Category: DATA CENTER – Articles

Geotextiles offer flexible, cost-effective solutions for civil engineering applications requiring reinforcement, erosion control, barrier and other functions.

Geotextiles were one of the first textile products in human history. Excavations of ancient Egyptian sites show the use of mats made of grass and linen. Geotextiles are ideal materials for infrastructural works such as roads, harbors and many others. They have a bright future, thanks to their multifunctional characteristics.


Application Areas of Geotextiles

Geotextiles today are highly developed products that must comply with numerous standards. To produce tailor-made industrial fabrics, appropriate machinery is needed.

Every textile product applied under the soil is a geotextile. The products are used for reinforcement of streets, embankments, ponds, pipelines, and similar applications. Depending on the required function, they are used in open-mesh versions, such as a woven or, rarely, warp-knitted structure, or with a closed fabric surface, such as a nonwoven. The basic geotextile functions include erosion control; protection; filtration; armoring; drainage; and separation, or barrier function.


Laying Geotextiles

Geotextiles with their built-in functions are virtually tailor-made based on end-use or application. Major requirements include: tensile strength; permeability to air, fluids and/or light; mesh size suited to end-use, such as filtration, sieve or separation; chemical, mechanical or thermal resistance; and durability.

Most woven geotextiles are made of filament polyester (PET), polypropylene (PP), glass, basalt, aramid or carbon fibers; with the fiber chosen based on the required functions, mainly tensile strength and a very long product life. Typical end-use applications are roads, levees and railroad embankments, among other applications. Nonwovens, usually made of PP and PET, are mainly applied for barrier function end-uses such as filtration and separation. In addition, nonwovens made of natural fibers, for example, are suitable for covering grass slopes. It is possible to incorporate different kinds of seeds, such as grass, and the nonwoven cover will eventually decompose as a green and natural surface grows on the construction.


Geogrid Calculation Table

Bast fibers, with their non-uniform fiber qualities, are beginning to be used in certain nonwoven products. The same applies for recycled fibers. Currently, very few recycled fibers are used. Also, recycled fibers do not always have the uniform properties required to form an even product. When PET bottles are recycled in a way that produces uniform fibers, then recycled PET fibers could be processed using needlepunch technology, Dilo mentions.

Coating materials play a very important role in enhancing geotextile properties and functions. Primary coating materials used include polyvinyl chloride, bitumen, latex, plastisol, silicone and other similar materials.

Global Market
According to information provided by Dornier, the global geotextiles market is estimated to have been worth $3 billion in 2009. The nonwovens sector accounts for 74.5 percent of the growth; wovens, 25 percent; and other systems, 0.5 percent. The global growth of geosynthetics alone is estimated at 5 percent annually.

According to GMA, the U.S. and Canadian geosynthetics market has a current estimated value of $2.1 billion, with the U.S. share of that market put at 90 percent and the Canadian share at 10 percent. The sector employs some 12,000 people. Within that market, geotextiles has a 32-percent share; geomembranes, 28 percent; geogrids, 14 percent; and drainage composites, 26 percent.

The nonwoven geosynthetics market has gone up and down in concert with the recent financial market ups and downs. “Geosynthetic nonwovens volume dropped precipitously during 2008 and 2009,” said Ian Butler, INDA’s director of market research and Statistics. “However, there has been considerable growth in 2010.”

INDA estimates that in 2010, the North American nonwoven geotextiles industry had a production volume of some 350 million square meters, with a roll goods value of nearly $300 million. “Most of these products are made from needlepunched PP, but there is some small volume of of spunbonded PET used for asphalt overlay,” Butler said. “What has boosted the sales in 2010 was the Obama administration’s plan to invest in the highway, airport and similar projects to provide work and reinvest in the transportation infrastructure. In discussions with people in the industry, they indicated that the low inventories of geosynthetics nonwovens at the end of 2009 led to many very busy nonwoven needlepunch producers now catching up with demand.”

While there is no specific data related to China’s geotextiles market, that country has major infrastructure and erosion control projects planned, and the Chinese market will account for the largest portion of new geosynthetics demand worldwide in the next few years, according to information posted on the website of Cleveland-based industry research firm Freedonia Group Inc.

Dornier reports the growing Indian geotextiles market has a value of some $49.6 million, but it is expected to grow to nearly $66 million by 2012. Projected annual growth is 12 percent, and long-term, it will increase to 20 percent, thanks to the further development of the country’s infrastructure.

Fleissner, Dilo and Dornier expect much better results for 2010 than they realized in the previous two years. This improvement is primarily thanks to structural adjustments, Dornier reports, but the markets as such are in much better shape than previously. In spite of the falling markets owing to the recent financial crisis, Fleissner reports constant demand for its machinery and expects to report a successful 2010. Dilo also is seeing strong recovery since first-quarter 2010 and is working at full capacity, with delivery times up to seven months.

Dornier’s main markets are Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, China and India. Fleissner’s markets include Germany and Russia as well, but also the United States. Dilo reports demand for complete production lines for geotextiles is at the moment very high around the globe, but particularly in Europe, the United States and Asia.

Important Sector
For each company, the geotextiles sector is an important market. Trützschler Nonwovens is able to deliver lines for man-made fiber production as well as calenders or bonding machines such as its Omega machine. The company reports lines already delivered for geotextile production have a production capacity of more than 1,500 kilograms per hour and even at low fabric weights of 60 to 80 grams per square meter.

Dilo and Fleissner report there is an important upswing for nonwovens in general and geotextiles in particular. The advantage of nonwovens as geotextile products is first of all their high-volume and cost-effective production. A further criterion is their ability to stretch and adapt to bumpy surfaces. Of outstanding importance is the finished product’s fabric width for effective and economical road — or, increasingly, harbor — constructions. Dilo needlepunch machines are constructed to allow a working width of 600 centimeters (cm).

On the other hand, geotextiles, which require high durability and strength, usually are made of woven fabrics. Dornier reports its weaving machines are especially suitable for production of open-mesh fabrics for armoring all kinds of constructions. Several layers of different constructions can be combined. Woven fabrics also need to be produced in a wide width. In general, machines with a nominal width of 540 cm and greater are used, while the hauling equipment for street construction is usually designed to have a 500-cm width. A rapier weaving machine with multiple weft insertion enables production of a defined product specific to the end-use.

The Future
The future for nonwoven and woven geotextiles is bright. However, for manufacturers to be successful in this market segment, there must be a lot of know-how and communication efforts with existing and potential customers. Comparing the difference between today’s customer and one of 10 years ago, one could note such comments as: “Our old customers are true professionals; our new customers depend very much on our knowledge and experience.” This means knowing exactly the markets, their requirements and possible civil engineering applications. Also, product requirements and the number of innovations are continually increasing, which makes the markets highly competitive and attractive, and creates more business.


Geotextiles As Reinforcement For Road Construction.

Infrastructural programs are being undertaken mainly in emerging markets, but Europe and the United States are seeing increased demand. Especially in emerging countries such as Brazil, India, China and Russia, demand goes along with the rising mobilization and improved public transport facilities — including new airports. The use of geotextiles significantly reduces civil engineering construction costs and drastically extends the life of any road construction. “Textiles instead of concrete” is not only a slogan, but a fact. Geotextiles have flexibility, making them better and more economical than any other building materials.

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Nanocoating is getting more popular for special self-cleaning performance

Novel coating and finishing chemicals that enhance the performance of a textile material are important for textile producers to improve their profit margins. Textile coating is now a very diverse market covering both the traditional apparel sector and the rapidly growing technical textile sector.

Marketing Is Growing

Speciality coating and finishing chemicals are growing in importance to chemical manufacturers as they seek to diversify their markets and increase market share.

