Technical Textiles – The Rising Star of Turkish Textile Industry

Investments in technical textiles grow exponentially in Turkey in recent years. Many companies in the field of technical textiles prove their global success by playing an important role in the international market. In parallel with the developments in the world markets, production of technical textiles and product diversity gradually increase in Turkey.

The technical textile sub-groups with the biggest production in our country are automotive textiles, textiles used in the cleaning/cosmetics/hygiene industries, and packaging textiles. Germany, France, Italy, and England are the main markets for the Turkish technical textile industry. Many of the large-scale Turkish nonwovens and technical textile producers are members of the EDANA. The cities with top technical textile production are Istanbul, Bursa, Gaziantep, Kocaeli, and Tekirdağ.
The sector that contributed most to the increase in exports: Technical Textiles

In the technical textiles of the October and January-October period, records were broken of history of the republic. Ahmet Öksüz, President of Istanbul Textile and Raw Materials Exporters’ Association, who evaluated the sub-sectors in textiles, said, “In October 2018, our technical textile exports reached $153 million, the highest level of all-time. At the same time, our exports of technical textile in the January-October period of 2018 reached $1.4 billion, the highest level of exports of all-time January-October period. Our sub sector which has the highest contribution to our textile and raw materials export increase; technical textiles.”

Nonwovens have the highest export rate
Analysing the technical textiles exports on the basis of product groups in the January-September period in 2018, the most important product group have been nonwoven exports with 23.8% increase to 434 million USD. Exports in this product group, which accounted for 33.3% of total technical textile exports, increased by 15.5% in September 2018.

The second most important product group in the textile industry in the January-September period in 2018 has been the bags and sacks produced for the finished products packaging worth approximately 263 million USD. Exports in this product group, which accounted for 20.1% of total technical textile exports, increased by 11.5% in September 2018. In the January-September period in 2018, the most increasing exports group of textiles was parachutes with an export rate of 139.5%.

Tübitak incentives for projects

The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) provides incentives for universities and companies engaged in research and development with R&D projects. It is also possible to provide incentives for projects with large budgets from the European Union Project Funding in various fields, in coordination with TÜBİTAK. High-budget projects, such as setting up a new R&D center are supported by the Turkish State Planning Organization.

New economic plan to Support export increase
İsmail Gülle, Chairman of the Turkish Exporters Assembly evaluated the New Economic Plan announced by Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak. Gülle said, “As Turkish Exporters Assembly, we are very happy about the emphasis on exports in the New Economy Program, in the technical studies of which we are involved. Our goal this year is to exceed 170 billion dollars. We promise to achieve the target of 182 billion dollars export for 2019.”İsmail Gülle stated that the biggest responsibility falls on the exporters in the New Economy Program for their investments to be realized, and added, “As Turkish Exporters Assembly, we express at every opportunity that the most healthy way to achieve qualified growth and to reduce the current account deficit is value-added exports. In this sense, especially restructuring of the exports incentives, setting targets for new markets, new products and new exporters, and the prioritized investments in industries such as advanced technology, energy, petro-chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and medical supplies, which have a big share in our current account deficit refreshed our confidence that our exports will continue to increase in 2019 and 2020.”

Investments to increase in the next decade
Investment in the textile industry in Turkey is expected to rather make a transition to technical textiles in the next decade. Ahmet Öksüz, Chairman of Istanbul Textile and Raw Materials Exporters Association, said that “New products are emerging in technical textiles. There will be an increase in future investments in these areas, and new products will emerge. Companies focus on R&D activities. Different fibers are produced. For example, military helmets are being made of fabrics. They have more strength than steel. In the next decade, investments will increase in this area In Turkey.”

Investments in technical textile start bearing fruits
Technical Textiles Research and Application Center was established 5 years ago by Aegean Textile and Raw Materials Exporters Association. Establishing this application center to increase the share of technical textile exports, the union started bearing the fruits of its investments. Turkey’s technical textile exports increased by 19% from 899 million USD to 1,071 million USD in the January-July period in 2018 while the technical textile exports from the Aegean region increase 40% from 45 million USD to 64 million USD.

“We will not import any product if manufactured in Turkey”

Pınar Taşdelen Engin, Vice-Chairman of Uludağ Textile Exporters Association, said “We aim to increase quality and standards and develop cost-friendly techniques in order to increase the added value in the industry, to switch to innovative products and production models, to make our exports sustainable, and to increase our competitive power.”

