Movers & Shakers – October 2021: Renewcell, Kelheim Fibres to develop commercial-scale viscose fiber production from 100% recycled textile material

IFJ Movers & Shakers - Textile Fiber Industry Updates
IFJ covers the latest news and information coming out of the textile fiber industry. Photo: iStock/allanswart

In the dynamic and global textile fiber industry with its various manufacturing processes and end-uses, news and information is breaking on a daily basis. International Fiber Journal is tracking stories relevant to our industry from manmade to natural to bio-based fibers, innovations in nonwoven, woven, braided and technical textiles, technologies for additives, bonding, coatings and polymers, and applications from apparel to hygiene to transportation, and more. Here we will post news stories relevant to textile fibers and their downstream applications on an ongoing basis. Please check back for regular updates. If you have news that you feel should be added to this summary report, please email it to Matt Migliore at

Most recent update: October 22, 2021

Levi’s 501 made with Circulose fiber to be launched in early 2022

In early 2022, Levi’s will launch a version of its most iconic product, the 501 Original, made with organic cotton and post-consumer recycled denim, and designed to itself be recyclable. The launch is part of the ongoing partnership between Renewcell and Levi’s.

“We’ve been working with Levi’s for several years now to push the frontier of what’s possible for textile-to-textile recycling at scale. Incorporating Circulose in the 501 Original and launching it in retail showcases Levi’s® innovative capacity and the promise that Circulose carries to substitute significant shares of virgin cotton with recycled textiles in products widely known for their superior quality.” said Patrik Lundström, CEO of Renewcell.

Levis 501 Jeans with Renewcell's Circulose Fiber

This launch builds on last year’s release of a collaboration between Renewcell and Levi’s Wellthread line on the 502 for men and High Loose for women using the same materials, which was named a “World Changing Idea” by Fast Company. In each case, Levi’s used a mix of Renewcell’s pioneering Circulose fiber, a sustainably sourced viscose made in part from recycled denim, and organic cotton.

“Last year’s Wellthread collaboration with Renewcell showed that this could be done, that we could find man-made cellulosic fiber made with recycled denim that was strong enough and durable enough to meet our quality standards. That hadn’t been possible before with mechanically recycled denim,” said Paul Dillinger, vice president of Design Innovation.

“Now we’re taking that innovation and applying it to what could rightly be called the most iconic garment in all of apparel, the 501, which shows how serious we are about moving in the direction of circularity. Not only will our circular 501 jeans be designed to stand the test of time, just as they always have been, but they’ll also be able to find a second, third or fourth life as new garments.”

Making these jeans with recycled denim content blended with certified organic cotton means the garment uses far fewer natural resources and fewer chemicals to produce. Reducing the environmental impacts of materials is part of Levi’s® broader strategy for resource conservation across the life cycles of Levi’s products and is an important part of their Buy Better, Wear Longer message and campaign.

“We are still early stages in apparel’s move towards real circularity, which is so necessary given how consumptive and wasteful this industry can be,” Dillinger said. “By producing our signature jean, the 501, with recycled content and in a way that makes them recyclable, we’re hoping to show ourselves and the industry that it really can be done, and that we can deliver more sustainable product that saves resources, still looks great, and meets the highest quality standards.”


Dr Frederik Cloppenburg awarded Karl Arnold Prize 2021

Textile researcher Frederik Cloppenburg, Ph.D., scientist at the Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA) of RWTH Aachen University, was honored with the Karl Arnold Prize of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and Arts, endowed with 10,000 €, for his scientific achievements.

Dr. Cloppenburg earned the award due to his interdisciplinary work within nonwovens production, his research in the field of artificial intelligence in the textile industry and his commitment to structural change in the Rhenish mining area with the help of scientific innovations. He has been working as a research assistant at the ITA of RWTH Aachen University since 2014, where he completed his doctorate. He is now in charge of the nonwovens technologies research group at the Aachen site. He is responsible for all nonwovens activities at the institute. In addition, in his function as chief digital officer, he is responsible for digitalization at ITA and the digitalization of the institute’s infrastructure and processes. Dr. Cloppenburg has multiple publications and lectures on his research.