In India, for example, it is reported that the Indian speciality chemical market currently represents around 24% of the total chemical market and it is expected to grow by 15%, which is almost double the growth in the global speciality chemical industry.

Export of speciality chemicals from India is also expected to increase from US$4 billion in 2007 to US$12 billion in 2013. The reason is the rapid growth rate in the technical textiles market because speciality chemicals are finding more and more applications in new areas for textile materials such as construction (buildtech), automotive (mobiletech, and geotextiles / civil engineering (geotech). In the apparel market there are many applications opening up in clothing / footwear (clothtech), protection (Protech) and sporting / leisure areas (sporttech).

New developments in coating are focussed upon optimising the most desirable textile properties but simultaneously attempting to achieve higher profitability and productivity. This can be achieved by increasing production speeds as well as decreasing energy, diminishing waste and decreasing emissions.

Conventional thermal curing processes consume large amounts of energy when water-based coatings are used. Solvent coating processes consume less energy but liberate VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere, and solvent recovery systems for removal of VOCs are expensive.

Some textile coaters are looking towards radcure systems using UV radiation curing. (Note: Radcure, or radiation curing, technology uses electron beam (EB), ultraviolet (UV) light, or visible light to polymerize a reactive and usually solvent-free coating material.)

It has been calculated that if the thermal curing of a water-based coating system required 100% energy, a solvent coating process would require typically 25% energy. However, using a UV curing system would require only 0.5% energy. Novel chemical coating formulations consisting of monomers, oligomers and a photo-initiator are being developed. The emissions of VOCs are typically decreased by 80% but disadvantages can include the high cost of the chemicals and the generation of ozone. Huntsman Textile Effects, for example, are now producing a range of oligomers for textile UV curing applications. These include polyesteracrylates, epoxyacrylates and aliphatic urethane methacrylates that can be modified with appropriate resins and monomers to enhance the fabric properties.

Forming Coating With Nanoparticles

Another area that is opening up new opportunities for textile coating is the incorporation of different nanoparticles into the coating formulation.

Nanoparticles are particles whose size is less than 100nm (one nanometre is a billionth of a metre, i.e. 10-9 metres) and the properties of nanoparticles differ from those of the bulk material for two main reasons.

Firstly, nanoparticles have a relatively large surface area compared with the same mass of material produced in a larger form. As a result some materials that are normally inert in their larger form can become reactive as nanoparticles. Secondly, as the size of the nanoparticle decreases the properties of the material became progressively more reliant upon quantum effects. The net result of this is that the optical, electrical and magnetic properties are changed.

A major advantage of using nanoparticles in coatings is that it allows the production of very thin surface coatings, which can be optically transparent because the nanoparticles are too small to be seen by the human eye. The use of nanoparticles in textile coatings and finishes can extend the range of end uses and open up innovative approaches for new application areas. Some of the possible areas of exploitation of nanoparticles are summarised in the following table.

Nanoparticles in coatings

The use of functionalised nanoclays in combination with flame retardant coatings can be used to enhance intumescent coating effects. Devan Chemicals (Belgium) has utilised layered silicates in the form of reticular layers of crystals in nanoparticulate form to enhance flame retardancy in intumescent coatings that form a thick porous char when subjected to a flame source. The solid foam-like porous carbonaceous char structure thus provides a barrier to flame and heat transmission. Expandable graphites have also been developed by Devan Chemicals that on heating can expand the volume up to one hundred times that of the original graphite.

Conductive Coatings

Another field of activity is that of conductive coatings / smart coatings. Such coatings can be prepared by using intrinsically conductive polymers (ICPs). These are conjugated polymers in which the electrical conductivity can be increased by the addition of a small amount of a chemical. This doping technology generally involves a redox process whereby the electronic structure of the polymer is changed, and this process is reversible. Dispersions or solutions of ICPs can be applied by surface coating technologies to convey antistatic or conductive properties. A number of ICPs are now available such as polypyrrole, polyaniline, poly-3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene, and polythiophene.

Combined UV blocking and antimicrobial performance via surface coating offers considerable potential for apparel used in outdoor activities. Protection against skin damage from UV radiation combined with an antimicrobial action to kill bacteria that would otherwise build up within the garment as a result of perspiration exuded during physical activity are important in sporting and military apparel e.g. combat uniforms. Such an approach prevents the formation of malodours, enabling the garment to stay fresher for longer inbetween washings.

Zinc oxide nanoparticles have been claimed to be more stable compared with organic UV-blocking agents and in nanoparticulate form the increased surface area per unit mass of the zinc oxide coupled with the intense absorption in the UV region should enhance the UV blocking capability of the coating. Incorporating multifunctionality into coatings is a very fertile area for innovation. For example, military combat uniforms require multifunctional surface coating protection, typically incorporating ultrahydrophobicity, super-oleophobicity and self-cleaning properties combined with UV-blocking and antimicrobial protection. Many other outdoor fabrics such as tents, camouflage netting, awnings and architectural fabrics can similarly benefit from such coatings. This is particularly useful in high temperature / high humidity environments in which microbial attack can lead to physical deterioration and rotting of the textile, so that protective coatings can prolong the service life of the textile material.

Sol-gel treatments are now emerging from much research and development to provide enhanced textile performance. Sol-gel treatments can be utilised to produce nanosols (note: particle diameters smaller than 50nm), which are colloidal solutions of nanometre-sized metal oxide particles in aqueous or organic solvents. The nanosol is usually formed by hydrolysis of the precursor material and subsequent condensation reactions, followed by coating, drying or curing. The inorganic metal oxide-based three-dimensional network formed is usually in the amorphous (xerogel) form under moderate heat treatment conditions. Sol-gel treatments can thus produce nanosol finishes and coatings that can modify stiffness / drape, handle, absorbency, hydro / oleophobicity, abrasion resistance, photocatalytic activity, barrier functions, photochromic effects, bioactive systems e.g. controlled release systems, heat resistance, magnetic properties and conductivity.

Inorganic-organic Hybrid Coatings

The use of inorganic-organic hybrid coatings is growing in importance because of the wide range of functionalisation that such coatings and finishes can offer.

ISys MTX (CHT R. Beitlich GmbH, Tübingen, Germany) can be applied by padding and heat curing and used to permanently link iSys AG, the component containing silver (which has a high antibacterial activity) to textiles. iSys MTX as a sol-gel binder is claimed to provide better durability to washing compared with polyurethane or polyacrylate binders.

Another synergistic blend of inorganic-organic sol with polysiloxane, iSys HPX, is now able to provide an alternative hydrophobic finish to fluorocarbon chemistry. In another variant iSys SYN can be used as a vector protection finish. This utilises an inorganic-organic sol combined with polyurethane that enables permethrin (a potent insecticide) to be bound to the textile.

New Research On Silk Fabric

Recent work in Italy has demonstrated that inorganic-organic hybrid sol-gel treatments can impart a thin surface layer to silk Jacquard fabric used in high quality furnishing. This surface coating has good adhesion and optical transparency and is based upon a three-dimensional network based upon silicon oxide that protects the silk fabric from adhesion. The Martindale abrasion resistance of the silk fabric abraded against the standard wool abradant was greatly increased.

This article has been sourced.

Read More on UV-LED Curing Technology @

For reasons such as energy and resource efficiency, dyeing and finishing houses have been more interested in multi-purpose auxiliaries that fulfil more than one wish at a time.

The textile dyeing and finishing sector provides a service to the rest of the textile and apparel industries by converting harsh and unattractive loomstate fabrics into products with enhanced colour, appearance, handle and performance that are appropriate for the end use. Textile dyeing companies are now constantly striving to improve their market competitiveness in the face of global competition, and to streamline their dyeing operations to improve the bottom line.

