” adds Hofmann, who is also Head of Research Department “Advanced Recycling” at Fraunhofer CCPE.

The pyrolysis oil was then sent to SABIC to be used as feedstock for the production of new PP resin. The resins were produced using the widely recognized principle of mass balance to combine the alternative feedstock with fossil-based feedstock in the production process. Mass balance is considered a crucial bridge between today’s linear economy and the more sustainable circular economy of the future.

“The high-quality circular PP polymer obtained in this pilot clearly demonstrates that closed-loop recycling is achievable through active collaboration of players from across the value chain,” emphasizes Mark Vester, Global Circular Economy Leader at SABIC. “The circular material is part of our TRUCIRCLE™ portfolio, aimed at preventing valuable used plastic from becoming waste and at mitigating the depletion of fossil resources.”

Finally, to close the loop, the PP polymer was supplied to P&G, where it was processed into non-woven fibers material. “This pilot project has helped us to assess if the close loop approach could work for hygienic and medical grade plastics.” says Hansjörg Reick, P&G Senior Director Open Innovation. “Of course, further work is needed but the results so far have been very encouraging”.

The entire closed loop pilot project from facemask collection to production was developed and implemented within only seven months. The transferability of advanced recycling to other feedstocks and chemical products is being further researched at Fraunhofer CCPE.

Photo: pixabay
06.07.2021

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

Fraunhofer Institutes pave new ways in plastics recycling

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

Fraunhofer Institutes pave new ways in plastics recycling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS (lead)
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Non-Destructive Testing IZFP
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Materials Recycling and Resource Strategy IWKS
  • Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB
  • Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques FHR
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV
Photo: Pixabay
29.06.2021

A sustainable Circular Economy: Polypropylene Recycling from Carpet Waste

A significant part of carpet waste consists of petroleum-based polypropylene. As a non-recyclable product, disposing of it has previously meant incineration or landfill. However, a new solvent is now making it possible to recover virgin-standard polypropylene from carpet waste — with no perceptible reduction in quality. Developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP and its partners, the process also involves costs that are quite competitive. The development has taken place as part of the ISOPREP EU project.

The EU alone produces around 1.6 million tons of carpet waste every year. The majority of this ends up being sent to landfill or incinerated, as carpet is a composite material that is not suitable for purely mechanical recycling methods. With carpet waste analysed in the project consisting of around a quarter polypropylene, a petroleum-based plastic, the result is a great deal of resources going to waste.

A significant part of carpet waste consists of petroleum-based polypropylene. As a non-recyclable product, disposing of it has previously meant incineration or landfill. However, a new solvent is now making it possible to recover virgin-standard polypropylene from carpet waste — with no perceptible reduction in quality. Developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP and its partners, the process also involves costs that are quite competitive. The development has taken place as part of the ISOPREP EU project.

The EU alone produces around 1.6 million tons of carpet waste every year. The majority of this ends up being sent to landfill or incinerated, as carpet is a composite material that is not suitable for purely mechanical recycling methods. With carpet waste analysed in the project consisting of around a quarter polypropylene, a petroleum-based plastic, the result is a great deal of resources going to waste.

Carpet recycling now possible thanks to a new process
A team of researchers, including from Fraunhofer IBP, has now developed a new recycling process as part of an EU project named ISOPREP (see logo). “For the first time, this is making it possible to recover polypropylene from carpet waste — and the outcome is virgin-quality,” says Maike Illner, a researcher at Fraunhofer IBP. Not only does this allow the recovered polypropylene to be used in lower-quality products (in a process known as downcycling), but it also means that the quality is similar to that of newly manufactured polypropylene, making the material suitable for high-quality products too.

The process is based on a special solvent in the form of an ionic liquid. With the right components, it is able to selectively extract polypropylene from carpet fibers. Before the team of experts applies the solvent, the carpet waste is cleaned — something which involves removing as much of the backing as possible — and broken down. Once the pretreatment is complete, the waste is fed into a reactor in which it undergoes treatment using the solvent. The polypropylene is selectively dissolved in the solvent, a method that provides an effective way of removing dyes and other additives. The process is already being used on an extensive laboratory scale involving several liters of the solvent — and now, the research consortium has set its sights on scaling the process up to a pilot plant with the ability to recycle a ton of carpet waste per day. The pilot plant is set to commence operation by the end of the project in March 2022.

