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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

Cost-effective Ways to minimize Risks in the Supply Chain Photo: Pixabay
28.07.2020

Fraunhofer ITWM: Cost-effective Ways to minimize Risks in the Supply Chain

  • Algorithms for optimized supply chains

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the economy hard. What lessons can be learned from this experience? And what’s the best way for companies to protect themselves against this kind of crisis in the future? The answer will certainly involve a combination of different approaches – but new mathematical methods developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM look likely to be a very promising piece of the puzzle. These methods aim to calculate how the risks posed by supply shortages can be reduced significantly at very little extra cost.

  • Algorithms for optimized supply chains

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the economy hard. What lessons can be learned from this experience? And what’s the best way for companies to protect themselves against this kind of crisis in the future? The answer will certainly involve a combination of different approaches – but new mathematical methods developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM look likely to be a very promising piece of the puzzle. These methods aim to calculate how the risks posed by supply shortages can be reduced significantly at very little extra cost.

 Nobody ever expected hospitals to be struggling to get hold of the face masks and other personal protective equipment they need. The supply chain had always run smoothly in the past, yet the coronavirus crisis has now caused shortages of these products on multiple occasions. Previously, these supply chains had worked well – but the necessary restrictions on the global flow of goods led them to collapse.In many cases, for example, Chinese suppliers were unable to make deliveries even while factories in Germany were still working as normal, a situation that had a knock-on effect on goods production in Germany. And viruses are not the only potential risk: international suppliers can be paralyzed by all kinds of unforeseen factors, from natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, storms and floods to strikes or other unexpected political developments. If a company chooses to rely on just one supplier for its production needs in order to reduce costs, this can have devastating consequences that may even bring production to a complete standstill. It can take a very long time indeed for other suppliers to ramp up their production and start delivering the required products.
 
Analyzing and safeguarding supply chains
This is where methods developed by Fraunhofer ITWM come into play. “The algorithms analyze how diversified the supply chains are in different areas of the company and thus how great the risk is of running into critical supply problems in an emergency, in other words in the event of regional or global disruption,” says Dr. Heiner Ackermann, deputy head in the Department of Optimization at Fraunhofer ITWM in Kaiserslautern. “The question is how you can minimize the risk of supply shortfalls without incurring significant additional costs.” The dilemma is similar to that of buying a house: Is it best to opt for the lowest possible interest rates, even though there is a risk that follow-up financing will offer much worse rates? Or is it best to play safe and pay slightly higher interest rates from the start if that means having the reassurance of reasonably priced financing for the entire term?
 
Companies also have to get the right balance between risk and costs. If a company chooses to rely solely on the cheapest supplier, they are taking a major risk. But if they procure a raw material from multiple suppliers at the same time, that risk drops significantly. “And in this case the difference in cost is much lower than the difference in risk,” says Ackermann. In other words, the risks fall dramatically even when a company increases its costs by just a few percent – so it is possible to eliminate much of the risk by accepting just a slight rise in costs. Companies can use the algorithm to discover what would work best in their particular situation. “This method lets companies optimize their supply chains based on multiple criteria, helping them to find the optimal balance between costs and risks,” says Ackermann. “The underlying algorithms work equally well whether you are dealing with supply shortages caused by an earthquake or a virus. So, unlike existing software solutions, we don’t try to make assumptions as to the likelihood of any particular scenario.” With this new method, a company starts by entering various parameters – for example areas in which they think disruption could be likely and how long that disruption might last. The algorithms then calculate various cost/risk trade-offs for this exact raw material, including the possible allocations of suppliers that would correspond to each point on the scale. They even take into account options such as storing critical products in order to cushion any temporary supply shortfalls.
 
Substituting raw materials during supply shortages      
Another option the algorithms take into account is whether a raw material could potentially be replaced by different materials in the event of a supply bottleneck. If so, this can be taken into consideration from the start. Essentially, the method calculates the costs and risks of different courses that a company can follow in regard to their suppliers. Procter & Gamble is already using a software-based variant of this methodology which has been specially tailored to its needs.

Source:

Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM

TÜV Rheinland tests Corona Protection Materials and Occupational Safety Projects (c) TÜV Rheinland
26.05.2020

TÜV Rheinland tests Corona Protection Materials and Occupational Safety Projects

Since the outbreak of the global corona pandemic, the production and trade of suitable protective materials such as respiratory masks have become a high-risk area for all those involved.

"The quality and safety of the protective materials on offer is currently not only subject to considerable fluctuations, but more and more frequently goods are coming from dubious sources, are highly questionable in terms of hygiene, and in some cases completely unusable", explains Dipl.-Ing. Ralf Scheller, member of the Board of Management of TÜV Rheinland AG. "We are in direct contact with governments, ministries, local authorities and companies in the health sector worldwide and are increasingly experiencing cases and incidents in which supply chains simply collapse and overpriced goods do not arrive.