Prote-Sperse RD-BF multifunctional auxiliary from Protex can be used with reactive dyes

Right-first-time dyeing is now essential to maintain cost-competitiveness and to maximise machine utilisation and production output. While modern dyestuff formulations are highly sophisticated and are structured to provide high performance both in dyeing and on the subsequent dyed fabric, the requirement to obtain right-first-time dyeing places greater demands that the dyestuff formulation alone cannot provide. Modern dyers are fortunate to be able to rely upon a broad spectrum of dyeing chemicals, generally termed auxiliaries or dyeing assistants, that boost exhaust and continuous dyeing operations and create the optimum dyebath conditions for right-first-time dyeing.

Increasingly highly automated low liquor ratio exhaust dyeing machinery requires the use of one-shot multifunctional liquid auxiliaries that can be poured or pumped into the machine. Multifunctionality decreases the number of products that need to be purchased, stored and either weighed or dispensed, and decreases the liquor volume that must be added into the machine. Concentrated liquid auxiliaries can also be transported and stored in less space with advantages to both the chemical supplier and the textile dyer. The multifunctionality of the auxiliaries is optimised for use in the dyebath by the chemical supplier based upon much research and development. Thus one-shot multifunctional auxiliaries offer many technical and practical advantages to textile dyehouses.

In the exhaust dyeing of polyester and polyester / cellulosic yarns and fabrics it is important to use auxiliaries that do not foam, especially in jet dyeing. In addition the high temperature dyeing conditions used place many demands upon the dispersion performance of disperse dyestuffs in the dye liquor. A multifunctional non-foaming dyebath auxiliary, Eganal PLM liq, has been introduced by Clariant that combines not only dispersing and diffusion-accelerating properties, but also migration-promoting properties. The improved dyebath dispersion stability is essential to prevent aggregation of disperse dyes and their physical deposition on fibre surfaces which can subsequently lead to poor rub fastness. Eganal PLM liq ensures good penetration and increased colour yield. The better dye coverage afforded to materials in which different dye affinities may be present can also be obtained with a reduction in the dyeing time and / or the dyeing temperature.

Eganal PLM liq can also be utilised for the levelling or partial stripping of faulty dyeings should these occur. Important benefits to the polyester dyer are that Eganal PLM liq exerts no adverse effects upon wet fastness and has minimal or no impact on the colour fastness to light. In addition, and in contrast to some other products used commercially, there are no unpleasant odours generated during dyeing or thermal drying.

Softening Water For Improved Dyeing

Rucogal ERQ is a phthalate-free PES-leveller from Rudolf Chemie

Modern dyehouses are heavily dependent upon the use of softened water, from which metal ions such as calcium and magnesium have been removed. This is essential to prevent changes of shade occurring on the dyed material through the formation of dye-metal complexes in the dyebath that are then absorbed by the fibre. One approach to solving this problem, as well as overcoming the problem of residual bicarbonate that can create pH control problems in the water from an ion-exchange softening plant is to use an auxiliary that combines pH buffering, metal sequestering and dye levelling properties.

One such multifunctional auxiliary is Prote-Sperse RD-BF from Protex (France) which is designed for use in dyeing cellulosic / synthetic and cellulosic / viscose blends with reactive dyes. Prote-Sperse RD-BF is uniquely formulated to provide process control to ensure shade accuracy, levelness and reproducibility in repeat dyeings. This auxiliary sequesters calcium and magnesium effectively without any effect upon the reactive dye structures and also prevents the premature fixation of reactive dyestuffs during the migration phase of reactive dyeing by optimising pH control. Prote-Sperse RD-BF is also claimed to provide clearer, cleaner dyebaths for exhaust dyeings.

Any auxiliary used in the dyeing of polyester materials for automotive fabrics must not give rise to the problem of fogging in the vehicle. This occurs when the vehicle interior becomes hot in direct sunlight and any auxiliary residues evaporate and deposit on the interior surfaces, generating fogging of the windscreen etc. Rucogal ERQ (Rudolf Chemie, Germany) is a nonionic low foaming levelling agent / dyeing accelerator for high temperature dyeing of polyester that has no negative impact upon the fogging value of the subsequent dyed fabric. The strong diffusion-promoting properties of Rucogal ERQ ensures improved dyestuff yield and this multipurpose levelling agent is suitable for very short liquor ratio dyeing and moreover can be automatically metered, both important factors for cost-effective polyester dyeing.

Testing the fogging behaviour of materials for automotive interiors according to DIN 75201, draft of February 2008 (Source: Rudolf Chemie)

Rucogal ERQ is effective for obtaining uniform dye distribution across parallel-sided yarn packages e.g. cheese form packages. It is also particularly suited for use in carrier dyeing as well as in high temperature polyester dyeing and in the critical dye application method of fabric beam dyeing. Rucogal ERQ is ecofriendly in that it is free of APEO (alkyl phenol ethylene oxide) or APEO derivatives and also of any phthalic acid ester. This multifunctional auxiliary is compatible with nonionic and anionic products and formulated to be stable to the acids, alkalis and electrolytes used in common application amounts.

A novel dyebath softener that is formulated to avoid the precipitation of calcium and magnesium salts is Albatex DBS (Huntsman). This dyebath softener also promotes the dyebath levelling process to achieve shade uniformity throughout the textile material and improves the appearance of the material. Albatex DBS provides excellent sequestering properties for heavy metal ions.

Processing Temperature-sensitive Fibres

For temperature-sensitive fibres such as wool and other animal protein fibres e.g. cashmere it is important, wherever possible to operate low temperature dyeing in order to preserve the initial properties of the fibres and prevent fibre damage by hydrolysis during dyeing. This is especially important in the dyeing of wool as loose stock or slubbing, because fibre damage is manifested by inferior spinning efficiency and lower yields through the loss of broken / damaged short fibres that then necessitate greater downtime for cleaning the spinning machinery to prevent fibre contamination of the next yarn to be spun on the equipment.

The Miralan LTD-Lanasol low temperature dyeing process for wool fibres and slubbing utilises Huntsman’s Lanasol and Lanasol CE dyes and Miralan LTD. The latter is a unique auxiliary formulation that ensures high quality dyeing for wool and cashmere fibres. Microlan LTD is engineered to achieve excellent shade levelness combined with the highest standards of colour fastness to satisfy the consumer demands in this specialist sector of the market.

When dyeing cellulosic fibres and their blends with reactive dyes one of the major problems is the prevention of the uptake of hydrolysed reactive dyestuffs because this leads to inferior wet and rub fastness. Eriopon WFE (Huntsman) has been introduced as a wash fastness enhancer and as an afterclearing agent for reactive dyeings and prints. This auxiliary prevents the renewed uptake of dye hydrolysates and is formulated to ensure optimum effectiveness irrespective of the water hardness or the presence of residual salt in the bath.

Dyeing of polyester and polyester blends, especially polyester / elastane blends, benefits from dyeing at lower dyeing temperatures, saving on energy and restricting the uptake of disperse dyes by the elastane. Univadine DFM from Huntsman is an auxiliary that acts both as a dye diffusion accelerant as well as an effective migration agent to ensure level dyeing. Univadine DFM can thus be used to allow disperse dyeing to take place at a lower temperature than 130°C and alternatively is also capable of shortening the dye cycle time when dyeing at high temperature.

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New Engineered Geotextiles

In agricultural, environmental and construction end uses, new developments will provide technical textiles with an even greater role, writes European correspondent.

Spunbond polypropylene nonwovens are extensively employed for crop protection and to enhance plant cultivation

Polypropylene (PP) continues to be the fibre of choice for technical textiles for agricultural, environmental and construction end uses.