Costs and environmental impact
A recycling process can only be deployed on a large scale if its costs are competitive. For this application, this means retaining as much of the expensive ionic liquid as possible in the cycle. “If loss rates can be kept to one percent or less, there is potential for the costs of the process to rival those of producing new polypropylene,” explains Illner. “We know this thanks to a preliminary economic analysis that we conducted at Fraunhofer IBP.” The analysis involved the Fraunhofer researchers investigating the quantities of material and energy that would be required for the process and what kind of product would be output, and then calculating the associated costs. The team also considered how the costs would develop over the long term.

Fraunhofer IBP is focusing on the ecological aspects of carpet recycling. It is able to draw conclusions from factors including a lifecycle assessment, which sheds light on the emissions that are produced during the recycling process, for example. If the consortium is able to achieve its aim of keeping solvent loss rates to one percent or less in this case too, primary energy requirements and greenhouse gas emissions will remain on a similar scale to those involved in producing new polypropylene.

Potential for transfer to other polypropylene waste streams
While carpet waste is the focus of this particular project, the process that has been developed has potential applications far beyond it. The experts involved believe that it could be transferred to a whole host of waste flows that contain polypropylene and are unsuitable for conventional recycling methods. “One example is polypropylene products that contain dyes and additives,” says Illner. “Until now, it has been difficult to extract them from plastic, which means that the recycled polypropylene has only been suitable for use in lower-quality products.” The new process separates the polypropylene not only from other materials, but also from dyes and other additives, allowing it to be used in high-quality applications.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement no. 820787.

(c) Fraunhofer IAP
08.06.2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: pixabay
25.05.2021

Water Saving Solution for Textile Industry EC Project Waste2Fresh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Duration: 12/2020- 11/2023

Coordinator:
KONYA TEKNIK UNIVERSITESI, Turkey

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

(c) Porsche AG
04.05.2021

Fraunhofer: Lightweight and Ecology in Automotive Construction

  • The “Bioconcept-Car” moves ahead

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

  • The “Bioconcept-Car” moves ahead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

  • EU Project ALMA: Thinking Ahead to Electromobility

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

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

Photo: pixabay
13.04.2021

KPMG Study in Cooperation with EHI: Fashion 2030

For years now, fashion retail has been able to show a moderate but steady growth in sales. However, the share of sales accounted for by online retail is becoming significantly stronger, and consequently that of stationary retail is becoming weaker. In just 10 years, online fashion retail will have a market share as high as that of local fashion stores, according to one of the findings of the study "Fashion 2030 - Seeing what fashion will be tomorrow" by KPMG in cooperation with EHI. "For retailers, the decline in sales in the stationary sector means that they have to reduce their stationary areas," says Marco Atzberger, Managing Director of EHI. A dilemma, because the majority of customers prefer to shop in their local fashion store, despite all the online alternatives.

For years now, fashion retail has been able to show a moderate but steady growth in sales. However, the share of sales accounted for by online retail is becoming significantly stronger, and consequently that of stationary retail is becoming weaker. In just 10 years, online fashion retail will have a market share as high as that of local fashion stores, according to one of the findings of the study "Fashion 2030 - Seeing what fashion will be tomorrow" by KPMG in cooperation with EHI. "For retailers, the decline in sales in the stationary sector means that they have to reduce their stationary areas," says Marco Atzberger, Managing Director of EHI. A dilemma, because the majority of customers prefer to shop in their local fashion store, despite all the online alternatives.

Textiles, media and electrical goods are currently the categories most frequently purchased online. Consumers believe that online shopping in these categories will also be particularly attractive in the future, although there is also considerable interest in online purchasing of furniture, drugstore and hardware store products.

With sales of 16.5 billion euros, online fashion retail already accounts for 25 percent of total fashion sales, which were around 66 billion euros in 2020. The experts at KPMG and EHI predict that this share will double in the next ten years. The forecasted annual sales of 79.2 billion euros in 2030 are to be divided equally between online and stationary stores. In order to position itself correctly here, the textile trade is facing strategic changes in terms of sustainability and digitization in addition to reductions in retail space. Concepts such as circular economy (recycling) or re-commerce (second-hand) are just as much part of the customer's demands as a smooth (channel-independent) shopping experience or a targeted customer approach.

