Textile Technology section
Pharr: sale of fibers and yarn segment
The provider of differentiated textile products and assorted real estate businesses, Pharr LLC, McAdenville, NC/USA, has reached agreements to sell 3 of its subsidiaries.
The industrial yarn and consumer textile crafts business Coats Plc., Uxbridge/UK, will purchase Pharr High Performance, a yarn supplier for the protective apparel industry, while the manufacturer of residential and commercial floorcovering, Mannington Mills, Inc., Salem, NJ/USA, will purchase Pharr Fibers & Yarns and Phenix Flooring, suppliers of yarns, residential carpet and specialty flooring products. The acquisitions are expected to close in early 2020.
Both companies plan to retain Pharr’s workforce and continue operations at its manufacturing facilities in McAdenville and Dalton, GA/USA. With the addition of Pharr High Performance, Coats will have 6 North Carolina manufacturing sites located in McAdenville, Kings Mountain, Marion and Hendersonville as well as its corporate office in Charlotte.
The acquisitions of Pharr Fibers & Yarns and Phenix Flooring will help establish Mannington as one of the largest suppliers in the floor covering industry, participating in both residential and commercial hard and soft surface categories.
The acquisitions will not affect Pharr’s 2 remaining divisions, Belmont Land & Investment Company, developer of residential and commercial real estate and hotels, and Strand Hospitality Services, which manages a portfolio of hotel properties throughout the Southeast USA.
Dornbirn GFC: 1st Dornbirn Global Fiber Congress in Asia
A close partnership between the Austrian Fibers Institute, Vienna/Austria, and the Korean Textile Federation (KOFOTI), Seoul/Korea, as well as the Dyeing & Finishing Technology Institute (DYETEC), Daegu/Korea, has enabled the arrangement of the 1st Dornbirn GFC Asia fiber innovation congress in Daegu in March 2020. Around 300-400 participants from the whole textile chain are expected.
The program design will be similar to the Dornbirn-GFC congress in Austria. Plenary speakers will open the Dornbirn-GFC Asia congress on March 3, 2020. Around 30 expert lectures on March 3-4, 2020 will concentrate the following key topics:
• Fiber Innovations
• Nonwovens and Technical Textiles
• Mobility – e.g. automotive interior & structural
• Smart Fabrics
• Sustainability & Circular Economy
Interactive discussions will round off this special fiber innovation congress.
From Europe, renowned university professors and board members or owners of top companies from the fiber and textile industry have already confirmed their participation.
FibrXL: Lumat, Dominion Fiber Technologies and EuroFibers merge
The combination through merger of 3 companies has created an unparalleled portfolio of high-tenacity yarns, renowned high-performance fibers, fiber processing capabilities and a global distribution network.
Leading fiber companies Lumat Group BV, Almere/Netherlands, Dominion Fiber Technologies Inc. (DFT), Richmond, VA/USA, and EuroFibers BV, Maastricht/Netherlands, with a collective experience in technical textiles and fiber enhancing services of over 60 years, have officially announced their merger.
The new group will trade under the name FibrXL from January 2020. Marcel Alberts (previously EuroFibers) and Jeroen Drenth (previously Lumat) will continue as managing directors of the combined company.
By combining the vast product knowledge and expertise of the individual companies into a single brand, as well as their worldwide sales force, logistics services, warehousing facilities, and converting capabilities, a new group is created that can serve the market on a worldwide scale.
FibrXL is the global one stop fiber shop for technical textiles, with a broad product portfolio. The company is the distributor and innovation partner of the world’s largest producers of high-performance fibers, e.g. Dyneema, Twaron, Technora, Vectran and Zylon (FibrXL Performance) and leading distributor of industrial yarns like polyester, polyamide and viscose (FibrXL Industrial). FibrXL works with regional sales managers and agents in both the EU and the USA, and can not only deliver the unprocessed fibers, but the company can also customize the products in color, size, weight, packaging, and delivering to the customers wishes, direct from stock.
Lenzing: sustainability-based financing
The producer of cellulosic fibers, Lenzing AG, Lenzing/Austria, is forging new paths in the financing of operative growth: As one of the first companies in the world, on November 27, 2019, Lenzing positioned a bonded loan bound to its sustainability performance.
