Textile Technology section
Curran Biotech: Nanotech filter coating in fight against corona pandemic
Prof. Shay Curran, Physics professor at the University of Houston, TX/USA, has developed a nanotech filter coating designed to allow air filters to capture airborne or aerosolized droplets of the virus that spreads Covid-19.
The coating works by capturing liquids which encase the virus particles while still allowing air to flow through unimpeded. That allows ventilation systems to remove the virus during normal operation, without retrofitting or limiting the system’s ability to draw fresh air.
Prof. Shay Curran’s company Curran Biotech, Houston, TX/USA, developed this hydrophobic coating already a few years ago to waterproof surfaces like masonry, wood and concrete. But recently, he shifted his focus toward the fight against Covid-19.
“Rather than just using a form of detergent to kill bacteria, viruses, or fungi in real time - having no lasting benefit - we address the problem of protecting buildings from transmission differently: a new methodology of stopping contagions at the surface of air filters. Our coatings reject liquid-based contaminants. SARS-CoV-2, for example, in its most infectious state is surrounded by a liquid mucus; using that knowledge we can physically stop the virus at the filter surface and capture it in our Capture Coating”, says Prof. Shay Curran.
Smithers: market report of global nonwoven wipes to 2025
Nonwovens in general and nonwoven wipes specifically, have been impacted much less negatively than many other industries as a result of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2020, the global nonwovens wipe market consumed 1.4 million tons of nonwovens, and is valued at $19.6 billion. The market is set to experience slightly higher than historical growth rates, with forecasts showing a consumption of 2 million tons and a value of $26.1 billion by 2025.
Smithers' new market report - The Future of Global Nonwoven Wipes to 2025 (prize: US$ 6,500) provides current and future market forecasts, as well as a critical examination of the impact of Covid-19 on the wipes industry, the key drivers and trends driving development.
VDMA: awards for 6 young talents in engineering
On December 2, 2020, Peter D. Dornier, member of the Executive Board of the VDMA Textile Machinery Federation, Frankfurt/Germany, and Chairman of the Walter Reiners Foundation for the Promotion of Young Engineers, honored 6 successful young engineers with prizes of the German Textile Machinery Industry. The VDMA honored the works of young engineers in the categories bachelor, master thesis and dissertation with prizes that are endowed with 3,000 €, 3500 € and 5000 € each.
Philippa Böhnke from the Institute for Textile Machinery and High-Performance Textile Materials Technology (ITM) in Dresden/Germany, was honored for her bachelor or project work for the composite implants for the repair and regeneration of bone defects and Juan Carlos Arañó Romero from the Institute of Textile Technology at RWTH Aachen University (ITA), Aachen/Germany, for a spinning machine able to produce yarn with material from the moon.
2 promotion prizes in the category master thesis were awarded to Harry Lucas (TU Chemnitz/Germany) for the development of a new knitting head for jacquard knitted fabrics and Maximilian Speiser (Hochschule Reutlingen/Germany) for a solution for increasing energy efficiency in the nonwovens process.
Moreover 2 promotion prizes of the German Textile Machinery Industry in the dissertation category were awarded to Dr. Frederik Cloppenburg (ITA Aachen) for the development of a model for the optimization of roller cards in the nonwovens process and Dr. Annett Schmieder (TU Chemnitz) for a damage analysis system for fiber ropes.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the award ceremony took place as a web conference. The award ceremony 2021 shall take place with physical presence again and is scheduled for May 2021 during the Techtextil in Frankfurt/Germany.
Autoneum: recovery of global automotive production
Global automobile production has been recovering faster than expected since this summer. If the positive development continues in the 2nd half (H2) of 2020, the decline in sales at automotive supplier Autoneum Management AG, Winterthur/Switzerland, could be only around 5% in local currencies compared to 2019. For fiscal year 2020, a decline in sales in local currencies of around 20% is expected.
Based on this development, the extensive cost reduction measures taken in response to the Covid-19 crisis and the on-schedule progress of the turnaround in North America, an EBIT margin of 4-5% is expected for the H2/2020 and a slightly positive EBIT margin for 2020 as a whole.