Online information sources are becoming increasingly important for customers. However, browsing in stores continues to be the main source of information when shopping. One exception, however, is electrical goods - the independent opinion of reviews is the most important source of information here.

Reductions in retail space
As the market share of online fashion retail is becoming increasingly stronger than that of the overall fashion market, there will be a scissor effect for the stationary clothing retail – unless decisive parameters such as store rents change. Permanently reducing the share of fixed costs in the stationary sector can lead to a harmonization of both sales channels and prevent massive cannibalization effects, according to the authors of the study. The reduction in retail space will have the most severe impact on department stores and multi-story formats. Interviews with retail experts show that the retail expects a reduction in space of around 50 percent by 2030 and anticipates shrinkages of up to 70 percent at peak times. However, the current crisis also offers fashion retailers a greater choice of appealing rental spaces and therefore the opportunity to position themselves for the future by strategically streamlining their own store networks, adapting their space and differentiating their concepts to suit their target customers - in combination with smart digital solutions.

Multi-channel approaches are continuing to grow. On the one hand, stationary retailers will increasingly enter the online market; on the other hand, it can be observed that the opening of their own local stores by previously online-only retailers is on the rise.

Shopping experience
For a successful shopping experience, the city centers must be vibrant as well as attractive and should offer entertainment. All of this requires cooperation between all of the local players involved and collaboration with conceptually oriented urban development. To increase the individual customer loyalty and build real trust, fashion retailers must invest more in emotionality and use IT solutions. Whether in-store or online, customers want a targeted and smooth shopping experience, which for retailers means cleverly linking the systems. Availability and finding clothes in the right size also play a significant role in the stationary fashion retail. 42 percent of customers say that they would shop more often in stores, if these factors were guaranteed.

Already today, a concrete shortage of qualified personnel can be observed in certain regions and areas of responsibility. This is likely to become even more severe in the future. The retail’s own qualification measures will increase, and the industry's image will have to be improved.

Despite all technological support, the human being remains the most important factor in retailing - 88 percent agree on this. For 60 percent of consumers, encounters with people in a retail store are becoming increasingly important.

Sustainability
For almost half of the consumers surveyed (46 percent), sustainability is already a worthwhile concept today. This also includes re-commerce and second-hand. 34 percent of customers already buy used clothing, and another 28 percent can imagine doing so. In terms of occasions, a large proportion can also imagine renting clothing. The second-hand clothing trend has the potential to claim a market share of up to 20 percent in the next ten years and therefore to become a significant market segment in fashion retail.

In addition to the sustainability debate, the main factors driving this trend are the digitalization of the "second-hand store around the corner" and the large online fashion platforms that are discovering this market for themselves and making consumers increasingly aware of the models of temporary use.

Laws and regulations as well as increasing pressure from stakeholders have contributed to the growing importance of sustainability. However, the consumer goods sector attaches greater importance than other sectors to the aspect of being able to achieve a reputational gain through a sustainability strategy.

When it comes to the circular economy or rather the recycling of raw materials from used clothing, many companies are already involved in non-profit initiatives and research projects to develop the relevant technologies. In 2030, also due to legal initiatives, many clothing items will probably be made from recycled textile raw materials or fibers, which would substantially shorten the supply chains. "Automated fiber recovery, increasing unit labor costs in the Far East and fewer used textiles, this is the starting point for a perspective revival of textile production in countries close to Europe as well as in Europe itself," says Stephan Fetsch, Head of Retail EMA at KPMG. Although circular economy does not yet play a major role due to the current limited availability, it shows great potential: 28 percent have already purchased recycled textiles, and over 50 percent are positive about it.

Customers believe that retailers and manufacturers are responsible for sustainability. They, on the other hand, would like consumers to initiate the upswing of re-commerce by changing their behavior. New compliance guidelines will have an accelerating effect on the development of the re-commerce market.