Since the outbreak of the global corona pandemic, the production and trade of suitable protective materials such as respiratory masks have become a high-risk area for all those involved.

"The quality and safety of the protective materials on offer is currently not only subject to considerable fluctuations, but more and more frequently goods are coming from dubious sources, are highly questionable in terms of hygiene, and in some cases completely unusable", explains Dipl.-Ing. Ralf Scheller, member of the Board of Management of TÜV Rheinland AG. "We are in direct contact with governments, ministries, local authorities and companies in the health sector worldwide and are increasingly experiencing cases and incidents in which supply chains simply collapse and overpriced goods do not arrive.

In some cases, criminal activity is behind this, for example when certificates are forged or goods are sold several times. This is why the experts in personal protective equipment (PPE) at TÜV Rheinland are increasingly being called in for on-site assignments in the manufacturing countries. They test the protective materials in their worldwide network of laboratories directly on site, check documents or monitor the transportation of goods from the manufacturer to the customer.

Support and assistance for multinational aid projects
"Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been supporting many multinational aid projects and are involved ourselves even in the Heinsberg district, where we have donated 9,000 FFP3 protective masks for the intensive medical care sector," explains Scheller. "Our colleagues in China have also recently supported a relief shipment of several million protective masks, protective clothing and gloves as well as many respirators through quality assurance measures in the supply chain, which was sent to the UK by a private donor".

When it comes to personal protective equipment, TÜV Rheinland's focus is on safety and quality. This makes it all the more important that safety clothing meets the relevant requirements so that its protective function can be guaranteed.

"Our experts carry out all relevant tests and certifications on personal protective equipment in accordance with PPE Regulation 2016/425. Thanks to many years of active committee work in the field of PPE, we are close to the market and have extensive know-how," knows Dr.-Ing. Kristina Fuhrmann, Head of the Textiles and PPE Department at TÜV Rheinland. "The specialist expertise we have gained in this way flows into our daily work and is reflected in our comprehensive services". For example, so-called "community masks" are subjected to numerous chemical and physical tests according to our own test specifications (2PFG S 0193/04.20) and can also be provided with a TÜV Rheinland test mark (tested for harmful substances). Community masks are mainly made of textile materials and serve as a barrier. Medical masks and surgical masks, on the other hand, can be tested or inspected by TÜV Rheinland Greater China. "Our services cover many types of protective clothing", says Fuhrmann. Added to this is the large range of medical products, such as respiratory equipment.

TÜV Rheinland also supports occupational safety projects in corona times
Shops, furniture stores and electronic markets are allowed to reopen, businesses are starting up their production as usual - the following applies to all of them: infection protection for employees must meet increased requirements and normal occupational health and safety must continue to be met. The framework for the extended protective measures is provided by the SARS-CoV-2- occupational safety standard of the Federal Ministry of Labor. Employers are obliged to define and implement suitable measures for their company and to monitor the control. The solutions are as individual as the companies themselves: Whereas in a production plant it is necessary to straighten out shift schedules and minimize employee contact, a sales outlet faces different challenges: For example, how can customer flows be managed to maintain minimum distances? How will customer advisors, cashiers or suppliers be protected?

"Our experts have developed a detailed guideline for the SARS-CoV-2 occupational safety standard of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to advise and support companies in the complex implementation of the strict requirements", explains Dipl.-Ing. Norbert Wieneke, business unit manager for company health management, occupational medicine and occupational safety at TÜV Rheinland. The requirements of the SARS-CoV-2 occupational health and safety standard include personal, organizational and constructional hygiene measures as well as the corresponding instructions. They go hand in hand with, and far beyond, offers of occupational medical and psychological advice for employees and risk groups. It is the employer's responsibility to identify suspected cases of corona among employees and, if an infection is detected, to establish a routine for pandemic preparedness in the company. In order to do justice to this comprehensive task, the expertise of occupational physicians, occupational safety specialists, industrial psychologists and health experts is required. These experts already work successfully together in TÜV Rheinland's interdisciplinary teams and implement cross-sector projects for their customers.

Source:

TÜV Rheinland

Protective masks for Augsburg University Hospital (c) Fraunhofer IGCV
14.04.2020

Protective equipment from 3d printers

  • Fraunhofer IGCV supplies protective equipment made via 3d printers to university hospital Augsburg

For more than a week, the Institute for Materials Resource Management at the University of Augsburg has been supplying the University Hospital Augsburg with protective masks from 3D printers. In order to meet the enormous demand for absolutely necessary protective equipment for the the needs of hospital staff, a call for support was sent to cooperation partners - Augsburg University of Applied Sciences and Fraunhofer IGCV are stepping in.
 

