SMART TEXTILES AND ICT SOLUTIONS

AITEX develops R+D+I projects to create Smart textiles and ICT solutions for the textile industry and is also closely involved in new technology assessment, consultation and transfer.
The Institute has the technological infrastructure necessary for this field of research.

• Textronic laboratory
• High-performance embroiderer
• Experimental equipment to print electronic circuits on fabrics
• Experimental artificial vision equipment
• Experimental 3D printer

LINES OF RESEARCH

➢ Smart textiles
Smart textiles can detect and react to physiological, environmental, mechanical, electrical or magnetic external stimuli to provide the wearer with an additional benefit and often incorporate information and communication components.

I. Textronic sensorisation: the integration of electronic devices in textile structures
This line of research studies the development of projects concerned with the following:
• Monitoring physiological variables to control the wearer’s state of health.
• A textile climatisation system to keep the wearer comfortable in hot or cold weather.
• Sensorised fabrics to protect the wearer in hostile manufacturing environments.
• Light-emitting fabrics with integrated LEDs
• Kinetic textile systems which can generate power using movement or impacts.

II. Printed electronics
Advances in printers and inks have meant that successive layers of material can be built up, each with different conductive and electrochemical properties and characteristics which in turn means that new applications can be created such as:

• Light-emitting textile structures
• Photovoltaic textile structures
• Self-heating textile structures
• Pressure, tactile, chemical and biological sensors
• Flexible printed circuits

III. The functionalisation of yarns and fabrics
Advances in materials have meant that the fibre, yarn, fabric or the finished garment itself can now be enhanced with functions:
• Photo and thermoactive yarns
• Luminescent yarns
• Photovoltaic fabrics
• Technical textiles

IV. 3D printing
3D printing allows much shorter lead times between product design and final production and is cheaper and easier to operate than other additive manufacturing processes. This research line mainly studies the following:

• Flexible plastic casings for wearable electronic devices
• Low-cost engineering components for incorporation into production processes.
• Prototypes developed with conductive materials

➢ ICT solutions

Among the many advantages of the industrial applications provided by information and communication technology, ICT helps optimise industrial processes, improving performance, sales management and contact between clients and suppliers as well as providing better data management tools to aid the decision-making process.

I. Artificial vision
AV is an extremely useful tool for acquiring, processing and analysing images captured during high-speed, repetitive processes which would be impossible with the naked eye. The Institute is working on the following research and development lines:
• New image-capturing and processing techniques to develop automatic default-detection systems for the textile manufacturing line.
• Analysis of the critical points in the weaving process using high-speed cameras.
• Analytical studies of the impact of a bullet on bulletproof panels using high-speed cameras.

II. RFID technology
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) improves the traceability of products through the supply chain and optimises stock control, speeds up order processing and reduces picking errors. AITEX is working on projects related to the following lines:

• The development of smart ID and tracking systems for in-store clothing stock
• The development of emitting antennae integrated into a garment
• Integrating antennae into a PPE to track the wearer

III. Industria 4.0
The core goal of Industria 4.0 is the introduction of digital technology into industry to allow devices and systems to interact and modify or adapt processes, products and business models. To this end, help will be provided to textile companies seeking to implant innovative digital systems in the following fields:

• Business solutions
• Smart solutions and control (Big Data & Analytics)
• Collaborative platforms
• Cyber security
• Computing and the cloud
• Connectivity and mobility
• 3D printing
• Advanced robotics
• Embedded sensors and systems

IV. Emotional interactive commerce
This line of research is studying the development of Neuromarketing and emotional engineering tools to analyse the evolution of consumer tastes and preferences with respect to different brands and services and interact with social media.

The linguistic and emotional analysis of consumer comments about products is used to develop more advanced and interactive e-commerce platforms.

Work in this field is also looking at complementary technology like semantic webs, content crawlers, virtual assistants, augmented reality and 3D environment simulators.

V. Information systems and e business
The above systems help to improve productivity and process control and optimise resource management. The Institute offers a consultancy service for textile and garment-making companies who wish to incorporate advanced freeware management tools such as Eneboo ERP Textil, Alfresco document management and Saiku Business Intelligence into their business.