Source:

(Studies; KPMG/EHI or rather KPMG):
- Fashion 2030: Sehen, was morgen Mode ist (Seeing what fashion will be tomorrow - only available in German)
- CONSUMER MARKETS: Trends in Handel 2020 (Trends in Retail 2020 - only available in German)

(c) Neonyt/Messe Frankfurt GmbH
30.03.2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The COVID-19 pandemic has also left its mark on the textile and clothing industry. When you look back on just under a year of "state of emergency" - what positive experiences do you take with you, where do you see a need for improvement, for what support are you grateful for and where did you feel you were left on your own? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Pixabay
16.02.2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source:

Zuse Community

Wanted: Start-ups with innovations for textile care © Photo: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Jens Liebchen
09.02.2021

Wanted: Start-ups with innovations for textile care

From 24-hour deliveries, status tracking and green packaging to textile recycling and innovative cleaning technology: new services have the potential to revolutionise the business of dry cleaners and laundries. Against this background, Messe Frankfurt invites start-ups to present their products and ideas at Texcare International. The world’s most important event for the textile-care sector in Frankfurt am Main from 27 November to 1 December 2021 offers young entrepreneurs outstanding opportunities to draw the market’s attention to their innovations.

From 24-hour deliveries, status tracking and green packaging to textile recycling and innovative cleaning technology: new services have the potential to revolutionise the business of dry cleaners and laundries. Against this background, Messe Frankfurt invites start-ups to present their products and ideas at Texcare International. The world’s most important event for the textile-care sector in Frankfurt am Main from 27 November to 1 December 2021 offers young entrepreneurs outstanding opportunities to draw the market’s attention to their innovations.

The demands placed by both private and commercial customers on textile care are extremely high, especially in terms of speed, immediate availability, transparent communication and sustainable solutions. In this connection, Johannes Schmid-Wiedersheim, Director of Texcare International at Messe Frankfurt, says, “Start-ups have an important role to play when it comes to promoting digitalisation and sustainability in the world of textile care. In many cases, they succeed quickly in transforming the results of scientific research or trends from other sectors into useful projects. To support this, we want specifically to promote young, agile companies at Texcare International and offer them an attractive ‘Start-up Package’.”

Digital platforms offer dry cleaners and laundries an opportunity to promote their services online in a modern way. Summarising what makes these platforms so important, Daniel Dalkowski, Managing Director of the European Research Association for Innovative Textile Care (EFIT), says, “Digital platforms are undoubtedly one of the most important achievements of recent times – not just because there are so many of them but also because they have found imitators in the sector. In this case, the innovation is to be seen in a combination of ordering, flexible logistics and billing in a smartphone app or online platform.”

With their robotics solutions and bright ideas for artificial intelligence, IT start-ups help textile care companies on their way to becoming smart laundries. Elgar Straub, Managing Director, VDMA Textile Care, Fabric and Leather Technologies, explains how machine and plant manufacturers have benefited from their input: “In the field of mechanical engineering, an important role is played by start-ups offering technical solutions covering a broad spectrum of sectors, e.g., virtual machine commissioning and the optimisation of production process chains.”

Naturally, company founders in other disciplines are also putting forward their ideas. Against the background of the plastic waste debate, there are, for instance, numerous start-ups offering biodegradable packaging materials. As well, there are start-ups in the field of textile recycling, which process used workwear or laundry and thus contribute to the circular economy. And what does the future hold for the sector? One thing is for the experts certain: artificial intelligence and automation offer a great potential for ‘outsiders’ with genuine innovations to gain a foothold in the market. Improvements in the logistics chain of laundries and dry cleaners also have excellent chances of success.

Market entry at Texcare International Texcare
International from 27 November to 1 December 2021 offers start-ups an outstanding opportunity to draw attention to their services and to make contact with established companies. The Start-up Package of Messe Frankfurt includes a turnkey exhibition stand.

The prerequisites for participation:

  • The company was founded no more than ten years ago per 27 November 2021
  • The company employs max. ten people.
  • The annual turnover does not exceed € 1 million (net).
  • The start-up offers innovative products or services especially for the textile-care sector.

The product spectrum of Texcare International embraces machines and plant, laundry and cleaning substances, IT and logistics solutions and workwear and laundry.

