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German innovation drives global technical textile industry

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Innovation in companies and other organisations based in Germany is a key driving force in the global technical textile industry, according to two reports in the latest issue of Technical Textile Markets from the global business information company Textiles Intelligence.


In one of the two reports, it is noted that four of the eight winners of the

2015 Techtextil Innovation Award are based in Germany, thus setting the German technical textile industry apart from its international competitors.


The four German winners of the award — presented on May 4, 2015, at the Techtextil trade fair in Frankfurt — were: the Hohenstein Insitut für Textilinnovation (Hohenstein Institute for Textile Innovation) for its development of an artificial uterus called Artus; Technische Universität Dresden (Dresden University of Technology) for its development of a three-dimensional (3D) composite; Mammut for its development of stitched preforms for composites; and ITV Denkendorf for its BioGlizz project which aims to develop an environmental alternative to ski, snowboarding and sledding slopes based on algae-covered textiles.


In the second report, it is revealed in profiles of 20 innovative companies that many of Germany’s technical textile companies are market leaders in their fields and manufacture a wide variety of niche products, including: agricultural conveyor belting; fabrics and materials for digital printing, exhibitions, printed signage, sun shading and sewer rehabilitation; filter media for dust filtration; fuel filters for the aerospace industry; linings for clothing; sterile cloth for instruments used in surgical procedures in the health care sector; tapes for the automotive, medical, orthopaedics, protective clothing and underwear sectors; and technical textile protective sleeving for the automotive, environmental, industrial and transportation markets.


Some of these companies have grown in size to become large operations. But many have remained small or medium-sized and continue to be family-run. Larger companies include BWF Group with 1,350 employees and plants in Australia, China, the Czech Republic, Germany, India, Italy, Russia, Turkey and the USA. In 2014 the company generated sales of Euro220 million (US$292 million).


Gebrüder Aurich and its four subsidiaries manufacture woven and knitted fabrics for flags and digital prints while HKO is an internationally established, vertically integrated manufacturer with a comprehensive portfolio of materials which are suitable for use in environments where extremely high temperatures are encountered.

Its products include coated and laminated products, high temperature sealing fabrics, knitted fabrics, moulded parts, needled mats and woven fabrics.


Karl Otto Braun (KOB), part of the Paul Hartmann Group, is a producer of medical textiles with plants in Germany, India and China, while Kufner Group — which was the first company to manufacture fusible interlinings — manufactures innovative products at its factories in China, Germany and Slovakia.


Lauffenmühle is one of Europe’s leading specialists in workwear fabrics with 300 employees, over 1,000 different products in its portfolio and vertically integrated manufacturing facilities producing almost 19 million metres of finished fabric a year.


Langendorf/Delfingen is a leading specialist in the engineering and manufacturing of technical textile protective sleeving for the automotive, environmental, industrial and transportation markets. Its subsidiary MBG Techbelt Innovation specialises in high speed weaving, coating and converting, and makes belts, tapes, technical straps, and cargo handling and personal protection equipment. Delfingen has 33 plants in 18 countries and 1,800 employees globally, and in 2014 it generated sales of Euro157 million

(US$208 million).


SAATI Germany, part of the Italian chemicals and technical fabrics group SAATI, focuses on architectural fabrics but also produces fabrics for screen printing, filter media and other technical textiles.


Overall, the German technical textile industry generated a turnover of Euro2.1 billion (US$2.8 billion) in 2014 while the turnover of the German nonwovens industry, which is not included in this figure, reached Euro1.5 billion. Together, these two sectors accounted for 36% of the Euro10 billion generated in turnover by the German textile industry as a whole.


Source: Technical Textile


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