The Editor's Page:

By Max W. Sung

Of Microbes and Textiles: The Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa that has claimed 5,165 lives to date, has raised questions as to the role of textiles in the transmission as well as control of infectious diseases. The Ebola virus, as we understand it now, can be spread from an infected patient to healthy people through blood and bodily secretions, which enter the body when placed in contact with the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, mouth and through breaks in the skin, The World Health Organisation (WHO) has established procedures for the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers using disposable gowns which are fluid impermeable and resistant under pressure, and on the donning and doffing of these gowns to avoid skin contact. Textiles and PPEs are the best preventative measure against transmission we have at this time, given the lack of an effective treatment against the virus or an effective vaccine to protect the healthy population.

Can textiles act as a carrier of the Ebola virus? According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC) in the US, the virus can be spread through contact with objects like clothes and bedding that have been contaminated with the bodily secretions of infected patients. The WHO estimates that at least 20% of new Ebola infections occur during the burial rites of deceased Ebola patients. It recommends that bed linen and clothes of deceased patients be placed in a disinfected plastic bag to be buried with the patient, and soiled mattresses and straw mats be burnt at a distance. The CDC has reported that Ebola can survive for only a few hours on dry surfaces, but the virus in bodily fluids can survive up to several days at room temperature.

In the Dominican Republic, David Cortes, president of the industries association ACITEX had issued a statement on 26 October warning that used garments entering the country can spread various types of diseases, including the deadly Ebola. He also called for the Customs Agency and the Health Ministry of the Dominican Republic to halt the import of bales he affirms come mostly from Haiti, the US, India and other nations. These recommendations have not been adopted by the Dominican government, but belie the emotions and fear which has been generated by the epidemic.

Textile materials, by virtue of its porosity and ability to retain moisture, can offer a suitable environment for the growth and propagation of bacteria, fungi and other microbes. Textiles treated with finishing agents may even provide substrates and nutrients for microbial growth. There have been historical accounts. In the nineteenth century, young healthy individuals who sorted imported wool in the thriving wool trade in England began succumbing to sudden fatal illnesses. It took thirty years to establish that the illnesses were caused by the inhalation of anthrax spores which contaminated alpaca and mohair imported from Peru and Asia Minor. In 1665, a mini-epidemic of the plague occurred after a tailor received a contaminated shipment of cloth. In 1763, an epidemic of smallpox occurred in a Native Indian community in the United States after the chiefs received contaminated blankets. In 1872, an outbreak of smallpox occurred in Ipswich, England after a shipment of contaminated linen from Londonwas laundered.

Through effective infection control measures and the development of an effective vaccine against smallpox, these diseases have been all but eradicated in modern times. In the past two decades, bacterial infections which are resistant to commonly used antibiotics have emerged, and have become a major cause of serious infections acquired by patients while they are hospitalized. These infections include resistant strains of staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), entercoccus (VRE), Klebsiella pheumoniae, as well as non-resistant strains of clostridium difficile which may cause diarrhoea and intestinal inflammation. Hospital linen as well as uniforms worn by nurses and other healthcare providers have been shown to be the culprit in spreading the bacteria from patient to patient in these settings.

Can textile products be treated so that they cannot support the growth of microbes, and hence, prevent transmission of disease-causing microbes?

It is surprising that antimicrobial properties can be conferred to textiles not with antibiotics but with metallic ions such as silver, copper, nickel, cobalt, titanium and quaternary ammonium compounds. Other agents include chitosan harvested from the shells of crabs, shrimps and other crustaceans which also contain naturally occurring quaternary ammonium compounds. These compounds have been shown to have biostatic and, in some cases, biocidal properties against bacteria and fungi. The current challenge is to develop technologies to enable these compounds to adhere to textile fibres and be retained despite multiple launderings. Chitosan, for instance, can be chemically modified through graft polymerisation with poly (n-butyl acrylate) which enhances the biocidal properties of the antimicrobial. Nanoparticles can increase surface area: volume ratios; silver nanocomposites may further enhance the antibacterial action of silver-treated textiles. Solgel technology is currently being investigated as an economic method to coat fabrics with antibacterial finishes.

