Textile companies bet on innovation to conquer challenges
How can a company make successful use to consider innovations as a chance? Some answers were given at the 10th Swiss Innovation Day on August 27, 2015 at Empa, Dübendorf (near Zurich), it is a gathering and a dialogue between scientists and representatives of textile enterprises
The event was presented by Swiss Textiles, the umbrella organisation oft he Swiss textile and clothing industry, jointly with scientists from Empa (Materials & Sciences and belonging to ETH the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, The University of Lucerne, the Technical Institute for Technology, Rapperswil, ZHAW the University of applied sciences and the Swiss Textile College, Zurich.
It became evident that the Swiss textile and clothing industry is affronting the economic challenges since the elimination of a fixed CHF/EUR relation on January 15, 2015 successfully through quality and innovation.
The representatives of Empa explained the challenges between law, research on new molecules and their industrialisation by the example of new flame protecting solutions. These are applied in protective clothing, interior decoration and transportation, but due to their somewhat negative effect on the environment and human health these become increasingly challenged. Empa therefore seeks collaboration with the industry in order to find decisive alternatives for the actual chemicals in use.
The research team Products & Textiles of Lucerne University Design and Art presented in collaboration with Medela AG and the federal commission for Technology and Innovation the launched project „Emotion through Textiles“. It focusses on breast-feeding and expressing breastmilk with the aim to apply textile materials to allow more comfort for these mother activities”, explained Erich Pfenninger, Project Leader R&D, Business Unit Breastfeeding at Medela. The researchers of Lucerne University showed the approach across technologies how the textile knowhow is linked to medical technology.
The challenges of a multi-disciplinary project was the subject of the Technical University of Rapperswil. Jointly with Empa, the University developed for the Polarmond company a “All-in-One” sleeping system. It is self-warming tent and it regulates room temperature. The research partners showed how the combination of various competences of research institutes and industrial partners developed this high-tech tent.
The value of innovation was also underlining a presentation of Sonja Amport, Director of STF Swiss Textile College with the new Innovation Management Course that aims to assist textile enterprises to integrate innovation processes in the daily operational organisation.
Dr. Yves Gloy presented the ITA Institute for Textile Technology of RWTH Aachen, and Dr. Gerhard Schmitts impulse speech on „Future Cities“, concluded the event. Schmitts FCL Future Cities Laboratory forms part of the SEC Singapore ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability and focusses on sustainable city development. More than 130 scientists and researchers from 30 countries work on the development of the city of future. Schmitt explained the development from the idea to finished products and up to the Vision of a sustainable and resilient city in the regions of the world where in the upcoming 25 years more than 2 billion people have to be housed and where working places will be created. It is beyond doubt that in such a city of future also textile innovations will play an important role.
Before and during an interval the audience was networking and visited also the network corners and also research partners were accessed for personal bilateral consultations.
The event was moderated by Nina Bachmann, responsible for conventions and head of environment and technology at Swiss Textiles. Swiss textiles is holding over years a strong position between the industrial textile word and its linking with research partners.
Swiss Textiles represents the interests of 200 member companies from the Swiss textile and clothing industry. The umbrella organisation is actively engaged in the economic/political opinion forming process. The two sectors created a value in the amount of CHF one billion and engages 12600 collaborators in Switzerland and 82626 abroad. Swiss Textile enhances the textile relevant innovation competence in Switzerland. The network of competences covers sectors such as material sciences, fibre technology, design, engineering, chemicals and process engineering, among others. In addition Swiss Textiles collaborates for the past years with textile associations and research institutions in Germany and Austria to compensate for the relative small size of Switzerland and to link the most apt partners from research and economy in a dependable network.