In order to get you posted what happened during the holidays, TextileFuture presents you a news round-up in three parts, and grouped according to topics. The third one entails New Products and Developments, Success Stories, Technical and Scientific Developments



Ahlstrom strengthens leadership in sustainable single-serve coffee materials market in Europe

Finish Ahlstrom strengthens its leading position in Europe as a supplier of fully compostable infusion materials for single-serve coffee capsules together with two best-in-class coffee houses.

Ahlstrom will supply its unique solution made from polylactic acid (PLA) and vegetable parchment materials to Caffe Vergnano in Italy and Cap Mundo in France. The patented Ahlstrom GreenCapsule top lid(TM) is fully compostable and biodegradable alternative to the common aluminum lid used in coffee capsules. It combines optimum extraction for a perfect espresso with low environmental foot print.Caffe Vegnano Logo

Roughly ten billion single-serve coffee capsules are consumed in Europe annually, while currently less than 5 % of the capsules are made from compostable and biodegradable materials. An increasing number of coffee houses are looking for compostable alternatives to differentiate their offer and to answer concerns about the environmental effects. The global market for single-serve coffee capsules has grown at a double-digit rate in the past two years.

Ahlstrom Coffee CapsulesThe Ahlstrom GreenCapsule top lid(TM) won the “best new packaging in coffee 2016” award at the World of Coffee exhibition in Dublin, Ireland. Ahlstrom produces PLA-based materials, which can be also used in tea bags and other food packaging solutions, at its plant in Chirnside, the U.K


Revolutionising manufacturing of synthetic fibres

Swedish company SpinDye has developed a new method that could revolutionise the manufacturing of synthetic fibres and thereby of pants, jackets and backpacks. The new method involves no high use of water and heavy use of chemicals which was part of the dyeing process. It is resource-efficient, sustainable, colourfast, and no bleaching out.

We are SpinDye dyes synthetic fibres is completely different from other textile company, as they are focused on sustainability and environmental protection. Above all, the immense use of water is significantly reduced by innovative procedure. The idea of We are SpinDye is quite simple: recycled plastic is melted down, the desired dye pigment is added to the undyed material. After that, yarn is produced from it in the desired strength. The clients and manufacturers can further process this yarn as usual.

CEO Martin Berling of We are SpinDye says their company is built on the principle of the least possible damage to the environment. They require hardly any water, produce practically any garbage, and the use of chemicals is reduced to a minimum. We are SpinDye is offering its technology for all synthetic materials, such as polyester or nylon, but also for rayon. A combination of synthetic fibers and unbleached wool can be used. There are no limits for manufacturers in further processing: The fabrics can, for example, be coated or equipped with a membrane.

The company isn’t the only one that’s developed a water-free dyeing technology. There are others, for example Nike and Adidas that have procedures with ColorDry or DryDye that don’t require water for the dyeing process – for years now. 


Finnish Picosun, The leading thin Film Coating Solutions for global industries

Picosun Oy, the leading supplier of advanced industrial ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) solutions, reports winning more than 20 new customers in China for its ALD systems since December 2015.

Amongst these customers are many of China’s leading companies in LEDs, III-V semiconductors, and new energy. Thanks to the high technical level of PICOSUN™ ALD equipment and the excellent customer support, Picosun has become the supplier of choice for ALD technology in China.Picosun-logo-

Chinese semiconductor manufacturing and the number of planned fabs in the country are booming, making China the new key market for semiconductor processing equipment. This is the most excellent news considering Picosun’s prominent position as the advanced ALD solutions provider. Collaboration with the leading Chinese research institutes is further supporting Picosun’s sprint in the market.