In nonwoven form, PP materials are now extensively employed as building substrates for roofing, as geotextiles and as agricultural crop covers.

PP is also the fibre employed in woven products such as Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers (FIBCs), other geotextiles and sacks, and in tufted form as synthetic grass for both sports surfaces and landscaping.

At the Executive Seminar of the European Association of Textile Polyolefins (EATP), held on May 27 in Brussels, Belgium, Selim Akdogan, the association’s president, observed that Europe – including Turkey – remains the world’s largest producer of polypropylene fibres.

Consumption may take time to recover

The Greater European consumption of polypropylene textile products fell from 2.3 million tons in 2008 to 2.1 million tons in 2009, according to early market projections provided by the EATP’s secretary general Albert Prisse. This was a fall of 4.8% on the back of a 6.2% drop in 2008 compared to 2007.

Of the 2009 figure, 655,000 tonnes went into spunbond and meltblown nonwovens, 490,000 tonnes was turned into slit film and tape, 430,000 tonnes was used as staple fibre, 395,000 tonnes as multifilament fibres, 103,000 tonnes as strapping and 62,000 tonnes as monofilament.

Spunbond and meltblown nonwovens usage has continued to grow through the recession, as has monofilament, as a result of its substitution of slit films and tapes in synthetic grass production.

Overall, however, Mr Prisse said a return to the consumption achieved in 2007 is not anticipated before 2013.

Speaking about nonwovens in general, Jean-Michel Anspach of EDANA (the European Disposables and Nonwovens Association) observed that European nonwovens had achieved average compound growth of 7.5% between 1998 and 2008, but that the smallest growth for many years was registered in 2008, when production was 1,720 million tonnes, based on an average weight of 34.4 gsm – equating to 50 million square metres.

“Unfortunately,” said Mr Anspach “the figures for 2009, once we have finally compiled them, will certainly be less than this.”

Of end-use markets, a lot of growth has been achieved by wipes over the past ten years, and filtration has become an increasingly important market.

In the recent recession, however, technical markets for nonwovens such as roofing substrates, geotextiles, and particularly automotive, have been severely affected.

“A recovery in the automotive sector is not anticipated until at least 2014,” said Mr Anspach.

Of the total European nonwovens production in 2008, 758.7 million tonnes, was spunmelt, polymer-to-web materials.

“Polymer-to-web processes have grown at a higher rate of 8-9% in the last ten years, with polypropylene as the fibre accounting for 80% of it, and not just in Europe, but the world,” said Mr Ansbach.

Increasingly, there is a move towards enhancing the functionality and adding intelligence to fabrics for agricultural, environmental and construction end uses, such as the seismic wallpaper recently developed by Italy’s D’Apollonia and partners in the EU-funded Polytect project.

This will be used for the reinforcement, strengthening, monitoring and management of civil infrastructure vulnerable to earthquakes.

As part of the 10.2-million-euro Polytect project, sensor-embedded grids and filters are being developed for use in structural health monitoring (SHM) in geotechnical and masonry applications.

Increasing role of textiles in construction field

The seismic wallpaper developed to monitor structural changes in buildings

SHM, originally developed by the aerospace industry and now extending to civil and mechanical engineering infrastructure, is a process of implementing a damage detection strategy.

It involves the observation of a system such as a building, road or embankment, over time, using periodically sampled dynamic response measurements from an array of sensors, the extraction of damage-sensitive features from these measurements, and their statistical analysis.

Textiles and nonwovens are already routinely employed in the construction of civil infrastructure. In ground construction, they stabilise or strengthen soil, and can act as filter membranes or water blockers. In building construction, they provide efficient reinforcement, especially in older masonry structures that are vulnerable to natural hazards.

Now it is widely believed they could play a much greater role in respect of the structural strengthening and increasing of ductility in structures, in addition to monitoring many parameters, including deformation, stress, structural integrity, water level variations and pore pressure, in addition to the detection of fluids and chemicals.

Such information could then be employed to make a health assessment of the structure concerned.

The Polytect project team redoubled their development efforts following the L’Aquila earthquake in Italy in Spring 2009, when 15,000 houses destroyed.

Large textile machines were adapted to allow the warp knitting of fibre-optic cables into multiaxial fabrics. The textile fibre material type, orientation and density were optimised for the large forces and complex material behaviour associated with civil infrastructure, masonry and earthquakes. Multiaxial textile structures are superior in this respect.

The textile was then coated for durability and to enhance the textile-mortar bond interface. The specific nanoparticle-enhanced polymer coatings for the innovation were produced by the team members. The textiles were subsequently applied to a structure using a mortar compound, which was also enhanced by nanoparticle polymer additives.

Easy to apply

The composite seismic wallpaper is intended as a full coverage or wide-area reinforcing solution for unreinforced masonry buildings and structures. The solution is simple, cost-effective and easy to apply.

When applied as a full coverage solution and tested in large-scale laboratories that conduct national standardisation testing for Germany, it provided over 200% increases in structural strength (maximum load) and over 200% increases in structural ductility (maximum deformation).

Walls vulnerable to brittle behaviour and collapse were being held together even after they cracked. The composite features embedded sensors so that measurements can be taken before, during, and after seismic events. These measurements can be static or dynamic (high frequency). Engineers employ such data to control new construction, to assess and quantify the benefit of retrofit actions and to help manage the structure over time.

Polytect partners include the Karlsruher Institut fur Technologie in Germany, Selcom Multiaxial Technology in Italy, Sachsisches Textilforschungsinstitut in Germany, Karl Mayer Malimo Textilmaschinenfabrik of Germany, Sweden’s APC Composite, Extreme Materials, TexClubTec and Consorzio Cetma all in Italy as well as several other laboratories, companies and end-users from Europe, Israel and India.

New geotextile monitoring solution

In a parallel development, Roctest, the world’s largest manufacturer of fiber optic sensors for civil engineering applications, is to collaborate with Netherlands-headquartered technical textiles leader TenCate on the development of the GeoDetect geotextile monitoring solution.

GeoDetect can provide unprecedented details about the properties of embankments, slopes, walls, levees, roads, railways and other earth structures and users will benefit from the real-time monitoring of every square meter of land for ground movement, soil erosion, settlement and other changes.

TenCate's Geodetect system is the first sensor-enabled geotextile which provides soil reinforcement and structural health monitoring with an early warning system

Through its subsidiary Smartec SA, Roctest is now working with TenCate Geosynthetics on the technical and commercial development of geotextiles equipped with optical fiber sensors and related monitoring services.

TenCate began the development of geosynthetics with monitoring capabilities several years ago. Since then several pilot projects have been initiated, including those with the French Railways (SNCF) and with water management projects funded by the Dutch government. GeoDetect is the first sensor-enabled geotextile to provide soil reinforcement, structural health monitoring and an early warning system in one package, and in combination with Smartec’s wide range of sensors, including fiber optic, vibrating wire and conventional types, will provide an unparalleled package of data analysis tools for structural engineering and geotechnical applications.

These technologies can be incorporated into a single user interface developed by Smartec called SHMLive. The SHMLive platform is designed for continuous monitoring through real-time data transfer via a secure online database and can be used to store and share all documents related to a monitoring project, including reports, plans and other useful information. SHMLive is offered for a fixed monthly fee that includes all the sensors, data acquisition units, aggregation device, upload transmission link, secure database storage, real-time analysis, web-based data access and reporting, with performance levels guaranteed for the contract duration.

“For Roctest, the TenCate Geosynthetics relationship increases our ability to provide customers with the most integrated and innovative products for structural health monitoring, and reinforces our strategy of offering the most complete toolbox of solutions to our customers,” said Francois Cordeau, president and chief executive officer of Roctest.

