DITF upgrades melt spinning pilot plant to develop new sustainable and functionalized fibers, with state support; facility to focus on inventing biobased fibers and textiles, including flame-retardant polyamides, carbon fibers, easy-to-recycle fibers

The modernized and expanded melt spinning pilot plant at the DITF aims to pioneer in fiber functionalization and the development of sustainable fibers derived from biodegradable and bio-based polymers. The German Institutes of Textile and Fiber Research Denkendorf (DITF), Denkendorf/Germany, with the support of the State of Baden-Württemberg, has updated and expanded their melt spinning pilot plant.
In the field of melt spinning, the DITF are working on several pioneering research areas, for example the development of various fibers for medical implants or fibers made from polylactide, a sustainable bio-based polyester. The research also focuses on the invention of flame-retardant polyamides, their conversion into fibers for carpet and automotive applications, as well as the creation of carbon fibers from melt-spun precursors.

Other innovative areas include the discovery of a bio-based alternative to petroleum-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fibers into polyethylene furanoate (PEF) fibers. Notably, the role of bicomponent spinning technology is becoming important as it enables the production of fibers from 2 different components.

Technical textiles, developed from polymers like polyamide (PA) and various others since the last 85 years, have innovated the industry by offering a multitude of functions. Fibers produced from these materials can be electrically conductive or luminescent depending on their exact composition. Other additional qualities include antimicrobial properties and flame-retardance. Such fibers find wide application in various facets such as lightweight construction, medical applications, or insulation in buildings.

To align with environment and resources protection, DITF’s research also focuses on increasing the use of bio-based fibers in the future. Emphasis is being put on simple-to-recycle fibers and systematic recycling methods for maintaining high-quality fiber production.

In January, the DITF also commissioned a bicomponent spinning plant from Oerlikon Neumag, Neumünster/Germany, on an industrial scale. Incorporated with a unique feature of BCF process (bulk continuous filaments), it allows special bundling, bulking and processing of the fibers. This method is supportive of large-scale synthesis of carpet yarns along with staple fiber production, making it distinctive within a public research institute. The system appropriately supplements a so-called spinline rheometer for data recording online and inline measurement, which directly influences the enhanced understanding of fiber formation.

Furthermore, a newly introduced compounder will be applied in the development of functionalized polymers along with the energy-efficient thermomechanical recycling of textile waste. This upgraded melt spinning pilot plant characterizes an unparalleled, state-of-the-art environment to propagate the development and application of new materials and man-made fibers.

Source: Industry Intelligence Inc.

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