Assessigng President Erdoğan’s statement that “We will not import any product that is manufactured in Turkey,” Vice Chairman Engin expressed that Bursa –the textile capital– is capable to respond to requirements to produce smart products and high-tech manufacturing. Engin said that Uludağ Textile Exporters Association and Bursa Chamber of Commerce and Industry coordinated a Defense and Technical Textiles Group.

Erdoğan’s statement received full support from the businessmen in Bursa. İbrahim Burkay, Chairman of Bursa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that “World-leading organizations such as NASA, Boeing and Airbus purchase many of the components they use in their production from companies in Bursa. The products and components that the Turkish army needs are available in Bursa. We are capable to meet all the needs of the Turkish Armed Forces.”

Noting that they intend to make Bursa Technology Coordination and R&D Center specialize especially in the fields of military textiles, technical textiles and smart textiles, Burkay said that they are in cooperation with the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries.

Innovative Products Uspar continues to grow in technical textiles with investments

Having achieved a significant momentum over the years in their activities which started with the trade of yarn and raw clothing in 1970, Uspar managed to reach a position today to export its products to different countries. Exporting approximately 40 million USD in 2017, the company exports its products mainly to Italy, Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland and France. Sustaining its textile-oriented growth strategy this year, Uspar continues to export.

METYX Group and Karl Mayer Sign Agreement

METYX Group has signed a big agreement with Karl Mayer –a technology supplier of German technical textile machinery manufacturer– for new production lines to provide additional 12 thousand tons of glass and carbon fiber fabric knitting capacity its new production lines. It has both increased the Manisa-based plant’s capacity in Turkey with the production area, and also laid the foundation of overseas production facilities as part of its multinational strategic growth plan was.

Korteks increases R&D investments every year

Turkey’s textile market in Europe and the Middle East; to maintain its leadership in the technical textiles, automotive textiles and functional products markets is one of the most important factors is R&D. In this context, Korteks considers R&D as the most important competitive tool.

Korteks, offers quality, original, innovative and environmentally friendly polyester yarn products to the many textile companies in the global arena. The Korteks R&D Center supports the development of new polyester yarn types by guiding research and development activities within the company, and enhances the competitiveness of the products in international markets. With its yarn testing and analysis methods, polymer material technologies, polyester polymer production, yarn texturizing and twisting, colorful yarn and masterbatches, Korteks has increased its share of budget from each year by increasing its R&D investments.

Sun Group Grows with R&D and P&D

With its 30 years of experience in the textile industry, Sun Group continues to grow with the driving force of its R&D and P&D activities. Sun Group’s body of companies include Sun Tekstil, Ekoten Tekstil, Ames Tekstil, TDU, and Jimmy Key –its retail women’s clothing brand. Achieving a turnover of 140 million USD in 2017, Sun Tekstil continues its exports with a 20% percent growth target this year.

Yarn Made of Plastic Bottles

Having the largest integrated and innovative polyester yarn manufac- turing center in Europe, Korteks İplik continues to work on producing recycled polyester yarns. The yarns made of plastic bottles is one of the projects Korteks has been working on. Adds a new one every day to its R&D studies, Korteks continues its researches on self-soluble yarns.

Manufacturing Fabric 100 Times Thinner Than Hair

Produced by Mogul –one of the leading companies in hybrid-based nonwoven manufacturing not in only in Turkey, but also in the world–, microfilaments smart fabrics, which are 100 times thinner than hair, lead to significant changes in many areas of life for many industries such as fashion, home textiles, medical supplies, cleaning supplies, packaging, and automotive.

Silk Road Assures Confidence

Carrying out intensive studies on conductive yarn technology, Reisoğlu İplik produces smart gloves in the R&D center called “Silk Road” and makes the the automotive sub-industry production more secure.

Turkey Makes Difference in Protective Textiles

With the advance of technology, textile structures, which protect the human body in hazardous environments, are increasing among other technical textile products. The new production method, which gives importance to the environment and human health adopted in the global market, increases visibility in technical textiles. Protective textile, which is an important branch of technical textiles, gains the appreciation of consumers by establishing standards in the field of safety and hygiene. Especially in developing countries, as the industrialization rate increases, the demand for clothing with protective features increases as sanctions increase.