The outlook for 2021 and especially H1 remains uncertain and depends strongly on how the pandemic will develop. According to forecasts, global vehicle production in 2021 will still not reach the level of 2019.
Südwolle: merino base-layer clothing for medical personnel
In hospitals where Covid-19 patients are treated, medical staff must wear protective clothing. Under this protective clothing, the skin sweats easily, is in discomfort, itches, and possible skin irritation and rashes can develop. For this reason, the manufacturer of worsted products Südwolle Group, Nuremberg/Germany, supports the medical staff in hospitals in Romania and China with high-performance base-layer clothing worn underneath protective clothing.
Conventional base-layer garments, which were primarily made of synthetic fibers, showed poor performance in moisture management and thermal regulation in these compromised conditions. Südwolle Group produced base-layer clothing that were initially intended for sports, outdoor or technical end-uses at their spinning mill Silvania Worsted Spinning (SWS) in Simleu Slivaniei/Romania.
They also joined forces with the producer of cellulosic fibers, Lenzing AG, Lenzing/Austria, and the Rainbow Company to produce base-layer garments from merino-lyocell blends to supply the medical team at the hospitals in Wuhan/China.
With their good thermo- and moisture-regulating properties, merino wool and Tencel lyocell are convenient natural fibers to be worn under such protective clothing to offer exceptional comfort.
HeiQ: Swiss Technology Award 2020 for Viroblock
The leading technology prize in Switzerland, Swiss Technology Award, announced the 2020 prizes, and among all the notable finalist innovations of the year, the supplier of finishing technology, HeiQ Materials AG, Zurich/Switzerland, was bestowed the highest honor as 1st prize winner for its breakthrough antiviral textile technology HeiQ Viroblock. This is the most notable recognition for the company’s innovative spirit and technologies as well as its contribution to stemming the spread of the global pandemic.
Developed in record time and launched after the Swiss authorities announced the lockdown in March 2020, HeiQ Viroblock has had a major impact on the global textile industry and is being unprecedently adopted by mills around the world. HeiQ Viroblock is a very efficient and effective antiviral/antimicrobial technology and has been applied by more than 150 brands worldwide to over 1 billion products from face masks, apparels to home textiles, mattresses and curtains to date.
It is among the first textile technologies in the world to be proven effective against Covid-19. HeiQ Viroblock consists of a combination of HeiQ’s patent-pending vesicle and silver technologies. The 2 mechanisms of attack result in an over 99.9% destruction of viruses in 5 minutes.
Idvac: antimicrobial properties on fabrics through vacuum metallizing
Vacuum metallizing allows the deposition of materials in a clean, dry environment and can be done at high speed to reduce the cost of the end product. Idvac Ltd., Manchester/UK, specializes in the development of new vacuum processes and products for security and decorative holograms, packaging and solar window film sectors has recently developed a novel process to use vacuum metallizing technique to deposit a thin layer of polymer on flexible substrates such as polyester and fabric. This Idvac polymer coated PET film presented very good antimicrobial properties and the process does not involve any solvent or wet chemicals.
Testing of the antimicrobial properties of this polymer coating was carried out by Gencoa Ltd., Liverpool/UK, using its new Gencoa-Miller testing method. The Gencoa-Miller method has been developed as a new method for evaluating antimicrobial efficacy in order to facilitate the fast research and development of antimicrobial coatings. The test result showed very good properties, >= Log 5 equivalent or about 100% on Gencoa-Miler scale.
Idvac is conducting further biochemical/biomedical investigation of this polymer coating against some viruses and may possibly include Covid-19 virus.
Polyester, cotton fabric or paper filters coated with this polymer could be used to make antimicrobial face masks, hospital bed sheets, air filters and protective clothing for health applications.
AVK: GRP production decline due to the corona pandemic
In 2020, due to the corona pandemic, the European glass fiber reinforced plastics (GRP) market is experiencing the sharpest slump since the economic and financial crises of 2008/2009. The Federation of Reinforced Plastics (AKV), Frankfurt/Germany, has published its annual market for GRP. Production volume has fallen by 12.7% to 996,000 tons. The greatest losses are in the transport sector. Germany remains the largest manufacturer of GRP with 207,000 tons.