  • Fraunhofer IGCV supplies protective equipment made via 3d printers to university hospital Augsburg

For more than a week, the Institute for Materials Resource Management at the University of Augsburg has been supplying the University Hospital Augsburg with protective masks from 3D printers. In order to meet the enormous demand for absolutely necessary protective equipment for the the needs of hospital staff, a call for support was sent to cooperation partners - Augsburg University of Applied Sciences and Fraunhofer IGCV are stepping in.
 

Fast communication in the research network:
Production of 3D-printed parts accelerates in the shortest possible time
Without further ado, an internal university group searched for possibilities of manufacturing via 3D printing. Prof. Dr. Markus Sause and Prof. Dr. Kay Weidenmann of the Institute for Materials Resource Management at the University of Augsburg immediately agreed and pulled out all the stops to start production as quickly as possible. In order to provide as many protective masks as possible in the shortest possible time, an appeal was also made to existing cooperation partners. They found what they were looking for in their direct colleague Prof. Dr. Johannes Schilp, Professor of Production Informatics at the University of Augsburg and Head of the Processing Technology Department at the Augsburg Fraunhofer IGCV: Max Horn, research associate at the Fraunhofer Institute, and Paul Dolezal from the FabLab (production laboratory) at Augsburg University of Applied Sciences immediately promised their help. "Thanks to the excellent cooperation of our team, the first parts were produced in our laboratory for additive manufacturing just a few hours after the first telephone call," Max Horn recalls. "With the support of the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences and the Fraunhofer IGCV, the production capacity of 50 masks per day could be significantly increased," Markus Sause is pleased to report.
          

Printing masks with Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) was selected as the manufacturing process for the face protection. This means that the mask is created by forcing fusible plastic through a nozzle and applying it in layers in individual lanes. In addition to an extensive laboratory for metal-based additive manufacturing, the Fraunhofer IGCV operates a new laboratory unit with various FDM printers. Due to the simplicity of the process and its great flexibility, it is particularly suitable for prototypes and sample components. "However, the masks produced are by no means only illustrative objects", adds Georg Schlick, Head of the Components and Processes Department at the Fraunhofer IGCV. The team processed durable polymers for the parts, which have good resistance to the disinfectants used in the hospital. This results in high-quality components that are ideally suited for multiple use.
 
Additive manufacturing for flexible production
In the meantime, some bottlenecks have been overcome: The Institute for Materials Resource Management at the University of Augsburg is switching back to production processes for the manufacture of face masks that are better suited for the production of large quantities. "The great strength of additive manufacturing lies rather in the production of very complex components with smaller quantities," explains Matthias Schmitt, group leader for additive manufacturing at the Fraunhofer IGCV. "But 3D printing also enables us to act at very short notice and to compensate for lack of capacity for almost any component as required," Schmitt continues. Thanks to the flexibility, motivation and expertise of all cooperation partners, a complete production and supply chain for the face masks was implemented within a few days. Georg Schlick therefore emphasizes the need for good networking and rapid exchange between the research institutions. "The close networking within the 3D printing community enables short communication channels and fast action. This can save lives in this case."

Source:

Fraunhofer Institute for Casting, Composite and Processing Technology IGCV

A+A 2017 (c) Messe Duesseldorf
24.10.2017

A+A 2017 sets New Standards for Health and Safety at Work

People matter – now more than ever. This is underscored by the huge interest taken by exhibitors in the run-up to A+A 2017, once again allowing the world’s leading trade fair for safety, security and health at work held from 17 to 20 October to post top marks. A total of 1,930 exhibitors from 63 nations and over 67,000 trade visitors came to the world’s largest trade fair for this industry in Düsseldorf. This means that this year A+A – together with the International Congress for Occupational Safety and Occupational Medicine – very much underlined the huge importance of health and safety at the workplace.

People matter – now more than ever. This is underscored by the huge interest taken by exhibitors in the run-up to A+A 2017, once again allowing the world’s leading trade fair for safety, security and health at work held from 17 to 20 October to post top marks. A total of 1,930 exhibitors from 63 nations and over 67,000 trade visitors came to the world’s largest trade fair for this industry in Düsseldorf. This means that this year A+A – together with the International Congress for Occupational Safety and Occupational Medicine – very much underlined the huge importance of health and safety at the workplace.

Investing in the health of employees pays off. It helps to ensure the performance of the workforce and increase productivity. It is all the more important to foster a holistic approach to prevention that takes all aspects of occupational health management, safety and workplace design into consideration. “Here the A+A, as the world’s leading trade fair for safety and healthy, joins forces with its partners,” sums up Messe Düsseldorf Managing Director Joachim Schäfer. “Digitalisation is no longer just something for the future and has now penetrated virtually all areas of life and work – likewise the Internet of Things that now networks billions of things together worldwide. It is fabulous that A+A is not just a stage for new technologies but is now also being seen globally as a bridgehead between the past and the future of our world of work.”

