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Texon joins TransFIRe

Optimising the flow and use of resources in the manufacture of materials.

3rd December 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Skelton, United Kingdom

Industrial, Sustainable

Texon, the manufacturer of nonwoven saturated felts, extruded filmic materials, wet-web saturated cellulose paperboard, technical fabrics and consumables, has joined TransFIRe – the Transforming Foundation Industries Research and Innovation Hub.

This UK consortium is carrying out research and development, technology transfer and new business projects across the country’s foundation industries, to help it achieve its target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Texon will work closely with academics, industry partners and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the TransFIRe hub on a number of innovation initiatives.

Flow optimisation

Using £4.7 million of funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and matching in-kind contributions, TransFIRe participants will strive to optimise the flow and use of resources in the manufacture of materials focusing on six sectors that account for about 10% of the UK’s total CO2 emissions – cement, ceramics, chemicals, glass, metals and paper.

As a global leader in structural components for footwear, as well as performance fabrics, Texon is part of the chemicals and paper supply chain and purchases raw materials including polymer chemistries and cellulose from the foundation industries for the manufacture of its own products.

Working with major global footwear, fashion and apparel brands, the company is constantly searching for new sustainable materials and processes to reduce its environmental footprint.

“TransFIRe’s work perfectly complements our own strategic interests and research needs,” said Boyd Mulder, director of NPDI, marketing and sustainability at Texon. “Two years ago, we publicly declaring our ambition to achieve zero waste by 2025 and as a global team we are now working hard to cut our carbon footprint by 50%, reduce our use of virgin materials by 50%, recycle and reuse 90% of our waste and reduce our water use and water waste by 20%.

“However, we are conscious that achieving true sustainability also requires collaboration – particularly within and across complex supply chains.

“Wherever possible we are keen to set up and contribute to circular networks that can close the loop on waste. As TransFIRe’s planned programme gathers momentum, we look forward to working with hub partners to find new uses for by-products and waste, and more carbon efficient ways of working that are less water, resource and energy intensive. Over the next three years we will be offering the TransFIRe consortium the use of our manufacturing facilities and our staff expertise as well as material goods that can advance specific strands of research. This is an exciting project to be involved in, which will deliver far-reaching benefits for the UK as it works towards net zero, but also for our own business and that of our customers.”

Foundation industries

TransFIRe has been created in response to the UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and is led by Professor Mark Jolly, director of manufacturing at Cranfield University.

“Having companies such as Texon in the TransFIRe consortium is essential to achieving Net Zero targets,” he said. “Access to the company’s facilities and supply chain from two of the foundation industry sectors brings great strength to the partnership.

“The foundation industries play a vital role in the UK economy but there is so much more we can do to help them develop into cleaner and more sustainable businesses. With progress in AI and digital manufacturing there is a real opportunity to transform these industries through the implementation of new technologies. For too long, the they have been dismissed as too difficult to green, too difficult to modernise and too difficult to diversify. TransFIRe shows that the commitment is there from academia, industry and government to take on those challenges and transform the foundation industries that have for generations played such as vital role in the UK economy.”

The TransFIRe consortium is made up of 20 academics from 12 universities, more than 60 companies and 14 non-governmental organisations related to the foundation industries – as well as companies specialising in energy mapping, life cycle and sustainability, industrial symbiosis, computer science, AI and digital manufacturing, management, social science and technology transfer.

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