The Karl Arnold Prize has been awarded annually to young scientists and artists for outstanding research work or artistic achievements. The prize is named after the founder of the Academy, Minister President Karl Arnold, and is endowed with 10,000 euros. The prize money is donated by the Foundation of Friends and Sponsors of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and Arts.


Indorama Ventures listed on THSI for the seventh consecutive year

Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL) has been included in the Thailand Sustainability Investment (THSI) 2021 list by the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) for the seventh year running. IVL’s performance in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices and sustainability management contributed to its selection.

Being listed in the THSI for the seventh consecutive year reflects the success of IVL’s sustainability journey, which responds to the challenges of the global situation, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Yash Lohia, chief sustainability officer at Indorama Ventures. “This year, we launched our 10 annual Sustainability Report demonstrating our progress in 2020. From a 2013 baseline, we recorded reductions of 10% in GHG intensity, 4% in energy intensity and 7% in water intensity, as well as an 84% increase in total waste diverted from landfill from 48%.”

Following each industry’s business nature, the THSI list requires sustainability assessments in economic, social, and environmental as well as governance dimensions. The consideration also aligns with the issues that investors around the world are interested in and is related to the areas where businesses can use their potential to solve social and environmental problems. The THSI list will be one of the criteria used to select companies on the SETTHSI Index, which promotes the investment in listed companies with outstanding ESG performance.


Kelheim Fibers earns gold status in EcoVadis CSR rating

Kelheim Fibers was awarded gold in the CSR rating by EcoVadis, scoring among the top 3% of all companies evaluated. Companies are evaluated in environment, labor and human rights, ethics and sustainable procurement, with Kelheim Fibers achieving top scores in the environment area.

“We create plant-based specialty fibres that enable healthy lifestyles while helping to preserve our environment for future generations,” said Craig Barker, CEO at Kelheim Fibres. “Environmentally friendly production and our overall environmental, social and ethical performance is the measure of how seriously we take our own aspirations.”

In addition to the gold status in the EcoVadis rating, Kelheim Fibres has a certified EMAS environmental management system and ranked highly in the Canadian NGO Canopy’s “Hot Button Report” for sustainable wood and pulp sourcing.

Renewcell, Kelheim Fibres to develop commercial-scale viscose fiber production from 100% recycled textile material

Renewcell and Kelheim Fibres Gmbh have signed a letter of intent to develop commercial-scale production of viscose fibers from up to 10,000 tonnes of Renewcell’s 100% textile recycled material Circulose annually. The collaboration provides a fully European closed loop in which textile waste is collected, recycled and regenerated into new Circulose fibers for people who want to reduce their fashion footprint.

“European fashion consumption has great impact on climate and the environment globally. It also contributes to tremendous amounts of waste going into landfill and incinerators either in Europe or abroad after export. We will now work with Kelheim to prevent waste and reduce the need for virgin resources, while also enabling a fully regional supply of low impact circular fibers for textiles” said Patrik Lundström, CEO of Renewcell. “We are thrilled for the opportunity to work closely with a partner like Kelheim, who is at the leading edge of innovation and sustainability in this industry.”

Craig Barker, CEO at Kelheim Fibres said, “We see an excellent fit between our two companies, not only on the technical side with Renewcell we have found a highly professional partner who shares our vision for future forward technologies that enable full circularity in the textile chain. Finding the answers to the challenges of our times is what drives us every day.

Our recycled cellulose fiber solution made of Renewcell’s Circulose and manufactured using environmentally sound processes at our Kelheim plant is an answer to the fashion industry’s need for sustainable, resource and waste reducing solutions, and a more regional and reliable supply chain. chain.”

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Fitesa invests in Reicofil 5 line to bolster high loft and spunmelt offering in Europe

Fitesa has invested in a new multibeam Reicofil 5 line in Europe, with start-up planned in the second quarter of 2023. The new machine will be installed in one of Fitesa’s current facilities in the region and will be equipped to produce full high loft and standard spunmelt products, using a variety of sustainable raw materials including bioPE and PLA.

“This line will be a state-of-the art machine capable of serving the growing demand for sustainable spunmelt products,” said Michael Baumgartner, Fitesa’s senior vice president for Europe & China. “Once the machine is online, we will ramp up production from our pilot lines which significantly increases our ability to supply the market with softer products and increased circular and green content produced locally in Europe.”

