Magazine July 2016

Focus on the textile world: from recycling to networking

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The TEZ – project partner of the textile industry

All competencies of the Groz-Beckert Group are united in the Technology and Development Center (TEZ). Research and development issues are worked on here jointly and across disciplines – and this naturally also includes the key topic of ‘Industry 4.0’.
In this context, the TEZ also plays a part in nationally funded research projects, such as the "Knitting 4.0" study by ITV Denkendorf. Groz-Beckert’s far-reaching knowledge and long experience with regard to the manufacture, use, handling and development of needles and tools is being used here to examine key issues in Industry 4.0 for the textile industry.
Industry 4.0 is, however, only one of the many topics at the TEZ. Research and development partners along the entire textile value chain are always welcome to bring their project ideas and development approaches to the TEZ anytime.

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The TEZ – host for textile experts

Experts from all disciplines and sectors along the textile value chain meet up at the Technology and Development Center. Different target groups with mutual points of contact discover new opportunities for cooperation here. The TEZ Auditorium is the perfect venue for different specialist events and symposia. In April of this year, for example, an event on “Industry 4.0” was hosted by Südwesttextil e.V. in cooperation with the German Institute for Textile and Fiber Research (DITF) and the Alliance of Fiber-Based Materials Baden-Württemberg (AFBW) e.V. Experts from the textile world met at Groz-Beckert to learn about Industry 4.0 and to exchange ideas.

The offers at the in TEZ now include new textile application fields. In the spring of 2016, for example, the “Textilbetontag” or “Textile Concrete Day” took place at the TEZ. Under the motto "the material of the future meets today’s construction", the event was hosted by Groz-Beckert subsidiary solidian in cooperation with the Chamber of Architects of Baden-Württemberg. The event focused on lectures and discussions on the subject of textile-reinforced concrete and various practical examples. The application potential of TRC was demonstrated: the use of this slim and sturdy building material offers architecture entirely new construction possibilities. At the end of the event, visitors took a close-up look at the material in practical use, with a trip to see the two footbridges made of textile-reinforced concrete in Albstadt.

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The TEZ – a place to generate and to share knowledge

The Technology and Development Center is working tirelessly to improve existing products and to develop new ones. This includes extensive fundamental studies on the use of needles and tools in the textile production process. In order to share this knowledge with customers and partners, the TEZ participates in various professional events at which it presents the knowledge gained.

One example of this is the TEZ presentation entitled "The Interaction of fiber materials with tools for textile surface preparation", held in June 2016 at the "48th IFKT Congress – International Federation of Knitting Technologists" at Niederrhein University in Mönchengladbach. In the production of textile fabrics, intensive contact between fiber and yarn materials and the tools used repeatedly leads to tool wear – which can in turn result in damage to the fiber and yarn materials. The aim of the study was therefore to identify the influences of fibers and yarns on the durability of tools based on practical examples. Furthermore, solution approaches involving modifications to the geometry and surface of the tools used were shown that demonstrably extended their lifespan. Finally, there was a discussion of approaches leading to the development of wear-optimized combinations of fiber and yarn materials using specific tools, which can reduce wear on a lasting basis.

The lecture "Innovative tool solutions for textile surface production" was held in May 2016 at the German “Fachkolloquium Textil” in Denkendorf. It included an explanation of how long-term research and development work in cooperation with large circular knitting companies and machine builders led to the latest innovation "litespeed® plus". The litespeed® plus is the new product in circular knitting needle sector. The optimized shank geometry of the needle effectively reduces friction during machine use, thus enabling reduction of power and oil consumption as well. The energy savings amount to 20% compared to conventional circular knitting needles. In this way, the new Groz-Beckert litespeed® plus technology represents a unique combination of economy and ecology.

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The TEZ – working together with research institutes

The Technology and Development Center maintains numerous connections with leading textile institutes such as the German Institutes for Textile and Fiber Research (DITF), the Institute of Textile Technology Aachen (ITA), the Institute of Textile Machinery and High-Performance Material Technology (ITM) in Dresden, the Saxon Textile Research Institute (STFI) in Chemnitz or the Textile Research Institute Thuringia Vogtland eV (TITV).

The TEZ itself is not a research institute, but wants to use the insights gained from basic research to help co-develop new textile products.

A successful example of this is the Textile Construction sector. For over ten years now, Groz-Beckert has been working on the use of textiles as reinforcement for precast concrete elements. The basis for this was provided by results from many years of basic research at the RWTH Aachen and the TU Dresden. In 2010, as part of a pilot project, the longest textile-reinforced bridge in the world was built in Albstadt-Lautlingen.

The aim here was to bridge the gap between research and development and to transfer the technology to a process with industrial capability. To this end, the competence center "Textile Construction" was founded at the TEZ. The task was to build up knowledge and expertise in order to advance development to the production stage. Existing expertise from the other centers of excellence, in this case, the Technical Center Stitching, was used here in order to optimize production of the textile base structure. This was followed by further developments in the field of industrial materials and process technology, until the foundation in 2013 of a subsidiary, solidian GmbH.

In addition to applications support, the competencies of solidian GmbH now extend to the following areas:

  • Precast components made from textile reinforced concrete
  • Engineering with high-performance reinforcement
  • Repair using textile reinforcement
  • Design and architecture with TRC

In 2015, solidian built the world's first and only pedestrian bridge made from pure carbon concrete in Albstadt-Ebingen.

The TEZ – promoting textile training

For the textile future to be shaped effectively, well-trained professionals and experts are required. This is a further reason why the Technology and Development Center maintains close ties with textile universities at home and abroad, including the University of Reutlingen, Niederrhein University, or North Carolina State University (NCSU), USA. There is a special connection with Albstadt-Sigmaringen University, primarily due to the study program "Material and Process Engineering (MPE) – Technical Textiles".

This cooperation ranges from jointly supervised Bachelor and Master theses, various different projects, and jointly designed lectures and courses to semesters abroad at NCSU and also scholarships.

The TEZ – get in touch with us anytime!

The TEZ networks with institutes and institutions in order to generate and share expertise. Leading national and international institutions, experts and professionals are already relying on Groz-Beckert and its Technology and Development Center. Help to shape the textile future together with us! Contact us anytime!