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CELC celebrates first decade of innovation

During this decade, along with its European scientific committee CSE, CELC's Technical Section supported initiatives for a supply chain in full working order.

10th December 2015

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Paris

Interiors, Sustainable, Clothing/​Footwear, Sports/​Outdoor, Transport/​Aerospace, Civil Engineering, Construction

During its first ten years, CELC’s Technical Section, working with its European Scientific Committee (formed in 2009), has introduced and supported initiatives to show that flax and hemp fibres are not just limited to the role of substitute for fossil resources.

According to CELC, the Confederation of European Flax and Hemp, flax and hemp are now seen as major natural fibres for a new generation of products.

A technical revolution has taken place in many sectors, including the design of objects, acoustics, mobility, sports and leisure, automotive, aerospace, interior architecture, wind energy, boating, and more generally, consumer goods.

From flax comes a broad range of innovative products that are contributing to the revival of a dynamic textile industry. Just five years ago, technical textiles represented only a quarter of that sector’s sales in France. Today, they account for 40% of the total, the Confederation reports.


During that decade, along with its European scientific committee CSE, CELC's Technical Section supported initiatives for a supply chain in full working order, thanks to an open innovation strategy based on analysis and a field action plan.

CELC’s mission includes creating natural-fibre-based solutions, standardizing preforms for composite applications, making use of the expertise of its European Scientific Committee (CSE) to publish reference works, providing manufacturers and specifiers with individual and collective support, and more broadly, with the information they need. The result has been a set of solutions that are adaptable to new applications, as dictated by the needs of the market.

Solutions for various applications

The sports and leisure sector is one of the pioneers in the use of technical flax textiles and semi-finished products. The use of these natural fibres is said to give greater advantages in terms of low weight, vibration damping, and impact resistance. The automotive industry uses flax and hemp for different structural and semi-structural parts for passenger compartments.

An unusual new application has revealed flax’s musical gifts in the form of low density and vibration damping. The music and audio sector is already marketing instru­ments that incorporate natural fibres. In high-fidelity, flax is incorporated into woofer cones for home audio systems or in-car audio systems, giving a more homogeneous sound and a more detailed range.

Furniture and personal goods are putting a spotlight on the aesthetic benefits of flax and hemp. In house building flax and hemp fibres provide in­sulation, whether for heat or sound. They are suitable for eco-construction in the form of panels (semi-rigid or rigid), floor underlay, ceiling tiles, and also moveable space dividers, with either simple profiles or complex thermoformed designs.

Rapid and sustainable development

CELC created its Technical Section in 2005, building on the ethos of an industry that not only recognised the importance of global policies around sustainable development but also the subsequent in­dustrial changes. This body provided structure for initiatives which en­compassed agricultural, industrial, research and envi­ronmental issues.

CELC’s Technical Section worked to convert the growing interest in green materials into actual market share for its businesses. The stated goal was to extend the market opportunities for flax, well beyond its traditional textile market. The result is the commercialisation of a broad range of semi-finished products and technical textiles with European Flax certification.

Collaborative approach

The research initiatives furthered by the CELC Technical Section have always converged around practical in­dustrialisation solutions. By setting up a European Scientific Committee in 2009, it gave priority to open innovation and guaranteed the technical and scientific relevance of its activities through cooperation within a network of experts.

The Committee comprises of a team of ten experts in pure and applied research, who join forces with the scientific consultants from the University of KU Leuven to provide a technical and scientific service that is dedicated both to CELC members and to indus­try, under a convention established in 2009.

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