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Texprocess: the Largest Portfolio of Technologies in its History

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‘Digital Textile Micro Factory’; source: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Pietro Sutera

In today’s guest post, the organisers behind the renowned Texprocess event give us a sneak peak into what we can expect this year. Michael Jänecke, Director Brand Management Technical Textiles and Textile Processing, Messe Frankfurt shares how, this year, Texprocess will focus on the trend themes of automation, individualisation and sustainability.

Texprocess (Frankfurt am Main, 14 to 17 May) is heading for an exhibitor record, with the largest range of technologies in its history. This year it will focus on the impacts of trends, such as automation, individualisation and sustainability, on the processing of textile and flexible materials.

“While everyone is still talking about Industry 4.0, Texprocess is already analysing its impact”, says Olaf Schmidt, Vice President, Textiles and Textile Technologies at Messe Frankfurt. By this he means the impacts and effects of digitalisation on the manufacture and processing of textiles. So what changes triggered by Industry 4.0 are already part of the supply chain? “These days machine data are already being read in real time, robotic and gripping systems are working at cutting tables, and manufacturers of sewing and clothing technologies are networking machines for processing technical textiles and factories across country borders”, says Elgar Straub, Managing Director, VDMA Textile Care, Fabric and Leather Technologies.

Micro factories will illustrate macro trends

With the ‘Digital Textile Micro Factory’ at the last Texprocess, trade visitors were already able to gain an insight into fully networked clothing manufacture that is tailored to individual customers. The micro factory, which was put together with sister trade fair Techtextil, the leading international trade fair for technical textiles and nonwovens, went down really well with trade visitors. This means that this year no less than five micro factories will be showcasing the opportunities and potentials of macro trends, such as digitalisation, individualisation and sustainability.

The Denkendorf Institute for Textile and Fibre Research (DITF), and partners from industry, will therefore be presenting their ‘Digital Textile Micro Factory’ again. This time they will be showcasing three production lines alone in a 500 square metre exhibition space: one for manufacturing clothing, another for producing shoe uppers, and a robotic system for sorting technical textiles. Among other things, the aim is to demonstrate the growing importance of digital twin technology as a starting point for perfectly fitted, individualised clothing. “The digital twin has arrived in the textiles industry; as a virtual representation of the customer, it will change development and production processes in a sustainable way”, says DITF researcher Alexander Artschwager, who has co-developed the ‘Digital Textile Micro Factory’.

Serial production of smart textiles

Another micro factory will be focusing on smart textiles. Their market volume worldwide amounted to an estimated €1.3 billion in 2017. By 2022, this could increase to just under five billion euros. For Germany alone, a potential sales volume of €4.2 billion is predicted for 2030. This is the prognosis of a brief expert report by the Centre for European Economic Research (Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung – ZEW), on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs. The figures show clearly that the combination of materials and electronics holds enormous potential for the textile and clothing industry, particularly in fields of application such as fashion, sport, the automotive industry, and medicine.

But before this, there is plenty more to find out about technical textiles: what about the washability of smart textiles? Or their draping properties? Can they be serially produced in a commercial way? At Texprocess and Techtextil, the Institute for Textile Technology (ITA) at RWTH Aachen University, and their partners from industry and research, are going to show, with the ‘Smart Textiles Micro Factory’ (Halls 4.1/5.1), that huge advances are being made to address this last point. “Serial production is no longer a dream of the future, thanks to the latest machine technology, automation and digitalisation”, says ITA researcher Dr. Volker Lutz. Using the example of the development of an illuminated pillow from design to finished product, the micro factory aims to present a complete solution for smart textiles serial production. “We want to show an example of industry-oriented manufacturing with marketable production technologies”, says Lutz.

Sustainability and customising

The keywords, customising, sustainability, and production management, are also the main focus of the next Texprocess. In line with this, companies Efka and Gemini will be showcasing the production of an individually designed jersey that is manufactured in a resource-efficient and sustainable way. “Customised manufacture according to customer specifications is much more environmentally friendly because, of course, energy, water and materials are saved if you only produce what is actually bought”, says Sebastian Feges, Sales Manager at Efka. In addition to automotive suppliers, such as Adient, Dräxlmeier and Magna, the company, which produces drives for sewing technology, also counts fashion labels such as Hugo Boss, Hermès and Louis Vuitton among its customers.

For the first time, the Texprocess Forum (Hall 4.1) will also include its own block of lectures as an offshoot from Messe Frankfurt’s ‘Fashionsustain’ conference, which takes place every two years as part of Berlin Fashion Week. The aim is to link sustainable manufacture and processing of textiles more strongly with the end products. The Texprocess Innovation Award, organised for the fifth time already, will also be presented this year for sustainable textile innovations and processing approaches.

At this leading fair, exhibitors from over 30 countries will showcase the complete range of textile processing, from the design stage through to cutting, making, trimming, digital textile printing, processing and finishing, and right up to textile logistics and recycling. Together with visitors to Techtextil, the event registered more than 25,000 visitors from 109 nations in 2017. A total of 312 exhibitors from 35 countries presented them with the latest developments in the sector. With the current level of bookings, Texprocess is yet again surpassing the results of the previous event.

Texprocess takes place between 14th and 17th May; get your ticket here.

How has Industry 4.0 changed the manufacture and processing of textiles? What impacts do artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, automation and digitalisation have on the textile textiles supply chain? If you ask about the impacts of Industry 4.0, you also need to talk about Impact 4.0: analysis of machine data, networking of factories across country borders, robotic and gripping systems at cutting tables, real-time machine monitoring, batch sizes of one or more, with production starting with the customer (customising) – all these things have been operating for some time now.
Impact 4.0
Lydia Mageean Lydia Mageean has been part of the WhichPLM team for over six years now. She has a creative and media background, and is responsible for maintaining and updating our website content, liaising with advertisers, working on special projects like the Annual Review, and more.Joining mid-2013 as our Online Editor, she has since become WhichPLM’s Editor. In addition to taking on writing and interviewing responsibilities, Lydia has also become the primary point of contact for news, events, features and other aspects of our ever-growing online content library and tools.