More information:
texcare Startup Start-ups
Source:

Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH

(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

Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH, Michael Steidle (c) Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH
21.07.2020

„COVID-19 - We could and should have appeared better as noble knights" Michael Steidle, Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH

  • Interview with Michael Steidle, Managing Director Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH

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.

  • Interview with Michael Steidle, Managing Director Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH

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.

The Interview with Michael Steidle, managing director at the textile printing company Heinrich Mayer GmbH, marks the provisional end of our series that started with Wolfgang Müller, Head of Sales & Services at Mayer & Cie. GmbH & Co. KG and was continued by Andreas Merkel, managing director of Gebr. Otto Baumwollfeinzwirnerei GmbH & Co. KG. The textile printing company Mayer, a family business on the Swabian Alb, is a leader in textile printing, in screen, rouleaux, rotary, sublimation and flock printing and as well as in 3D coating. They are increasingly using these skills in the area of technical textiles.

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 corona time hit us hard. At the beginning of April, sometimes it felt like the lights would go out within the next 24 hours. In numbers there is a drop in sales of 30 percent.
And that's not just the way we are, this crisis has incredibly broader implications. Involved in the word of the Chamber of Commerce I am concerned with many companies in the region. Sectors that would not come to mind spontaneously also feel the effects. This also includes recycling companies. After all, there is also less commercial waste when companies are on short-time work.
At a personal level you can deal with the crisis, hand hygiene, sneeze etiquette, you can learn all of this. But we miss people-to-people contacts. We have a teenage daughter; young people in particular lack the ability to be out and about with their peers.

 
What has the pandemic meant for your company so far?
As I said, the Corona period brought us a significant drop in sales. That means we think twice before spending money. At the beginning of the year we moved to our new, spacious company building. There are still a few small investments to be made. So far, we have put it off until the situation has calmed down again. And so do many. The economic network extremely got out of hand due to the lockdown.
We applied for short-time work, which has been running for three months now. However, you have to see how long that makes sense. Our customers also had a drop in sales, which they first of all have to recover.

 
What adjustments or innovations to your product portfolio have you felt obliged by the pandemic to undertake?
The mask production was a very strong topic in April and May, the phone almost rang continuously. This enabled us to compensate for many orders that were lost otherwise.
We reacted quickly, not only printing masks classically, but also developing coatings for medical face masks and protective clothing. The coatings that we offer are antibacterial and have the lotus effect. This results in the formation of droplets in the aerosols. We have had checked and certified these innovations in an urgent procedure.
We converted our machines ad hoc so that we could apply innovative coatings instead of paint. This was even possible for ready-made masks.
In general, I rate this ability to react quickly as one of our great strengths. We are a small company, so the path from idea to implementation is rather short. If we recognize a trend, an opportunity in our industry, we examine ourselves: Do we have resources that could be used or adapted to offer a solid, marketable solution in a very short time? This refers to know-how, ideas, machines and, for larger projects, also partners. Experience has shown that on the one hand we have the necessary imagination, but on the other hand we also have a fairly realistic view of ourselves. If we can answer the question with “yes”, then we get started without delay. We can evaluate a trial in the evening and continue working on it the next day. There is no need for a meeting with five persons beforehand.
 

What are your views on global supply chains in the future, and will you be drawing consequences for your procurement policy?
We cannot avoid global supply chains; and it will remain this way. In the short term, you may reflect on regional procurement, as far as that is still possible. Many things are simply no longer available and the development over the past 30 years cannot be turned back. Let's take pigment paint: it comes from India and China, otherwise it doesn't exist anymore. Nobody in Europe can keep the prices. And yes, that also means that the production of systemically relevant products can no longer be guaranteed.

          
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?
Existing partnerships are important. We must keep the ball rolling: Interrupted projects have to be continued with existing partners.
I think it is important to maintain partnerships at eye level. Sure, now everyone has to see how they can make ends meet. It will be shown, however, who works loyally in the long term and with respect to the business.
Personally, it is important for me to be true to my word. Only a few days ago I spoke to a student, whom we promised her internship and a corresponding payment in February. This young woman can start her internship with us; what paying is concerned, I had to tell her honestly that we have to talk about it again. Fortunately, that was not a problem. It is important to the student that she can complete the required internship at all. This is not so easy since most companies do not accept anyone right now. That is understandable too, but we will need the well-trained people again soon, that’s for sure!

