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7th Smart Textiles Symposium 2018

[Publisher Note: The following is a report on the 7th Smart Textiles Sumposium 2018 written by Dr. Isa Hofmann, owner and manager of iHofmann, a public relations firm.]

Posted October 2, 2018


The jointly organized 7th Smart Textiles Symposium 2018 (September 12-13)

held at Messequartier Dornbirn, Austria and the 57th Dornbirn-GFC attracted

around 700 experts from industry and research from 30 different countries.


Day 1:


The former Federal chancellor from Austria, Werner Faymann, urged industry

representatives in his opening words to be always one step ahead in the

competition and to take advantage of recent market opportunities.


Keynote speaker James Holbery from the $90 billion Microsoft,

based in Redmond, Wash., USA, gave an insight in Microsoft’s recent activities in printed textile and flexible electronics and the current focus on creating new user

experiences through soft electronics. “We always have to reinvent ourselves in

these days of rapid change. We want to bring personal computing to a new level

and address the young generation in particular. Interesting about computing is

the rapid change we are facing and when we think about IoT and increasing

digitization there is a lot more to come.” Following the recent cooperation

between Google and Levi’s another gatekeeper is now taking a deeper interest in

textiles. James Holbery has been responsible for building up the new Microsoft

lab for printed, textile and flexible electronics (PTFE).


Dr. Isa Hofmann, moderator of the first day and managing director of a

specialized communication agency based in Wiesbaden, Germany, gave a

lecture on new opportunities in customer communication through artificial

intelligence – from social bots to chatbots. “The use of artificial intelligence is the

next big thing”, she predicts. According to EU commission statistics the growth of

this market will climb up to $38.8 billion in 2025. Artificial intelligence allows

machines to behave as if they were intelligent and supplies them with the ability

to always learn more and something new. “This is the big difference with regards

to conventional software. Chatbots allow an automated communication with

customers in real time,” says Hofmann. They are an appropriate tool to relieve

staff members and generate an added value in customer relationship.

Communication in real time without any waiting loops. Isa Hofmann presented

the results of a recent study from business school Cologne and the agency

morefire, that tried for the first time to classify existing chatbot types.


Unni Krishnan, Co-Founder of LongWealth GmbH with offices in Vienna and

Bangalore is consulting large groups like Tata and Taj in India. He remembers a

famous encounter between the Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda and Jamsetji

Tata on a boat trip from Yokohama to Vancouver. Impressed by Vivekanada’s

views on science, the very first idea of establishing a research institute in India

came up by the end of the 19th century. Vivekananda commented this idea with

the following words: “How wonderful it would be if we could combine the

scientific and technological achievements of the West with the asceticism and

humanism of India!” India offers multiple opportunities for innovative Austrian

companies to enter the market, according to Unni Krishnan.


Stefan Rohringer, Vice President Development Center Graz, Infineon

Technologies Austria AG, pointed out the very first examples of electronics

integrated into textiles that Infineon presented in 2003. Researchers at Infineon

had discovered a way to make large textile surfaces such as carpeting or tent

cloth “intelligent”. Woven into fabrics, a self-organizing network of chips was able

to monitor temperatures, pressures or vibrations. “This shows that you also

might introduce things too early to the market”, Rohringer comments. He

presented the next generation of quantum computers that provide the necessary

security in times of cashless payment and IoT. With 28 billion connected devices

already in 2021 internet security plays an important role.


Interesting lectures from start-ups presented successful business models like

smart inlay soles from the company stAPPtronics that help wearers to control

their body posture. The start-up Texible is a think tank for interesting new

applications of smart textiles for the elderly. The demographic change creates

new requirements. One example is smart bed inserts for humidity control.

Florence Bost, French designer based in Paris demonstrated how the appropriate

design may enhance news and tangible services in products.


Day 2:


Sabine Gimpel from TITV Greiz, Germany, was moderator of the morning session

and gave a lecture on industry 4.0. Günter Grabher, CEO of Grabher-Group &

Smart-Textiles Platform, Austria, presented some of the new technologies that

his companies are working on in various clusters. Two examples were an office

chair, optimizing the user’s posture while seated as well as a textile reinforced

concrete, that is used to repair ramshackle bridges.


Marcus Kottinger, solution architect at Axians IBM, Germany, and Prof.

Enrico Putzke, Technical University Chemnitz, Germany, explained in their

lectures how smart textiles are used for monitoring both material and humans

and thus, help to avoid accidents in heavy industry.


Sven Böhmer, head of sales, Statex Produktions- und Vertriebs GmbH, Germany,

explained the advantages of textile electrodes and their conductivity due to silver

incorporated into yarns or fabrics. Textile electrodes play an important role in a

variety of medical applications like muscle and nerve stimulation or monitoring of

vital parameters.


The focus of the last three lectures was on Cradle to cradle®.  Vera Gratzl, product

development, Werner & Mertz GmbH, Germany, showcased some innovative

products from their brand Frosch, equipped with a fluorine-free hydrophobic

treatment. Andreas Röhrich, director product development, Wolford AG, Austria,

introduced the new collection of sweaters and leggings, entirely manufactured

according to the cradle to cradle® standard.


