Industry shows itself from the dynamic, high-tech side

“Although we had extra personnel on our exhibition stand, visitors still had to queue on occasions. For us, the fair was fantastic,” said Dr Jan Zimmermann of Techtextil exhibitor Forster Rohner from Switzerland. Many of the 1,789 exhibitors of Techtextil and Texprocess had similar experiences. Over 47,500 visitors (an increase of around 14 per cent, 2015: 41,826) from 114 countries made their way to Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre from May 9 to 12, 2017 to discover the most innovative products in the field of technical textiles and the latest processing technologies.

Entering the exhibition halls of the two leading trade fairs left no doubt: “Industry 4.0, smart and functional textiles and digitalisation are no longer tomorrow’s trends. Today, the textile industry is in the thick of it. If any industry is fit for the future, it’s the textile industry. Nevertheless, even in this age of digitalisation, a personal exchange of ideas and opinions is essential. Accordingly, we are delighted that so many visitors came to Techtextil and Texprocess,” explained Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt. “Anyone who was not here in Frankfurt over the last four days has missed experiencing the dynamic nature of the textile industry for themselves,” added Braun.

“We expected numerous visitors before the doors opened. But that there would be so many was a great surprise. On occasions, we even had trouble in answering all inquiries,” said Sebastian Feges of Texprocess exhibitor Efka confirming the record number of visitors. From scanning body dimensions of tomorrow’s apparel customer, via IT-aided fashion design, automatic cutting, ever faster sewing and joining, as well as embroidering innumerable parts simultaneously, to delivering the garments: At Texprocess, the degree of interaction between man and machine reached a new level. “The garment manufacturing and textile industries set course for the future at an early stage and, during the two fairs, once again demonstrated that they rank among the most viable and progressive of sectors,” said Elgar Straub, Managing Director, VDMA Textile Care, Fabric and Leather Technologies, conceptual partner of Texprocess, rounding off the overall impression.

On all four days, the situation was similar at Techtextil where international trade visitors jammed the exhibition halls looking for high-tech textiles for use in applications such as folding textile headlights, smart knee bandages, warming or cooling fashions, not to mention garments with integrated LEDs, fire-resistant fibres, bicycle frames made of carbon and textile membranes for stadium roofs. After Germany, the three main visitor nations at Techtextil were Italy, France and Turkey. At Texprocess, they were Italy, Romania and Portugal. Particularly striking this year: Very many young professionals attended the fairs – another indication of the positive and dynamic mood in the textile sector, which is clearly on course for growth.

“Techtextil and Texprocess provide the setting for a lively exchange of ideas and opinions, as well as networking between the players, especially from the industry and start-ups, as well as the research and scientific fields,” said Parliamentary Undersecretary of State Dirk Wiese of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie – BMWi) during his visit to the two fairs. The very good mood at the fair was underscored by the visitor poll on the economic climate in the sector. According to 33 per cent of Texprocess visitors (2015: 26 per cent), the current economic situation can be described as good. In the case of Techtextil visitors, the figure was even higher with 42 per centholding this opinion (2015: 32 per cent). To these figures must be added the outstanding ratings given to the two events.

Thus, 96 per cent of Techtextil visitors said they were very pleased with the results of their visit to the fair. In the case of Texprocess visitors, the figure was even higher: 97 per cent. Also very well received were the numerous special exhibitions and events, which offered insights into the whole textile value chain and highlighted the synergistic effects between the two fairs. Opened by ESA astronaut Dr Reinhold Ewald, the space-travel oriented exhibition, ‘Living in Space’ attracted numerous visitors with features such as a virtual reality journey to Mars, materials for use in space and a ‘Space Habitat’ designed by star architect Ben van Berkel. There was thunderous applause for the ‘Innovative Apparel Show’, which drew packed crowds to the foyer of Halls 5.1 / 6.1 with a display of high-techtextiles live on the catwalk several times throughout the fair. Showing a complete textile production line in operation, the ‘Digital Textile Micro Factory’ was praised as having been a complete success. The next Techtextil and Texprocess will be held in Frankfurt am Main from 14 to 17 May 2019.

sewing machine that is set up via a touchscreen or app. Alexander Artschwager, German Institute for Textile and Fibre Research, Denkendorf, Centre for Management Research (DITF-MR) Claudia van Bonn, Deutscher Fachverlag GmbH Jürgen Brecht (Chair), Marc Cain GmbH Iris Schlomski, textile network Prof Kerstin Zöll, Lower Rhine University, Department of Textile and Garment Technology.

