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4th Hohenstein Institute Innovation Exchange - Where real life meets research

Article written by the Hohenstein Institute On Thursday 10 June 2010, Prof. Dr. Stefan Mecheels welcomed nearly 80 people with an interest in the textile industry and research to the 4th Innovation Exchange at the Hohenstein Institute. On the previous evening, the Hohenstein "Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence in Global Textile Services" had been presented to Christine Krautschneider, long-standing managing partner and now Chair of the Supervisory Board of Salesi

28th July 2010

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Bonnigheim

Sports/​Outdoor, Protective, Medical/Hygiene, Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable, Interiors, Industrial

Speakers at the Innovation Exchange Part 1 on 10.06.2010 (l. to r.) Dr. Helmut Mucha, Dr. Timo Hammer, Claudia Bernet, Gregor Hohn, Sabrina Köhler, Prof. Dr. Dirk Höfer, Dr. Anja Gerhardts, Dietmar Zeller, Julia Gündel, Dr. Claudia WaldingerArticle written by the Hohenstein Institute

 On Thursday 10 June 2010, Prof. Dr. Stefan Mecheels welcomed nearly 80 people with an interest in the textile industry and research to the 4th Innovation Exchange at the Hohenstein Institute.

On the previous evening, the Hohenstein "Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence in Global Textile Services" had been presented to Christine Krautschneider, long-standing managing partner and now Chair of the Supervisory Board of Salesianer Miettex in Vienna.

Under the chairmanship of Prof. Dr. Dirk Höfer of the Institute for Hygiene and Biotechnology at the Hohenstein Institute, participants in the Innovation Exchange were introduced to 12 research projects in very different fields which have been carried out in partnership with the industry. Between the presentations there was ample time for the audience and the presenters to talk, so any specific questions could be answered in a face-to-face meeting.

Antiviral effect of textiles

The subject of the opening presentation was the antiviral effect of textiles and how it can be used. Dietmar Zeller of Sanitized AG and Dr. Anja Gerhardts of the Hohenstein Institute introduced listeners to the world of viruses. The Hohenstein scientists had worked with their partners in industry to test the antiviral effectiveness of various different finishing treatments.

They found that both textiles and plastics could be treated in such a way that viruses are reliably destroyed. The areas where such products can be used include hygiene related items such as filter systems or face masks, clothing and domestic textiles. In future, the test methods developed at Hohenstein will be able to be used in other fields.

Speakers at the Hohenstein Innovation Exchange Part 2 on 11.6.2010 (l. to r.) Gregor Hohn, Michael Walz, Dr. Timo Hammer, Claudia Bernet, Julia Gündel, Dr. Anja Gerhardts, Christof Breckenfelder, Martin Harnisch, Dr. Gero von Wagner, Dr. Andreas Schmidt, Florian Girmond, Prof. Dr. Höfer, Martin RuppReducing foot perspiration odour

Next, Claudia Bernet of Flawa AG and Gregor Hohn of the Hohenstein Institute introduced their functional shoe inserts for reducing foot perspiration odour.

The aim of this partnership was to improve an existing product and make it more innovative. In this further development, cyclodextrins, little basket-shaped sugar molecules, bind in the perspiration and at the same time release a fragrance throughout the day.

Ageing society

In their project, Bernhard Gatzka of CWS boco and Dr. Helmut Mucha of the Hohenstein Institute addressed a future problem facing our society - demographic change. In an ageing society, research and development must also be adapted accordingly.

In a field study involving a partnership between CWS-boco International GmbH, the Hohenstein Institute and the old people's and care home in Weinsberg, researchers tested the effectiveness of optimised antimicrobial bed linen in preventing infection. In the laboratory, the antimicrobial treatment of the bed linen produced very good results. In real-life conditions, there was heterogeneous distribution of bacteria and the bed linen could be stored for longer.

The project partners therefore believe that the antimicrobial treatment represents a useful supplement to cleaning and disinfecting processes in commercial laundries.

The presentation on textile insect protection for animals and people was also intended to be a tandem presentation by two experts in the field. Unfortunately, domestic circumstances prevented Klaus Egbers of HKM Sports Equipment from attending.

Anti insect protection

Dr. Timo Hammer from the Hohenstein Institute gave the presentation very confidently, introducing listeners to the world of anti-insect protection. At present, the main methods of protection are to prevent bites mechanically and to apply repellents to the skin (substances with an odour that deters insects).

The aim of this project was to develop a textile material which would, firstly, be highly resistant to puncturing by insects and, secondly, provide further protection by incorporating a repellent substance.

To this end, Hohenstein researchers have developed a method for testing the resistance to puncture of textiles which covers a wide range of different types of insects. HKM developed the materials and is currently still testing various designs. It is hoped that the product will be on the market in 2011.

(l. to. r.) Helmut Peterseim, Martin Harnisch, Siegfried von RothUV protection

The next project to be presented was a joint undertaking by the trade association BAU, the garment manufacturers Tempex GmbH and the Hohenstein Institute, and was introduced to participants at the Innovation Exchange by Dr. Claudia Waldinger (Bau association) and Sabrina Köhler (Hohenstein Institute). The project was also supported by Eschler AG, Klopmann and Bierbaum-Proenen GmbH & Co. KG.