According to Fernanda Gastal, Fitesa’s vice president of procurement and marketing and head of the company’s ESG Committee: “This investment is part of our strategic direction that will contribute to change the sustainability profile of the spunmelt industry. It should be seen as one of three pillars where we believe we can make a significant impact: innovative technology offering, environmentally friendly raw materials and reduction of GHG emissions in our operations”.

Fitesa has been producing nonwovens from biobased polymers since the early 2010’s and was awarded for its 100% biobased spunbond materials.


Greycon walks from London to Athens for WasteAid

Greycon, a supply chain specialist servicing the nonwovens and converting industries, has sponsored its team members in a collective walk covering the distance between its London office and Athens office to raise money and awareness for WasteAid, a nonprofit that partners with public, private and community-based organizations in countries where poor waste management is harming the environment, economy and society. Each member of the team is contributing steps toward the challenge, which is an estimated 3,466,000 steps covering 1,733 miles. Upon completion of the London to Athens walk, Greycon will contribute £250 toward the total amount raised. 

WasteAid is an independent non-profit charity, set up by waste management professionals to share practical and low-cost waste management know-how with communities in low-income countries. Donations could be used to train unemployed workers to become a city waste champion, equip a community group to transform organic waste into useful products or provide machinery for processing plastic waste.

Pollution caused by waste harms people’s health, the environment and damages the local economy. In contrast, an affordable waste management system is relatively simple to implement, improving the environment, creating jobs and protecting public health – particularly for children.

WasteAid is helping tackle plastic pollution in the marine environment by working with upstream and coastal communities to set up small recycling centers and help keep plastic out of rivers and the oceans. It also shares skills in managing organic waste, helping people make the most from the ‘waste’ materials they have.

WasteAid shares these skills with local trainers so that the knowledge can be passed on from community to community. It keeps the cost of equipment as low as possible and makes sure there are local markets for any products made from recycled materials, maximizing the value to the local economy.


Sustainability is centerstage at Hygienix 2021

Hygienix 2021, held in-person from November 15-18 in Scottsdale, Arizona, will highlight advances in absorbent hygiene and personal care products.  The program will delve into topics such as New Options for a Responsible End-of-Life; Product and Process Innovation in Absorbent Hygiene Products (AHPs); Haptics: Four Approaches to Assessing Feel, and E-Hygiene Advancements.

Hygienix presenters include:

  • Susan Thoman, Principal and Managing Director, Compost Manufacturing Alliance, will provide a Compost Industry Perspective on Compostable Product Development. Attendees will learn about issues related to composting hygiene and personal care products including labeling and other emerging legislation and material challenges.
  • Nick Carter, Vice-President of Marketing, and DeeAnn Nelson, Ph.D., North America, Research & Development and Innovation Manager, Avgol Nonwovens will present Biotransformation Technology in Polyolefin Fibers and Nonwoven Fabrics, Focus on Fugitive Used Articles, examining waste single-use articles in the environment, recycle-friendly, biologically-sourced colorants and other aspects of sustainability.
  • Behnam Pourdeyhimi, Ph.D., William A. Klopman Distinguished Professor and Executive Director, North Carolina State University, The Nonwovens Institute, will be joined by other leaders in Haptics Assessments in discussing the use of data and analysis to develop products that have the tactile feel consumers desire.
  • Olaf Isele, Ph.D., Nonwovens Consultant, Metaxi SimBioSys LLC, will lead the intriguing session on Smart Sensors: Absorbent Hygiene Products on ‘Fire’ and ‘Siri.’ Isele will explore how modern absorbent hygiene products are becoming electronic information systems for tracking such developments as wellness of babies and incontinence among senior populations using smart devices.

Other themes that will be spotlighted in sessions are Absorbent Hygiene Products Market Stats, Trends and Policy Insights; Feminine Care: Challenges to the Status Quo; and New Approaches and Unmet Needs in Baby and Incontinence AHPs.

In addition to the in-person conference, the event will feature two nonwovens workshops, a welcome reception, opportunities for 60 tabletop displays with receptions, 30 presenters engaging in eight moderated panel discussions, and presentations for the Hygienix Innovation Award and the INDA Lifetime Service Award.


