Textile Technology section
Oerlikon: Manmade Fibers Segment on track despite pandemic
The Manmade Fibers Segment of Oerlikon Management AG, Pfäffikon/Switzerland, delivered a resilient performance despite the corona virus pandemic, driven by the recovery of the filament equipment business in China and a diversified portfolio in products such as nonwovens, staple fibers, polycondensation and smart factory solutions.
In the 2nd quarter (Q2) of 2020, a significant increase in order intake was recorded, attributed to a quick recovery in demand in China and the rest of Asia and the increasing demand for the nonwoven meltblown systems used in face mask production. For the half-year H1/2020, the man-made fibers business booked more than CHF 500 million in order intake and is on track to fulfill its delivery schedules for 2020.
Sales declined by 22.8% in Q2/2020, mainly due to the extraordinarily high sales volume in Q2/2019. At constant exchange rates, sales declined by 17.7% to CHF 264 million. Sales in China were stable in Q2/2020 year-over-year, affirming the recovery in China from the shutdowns in Q1/2020. EBIT was CHF 30 million or 12.1% of sales (Q2/2019: CHF 51 million; 15.7%).
The nonwovens market is anticipated to continue developing positively, as many countries strive to become more strategically autonomous for items deemed critical.
Mahlo: 75th anniversary
The manufacturer of measuring, control and automation systems Mahlo GmbH & Co. KG, Saal a.d. Donau/Germany, celebrated its 75th anniversary on August 5, 2020.
Founded in 1945 by Dr. Heinz Mahlo the company focused early on the development of measuring and control systems for the textile industry. At the end of the 1950s he applied for a patent for the 1st automatic weft straightener.
Mahlo weft straighteners and systems for process control for textile finishing can be found in all important markets. In the mid-1990s, the Qualiscan QMS quality control system was introduced to the market.
Mahlo is still family-owned today, and the cooperation between owner, management and staff plays a major role in its success. The company has branches in the USA, Italy, Belgium, Spain and China and cooperates with service stations and sales partners in more than 100 countries.
Photo: Company owners Ralph & Aura Greenwood-Mahlo at the desk of company founder Dr. Heinz Mahlo
Oerlikon: electro-charging unit rounds off filter nonwovens systems
Spunbond and meltblown materials can be electrostatically charged to improve their filter performance. The ecuTEC+ electro-charging unit from the Nonwoven BU of the Manmade Fibers segment of Oerlikon Management AG, Pfäffikon/Switzerland, is part of the delivery scope of all meltblown systems currently sold for the manufacture of protective mask nonwovens.
The patented solution is characterized by its high flexibility: ecuTEC+ stands out above all as a result of its diverse applications, which can be electro-charged. Nonwovens manufacturers can freely choose between numerous variation options and set the optimal charging method and intensity for their specific filter applications. Additionally, EPA and HEPA-class filter media can also be manufactured using the ecuTEC+.
This meltblown technology, with which among other things nonwovens for respiratory masks can also be manufactured, is recognized as being a technically very efficient method for producing highly-separating filter media made from man-made fibers. The capacities for respiratory masks available in Europe to date are predominantly manufactured on Oerlikon Nonwoven systems.
Dralon: comprehensive restructuring
Acrylic fiber producer Dralon GmbH, Dormagen/Germany, has already had to reduce its production severely in the 2nd quarter 2020. In addition to the effects of the corona pandemic, the company is also burdened by the continuing high price pressure in a shrinking global market. In order to make the company competitive again, Dralon has decided to comprehensively restructure the company as part of a protective shielding process.
The protective shielding procedure can only be initiated if the company is not yet insolvent at the time of application. The management of the company remains fully capable of acting in the proceedings. Production and delivery to customers will continue without restrictions.
Dralon is using the debtor-in-possession management for the restructuring with the aim of continuing the company. In doing so, the company management remains in office and carries out the reorganization itself.
The affiliated business of the fiber manufacturer Dolan GmbH, Kelheim/Germany, is not part of the restructuring process, as the business there is less affected and remains profitable in 2020.
Monforts: sustainable leadership for GtA with new Montex wide width lines
Following the commissioning of 2 new Monforts Montex wide-width stenter lines and additional environmental management equipment at its plant in Germany, GtA - Gesellschaft für textile Ausrüstung mbH, Neresheim/Germany, is aiming to be the first textile finishing company to become entirely CO2-neutral in the manufacture of all of its products by 2025.
The substrates of choice for digital printing are 100% polyester warp knits. The knitted construction has the advantage of elasticity, which is a plus in terms of flexibility for installers. Critically, the warp knitted fabrics have extremely smooth surfaces which is becoming increasingly important due to the general move away from PVC coatings which were the standard in the past.
