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Features

The first major exhibition for the industry since the onset of the covid-19 pandemic is scheduled to take place in June 2021 in Shanghai, China. Editor Nick Butler selects some highlights among the exhibits at ITMA Asia + CITME and assesses the mood among the leading machinery builders.

Thousands of ageing composite wind-turbine blades are being removed from steel towers around the world and many have nowhere to go but landfill. Composites Editor James Bakewell reports on efforts to develop methods for recycling these colossal structures that capture the most value from the glass-fibre textiles used to reinforce them. 

Spray application and other water-free technologies have the potential to save the textile industry from its most wasteful processes, according to Adrian Wilson.

To reduce the risks of infection by airborne pathogens, three German companies are developing a ventilation system to remove and filter potentially harmful air from enclosed public spaces. Nick Butler spoke to Dastex’s Carsten Moschner to learn about the potential role for textiles.

From the beginnings of the current pandemic in China in late 2019 to the present, our industry has responded swiftly to provide the vital personal protective equipment (PPE) needed by frontline workers and the public. By forming partnerships, increasing production and developing new products, it has contributed significantly to help prevent the uncontrolled spread of the virus responsible. Editor Nick Butler picks the as-yet unfinished story of HeiQ’s commercialisation of a new anti-viral textile treatment as a prime example among many impressive achievements.

As the  covid-19 pandemic began to take its toll in the USA from late February 2020, medical facilities rapidly became overwhelmed with patients, existing stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE) were exhausted and global supply chains broke down. Happily, local textile manufacturers were able to adapt their output to compensate for shortages. John McCurry tells the stories of a few of them.

Concerns about our ability to feed everyone as the world’s population continues to expand are creating opportunities for agrotextiles, according to Sarah Gibbons and Keith Nuthall, but the next generation of such products must be developed to reduce their overall burden on the environment.

Custom machinery builder Cygnet Texkimp has built a global business around fibre. Technical Manager Andy Whitham explains why fibre integrity is the essential design element in every piece of machinery Cygnet Texkimp engineers. He shares the company’s approach to fibre handling, and the technical considerations that ensure the integrity of valuable fibres is protected during processing to deliver materials and end-products of the highest quality. 

Specialising in state-of-the-art knitted technical textiles currently offers incredible challenges as well as numerous opportunities. As competitors fail, for instance, manufacturers can acquire new capabilities and new customers. One such company, reports John McCurry, is Apex Mills, which made its first acquisition in 2019.

A growing appreciation by engineers of the benefits of using fibreglass in a range of industries (notably wind-energy generation, automotive and construction) is predicted to lead to a boom in sales for the material, reports Sarah Gibbons. At the same time, this demand is also stimulating a market for recycled and re-used fibreglass.

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