* International Fiber Journal is owned by INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (

Bast Fibre acquires textile processing plant in Germany to meet demand and support plans for growth

Bast Fibre Technologies (BFT), a manufacturer of specialty natural fibres for the global nonwoven industry, announced the acquisition of Faser Veredlung Tönisvorst (FVT), an ISO 9001 certified textile processing facility located in Tönisvorst Germany.

This purchase enables BFT to immediately increase capacity to meet customer demand for its sustainable bast fibres and provides a firm platform for expansion and continued growth, according to the company. With over 20 years of fibre processing experience, FVT is located within close proximity to major European centres for bast crop cultivation and nonwoven fabric construction. This
transaction follows BFT’s strategy of establishing low carbon, regional supply chains by sourcing, producing, and selling within specific regions. The facility is currently being expanded with the installation of specialty refining equipment specifically designed to optimize natural bast fibres for use in a variety of nonwoven applications.

BFT/FVT team members in Tönisvorst, Germany
BFT/FVT team members in Tönisvorst, Germany. Photo courtesy of Bast Fibre Tech

“We are excited to have FVT as a part of our company” said BFT President, Jim Posa. “FVT has a long history of working with natural fibres and this acquisition has accelerated our transition towards becoming a fully integrated manufacturing company. FVT has consistently produced the highest quality bast fibres for BFT, so it was a logical step to bring this capability in house. Europe is leading the way on single-use plastic reduction strategies and the ability to produce these fibres in Europe will become increasingly important for the production of truly sustainable nonwovens in wipes, hygiene products and more.”

The Tönisvorst operation is positioned in the heart of the EU nonwoven belt in an historic textile complex established over 140 years ago. With a rich history of textile processing, this campus has been renewed and modernized in recent years and now hosts a mix of manufacturing and service-based industries. In the coming months the facility will be upgraded to optimize the
production of cost effective, high performance natural bast fibres for customers looking to accelerate their sustainability goals with BFT’s tree-free, plastic-free alternatives. The facility is also ideally equipped for rapid prototyping and product development of novel fibre modifications to develop natural fibre solutions that meet customers’ specific requirements.


ExxonMobil to build first, large-scale plastic waste advanced recycling facility in Baytown, Texas

ExxonMobil plans to build its first, large-scale plastic waste advanced recycling facility in Baytown, Texas, and is expected to start operations by year-end 2022.

By recycling plastic waste back into raw materials that can be used to make plastic and other valuable products, the technology could help address the challenge of plastic waste in the environment. A smaller, temporary facility, is already operational and producing commercial volumes of certified circular polymers that will be marketed by the end of this year to meet growing demand.

“We’ve proven our proprietary advanced recycling technology in Baytown, and we’re scaling up operations to supply certified circular polymers by year-end,” said Karen McKee, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company. “Availability of reliable advanced recycling capacity will play an important role in helping address plastic waste in the environment, and we are evaluating wide-scale deployment in other locations around the world.”

The new facility follows validation of ExxonMobil’s initial trial of its proprietary process for converting plastic waste into raw materials. To date, the trial has successfully recycled more than 1,000 metric tons of plastic waste, the equivalent of 200 million grocery bags, and has demonstrated the capability of processing 50 metric tons per day.

Upon completion of the large-scale facility, the operation in Baytown will be among North America’s largest plastic waste recycling facilities and will have an initial planned capacity to recycle 30,000 metric tons of plastic waste per year. Operational capacity could be expanded quickly if effective policy and regulations that recognize the lifecycle benefits of advanced recycling are implemented for residential and industrial plastic waste collection and sorting systems.

ExxonMobil is developing plans to build approximately 500,000 metric tons of advanced recycling capacity globally over the next five years. In Europe, the company is collaborating with Plastic Energy on an advanced recycling plant in Notre Dame de Gravenchon, France, which is expected to process 25,000 metric tons of plastic waste per year when it starts up in 2023, with the potential for further expansion to 33,000 metric tons of annual capacity.

The company is also assessing sites in the Netherlands, the U.S. Gulf Coast, Canada, and Singapore.


Messe Frankfurt names Ivonne Seifert marketing director for Textiles & Textile Technologies and Bettina Bär show director for Neonyt and Val:ue

Ivonne Seifert was appointed director of marketing communication in the Textiles & Textile Technologies Business Unit of Messe Frankfurt.