“The future for TenCate Geosynthetics is less about products and more about providing solutions for geotechnical challenges through a systems approach,” added Dave Clarke, group director for TenCate Geosynthetics. “Coupling our application expertise with Roctest’s sensor technology provides a differentiated approach to detecting potential failures and/or problems for civil engineers.”

FIFA 2010 matches on synthetic turf

FIFA World Cup matches were played on synthetic grass for the first time in 2010 at South Africa's Polokwane Peter Mokaba stadium

Meanwhile, for the first time in history, matches in a FIFA World Cup were played on pitches made of synthetic turf during the 2010 tournament.

The Desso GrassMaster system from Desso Sports Systems was installed at two South African stadiums in Nelspruit (Mbombela) and Polokwane (Peter Mokaba).

With a capacity of around 45,000 spectators each, both new stadiums hosted four group matches.

The Desso GrassMaster system is made up of a 100% natural grass surface, into which 20 million artificial turf fibres are injected to a depth of 20 cm.

The roots of the natural grass intertwine with the artificial fibres, which anchors the field into a stable and a level grass surface.

Thanks to the reinforcement of artificial grass fibres, Desso GrassMaster offers reliable pitches in all weather conditions and the pitches will continue to serve for football and for rugby games.

“Supplying the stadium pitches for the 2010 FIFA World Cup is obviously a prestigious project for our company,” said Desso CEO Stef Kranendijk. “By doing so, we hope to contribute to the legacy of this tournament and to inspire future top events.”

Read More @ ATA Journal for Asia on Textile & Apparel

Bicomponent melt-spun fibers were first commercialized in the middle of the 20th century, in the form of fibers with sheath/core and side-by-side cross sections. Very quickly, a primary application for the sheath/core bicomponent cross section evolved: By employing a lower-melting-temperature (Tm) polymer in the sheath and a higher-Tm polymer in the core, these fibers could be used in nonwoven webs to thermally bond the webs together without losing the fiber shape of the binder fiber. This allowed more bond points, which improved fabric strength and allowed for increased line speeds.

Since that time, sheath/core binder fibers have become widely accepted and have set the stage for the introduction of bicomponent staple fibers, tows and filament yarns with a wide range of enhanced performance features offered by more advanced bicomponent technologies. An important step forward in the commercialization of some of the more advanced possibilities was the invention by Melbourne, Fla.-based Hills Inc. of a process for producing spin pack parts using photochemical etching. This advance increased the fineness and precision of control over polymer flow paths and did so while simultaneously reducing the cost of the parts. Subsequently, Fiber Innovation Technology, Inc. (FIT) was established in 1996 in Johnson City, Tenn., as a specialty fiber producer not controlled by any polymer producer having a single-polymer, commodity focus. With access to all available thermoplastic materials, and using the Hills technology, FIT has been able to pioneer a large number of different bicomponent fiber types in a wide variety of applications in a relatively short time. As a result, fiber consumers now have access to commercial supply of an almost endless variety of bicomponent fibers, with an exponentially larger range of performance features than when the simplest bicomponent fibers were first introduced.

Fibers with sheath/core and side-by-side cross sections were the first bicomponent melt-spun fibers to be commercialized

Highly Tailored Fiber Properties
Today, the choice of polymers used in a bicomponent fiber is not restricted to a handful of commodity polymers such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), nylon, and polypropylene (PP). Instead, the entire range of polyesters – including polycyclohexanedimethanol terephthalate, polytrimethylene terephthalate, polybutylene terephthalate, PET glycol and a huge range of copolyesters – is being augmented by aliphatic polyesters such as polylactic acid and polyhydroxyalkanoates, which introduce the new environmental benefit of being derived from renewable resources. Similar range extension is now available with polyamides and polyolefins including nylon 6, 6,6, 11 and 12; copolyamides; high-density polyethylene (PE); linear low-density PE; syndiotactic PP; and polymethylpentene. But perhaps the most intriguing new possibility is the incorporation of engineering polymers, whose properties are typically exceptional but whose cost has traditionally prevented any investigation of use in commodity fiber applications. The list of these polymers is long, and includes polyphenylene sulfide, acetal, ionomers, polyvinyl alcohol, polyetherimide, and thermoplastic polyurethanes, to name just a few.

Bicomponent fibers can be manufactured in a wide range of polymer configurations, such as those shown above, thanks to technology developed by Hills Inc. and some pack-part innovations developed by FIT

Added to the newly-expanded polymer choices is a much greater variety of bicomponent cross sections made possible by Hills technology and some pack-part innovations by FIT. Now it is possible to put the polymers pretty much wherever desired in the fiber’s cross section.

And it’s no longer necessary to limit the choice to round fibers.  Shaped-cross-section fibers can also be coextruded using two polymer.

Bicomponent fibers also can be extruded in a variety of shaped cross sections, including those shown above

Finally, the entire range of polymer additives that can be used in single-polymer fibers can also be used in one or both of the polymers in a bicomponent fiber to achieve targeted performance characteristics. These additives include such things as colorants, flame retardants, antimicrobials, conductive materials and carbon nanotubes, among other additives.

With this very large matrix of material properties and ways of combining them into each fiber, it will be apparent that bicomponent fibers are no longer a one-trick pony. Whereas in the past, fabric design meant trying to optimize the fixed attributes of a commodity fiber into each different application, bicomponent fibers now offer a way to engineer finely-tuned performance into the fiber. Each application can now seek a fiber that is precisely tailored to fit the specific needs of that application.

Exemplary Uses Of Bicomponent Fibers
There are far too many different end-uses for bicomponent fibers to cover in a brief article, but a few illustrative examples are discussed below.

Even the basic sheath/core binder fiber has been updated since the early days. Today, there is access to a range of copolymers of polyesters, polyamides, and polyolefins that allow precise targeting of the desired thermal bonding behavior. The bonding temperature can be set from a low of about 110°C to a high of about 180°C. It is even possible to select bonding polymers outside this range, but these options can impose significant caveats. Beyond the bonding temperature, the adhesive character of the bonding polymer can be adjusted to adhere better to polar surfaces or nonpolar ones. And the crystalline nature of the polymer can be adjusted to give a broader or narrower melt-temperature range. Binder fibers for high-loft nonwovens used as seat cushions in place of polyurethane foam use a sheath polymer with elastic recovery, so that repeated stressing of the bond points does not fracture the bond.

The fundamental sheath/core cross section is also useful in many applications demanding engineering polymers. Typically, such an application depends entirely on the surface properties of the more exotic, and more expensive, polymer. In these cases, the fiber’s core can be made with a suitable lower-cost polymer to deliver all of the benefit of the more expensive polymer at a materials cost well below that of a fiber made from the surface polymer alone.

Side-by-side bicomponent fibers typically rely on the difference in shrinkage between the two polymers. At any point in the fabric formation process, if the fibers are not physically constrained, shrinkage can be induced by the application of heat. Since the two polymers shrink at different rates, the fiber resolves the resulting tension by curling into a helix. This behavior allows a fabric to be made flat and then bulked when and where it suits the application.

The pie wedge cross sections typically are used to make microfibers. Direct spinning of microfibers is difficult – and practically impossible below about 0.3 to 0.5 denier per filament (dpf) – and expensive, as throughputs are low. But a 2- to 3-dpf pie-wedge fiber does not suffer throughput limitations, and is robust through fiber and fabric production processes. Once a nonwoven web is formed from these fibers, it can be subjected to mechanical agitation – typically, a hydroentangling process – which will split the segments into microfibers – typically, about 16 segments per bicomponent fiber. The result is a microfiber fabric at significantly reduced cost compared to one made using direct-spun microfibers.  The hollow and partial-wrap versions of this cross section are refinements that allow adjustment of the fiber’s relative splittability.