Producing Bullet Proof Fabric

Kipaş Holding Mensucat managed to produce bullet-proof fabrics two years ago as a result of R&D studies. A special fiber was used in this fabric. In addition to the bullet proof feature, it is considered that the fabric, which is invisible with infrared rays, fire-proof and water-proof, can be used instead of steel vests that are disadvantageous due to its weight. After producing bullet-proof fabric two years ago, now a 50% cheaper bullet-proof suit is being produced.

ANDRITZ and BCNonwovens celebrate successful long-term partnership

International technology Group ANDRITZ and BCNonwovens, Spain, have been working together successfully as business partners for the past 15 years. This cooperation started in early 2003 right after BCNonwovens was founded.

By offering state-of-the-art technology, including tests and trial runs at ANDRITZ’s technical center, and providing comprehensive expert know-how, ANDRITZ has supported and helped the family-owned company BCNonwovens to become one of the leading producers of spunlace fabrics for the wipes market as well as for medical and industrial applications.

BCNonwovens is now running two ANDRITZ spunlace lines successfully, producing high-quality products that are sold globally. To cope with the demand for higher productivity and product quality as well as for lighter products and patterned webs, BCNonwovens’ R&D team and ANDRITZ process engineers were able to retrofit the existing lines to bring products up to the standard currently requested by the markets. Sergio Rosales, R&D Director of BCNonwovens says: “Thanks to ANDRITZ, we have been able to test the latest innovations available on the market and adapt them to our production lines.” As BCNonwovens has always been commited to responsible and sustainable production, the company has installed ANDRITZ’s proven neXecodry system, thus achieving a significant reduction in consumption of water and gas.

Didier Vulliet, General Director of ANDRITZ Perfojet, says: “For years we have been building a strong partnership with BCNonwovens. They used our ANDRITZ spunlace pilot line for validation of new products or implementation of new fibers, and we were able to test new developments under industrial conditions.”

ANDRITZ is accompanying BCNonwovens in the development of new products with new fibers and features that are increasingly innovative or meet the demands of converters with ever more relevant end-products. Miguel Vinas Pich, CEO of BCNonwovens, concludes: “ANDRITZ has been supporting us for years in our development, which has been allowing us to offer our customers some of the most competitive and highest quality products in the world.”

Searching for the Battleship Steel Version of Spider Silk

Biotech company AMSilk and Airbus are planning to use artificial spider silk to create an entirely new generation of composite material they believe could revolutionise aerospace design.

Spider silk is one of nature’s most astonishing materials. Stronger than steel, tougher than Kevlar and incredibly lightweight, a spider web made from fibres as thick as a pencil would be able to catch a fully loaded A350 weight around 200 tonnes. For decades, scientists have sought to recreate spider silk’s astonishing properties for industrial use. But those efforts have been unsuccessful – until now.AMSilk, based near Munich in Germany, is the world’s first industrial supplier of what it calls synthetic silk biopolymers – artificial spider silk. The company already uses this high-performance, fully biodegradable material for medical devices and cosmetics. In 2016, AMSilk even made a prototype shoe with a major sports clothing label. But now, together with Airbus, it wants to transfer its technology to aerospace.

To do this, Airbus and AMSilk will work together on creating an entirely new area of composite materials. Leading the cooperation for Airbus is Detlev Konigorski, innovation manager for emerging technologies and concepts.

“Currently, AMSilk produces silk on a metric tons scale per annum, but this isn’t yet aerospace-ready,” he says. “You could compare it to steel – what you use to make cars isn’t the same as what you use to make battleships. We’re looking for the battleship steel version of spider silk.”

After first decoding spider DNA, AMSilk realised that by taking the animal’s specific genetic code for producing silk and introducing it to bacteria, they could artificially reproduce an identical material. The company now carries out this process in 60,000 litre tanks four storeys high, which are filled with water and heated to 37°C to grow the bacteria. The end result is a powder that can be formed into a fibre, film or gel.

The greater use of carbon fibre composites has helped reduce aircraft weight, and therefore fuel consumption, in recent years, but AMSilk’s Biosteel fibre has superior flexibility and shock resistance capabilities.It bends without losing strength, so it could be integrated on parts away from the fuselage that are prone to debris impact or bird strikes. It could help protect space equipment in a similar manner or be applied to defence products.