In her new position, Seifert is in charge of marketing communication for the international trade fairs, Heimtextil, Techtextil and Texprocess, and the Neonyt and Val:ue fashion fairs, as well as communication activities for the international brand management of around 60 events worldwide covering the entire value chain of the textile and fashion industry. She replaces Thimo Schwenzfeier, who is leaving Messe Frankfurt after more than eight years, to take up new professional challenges.

Ivonne Seifert, Messe Frankfurt
Ivonne Seifert, Director of Marketing Communication, Messe Frankfurt, Textiles & Textile Technologies

Her duties include the communication activities relating to the successful resumption of fairs in the textile sector and the establishment of the fashion brands of Messe Frankfurt as part of the Frankfurt Fashion Week. Additionally, she is responsible for the further expansion of smart-data-driven marketing for the textile fairs and the communication activities of the worldwide Texpertise Network.

Ivonne Seifert joined Messe Frankfurt ten years ago and, during this time, has held a variety of positions in marketing. She has extensive marketing expertise in both the B2B and B2C fields.

Bettina Bär is taking over as Show Director of Neonyt and new tradeshow format Val:ue in Messe Frankfurt’s Textile & Textile Technologies division. Both tradeshows are held during Frankfurt Fashion Week.

Bettina Bär, Messe Frankfurt
Bettina Bär, Show Director, Neonyt and Val:ue, Messe Frankfurt

In the future, Bettina Bär will be responsible for the strategy and concept for Neonyt and Val:ue, as well as their contents, organization and further development. She will be taking over from Thimo Schwenzfeier, who, after more than eight years at Messe Frankfurt, is leaving the company to pursue new professional challenges. In her new position, Bär will report to Olaf Schmidt, vice president of Textiles & Textile Technologies at Messe Frankfurt GmbH.

Since 2012, Bettina Bär has held various positions for Messe Frankfurt in the field of consumer goods fairs and was recently show director of Tendence.


International Conference on Cellulose Fibres issues call for Innovation Award nominees

The International Conference on Cellulose Fibres, presented by nova-Institute, 2-3 February, 2022, in Cologne, Germany and online has issued a “Call for Innovations.” Six nominees will have the opportunity to present their unique products during the event, with the aim of being awarded “Cellulose Fibre Innovation of the Year” for 2022.

In 2021, Stora Enso from Sweden won the Innovation Award for its cellulose foam for packaging. Second place was taken by Kelheim Fibres (Germany) for its hygiene products made of cellulose ahead of third place Metsä Spring from Finland, which presented a new cellulose fibre production process.

The Call for Innovations will be open until 15 November 2021. All producers, inventors and pioneers along the entire value chain from feedstock to final product are invited to enter the competition. Developments of new technologies and applications are welcome. An independent expert jury will select a total of six new materials and products from all entries for the award. The
innovators get a free 2-day ticket for the conference and the unique opportunity to present and market their product or technology to a huge professional audience.

After short presentations of the six candidates at the conference, the three winners will be elected by the participants of the conference and honored with the Innovation Award at a festive gala dinner.

For more information on the Innovation Award program:

California passes law requiring ‘Do Not Flush’ labeling for nonflushable wipes products

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 818 by Assembly Member Richard Bloom into law, requiring all packaging for nonflushable diaper wipes, cleaning wipes, and cosmetic wipes to display clear “Do Not Flush” warnings. The bill is the result of a three-year effort between representatives from wastewater and product stewardship groups and wipes manufacturers to address an urgent pollution problem that has plagued public wastewater infrastructure. The legislation establishes disposal labeling requirements for wet wipes packaging and requires manufacturers of wipes to educate the public on the impacts of flushing wipes improperly.

The wastewater sector has shouldered the burden of managing debris from improper disposal of wipes and other trash into their systems for years. One recent national study estimates that California agencies spend around $50 million annually to remove wipes from the sewers. “This is a major step forward in the wastewater industry’s fight to keep wipes intended for the trash can out of our public sewer systems” said Jessica Gauger, director of Legislative Advocacy and Public Affairs for the California Association of Sanitation Agencies, a statewide trade association representing public wastewater agencies. “Through the leadership of Assembly Member Bloom, the wipes industry has taken a major step forward in addressing consumer confusion about improper disposal of these products which has been a major contributor to debris in our systems. Working collaboratively with industry stakeholders we have found a solution to provide clarity to consumers, which we are hopeful will result in a decrease in wipes being flushed.”