It should be noted that microbes are part of the normal flora resident on the human skin. These microbes do not usually cause disease, and can even prevent colonisation of disease-causing bacteria. Hence antibacterial textiles are not meant to render the human skin microbe-free, but to control spread of pathogenic microbes in high-risk environments, such as in hospitals.

Enzymes released by microbes in textiles lead to deterioration and discoloration of the textile article. Conferring antimicrobial properties to textiles can therefore control the growth of these microbes. Antimicrobial textiles can be traced back to antiquity where the Egyptians used spices and herbs to preserve the wrappings for mummification. In the modern era, antimicrobial textiles were resurrected to preserve military fabrics used in the South Pacific during World War II. Chlorinated waxes, copper and antimony salts were used to treat these fabrics. Eighty years later, the antimicrobial properties of metallic salts continue to be used for preservation of textile integrity and function.












Special Reports

  • A revolution of new materials is sweeping across the world: Competition between cotton and food crops for land use as well as diminishing oil reserves which will affect the supply of synthetic fibre in the future will drive the quest for materials that are sustainable and widen the scope for cellulose fibre industry. Such a trend is already in motion. The China International Nonwovens Congress held on the second day of Cinte-Techtextil 2014 in late September in Shanghai was told that more and more nonwoven products, particularly for the healthcare market, are now being made by biomass and natural fibres such as chitosan, alginate, silk protein, cotton and wood pulp viscose. Product innovation has also driven nonwovens to extra fine fibres and a variety of raw materials such as PP, PET, PE, PLA, PPS, PA, PPS, PI, PTFE are now in use. Global production of man-made cellulosic materials derived from wood increased last year by 9.6% while the entire fibre production globally increased by only 1.6%.

    By Vicky Sung

  • Interstoff Asia Essential: The end of a long journey: Business as usual it was not on this occasion; the general atmosphere being somewhat subdued for the time of year, season, and general economic climate. Many factors were at play. Most important of them all was that this trade fair - Interstoff Asia Essential - that has lived on for 27 years would no longer continue. Its organiser Messe Frankfurt is winding up the show to focus on other trade fairs in the region.

    By Gail Taylor

  • Price of cotton may remain low but market share may not grow: Cotton is facing a new cycle of low prices. Some New York December future contracts were concluded at 68 US cents/lb in early September, but deals late in the month fell to 61 cents/lb and have since been holding to levels between 64 and 65 cents/lb. Low prices could help consumption to increase; but it may not necessarily help cotton regain much of the market it has lost to other fibres.

  • World's top textile show is more than just textiles: Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics (ITSAF) that began in Beijing in 1995 as a trade fair of apparel fabrics, home textiles and accessories with 130 exhibitors from 12 economies and attracted 7,000 visitors, mostly from China, has since become a major international event. The number of exhibitors it attracts has multiplied 30 times to total 3,800 at the latest show this October. They came from 30 economies. To accommodate all of them as well as 71,000 visitors coming from 93 markets, the exhibition space had to expand 44 times from the maiden show, taking 175,020 sq m covering 15 halls of the Shanghai New International Expo Centre. Now, it is not just an exhibition of fabrics, home textiles and accessories; it is a much larger international event of seminars, trend forums as well as a platform for discussing environmental and sustainability issues, presenting original designs, fabric innovations and research findings and even fashion shows displaying new trends for the seasons ahead.

    By Vicky Sung

  • Cotton could underpin the future of Xinjiang: China has ended in September the nation-wide cotton purchasing program it has been practicing since 2011. This policy shift is expected to attract textile manufacturers to set up production plants in the autonomous region which accounts for 60% of China's cotton production. Cotton growers in Xinjiang can now sell cotton at market price and receive a government subsidy if prices fall below the reference price.

    By Alpana Shrestha

  • Support for Cotton LEADS is increasing: A leading athletic apparel supplier, Top Star, has become a partner of the Cotton LEADS program that American and Australian cotton industries launched in October last year to promote responsible cotton production and sourcing. Thus the program now has more than 220 partners worldwide.

