TECNOWORK – THE FUNCTIONALISATION OF TECHNICAL TEXTILES FOR THE WORKPLACE USING KNITTING AND CONTINUOUS LAMINATION TECHNOLOGY
Of all the various health problems, joint pain is one of the biggest factors in absenteeism. The problem can be caused by many factors and is more common than pathological diseases, cardiovascular diseases and even diabetes.
The World Health Organisation estimates that osteoarthritis is the cause of chronic pain in 40% of people of working age. The degenerative processes are accompanied by back pain and workplace injuries.
The appearance of osteoarthritis in the upper joints, elbows and wrists is associated with workers who use pneumatic tools. Pain in the acromioclavicular joint of the shoulder is frequent in workers in the construction sector. Hip osteoarthritis is mostly associated with workers in the agriculture sector while in mining, joint problem occurs mostly in the knees.
How arthrosis affects different joints
Several studies show that the mechanical vibrations transmitted by the use of various types of tools and machines, mainly those between the range of 50 and 300 Hz, are key factors and traumatism caused by impact and forced posture can have a significant influence on the biological process of loss of articular cartilage, triggering rheumatic osteoarthritis.
How arthrosis affects different joints
Problems associated with the spine and the appearance of degenerative diseases or herniated discs are closely related to activities that require muscular work, such as the lifting or loading of heavy weights.
Another problem is the enormous cost to the healthcare services of treating these conditions, due mainly to the difficulties in diagnosing the triggering causes, and the treatment for the various types of joint problems that may occur.
After having diagnosed the cause, the best treatment must be found, so that it affects the employee’s work activity in the least way. Treatment must be approached in a multidisciplinary way, that is to say, with the combination of pharmacological therapy and rehabilitation, coupled with the fundamental role of joint support devices.
This is the background to the need for a project that researches and develops this type of article through latest-generation textile technologies, to achieve substantial improvements in existing articles, and guaranteeing optimal levels in the treatment and prevention of joint injuries.
The main objective of the TECNOWORK project is the development of high-performance technical textiles for use in the workplace. In more detail, the project will focus on the development of compressive textile structures with high added-value factors to be used in orthotic articles, which provide the user with optimal levels of support and comfort and ensure a reduction in the risk of workplace injury. The structures will be designed using technical fibres that guarantee optimum levels of stretch, compression and comfort coupled with functional fibres to provide the textile structures with beneficial properties for the user such as ventilation, cosmetic properties for skin care, as well as qualities for improving blood circulation.
According to the type of materials under study, two areas of action in the project have been defined:
- Research and development of compressive textile structures with moisture management capacity and high breathability from high-performance technical fibres, to be used in orthotic garments for the workplace, which guarantee optimal levels of pressure, comfort and convenience.
- Research and development of the functionalisation of compressive textiles from functional fibres to provide benefits for the user, in order to obtain a multifunctional article and endow it with a high added-value factor.
Different lines of work will be considered according to the needs required in textiles as regards compression and elasticity and their functional properties, putting at the service of the project all the capabilities of the Materials and Sustainability Research Group.
Within the framework of the TECNOWORK project, research and development will be carried out on different knitted compressive textile structures by AITEX with applications in orthotic articles for the treatment and prevention of workplace injuries.
Dividing the developments into areas of action, the first line corresponds to the research and development of compressive textile structures from high-performance technical fibres to develop:
- Seamless compression textile articles manufactured in a single knitting process with enhanced comfort and skin care.
- Compressive textile structures for the replacement of rigid appliques for muscular and joint support using high-resistance textile elements that guarantee the same clamping properties. Improved comfort and breathability.
- Multifunctional compressive textile structures developed using RELIANT lamination technology with high-performance technical fabrics that together provide the required properties of stretching and compression, coupled with excellent perspiration and moisture management.
- The use of 3D-printed elastomer material with impact absorption.
The results of the second area of action, relating to the research and development of the functionalisation of compressive textiles from functional fibres to provide beneficial characteristics for the user, will include:
- Compressive textile articles made from high-performance functional fibres to provide beneficial characteristics for the user, using special fibres for freshness, fibres with cosmetic characteristics for skin care and ceramic fibres to improve circulation.
The successful conclusion of these two lines of research will result in a collection of articles from the textile structures obtained, which will combine optimal technical performance and functional properties that will provide added-value factor to the resulting articles. The range of orthotic articles will include:
- Body support – ORTHOPAEDIC CORSET
- Joint support – KNEE AND ELBOW BRACES
- Articles for postural correction – ARTHROSIS GLOVES, WRISTBANDS
This project is funded by the Conselleria d’Economia Sostenible, Sectors Productius, Comerç i Treball de la Generalitat Valenciana, through IVACE.
GRANT NUMBER: IMDEEA/2019/1
MORE INFORMATION IN THE NON-ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES PLAN
- Year: 2019
- Status: Finished
- Entity: IVACE