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TenCate: Inkjet nano printing technology will change textiles industry

Xennia Technology Ltd, a subsidiary of the Netherland’s Royal TenCate, is today unveiling its process demonstrator for nano printing and finishing of textile materials at its Letchworth, UK headquarters. The novel nano process technology, which TenCate says will change the textiles industry, is based on inkjet technology, whereby ink or coating particles are applied with great production precision and high speed.  The technology will eventually enable TenCate to

18th February 2010

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Almelo

Sports/​Outdoor, Protective, Medical/Hygiene, Transport/​Aerospace, Clothing/​Footwear, Industrial

Xennia's inkjet nano printing technologyXennia Technology Ltd, a subsidiary of the Netherland’s Royal TenCate, is today unveiling its process demonstrator for nano printing and finishing of textile materials at its Letchworth, UK headquarters.

The novel nano process technology, which TenCate says will change the textiles industry, is based on inkjet technology, whereby ink or coating particles are applied with great production precision and high speed.  

The technology will eventually enable TenCate to reduce its production costs and develop unique new materials, which will strengthen its leading position in its core markets.

TenCate says that the new technology breakthrough has been accomplished in the field of industrial processes, which were until recently not applicable to the textile industry.

The company adds that the inkjet technology not only leads to an innovative printing technology but also to a new nano process technology which can apply high added value functionality to textile substrates.

TenCate claims that apart from new technological possibilities, one of the additional advantages of the technology is that the production process helps realize large environmental benefits and energy savings. “Through the combination of a patented continuous process and specially designed chemistry, the textile industry will face a huge change in an economical and ecological way,” the company said.

TenCate says the transformation to digital production processes in the textile industry will take place gradually as new machines will have to be introduced. One of the building blocks of Xennia’s business model is its alignment with machine builders in order to create an ‘installed base’. Xennia will supply the technological solution, which will consist of modules such as print engines, software, ink systems and specially developed high quality inks. The relevant machine producers (OEM’s) have  the necessary sales and service networks as well as the design and build capabilities, the company adds.

Alliance with Reggiani

With respect to textiles applications, Xennia has entered into an alliance with Reggiani Macchine of Bergamo, Italy, a leading digital printing machinery developer and producer. Reggiani will continue the joint development process with Xennia and a production version of the continuous textile printing machine will be ready before the end of this year.

Xennia will be increasingly involved in the development and production of special inks and new ink formulations with special characteristics, creating new in roads in the textiles printing market, which the company claims will create an increasing level of market penetration for digital printing techniques.

Reggiani Macchine is an established brand in the field of textile printing and dyeing and finishing machines for textiles and the company has an international presence via its sales and service network and was one of the first companies engaged in digital printing processes for textiles. Reggiani will specialize itself further in this area with Xennia as a technology partner.

Importance for TenCate

Xennia contributed positively to TenCate’s 2009 corporate results and TenCate expects its contribution will increase dramatically from 2010 on the basis of current components and systems developments regarding print platforms for various machine configurations and research projects for third parties. Based on the current market outlook and R&D projects, Xennia’s revenue forecast for 2015-2017 is £300-400 million.

Xennia will also concentrate on modifying the print heads of third parties for special applications under its own brand name and the production of proprietary inks for applications such as textile printing and finishing. The company owns several patents related to ink formulas.

According to TenCate the annual global textile printing market by volume is 21 billion metres, less than 1% of which is digitally printed. The company envisages that through the alliance Xennia and Reggiani Macchine will become major players in this market and that the overall market share of digital printing will gradually increase.

The strategic contribution of Xennia to TenCate mainly refers to technology and through this technological innovation TenCate will be able to reduce its production costs and develop unique new materials, which will strengthen its leading position in its core markets. TenCate says its environmental footprint will also substantially be reduced.

TenCate says that the importance of the new technology for the innovative ability for the region of Eastern Holland is also huge. The Regional Innovation Platform and the Twente University as well as the Province of Overijssel all support innovation projects regarding new materials and nanotechnology. TenCate’s innovations first and foremost relate to the ‘safety and protection’ market theme with its protective fabrics for industrial and defence applications and outdoor fabrics. All of these fabrics require prints and coatings in order to provide the required functionality.

In due course Xennia’s solutions will also be used in other TenCate business areas such as composites, synthetic grass and for conductive coatings and prints for use in sensors.

TenCate says that as the world’s leading chemistry-driven industrial ink jet integrator, Xennia has been instrumental in revolutionising outdated manufacturing processes by creating reliable inkjet solutions for markets like product decoration, ceramics, textile printing and electronics. Xennia solutions comprise research and development capabilities, printers and printing modules, software and printing fluids. Xennia has a plant in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Royal Ten Cate (TenCate) is a multinational company which combines textile technology with related chemical processes and material technology in the development and production of functional materials with distinctive characteristics. Systems and materials from TenCate come under four areas of application: safety & protection, space & aerospace, infrastructure and the environment, and sport and recreation. TenCate occupies leading positions in protective fabrics, composites for space and aerospace, antiballistic, geosynthetics and synthetic turf.

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