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. 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 cooper- ation 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 air- craft 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. Ultimately, this material could enable us to approach design and construction in an entirely new fashion.”

 

Rostec Produces Chameleon Helmet to Equip the “Soldier of the Future”

Rostec has presented a unique camouflage coating for military vehicles and soldiers’ equipment able to mimic the color of the environment at the Army 2018 forum. The company illustrated the possibilities of the material with a soldier’s helmet made for the advanced, third generation equipment Ratnik. The chameleon cover is on displayed at the corporation’s permanent exhibition in Patriot Park.

The specialized electrically-operated material covering the helmet prototype is able to change color depending on the camouflaged surface and environment. The material can display dynamic changes of color intensity and simulate complex images, for example, the motion of leaves in the wind. Within Rostec, the development is performed by Ruselectronics and TSNIITOCHMASH.

“Existing types of camouflage do not change their masking properties depending on changes in the back- ground. For example, soldiers will not be seen in a forest against greenery, but they will be visible against sand or snow. An innovative coating created by Ruselectronics provides unique op- portunities for masking. We are demonstrating how it works using one element of equipment, i.e., a helmet. However, its application is much broader. It can be used in clothing, weapons, and military  equipment,” said Industrial Director of the Armament Cluster of Rostec Sergey Abramov.

This technology can be used to create clothing that changes color and pattern depending on a person’s modd

The coating is applied to the base, like ordinary paint, and does not require great accuracy in terms of thickness and uniformity. In particular, this means that repairs can be carried out in the field. The power consumption in continuous adaptation mode is no greater than that of an energy saving lamp. The mass of the coating is just a few hundred grams per square meter.

In the future, the technology could be applied in civilian sectors as well. For example, in the textile industry, it can be used to create clothing that changes color and pattern depending on a person’s mood.

 

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.

Brückner Sustains Position as Market Leader in the Field of Machines for Electronic Glass

The rapid developments in the field of electronics lead to an ever increasing demand for so-called electronic glass. As a consequence almost all well-known producers of electronic glass have a Brückner glass fabric finishing line in their plants.

The users of modern communication and semiconductor technology expect increasing capacity with lower weight. In reverse this leads to a rapid increase of the demand for electronic glass of the highest possible quality. Five years ago a surface weight of 48 g/m² was the standard for producers of electronic glass but in the meantime the standard is approx. 23 g/m². The leading producers in this field dare already to produce and use woven glass with a weight of 12 g/m².

The extreme yarn and fiber fineness presents however a certain limit for the processing of these light woven fabrics. Currently it cannot be assessed if this trend can and will continue. These woven fabrics are disputed among doctors and biologists. Broken filaments of micro dimensions, which do inevitably occur during the processing of the glass fabric, get with the inhaled air into the lungs and from there possibly into the blood circulation.

The extremely low fabric weight is however an enormous challenge for the supplier of the machinery. The highest possible precision when controlling minimum tractions, an absolute parallelism in the alignment of guide rollers and fabric accumulators, the use of special acid-resisting stainless steel and highly effective fabric path cleaning technology are just as obligatory as a minimum consumption of electrical energy and process heat and a highly effective exhaust air cleaning according to the latest state of the art.

Brückner meets these challenges for years and continuously develops its lines for continuous desizing and finishing. As a consequence almost all well-known producers of electronic glass have a Brückner glass fabric finishing line in their plants. These lines produce with the highest possible reliability on more than 330 days a year and round the clock with fabric speeds of up to 120 m/min.

This reliability, the high productivity and the possibility to process not only extremely light but also a wide range of fabric weights with the required quality makes Brückner a dependable partner for the producers of electronic glass.

The orders placed with Brückner during the last 12 months for such lines exceeded by far all expectations. Several customers in Taiwan and China ordered glass fabric finishing lines, among them continuous desizing lines and finishing lines for extremely light fabric. With these lines Brückner proves again their market leadership in this particular segment.

RSG Automation Technics is Honored as Growth Champion

For a long time now, RSG Automation Technics, based in Bietigheim-Bissingen near Stuttgart, has established itself internationally as a world-leader for special facilities in the field of fully or semi-automated processing of narrow band textiles. This Success was impressively proven.

The recognized and renown business journal “FOCUS Business” determined the top 500 from a database of 3.6 million German companies, which were able to establish the highest increase in sales in the years 2013 to 2016.

With an increase in sales of 30%, RSG is on first place among German textile machine manufacturers.

Among all German machine and facility manufacturers RSG is on an outstanding 15th place, and is on place 378 Germany-wide. For this RSG was now awarded to be “growth champion 2018” by FOCUS Business.

“This historic success is of course a milestone for our company and all employees. Therefore, our special thanks go, of course, to our customers for their long years of trust”, comments managing director Dr. Andreas Ecker proudly, and Sales Director Maik Eisenhardt is happy “that the innovative steps of the last years were confirmed by this success. The task now is to build upon this, and to continue to internationally strengthen the RSG brand.”