Picosun 2

“We are extremely happy with the development of our ALD business in China. Our achievements are based on solid ALD knowhow, high-level support and proprietary designs, which give the best value for our Chinese customers and ensure our steady progress in the Chinese market. We are committed to our customer satisfaction by providing the newest and the best ALD solutions and systems in the market,” states Mr. Xiaopeng Wu, CEO of Picosun China.Picosun

Picosun provides the most advanced ALD thin film coating technology to enable the industrial leap into the future, with turn-key production solutions and unmatched expertise in the field. Today, PICOSUN™ ALD equipment are in daily manufacturing use in numerous major industries around the world. Picosun is based in Finland, with subsidiaries in North America, Singapore, Taiwan, China, and Japan, and a world-wide sales and support network.

Little holes with a big impact

A stainless steel disc around 4 mm thick, is illuminated by a bright green beam of laser light. With high energy, the ultra-short-pulsed laser beam bores into the surface of the metal repeatedly, until a large number of holes have been made. What they are producing here at the Institute of Laser Technologies (IFSW) at the University of Stuttgart is the result of a joint research project together with the Institute of Textile Chemistry and Chemical Fibers (ITCF) in Denkendorf: spinnerets with a diameter of  30 – 40 µm, much finer than a human hair, which are utilized in the production of ultra-fine cellulose fibres, or so-called micro- or supermicrofibres.   

Microfibres which are made of different polymers finer than 1 dtex. This is a measure of the fineness of a fibre, which indicates the length-related mass of a single thread. 1 dtex corresponds to one gram per 10,000 m of fibre length. Supermicrofibres are fibres whose fineness is even less than 0.3 dtex. The diameter of such fibres is approximately 3 μm. Due to their large surface area, such fibres are particularly suitable for use in the fields of hygiene and medicine, due to the high moisture absorption capacity and the soft handle of textile products made from them. They are also effectively utilized within the industrial sector as technical textiles, for example in filters, as they are both fine and extremely strong.

New ways of producing microfibers

Typically, microfibers are produced in a two-stage process: the fibre-forming polymer is spun together with a matrix polymer, which provides mechanical stability during the thread formation. From these so-called bicomponent fibres, the matrix fraction is chemically detached during the second step. What remains thereafter is the supermicrofibre.

This process is not applicable in the production of cellulose fibres. Cellulose is not fusible, but it is rather spun in a wet spinning process, in which the cellulose is dissolved in ionic liquid and pressed through a spinneret, behind which it is precipitated into the solid fibre in a coagulation bath. The fineness of the fibres is therefore determined by the size of the holes in the spinneret. And this is where the advantages of a laser-drilled spinneret nozzle come into play. The well-established drilling techniques, such as micro-stamping, mechanical drilling or spark erosion, do not allow for the production of such fine holes.

The laser drilling process is highly technically demanding. The laser beam is moved along a circular path by means of a helical drilling robot, which was speciallyDenkendorf 1developed at IFSW. The laser beam rotates at 30,000 revolutions per minute during the drilling process and can also be adjusted at an angle to the drill bit. This allows for high precision drilling, reproducibility and a variably adjustable drill hole geometry. Drilling deep holes with a small diameter presents a major challenge for IFSW scientists, as the laser has to penetrate stainless steel plates up to 4 mm thick without creating irregularities on the hole walls or ridges on the hole edges, which would immediately reduce the quality of the fibres.

In the conventional wet spinning process, the spinning dope is forced through the spinneret nozzles under high pressure. The cellulose then coagulates into a fibre in a coagulation bath, directly behind the spinneret. A more complex process, so-called dry-wet spinning, offers even more possibilities: the spinning solution is first pressed into an air gap directly behind the nozzle. This is followed by a drawing process, and thereby the alignment of the chain molecules in the spinning solution. Immediately thereafter, the spinning mass passes into the coagulation bath and coagulates into a fibre. The molecular orientation is retained and the cellulose fibres therefore gain an even greater strength than is the case in the conventional wet spinning process.

The thick-walled, laser-drilled stainless steel nozzles also allow for particularly high working pressures of up to 200 bars. This allows for the use of higher concentrations of cellulose in the spinning solution, which makes the production process more efficient.

