Techtextil 2019 highlighted textiles for functional apparel and solutions for lightweight construction in the motor-vehicle industry, with satisfied exhibitors and increased levels of international participation. The leading international trade fair for technical textiles and nonwovens was held from May 14-17, 2019, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
The section dedicated to the theme of ‘Urban Living – City of the Future’ was set up in collaboration with Creative #olland, who represent the Netherlands’ creative economy, and showcased innovative solutions and visionary proposals for urban living in the future. The content was curated by the Stijlinstituut Amsterdam. The zone’s architectural design was the work of the Dutch architectural practice Refunc, who built a completely demountable structure using around 2,000 interwoven conference chairs, according to a press release on the show.
The upcycling company DenimX demonstrated how textile offcuts can be transformed into bodywork components for motorcycles. With their ‘Colour Moves’, design and engineering consultants Rombout Frieling Lab demonstrated, with the help of various textile elements, how the city of the future will accommodate the travel needs, fashions, and wishes of its inhabitants. The Technical University of Delft introduced the capsule they have developed for the Hyperloop, with which they won first prize in the ‘SpaceX Hyperloop Pod’ competition, launched by Elon Musk.
In an elaborate installation and exhibition entitled ‘The Ones to Watch’, New Order of Fashion (NooF), an international platform for talented creative in the fashion industry, presented fashion designs by some young talents, which concentrated on sustainability in the fashion industry.
For the first time, 2019 saw two winners of the Techtextil Innovation Award in the sustainability category. The prize winners included the working group from Comfil (Denmark), including Chemosvit Fibrochem (Slovakia), the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Engineering – ICT (Germany), Denmark’s Technical University and Centexbel (Belgium), who were chosen for BIO4SELF, completely organically based, self-supporting thermoplastic composites based on PLA fibres.
The second award in the sustainability category went to PICASSO, a cooperative project of Portuguese partners in a project to develop a dyeing and treatment process for apparel, based on fungal and plant extracts and enzymes.
Also amongst the products exhibited was a façade in textile-reinforced concrete, developed by Penn Textile Solutions, together with producers of concrete components Stanecker and the Institute for Textile Engineering at the RWTH University of Aachen. Ettlin Smart Materials presented a lightweight, thin woven architectural fabric to be used as a sunshade, which is at the same time water-resistant, breathable, UV-resistant and transparent.
Around a third of exhibitors at Techtextil showcased textile-based solutions for applications in the motor vehicle manufacturing segment. On show for the first time in Frankfurt was a stitched inductive charging coil, which has been developed by the German Institutes of Textile and Fibre Research in Denkendorf (Deutsche Institute für Textil- und Faserforschung Denkendorf - DITF) together with Daimler, BASF and Bosch.
Exhibitors at Techtextil also had products for the mechanical engineering sector and for the chemical and electrical industries in their selections and were grouped together under the Indutech banner for industrial applications. Included in this area too, were, amongst other things, smart textiles with lighting and heating circuits, sensors and activators built in in the form of textile pads.
At around a third of all exhibitors, suppliers of functional apparel textiles, smart textiles and accessories, together with sports equipment, fashion items, outdoor clothing and protective workwear, make up the largest single group of exhibitors at Techtextil. At Techtextil 2019 they included, amongst others, companies such as Schoeller, Freudenberg, Rudolf, and Lenzing.
Lenzing has been producing cellulose fibres from wood for over 80 years, and supplies brands such as Levi’s, Asos, Esprit and H&M, where their fibres appear on the shelves in a variety of products, including sustainable T-shirts, skirts and trousers. Their fibres are to be found in, for example, collections from the outdoor brand Bleed, launched in 2009. In turn, Bleed weave on machines and plant produced by Techtextil exhibitor Lindauer Dornier from Lake Constance. The loom manufacturers showcased in Frankfurt their latest solutions for the (energy)-efficient weaving of clothes, under the heading ‘The Green Machine’.
The Techtextil Forum, a new, open format for expert discussion accessible to all trade visitors free of charge, was very well received. The focus here in lectures and discussion sessions over the four days of the show was on topics such as sustainability, filtration, smart textiles, composites, textiles in urban contexts, digital transformation and worlds of work, not to mention textiles for medical applications. The Digital Textile Micro Factory is shared by both Techtextil and Texprocess, and, with its ‘Technical Line’, ‘Fashion Line’ and ‘3D Knitting Line’, offered, for the first time, three production lines. (GK)