Author

Beatriz Domenech

IFAST 2021

AITEX is the leader of the European Defence Agency (EDA) project, “Smart textiles in defence: looking at the soldiers of the future (STILE)”, whose endpoint is a proof of concept of a multifunctional smart textile model in defence. Due to its peculiarities, the STILE model is embedded within the dual use ecosystem, which is expected to get the attention of the EU industrial/research policy in the upcoming years.

Fórum Internacional IFAST

Within the scope of this project, the International Forum on Advanced and digitalised Smart Textiles (IFAST) took place online, on 15 and 16 June 2021, focusing on the development of advanced smart textiles in the European defence sector and on the foundation of a possible European future dual use programme for multifunctional smart textiles. The IFAST International Forum had a broad participation of relevant stakeholders coming from governmental defence bodies, industry, academia and R&T communities, as well as European institutions and organizations, with 230 registered participants, coming from 24 EU Member States and EU associated countries, counting on the presence of representatives of different Institutional and Governmental Bodies, such as the European Commission, the Ministries of Defence of various EU Member States, and the European Defence Agency. Initially planned in Lisbon, the event was organised in online format, due to the covid restrictions. IFAST was composed of an Exhibition Centre, where industries, academia and research organisations presented their products, services and projects in the areas of smart, advanced and digitalised textiles, by means of virtual booths, and a Conference Area, in which several keynote speeches were given, the results of the STILE Project were presented and two panels were organised:

  • Panel 1. Foresight on advanced and digitalised smart textiles in the European defence sector.

Smart Textiles are a new generation of materials and systems with advanced multifunctional properties which, given their ability of being integrated into uniforms and platforms, have drawn the attention of defence stakeholders. In this context, the European Defence Agency (EDA) has incorporated the Smart Textiles into the Strategy Research Agenda (SRA) of the CapTech Materials & Structures. This panel reflected on the envisaged evolution of the smart textiles in the upcoming years and their role and potential applications within the European defence field.

  • Panel 2. Visualising a European dual use programme for multifunctional smart textiles.

The field of Smart Textiles can be applied to both the military and civil sectors, being therefore defined as a dual use technology. This enables a wide range of potential cross-fertilising exchanges between both sectors. Due to the increasing interest toward dual use applications at European level, this panel contemplated different perspectives about developing a European dual use programme for multifunctional smart textiles, analysing the advantages and challenges of making a programme on this matter available as well as the potential roadmap that should be defined and followed to achieve its implementation.  

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juguetes

On 14 April 2021, the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) published Toy Safety Standard EN 71-3: 2019 + A1: 2021: Migration of certain elements. All CEN members must adopt and publish their own national standard by 31 October 2021.

– The main change from one version to the other is the adaptation to the new legal migration limits for aluminium in all three categories.

Category 1

Category 2

Category 3

2250 mg/kg

560 mg/kg 

28130 mg/kg

habitación de niños con juguetes

– In addition, the new version also incorporates the following changes:

  1. Mention that it is up to the user to decide whether their toy is included in the scope of any of the parts of the EN 71 series.
  2. Mention that the following technical reports have been published in relation to the EN 71 series.

 – CEN/TR 15071 ‘Safety of toys – National translations of warnings and instructions for use in EN 71 series’.

  – CEN/TR 15371 Parts 1 and 2 ‘Safety of toys – Interpretations’.

  – CEN/TR 16918 ‘Safety of toys – Children’s mouthing behaviour in contact with toys’.

  – CEN ISO/TR 8124-8 ‘Safety of toys – Age determination guidelines’.

The current version EN 71-3: 2019, which was harmonised in October 2019, continues to provide a presumption of conformity with the EU Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC until the new version is published in the Official Journal of the European Union. (OJEU).

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ecodiseño

World Recycling Day was celebrated on 17 May to raise awareness of the importance of correct waste management in order to protect the environment.

One of the main environmental impacts affecting the Earth is the enormous volume of waste produced by the textile sector, coupled with its low recycling rate. More than 85% of products discarded by consumers ends up in landfills or is incinerated, and barely 13% is recycled in some way after use. Most is transformed into other lower value items such as rags, insulation or filler material and less than 1% is recycled into new fibre.