Bigger and More International than Ever: Top Marks across all Disciplines
Organisers and exhibitors alike were satisfied with how A+A 2017 went. The 31st edition of A+A held from 17 to 20 October attracted more than 67,000 trade visitors (2015: 65,000) to Düsseldorf who gathered information from the 1,931 exhibitors from 63 nations on the latest trends in the fields of occupational safety, promotion of health at work and security management in nine trade fair halls occupying for the first time 70,733 m2. At 40% the proportion of international visitors who came from over 100 nations also exceeded the share recorded at the previous event. “A+A is continually growing and underlines at all levels its relevance for the sector as the world’s leading trade fair and congress event,” says Messe Düsseldorf Managing Director Joachim Schäfer delighting at the excellent mood over the past four days and summing up talks with exhibitors and international delegations as follows: “We are proud to have been able to send out across the entire world strong signals to the markets and key impulses for political debate.” Against this backdrop the new look of A+A and the focus on what matters not just in the world of work have proven their worth: people.

Platform for Innovations and Investment
"People matter – what an apt statement,” sums up Klaus Bornack, President of the Trade Fair Advisory Board and Managing Director of Bornack GmbH & Co. KG. “A great A+A once again moved the sector with many innovative products, even more exhibitors from all specialist fields and, in turn, a rising number of very interested trade visitors from home and abroad with specific technical queries and a great deal of interest. This is confirmation that PPE is a growth market and that A+A is a leading international marketplace for safety at work.”

No. 1 International Event for Workwear  
The good investment climate as well as the interest from trade visitors in high-quality personal protective equipment and protective workwear was confirmed by a current study conducted on the German market for personal protective equipment that was published during A+A 2017 by market research firm macrom. This study showed that the volume of the entire German PPE market grew between 2014 and 2016 by 9.2% to a total of Euro 1.97b. Leading here with the largest market share is protective workwear that is increasingly also being worn in the private sphere. Commenting on this Birgit Horn, Director A+A 2017, said: “While protective workwear in the past was generally uncomfortable and not particularly fashionable, staff today are fairly willing to show themselves in public wearing this clothing. Thanks to the development of high-tech  clothing in the sports and outdoor sectors people no longer have to deprive themselves of top design and optimum performance. This was also confirmed by the over 200 Corporate Fashion exhibitors and rounded off by newly designed fashion shows.

The Future of Work is Now  
From smart skin sensors and the measuring of vital parameters to backfriendly exoskeletons and smart fleet management, data glasses and sensor-controlled fall protection: the future of work is now. This was made clear not just by the new A+A Highlight Route. Across the halls renowned exhibitors like 3M, BORNACK, Honeywell, Uvex or the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung – IFA) presented highlights focussing on “Smart PPE”, “Digitalisation of Work” and “Digital Applications and Solutions” – from the prototype to the mass-produced product. Also addressed were such aspects as the urgently required reorganisation of work processes for the ageing population or the new demands on the world of work from the younger generation.”
 
At the Highest Specialist Level: The A+A Congress
Also enjoying great acclaim was the International Congress for Occupational Safety and Occupational Medicine that is traditionally organised by the Federal Association for Occupational Safety and Health (Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft für Sicherheit und Gesundheit bei der Arbeit e.V. – Basi). “We had a very exciting A+A congress,” was the verdict of Basi Managing Director Bruno Zwingmann. “For the first time we were able to welcome to the congress new groups of people interested in occupational safety – for instance, representatives of the severely handicapped who also discussed the founding of an umbrella association at the congress.” Over the four days of the trade fair a total of some 5,000 congress delegates streamed into CCD Congress Center Düsseldorf Süd to gather information on the varied range of topics on offers. The 60 focal series dealt with such topics as production operations in the location of Germany with ageing workforces, positive aspects of digitalisation and mental stress with a focus on small businesses and their working conditions. The top events included one focusing on the “Fighting Cancer at the Workplace”. The A+A Congress was accompanied by the conference of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Social Security Association (ISSA) attended by top ranking figures.

A Burning Issue: Fire Prevention
As the most important sectoral platform worldwide for personal protective equipment and protective workwear A+A once again this year showcased everything revolving around modern firefighters protective clothing as well as the entire spectrum of personal protective equipment for firefighters: be this head, eye, body, hand, foot, ear, breathing or rope protection. Also on display were the preventative measures and concepts that can help to prevent accidents, major disasters and rescue missions and how firefighters are trained in realistic conditions in real fires.
The next A+A will be held from 5 to 8 November 2019.