The automation solutions of RSG allow fully automated processing and packaging of products, such as lifting and lashing straps, loops, seat and safety belts, but also hook-and-loop materials, medical textiles, and filter materials.

Andritz Has Enhanced its Textile Calender Product Portfolio

Together with the prestigious ramisch® technologies, which are now part of the Andritz portfolio, Andritz has advanced to become one of the top addresses in the textile calender market. The Andritz teXcal calender range has been characterized for many decades by highest quality standards, outstanding performance, reliability, flexibility for any textile application. An all-embracing, first-class product and service portfolio is at the customers’ disposal.

Andritz delivers carding solutions perfectly suited to every application and process demand for needlepunch, spunlace, and air-through bonding. Whether for durable applications, such as geotextile, filtration, or automotive, or for disposable end-uses, such as wipes, cotton pads, medical applications or face masks, Andritz offers a wide range of carding solutions to meet customers’ needs. One highlight of the Andritz portfolio is the innovative TT card, which provides perfect web uniformity at very high speed.

The Air- Through Bonding Technology for Hygiene Industry

Andritz offers customized solutions to nonwovens producers for hygiene end-uses, such as top sheets and acquisition distribution layers, using the air-through bonding process. With the Andritz flat oven, customers benefit from high production capacity and high-performance fabrics from 16 to 80 gsm, produced with bicomponent fibers. The CETI European Institute in Lille, France, recently installed an air-through bonding oven from Andritz. Customers are welcome to visit and conduct trials.

Milliken Launches First-Ever Fluorine Free Eco-Based Performance Fabric

Milliken & Company, a leading global textile technology company, recently launched Breathe by MillikenTM, a new and unique collection of eco-elegant performance upholstery fabrics that are durable, repel everyday stains and clean easily without compromising the fabric’s look or soft feel.

The industry’s first fluorine-free performance fabrics available in both natural and manmade fibers, Breathe fabrics are a sustainable option, designed and responsibly manufactured using natural or recycled fibers made from plastic bottles and a remarkable plantbased water repellent. Milliken created Breathe textiles with discerning consumers in mind to address the growing need for more environmentally-friendly, effective and high-quality performance home upholstery fabrics. Breathe by Milliken fabrics have been extensively tested by certified third parties and meet or exceed industry standards including flammability, water repellency, soil release, spot cleaning, colorfastness, abrasion resistance and pilling. Breathe fabrics meet these standards without adding fluorine, formaldehyde, fire retardants or other chemicals of concern. Unlike common sprayon stain resistance treatments, Breathe fabrics are engineered textiles, providing lasting protection and peace of mind.
All Breathe by MillikenTM fabrics have also achieved GREEN- GUARD® GOLD certification, which gives assurance that products designed for use in indoor spaces meet strict chemical emissions limits, contributing to the creation of healthier interiors. “Today’s consumers are better informed and more concerned about product content than ever before – who makes it, what it is made of and how it is made,” said David Smith, vice president, Engineered Performance Products, Milliken & Company. “Every aspect of this product was designed to address this concern. Consumers can breathe easy knowing their beautiful furniture is protected from stains and wear in a much more sustainable way.” Breathe by Milliken fabrics are sold directly to furniture manufacturers and retailers who specify fabric and will be available at select national retailers beginning in Spring 2017.

AMSilk Presented In The World’s First High-Performance Sports Shoe

Biosteel fibers from AMSilk receive certification for product safety and confirmation of biological degradability.

AMSilk GmbH has reached a further important milestone in its business segment Industrial Applications & Textiles: The high standards of the production and product development process at AMSilk as well as the biological degradability of the AMSilk Biosteel® fibers were confirmed by two renowned institutes: the Hohenstein Institute and the SGS Institute Fresenius. Product safety and biodegradability are highly relevant to Biosteel® products.InNovember,AMSilk together with adidas presented in New York the world’s first high-performance sports shoe, with an upper material entirely consisting of the completely biodegradable AMSilk Biosteel® fibers. This makes
AMSilk the first biotech company to have market-ready functional products with biotechnologically produced functional silk biopolymers. Previously, AMSilk had succeeded in producing the high-performance Biosteel® fiber on an industrial, near- production scale as well as in producing Biosteel® fabrics.
Certification in accordance with OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 The Biosteel® fiber received the certification in accordance with OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 (Confidence in Textiles) for product class 1 by the renowned Hohenstein Institute. This certification shows that the Biosteel® fibers reach the highest standard for textile applications. Textiles receiving this certification have been submitted to tests regarding pollutants and product safety, and in the case of product class 1 are without reservation also suitable for babies and children below the age of 3.

Biological degradability in accordance with OECD 301B
Furthermore, SGS Institute Fresenius confirmed that the AMSilk Biosteel® fibers are biodegradable. The silk material was subjected to a standard test examining the biodegradability in accordance with OECD Norm 301B and was defined as “readily biodegradable”. This is the best test result possible.

