Author

Beatriz Domenech

INNOVATION & LABORATORIES

14th July 2020

Touch of softness.Young woman enjoying softness of her cozy knitted sweater
Clothing plays an intimate role in our daily lives. The clothes we wear cover and interact with our bodies all day. The quality of a fabric no longer depends only on its appearance (design, binding, printing and colour), its physical properties (strength, elasticity, feel and wrinkling) or its value-added properties (anti-mite, wash & wear), but softness plays a key role in the broad concept of the final quality of a fabric.

The way the fabric feels is described as its “Total Hand Value (THV)”, which has been traditionally used in the textile and clothing industries to describe a fabric’s quality and performance. THV is an objective parameter that measures the feel or hand of a fabric on a scale of 0 to 5, where 5 is excellent and 0 is poor.

Determining the softness of a fabric

The Kawabata Evaluation System (KES) is used to determine the softness of a fabric. The KES, is a system that detects the degree of softness of a garment in a quantitatively and objectively, by analysing a set of variables.

Other new forms of measurement based on these same variables have been developed recently. One of them is the Fabric Touch Tester (FTT).

Comprehensive service offered by AITEX

AITEX is equipped for both tests. The advantage of the FTT equipment is its high speed: It is capable of performing the test in much shorter times than with the Kawabata equipment.

Once again, AITEX offers its clients the most innovative equipment enabling a fabric to be assessed to predict the perception of comfort of the fabric, from the design of the product, manufacturing quality, the final product and consumer satisfactions, while providing a rapid response to our clients.

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INNOVATION & LABORATORIES

14th July 2020

Close-up Of A Woman's Hand Holding Label Showing 100 Percent Organic Cotton
Today’s consumer demands ecological, environmentally friendly, organic or bio products, etc., and is aware of the need to care for the environment.

Nowadays this is not a trend but a consumer philosophy: sustainability is required of the product, as well as quality and safety.

In conventional cotton cultivation, genetically modified seeds (GMO) are often used to make the plant more resistant to pesticides or insects. A genetically modified organism (GMO) is one whose DNA has been altered through genetic engineering. Genetic manipulation uses a variety of techniques to manage and modify genetic material in many ways: it may involve the deletion of a certain fragment of the genome, its modification, duplication or replacement by a fragment from another organism with the intention of endowing it with or depriving it of some trait that may be of interest.

In the face of all the problems associated with cotton cultivation, one line has come into its own: organic cotton. Organic cotton promotes alternative production methods which are more sustainable and respectful of the environment and people.

Consumer awareness has led to an increase in global demand for organic cotton, but even so, production accounts for less than 1% of the total cotton consumption so there is a lot of potential for improvement. Cultivation, processing and handling of organic cotton is more expensive compared to conventional cotton, which increases its cost. This is why it is necessary to ensure the origin of the cotton. To this end, there are a number of certifications concerned with cotton sustainability.

Why is it important that organic cotton is certified?

Organic cotton certified by independent entities guarantees the traceability of the production process. The GOTS certification (Global Organic Textile Standard) is one of the strictest for organic cotton. The standard requires that a textile product with GOTS label “organic grade” must contain at least 95% certified organic fibre while those bearing the label “Made with Organic Material” must contain no less than 70% certified organic fibre.

This certification includes requirements for organic fibre production, environmental requirements, minimum social criteria (employment practices) and certain technical quality parameters.

How can we determine the origin of the cotton?

In order to differentiate between “organic” and “genetically modified” cotton, the PCR technique is used.
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique is a relatively simple and widely used technique in the field of molecular biology to amplify and detect DNA and RNA sequences. Real-time PCR uses a fluorescent marker that enables data collection as the PCR progresses.

Solutions provided by AITEX

AITEX can perform different tests to determine the origin of each type of cotton: tests to determine GMOs, control of harmful substances (pesticides, dyestuffs, etc.) and physical-mechanical quality controls; the Institute also has vast experience in advising companies on certification.

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LABORATORIES & INNOVATION

13 th July 2020

Traditional soccer ball on soccer field

AITEX is one of eight worldwide FIFA-approved laboratories for the approval of artificial turf football pitches. The FIFA quality concept has become a recognised international standard. Laboratories who are recognised by FIFA must undergo a rigorous selection process in which the technical capacity of the laboratories is evaluated.

The FIFA Quality Concept for Synthetic Surfaces was created with a commitment to standardise the quality and safety of artificial surfaces for football players and to promote the development of artificial turf technology.

The FIFA Quality Programme has several objectives: to improve the game at all levels, and protect the health of players and clubs and associations who need products that meet the highest safety and quality requirements.

