EU SESEC project assesses the possibilities of energy saving in the clothing industry
For the fashion industry too sustainability is more than just a buzzword. Ever since the 1990s the entire textile industry, everyone from machine manufacturers to companies producing fibres, fabrics and garments, has been implementing resource saving processes.
The main two factors for the industry are the consumption of water and energy. Textile manufacturing has already implemented technologies that take account of both the requirement to save and recycle resources and the change in the market to smaller production lots and accelerated development processes. Until now the downstream clothing industry has successfully focussed on in-house process optimisation and the traceability of upstream products up to and including fibres.
Bertram Rollmann, founder and owner of Pirin-Tex in Gotse Delchev, Bulgaria, has been involved at the production level. Founded in 1993, the company today employs 3,000 people producing men’s and women’s suits under contract for renowned European brands. The company has its own Rollmann brand of clothing for the modern, discerning businessman and markets this through a number of retail outlets in Bulgaria. Pirin-tex is also involved in the sector of corporate fashion. Since the start of the century Rollmann has been targeting the power and water guzzlers in its operation. Ultimately these represent up to three percent of the total costs and this is a significant factor for Rollmann considering increases in the price of oil, gas and electricity. It started with steaming and ironing equipment which make up the lion’s share of the consumption costs. The Veit Group took Rollmann's ideas on board, improving and designing new ironing presses and tunnel finishers. Rollmann partnered this development – and between 2003 and 2012 they were able to reduce energy consumption by 37 percent. In addition the Rollmann team is looking at recycling: packaging and waste fabrics are separated, collected together, pressed into balls and then passed on to recycling companies. Forty people are involved in this alone.
The textile and clothing industry in Europe looks to machine innovations
A feature of the European textile industry is its intensive use of machinery; this has enabled it to open up new market segments in the sectors of carpets, home textiles and technical textiles. Through close cooperation with European manufacturers of textile machines and suppliers of textile chemicals the industry has been successful in screwing down the costs of energy and water consumption.
To further advance along this chosen path Euratex, the umbrella organisation for the European textile and clothing industry, has been focussing amongst other things on improving access to European programmes to promote research and development and ensuring that these programmes take a more pragmatic approach. It is claimed that too few companies have been able to participate – undermining sustainability and competitiveness in a fast-moving, market-driven sector.
Industry project “Energy Consumption / Article of Clothing”
SESEC (Sustainable Energy Saving for the European Clothing Industry) is an ongoing EU project with the aim of developing a simple on-line tool to measure energy consumption per article of clothing. Additionally the project will continue to communicate outcomes and support companies in the implementation of energy saving measures. The EU covers 75 percent of the budget of around Euro 1.7 million. Euratex coordinates the consortium of European research and test facilities as well as industry associations and Pirin-tex, the industrial partner. Since the end of 2012 the team has been using field trials to identify potential areas for energy saving. The result is expected by March 2014. Under investigation is the entire production of t-shirts, shirts and blouses, trousers and skirts, suits and coats, knitwear, underclothes and corsetry. The intention is for the results of this project to be subsequently incorporated in the training programmes for clothing technicians and engineers.
A similar project (CARE+) was successfully undertaken in the chemical industry up to 2011 as part of the EU wide Intelligent Energy Europe Campaign. Small and medium sized companies in particular, with limited resources in terms of personnel and finance, were able to reduce their energy consumption significantly by up to 25 percent. The same is expected for the clothing industry with the aim of increasing the companies’ competitiveness.
Two factors will significantly determine the industry’s future in Europe: the know-how along the entire value chain and the creativity to develop new products and processes that satisfy both market needs and the requirements of sustainability. Also in the future the market will be marked on the one hand by the general economic environment and production technologies and on the other hand by ethical principles (social responsibility). In terms of innovation and sustainability European manufacturers are market leaders in textile processing technologies. The forthcoming Texprocess, the leading international trade fair for the processing of textile and other flexible materials, takes place from 10 to 13 June 2013 in Frankfurt am Main and gives these manufacturers the opportunity to present their products.
Information about Techtextil
Techtextil, International Trade Fair for Technical Textiles and Nonwovens, will be held concurrently with Texprocess from 11 to 13 June 2013. Around 1,200 exhibitors from 50 countries and some 25,000 visitors from 96 countries form the world’s leading marketing and sourcing platform for users and manufacturers of technical textiles and nonwovens with their unlimited spectrum of potential technical applications.
Background information on Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is Germany’s leading trade fair organiser, with 538* million euros in sales and 1,891* active employees worldwide. The Messe Frankfurt Group has a global network of 28 subsidiaries and approx. 50 international Sales Partners, giving it a presence for its customers in more than 150 countries. Events “made by Messe Frankfurt” take place at more than 30 locations around the globe. In 2012, Messe Frankfurt organised 109* trade fairs, of which more than half took place outside Germany.
Messe Frankfurt’s exhibition grounds, featuring 578,000 square metres, are currently home to ten exhibition halls and an adjacent Congress Center. The company is publicly owned, with the City of Frankfurt holding 60 percent and the State of Hesse 40 percent.
For more information, please visit our website at: www.messefrankfurt.com
* preliminary figures (2012).
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