Defined nozzle geometry determines fibre properties

The shape of the spinning channel determines the handling of the spinning process: “Our goal is to create funnel-shaped nozzles, a drilling channel with a defined geometry that tapers to the desired final diameter,” explains Thomas Arnold, a team member at IFSW. Now at the latest it is clear which improvement is made possible thanks to scientific exchange between the two research institutes: “Working with the ITCF gives us a direct input on the required geometries and accuracies.” From the results of the fibre spinning, it can then be directly ascertained whether there is still any need for optimization of the spinnerets.

Denkendorf 2

Another promising aspect is the testing of new materials. Recently, the first ceramic spinneret was drilled from silicon nitride. This material is more rigid than stainless steel, and can withstand higher pressures without bending, despite a reduced wall-thickness. The drilling process is also easier to control, as ceramics have no melting phase, which can negatively impact the drilling process. In addition, the partial transparency of the material allows for more accurate observation of the drilling process.

It is not only an advanced optimization of spinnerets that was realized at the ITCF Denkendorf. It are as well cellulose fibres with completely new properties that have been produced by using the dry-wet spinning process: “We have been able to significantly improve the textile-mechanical properties of our fibres compared to those produced by wet spinning,” explains Dr. Johanna Spörl, chemist at the ITCF. “Our next step will be to realize further nozzle geometries in collaboration with the IFSW. That will provide our fibres with additional property profiles.”

This development project is a successful example of a fruitful interdisciplinary exchange. The fact that this collaboration has generated products which are equally beneficial to both industry and consumers allows the success of this cooperation to speak for itself.

Functional coatings is an important tool in medical devlopments

The success of a medical treatment is in the hands of highly qualified doctors. Physicians rely not only on their knowledge, but also on various helpers. Intelligent technologies are becoming increasingly common and are making an important contribution. One of these technologies is functional coatings, which are finding diverse applications in medicine

Functional coatings are invisible, extremely thin layers that are applied to the surface of an instrument or product. They provide a specific function which the underlying material itself doesn’t possess. Medical coatings can thus have anti-microbial or lubricating functions, they can promote bone growth or prevent allergic reactions. They can be the decisive factor when it comes to the success of an operation, rapid healing or unimpeded performance of daily activities.

 “Coatings on medical devices is a rapidly growing area as they often provide important and even critical functions. Changing the function of a device surface can open up complete new treatment possibilities and have a positive impact on the patient,” explains Hans Schmotzer, visiting professor at the University of Bath, U.K., and clinical expert in medical devices. And it’s for precisely this reason that the sector is experiencing such rapid growth: according to an analysis made by the American company Transparency Market Research (TMR), sales of coatings for medical devices will rise from USD 7 billion currently to around USD 11 billion by 2020.

“Requirements for surfaces vary widely. If we are talking about surgical instruments, they are very different than for an implant,” Schmotzer says.

Increased patient safety

Everything that contributes to improving patient safety is of value to a treatment. This often begins before or during an operation. Doctors need perfect lighting in order to be able to fully concentrate on the procedure. However, the lighting in an operating room is often so intense that normal instruments can reflect and produce glare. Non-reflective diamond coatings on surgical instruments can allow doctors to focus completely on the operation without distractions.

Or consider the surgical bone saw. Medical PVD coatings, such as BALINIT from Oerlikon Balzers, ensure a saw is hard enough to cut through bone, durable enough to avoid scuffing, and frictionless enough to avoid heating and damaging the tissue.