 

Textile waste recycling at AITEX

Recycling in the textile sector is via a range of approaches (mechanical and chemical) using different technologies and sources (bottles, manufacturing waste, net waste, carpets, fabrics, etc.).

One of the most highly-developed recycling processes due to its low cost and simplicity, is the mechanical recycling of synthetic fibres (especially polyester, which is the most widely used), involving melting and re-extruding the polyester. However, a lot of recycled fibre does not come from textile waste but from other sources such as used plastics.

proyecto meltex desarrollado por aitex

AITEX’s work in this area is through the MELTEX 2021 project, whose main objective is to validate the applicability of recycled materials from thermoplastic textiles in new textile raw materials and products from related industries, fostering intersectoral cooperation and creating business opportunities in textile companies that generate thermoplastic waste, either in their own production process or in other industrial areas related to textiles, although outside their daily activity.

 

Chemical recycling is an alternative approach due to the limitations of mechanical recycling. In this case, the waste is transformed in a chemical reactor to return it to its original state, recovering the quality of the original material. These closed-loop fibre-to-fibre processes are still under development and have not yet reached the commercial stage or large-scale market penetration.

proyecto chemup desarrollado por AITEX

AITEX is responding to the challenge through the CHEMUP project, which aims to create yarn from biopolymers, such as PHB, PBS and PLA, and from PET textile waste which has been chemically recycled through glycolysis. This produces textile fibre that can be transformed into high value-added products at the end of its useful life.

 

Ecodesign at AITEX

The sector faces significant challenges and barriers to ensure the successful recycling of textile waste. One of the most relevant is the cost effective and environmentally sustainable revaluation of fibre blends. Other fundamental aspects are the separation and sorting processes, carried out manually, raising recycling costs and creating a recycling bottleneck.

proyecto green thinking desarrollado por AITEX

Some keys to enabling textile repair, reuse and recycling would be the design of mono-material products or, where appropriate, products that can be disassembled and separated into components for recycling. This approach of incorporating environmental criteria from the initial design of the product is known as Ecodesign.

AITEX is working on this through the GREEN THINKING project to demonstrate how applying the principles of eco-design significantly reduces environmental impact in different sectors of the textile industry in the Valencian Community.

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IFAST 2021

ifastThe International Forum on Advanced and digitalised Smart Textiles (IFAST) will take place online, on 15 and 16 June 2021, with the objective to evaluate the development of advanced smart textiles in the European defence sector, aiming at laying the foundation of a possible European future dual use programme for multifunctional smart textiles.

The event is organised within a European Defence Agency (EDA) project, “Smart textiles in defence: looking at the soldiers of the future (STILE)”, targeting the reach of a proof of concept of a multifunctional smart textile model in defence. Due to its peculiarities, the STILE model is embedded within the dual use ecosystem, which is expected to get the attention of the EU industrial/research policy in the upcoming years.

The event will gather relevant stakeholders coming from governmental defence bodies, industry (dual use), academia and R&T communities, as well as European institutions and organizations.

The IFAST forum is composed of an Exhibition Centre, where industries, academia and research organisations can have a free booth (virtual stand) to showcase their products, services and projects in the areas of smart/advanced/digitalised textiles, and a Conference Area, organised in the following panels:

  • Panel 1. Foresight on advanced and digitalised smart textiles in the European defence sector. 
  • Panel 2. Visualising a European dual use programme for multifunctional smart textiles.

The conference will take place on 15 June 2021, while the exhibition centre will be accessible on 15 June and the morning of 16 June 2021.
Participants are offered a free opportunity to provide an abstract and a poster, using the ad hoc templates that can be downloaded in the IFAST website (https://www.ifast-stile.eu/abstracts/).

The participation to the IFAST Exhibition area (15 June and morning of 16 June) will be based on the submission of an abstract describing the company products, services or projects.