FIFA has designed two categories or quality marks for artificial turf depending on the needs of the players and the use for which the surfaces are intended:

o FIFA QUALITY is primarily aimed at grassroots football, mainly in the amateur level. The certification is valid for three years.

o FIFA QUALITY PRO, is primarily intended for professional and high-performance football. The certification is valid for one year.

The process of certification of a sports surface takes place in different phases. Firstly, the artificial turf systems are pre-tested in the laboratory and if the results of the analysis meet all the requirements, FIFA can certify the pitch with either the FIFA QUALITY or FIFA QUALITY PRO labels if it is installed with an artificial turf system previously approved by FIFA. Only FIFA-accredited companies can initiate this process.

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I+D+i Projects

9th July 2020

In response to the need for new high-performance, functionalised textile materials, AITEX focuses its research on the following areas:

  • Development of innovative solutions that provide functional properties to the user’s skin.
  • Development of non-wovens using environmentally friendly technologies

In this respect, the Institute is working on the research and development of the following projects

Fundetex II – Research and development of detergent formulations that provide functional properties to the user’s skin and health

fundetex-blackwhite-1170x780

During the project’s second year, FUNDETEX II aims to develop detergent and softener formulations that provide functional properties to the user’s skin and health.

With this project, AITEX hopes to advance the development of different formulations and impregnations in fabrics with different probiotics that provide properties for the skin; develop and implement reproducible methodologies for evaluating special properties; and identify additives or functional compounds for atopic skin and psoriasis.

Nobico – Development of high performance mono and bi-component nonwovens

nobico-blackwhite-1024x683

The Nobico project aims to develop Spunmelt non-wovens with special properties using environmentally friendly materials.

The Spunmelt non-woven market is concentrated around the use of thermoplastic materials of the “comfort” type, mainly polypropylene, polyester and polyamide. This project aims to provide added-value factors to the materials by providing them with new properties.

The successful outcome of the project will develop non-wovens for use in sectors such as food, agriculture, construction and personal hygiene.

 

FILE: IMAMCI/2020/1

This project is funded by the Conselleria d’Economia Sostenible, Sectors Productius, Comerç i Treball of the Generalitat Valenciana, through the IVACE Programme.

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R+D

9th July 2020

lightcomp1

During 2019, the project achieved its first milestone, with work carried out both on the insertion of technical carbon fibres using Tailored Fibre Placement (TFP) technology, and on manufacturing composites via Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) with thermosetting and fireproof resins.

During this year, LIGHTCOMP 2020 aims to develop functional lightweight composites with properties including heating, lighting and even the ability to measure physical parameters using integrated sensors.

The challenge lies in the use of smart fabrics, functionalised resins and cores for low weight, combined with mechanical and functional properties that meet the needs of a sector as demanding as transport.

At the same time, environmentally friendly composite materials will be developed using natural fibres to replace conventional carbon fibres, and recycled carbon fibre textile substrates so that waste can be reintroduced into the production chain.

The main objective is to obtain high added-value solutions for the private land transport market by developing low weight composites with functional characteristics.

To achieve this goal, three areas of action have been defined:

Composite material elements used in the bodywork and external vehicle components.

Composite material elements used in the interior cabin linings of vehicles.

Composite material elements used in the structure of vehicles.

The results will include high-performance textile-based structures using embroidery technology with technical fibres such as carbon, glass or polypropylene. These fibres offer a high degree of physical stability which, when formed into a composite, greatly reduce the weight of the materials, offering structural characteristics similar to much heavier components. The difference in the properties offered by technical fibres compared to natural fibres or recycled carbon fibres will also be evaluated.

FILE: IMDEEA/2020/35

This project has the support of the Conselleria d’Economia Sostenible, Sectors Productius, Comerç i Treball de la Generalitat Valenciana, through IVACE, and is co-financed by EU ERDF funds, within the ERDF Operational Programme of the Comunitat Valenciana 2014-2020.

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NEWS

19th Juny 2020

León Grau García, Vice President of AITEX since 2016, was appointed President of the Institute at an Extraordinary Assembly held on June 19. Rafael Pascual Bernabeu has held this position for the last four years.

león grau

León Grau García expressed his gratitude for the confidence placed in him, and pledged to continue working for the improvement and growth of the Institute.

León is a leading businessman and has a degree in law from the University of Valencia and a Master’s degree from the Instituto de Empresa in legal consultancy to companies. In 1992 he began his career at Courtaulds Fibres in England. In 1993 he joined the textile company Hilaturas Miel and Enrile. In 2000 he was a founding partner of Verema.