The Texprocess Innovation Award has been honouring outstanding achievements and new developments along the Texprocess product chain since 2011. The winning products are selected on the basis of criteria such as innovativeness, choice of materials and ecological quality. Throughout the fair, a special exhibition of the award-winning products presented their innovative technology, areas of application and qualitative features (Hall 4.0, Stand C20).

The Texprocess Innovation Award 2017 was given in two categories. In the ‘new technology’ category, two companies convinced the judges with their developments: Coloreel from Sweden wins with a technology that enables the white basic thread to be dyed during the embroidery process, which results in unique and colourful patterns. The Japanese company Juki is launching the DDL- 9000C, the world’s first sewing machine for which, inter alia, thread tension and stitch length can be adjusted and stored via a touchscreen on the machine or via a special app. Also in this category, industrial-sewing machine specialist Xi’an Typical Europe was honoured for Vetron Trace, a new technology that permits pedal less sewing. Sensors on the machine track hand movements and pass on the information to the machine in real-time.

In the ‘new process’ category, the Bielefeld-based Dürkopp Adler company won with an online monitoring system for industrial production. The parameters checked by the system include productivity and the status of up to 1,500 sewing machines in a network. The data is then supplied in real-time.

Digital textile printing a focal-point theme

 

Colour and function: Digital textile printing was one of the focal-point themes at this year’s Texprocess. For the first time, the World Textile Information Network (WTiN) held the European Digital Textile Conference at Texprocess. And there was a separate lecture block on digital printing in the programme of the Texprocess

Digital-printing outlook

Originally developed for fashion fabrics, digital textile printing is also used for printing technical textiles, such as sports clothing, and textiles for the automobile industry whereby the primary focus is on functionalising textiles. For example, swimwear can be made more colour fast to resist frequent contact with water and chlorine, and exposure to the sun. Also, textiles can be finished by applying chemicals via an inkjet printer and thus be given dirt-repellent, antimicrobial and fire-retardant properties. Additionally, using an inkjet printer in the finishing process is advantageous in terms of sustainability and efficiency.

‘Living in Space’ in cooperation with ESA and DLR

Beam me up, Scotty: A large amount of material has to be transported for a journey into space – and technical textiles account for a large proportion of them. Examples of the parts and products in which they were found on show at the ‘Living in Space’ exhibition in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA)and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). Among the exhibits seen were materials and technologies from exhibitors in a ‘Material Gallery,’ architecture for space by Ben van Berkel, space-inspired fashions and an original Mars Rover. And – evenwithout having completed a dizzying astronaut training programme – visitors cantake a journey through space to Mars via virtual-reality glasses.

High-tech fashion in orbit

No one likes to be too hot or too cold. Space-wear should not only protect the wearer from extreme temperatures but also regulate their body temperature, drain off moisture and be durable and easy to clean. All the better, then, if it also looks good, as shown by the designs in the ‘Clothing’ segment of the exhibition. The ESMOD Fashion School from Berlin presented outfits made by students within the framework of the ‘Couture in Orbit’ project (2015/2016), which was organised by ESA and the London Science Museum. Additionally, the POLI.design centre of the Politecnico di Milano (Milan University) presented outfits from the followup project, ‘Fashion in Orbit’ under the scientific supervision of Annalisa Dominoni and the technical supervision of Benedetto Quaquaro in cooperation with ESA and garment manufacturer Colmar.

Successful 1st session by IAF at Texprocess Forum on Industry 4.0

The International Apparel Federation (IAF) successfully hosted the first session of the Texprocess Forum on May 9th at the Texprocess/Techtextil Fairs in Frankfurt, Germany. The subject of the session was Industry 4.0. The first sub session featured Karsten Newbury of Gerber Technology, Philippe Ribera of Lectra and Dave Gardner of Spesa. Industry 4.0 and the digitisation of the apparel industry in particular, is a powerful way to enable new and better business models. Company’s strategies must include digitization, the speakers said. It is not small firms, it is the slow firms that that get eaten.

The second sub session featured Ger Brinks of Saxion University, André Wissenberg of Oerlikon and Fernando Pimentel of Abit of Brazil. They made clear that the introduction of virtual reality, the use of robots and artificial intelligence is happening in the industry, but it is a complex process. Inevitably fully automated garment production will be possible on a profitable basis.

The third sub session presented the audience with Rosanne van der Meer of the Girl and the Machine, Dieter Stellmach of the Denkendorf Institute and Tansy Fall of IoTex Magazine/WTiN. They showed how start-up businesses are using industry 4.0 technologies to offer consumers new experiences, for instance selling a product before it is made, involving the customer fully into the design. The service becomes a major part of the value proposition.