The sea/islands cross section also generates microfibers. In this case, the sea polymer can be easily removed by dissolution in a suitable solvent – typically, a light, hot caustic bath or warm water. A fabric made of sea/islands fibers is passed through the solvent, and the result is a microfiber fabric. This approach incurs a cost penalty because some of the fiber is washed down the drain. But the smallest microfibers from sea/islands technology are much smaller than those achievable using mechanical splitting technology.

The taggant cross section is one that FIT initially developed just to show off its capabilities. But since then, the company has discovered that the inclusion of a logo or some other complex shape in the fiber’s cross section can be of value in taggant fibers for applications in which liability protection is desired. The logo can even be a two-dimensional barcode that can be read by a machine vision system, thereby stealthily incorporating large amounts of information into a product. The tagged product need not be a fibrous product, but can include electronics, pharmaceuticals, gemstones, explosives, or virtually anything used in an application in which forensic identification could be of value.

Future Directions
Of course, this is not the end of the story. Innovation will continue and build upon the advances that have brought the technology to this stage. Already, tricomponent spinning systems are being developed to coextrude three different polymers into each fiber rather than just two. And some of the simpler bicomponent cross sections are appearing in spunbond fabrics, in which filaments are extruded directly into a nonwoven web without forming fibers as an intermediate product. The precision of polymer control to form the cross section also continues to advance. When FIT was first formed, the state of the art was 37 islands in a sea/islands fiber, which could produce microfibers as fine as 0.02 dpf. In recent years, Hills has produced spin packs capable of stuffing hundreds of islands into each fiber cross section, which enables the production of submicron microfibers. There is even one sea/islands cross section with close to 10,000 islands. And before electrospinning technology even makes it out of the cradle, researchers are beginning to experiment with bicomponent electrospun filaments, using polymer solutions rather than polymer melts.

It will be necessary to wait for some of these advances to become widely available, but with the state of bicomponent technology available today for commercial production, there may no longer be any need to wait for a staple fiber or filament yarn that offers the exact performance a particular application requires.

In the sewing industry, product quality always means seam quality. So there can’t be quality of the product without high-quality seams. This applies for all applications and all the areas of the sewing industry.


Only few modern comforts have such a direct influence on our well being as our clothes do, which we wear directly on our skin. No other technology virtually touches us in this way. And the art of producing clothes is one of the oldest technologies developed by the human race. Even the people of the ice-age protected their bodies from the cold with fur and nettings of plant fibers. This protective function of clothing has been the same ever since. But protection from cold, heat, and the weather are only some of the modern demands. There is also the human desire for beauty.

For thousands of years, clothes have had a decorating function, too. Now as then, we think of fashion and beauty and of function when we think of clothes. Seams can have a great influence on both. Seams are the connecting element, they make clothes from fabrics. They are often decoration and have the most various functions. Seams are tear proof, elastic, soft, watertight, weather-proof, easy care etc, depending on the given requirements. And they are always decisive for the product quality.

Technical Textiles

Whether they are used in construction, in the industry, or in protective clothing – technical textiles are always hi-tech, innovative, and special products. Especially remarkable are their specific physical, chemical, and sewing technological characteristics. In the development of these products, the main focus is on their function. So, the requirements on their seams are special too. Sometimes, even lives can depend on these seams. For example, if a seam on a parachute or an airbag does not meet the requirements, life is in danger.

Seams are one of the essential connections in technical textiles. They make very flexible and safe connections for producing complex two or three-dimensional products. Embroideries are often seen on technical textiles too, for example in the production of fiber composites for light-weight structures in the aircraft industry. Whether sewn or embroidered, the sewing thread inserted into the textile material, must maintain or provide the function and partly even the demanding requirement profile of the entire product.

The importance of a seam’s quality for the quality of the finished product is undoubted, and yet, the definition of seam quality is often hard to describe or determine. What is seam quality? Are there any standards? How can seam quality be measured?

Seam Quality Criteria

Quality means performance, conditions, and properties. If you want to assess a seam under these aspects, you need a detailed requirement profile. Yet, different seams make different requirements. Airbag seams, jeans seams, or upholstery seams – they all ask for different properties of the seam connections and thus have their individual requirement profiles.

However, there are indicators that are true for almost all seams. Their evaluation is the basis for assessing their quality. Every seam analysis begins with the checking of these properties. In addition, there are individual quality criteria. They must be worked out depending on the application and function.

The industry of automotive textiles has witnessed a number of changes in market environment, consolidation in the industry and product development.

Textiles for Automotives

Approaching 165,000 tonnes of fabrics are now employed annually in car production worldwide, and as a result of higher demand for more increased comfort and improved safety, the use of textile materials has also increased from 20 kg in a mid-size car a decade ago, to an average of 26 kg.

In the drive towards lowering weight for reducing both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, many current developments are including new uses for fabrics, and by 2020, it is predicted that the same-sized car will contain 35 kg of textiles.

This progress, however, is being off-set, in the wider scheme of things, by the related trend towards smaller vehicles.

Wovens and Knits

Woven and knitted fabrics have a predominant share of the global market for automotive textiles, followed by composites (which have the greatest growth potential) and nonwovens.

Circular knitted fabrics are used in car interiors for seat covers, headrests, door panels, headliners, sunroofs, pillars, parcel shelves and boot covers. These fabrics are characterized by high flexibility in design, high-grade visual quality, comfort for seating and a high stretch level, which is critical in complying with the complex shapes of many seats.

Woven fabrics dominate in seat covers and door panels and their areas of application in cars include seat center panels, headrests and door side panelling.

Warp-knitted fabrics are characterized by their wide range of applications and are also employed as door panels, headliners, pillars and boot covers.

Market Changes and Consolidates

Unprecedented changes to the structure of the automotive textiles sector have taken place in the past two years, after global light vehicle production fell for the first time in over 30 years in 2008 and declined even more steeply in 2009.

The global production of cars fell from 67.4 million in 2008 to 58.6 million in 2009, with production in the developed regions of North America, Europe and Japan largely responsible for the decline.

The situation was very different in the large emerging economies, with China’s car production up by 50% and that of India up by 17%.

But as car sales plummeted elsewhere, there was rapid movement all along the automotive supply chain – with no exception for nonwovens and textile manufacturers.

In major European moves over the past 18 months, Austrian-headquartered automotive fabrics giant Eybl International was sold to the Prevent Group and Fezko of the Czech Republic was acquired by the French Michel Thierry Group (MTG).

Prevent Group, now headquartered in Germany, has for some time been the largest car seat cover manufacturer in Europe – delivering roughly three million a year – while around a quarter of all European vehicles are fitted with products from Eybl International.

With an annual output of around 32 million meters of fabric from plants in 12 countries MTG has an international workforce of 2,200 and now generates annual revenues of more than 280 million euros.

Fezko’s annual output of fabric, 95% of which is woven polyester, has grown from 2.5 million meters in 2001 to around seven million meters today.

Another major change in Europe was the acquisition of most of the facilities of insolvent German supplier Stankiewicz by International Automotive Components (IAC).

In little more than two years, IAC – chaired by billionaire tycoon Wilbur L Ross – has emerged as the world’s largest automotive interiors supplier, having transformed both the US and European markets through the acquisitions of Collins & Aikman and the Interiors division of Lear Corporation.

Even prior to the purchase of Stankiewicz, IAC had rapidly grown into an operation with a global workforce of 29,000 in 16 countries, with revenues in a regular year, which means prior to 2008, of US$5.5 billion.

Stankiewicz supplies European car makers with insulation, dampening products, sounds absorbers and floor coverings and has deals with many of the region’s auto giants, including Audi, BMW, Daimler and Renault.