 
What initiatives or approaches for your industry would you welcome for the near future?
I would be very interested in a positive and comprehensive description of what value added is still available in Germany. An initiative that illustrates that the textile industry is an important industry, with many companies that have been family-owned for generations, often with a young, dynamic management and high-quality products. Really nobody has that on his radar. Just today, two designers from a company nearby visited us. They were surprised which services we offer in the field of technical textiles - they were not even aware of it.
The textile industry has played itself down for a long time, that has to stop. Of course, we no longer have added value like the machine building industry. But now, in the corona crisis, it would have been the right time to take advantage of the situation and to initiate much-needed lobbying..


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?
No, only at very short notice. Everything was taken during the crisis, the main thing was that the requested product, i.e. masks and protective clothing, was even available. Now the old cycle is back: I have a certain budget, where can I get the most for it? This is frustrating because the willingness to face this challenge was high on the part of the companies.
We also have driven the development and had our coatings for masks certified in an urgent process. Others have switched their entire production at a significant cost to meet demand. Nobody became a millionaire this way.
I think the textile industry could have sold better here. We could and should have appeared better as noble knights. Unfortunately, this was lost in the heat of the battle.

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?
We take sustainability into account with our certifications, with GOTS and ISO 9001. Digitisation does not work quickly for us; it will take years before we can digitise processes. Sure, in administration we are now increasingly working with web meetings and video conferences, but personal contact is important to me. I regularly give lectures; my next one will be at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences and I very much hope that it can take place. I am just a guy for direct contact.
The labour market situation depends on the pandemic and how it develops. In any case, it remains difficult to get young people excited about textile professions. When I open a mobile phone store, I don't need a day to have my employees together. When we present ourselves at a training fair, we are happy to have a handful of good conversations.
Training is so valuable. Someone who has one will always have a different status than an unskilled person, even if - at some point - he works in a completely different branch. The dual training system is absolutely untouchable for me, because we live from this economic performance. We have nothing else but our knowledge. And we have to keep developing because only the high level gives the necessary output.
 

What lessons are to be learnt in respect of these targets for the post-corona era?
Innovation, innovation, innovation. You must not stand still. Nobody knows what to do next. But in three years from now I have to live from what I am developing today, just like I live from what I developed three years ago. Now, in times of Corona, it is much harder to remember, but it does not help: I can’t stand still, waiting for what is happening next, being like a deer caught in the headlights.

This interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

Compostable agricultural textiles with adjustable service life Foto: Pixabay
30.06.2020

Compostable agricultural textiles with adjustable service life

In the "AgriTex" innovation project, WESOM Textil GmbH, together with the Fiber Institute Bremen e.V. and the Institute for Polymer and Production Technologies e.V., has set itself the goal of developing a compostable technical textile that is to be used in agriculture, among other things. The project is funded over three years by the Central Innovation Program for SMEs (ZIM) and has a funding volume of around 570,000 Euros. A corresponding application was approved by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) in April 2020.

In the "AgriTex" innovation project, WESOM Textil GmbH, together with the Fiber Institute Bremen e.V. and the Institute for Polymer and Production Technologies e.V., has set itself the goal of developing a compostable technical textile that is to be used in agriculture, among other things. The project is funded over three years by the Central Innovation Program for SMEs (ZIM) and has a funding volume of around 570,000 Euros. A corresponding application was approved by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) in April 2020.

Plastics have become an integral part of our everyday lives and are used in a wide variety of areas. At the same time, pollution from plastic waste is one of the greatest global problems of our time. There are already various options for the sensible and environmentally friendly disposal of plastics, e.g. recycling or thermal recovery. However, it cannot always be guaranteed that the waste is also disposed of in the corresponding disposal routes. For example, in agriculture, even if used properly, a release cannot always be prevented or a return is not possible depending on the application. Biodegradable plastics can help to solve this problem, but many of today's products only rot very slowly, as otherwise the required stability and robustness cannot be guaranteed.
     