For 2019, a worldwide production volume of 10-12 million tons can be assumed for the composites industry. Current data for 2020, that take account of the Covid-19 pandemic, are not yet available to the AVK.
Even in recent years, growth in GRP production volume has been slower in Europe than the world’s other 2 major economic powerhouses – America and Asia.
The 2 main application areas for GRP remain the construction/infrastructure and transport sectors. These 2 sectors are still the major buyers of GRP components, each accounting for around 1/3 of the total production volume.
The reasons for this slower growth, which has been ongoing for several years and is independent of the current pandemic, include the migration of certain manufacturing processes and methods, but also the outsourcing of the production of commodities with often low profit margins.
For the whole composites industry the most important areas of the economy are the transport sector, with the core areas of automotive, public transport, commercial vehicles and aviation, as well as the construction and infrastructure sectors. These 2 main areas together account for almost 70 % of all applications. In addition to other sectors, such as hotel/tourist accommodation, which is one of the most severely affected by the corona pandemic, the transport sector is also particularly affected.
The aviation industry – a key application area and one of the brightest prospects for the future until a few months ago – has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. Experts consider it unlikely that the airline sector will return to its previous level, at least in the medium term.
The automotive industry is another of the sectors that has been particularly hard hit, especially at the beginning of the pandemic. In the meantime, however, despite all the uncertainty regarding further developments, the mood has become more optimistic again. Experts see a significant recovery taking place during the current year 2020, or in the coming year 2021. The basic prerequisite for this is, of course, that the situation does not deteriorate further and that markets pick up, especially in China and the USA.
Fitesa: capacity expansion in Brazil and other regions
More information about new equipment and debottlenecking/upgrade projects that will increase the company’s capacity by 55,000 tons/year has been announced by Fitesa, Porto Alegre/Brazil.
Latin America will lead the capacity expansion with a new multi-beam Reicofil 5 line to be installed in Cosmópolis/Brazil. Construction is in an advanced stage and the line will arrive in July 2021. In Gravataí/Brazil, one upgraded and redesigned meltblown line has already begun to produce N95 meltblown grades and help the fight against Covid-19. In addition, one additional state-of-the-art Reicofil meltblown equipment is being assembled to start before the end of 2020. The total investment in the region will increase production capacity by 30,000 tons/year and triple the company’s pure meltblown supply availability.
Stand-alone meltblown capacity is also being added in other regions, with new machine start-ups coming on stream in November 2020 at the plant in Trezzano Rosa/Italy, by December 2020 in Peine/Germany and in January 2021 in Simpsonville, SC/USA.
Furthermore, Fitesa is adding projects to increase production volumes, modernize the assets, and enhance the flexibility. As a result, in Q2 and Q3/2021 another 20,000 tons/year of spunmelt capacity will become available to continue serving the healthcare and hygiene markets.
Existing projects include the acquisition of Freudenberg Hygiene Brazil, Fiber Dynamics and Tredegar Personal Care, as well as the start-up of a new Reicofil 5 in November 2020 in Thailand, which all together adds an additional 130,000 tons/year to the company’s portfolio.
JEC: new 2021 dates and new digital platform unveiled
Due to the continued impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the next edition of JEC World in Paris/France has been postponed to June 1-3, 2021.
With the growing concern among exhibitors and partners surrounding the critical situation caused by the corona virus, travel restrictions, quarantine, and lockdown measures announced recently in many countries, the JEC World team has decided to work on a new timeline to hold the next edition of the event in safer conditions in 2021.
JEC World is also introducing its new digital platform, JEC World Augmented. This online platform, programmed to take place alongside JEC World, is tailored primarily for attendees who cannot be present physically at the show.
As the leading trade show of the composites industry, JEC World brings together the whole composites materials value chain and professionals from application sectors, experts from the scientific and academic world, associations and media from more than 112 countries.