Wilbur L Ross has said that its purchase will strengthen the group’s technical knowledge of interior carpets and acoustic products and that further consolidation of capacity into market leaders is what is required for the overall industry.

Consolidation in Japan

Similar consolidation is currently taking place in Japan’s automotive textile industry, where Toyota Boshoku and two other Japanese automotive fabrics suppliers –Toyota Tsusho and Kawashima Selkon Textiles – have set up a joint venture company for manufacturing automotive seats. The annual combined output of these three companies amounts to approximately 20% of the world automotive seat products market.

Suminoe Textiles and Teijin have also set up a joint venture in Osaka, for the development, manufacture and sale of fabrics for both car seats and headliners.

Suminoe Textile has developed a large share of the automotive fabrics market, while Teijin possesses cutting-edge technologies for developing and processing raw fibres and fabrics, as well as the size and expertise to ensure stable production and quality control.

New Product Developments

With all this going on, it’s surprising there has been any new product development in fabrics for the automotive sector over the past two years, but this is not the case.

One of the most significant introductions is that of the patent-pending inflatable seatbelt introduced by Key Safety Systems (KSS) with Ford.

Bringing together airbag and seatbelt technology seems so obvious it’s really surprising it hasn’t been thought of before now.

KSS, as a leading manufacturer of both seatbelts and airbags, employs its high volume production cold gas inflator (CGI) to swell to approximately five times the width of a standard seatbelt after receiving a deployment signal from a sensing system.

This can significantly reduce injury by distributing crash force energy across more of the car occupant’s body. The new belt also has smooth, round edges to make it more comfortable than standard belts.

It makes its debut in this year’s Ford Explorer.


The new Ford Focus RS, meanwhile, employs interior fabrics made from Dinamica Evolution microfibres, made by Miko of Italy and using an exclusive water-based process, developed in co-operation with Japan]s Asahi Kasei.

Dinamica Evolution is said to be 100% eco-compatible and produced using recycled fibres that comply with strict standards and without using harmful solvents.

In addition, the microfibre is ultralight, intrinsically flameproof without the use of resins on the back of the material, and resistant to abrasion.

The Dinamica Evolution product range has recently been increased, with some materials now similar in appearance to leather, while others have been customised in dyeing and finishing to mimic the brightness and softness of silk.

Dinamica Evolution is also employed in the VW Pirelli, VW Passat R36, the Land Rover LRX and the new Audi 4 RS 6.


Weight is becoming a core issue for the automotive industry – not only are lighter cars more economical to run for the consumer while at the same time requiring less fuel consumption, they also allow the car manufacturers to reduce their costs too.

There are few such examples of simple measures which can be taken with immediate benefits for the consumer, the manufacturer and the environment.

In respect of this, the use of natural fibre composites in the automotive industry is expanding rapidly, with Daimler, for example, now using more than 50 bio-based components in Mercedes-Benz cars. Flax, hemp and sisal are used in door liners, seatbacks and backseat shelves, while coconut husk fibre is used in seat cushions and head restraints.

Acrodur, which was officially introduced to the North American market in November 2009 by BASF, is a new class of acrylic binder which the company believes can contribute significantly to making natural fibre composites more competitive. As a one-component system consisting of a modified polyacrylic acid and a polyalcohol crosslinker, solutions of the binder initially behave like a thermoplastic.

On heating at 120°C, the material melts and flows, allowing for impregnation of substrate materials such as natural fibre mats. After impregnation and drying to room temperature, Acrodur forms a ‘film’ that mechanically binds to the substrates.

These materials can then, for example, be compression moulded at temperatures above 120°C, at which point the molecules begin to crosslink to form a thermoset. Crosslinking is fully completed at temperatures above 150°C.

The lower inner door panel of the latest BMW7 Series received a 2009 Automotive Innovation Award from the Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), in the materials category.

It consists of a 70% sisal fibre mat – needle

epunched in Germany by J. Dittrich & Söhne and compression moulded with BASF’s Acrodur.

Clean technology

At the Los Angeles Auto Show in December 2009, Faurecia introduced its Clean range of products focused on enabling car makers to take a cleaner and lighter approach to vehicle technology.

Faurecia’s 2008 Light Attitude collection of products enabled vehicle weight savings of 30kg to be achieved, and the company’s goal is to remove a further 60kg in future models through the use of, among other things, more natural fibres and other biomaterials in interior car components.

The company’s new Lignolight technology enables a mixture of 70% wood fibre and 30% plastic resin to be employed in door-panel substrates that are 40% less dense than conventional panels.


Japan’s Toyota, meanwhile, continues to pioneer the use of biofibres and the new 2010 Toyota Lexus HS250h luxury hybrid vehicle includes nonwoven components supplied by both Toyota Boshoku and Toray Industries.

The nonwoven fabrics for the parcel rack and boot liner supplied by Toyota Boshoku for this new model are manufactured from a blend of PLA (polylactic acid) and conventional polypropylene fibres.

The company now plans to go a stage further and supply nonwovens made from a combination of the raw plant material kenaf with PLA for Toyota’s next-generation i-REAL personal mobility concept vehicles.

Toray Industries has supplied nonwovens made from islands-in-the-sea bicomponent fibres containing between 30-50% PLA for the floor carpets of the Lexus HS250h, and their application is likely to be extended to headliners and door trim in the future.

Toray currently has the capacity to produce around 200 tonnes of this new PLA bico fibre annually, but is planning to expand capacity to an annual 5,000 tonnes by 2015, and to extend its use into other areas.

Similarly, Toyota Tsusho Corporationhas developed new environmentally friendly floor mats employing NatureWorks Ingeo PLA fibre for the third-generation Toyota Prius.

Known as the world’s most eco-conscious car, the Prius features world-leading mileage, a solar powered ventilation system, and environmentally friendly plant-derived plastics for its seat cushion foam, cowl side trim, inner and outer scuff plates and deck trim cover.

In its manufacturing process, the use of Ingeo is said to reduce the fossil fuel used by 65% and cut CO2 emissions by 90% when compared to the petroleum-derived nylon resin used in traditional floor mats.

New Oeko-Tex Certification for Vehicle Interiors

Advanced safety systems designed to protect vehicle occupants help minimise health injuries as a result of accidents. At the same time, air in vehicle interiors that is free of harmful substances represents yet another health-related aspect. To this end the Oeko-Tex Association has offered a new certification option for vehicle interiors, according to Oeko-Tex Standard 100.

In addition to the current Oeko-Tex tests for harmful substances, it is now possible to inspect textile products, leather articles, foam, polymer components as well as their fibres and nontextile articles, which are used in the automotive industry, for possible emissions of harmful substances. The ÖTI – Institute for Ecology, Technics and Innovation Ltd in Vienna has developed a simulation process for determining the emission loading in vehicles, and implemented this process into Oeko-Tex Standard 100 as a supplement. The certification can be applied to individual materials as well as complete vehicle interiors, and relates to products of all processing stages. However, the new emissions tests cannot be used for chemicals, dyes and tools, or for assessments of vehicle cargo areas.

Prerequisite for product certification is compliance with the usual Oeko-Tex requirements and specific additional conditions, which result from use in vehicle interiors, the association explains.

The main difference compared to clothing textiles is the emission of volatile organic substances and odours, which depends mainly on the amount of materials used, the air exchange rate as well as the temperature in the vehicle’s interior.

Child seats also should correspond with the specifications of the Oeko-Tex product class I (baby articles), and materials of normal vehicle seats with those of product class II for articles that come into direct contact with the skin. Other materials for vehicle roofs, hat racks or floor coverings must meet the requirements of product class IV (decoration materials). Where complete vehicle interiors are to be certified, the sum of all materials and products processed for use in the interior space may not exceed certain emission values, the association concludes.