Texprocess Innovation Award 2017

The Texprocess Innovation Awards were presented during today’s official opening ceremony of Texprocess 2017. Altogether, the expert jury chose four products for an award. They included a new technology for dyeing yarns and a digitalised Forum. Moreover, the Digital Textile Microfactory in Hall 6.0 presented a textile production chain in action – from design, via digital printing and cutting, to making up. As well, numerous exhibitors, including Brother, Epson, Ergosoft and Mimaki, showed digital printing technologies.

 

European Digital Textile Conference at Texprocess

In cooperation with Texprocess and Techtextil, the World Textile Information Network (WTiN) held the European Digital Textile Conference at Texprocess for the first time. The focus of the conference was on digital textile printing for adding functional and decorative features to technical textiles. The WTiN European Digital Textile Conference took place in ‘Saal Europa’ on 10th May. The subjects covered in the lectures included direct yarn colouring in the embroidery plants (Coloreel, Sweden), plasma pre-treatment for textiles before digital printing (GRINP, Italy) and chemical finishing for textiles using inkjet printingtechnology (EFI-REGGIANI, USA).

Texprocess Forum to spotlight digital printing technology

Digital printing technology was also the subject of a separate lecture block at Texprocess Forum. At this international conference, experts from science and industry focused on the latest findings relating to subjects of major importance to the sector in over 30 lectures and panel discussions on all four days of the fair. Texprocess Forum is free of charge for visitors of Texprocess and Techtextil and was held in Hall 6.0. For the first time, three partner organisations organised the lecture blocks: DTB – Dialogue Textile Apparel, the International Apparel Federation (IAF) and the World Textile Information Network (WTiN).

Digital Textile MicrofactoryDigital Textile Microfactory

In cooperation with the German Institutes of Textile and Fibre Research Denkendorf (DITF) and renowned textile companies, Texprocess presented the complete interlinked textile production chain – the Digital Textile Microfactory – live in Hall 6.0. The digital-printing station showed large-scale inkjet printing in the form of sublimation printing on polyester and pigment printing on cotton and blended fabrics. Production orders can be combined flexibly and printed colour consistently with a variety of printing parameters. Ensuring optimum printing results at this station are hardware and software partners, Mimaki and Ergosoft, and Coldenhove and Monti Antonio. In addition to the Microfactory partners, other renowned companies, including Brother and Epson, showed state-of-the-art printing processes for textiles and apparel at Texprocess.Hohenstein Textile Institutes presented two models from the Spacetex research project, within the framework of which astronaut Alexander Gerst tested the interaction of body, apparel and climate under conditions of weightlessness during the ‘Blue Dot’ mission. In this connection, the model, ‘Nostalgia’ by Linda Pfanzler (Lower Rhine University) reminds the wearer of the earth with an integrated library of fragrances. The suits of the ‘Dynamic Space’ collection by Rachel Kowalski (Pforzheim University) contained electrodes that stimulate important muscle groups under conditions of weightlessness. The outfits by Leyla Yalcin and Sena Isikal (AMD Düsseldorf) come from the ‘Lift off’ collection created in cooperation with Bremen-based silver-yarn manufacturer Statex. They included a sleeping bag for astronauts made from silver-coated textiles, which can also be used as an overall and protects the wearer from electromagneticradiation. Thanks to the silver threads, another garment, a raincoat reflects light and stores the wearer’s body heat.

Material Gallery: Fibres for space

In addition to the exhibits at the special exhibition, around 40 Techtextil and Texprocess exhibitors offered ideas for fibre-based materials and processing technology suitable for use in space in a ‘Material Gallery’. For the ‘Civilization’ segment, they included spacer fabrics for growing vegetables, for ‘Mobility’ a carbon yarn, which was used to make a fairing for the solid-fuel booster rocket of the Ariane 6. The Material Gallery also showed fibre-composite structures made of carbon fibres, such as a robot arm, a whole-body suit that transmits the wearer’s movements to a 3D model in real-time, functional apparel textiles with flameretardant, anti-bacterial and temperature-regulating properties, and membrane systems for ventilating aircraft.Exhibits from ESA, DLR and Speyer Museum of Technology, including an original Mars Rover and space suits, made the exhibition an extraordinary experience. The exhibits were supplemented by impulse lectures by ESA experts for technology transfer throughout the fair. And, because satellites were assembled in clean rooms, Cleanzone, International Trade Fair and Congress for Clean Room Technology was held on the exhibition area (in Frankfurt am Main from 17 to 18 October 2017).