Participants are also welcomed to ask for a place in the pitching session (that will take place in the morning of 16 June). Since the time slots for pitches are limited, the IFAST Organising Committee will make a selection on the basis of the abstracts submitted by the pitch applicants, based on their originality, technical quality and scientific merit. Participants requesting a virtual booth will get priority in the selection. Those participants, whose abstract will not be selected for the pitching session, will be offered to show a poster in a specific booth within the IFAST Exhibition area. Therefore, the exhibitors are kindly asked to submit also a poster, in case their abstract will not be selected for the pitching session.

Participants can also submit only an abstract, without any other option.

All the abstracts received with the proper content and format presentation will be included in a book of abstracts related to the Conference and Exhibition areas, which will be published after the IFAST event (with ISBN). The deadline to submit the abstracts/posters is 1 June 2021.

Only abstracts/posters coming from registered exhibitors will be considered for the booths, pitch session and book of abstracts.

In addition, the participants can become partners of the IFAST exhibition centre, under the commitment to submit an abstract and to contribute to the dissemination of the event through their network. Partners are offered a free opportunity to get their logo published on the IFAST website.

Further information about the International Forum IFAST (e.g. programme, speakers) can be found on the website https://www.ifast-stile.eu.

The registration is already open and can be made through the IFAST website at the link https://www.ifast-stile.eu/registration/

The participants are kindly invited to use the contact form on the website in order to receive more information on the above mentioned opportunities (e.g. booth, abstract/poster, pitch, partnership, registration) or sending an email directly to the functional mailbox info@ifast-stile.eu.

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logotipo de la agencia europea de defensa
logotipo de la agencia europea de defensa

The European Defence Agency (EDA) awards AITEX, as consortium leader, the framework contract for the provision of services in the field of “NBC Protection Research and Technology”.

The European Union has approved its first-ever defence research budget, estimated at more than 7 billion euros for the period 2021-2027. The budget has been designed to foster an innovative and competitive industrial base to increase Europe’s military autonomy.

In order to implement the programme, Brussels designed a pilot programme called the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR), to test the ability of European companies to undertake defence research projects.

AITEX is one of a handful of Spanish entities to lead a project within the initiative. Our R&D team is working on the development of the VESTLIFE project, through which the Institute has developed ballistic protection vests and which enables the European Commission to test how defence research can be integrated into its R&D programmes.

AITEX already has dedicated research lines developing protective textiles against a range of hazards such as the detection, identification and monitoring of NBC risks. The EDA awarded AITEX the framework contract for the provision of services in the field of “NBC Protection Research and Technology”.

The overall objective of the contract is to facilitate the implementation of the agency’s strategic research agenda in NBC protection, and to support the development of the projects it outlines. To this end, the AITEX-led consortium brings together all the experience and knowledge necessary to provide the expertise to properly implement the tasks envisioned by the contract and in addition, the Institute will evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on the implementation of the strategic research agenda.

The new contract is a continuation of AITEX’s successful collaboration with the EDA. Since 2012, the Institute has developed seven R&D projects for the Agency and this contract ensures that collaboration will run for another four years.

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zero waste

The textile sector is responsible for an extremely diverse range of waste, both in terms of its composition and its format. These materials could be considered as raw materials with high added value in different transformation processes, both in the textile sector and in other production sectors.

The best known models of circular economy applied to textile waste are the manufacture of regenerated yarns and nonwovens for applications such as thermal and acoustic insulation. However, textile waste, duly sorted and processed can be used in various technological processes, such as the formulation of plastic and elastomeric compounds, development of construction materials, manufacture of decorative elements, furniture and new solutions for other sectors such as packaging, favouring the intra and intersectorial circular economy.

In addition to dealing with the different applications of textile waste, the presentation details an approach to the lines of research developed by AITEX in collaboration with industrial partners in recent years in the field of circular economy applied to various textile waste. The combination of innovative recovery techniques and the subsequent use of different textile waste has resulted in added-value solutions. Success stories and technical and economic feasibility studies are highlighted, and the definition of the Up- and Down-cycling concepts is developed in depth.

 

Faldón logotipo IVACE
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REGULATIONS

30th March 2021

pcp

On 23 February 2021 the European Commission published a new regulation (2021/277) amending the limit for PCP and its salts and esters.