The silk also has remarkable antibacterial properties, so we might be able to integrate it inside an aircraft cabin as a more hygienic material. “Airbus and AMSilk aim to launch a prototype composite in 2019. The chance to work with an entirely new material opens up a wealth of exciting possibilities,” says Konigorski. Of course, we’ve used natural materials like wood and bamboo for centuries, but we cannot really influence the material.

Bioengineering is truly revolutionary. AMSilk can recreate the building blocks of spider silk and influence it to create materials that wouldn’t naturally be that way. Ultimately, this material could enable us to approach design and construction in an entirely new fashion.”

AKXY Acquired Sage Automotive

Asahi Kasei had sales of 15.8 billion Euro in 2017 across its three divisions – Materials, Homes and Healthcare – and employed 34,670 people globally at the end of March 2018.

Asahi Kasei Europe was created in 2016, with a key aim of getting closer to local OEMs and the company now plans to triple its sales to the automotive sector, from 1 billion Euro in 2017 to 3 billion Euro in 2025.

Hideki Tsutsumi, managing director of Asahi Kasei Europe said this would be achieved via a combination of strategic expansions and acquisitions, production capacity increases, focused marketing activities to position the company as a one-stop shop solution provider, and the introduction of new products and technologies.

The company is already the world leader in wet and dry process lithium-ion battery separators, in addition to S-SBR synthetic rubber for fuel efficient tyres, and at the end of July this year acquired Sage Automotive – the global leader in seating fabrics worldwide.

Asahi Kasei’s president of performance polymers Hiroshima Yoshida said, “It will strengthen our fibres business, but beyond this, Sage’s management team had very strong relationships with the OEMs to the extent that they are even influential in proposing designs for new car models and it is this strong relation- ship and know-how we see as extremely valuable.”

Separators

Expansion in the field began with the acquisition of Polypore in 2015, with which Asahi Kasei became the world leading manufacturer and supplier of li-ion battery separators.

In January this year Asahi Kasei announced li-ion battery separator expansions in both Japan and the USA which will see its annual capacity increase to 1.1 billion square metres annually. At the same time, the company announced an expansion of its Leona polyamide 6.6 filaments for airbags to an annual capacity of 38,000 tons annually.

Fibre innovations

The seating and interior of the vehicle features Lamous artificial leather, the close rival to Alcantara that is marketed in Europe as Dinamica by the Italian company Miko. Miko has operated as a division of Sage Automotive using an Asahi Kasei-developed process and with its fibres supplied from Japan up to now.

OUTLOOK™ 2018 Signed as Most Successful Editon Ever

Over 500 key stakeholders gather for premier nonwoven personal care products and hygiene conference.

With 510 delegates from across the nonwovens and related industries in attendance, OUTLOOK™, the primary conference for the nonwovens hygiene and personal care industry, was again confirmed as a key industry event for the sector, showcasing EDANA’s mission to support the growth and promote the sustainable development of the industry.

The conference examined new product developments, market trends, performance and safety testing and sustainability initiatives during the first two days, with the final day featuring an interactive workshop on building stakeholder trust. Feedback from participants throughout the event emphasised satisfaction with the mix and quality of expert content and the many opportunities to meet with industry peers. With the conference attracting participants from across the whole supply chain and around the globe, OUTLOOK™ again confirmed its position as a unique must-attend event for nonwoven professionals.

“One of the most successful OUTLOOK conferences I have experienced”

Mark Siebert of Berry Global said he found the event to be “one of the most successful OUTLOOK conferences I have experienced.  The record attendance and senior leader participation provided invaluable input on industry dynamics that will shape our participation for the next 5 years.”

The conference, the 17th edition of OUTLOOK™, opened with a keynote speech on EU circular economy and plastics strategies from Werner Bosmans, DG Environment, European Commission. This was followed with a session dedicated to circular economy and sustainability topics. Day 2 of the conference was opened by a presentation from Professor Samuele Furfari of the Free University of Brussels on the geopolitical challenges of the changing energy landscape. Delegates also heard from industry experts on market trends, technical innovations and multiple efforts to introduce further sustainable business practices in the nonwovens industry.

