TextileFuture conducted an interview with STFI Scientific Director Dr Yves Gloy (formerly ITA at RWTH Aachen) after one year in this position. We enlight also the successes of STFI Textile Research in Chemnitz, Saxony, Germany.
Historical development of STFI
On February 17th 1992, the two research institutes Forschungsinstitut für Textiltechnologie (FIFT) Chemnitz and Institut für Technische Textilien (ITT) Dresden jointly continue their long-standing research work and founded Sächsisches Textilforschungsinstitut e.V. (STFI) which is registered under VR 960 in the association index.
Institut für Technische Textilien (ITT Institute for Techtextiles) GmbH is as wholly-owned subsidiary of STFI.
futureTEX Management GmbH is as wholly-owned subsidiary of STFI. It carries out administrative and organisational support of project futureTEX.
STFI is a Partner in research, development and consulting
The institute is working as a non-profit research institution in the Free State of Saxony and is continuing the long-standing traditions of the Saxon textile research and textile industry.
Process-related and product-related research work covers classical textile technologies as well as innovative technical solutions for a wide range of applications.
We cooperate with national as well as international companies and research institutions and support the companies of the regional textile industry with our knowhow.
The Interview with Dr Yves Gloy
Since one year you are heading the scientific arm of STFI, what are the highlights of your achievements up to now?
“We had a whole series of highlights in 2018. For example, we opened the Chemnitz showcase as part of the Mittelstand 4.0 competence center for textiles. The competence center supports small and medium-sized companies in the textile, textile machinery and related sectors in the development of their digital fitness. We successfully presented ourselves at important trade fairs such as JEC World, Composites Europe and FILTECH. I was pleased to see that we are organizing very successful events such as the BAUTEX, the “Textile Filter” Symposium, the Hofer Nonwovens Days, the Sustainable Textile School and the Chemnitz Textile Technology Conference. A whole series of exciting new research projects has been launched to answer urgent societal problems, such as microplastic. Furthermore, through numerous investments in our equipment, we were able to ensure that our machines and equipment are state-of-the-art. Last but not least, we successfully trained again: Erik Wilhelm received the best honour of the IHK Chemnitz as an STFI apprentice and Tobias Petzold took the 3rd place at the DKB-VIU Young Researcher Award.”
How do your responsibilities compare to the ones you did have at ITA and how do would you describe your foremost personal activities?
“The STFI is run by Mr. Andreas Berthel and myself together with a circle of excellent group leaders. As a proven businessman, Mr Berthel is of course responsible for the financial part, while I am responsible for the scientific part. Together we shape the strategic positioning and orientation of the institute. In research I support the scientific staff in the acquisition, preparation and execution of projects.
In addition, I ensure that the marketing and public relations of the institute are modern, fresh and factual. I represent the STFI at numerous events and of course the scientific writing and lectures are not too short. Furthermore, I represent our interests in a whole series of committees and advisory boards. The expansion and maintenance of the STFI network also plays an important role, as does the cooperation with the city of Chemnitz or the state of Saxony.
Additionally, I am authorized to give lectures at the TU Chemnitz. Comparing with my work at the ITA Institute für Textiltechnik (Institute for Textile Technology) of RWTH Aachen, I can say that research at the STFI is very application-oriented and practical. The cooperation with the many, partly very experienced employees in Chemnitz, makes me a lot of fun.”
STFI is at the forefront of new scientific developments, would you kindly identify some of these?
“At the STFI, certain areas of focus have been developed over the years. The competence center for nonwovens, for example, develops nonwovens and extrusion nonwovens and deals with textile recycling. At the Center for Textile Lightweight Construction we are dedicated to the processing of glass, carbon, aramid and basalt, the production of composites and preforms and carbon recycling. At the Innovation Center for Technical Textiles we look at technical. Woven and knitted fabrics., reinforcing structures, construction and geotextiles, functionalization and chemical analysis, and test method development for all types of applications.
