Textile Technology section
The Fabric year 2020
In the last 15 years, the proportions of the various textile fabrics produced have changed considerably worldwide. Knitwear and also nonwovens production has increased significantly, whereas the share of weaving has decreased.
Asia is still the world's largest producer of fabrics. 91% of all weaving technologies and 86% of all knitting technologies are in Asia. Moreover, China is also the world's largest producer of nonwovens.
In 2019 in Asia the share of knitted fabric was 54% (2005: 46%), weaving is only 38% (2005: 50%) and nonwoven fabrics increased visibly from 4% in 2005 to 8% in 2019.
The most important Asian producers of knitted fabrics are China (69%), India (6%) and Bangladesh (5%). For woven fabrics China (59%), India (23%) and Pakistan (3%) are the biggest manufacturers in Asia.
ACIMIT: new Technology Training Center in Pakistan
On November 16, 2020 the Italy-Pakistan Textile Technology Center (IPTTC) was inaugurated in Faisalabad/Pakistan at the National Textile University (NTU). The training center is the 1st of its kind for Italian textile machinery technology in Pakistan. Financed by the Italian Government and organized by the Association of Italian Textile Machinery Manufacturers (ACIMIT), Milan/Italy, the project intends to support the development of the local textile industry, by equipping the technology center with Italian machinery that will allow the local denim industry to improve the quality of the products, through ongoing research and innovation.
In 2019, the Pakistani market was the 6th largest destination for Italian exports (totaling € 80 million), and in the 1st half of 2020, Pakistan was the 3rd foreign market for Italian machinery manufacturers in the sector, just behind Turkey and China.
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.
Itema: modernization program for public sector Egyptian textile industry
The provider of advanced weaving solutions, Itema SpA, Colzate/Italy, has been chosen as the weaving partner for the immense modernization program of the public sector of the Egyptian textile industry.
The program, entrusted to the Cotton and Textile Industries Holding Company (CTIHC), Cairo/Egypt, and supported directly by the President Mr. Abd El fattah El Sisi and by the Minister of Public Enterprises Hisham Tawfik, consists in setting up a state-of-the-art, fully vertically integrated textile park encompassing spinning, weaving, knitting, dyeing, finishing, printing and confection which will represent the largest regional sourcing hub in the Mediterranean Region.
The project, worth approx. € 1 billion, will establish a new benchmark for the whole Egyptian textile industry by increasing the competitiveness of the country. The program was launched in 2019 and the first phase of the supply process was finalized during the ITMA Barcelona. In October 2020, Itema – along with its sole agent in Egypt Fabtex Agencies and Trade – signed the contract for the supply of 654 weaving machines that will operate in production plants in the cities of Mehalla El Kubra, Kafr El Dawar and Damietta.
Itema is traditionally present in the Egyptian market, where the company has been providing weaving machines for the production of a wide range of fabrics for a long time, from furnishing to denim and shirting, passing through apparel and bed sheeting.
The CTIHC modernization program will be implemented in 2021 and 2022.
(Fig. f.l.t.r.: Kamal Abbas Fabtex, Ferdinando De Micheli, Dr. Ahmed Moustafa, Dr. Essam Sadek Mohammed, Mamdouh Eldeeb, Michele Elia)
HKRITA: recycling by hydrothermal separation
For the recycling of blended textiles the hydrothermal separation system, the Green Machine, was developed by the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA), Hong Kong/China, in collaboration with the H&M Foundation, Stockholm/Sweden. The small-scale Green Machine was set up in Hong Kong in 2018 and now the first industrial scale system will be operational in PT Kahatex, Jakarta/Indonesia.
Garments are often made from a blend of different fibers to improve performance and comfort and to reduce cost. Yet this makes it difficult to recycle the blended materials. The result is most of these end up in landfills and incinerators. The hydrothermal separation system makes recycling of blended materials feasible by selectively decomposing cotton into cellulose powders, thereby enabling the separation of the polyester fibers from the blends. The whole process uses only heat, water and citric acid, a naturally occurring chemical found in lemon juice.
The processing capacity of the first industrial scale Green Machine is about 1.5 tons/day. PT Kahatex will start by using waste (fibers, yarn and fabric) from manufacturing as feedstock to produce garments. This pilot operation builds on the research in the separation of post-consumer apparel carried out in Hong Kong. The PT Kahatex operation will help optimize the parameters of the system.
The first fashion brand to use textile materials made from the Green Machine in their collection is Monki. The brand has announced its ambition to go ‘full circle’ in terms of sustainability, using the Green Machine system to create its first collection using recycled polyester from garments.