“This edition of OUTLOOK has again featured, as deliberately planned these last few years, a very topical programme, directly addressing the current challenges in our industry, “said Pierre Wiertz, General Manager of EDANA. “Discussions on the circular economy strategy, transparency and trust in the supply chain were both thought-provoking and rewarding. It is very encouraging to witness the industry’s increasing readiness to engage in these topics and for EDANA to facilitate constructive dialogue on both strategic and practical solutions. I was also very enthused by the insight of significant industry players on key trends and some very exciting technical innovations in our sector.”

 

First at the Finishing Line For 150 Years

Swiss fabric innovator Schoeller Textil has taken the finishing of two-layer laminates for protective clothing and outdoor and active sportswear to a new level of production efficiency with the installation of a Monforts Eco Applicator unit.

The innovations over the decades from this company – which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year – are too numerous to mention.

They include the introduction of the first elastic ski apparel at the start of the 1960s, the integration of Kevlar into motorcycle jackets in the early 1980s and the first temperature regulating fabrics over twenty years ago.

These include coldblack® for UV protection, energear™, which exploits the beneficial properties of far infrared from the body, NanoSphere®, for water, oil and dirt repellency, along with highly wash and abrasion resistance, 3XDRY®, for moisture management, and the latest environmentally-sensitive Schoeller treatments, ecorepel® and ecodry.

Having led the field in stretch woven fabrics for many years, Schoeller considerably expanded its range of knitted fabrics through the acquisition of fellow Swiss manufacturer Eschler Group in 2012.

 

Standards

Manufacturing in Switzerland, of course, comes with environmental responsibility – the country has consistently ranked Number One worldwide in the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) and as a consequence, Schoeller has had to meet standards even higher than in surrounding European companies.

Everything a manufacturing plant does is strictly regulated, including the land, water and air that is used, but Schoeller was an early responder in this respect, having become the first textile company in the world to receive bluesign® certification back in 2001 – indeed, the company was instrumental in establishing this highly-successful system.

It excludes all environmentally harmful substances from the manufacturing process, sets guidelines and monitors their observance for environmentally friendly and reliable production.

Natural fit

The advantages that can be provided by the Monforts Eco Applicator for water, energy and raw material savings were a natural fit for the company’s plant.

It has been designed to provide significant energy savings with reduced liquor application, eliminating the need for a conventional wet-on-wet padder and employing trough and roller techniques to apply just the required amount of liquid/coating to fabrics via contact with the roller.

As a long-standing Monforts customer, Schoeller already operates two 2.4-metre-wide Montex stenters, the most recent being a 60-metre long, ten-chamber unit.

This has a very long feed-in area, since for some laminated materials it is necessary to use two A frames for feeding in the different materials, as well as accommodating padding and laminating/coating and bonding machines.

Both stenters are connected to a heat exchange system. On the latest stenter, the waste air also goes through the heat exchanger to heat up the fresh air, providing two sources of recycled energy – both air and water. Half of the energy used for warm water at the plant is gained through heat recovery. The energy is harvested from the waste air of the steam boilers as well as the stenters, and the residual heat of the recovered steam condensation.

Minimal Application

 “It’s not possible to finish the layers individually, prior to hot melt laminating so the fabrics and membrane films are dyed separately prior to being laminated, and then finished together by the Eco Applicator before going to the stenter,” explains Michael Killisperger, manager of Schoeller’s finishing and coating department. “The Eco Applicator is designed for minimal application, and we can measure the moisture humidity at the entrance of the unit and then after both the first and second passes through it.

“Ideally we’re looking for 20% residual content – 10% on each side. Most of these membranes are highly elastic so high control of the fabric tension is also required to prevent the creation of stripes. This can also be controlled at various points within the unit.”

The installation is part of an on-going programme that has seen over 25 million Swiss francs invested in new technology at the Schoeller plant over the past decade and has led to further new product developments such as the introduction of upcycled Econyl® yarns (by Aquafil SpA) and the PFC-free ecorepel® Bio technology, based on renewable raw materials, as new components for the company’s industry-leading membranes.

Andritz neXline Wetlace Running At Full Capacity At Dalian Ruiguang Nonwoven Group

The Andritz neXline wetlace producing wipes at Dalian Ruiguang Nonwoven Group in China has successfully achieved full capacity of 15,000 t/a.

Andritz has delivered a complete neXline wetlace line to Dalian Ruiguang that integrates stock preparation, wet forming, hydroentanglement, and drying. Thanks to the flexibility of the line, the customer is able to produce the full range of wipes applications, including industrial composite wipes.