The aim was to develop working clothing which would not only offer a high degree of UV protection and be suitable for leasing but would also be very comfortable to wear. The speakers presented the results of the project, three UV-protective shirts which had been designed to resist various stresses (sunlight, working environment) and meet certain specifications (e.g. high visibility colour).

Different materials are used for different parts of the shirts, so that they offer good UV protection while also being comfortable to wear.

Heat management in children's bedding

For the last presentation on the first day of the Innovation Exchange, Thomas Müller from Centa-Star GmbH and Martin Harnisch of the Hohenstein Institute considered age-related heat management in children's bedding . 

Because of the physiological differences (e.g. the way heat is generated, physical proportions), it was not possible simply to transfer the established system for analysing bedding that is used for adults to children. To account for the main difference between adults and children - body size -, researchers developed a smaller thermal articulated model called "Charlene", the size of a 3-year old child.

This enabled researchers to study the best methods of heat management for children in the laboratory. The bedding that was developed was then evaluated by children and their parents in a field test. At the end of the project, all the results were put together to produce a system for assessing children's bedding which will make it easier for manufacturers to develop new products and which describes the best physiological properties in simple terms.

The second day of the Innovation Exchange was introduced by Michael Walz of Eschler AG and Julia Gündel of the Hohenstein Institute. Their project was concerned with developing knitted fabrics with functional finishes for clothing for doctors and care workers which can be washed on an industrial scale.

The aim was to produce working clothes for doctors and care workers which would be very comfortable to wear and would not become less so as a result of industrial cleaning. It is hoped that in future these fabrics will offer an alternative to the polyester/cotton fabrics which have so far been mainly used in this sector.

In their presentation, Helmut Peterseim of Helmut Peterseim Strickwaren GmbH and Martin Harnisch of the Hohenstein Institute first showed how the requirements for functional clothing can vary, depending on how they are used for different sports or under different stresses. The aim of the research project they described was to develop a yarn that combines the benefits of synthetic fibres and natural fibres.

The Zwickau worsted yarn spinning works first produced the yarn in accordance with the prescribed parameters, then the Helmut Peterseim Strickwaren company made the fabric and finally the Hohenstein Institute tested its thermophysiological properties, skin sensory comfort and mechanical textile specifications.

The project has not yet been completed. In the near future, research will be carried out into further modifications of the yarn and knit patterns, controlled wearing trials will be conducted at the Hohenstein Institute and then potential customers will be sought who will place an initial collection of sporty knitted leisure clothing on the market.

Dr. Andreas Schmidt of the Hohenstein Institute introduced his project to improve the cleaning and disinfecting performance of wide duster covers. The aim of the research was to develop wide duster covers which had been pre-treated with cleaning and disinfecting agents. Improving the construction of the fibres and the cover greatly enhanced performance, and microfibre covers proved far more effective than those made of traditional materials.

The project also looked at the antimicrobial effectiveness of covers treated with nano-silver fibres. The companies involved in this project were absorb-med GmbH (provision of materials), CHMS Coburg (commercial processing, project cooperation), Ecolab GmbH (provision of materials, project cooperation), Eschler Textil GmbH (provision of materials, project cooperation), meiko Textil GmbH (provision of materials), Spandauer Velours GmbH (provision of materials, project cooperation) and the FIGR Research and Test Institute for Facility Management GmbH (testing, consultancy).

Laundry infection

Dr. Helmut Mucha and Florian Girmond, both of the Hohenstein Institute, talked in their presentation about the potential risk of infection from household laundry. Nowadays, people do their washing in less water, at lower temperatures and using biodegradable detergents. In-vitro testing in the laboratory showed that, in the right technical conditions, perfectly hygienic results could be achieved even in these circumstances.

However, in the uncontrolled circumstances of the home, there is always a risk that pathogens will not be deactivated and that textiles washed with them will be contaminated. If there is any infectious illness within the family, the washing temperature should therefore always be at least 60°C. The laundry belonging to the invalid should be stored separately, the washing machine should be regularly cleaned and a hygienic rinsing agent should be used.

Remote monitoring of patients

Dr. Gero of Wagner of Metrax GmbH and Martin Rupp of the Hohenstein Institute told participants at the Innovation Exchange about a mobile monitoring system that they were jointly developing. This is to be used by patients with chronic heart disease, firstly to measure vital parameters around the clock and alert a doctor or hospital if there is any deterioration and, in a further development stage, it will incorporate a defibrillator to increase survival chances in the event of sudden heart failure.

A prototype of the cut protection trousers and a jointly developed UV-protection shirt.The concluding presentation of the Innovation Exchange was given by Christof Breckenfelder of the University of Bremen and Martin Rupp of the Hohenstein Institute.

The subject was a sensory protection system for foresters using power-driven saws. The aim was to develop an intelligent, sensor-activated protection system to make working with dangerous machinery safer.

Workers wear sensor-activated cut-protection trousers which cause the power-driven saw to cut out automatically if it comes closer than 5 centimetres.

This is achieved by having a magnetic strip on the saw so that the protective clothing can detect the current that is generated and trigger a cut-out function on the saw if it comes too close to the legs.

Finally, moderator Prof. Dr. Dirk Höfer thanked all the speakers and participants for attending the 4th Innovation Exchange at the Hohenstein Institute and promised that there would be another event in the spring of 2011.

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