By Virginia F. Bodmer-Altura, Publisher of Textile Future
The impression at Techtexti/Techprocess is the following:
The two shows are well organised by Messe Frankfurt
The visitor stream is high
Visitors are looking for new aspects of their business
Sustainability and Circle Economy are present at almost of all booths.
The territory to cover for visitors is quite enormous. On the part of textile machinery the ones specialised in Technical Textiles and in the Techprocess fields are present, but not with such large booths as at ITMA’s. But they underline with their presence the importance of the two fairs.
Talking to the exhibitors they underline the great technical interest and qualifications of the visitors stemming practically from all over the world. But at the same time the exhibitors are confirming that we live in very uncertain times, economically as well as political. Markets such as China, USA and Turkey are marked by the politics, the USA by the actions President Donald Trump takes. Germany is weakening its economic lead, thus important markets show the hesitance of investing into the future, even though it seems necessary to enforce competitivity and profits.
An interesting factor is the presence of various start-ups going into the direction of Technical Textiles in the health sector, others are engaged in AI Artificial Intelligence. The German umbrella organisation Textil + Mode reports that the would receive Federal State support to help develop Industry 4.0 and AI Data for the textile “Mittelstand”, meaning companies employing between 50 – 70 Persons, having the need to enhance productivity and to retrofit older machines or to deal with data. To secure all of these factors contribute also start-up companies in the AI (collecting various data for this middle companies and trying to analyse these for them to enhance productivity and competitivity. Since there is the difficulty to comply with existing and future EU rules, including standards, they work to establish standards, which is not very easy and needs a lot of research work and to document the results.
The same is true for the aspect of reuse of yarns and clothing. The difficulty resulting is the separation of the different fibres and materials in and on fabrics, including colourants, particularly if you want to offer a sustainable solution, avoiding chemical or biochemical processes.
At the press conference of Indorama, a global chemical producer, launched a 100 % rPET (reycled PET) brand DEJA TM as part of its continous commitment to deliver responsible and sustainable growth. The new product is offered in various forms such as recycled flake, pellet, fibre and filament for use in multiple applications. The company is headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand and it disposes of operating sites in 31 countries on five continents and a global manufacturing footprint across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. DEJA 100 % rPET products asre derived by recycling 140 KT of plastic bottles yearly and transforming them into extra-ordinary, innovative future proofed materials. Indorama has been at the forefront to make a process in developing the technology to convert rPET bottles into highly useable products over 40 years. It is a quality of its heritage in pioneering recycling technology for global applications by securing consistant delivery and innovation in changing and challenging environments. The recycling circle is as follows: Plastic bottles are collected, he plastic is washed and chipped into PET Flake, the flake is melted and spun into recycled fibres and yarns, these are produced for innovative, hygene apparel, automotive and technical products. Flak is also melted and formed into packaging, bottles an other applications.
Another example is Archroma with its new binder Appretan that was first destined to tea bags and coffee bags and other packaging applications in the alimentary sector. It now backs up dyes for sustainable textile coating. -the dyes are based on “vegi-waste”. The consumer wishes more and more sustainable products that fulfill at the same time the highest standards. The product will take up local circumstances of local circumstances of the destination country in order that the customer does not have to make adaptations. It will be energy saving and high temperature resistant. The new binder further consists of compostable parts and is applicable predominantly in polyester and glass fibre.
In other words, each sector is seeking new and sustainable solutions to secure also the own survival of the respective industry. This goes for products, but also for the business model, for instance Smart Factory, Industry 4.0 and AI as well as Big Data. There are different approaches and TextileFuture is convinced that this is just an “initial” aim to bring all aspects “under one umbrella”. For sure this will make necessary more R&D, reorganisation and standardisation of new processes and manufacturing.
The novelty process and the transformation of the textile and clothing industry has just started and it will take some time to measure the results and consistency of all efforts and directions in the market place.