The highly flexible Andritz WetlaceTM technology, combining wet forming and hydroentanglement, is especially suited for the production of flushable wipes that are dispersible, 100% biodegradable, and without any chemical binders. This fulfills the highest environmental standards for the end products and enables production of certified nonwovens quality according to the latest EDANA/INDA guidelines for flushable wipes.

Successful performance by the Andritz neXline wetlace sets a new benchmark in Asia and underlines Andritz’s position as one of the global market leaders for the supply of complete nonwovens lines, key components, and services.

Dalian Ruiguang Nonwoven Group is one of the leading Chinese producers of nonwovens, supplying its products mainly to international customers. “The flushable wipes produced on the neXline wetlace line are excellent and fulfill the highest environmental standards. Our customers are more than satisfied,” says Mr. Gu Yuanming, President of Dalian Ruiguang.

Huntsman Introduces High IQ Sun Protect

Huntsman Textile Effects has extended the High IQ performance assurance scheme to help mills, brands and retailers meet consumer demand for garments and accessories with built-in sun protection.

High IQ Sun Protect provides an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of up to 50 and above, providing the wearer with the highest level of protection for the lifetime of the garment, according to the manufacturer.

Consumers around the world are increasingly aware of the harmful effects of sun exposure. Children are known to be particularly vulnerable, but all those who work outdoors or who enjoy outdoor activities are at risk. Tested against the highest industry standards, High IQ Sun Protect has been developed to guard against damaging UV-A and UV-B rays to ensure maximum protection. It does not impair the natural aesthetics of the fabric, and prolonged exposure to sunlight and multiple laundering will not degrade the protection or fade the colours, the company explains.

“Consumers today want maximum protection from the sun’s harmful rays, especially when it comes to protecting children. With Huntsman’s High IQ Sun Protect assurance programme, we offer peace of mind when outdoors and exposed to the sun. Our innovative technology ensures protection at the highest levels in textiles that carry the High IQ Sun Protect label, while remaining durable over the lifetime of the garment,” said Lee Howarth, Global Marketing Manager, Huntsman Textile Effects.

 Only mills that meet Huntsman’s stringent requirements earn the right to use the High IQ performance assurance hang tags as point-of-sale product branding. High IQ Sun Protect is said to be ideal for a broad range of fabrics and garments, including clothing for children and babies, swimwear, sportswear, workwear and school uniforms, as well as hats, pram covers, umbrel- las and other accessories.

The technology used to produce the High IQ Sun Protect effect complies with the requirements of bluesign for safe and sustainable textile production. Furthermore, fabrics produced with High IQ Sun Protect effect are suitable for Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex.

Our Priority is Nonwoven Production with Biodegradable Polymers

With the advancements of textile technology and synthetic fibers, smart textiles now covers the fields of nanotechnology, material science, design and textile engineering. Emerged as a result of interdisciplinary researches in electronics and computer engineering and medicine, smart textiles started to occupy  have begun to gain an important place in the textiles and ready-to-wear industries study such as medicine.

Starting its education services in 1966 as İzmir Textile Technical High School, today the Department of Textile Engineering boatsts to be one Turkey’s oldest, modern and comprehensive textile education institutions. Since its inception, it has been training problem-solving engineers for the Turkish textile industry, who are equipped with an up-to-date and high quality education, open to improve, creative, aware of responsibilities, and have a strong communication engineers.

We present to you as the Textile Technology Magazine, the informative interview we have made with Assoc. Prof. Deniz DURAN of the Department of Textile Engineering at Aegean University, on smart textiles and nonwoven surfaces.

Can you tell us about your studies in your laboratory, smart textiles and what innovations it has brought?

In our laboratory, researches are conducted on both smart textiles and nonwoven textiles. Our studies on smart textiles has mainly concentrated on the areas of conductive and electromagnetic protective textiles. Conductive textiles are textile structures that have the ability to transmit electrical charges unlike conventional textile structures. Demand for conductive fibers and textile structures is increasing every day. Researches on conducting polymers have become very important in the last 20 years,. One of the functions that the electrical conductivity brings to textiles is the electromagnetic protection

Why is it necessary to have electromagnetic protection and what is its importance for public health?

