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Innovations in fibres, textiles, apparel and machinery, November-December 2006
published in Issue 126, November-December 2006
Innovations are enabling firms to differentiate their products and become more competitive. Also new, environmentally sustainable materials are being used to cut fossil fuel consumption. A Japanese company has developed a method for converting bamboo sheaths into textile fibre while other researchers believe that textile fabrics can be made from chicken feathers and rice straw. Elsewhere, a cotton/polyester blend has been patented which can be dyed with indigo. Faytex has developed a new elastic moisture management yarn while Propex Fabrics has devised a method for improving the fuzz resistance of tufted carpets.
Malden Mills has a new eco-friendly Polartec fabric, Lonati has developed a new openwork knitted fabric, Japanese company Wacoal has a novel fabric for use in the manufacture of foundation garments, and a scarf has been created which changes its colour to suit a chosen outfit. Unitika, meanwhile, has launched an apron which is made from biodegradable maize fibre. An upper body garment has been developed to stimulate muscles and reduce muscular atrophy while a garment resembling a wetsuit has been found to reduce maternal deaths during childbirth. Nike has patented garments with special vented areas and researcher Frank Rudman has a ventilated garment for cooling the body by natural convection.
Georgia Technical Research Corporation has a sensor which transmits information from a patient during recovery while another researcher has come up with a dimmer switch which employs a touch-sensitive light control within a conductive textile. Procter and Gamble has designed a new disposable wipe for hard surfaces while an improved garment for pets contains waste more effectively. Singing Rock, based Czech Republic, has developed a new lightweight mountaineering rope while Viking has developed a textile-based life raft which overcomes the disadvantages of natural rubber.
Two US researchers have developed a novel approach to reducing odours in carpets while two chemists in Germany have patented coated textiles with self-cleaning properties. Milliken has developed a polyamine/isocyanate finish to impart anti-static properties, Sanitized uses zinc pyrithion to reduce dust mites in domestic textiles, and a more effective way of controlling malaria has been developed by treating clothing rather than bed nets. In the coloration area, a university has developed a process for dyeing which almost entirely eliminates the need for water. Unilever, meanwhile, has designed a laundry treatment which helps to maintain and enhance the whiteness of polyester garments.