Texcare; International Forum

June 12th, 2016    Frankfurt, Germany 
Report of the future of textiles and functions – Opportunities for the Textile Care Industry

During the Texcare show an extensive event programme was organised, including the Texcare forum. The Forum on Sunday the 12th was organised by CINET, the global umbrella association for professional textile care, highlighting the added value of textiles and textile services for end users.

Who will stand up to create added value
The forum was introduced by mr Wennekes, CEO of CINET, raising the question who will stand up to create the added value for the end users. Due to the fast changes in society, technology and services there is a need for more added value for the customers. The key is to transform the role and capability of the industry from a low interest service to a high valuable contribution to our clients and end users. Offer a total solution with professional high quality services for current and new business areas. That is the business model for the future.

Personal style, comfort and functionalities
This message was supported by the presentation of Dr. Böttger, liaison officer for CINET and consultant at Expo+Consulting. He was describing the trends for consumers to more convenience. In the workwear industry a strong development to more fashionable, comfortable and functional workwear is noticed. In healthcare his expectation is that the price pressure remains and therefore textile management, service aspects combined with the feel at home aspects become more important. In the hospitality sector the experience is the most important with customisable functionalities and styles. In general corporate social responsibilities and sustainability is a basic value.
Ensuring the protective functions of PPE in industrial reprocessing
The added value textiles can provide is very clear in PPE, where safety and health are ensured by the functional garments. Dr. Schmidt from the Hohenstein Institute gave some examples of research projects that enhances the protective functionality, but also with respect to the comfort of the wearer. Depending on the kind of PPE, various special laundry processes are necessary to ensure the protective function. If the reprocessing is done in industrial laundries and textile services the protective function must be ensured by these companies.

Context Engineered Textiles
Customer markets are increasingly demanding sustainability and products manufactured under ethical conditions. The laundries have come a long way here, as their rental service concept outperforms the alternatives of customer-owned linen on use of resources and sustainability. The market is moving towards sustainability permeating the entire product lifecycle. Mr Beirholm, CEO of Beirholms Væverier A/S introduced the concept of Context Engineered Textiles – market-fit, operational-fit and manufacturing-fit products – that also have the potential to significantly reduce the laundries’ production costs, boost their market share and increase satisfaction among their customers.

Quality and hygiene: A total solution is more than a product offering 24/7 protection
Mr. Schöppe, of LEO System GmbH took a brief look at the role of textiles used in healthcare settings in the acquisition and transmission of healthcare-associated pathogens. He asks if only technological interventions can reduce the risk of transmission of micro-organisms that are associated with the healthcare environment. Or if maybe already existing developments / innovations serve this purpose efficiently and should be communicated more proactively by the Textile Service company, supported by the manufacturer? He concluded that health care apparel is one important factor for controlling transmission of infection in healthcare settings. Manufacturers of protective apparel and Textile Service companies have to co-operate in offering effective solutions to the hospital. A total solution is more than a product, creating 24/7 protection for health care workers.

Innovations in textile industry enabling added value & new services for PTC
The most important development is the ever-growing market share of polyester as a result of the limited growth possibilities for cotton. Furthermore, polyester varies with improved comfort are brought to the market. New developments in the textile production chain, e.g. inkjet printing, digital finishing and 3-D body scanning, will lead to a digital textile production with enlarged flexibility and shorter time-to-market as explained by Dr. Ir. Gooijer of the technological knowledge center textile care (TKT). These technologies are enabling mass customisation by personalized products. A third important development is going on in the integration of electronics in textiles to create smart textiles. Apart from the smart textiles themselves, promising developments are going on in data processing and data management. Mr ing. Lucassen, of TKT, explained that data management is offering new service possibilities to the textile service companies creating an added value to their customers.

Who will stand up?
Concluding this forum session it was clear that many developments contribute to the added value textiles and textile service companies can offer to meet the changing demands of their customers. The question remains who will implement these developments and offer the services to the end users, will the textile service companies take the leap to offer total solutions with a cost of ownership model or will other companies take over specialised services?