The aim of the "AgriTex" project partners is to develop an innovative, biodegradable textile for applications in agriculture. On the one hand, the textile withstands the highest mechanical and weather-related requirements during use, on the other hand it rots quickly after a predefined period of use under natural conditions in the environment or on the compost. This two-phase behavior is made possible by a new type of bicomponent fiber made from the biodegradable plastic PLA. The new technology is to be developed and tested using a hail protection net for fruit growing. Hail protection nets are exposed to considerable loads from various weather conditions and usually have to be replaced after a few seasons. Proper disposal of the old nets represents a considerable cost factor for agricultural businesses. With "AgriTex" the nets can be composted with other biological waste in a cost-neutral manner. In addition, unintentionally released netting components from the structure remain, e.g. by storms or damage caused by game, no longer in the long term in the environment and the pollution of ecosystems by plastic waste is effectively prevented. The ecological and economic advantages of the new technology are not only in demand in fruit growing, but will also be of interest for many other applications in agriculture, landscaping or fishing in the future.
 
The idea for the “AgriTex” project came about as part of the PREVON - Production Evolution Network innovation network, which is funded by the Central Innovation Program for SMEs (ZIM). As part of the membership, the partners are actively supported in the implementation of R&D projects and in securing funding.

More information:
agricultural textiles AgriTex
Source:

IWS Innovations- und Wissensstrategien 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

Used textiles Photo: bvse textile recycling association
20.05.2020

Corona-virus pushes Used Textiles Industry into Struggle for Survival

The measures to reduce the propagation speed of the COVID-19 epidemic require hourly new and flexible adjustments to system processes and business agreements. In these difficult times, the waste textile companies rely on a close solution-oriented dialogue with their contract partners.

The initiatives presented a common vision for social protection and responsible entrepreneurship in this crisis at the end of April.
 
The members of the board of directors at bvse textile recycling raise the alarm because the economic starting point for companies in the sector pf used textile is getting worse every day.
 
"An increasing number of sorting systems are applying for short-time work due to the corona crisis or are closing the factories completely due to quarantine measures," Martin Wittmann, the bvse vice president and chairman of the bvse textile recycling association, describes the current situation.

The measures to reduce the propagation speed of the COVID-19 epidemic require hourly new and flexible adjustments to system processes and business agreements. In these difficult times, the waste textile companies rely on a close solution-oriented dialogue with their contract partners.

The initiatives presented a common vision for social protection and responsible entrepreneurship in this crisis at the end of April.
 
The members of the board of directors at bvse textile recycling raise the alarm because the economic starting point for companies in the sector pf used textile is getting worse every day.
 
"An increasing number of sorting systems are applying for short-time work due to the corona crisis or are closing the factories completely due to quarantine measures," Martin Wittmann, the bvse vice president and chairman of the bvse textile recycling association, describes the current situation.

The amount of used clothing collected in Germany is declining sharply in many regions along with increasing social distancing, existing or expected curfew and associated closings of collection points and civic amenity sites.

"It looks even bleaker on the sales side. In the meantime, measures ordered worldwide, such as curfews and ban on meetings, prevent the opportunities to even generate any revenue. Due to official orders, second-hand shops have to close everywhere, including in Eastern Europe. This means that the demand for used clothing dries up almost completely.
The African markets are also suffering from the corresponding lack of demand, due to the lack of funds available from local consumers.

The markets necessary for the sale of sorted goods have collapsed globally since mid-March 2020. It is currently not possible to market wearable second-hand clothing, but also products in the recycling and cleaning rag segment. Thus, there are currently no prospects for generating revenue in the end customer area.
Since the transit time of a piece of used textile from the collection to the sorting to the final marketing in one of the global markets can take up to four months, this situation will certainly take just as long because a positive change in the current overall pandemic situation cannot be assumed.

The waste disposal companies active in Germany in the field of used textiles are therefore currently concerned only with maintaining the operational structures in order to find ways at a later time to be able to fulfill the previous agreements.

"What we urgently need now are common, fair and economically sound solutions with all of our contractual partners so that both sides can survive this crisis. The situation in many municipal, charitable and private places currently looks like that we maintain the services of waste collection and recycling at high costs, but currently do not know whether we will be compensated for this due to force majeure,” stated Wittmann.   