Technical textiles is the emerging area for investment in India. The potential of technical textile in India is still untapped. Technical textiles represents a multi-disciplinary field with numerous end use applications. The production of different items of technical textile industry has been slowly but steadily increasing in the country.

Following link is the revised report from the Office of the Textile Commissioner which provides a detailed picture of India’s progress in this domain.

Creating patterns on cloth by tie-dying is one of the oldest and most basic of the textile arts.  Tie-dying has been used in many islands of the archipelago:

Sumatra, Java, Bali, Sulawesi and parts of Kalimantan on a range of textiles, from coarse cottons to fine Chinese Shantung silk.

This technique of resist-dying by binding individual areas of cloth to shield them from the dye is usually known in Indonesia as pelangi (also plangi) meaning rainbow; or tritik meaning drips of water.

The processes involved in tie-dying are basically the same today as they were in antiquity, with the important exception of the introduction of chemical dyes in the late nineteenth century.

It is almost certain that the tie-dying art was brought to Indonesia, particularly Sumatra through trade with India.  The earliest reference to tie-dye in India dates back to the 6-7th century depiction on the wall paintings of the Ajanta caves.

Here women are shown wearing bodices of simple dotted patterns. The potential range of geometric patterning achieved through tie-dye must have appealed to the Islamic people of the Indonesian achipelago, whose own decorated laws preclude the depiction of organic forms.  As a result, complex pelangi is particularly developed and popular in coastal Islamic areas.


Pelangi refers to the patterns made by resist-dyed dots. Before the dyeing process can take place, the cloth must be bleached first.  Then according to the complexity of the pattern to be dyed, a variety of methods are used to mark the design on the cloth.  To achieve symmetry and save time, fine cloth is folded into two, four and as many as eight times.

Kain Pelangi Festive shoulder Cloth, Early 20 C

The pattern is marked out by nails. The cloth is dampened and then pressed on the nails.  The method used now a days is for the designer to draw or block print the design on the cloth.  The tier then has to pinch a series of dots along the line, often using a specially long implement that slips over the finger of the left hand.

The pinched dots are individually bound tightly with a continuous thread to ensure no seepage of dye. The cotton binding keeps the dye from reaching that part of the cloth, so that when it is removed a small white circle is revealed.

Within this simple method, many variations are possible.  The tip of the cloth maybe left unbound to give a colored center to the circle.  The cloth may be dyed before tying, thus giving a wider variety of colored dots.

Bits of padding may be inserted into the circle before tying to create a variety of shapes resembling lozenges, cowry shells and squares.

After the tying is complete, the dying process has to be carefully planned.  It must start with the lightest color first, usually yellow.  The cloth is immersed in a dye bath and then dried.  It is then returned to the tier for ties to be made on the dots which are to remain yellow.

Kain Pelangi Ceremonial Cloth, Early 20 C

At this stage, individual dots can be applied in other colors which are then concealed by tying.  The cloth is then dyed in deeper shades, notably, green, red or purple.  Sometimes, larger tied patterns and highlights may be dabbed with a color-soaked pad by hand.  Dyes can also be discharged or eliminated by immersing in a solution of caustic soda ash.

It takes several days to complete a complex silk pelangi.


In  Indonesia the pelangi technique is often combined with tritik.  With tritik, the resist is stitched into the cloth, usually using strong pineapple thread that will not break when pulled tight, or these days, plastic, to gather the cloth. Tritik patterns are typically linear, the cloth is compressed along the line of stitching thus forming a resist and preventing the dye from seeping in.

Tritik Design

As the name suggest, tritik resembles small droplets of water running around a single line.  Borders of many pelangi slendangs or shoulder wraps are decorated in this way.

A less common method of dying borders was brought to Indonesia from South India.  This involves folding the area not to be dyed and clamping it firmly between two boards, then dipping the border into the dye bath.  Some earlier Lawon textiles of Sumatra may have employed a combination of tritik and this method of decoration.

Traditional Lawon


Perhaps the most well know of the tie-dyed Sumatra cloths are the pelangi slendangs of Palembang.  The Palembang pelangis are repositories of Indonesian trade history.  Palembang, both on the trade route to India and China was a truly cosmopolitan teeming coastal city.

Many languages were spoken here and all kinds of foreign textiles found their way into this city.  Palembang pelangi is a good example of how Indonesians adapted foreign influences to satisfy their own aesthetic parameters.

The slendangs are formed by a combination of tie-dying and resist stitching imported Chinese Shantung silk.  The patterns echo the intricate Kashmiri buttas patterns and other complex geometrical designs.  Stars, ambis or the Indian paisley, squares, flame or tumpals and mithai or lozenges dominate the decorative elements of Palembang pelangi.

The colors predominantly tend to be darker hues of purple, reds, yellow and blues.  Indigo, madder, imported Cochineal barnacle and a keen knowledge of mordants allowed the Sumatrans to make their cloths colorfast.

Another cloth of significance to emerge from Sumatra is the tricolored lawon.  Also a shoulder wrap, the lawon typically consists of two or three very simple color fields achieved through a process of tritik and tie-dyeing.

The largest color field maybe bound up with banana leaf. The color fields are then separated by a simple line of dotted tritik in the base color off white. The cloths occur mainly in reds and contrasting green on fine silk, echoing the Gajji silk women’s head covers from Gujerat.

Tie-dyed fabrics have no individual spiritual significance as do some other ikat textiles found in Indonesia.  But as a group, the pelangi or rainbow, represents a link between heaven and earth.  As for the lawons, they too are associated with heaven, earth and water, the standard aesthetic parameters for any society.


In contrast to the complex and refined patterns of Sumatra, the tie-dye of Java and Bali tends to be simpler, more primitive and dramatic.  Achieved on all kinds of cloths, from the coarsest tabby weave cotton to strong imported silk, the patterns favor linearity, either zigzags or lozenges placed in linear formations.

Traditional tie-dye in both Java and Bali is a lost art.  The ceremonial dodots or oversized royal skirts from the Javanese courts are rare collectibles. These textiles recall the leheriyas or wave pattern turbans of India, decorated either with diagonal dots or zigzags in simple two tones.

The breast covers of kembens of central and East Java are often decorated with a combination of pelangi, tritik and batik design.  These cloths have a solid diamond shaped central field with the pattern occurring on the edges.

It is almost certain that the Balinese pelangi derived from the Javanese cloths of antiquity.  The Balinese cloths still display vestiges of their heritage, most particularly in their patterns and colors.

The Balinese cloths are possibly most dramatic of all pelangi.  The lozenge and square shapes are achieved by inserting the appropriate size and shape of padding into the tied pinched cloth.  Often the lozenges and squares are further decorated with bands of color achieved by hand dabbing each motif individually.  The patterns are formed along the width of the cloth in broad bands.

Balinese pelangi tends to be much softer than that of Java and Sumatra.  The colors almost always contrast and can be found in broad zigzags bands with a few scattered motifs in between.  The colors are very varied, ranging from oranges, turmeric yellows, pistachio greens, lights blues and even pinks.

Once again the function of these textiles seems to be purely decorative.

A textile product manufactured keeping in mind its functionality and technical performance over its aesthetics and beauty are termed as technical textiles. Technical Textile Industry is forming a vast and growing sector that supports many other industries. Experts have categorized technical textiles depending upon their applications as automotive textiles, agriculture textiles, medical textiles, geotextiles, ecotextiles, protective textiles, sports textiles, clothing textiles, home textiles, construction textiles, industrial textiles and packaging textiles.

Following link flashes some more light to have a better understanding about Technical Textiles.

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