Increased compatibility of prostheses

Some devices are used and discarded, but others must last for decades. In a prosthetic knee, two metal-alloy parts and one or two pieces of high-grade plastic must stand in for the joint that lets a patient walk, stand solidly, kick a soccer ball, or ride a bicycle. The prosthetic joint’s two metallic parts must anchor solidly into the thigh bone and the shin bone on one side while sliding against the plastic pieces on the other side each time the knee bends. A metal alloy commonly used, cobalt-chromium, is hard enough to avoid wear caused by this movement—but it leaches metal ions that can irritate the bone interfering with the anchorage of the implant to the bone. Coating the bone-facing surface of the cobalt-chromium implant with a rough layer of titanium, a more biocompatible metal, and hydroxyapatite, a natural mineral component found in bone, can markedly improve the integration between bone and implant.

“The bone sees it as part of itself,” Schmotzer says.

Reduced risk of infection

According to Schmotzer, fighting dangerous bacterial infections with antimicrobial coatings is also gaining importance. “Infections are a big problem because a patient can die from an infection, and even if it’s not that drastic, an infection can cause the treatment to fail. For instance, an implant can come loose from the bone due to an infection over a period of months requiring risky and expensive revision surgery,” he adds.

To prevent these dangerous side effects, manufacturers are striving to develop antimicrobial coatings, and such coatings already accounted for the largest share—40 %—of global demand for medical devices in 2013, Transparency Market Research found.

Whether it is antimicrobial, antiglare, making a metallic artificial hip function for decades or allowing a dental implant to connect better and more rapidly with the human bone – coatings on medical devices are providing treatment critical functions.

And as coatings improve, staking a patient’s life on an ultrathin coating may seem like a safe approach that we don’t want to do without.

A video of medical instruments and applications can be viewed here

PrimaLoft innovates with fibres that is better than down

PrimaLoft provides high-performance insulations and fabrics. The Insulation ThermoPlume is a blowable synthetic insulation. It is a blend of water-resistant PrimaLoft fibers that deliver insulating loft, wet weather protection and compressibility. It has been developed to mimic the fluidity, feel and aesthetics of goose down in a synthetic fibre.PrimaLoft Logo

The new product offers an ethical and water resistant synthetic alternative to down, guaranteeing warmth even in wet conditions, delivering thermal properties. It fills a growing demand for innovation from designers, brands and consumers looking to move away from down.

The plume is manufactured with small, silky tufts of fibre plumes that collectively form a loose fill insulation, replicating the lightweight warmth, softness and compressibility of natural goose down. Its construction allows it to be blown through traditional down-blowing manufacturing equipment, simplifying the manufacturing process for brands, enabling product designers the freedom to create innovative garments which combines the look and feel of down with the water-resistant performance of a synthetic.

Providing a blowable, high-performing synthetic that acts as a true replacement for down allows brands to replicate the design aesthetic and manufacturing process of a down garment. This helps to simplify the supply chain, combat the volatility of down prices and provides peace of mind when it comes to the ethical sourcing of materials.


Extended productivity and creativity up to 200 mm in height with Azon Matrix Printer

Azon MatrixAzon MATRIX represents only wide-format UV-curable inkjet flatbed printer on the market with the ability to print up to 200mm in height. With optional S, M and L bed sizes; 600 mm x 1200 mm / 600 mm x 1800 mm / 1100 mm x 2500 mm which are handling heavy materials up to 100 kg and industry standard 4′ x 8′ sheets for indoor, outdoor and industrial applications. Prints directly onto any type of material like PET, ABS, polycarbonate, TPU, wood, stone, glass, canvas, ceramic, aluminum, and leather. Azon MATRIX represents an ideal solution for gaining profit from lower running costs. Capable of robust industrial printing demands including heavy, rigid materials and high-quality volume printing requirements (USB drives, smartphone cases, lighters, pens etc.) Azon MATRIX is covering a wide variety of business printing applications. With long-lasting, highly energy-efficient UV LED lamp curing system instantly and efficiently adheres ink to any kind of substrates. Its robust bed, smart vacuum table, Full-featured Azon RIP software and UV TurboJet ink technology ensure a perfect result on each and every print.