    By Alpana Shrestha

Regional Notes

From A.H.H. Saheed, Colombo

  • Textile sector exports up 20.6%: Sri Lanka's textile and garment exports during the first half of 2014 expanded by 20.6% from the previous corresponding period and totalled US$ 2,413 million. In June this year alone, textile and garment exports grew by 25.6%. Garment exports growing by 22.1% was the main contributor for this overall expansion. Garment exports in June were up by 26.4%.

  • A new clothing venture: Sri Lanka's Board of Investment has signed an agreement with Alpine Clothing Nikeweratiya for a US$1 million garment manufacturing plant that will start operations in the northwest of the country by the end of next March with 250 machines and employing some 500 workers .

Exhibitions & Conferences

  • -Market for technical textiles expands faster than all others: The biennial trade fair Cinte-Techtextil held in Shanghai in late September broke its previous record with 460 exhibitors from 22 countries participating in it, as demand for TT and nonwovens is rising rapidly in China, India, Russia, etc. Overseas exhibitors were 20 less than in the 2012 edition; but they took up more space as some needed bigger booths. Besides, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Taiwan hosted country pavilions while others from Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea, Pakistan, and Singapore set up individual pavilions. The show attracted 12,500 visitors from 61 markets compared with 7,659 visitors its previous edition in 2012 attracted.

    By Vicky Sung

  • MoOD Brussels: The new/old location: The three-day show was striking; wide-ranging use of colour for upholstery fabrics and window coverings, and gorgeous, creative weaves and effects that owed their existence to refined knowledge of a loom's possibilities. This was the place for those with any affinity for the high-end woven and print home textiles and wall coverings. Many companies with interests in this sector were there either as exhibitors or as visitors. They were not concerned about the total number of exhibitors or visitors, but rather on the quality of the meetings they have and the real amount of business that is accomplished during the fair. By that measure a large majority of exhibitors appeared to be pleased with sampling and actual orders that were placed during the three-day event.

    From Arthur D. Sager in Brussels

  • Lingerie, swimwear show confirms growing market: Interfiliere Shanghai and Shanghai Mode Lingerie, the annual trade show for intimate apparel and swimwear which held its 10th edition in Shanghai this October has reaffirmed the findings of a recent market study that countries in South and Southeast Asia are emerging as important markets for intimate apparel and swimwear.

    By C.K. Chow

  • Machinery show for light industry: Bellegmash, the annual international exhibition focused on equipment and machinery for light industry will mark its 21st presentation at NEC Belexpo in Minsk, Belarus, from January 20 to 23, 2015. This event organised by MinskExpo JSC is supported by the country's Ministry of Trade.

  • A forum designed for sporting goods makers: The Switzerland-based World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) will hold its manufacturers forum in Leipzig, Germany, on November 13-14, 2014. This forum, with the theme 'How can design and manufacturing embrace' will discuss ways to improve communication, strategic leadership and innovative future manufacturing processes between designers and manufacturers.

  • Conference and trade show on wearables: A conference and tradeshow focused on wearable technologies, applications and their commercialisation progress, and called "Wearable Technology Live" will be held on November 19-20, 2014 at Santa Clara Convention Center in California, USA.

  • Textile printing fair in Guangzhou: FESPA China, a three-day exhibition focused on screen printing, digital printing and textile printing will take place at the Poly World Trade Expo Center Pazhou, in Guangzhou, China, from November 19 to 21, 2014.

  • Week-long design event in Hong Kong: Business of Design Week (BODW), the annual event of the Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC) since 2002, a world-class platform for the exchange of ideas, is scheduled to take place from December 1 to 6, this year.

  • Workshop for learning textile testing: Introduction to Textile Testing Workshop, a popular program of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC), is scheduled to take place from this December 3 to 4 at its headquarters in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA.

  • Premičre Vision rebrands itself: Premičre Vision, the French company organising textile and fashion trade fairs for over four decades now, is repositioning its events with new and easy to identify names starting next year. Thus, the leading fabrics show for fashion industry professionals, Premičre Vision Pluriel, will be called Premičre Vision Paris starting with its next show (February 10-12, 2015) at the Parc des Expositions Paris Nord - Villepinte, France. Similarly, Expofil becomes Premičre Vision Yarns focused on yarns and fibres; the fabrics show Premičre Vision becomes Premičre Vision Fabrics; Cuir ŕ Paris, the show for leather and fur, becomes Premičre Vision Leather; Indigo becomes Premičre Vision Designs; Modamont becomes Premičre Vision Accessories, the international show of accessories and components for fashion and design; and Zoom becomes Premičre Vision Manufacturing specialising in fashion manufacturing.