Development of further Biosteel® products
“The sports shoes made of natureidentical silk biopolymers and developed together with adidas set new standards regarding the sustainability and functionality of textiles. Further products currently in development with renowned international cooperation partners from industry and textile branch will follow,” said Jens Klein, CEO of AMSilk.

Cutting-Edge Hi-tech Fibres

For more than 20 years, Advansa marks its position as one of the main suppliers for the nonwoven wallpaper industry and offers high-quality fibres made by advanced production technology from Germany.

Advansa develops specifically designed polyester fibres with modified crosssections and coloured, binder fibres. The company has a large portfolio of customized products with more than 35 individual fibre types for nonwoven wallpapers. For the production of the nonwoven material for wallpaper, Advansa does not only offer standard fibre with a cross-section of 12 μm and cut length of 6mm. In order to infiuence the properties such as roughness or thickness, there are also fibres available with lower and higher diameters, shorter and longer cut lengths. Even within the portfolio of the standard dimensions, Advansa has a differentiated offer in order to balance properties such as thermal shrinkage as well as wet dimensional stability. In this way, nonwoven producers can adjust the attributes of their products according to the requirements of the wallpaper manufacturers needed in terms of processing and properties of the final product. The major factor here is Advansa’s complementary technology which completely covers the range of achievable physical properties and which is an instrument for further developments. The result is an optimal processing feature at every stage of the process chain with fibre know-how from German production. Due to the high quality of fibres, wide range of products and service quality, Advansa offers its customers a high level of productivity as well as a differentiation in the market. The company can adapt quickly to the needs of its customers thanks to its optimal location and fiexibility and can support developments; resulting in an
increase of the product value.

Transformation to Technical Textile Within Textile Sector Will be Via TEKSMER

Being one of the leaders among sectors that act as a locomotive in Turkey’s export and employment, textile sector is on the verge of a transformation in the Aegean Region. Founded as a result of a 4-year effort for the production and devel- opment of technical textile products of high added value, the Technical Textiles Research and Application Center (TEKSMER) started to work with all its functions.

Founded in Dokuz Eylül University Campus with the coopera- tion of Aegean Textile and Raw Materials Exporters’ Association, Aegean Ready Wear and Garment Exporters’ Association and Dokuz Eylül University and with the support of İzmir Development Agency, TEKSMER will be making history in transforming the textile sector in Aegean Region. Stating that they are aiming to make İzmir the cap-
ital of technical textile via works to be conducted by Technical Textiles Research and Application Center, Head Coordinator of Aegean Exporters’ Association Sabri Ünlütürk added that the worldwide textile industry is undergoing a transformation process towards technical textiles and that they founded TEKSMER so as not to miss this transformation. Pointing that there has been a stall in Turkey’s
export in the last 5 years, Ünlütürk said: “We have to strengthen our R&D infrastructure so as to overcome the stagnation in exports and to ensure sustainability in exports. With TEKSMER, we will more from traditional export products to value added products. In order to reach the 20 billion dollars export target set by the textile sector for the year 2023, we have to multiply the examples similar to TEKSMER”. Providing the information that they founded TEKSMER with a technical expertise that will be able to conduct tests that could not be conducted in Turkey, Ünlütürk continued: “One of the upcoming scenarios for our technical textile sector is a labora- tory, where everything from yarn to the last point is possible. We have a device that does not exist in Turkey. We brought in a fiber drafting device, and our purpose is to produce fiber and yarn starting from the raw material needed by the techni- cal textile sector”.

The Future is in Technical Textile
Stating that the yarn and fabric exporters within the body of Aegean Textile and Raw Materials Exporters’ Association start- ed the URGE project named “Transfer from Conventional Production to Technical Textile Production” so as to develop the exports of products focused on technical textiles with high added value, EİB Head Coordinator Sabri Ünlütürk shared that 75% of the expenditure to be made by the companies in the project will be supported by the Ministry of Economy. Stating that they invited textile companies in Aegean Region to a sem- inar to be held on 20 December 2016 at Aegean Exporters’ Association called “Future is in Technical Textile” so as to explain them the URGE project called “Transfer from Conventional Production to Technical Textile Production”, Ünlütürk said: “We aim for the project participant companies to produce value added products and to increase their export potentials. We want to increase the market shares and vari- eties of the project participant companies, to gain continuity for their exports / productions, to develop their export market- ing abilities and support them effectively”. First of all, the companies taking part in URGE Project called “Transfer from Conventional Production to Technical Textile Production” will be subjected to needs analysis and they will take part in the training and consulting programs to be held in accordance with this analysis results. In the following process, it will be possible for the companies to participate in joint marketing activities such as marketing abroad, fair / exhibit participation, sectoral commerce committee and purchasing committees.