Lara Wyss, president of the Responsible Flushing Alliance, a 501(c)(6) created by the wipes industry to promote responsible consumer disposal habits, also lauded the passage of AB 818. “Public awareness and education around smart flushing habits is the key to changing behaviors.” Wyss indicated that this is the beginning of a new era of collaboration between the wastewater sector and wipes manufacturers noting, “Protecting public infrastructure and the environment is a high priority for our alliance and we look forward to our continued cooperative efforts with wastewater agencies in California.”


AATCC announces last chance for research grants textile projects

The American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists’ AATCC Foundation Student Research Support Grants program provides funding for undergraduate and graduate research on textile-related projects. Applications are due October 15, 2021, for 2022 funding. Recipients will be announced in December and funds paid to recipients’ schools in January.

Undergraduate and graduate students may submit any textile-related research project. Projects that involve laboratory and end-use correlation studies, wet processing research, and other topics identified by the foundation receive special priority. A list of priority topics is included in the grant guidelines, available online.

In addition to monetary funding, grant recipients are recognized in AATCC publications and social media. Research abstracts are viewed by academics and professionals across the industry, offering additional opportunities for support and career development.

Recent research projects include:

  • Design and Development of Biotextile Stent to Prevent Post-procedural Debris Embolization after Stent Angioplasty
  • Development of a Model for Image Dehazing and Color Correction
  • Development of Regenerated 100% Protein Fibers of High Quality from Waste Keratin
  • Dual-Phase Solvent System for Sustainable Reactive Dyeing of Cotton Using Soybean Oil
  • Dyeing of Cotton Yarns for Denim with Ecofriendly Nanocellulose Gel-Natural Indigo Dispersion
  • Incorporation of Functional Matters in Nanofiber Webs for Drug Delivery Vehicle and Filtration
  • Nano Surface Coating-Ag Nanowires to Improve Thermal Protection Performance of Three Layers System in PPE
  • Study of Poly-4-hydroxybutyrate (P4HB) Degradation at Different pH and Enzymatic Conditions so as to Mimic In Vivo Environment of Use for Sutures
  • Thermal Regulation of Regenerated Cellulose Nanofibers

Apply by October 15 at Each applicant may apply for up to $4,000 for direct research costs. Additional travel stipends are also available to support presentation of research at technical conferences.


EDANA attracts key stakeholders for second edition of Circular Nonwovens Forum

Gathering key stakeholders and industry players, the second edition of EDANA’s Circular Nonwovens Forum was presented Sept. 30, both online and in person at La Hulpe Brussels. The forum gathered 180 attendees from nonwoven manufacturers, their suppliers and converters for discussion of the challenges and opportunities in the pursuit of a circular economy for nonwovens.

The program covered biodegradable testing and certification, innovations in materials and production processes, and the challenges of recycling.

EDANA Circular Nonwovens Forum
EDANA’s Circular Nonwovens Forum attracted 180 attendees for the event’s second edition (live and virtual) on Sept. 30. Photo courtesy of EDANA.

“I am very encouraged by the growth of this event in both reach and scope. It is truly rewarding and motivational to see such expert level participation” said Gil Stevens, external relations and sustainability director at EDANA. “To see such a considered understanding of the challenges at hand, and the range of solutions and innovations to meet them, has exceeded our objectives. Thanks to all who attended and contributed!”

The platform and all conference content will remain accessible to stream for attendees until 1st November. Registration will remain open for those who would like to access the conference and network with participants.

Register for on-demand access:


Auria announces $12.4M expansion of South Carolina facility for automotive materials

Auria, a global supplier of automotive flooring, acoustical and fiber-based solutions, announced plans to invest capital and grow operations in Spartanburg County. The more than $12.4 million investment will create 103 new jobs.

Founded in 2017, Auria provides interior and exterior components and systems designed to reduce cabin noise and improve overall driving comfort and convenience. Products include acoustical insulators and compression-molded flooring products as well as other interior soft trim products, such as package trays, trunk trim and wheel arch liners.