The Commission identified its presence as an impurity in some articles, in particular imported fabrics and in wood chips recovered for the production of wood-based panels.

Pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters are listed in Annex I of Regulation (EU) 2019/1021 with no unintentional trace contaminant limit value. It should be recalled that, for the same reason, it has recently been removed from REACH.

In order to allow for the continuous recycling of wood chips and to facilitate the monitoring of compliance with the Regulation, it has been decided to set an unintentional trace contaminant limit of 5mg/kg (0.0005% by weight) for pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters.

Therefore, in Part A of Annex I to Regulation (EU) 2019/1021, in the fourth column (‘Specific exemption with regard to a use as an intermediate or other specification’) of the entry for PCP and its salts and esters, the following text is added:

“For the purposes of this entry, Article 4(1) (b) shall apply to concentrations of PCP and its salts and esters of 5 mg/kg (0,0005 % by weight) or less, when present in substances, mixtures or articles.

 

This amendment came into force on 15th March 2021.

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R+D Projects

11th May 2021

AITEX has started up a programme of cooperative research with the award-winning artists from the second call of the RE-FREAM project to collaborate on sustainable finishes and dyes in the development of a new clothing range: Loreto Binvignat Streeter: “Sustainable Evolution” development of sustainable clothing dyed with micro-organisms.

IMG_7642 2

Alexander Bello: “NeoBotanical Tailoring”. The artist is currently working on the development of a clothing collection with natural dyes using innovative and sustainable technologies.

IMG_1557

Tim van der Loo and Sandra Nicoline Nielsen: “New Blue” have created a new concept based on the reuse of clothing, mainly denim, to create new fabrics that are cut into smaller pieces and then reassembled using embroidery, creating new fabrics. During the co-research process they will mainly work with technologies to give new functionalities to garments and to create new designs.

The following companies and associations are participating in the co-research that is being carried out in the Valencia Hub: CARE APPLICATION, a technology-based company located in Alcoy, PROFACTOR, a research centre in Steyr, Austria and HARATECH, an engineering company located in Linz, Austria. More information at: https://re-fream.eu/new-artists-awarded-welcome-to-re-fream/

1182188307_union_europea
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INNOVATION & LABORATORIES

30th March 2021

Oekotex standard 100 logo

As usual, at the beginning of the year, the OEKO-TEX® Association updated the applicable test criteria, limit values and requirements for its range of certifications and labels. The following new standards for OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 come into force on 1 April 2021 after a three-month transition period:

Changes in limit values

– PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and salts belonging to perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl compounds as well as PFOA-related substances that were still under observation in 2020 are again included in the criteria catalogues Appendices 4 and 6 of the OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100. – PFOA and salts Sum: 0.025 mg/kg – PFOA-related substances Sum: 1.0 mg/kg Note: already in force since 9th September 2020.

– The limit value for Bisphenol-A (PC I-IV) in the criteria catalogues Annex 4 and 6 of the OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 is reduced to the following – Bisphenol-A: 100 mg/kg (PC I-IV)

– For film materials with incorporated calcium bicarbonate/carbonate or talc, which do not have direct skin contact, the pH value range is 4.0-10.0.

– A limit value for the total content of heavy metals and the content of extractable (heavy) metals in fittings made of glass (PC II-IV) of 0.1% is introduced. This concerns lead and cadmium. The new footnote on page 3 is as follows: For fittings made of glass 0.1 %.

In general, the strict requirements for waste in textile materials also place less burden on the environment, employees and consumers. In many cases, STANDARD 100 limit values go beyond national and international requirements. Therefore, the strategy of OEKO-TEX® has been to be proactive in the field of consumer protection as a pioneer and not to wait for legislation.

This means that any article or product certified to the OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100, LEATHER STANDARD and ECO PASSPORT also complies with the limit values of Appendix XVII of the REACH Regulation.

Recycled materials

As of this year, a unified approach for integrating recycled materials into the OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 framework is being introduced. This uniform approach requires a minimum amount of recycled content, different test programmes depending on the origin of the material and the definition of the necessary background information. The label that is issued can be used to inform consumers about the recycling efforts that have been made on the product. Recycled materials are difficult to certify. With their previous life, these materials pose different challenges than normal virgin material. For this reason, these materials are treated differently within the OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 and receive a special mention in the scope of the certificate.