From 2004 until now he has held several positions in associations, such as President of ACETEX, in 2014 he was a member of the Valencian Association of Businessmen – AVE and President of ATEVAL between December 2015 and May 2017. In 2016 he became Director of Union Alcoyana Seguros and from 2016 to present he has been Vice President of AITEX.

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SUSTAINABILITY AND THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY

14th July 2020

A new mentality is being forged among textile manufacturers: aware of the environmental impact of the sector, concern for sustainability is on the rise.
Bulb with solar panels, wind fans and hydraulic power in energy saving concept. Echo friends. Green World

An initial study carried out by AITEX’s new sustainability and circular economy technical unit has shown that the private sector is increasingly aware of the need to change from linear economic models (manufacture – use – waste) to circular economic models that aim to keep the value of products and materials as high as possible, for as long as possible, while generating the least environmental impact. However, an alarming lack of knowledge of all the concepts that this new business model implies has been detected.

For example, recycling, which is what springs to mind when talking about the Circular Economy, is the last process that should be applied. Other stages, such as design for recycling are necessary beforehand, as not all products are recyclable. The new European Directive ((EU) 2018/851) obliges Member States to start the selective collection of textile waste before January 1st 2025, establishing the objectives of reuse and recycling of these waste materials. This will have an impact on the entire textile value chain as manufacturers will have to start designing and preparing their products for mechanical and chemical recycling.

Likewise, self-declared environmental claims in the market have increased, leading to confusion among producers and consumers in the face of the growth of products that are called “green or sustainable”. In the face of “greenwashing” or misleading advertising, it is important to be aware of the existing voluntary eco-labels and certifications regarding sustainability and traceability, as they are an important transparency tool that makes it easier for consumers to find information on the environmental impact of products when making purchasing decisions.

For this reason, AITEX is drawing up a Sustainability and Circular Economy Guide specifically for the textile sector in which the most relevant aspects to be taken into account by companies will be dealt with in separate chapters.

The aim of the Guide is to reduce confusion among companies in the sector on environmental sustainability, to stimulate the introduction of improvements in textile processes and products, and to encourage the integration of environmental sustainability into the strategy of the company itself by facilitating the transition to circular business models.

Each chapter will be written to take into account the current state of the sector, and both the content and the actions proposed will focus on a level of real application by textile companies.

circular economy

The specific objective of each chapter is summarised below:

I. Environmental concepts.

To harmonise the use of the most frequent and relevant environmental statements for the textile industry (e.g. biodegradability, recyclability, life cycle, etc.)

II. Materials.

To objectively analyse the most significant advantages and disadvantages of the materials most frequently used in the sector.

III. Certifications and labelling.

To identify all those certifications applicable in the textile sector according to the international sustainability regulations and standards, and their conditions in the labelling of products.

IV. Business models and success stories.

Highlighting successful initiatives of transition to circular business models as an example to be applied in companies of the textile industry.

V. Ecodesign.

To identify the keys of design to ensure durability, reuse, maintenance, and recyclability of textile products.

VI. Processes and technologies.

To analyse the different technologies for the recycling of textile waste, taking into account the level of development, the type of materials that can be processed and current real availability.

VII. Regulations.

To provide an analysis of the regulations at a national and European level on environmental sustainability that apply to companies in the textile sector.

VIII. Resources of interest.

A compilation of material to work on the implementation of improvements in the field of sustainability from within the company.[/vc_message]

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The environmental impact of the textile sector has become one of today’s most worrying issues, as it is the second most polluting industry on the planet. The high consumption of water and chemical products, its carbon footprint, dumping and the emission of microplastics are some of the critical aspects of the production process. Coupled with the enormous quantities of waste and the low recycling rate (only 1% is transformed into new garments) means that the development of sustainable strategies and business models are urgently needed.

In response to the needs and challenges that this change represents for the textile sector, AITEX has created a Technical Unit for Sustainability and Circular Economy that will work transversally along three lines of action: R+D, Laboratories and Training.