Reliable and compatible system

Azon MATRIX series features a monoblock structure with electronic components built securely into the body of the machine. This unique monoblock design allows for simple installation and the flexibility for the system to be relocated to a multitude of locations. Precision lead screw feature provides high reliability and repeatability that increase performance and accuracy. Thanks to the use of ball bearings between the rail and the block, it is possible for a linear guideway to achieve extremely precise linear movement. Its aluminium frame reduces vibration and adds supporting strength, while its zoned vacuum bed holds media steady to ensure stable printing. Reduced operator interventions guarantee improved productivity.

Capabilities for handling a wide range of applications

Azon MATRIX 1With 2880 dpi resolution Azon MATRIX prints near photographic image quality on versatile substrates and expands possibilities to more personal and creative applications ensuring a high productivity and perfect result on printing. Azon MATRIX prints on practically any rigid and sheet material and it focuses both on functional communication with creative applications. Therefore it can be highly usable in different industries with a request for high-quality volume printing like leather industry, tradeshow graphics, interior decorations, sign industry, furniture industry etc. Dual security mode for automatic media thickness detection and head protection secure print head from damages before print starts while powerful zoned vacuum system keeps material flat and allows printing on soft and thin materials with remarkable precision. Enhanced media presets included for added convenience will open doors to endless business areas.

Efficient ink system model

Always striving to meet versatile requests of our customers, Azon MATRIX comes with 500 ml bulk-ink system. In order to maintain accurate high-quality printing even during long production runs, Azonprinter incorporated six specially designed bulk ink tanks with monitoring sensors which are built to meet the demands of high volume operations.  Each tank holds 500 ml of ink which is extremely easy to handle and remove. Azon’s unique automated ink recirculation system circulates the white ink in the machine on every start up and shut down of the machine to prevent the settling of pigments in the lines and provides more consistent white layer. Ink tanks can be refilled from ink bottles, ink waste is minimized and you can print continuously without interruptions. In addition, this system controls the discharge of white ink, reducing ink waste and eliminating manual maintenance.

New vibrant and colourful UV TurboJet inks

To meet customers’ business requirements, ink configuration comes in CYMK+2x White + 2x Clear. New UV TurboJet ink available for the new Azon MATRIX are improving the quality of print dramatically. Vibrant and colourful prints can be expected on any type of material: stone, glass, wood, plastic, and canvas regardless for indoor or outdoor use. The versatility of white ink as a base for high-density CMYK layer delivers unusual and creative textures on all materials.

Advanced AZON RIP software for unique special effectsAzon MATRIX_2_side

Full-featured Azon RIP software is offering different features, tools and add-ons like printing up to 5 layers in inline mode depending on resolution, fading and changing the number of used nozzles, creating emboss or raised print up to 2mm allowing customers to print any ADA- compliant and Braille script standard requested. Azon RIP allows users to instantly choose the proper settings for their most popular applications which dramatically increase the printer’s productivity and overall performance.

Rotax adapter for cylindrical printing

The possibilities of digital printing have now been doubled with a specially designed rotary adapter. Rotax allows printing on a vast range of cylindrical objects with a diameter ranging from 41 mm to 127 mm and height up to 279 mm. Print on cylindrical and cone objects such as beer and wine glasses, cups, candles, tube, cans, tanks, vases, awards and much more. Rotax makes cylindrical printing efficient and precise by delivering both white and full-colour prints.

photo printer

Finnish Baby boxes get boost form a recent U.S. acquisition

Finnish baby boxes are getting an international boost from a recent acquisition, and a Chicago-based startup is spreading the box love in the US

Finnish childrenswear brand Reima has acquired Finnish Baby Box, a company founded in 2014 to sell baby boxes directly to consumers online, to help the Finnish innovation go even more global.