Radiation spread from the electromagnetic fields (EMF) in high tension lines, such as high voltage lines, is a social problem. The electrical and electronic devices we use in the daily lfie and in the professional area are emitting electromagnetic waves. There are reports about exposure to the electromagnetic field, causing people to have various health problems. For this reason, electromagnetic protection is an important issue for public health.

What kind of studies are you carrying out in the laboratory to provide electromagnetic shielding?

Our research in this area is carried out by undergraduate and graduate dissertations and the R&D projects supported by the Ministry of Industry and the Scientific and Technological research Council of Turkey.

Conductive and electromagnetic protective textiles are made with production of conductive yarns, woven and knitted fabrics, nonwoven production methods on conductive textiles and coating/lamination techniques. Electromagnetic shielding effectiveness measurements are tested in our laboratory with electromagnetic shielding effectiveness measurement system, which is produced in the frequency range of 30 MHz-6 GHz in a frequency range of 30 MHz-6 GHz, in accordance with EN50147-1 standard. In this way, the closest results are achieved.

Tests on electromagnetic shielding efficiency are conducted with electromagnetic shielding efficiency measurement system in our laboratory, by producing real electromagnetic waves in the frequency range of 30 MHz-6 GHz completely isolated from the environment with the anechoic chamber principle, in accordance with EN50147-1 standard and and applying them on textile materials. Thus, we achieve most real-time results.

This way, designing, production and performance tests on many finished textile products for both daily and professional use are carried out. Researches on the conditions in which healthcare staff who are intensively exposed to electromagnetic radiation in the workplace, and the sensitive products for white collar workers or pregnant women and children who should not be exposed to electromagnetic waves.

Which machines do you have in your laboratory and for what purposes do you use them?

We have a meltblown line, an automatic feeder line, an airlaid elbowsheet and binder fixture, a laboratory-type coating and laminating machine, a tufting machine and a recycling line for the nonwoven surfaces. Innovative product development and R&D studies are maintained  by using these machines and relevant methods.

In the needling method, which allows processing of synthetic and natural fibers, fiber bundles are fed to the combs by air-flow after opening and blending. After carding, the cheesecloth are taken to the laying and folding band with the swan-neck apparatus and is laid on top according to the desired thickness. Needling is carried out throughout the thickness of the cheesecloth/padding which is formed by unfixed fibers. The notched needles move fibers from one face of the cheesecloth to the other side to form a complex structure, one part of the fibers which form the cover, which are loose during the needling, stick up to the needles and remain in place, and the fibers are pulled down with the needles reattached. This way, mechanical interlocking of the fibers is completed.

What is the Meltblown method?

The meltblown method is when thermoplastic raw material is melted in the extruder and sprayed in high-speed airflow through the rolls in the form of microfibers on the cylinder, and forms the final surface by self-bonding. In this method, the polymer material/melt dissolved in the extruder is sprayed through the nozzle holes, with a flow of hot air at high speed and the micro-sized fibers, cool and solidify as they move towards the collecting cylinder. The solidifying fibers are randomly orientated in the picking cylinder and form the nonwoven textile surface. The Meltblown method is a single step process, and is the shortest method fpr textile surface production as known currently.

Can you talk about your productions and what areas are they targeting?

In our melt blown laboratory, we conduct production of microfibrous nonwoven surfaces and our studies on this subject. We have some finished and ongoing projects in the fields of medicine and hygiene textiles, insulation, three dimensional sandwich nonwoven textiles, recycling and biodegradation, agricultural textiles, nonwoven-reinforced composites and automotive textiles. By producing surfaces with the combination of melt blowing and some other methods such as needle punching, we focus on nonwoven medical textile products, which speed up the treatment process, increase patient comfort during treatment and facilitate application to healthcare personnel. In addition to all these features, nonwoven surfaces, especially those with microfibers, increase the hygiene by exhibiting very good barrier features thanks to the enlarged surface area and small size pores. We countiue our researches on the meltblown surfaces to increase hygiene.

We have also carried out reserches on the biodegradable nonwoven surfaces for the agriculture field, which are destroyed in nature and do not harm the nature after having fulfilled the function expected of them.

Insulation materials are very important components in terms of both energy saving and enhancing the comfort of life, which are not noticed in the first place by the buyers in the construction and automotive industries. No doubt, nonwoven textile, especially three dimensional sandwich textures, are ideal materials for heat and sound insulation thanks to their random fiber orientation and hollow structure. In this context, we carry out studies in our laboratory to make insulation materials for the automotive and construction industries by combining meltblown, needling and other methods on structures achieved with the methods of needling and lamination.