For this type of loan, the interest is linked to Lenzing's performance in the area of sustainability and is annually reviewed and assessed by an independent sustainability agency. The MSCI agency, New York, NY/USA, which undertakes the rating in Lenzing's case, recently awarded the company an A rating. The innovative and sustainability-based financing of a bonded loan is a consistent step in the implementation of Lenzing’s own corporate strategy sCore TEN, with a focus on sustainability and environmental protection.
The initial € 200 million bond was of such interest to investors from Europe and Asia that the decision was made to increase it to €500 million. Nearly 12% of this (US$ 65 million) was tendered in US dollars. The average interest rate of the loan is just under 1%, through which the Lenzing Group is financed less expensively than with previous bonded loans.
The total volume of the loan of €500 million will be available to the Lenzing Group in December 2019 and in January 2020, and is further distributed over tranches with terms of 5, 7 and 10 years. In addition, registered bonds will be put into place with a term of 15 years. The resources will be used for general corporate financing, for early refinancing of a bond tranche from 2015 and for important sustainable future projects by the Lenzing Group.
Ahlstrom-Munksjö: divestment of glass fiber reinforcement business
The fiber-based materials solution supplier Ahlstrom-Munksjö Oy, Helsinki/Finland, has agreed to sell its glass fiber reinforcement business in Mikkeli/Finland, to Vitrulan Composites Oy, Helsinki, a fully owned subsidiary of Vitrulan Group and part of the family-owned industrial holding Adcuram Group AG, Munich/Germany.
The Mikkeli plant is part of Ahlstrom’s Filtration and Performance business area. It produces glass and carbon-based reinforcement fabrics. The main product offering consists of specialty glass fiber reinforcements for wind energy applications as well as for other end-uses including marine and transportation applications.
At the end of 2018 the plant employed about 100 people with net sales of approx. €30 million. The debt free purchase price is €6.5 million and the transaction is expected to be completed during Q4/2019. Ahlstrom-Munksjö will continue to produce glass fiber tissue at its plants in Karhula/Finland, and Tver/Russia.
The Mikkeli glass fiber reinforcement business will bring significant growth to Vitrulan Group which produces highly resilient glass fiber-based woven materials.
Vitrulan has around 400 employees and generates net sales of approx. €60 million. Its woven materials are used in public and private buildings, reinforcing and backing fabrics, laminates and special products.
Adcuram comprises 6 subsidiaries with combined sales of more than €400 million and around 2,500 employees globally. It actively develops its subsidiaries with the aim of significant growth.
Toray: porous carbon fiber with continuous pore structure
The fiber and textile manufacturer Toray Industries Inc., Osaka/Japan, claims to have created the world’s first porous carbon fiber with a nano-sized continuous pore structure. Using this fiber as a support layer could lighten advanced membranes used in greenhouse gas separation and hydrogen production and make them more compact, thereby enhancing performance.
Absorption and adsorption-based facilities conventionally separate carbon dioxide, biogas, hydrogen, and other gases. These consume a lot of energy, resulting in heavy carbon dioxide emissions.
Toray’s new material is chemically stable because it comprises carbon, and offers very good gas permeability. The material employs thin, flexible fibers, so when it is used to support gas membranes a module can house many of them. Modules can thus be compact and light. This makes it possible to combine a range of gas separation layers.
The company has created a porous carbon fiber with uniformly continuous pores and carbon. It is possible to set nano- through micro-level pore sizes for porous structures. Another possibility is to create a hollow fiber-shaped porous carbon fiber in the center of a fiber.
Prospective applications include electrode materials and catalyst carriers (base substances for fixing other substances) in high-performance batteries.
Teijin: innovative solutions support “workstyle reforms”
The producer of advanced fibers and composites, Teijin Ltd., Tokyo/Japan, is developing a wide range of innovative solutions to further “workstyle reforms” introduced by the Japanese government to reform the labor laws and working conditions.
A fan-cooled jacket, jointly developed with Makita Corp., Anjo/Japan, has a 2-layer pressure-controlled cooling structure that allows air to enter through the jacket’s outer shell and inner lining, both in front and back. Uses including sports apparel and work uniforms.