Located at 1 Austrian Way in Spartanburg, Auria’s business expansion will increase the company’s operating capacity to meet growing demand.

The expansion will incrementally take place over the next two years.

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NIRI to facilitate PHA melt-spinning trials for Renewable Carbon Textiles Project as it aims to decarbonize the fashion industry

The Renewable Carbon Textiles Project, launched by Fashion for Good, brings together groups such as Nonwovens Innovation and Research Institute (NIRI) to investigate, test and validate the potential for PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates) polymers to disrupt the fashion supply chain and decarbonize the sector.

Members of the consortium will ship PHA formulations to NIRI for melt-spinning trials to compare and evaluate the manufacturing and technical assessments of the polymer formulations. The trials will be conducted primarily using NIRI’s filament extruder, with the capability of delivering high specification technical filaments for functional textile materials, as well as high performance composites and medical devices. The technology can extrude thermoplastic polymers with melting points up to 400 C.

NIRI Renewable Carbon Textiles Project
Melt-spinning trials with PHA polymers may facilitate a game-changer for the fashion industry.

“PHA is a promising class of polymers, which have significant potential for use in textiles,” said Brian Levy, Open Innovation, W. L. Gore & Associates. “This project provides an opportunity to contribute to the technical development of the fiber and is also a platform to explore possible future applications.”

In addition to processing sustainable resins, such as PHA and PLA, NIRI has the capabilities to extrude a range of polymers including resorbable, performance and engineered polymers, e.g. PHBH, PBS, PBAT, PEF, Bio-PE and Bio-PP.  These polymers are being developed for various applications including medical, hygiene, food and beverage, filtration, automotive and wipes.  The extrusion facilities at NIRI are designed specifically for detailed investigation into extruded textile materials, ideal for R&D and fundamental to the successful outcome of the Renewable Carbon Textiles Project.

The project is slated to reach completion in late 2022 with Fashion for Good publishing a report on research findings.


Virtual RISE conference attracts 145 attendees for three days of programming around material science topics

145 professionals in product development, material science, and new technologies convened for the 11th edition of RISE Research, Innovation & Science for Engineered Fabrics, conference held virtually, Sept. 28-30. The event was co-organized by INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, The Nonwovens Institute, and North Carolina State University.

The program focused on nonwoven material science developments, sustainability, increasing circularity, government/NGO challenges, market intelligence and economic insights and related topics.

Other highlights included the announcement of Canopy Respirator as the winner of this year’s RISE Innovation Award winner. The annual award recognizes innovation in areas within and on the periphery of the nonwovens industry, which use advanced science and engineering principles to develop unique or intricate solutions to problems and advance the usage of nonwovens.

The RISE Innovation Award was presented to Canopy for its Canopy Respirator. The product is an innovative respirator that is fully mechanical, non-electrostatic, with a filter designed for superior breathability while offering the wearer facial transparency. The breakthrough respirator features 5.5mm water column resistance at 85 liters (3 cubic feet) per minute, 2-way filtration, and a pleated filter that contains over 500 square centimeters of surface area. The patented Canopy respirator resists fluids, and eliminates fogging of eyeglasses.

For information on the 12th edition of the Research, Innovation & Science for Engineered Fabrics (RISE) conference in 2021, visit


DuPont Biomaterials, Welspun India partner to launch home textile collection with bio-based materials

DuPont announced that Welspun India and DuPont Biomaterials launched a new home textile collection, including bath towels and bedsheets, made with bio-based materials. The collection was developed to meet demand for home textile products that not only bring desired performance, but also are sustainable. The collaboration brings together cotton and DuPont Sorona fibers to create home textile fabrics that provide exceptional comfort, moisture management, a luxurious drape, and a smooth, soft hand feel.

With a rich history of textile innovation, DuPont has invented fibers such as nylon, Lycra, and rayon. Its Sorona brand — made from 37% renewable plant-based ingredients — offers a high-performing, responsibly sourced material option. Fibers made with Sorona polymer are currently used in various apparel applications, including athleisure and athletic wear, insulation, swimwear, outerwear, suiting, faux fur, and more. Sorona polymer offers technical and performance benefits, including softness, stretch and recovery, and inherent stain resistance without the need for topical treatments. Sorona is a USDA-Certified Biobased Product and is certified as a Oeko-Tex Standard 100 product.