AMAC/FibreCoat: electro-magnetic shielding applications
With the new product Alucoat, the company FibreCoat GmbH, Aachen/Germany, has launched an aluminum-coated glass or basalt fiber which is suitable as electro-magnetic shielding material in automotive applications such as radar, antennas or for autonomous driving as well as for mobile phones and applications in buildings. Due to its extraordinary thermal conductivity and better heat transfer compared to traditional composite material, it can be used for the manufacturing of automotive battery trays or industrial applications such as fine particulate air filters.
As of November 1, 2020, FibreCoat, the start-up and spin-off of the Institut für Textiltechnik of RWTH Aachen University (ITA), Aachen/Germany, is part of a cooperation with AMAC GmbH (Advanced Materials and Consultancy), Aachen.
Alucoat is available as of January 1, 2021, as a yarn, fabric or nonwoven material with a wide range of possible titers and areal weights. The material will offer an electrical conductivity of 100 Ωm and a working temperature of at least 400 °C. Furthermore, it can be used for the shielding of low to high frequencies with an effectiveness of 80-120 dB.
FibreCoat also develops metal-coated fibers like bi-component multi-filament yarns with basalt core and aluminum coating which can be used for EMI-shielding and heat sinks in battery casings, electric diverters in filters, reinforcement of cast aluminum parts or as conductive yarns in smart textiles.
FibreCoat has already won several international awards: the recent and famous „Falling walls venture“ award for advanced materials in Berlin/Germany for the most-promising science start-ups from across the world for the production of their innovative thermoplastic coated glass fibers.
Kelheim Fibres: partner of ETP in strategic programs
The manufacturer of viscose specialty fibers Kelheim Fibres GmbH, Kelheim/Germany, has partnered with the European Technology Platform for the Future of Textiles and Clothing (ETP), Brussels/Belgium, in 2 strategic programs: “Bio-Based Fibers” and “Circular Economy”.
Against the backdrop of the increasingly important sustainability debate, fundamental changes inside the textile supply chain are taking place. The two 3-year ETP programs “Bio-Based Fibers” and “Circular Economy” are a clear response to this. The goal is to bring key players from industry and science together to develop a long-term strategy to actively shape the sustainable realignment of the European textile industry.
Kelheim’s fibers are made from the renewable material wood and they are fully biodegradable at the end of their product lifecycle. As an alternative to crude-oil based materials, these fibers are becoming increasingly popular in various applications. Part of the reason for this is the fact that the specialty fibers can be functionalized during the production process to give them the exact properties that are required for different end uses. In terms of performance, they can keep up with synthetic materials.
Loepfe: weft thread brake can reduce weft breaks
Tarpaulins are all around us. They are used for protecting goods from adverse weather and to ensure satisfied end-customers. Tarpaulins, for instance, keep all the whole variety of parcels safe during delivery in trucks.
The WeftMaster SFB-L yarn brake manufactured by Loepfe Brothers Ltd., Wetzikon/Switzerland, is a good system for producing these coated technical fabrics on projectile and rapier looms in an economical way.
The control electronics for the SFB weft brake were recently redesigned for the future. The new electronics can now control 4 brakes instead of the previous 3, which saves space and simplifies the brake deceleration setting. In addition, the inputs are now also galvanically isolated. By using the WeftMaster SFB electronic weft thread brake, the number of weft breaks can be reduced by at least 50%.
Projectile looms are designed for the production of a wide variety of fabrics and are considered to be space-saving, especially when producing heavy fabrics.
The focus is always on the high-quality requirements of the various end-products. Especially when yarns with a low tensile strength are used, weft tension is a decisive parameter. Too much stretching can lead to uneven fabric or - in the worst case - to weft thread breaks, which lead to expensive machine stoppages. Therefore, a constant, even weft thread tension is essential for all yarn types.
ITA: new certification enables comparability of spacer fabrics
Spacer fabrics are textile structures consisting of 2 textile cover surfaces and at least one spacer thread system. As a result of their special properties, spacer fabrics differ from conventional, flat fabrics.
Until now, spacer fabrics have not been tested according to separate test procedures. This meant that important characteristics were not taken into account in the tests. The first national test standard for spacer fabrics has now been developed under the direction of the Institute of Textile Technology of RWTH Aachen University (ITA), Aachen/Germany, in the joint project NormATex (Standardization for Spacer Fabrics).
The developed standardization document DIN 60022-1, Spacer textiles -Terms and definition, sample preparation, is the first of the new series of standards and contains specifications for the consistent marking and sample preparation of spacer fabrics. The document was prepared by the working committee NA 106 02 11 AA "Test equipment and test methods for spacer textiles" in the DIN Textile and Textile Machinery Standards Committee under the chairmanship of ITA employee Christoph Peiner.
Other documents on further standardized test methods for air permeability and thickness of spacer fabrics are planned. In addition, a publicly funded follow-up project focusing on further test procedures is planned.