We are facing the digitization as part of the futureTEX large-scale project and the Mittelstand 4.0 competence centre for textiles. Topics are here e.g. Automation, networking of production processes, additive manufacturing processes, modelling, simulation and software development. For this purpose, we are currently building up a research and experimental field “Textile Factory of the Future”. In addition, we are accredited testing centre and certification body for protective textiles and geosynthetics. Other important competencies are international cooperation and the coordination of project consortia and research networks.”
How close is the collaboration with other institutes, textile machinery manufacturers and customers?
“The cooperation with our partners and customers is essential for the success of the research. We see ourselves as innovation partners and service providers for our partners. Companies are involved in nearly all our projects. Be it because we are specifically addressing a partner’s question or because his competence is required to solve a problem.
The cooperation with the textile machinery manufacturers has a special role due to the tradition of textile machinery in Chemnitz, which of course makes me particularly enjoyable as a textile machine engineer. As an affiliated institute of the TU Chemnitz, cooperation with other research institutes and universities, be it in Germany, the EU or worldwide, is just as important to us. We are convinced that many questions of research can only be really well in cooperation. The success for our customers and partner is most important to us.”
What major events are you planning for STFI in 2019?
“This year is an important year with a whole range of highlights. We are represented at the Techtextil in Frankfurt and Raleigh, USA, at the Hannover Messe, the JEC World, the A + A and the FILTECH. Our colloquium “re4tex recycling for textiles” takes place at the end of the year, as well as the Hofer nonwovens days. In addition, we are pleased to officially introduce our new interval hot press in the Centre for Textile Lightweight Design as part of the CCeV theme day “Press Technologies for the fibre composite mass production”. These stages for sharing with our partners and customers are immensely important.”
Which new fields are you entering for STFI in 2019?
“In 2019, we will tackle a whole range of topics in a targeted manner. To name just a few examples, we are intensifying our activities in functional integration in textiles, whether in the field of functional clothing or home textiles. The whole topic of sustainability and recycling will be further expanded. As part of futureTEX, we expect a whole range of product and process innovations. As an example, we will integrate a driverless transport system in our research and experimental field and devote ourselves even more to the topic of transfer – from research to application. Our academy, in which we offer e.g. on nonwovens, personal protective equipment, CARBONrecycling or FunktionsDRUCK will also be developed.”
2019 is also the year of the European edition of ITMA, what are your expectations?
“In terms of digitization, I expect a lot and I’m curious what the mechanical engineers deliver. Be it smarter machines, modern man-machine interfaces to enable unskilled employees to use the machines, as well as possibilities for networked production. The machines will be even more able to produce a lot size 1 on economic terms. The trend towards integrative and hybrid methods, such as a yarn dyeing in the embroidery process, is certainly evolving. In addition, the machine-builders have to deliver machines that are even more economical with resources such as water or power.”
Will STFI have its own booth at the show in Barcelona?
“You will find us if you look carefully. We are on the stands of our partners with a whole series of our innovations. In addition, our experts are on site. Traditionally we are not represented with a stand with the focus on textile technology and less the textile machinery industry at the ITMA.”
What does STFI to support young engineers to take-up a scientific job?
“The promotion of young people is very important to us. Thus, we supervise ongoing theses and doctorates of various universities in our house. In addition, we support young talent on a variety of different levels, be it in the “Jugend forscht” competition, in campaigns to increase the attractiveness of textile professions (“Go Textile!”), with public tours through our technical facilities and laboratories, through student internships, lectures at various universities, etc.”
What will be the major changes envisioned in your personal forecast for Technical Textiles in the near future?
“Sustainability will be a major driver of technical textiles in the future. As with clothing, technical textiles require solutions that enable circulation and minimize the impact on the environment. All of this must be thought of as a whole, from the design, the materials, the manufacturing process, the use, and the later collection, sorting, and reprocessing. In addition, we need sustainable business solutions and business models.
Digitization will not stop at the area of technical textiles, be it in design, production or use. In terms of smart textiles, technical textiles will increasingly be able to integrate sensory and actuatoric functions (4D or adaptive). Especially the possibility to collect and process data has high potential to generate a service for the customers around the technical textile, which provides a big added value.
For all these developments, we see ourselves as a profitable partner for our customers. It remains exciting.”
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