Albin Kälin, CEO EPEA Switzerland GmbH, Switzerland, a pioneer of the cradle to

cradle® concept gave his vision on the future of production with cradle to cradle®

and how it is contributing to reduce the human footprint on earth.


Günter Grabher, initiator and CEO of the Smart Textiles Platform Austria,

summarizes and gives his future vision: “The future of smart textiles is a true

interdisciplinary collaboration between various industries, to benefit from the

enormous potential of this growing market.”


For more information:


Press Contacts:


Dr. Isa Hofmann, Owner and managing director

Niederwaldstraße 4, D-65187 Wiesbaden

Telefon +49 611 890 59 640


Smart-Textiles Platform Austria

Günter Grabher, CEO

Schwefelbadstr 2

A-6850 Hohenems

Telefon +43 676 843771100

Coming Events

  • February 19-22: 2019 International Erosion Control Association Conference and Expo, Denver, Colo., USA
  • February 23: STA Winter Seminar, Belmont, N.C., USA
  • February 26-28: Techtextil North America 2019, Raleigh, N.C., USAA
  • February 27: SPESA's 9th Advancements in Manufacturing Technologies Conference, Raleigh, N.C., USA
  • February 27-28: 2019 Wood MacKenzie Americas Polyester Conference, Houston, Texas, USA

Click here to view the complete technical textiles events calendar that includes show information links.

Media Partners

President Li Lingshen, President, China Nonwovens & Industrial Texiles Association

President Li Lingshen

BeaverLake6 Report is pleased to provide an exclusive interview with Li Lingshen, Ph.D., Vice President of the China National Textile and Apparel Council, and President of the China Nonwovens & Industrial Textiles Association, the overseeing organization for the technical textiles industry in China. Click here to read the interview.

Final Analysis of IFAI Expo 2018 and CAMX18

IFAI President S. Schiffman

IFAI Expo 2018 was the first show under IFAI's new CEO/President Steve Schiffman. In a quick conversation on the first day, Mr. Schiffman thought event attendance was on target with the expectation of a 500 increase over the 4500 total participants (counting both exhibitors and visitors) they had in 2017 in New Orleans. Similarly, a conversation with one of the managers of ACMA, a partner in CAMX, said their pre-registration had already topped the 6500 they had last year in Orlando. (Keep in mind, though, the 2017 CAMX show had to be rescheduled from September to December because of Hurricane Irma.) Click here to read more about the shows. Posted October 19, 2018

NCTO Neglects Automotive Textiles as Organizations Testify          on Proposed USMCA Impact

Positive Reviews but Still Uncertainty. On November 16, 2018, two of the US textile industry associations testified before the US International Trade Commission (ITC) in a special hearing to determine the economic impact of the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).  The leaders of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) provided statements on how they feel the new agreement will affect their member companies. 


The two organizations clearly have different biases; however, in looking over the AAFA and NCTO statements, it appears to me that while the organizations both clearly said they were not offering an endorsement yet of the agreement, they gave general overall approval for USMCA, acknowledging the 1992 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) needed updating. Both organizations are taking a wait-and-see attitude to more fully look at how the agreement impacts the complex supply chain of textiles and apparel. [Click here to continue.]


Steve Warner


Posted November 21, 2018

NAFTA Replacement Agreement Negotiated. On October 1, President Donald Trump announced the US, Mexico and Canada had reached an agreement whichreplaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that went into effect in 1994. The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) contains provisions and language that has an impact on the technical textiles industry; the most important are 1) a special section covering textiles and apparel and 2) rules of origin that will require 75% of automotive content (under NAFTA 62.5%) be made in North America. Mexico and Canada are the two largest importers of US made technical textiles and the automotive industry is the largest intended end market of these technical textiles. Click here to go to the United States Trade Representative's website and read the "Textiles and Apparel Goods" chapter. Posted October 3, 2018

State of the Chinese Technical Textiles Markets in 2017

Are you looking for a quick understanding of the China technical textiles industry? Through our special relationship with China Nonwovens & Industrial Textiles Association (CNITA) and their China Textile publication, BeaverLake6 Report is pleased to post the English-translation of the recently issued "Status Quo of China's Nonwovens and Industrial Textiles Industry, 2017." The report covers the different levels of the industry, geographic export demographics, and forecast the needs in the major end market applications. Click here to read the report in our China Textile website section. Posted June 18, 2018

Report Published on the US Technical Textiles Industry

I am pleased to announce the second part of my report 2018 State of the U.S.Technical Textiles Industry has been published by Textile World magazine. 


This first part features a general industry overview, plus an evaluation of the status and impact of US trade positions.


The second part, featured in the April/May issue will cover major end markets for technical textiles such as automotive and military.


Click here to go to the Textile World website to download a copy. 


Steve Warner, Publisher

“BeaverLake6 Report is one of the ‘go-to’ websites that I use. New contributors and  innovative products are regularly featured, which to me, is the lifeblood of the industry.”


Ron Gottlieb  


  Ricky Richards (Sales) Pty Ltd.

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Secretary Gary Locke, US Dept. of Commerce, and Steve Warner Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Steve Warner

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