The purpose-built plant on a greenfield site was initially equipped with a fully-automated, 72 m long Monforts installation comprising a washing machine integrated with a 3.6 m wide, 7-chamber Montex stenter. The 2 new Montex stenter lines from the manufacturer of textile machinery A. Monforts Textilmaschinen GmbH & Co. KG, Mönchengladbach/Germany are both in expanded working widths of 5.6 m. They include the Smart Sensor system for the optimized maintenance planning of key mechanical wear components on the stenters. A comprehensive overview of the condition of all parts at any time is now available for operators within the highly intuitive Qualitex visualization software.
The GtA plant, which operates in near-cleanroom conditions, has also been equipped with proprietary technology to fully exploit the Monforts air-to-air heat recovery systems that are now standard with Montex stenters.
Kelheim Fibres: new Head of Business Development
Effective July 1, 2020, Dr. Marina Crnoja-Cosic has been appointed Head of New Business Development at the cellulose fiber producer Kelheim Fibres GmbH, Kelheim/Germany. She will also serve as a member of the Management Board.
With a PhD in Chemistry, Crnoja-Cosic brings with her long-time experience in fiber and application development as well as in business development. Customized and market-oriented solutions, cross-company cooperation along the value chain and constant attention to long-term industry, and particularly to textile trends, have shaped her career path for the past 20 years.
DITF: intelligent tablecloths
Current hygiene regulations require restaurant operators to ensure sufficient distance between guests. Intelligent table cloths could soon help with this often complicated seating management. Furthermore, with the help of sensor technology, restaurant visitors could place their orders directly into the fabric without contact with the waiter and even use play functions after the meal. The German Institutes of Textile and Fiber Research Denkendorf (DITF), Denkendorf/Germany, are conducting research on tablecloths that are not only smart but also feel like textiles and can be used despite having built-in sensors.
Intelligent textiles do not yet have the properties familiar from fabrics, such as flexible, pleasant feel and easy washability. Therefore, the DITF are developing a purely textile sensor technology as part of a research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. This will be separated from both the energy supply and the data processing and the measured values will be transmitted inductively, i.e. wirelessly. The tablecloths interact with the electronics integrated in the table. Central functions are the detection of seat occupancy, ordering functions and an event and game application. Specially developed wrapping yarns are used for this purpose. The first functional models have already been created using embroidery technology, which uses electronics to detect and show approximation and touch in a table. In the future, patterns that measure illuminance could control the blinds in the smart home and thus make the seating area glare-free.
To ensure that the research results can be transferred to the industry on a production scale, various influencing variables such as the sensor yarn structure or the embroidery pattern are being investigated.
Bogner: continued growth in 2019/20 financial year
The manufacturer of apparel Willy Bogner GmbH & Co. KGaA, Munich/Germany, continued its growth course of the past years in the 2019/2020 financial year. BOGNER generated €163 million in sales. Earnings before taxes (EBT) amounted to €2.6 million following €0.3 million in the last comparable fiscal year 2017/18.
Bogner’s business was very solid on entering the corona virus crisis. The company responded swiftly and flexibly to the lockdown, and took resolute countermeasures. It is also about to conclude a financing package. In addition to a syndicated loan, it will include state subsidies from LfA Förderbank Bayern to cover the repercussions of the corona virus pandemic.
Even before the current crisis, Bogner had worked with the management consultancy EY to develop a performance program designed to reduce complexity and make the company faster, more flexible, and more profitable in the long-term. The program involves a gradual reduction in staff. A total of around 150 jobs will be reduced over a period of 2 years. This will particularly affect the administration in Munich and the company’s own logistics in Heimstetten/Germany. The logistics will be outsourced to a service provider.
Archroma: combining eco-advanced colors with hygiene and protection
As part of its active engagement in the fight against Covid-19, the producer of dyes and specialty chemicals Archroma Management LLC, Reinach/Switzerland, has announced a collaboration with denim manufacturer Soorty Enterprises Pvt. Ltd., Karachi/Pakistan. The alliance will develop Soorty’s new collection combining eco-advanced colors with hygiene and protection technologies. Archroma will contribute technologies, innovations and systems for coloration, hygiene and protection. These include an aniline-free indigo system, Pure Indigo Flow, based on the new Denisol Pure Indigo developed to preserve the health of denim workers and aquatic life, a water-saving dyeing technology, and an antibacterial treatment based on Sanitized technology and designed to keep the garment odor-free, fresh and germ-free.
The denim collection will be introduced by Soorty under the brand SmartCare+ and will include denim fabric, garments and, coming soon, masks.
IVC: new Board
The election of the chairman, the vice-chairman and the treasurer took place at the general meeting of the Association of Man-Made Fibres e.V. (IVC), Frankfurt/Germany, on July 24, 2020. Stefan Braun of Dralon GmbH, Dormagen, was no longer available for this election after 2 terms of office as IVC chairman.
Klaus Holz (photo) of Trevira GmbH, Bobingen/Germany, was elected as the new chairman, having previously been deputy chairman. Wolfram Daubek-Puza from Lenzing AG, Lenzing/Austria, was elected as deputy chairman. The previous treasurer of the IVC, Dr. Till Boldt of Enka International GmbH & Co. KG, Wuppertal, was confirmed in his office by re-election.