[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.
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.
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
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: http://www.smart-textiles.com
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
Telefon +43 676 843771100
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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
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.]
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
Fiber Publication Acquired. INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, today announced the acquisition of two leading industry publications: International Filtration News and International Fiber News. The association purchased the publications from International Media Group, Inc., based in Tempe, Az., USA. The purchase price and terms were not disclosed. The publications each have circulations of 8,000-plus domestic and international readers and have served their readers for over three decades. Both are published six times a year in print and digital formats. The acquisitions will expand INDA’s reach and relevance in the key markets the print and digital publications serve with a particular emphasis on the filtration and separation segment as INDA launches its new FiltXpo event to be held in Chicago every 18 months starting February 26-28, 2020. Click here to read the INDA press release on the purchase. Posted October 2, 2018
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
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
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