Self-assessment

Due to COVID 19-related travel restrictions, personal on-site visits are almost impossible. To temporarily overcome this situation, a self-assessment process was implemented. Self-assessments are a temporary solution for our clients to obtain a certification without having to stop the on-site visit.

After a three-month transition period, the new STANDARD 100 by OEKO – TEX® test criteria and limit values will become mandatory for all certifications on 1 April 2021.

For more information on the new OEKO-TEX® test criteria, please contact info@aitex.es.

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SUSTAINABILITY AND THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY

11th May 2021

The environmental impact of the textile sector has become one of today’s most worrying issues. The huge amounts of waste created, coupled with a low recycling rate (only 1% is transformed into new garments) is one of the critical aspects in the production process of companies in the textile value chain. Likewise, the vast amounts of water and chemicals consumed, the emission of microplastics and the emission of greenhouse gases, together with the aforementioned, urgently require new technological developments to create sustainable options.

environmental impacts
  1. Waste generation

The global production of textile fibre has doubled in the last 20 years, reaching an all-time high of 111 million tonnes in 2019 [1] and maintaining growth forecasts for 2030. This increase, together with the current consumption model, leads to the generation of vast amounts of textile waste; in Spain alone it is estimated that annual clothing waste is 900,000 tonnes [2].

  1. Low recycling rate

The recycling rate for textile waste is very low. More than 85% of products discarded by consumers end up in landfills or incinerators and only 13% is recycled in some form after use. Most is transformed into other lower value items such as rags, insulation or filler material and less than 1% is recycled into new fibre. Therefore, in order to comply with the new regulations, it will not be enough to ensure the selective collection of textile waste, but will require the research and development of technologies that enable the recycling of the fibres with the aim of maintaining their value for as many cycles as possible.

  1. High water consumption (water footprint)

Textile production uses a lot of water, as well as land to grow cotton and other fibres. It is estimated that the global textile and clothing industry used 79 billion cubic metres of water in 2015, while the needs of the entire EU economy amounted to 266 billion cubic metres in 2017. To make a single cotton T-shirt, estimates indicate that 2,700 litres of fresh water are needed – the amount of water a person drinks in two and a half years.  [3]

  1. Use of chemicals

Chemicals are used in virtually all textile production processes, from fabric preparation and bleaching to finishing. Although at the legislative and regulatory level the use of permitted chemicals is well controlled (e.g. REACH regulation in Europe), the pollution load of these chemicals is still a major problem, especially for water treatment. It is estimated that between 1.5 and 6.9 kg of chemicals are used in the production of 1 kg of garments [3], meaning that the amount of chemicals used is greater than that of the textile product itself. Hence, the development of technologies to reduce chemical consumption, and generate as low a pollution load in effluents as possible, is critical.

  1. Water pollution and the emission of micro-plastics

According to estimates, the dyes and finishing products used in textiles are responsible for about 20 % of global drinking water pollution. The laundering of synthetic materials releases about 0.5 million tonnes of microfibres each year, which end up in the oceans. Synthetic laundry accounts for 35% of the primary microplastics released into the environment: a single load of polyester clothing can shed 700,000 microplastic fibres that can find their way into the food chain. [4]

  1. Greenhouse gas emissions (carbon footprint)

The fashion industry is estimated to be responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, more than international flights and shipping combined. According to the European Environment Agency, textile purchases in the EU in 2017 generated around 654 kg of CO2 emissions per person. [3]   To help reduce these impacts, AITEX places its full array of technical facilities and resources at the disposal of the textile industry. Through the development of R&D projects, obtaining certifications that accredit good practices and specific training in sustainability and circular economy, companies will be able to reduce their costs and implement new sustainable business models. For further information, please contact Ana Rodes, Head of the Technical Unit of Circular Economy and Sustainability of AITEX by email arodes@aitex.es or visit our website aitex.es/sustainability.  

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