In R&D, AITEX has 37 experimental plants to work on the challenges posed by the circular economy at all stages of the textile life cycle, through the development of its own research projects or in collaboration with partners. The line covers everything from eco-design and environmentally friendly production processes, to the prevention of waste and recycling in the final phase of the textile production cycle. The development of new bio-fibres and bio-polymers, chemical and mechanical recycling processes, the revaluation of pre- and post-consumption waste, the use of auxiliary products of natural origin and research into eco-finishing processes are some of the fields in which R&D projects are currently being carried out.
AITEX’s laboratory facilities provide companies with infrastructure and laboratory equipment for the characterisation of products, quality control and certification, in compliance with international sustainability regulations and standards. Voluntary eco-labels or certifications in sustainability and traceability are an important transparency tool that provides consumers with information on the environmental impact of products when making purchasing decisions. AITEX is an accredited entity for the Global Recycle Standard (GRS) and Recycled Claim Standard (RSC) certifications that verify the content of recycled material in products as well as compliance with good environmental practices in processes.
Likewise, the Institute creates social and environmental value by promoting environmental education, innovation, efficiency and the generation of employment and a stronger industrial base. AITEX’s Training Division provides technical training in new sustainable techniques and low environmental impact textile processes through courses in collaboration with other leading institutions such as the UPV.
With the introduction of the Technical Unit, AITEX makes its capabilities and resources available to textile manufacturers to improve their position as environmentally sustainable companies and to generate business opportunities through the change to new circular models.
After an initial analysis of the sector’s needs, one of the actions that will be carried out in the short term is the creation of an Environmental Sustainability Guide for the Textile Sector; in which concepts, applicable regulations, available certifications, success cases and good practices will be clarified.
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On the 25th of November, the BIOSEA project held a workshop looking at the social and economic future for algae.

The workshop was held at the REDIT facilities in Paterna Technology Park, with more than 30 specialists from various sectors and included a space for the promotion and publication of research projects.

biosea

The BIOSEA project

The core goal of the BIOSEA project is the validation and scaling-up of a complete production process for ingredients obtained from 4 strains of algae, including the initial and subsequent stages of the process, fitting into the concept of cascade bio-refinery incorporating pre-treatment technologies (cell disruption), fractionation and conversion.

The innovation factor resides in the application of conventional processes on algae, or in combination with other techniques, for the recovery of multiple compounds from a single biomass, a process that requires continuous adjustments and technological optimisation.

The BIOSEA process will be effective and environmentally friendly, producing low-cost compounds for markets such as food, feed and cosmetics. It will ensure the repeatability and adaptability of the process on an industrial scale, to contribute to the reduction of European imports of raw materials, reducing pressure on land resources, and opening new niche markets and business opportunities.

The project is designed around seven sequential work packages covering the entire chain of production and application of algae-based ingredients; from the cultivation of algae biomass, through sustainable extraction, cascading, reducing waste, to the inclusion of ingredients in final products, to obtain innovative and scalable results.

 

This project has received funding from Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking in the framework of the EU’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program under contract No 745622.

 

Este proyecto ha recibido financiación de Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking en el marco del Programa de Investigación e Innovación Horizon 2020 de la Unión Europea bajo el contrato No 745622.

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AITEX will attend the twenty-second International Safety Fair over the 25th and 28th of February in Madrid. Pay us a visit in Hall 3, Stand E05.

The International Safety Fair Spain, organised by IFEMA, will bring together manufacturers and suppliers of safety equipment in five major areas: security, including electronic security, physical safety and security services; defence, which includes advanced security solutions in defence; cybersecurity, responsible for the protection of business information, systems and data; fire and emergency security, acting actively and passively against fire; and safety in the workplace, covering the protection and welfare of employees.

SICUR

AITEX’s advanced protective equipment laboratory

AITEX has continued to innovate and improve the service we provide by focusing our attention on the evolution of our laboratories towards covering items of Personal Protective Equipment that were previously beyond our remit. The Institute has been working for many years as a Notified Body in the evaluation of conformity of PPEs as gloves, clothing and harnesses and combining this experience with customer demand, we have been working towards providing our laboratories with the necessary equipment to evaluate PPEs for eye and facial, respiratory and head protection, and the evaluation of dielectric gloves for high voltage work. This year, visitors to the AITEX stand will get the opportunity to take a virtual tour of the testing facilities at the Institute.

AITEX recently achieved approval by ENAC as a Certification Body for Personal Protection Equipment, in compliance with ISO/IEC 17065:2012.

AITEX will also present its recent accreditation by the National Accreditation Entity (ENAC) as an Individual Protection Equipment Certification Body according to ISO / IEC 17065: 2012 in the field of regulatory action (Regulation (EU) 2016 / 425 and under the conformity assessment schemes: Module B (EU Type Exam), Module C2 (Conformity to type based on production control plus supervised control of the product at random intervals) and Module D (Conformity with the type based on the quality assurance of the production process).

 

Last year’s fair was visited by 43,732 professionals, an increase of 3.4% over 2016, and 1,344 companies from 81 different countries. Business participation rose to 651 exhibitors, an increase of 13% with a wider range of new safety products in each of the sectors represented. The last fair was one of the most representative and innovative to date, given its level of participation and the range of news, content and activities offered.

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