Teijin’s smart uniform for firefighting predicts heatstroke risk by estimating deep body temperatures, using a device installed in the uniform to monitor both temperatures and the firefighter’s precise position. The uniform is made with heat-resistant, flame-retardant Teijinconex meta-aramid fibers and high-tenacity Technora para-aramid fibers.
Vital Sensing Wear is clothing that facilitates sustainable and highly accurate sensing of the heart's electrical activity, heart rates and activity levels, minimizing the noise generated by contact of the body with sportswear during exercise. It combines the ultrafine fiber Nanofront with vital-sign sensing technology, and by simultaneously sensing heart rates and activity levels it can be used in various scenarios.
The innovative 2breathe smart device and mobile app help to improve sleep by relieving pre-sleep tension and midnight wakeup issues. The small device sends the data to a smartphone via Bluetooth, and the app converts to the sound. It helps to reduce the neural sympathetic activity by relaxing mind and body when breath is synchronized to the sounds.
nova-Institute: 1st International Conference on Cellulose Fibres
Cellulose fibers are one of the fastest growing fiber groups in textiles. On February 11-12 2020, nova-Institute GmbH, Hürth/Germany, will host the 1st International Conference on Cellulose Fibres.
The conference targets reseachers, producers and distributors of cellulose fiber technology alike.
Applications and advancement in this specific spectrum of textiles, as well as their economic implementation will be discussed, regarding the fast growing market for environmentally-safe products made from cellulose.
For further information: www.cellulose-fibres.eu
JEC Asia 2019: winners of the JEC Innovation Awards revealed
The JEC Innovation Awards is a long-established and worldwide program with 3 goals: identify, promote, and reward the most innovative composite solutions in the world.
The winner of the JEC Asia Innovation Awards in the category Aerospace was Compotech Plus spol. s r.o., Sušice/Czech Republic. The company produces a composite aileron structure - cured in one step. The innovation is in the applying process of robot assisted filament winding and laying for automated production of wing structures. The process involves the winding, with axial fibers, various shaped sections, which form the span wise box beams. The box beams together form the profile of the wing section. Before curing, with the tooling still in place, the outer layers are wound, thus consolidating the internal beams and forming the shape of the aileron. The outer surface is then pressed with a flexible vacuum mold at room temperature. The part is then cured in one step and does not need secondary bonded parts. The surface is then finished.
Over the past 15 years, the JEC Innovation Program has involved 1,800 companies worldwide; 177 companies and 433 partners have been rewarded for the excellence of their composite innovations. The JEC Innovation Awards reward composites champions, based on criteria such as partner involvement in the value chain, technicality, or commercial applications of innovations. The awards ceremony took place on November 14, 2019, at the Startup Branch at Coex Seoul/Korea.
ITA: first lecture 85 years ago in Aachen
The Institut für Textiltechnik (Institute of Textile Technology) of RWTH Aachen University (ITA), Aachen/Germany, was founded 85 years ago.
On November 13, 1934, the first textile technology lecture was held by Professor Dr. Max Matthes, head of the newly founded Textile Institute in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the then Technical University of Aachen. The initiator for this new foundation was in particular the textile industry based in Aachen. Since the 19th century, the region has been known across borders for its cloth industry.
Until the 1960s, the research and teaching at the new institute consisted of fiber science and testing, spinning machines, weaving and finishing machines as well as textile production. Numerous test methods were developed and the institute was established at the RWTH Aachen University.
At the beginning of the 1970s, new areas were successively added, including knitwear and nonwovens. The chair concentrated on the topics of spinning and weaving. In order to take into account the new framework conditions of an increasingly global economy, various international co-operations were established. The Institute began researching machines and processes for the manufacture of fiber composites and founded a research group for medical textiles and smart textiles.
After Prof. Dr. Thomas Gries took over the management of the institute in 2001, the ITA has gone through a very dynamic growth phase, especially in the last 10 years. Today the ITA employs about 400 people, including more than 100 scientific employees. The ITA is one of the largest institutes of the RWTH Aachen University with the widest range of applications at the location.