“Welspun India challenged us to deliver a fiber innovation that will enable them to offer a perceptible value addition to their end customers and yet provide a sustainable solution.  We were able to deliver to the Welspun team the Sorona fiber in a format that allows its incorporation into a range of applications, including towels and bedsheets” said Gowri Nagarajan, Ph.D., regional sales and marketing manager, for DuPont Biomaterials.

“Recently, we have seen an increasing demand for textile fabrics that demonstrate well-rounded performance in the most sustainable way possible at both the fiber and fabric level.  We have been working with our suppliers to achieve this performance, and, in the realm of comfort, stretch, and moisture management, DuPont has a long history of innovation. It is remarkable to see our teams develop this performance stretch Sorona Agile fabric without the need for spandex. It is able to withstand industrial wash conditions without any compromise in fabric property for the life of the fabric.  Our teams are currently closely engaged to incorporate other Sorona yarns into home textile applications,” said Umasankar Mahapatra, senior vice president, Innovation, Welspun India.

Source: and

Archroma announce $0.25 price increase across its portfolio

Effective October 1, 2021, Archroma, a global, diversified provider of specialty chemicals serving the branded and performance textiles, packaging and paper, and coatings, adhesives and sealants markets, will increase the prices of its products by up to $0.25 USD per kg. These adjustments will apply to all Archroma products globally. According to the company, the increase is necessary to offset the ongoing exceptionally high freight and logistics costs.

“Archroma made every effort to absorb these increases,” said Marcos Furrer, chief operating officer at Archroma. “We have however reached a point where these adjustments are needed for us to be able to maintain our service levels.”

This announcements comes amid similar price increase announcements by suppliers to the textile industry, as supply chain challenges remain an issue as the global economy struggles to recover from impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic.


BASF and WPO Polymers cooperate to distribute biopolymer ecovio in Spain and Portugal

As part of its growth strategy for its biopolymers business, BASF will cooperate with WPO Polymers to expand in the developing Spanish and Portuguese markets. The plastics solutions provider will act as distributor of BASF‘s ecovio film product range for certified compostable shopping bags, organic waste bags as well as fruit and vegetable bags in Spain and Portugal. Building on their respective strengths, BASF and its new partner will be better positioned to accelerate business on this important market and to support food companies and retailers to comply with the Spanish Royal decree 293/2018 on the reduction of plastic bags including the mandatory usage of compostable bags (<50 µm thickness) certified according to EN 13432.

“We have chosen WPO Polymers as partner because of its recognized technical expertise in the field of extrusion and its in-depth knowledge of recycling and plastics materials, which complements BASF’s customer-focused strategy for ecovio® in the Spanish market,” said Mia Pettersson, head of BASF’s global business unit Specialty Polymers.” With this new partnership, we want to further improve services for our processors through greater proximity, to meet our customers’ needs more effectively and increase our delivery flexibility. The cooperation will also allow us to support the separate collection of organic waste, as high-quality compost is important for climate change mitigation.“ Since 2018 Spanish legislation has step by step tightened the consumption of bags made of conventional plastics, which in this year culminates in the obligation for retailers and bag producers to offer only light and very lightweight certified compostable bags to consumers. Thus, the Spanish market for biopolymers is expected to become one of the largest in Europe.

“Our expertise is backed by more than 40 years of experience in the plastics industry. With the inclusion of BASF’s innovative biopolymer ecovio into our portfolio, we will both expand our established business and push the adoption of organic recycling in the Iberian peninsula,” says Manuel Olaegu, CEO and Founder of WPO Polymers. “We give tailored material advice and technical support to each customer to ensure the optimal use of the right material for the respective process and certified compostable application – these are key success factors in the Spanish and Portuguese bioplastics markets.”

The BASF biopolymer ecovio is certified compostable in accordance with e.g. DIN EN 13432. It is a blend of BASF’s PBAT ecoflex and renewable raw materials, which means that ecovio is also partly bio-based. Typical applications for ecovio are organic waste bags, cling film, fruit and vegetable bags, as well as agricultural mulch films and food packaging applications.