As a start, some companies in the industry have therefore already concluded agreements with municipalities. In return for a provisional suspension of payment obligations for the rental of container spaces or collected goods, the private companies want to do everything possible to ensure that the recycling of used clothes and cleaning of the collection points in the interest of the com-mon good, despite their own staff shortages and difficult conditions remains guaranteed.

“At the same time, we would like to appeal to everyone involved that there is understanding for late pick-ups and container empties caused by the crisis. We urge the citizens not to put any collectibles next to the containers. As long as we have enough staff, every container will be emptied,” promised Martin Wittmann, Vice President of the bvse.

FULLY AUTOMATED QUALITY CONTROL MAKES HIGH-VISIBILITY CLOTHING EVEN SAFER Photo: LEEROY Agency, Pixabay
10.03.2020

FULLY AUTOMATED QUALITY CONTROL MAKES HIGH-VISIBILITY CLOTHING EVEN SAFER

High-visibility or “high-vis” clothing provides many people safety in their day-to-day work. Fraunhofer IGD has paired with textile service provider MEWA to develop an automated system for inspecting the quality of this clothing faster and more reliably, and thereby guarantee safety. Both companies have filed a joint patent for the system.

High-vis and protective clothing, like the kind worn by road workers, must meet certain standards prescribed by law for the safety of the wearer. Employers are liable for meeting these legal safety standards. On behalf of MEWA, the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD has developed a system to automate and optimize quality testing.

High-visibility or “high-vis” clothing provides many people safety in their day-to-day work. Fraunhofer IGD has paired with textile service provider MEWA to develop an automated system for inspecting the quality of this clothing faster and more reliably, and thereby guarantee safety. Both companies have filed a joint patent for the system.

High-vis and protective clothing, like the kind worn by road workers, must meet certain standards prescribed by law for the safety of the wearer. Employers are liable for meeting these legal safety standards. On behalf of MEWA, the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD has developed a system to automate and optimize quality testing.

Integrated optical quality control
Fraunhofer IGD has developed its quality control system with the assistance of MEWA Textil-Service AG and it will be used daily at two sites starting in 2020.
After being washed and dried, the articles of clothing run through a special photographing box on hangers and pictures are taken of the front and back. Fraunhofer software analyzes these pictures in real time and sends to the result to control software, which sends the clothing to other stations in the quality control process. The results of the inspection are saved in the system a valuable collection of data that is made available to MEWA in order to analyze and optimize the system as well as internal processes, such as the washing process.

Faster and more precise inspection
The high-vis clothing is inspected manually for quality by qualified employees. They inspect the washed articles of clothing for a number of aspects, including brightness and colorfastness of the high-visibility color as well as the integrity of the reflective strips. The automated solution by Fraunhofer IGD can assist employees with this visual inspection while speeding up the process at the same time. “With the help of the automated analysis, we can ensure to an even greater degree and with greater precision that the high-vis clothing meets strict safety standards even after being washed,” said Uwe Schmidt, head of engineering at MEWA. At MEWA’s locations in Schönbuch near Stuttgart and Gross Kienitz near Berlin, Fraunhofer IGD’s system is now being used in trials, with implementation at more locations being planned.

Inspection system is applicable to other industries
Fraunhofer IGD’s inspection system is available for implementation as a software module. This technology could also support other industries: Automated returns classification for the mail-order trade or use in textile recycling would be conceivable, though the technology would need to be seamlessly integrated into existing systems and processes. The development team at Fraunhofer IGD is currently working on quality controls that use not only photographs but also video recordings as well as on analyzing the recordings in real time. The significantly increased number of product views will cover every aspect of the inspection with even greater precision.

About IGD
Fraunhofer IGD is the international leading research institution for applied visual computing — image- and model-based information technology that combines computer graphics and computer vision. In simple terms, it is the ability to turn information into images and to extract information from images. All technological solutions by Fraunhofer IGD and its partners are based on visual computing.

In computer graphics, people generate, edit, and process images, graphs, and multi-dimensional models in a computeraided manner. Examples are applications of virtual and simulated reality.

Computer vision is the discipline that teaches computers how to “see”. In the process, a machine sees its environment by means of a camera and processes information using software. Typical applications can be found in the field of Augmented Reality.