Today’s most important issues for the automotive industry are energy saving, lightness and recycling, i.e. sustainability. For this reason, the share of textile materials in the automotive industry grows every day. To this end, we are working on nonwoven surface structures and mechanical engineering, which will both lighten the construction and provide insulation in the automotive industry as well as composites with reinforced nonwoven textiles. We also appreciate the use of natural fibers and recycled fibers in this area.

Can you tell us about your researches on recycling and the recycling process in your laboratory?

Sustainability, as it is known, is one of the most important issues in the textiles industry in recent years, as well as in many other industries. We also continue to work on this important issue in our laboratory. All kinds of textile waste are recycled into fibers in the guillotine and chiffon machines in our recycling line.

In the guillotine machine, fabrics, garments or textile wastes classified according to the raw material type or color are separated from the metal parts and fed to the conveyor band. A metal detector detects the metal alloys, which may be contained in the material fed to the conveyor belt, and if it detects any, it stops the band and sends a signal. The machine continues to operate after the metal part is removed. Cutting dimensions can be set by adjusting the speed of the conveyor belt with the frequency setting on the control panel. When it is conveyed with the material supply band, it is compressed in a certain position by the upper pressure rollers and fed regularly to the cutting outlet. The upper knife on the machine is mobile while the lower knife is fixed. The material, fed by the up and down movements of the upper blade is separated into small pieces.

Textile wastes separated into small pieces in the guillotine machine are fed to the chiffon machine. Then, the fiberized wastes taken from the chiffon machine can be used alone or in combination with non-recycled natural or synthetic fibers to produce nonwoven surfaces or as composite reinforcement material. In processing these fibers, needling and airless crimping methods yield good results.

What kind of collaborations have you been engaged in so far?

So far, we have been engaged in collaborations with various companies both in the fields of conductive and electromechanical protective textiles and nonwoven materials in the scope of projects by the Ministry of Industry and the Scientific and Technological research Council of Turkey. Within these projects, we have developed textile products for daily and professional use, which have electrical conductivity and other features of texture, use and comfort provided by conventional textiles. Designing, production and performance tests for these products are carried out within the companies and departments which we are in cooperation with. We also work together with different departments of our university, such as mechanical engineering, for interdisciplinary studies. We would also like to point out that we are always ready to cooperate with companies and other universities, which want to work with us on these issues.

What will be your new projects?

In our new projects, we plan to utilize our know-how and experience in the field of conductive and smart textiles for designing and production of specific products, to bring together different functions, and to cooperate with different sectors.

About nonwoven textiles, our studies will continue to intensify on medicine and hygiene, agricultural textiles, automotive textiles, insulation, recycling and sustainability. Because of the importance we attach on sustainability, biodegradable polymers and nonwoven textile production will continue to be our priorities. In the near future, we will also focus on filtration, for which we have already completed the preliminary works.

Stoll Launches New Extra-Wide Bed Flat Knitting Machine

Flat knitting machine builder Stoll has revealed details of a new machine it intends to launch at this year’s ITMA Asia + CITME exhibition.

The new machine is an extra wide-bed version of the successful ADF technology. Designated the ADF 830-24 W and suitable for the production of large textiles, oversizes, unusual cuts or long patterns, this new model has a working width of 84 ins and can be used for a variety of applications including fashion and technical textiles.

The ADF 830-24 W is also equipped with the renowned Stoll-weave-in technology, which allows the production of textiles with weave-like optics and properties. This translates into a range of advantages by directly affecting form, comfort and flexibility; unlike traditional knitwear, says Stoll, weave-like textiles are more stretchable and more comfortable depending on the type of knit. In addition, they can be preformed in the machine and provided with 3D elements.

Based on the successful ADF technology, the ADF 830-24 W also offers advantages with its yarn carriers, which are independent of the carriage and allow a particularly high degree of flexibility. Each pair of carriers is mounted on a total of 12 tracks on the ADF 830-24 W and can be moved both horizontally and vertically, can be easily programmed and quickly equipped with yarn.

Also available is the EKC operating system, which, with its intuitive operating system, makes training and usage more straightforward.

“The ADF 830-24 W represents a user-friendly gain for textile production – from day one,” says Stoll.