The newborn Reima department will be led by current Finnish Baby Box CEO Heikki Tiittanen together with Eric Selin, also from the startup. All employees of Finnish Baby Box will continue with Reima.Fin baby bin

“Finnish Baby Box is an amazing example of an innovative, born-international startup, that has managed to grow in a short time due to the possibilities brought about by digitalisation,” says Reima CEO Elina Björklund. “By utilising its knowledge, we can increase our agility and further strengthen our digital expertise.”

Across the pond, a US start-up is making business use of the baby box idea, too. Finnbin sells baby boxes containing dozens of items for families with a new born online. According to the company’s website, the founding couple of Finnbin had gotten excited about the idea and ordered a baby box from Finland whilst expecting their first child.

“Unpacking the box was an incredible experience with extreme emotions – so much excitement for an unborn child and relief that we were now prepared with some of the basic necessities in case the baby arrived early,” they describe.

See also TextileFuture News 


US Fashion Forms unveils the First Backless Adhesive Bra for fuller breasts

Fashion Forms, the leading producer of specialty bras and accessories, introduces another market-shattering innovation. The Voluptuous Silicone Lift™ Bra, is the first backless plunge adhesive bra available for fuller breast sizes C, D, DD, DDD, F, G and H! The shoulder and halter-neck adhesive bra that is designed to lift and bring the breasts together for voluptuous cleavage and deep plunge!

“Fashion Forms is all about finding solutions to women’s fashion problems and up until now, women with fuller breasts have had a problem finding a way to wear plunging necklines and backless dresses with support and confidence,” said Fashion Forms CEO and founder, Ann Deal. “We’ve responded with creating the Voluptuous Silicone Lift™ Bra, this will enhance the lives – and fashion choices – of women everywhere.” As Christian Dior once said, “There’s no fashion without foundation.”Fashion Forms Logo

The Voluptuous Silicone Lift ™ Bra is now available at online retailers, specialty and major department stores in the US and UK.  Such as, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Dillard’s and Bare Necessities to name a few.  Our sales from Macy’s and Dillard’s have been more than amazing and consumers are reacting to the larger sizes, such as F – H that have never been available before in a backless/strapless option.

Fashion Forms, founded in Ventura, California, now based in Austin, Texas, is the leading producer of specialty bras and accessories in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Founded by entrepreneur Ann Deal in 1993, Fashion Forms has revolutionized the intimate apparel industry with innovative products that help women wear any look with comfort, confidence and style. The company holds 14 patents and 18 trademarks for cutting-edge designs such as the Original Water Push Up Bra, Body Sculpting Backless Strapless Bra and Strap Solutions. Fashion Forms products are sold in more than 9000 stores worldwide and the brand is beloved by stylists, celebrities and women around the world.


A golden era for “fashionistas”

The gold thread developed at Swiss Empa (Materials and Sciences) is having extensive repercussions. Hot on the heels of a dessous collection being refined with the new technology, scarves and luxury watches are now also available. A long journey for the classy high-tech fibres from the Empa laboratory to the catwalks of the worldEmpa

An Empa innovation is gradually conquering the fashion industry. The success story began two years ago with classy dessous, decorated with 24-carat gold threads; not long ago, these gold threads also made their first appearance in the upmarket watch industry, otherwise known as haute horology: the watch manufacturer Hublot started using the gold-covered threads from Empa to decorate its watch faces. Precision craftsmanship with genuine spun gold. The gold thread for this is manufactured pursuant to an Empa patent at Tersuisse Multifils SA in Emmenbrücke.

Empa carried out over ten years of basic research to develop a gold thread that was as smooth as conventional textile fibres and yet also resistant to abrasion. Admittedly, gold embroidery was already popular in previous decades, but such golden splendour generally did not last long. In those days, a gossamer-thin gold thread was wound around a cotton or silk thread, but the result was scratchy and not very flexible, and machine washes were out of the question. In contrast, the new gold fibres from Empa can withstand up to six hours in a washing machine at 80 degrees (even so, hand washing is recommended for precious textiles).

The fact that the gold thread is so

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