  • Greater China textile confab in Hong Kong: The Institute of Textiles and Clothing (ITC) at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA) are jointly organising a conference titled 'Cross-straits Conference on Textiles' in Hong Kong from 17 to 19 this December.

  • SpinExpo in February: The next biannual SpinExpo International Textile Exhibition that Well Link Consultants organises will be held on February 3-5, 2015, at Shanghai World Expo Convention and Exhibition Centre.

  • ISPO Munich in Feb: The sports business exhibition ISPO which Messe Muenchen organises annually is scheduled to be held on February 5-8, 2015, in Munich .

  • Asian apparel show in Berlin: The annual Asia Apparel Expo in Berlin is scheduled to hold its fourth presentation on February 15-17 next year.

  • RISE conference in Miami: The Research, Innovation and Science for Engineered Fabrics conference, which is known as RISE will take place on February 10-12 next year in Miami, Florida, USA.

  • Russia's top floor coverings show: DOMOTEX Russia - the leading Russian trade fair for carpets and floor coverings - will take place next April from 1 to 3 at Moscow's Sokolniki Exhibition and Convention Centre.

  • Hong Kong Fashion Week and World Boutique: Hong Kong Fashion Week for fall/winter seasons and the World Boutique Hong Kong, both organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), will be held next January from 19 to 22 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. They will showcase a wide array of top international brands, revealing the latest fashion trend and providing an ideal business platform for all in the industry.

  • Proposte moved forward to April: The annual Proposte international exhibition on furnishing fabrics and curtains is to be held next April from 27 to 29 at Villa Erba in Cernobbio (Como), Italy. This will be the first time since 1993 that this exhibition will not take place in May because the worldwide Expo 2015 will be taking place in May in Milan.

  • Fashion and add-ons, all for children: The sourcing fair called Children Baby Maternity Industry Expo (CBME) held annually in China will take place again next year from July 22 to 24 at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre.

  • JEC Americas composites show: The fourth annual JEC Americas Composites Show and Conferences will take place from June 2 to 4 next year in Houston, USA. Organised by the JEC Group, it will be co-located with Messe Frankfurt's Techtextil North America (TTNA).

  • FESPA Mexico next August: FESPA, the global federation of 37 national associations for the screen printing, digital printing and textile printing community, is organising a three-day fair next August, from 20 to 22, in Mexico City.

  • Composites Expo: The annual China International Composites Industrial Technical Expo, or China Composites Expo, will hold its 21st edition on September 2-4, 2015, at Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Centre and (SWEECC). It is co-organised by China Composites Group Corporation Ltd (CCGC), China Composites Industry Association (CCIA), and Chinese FRP Society.

  • B&B plans Asian debut: The biannual tradeshow Bread & Butter, usually held in Berlin, is moving to Asia and the Asian debut is scheduled to be held in Seoul from September 3 to 5 next year.

  • Techtextile fair in Turkey: Hightex, the international technical textiles and nonwoven exhibition that Tecnik Fuarcilik organises will hold its sixth edition on September 11-13 next year in Istanbul at the Istanbul- Büyükcekmece Tüyap Fair and Congress Center.

  • Dornbin MFC next September: The annual Dornbirn Man-made Fibre Congress (MFC) that the Austrian Man-Made Fibre Institute organises will mark its next assembly from September 16 to 18, 2015, in Dornbrin, Austria.

Products and Technology

  • Yarn with a sense of freshness and shine: Botto Poala, the Italian producer of yarns in wool, cashmere and silk, has introduced what's described as a "very refined, comprehensive and tempting" collection for spring/summer 2016, rich in sophisticated style suggestions, which are ideal to inspire high-level weavers and creatives.

  • Pneumatic cord and yarn grips: Instron, a UK-based manufacturer of testing equipment designed to evaluate the mechanical properties of materials and components, is now offering what it describes as "an easy solution" designed specifically to overcome the problem of premature failure for industrial textile fibres, including Aramid and UHMwPE.

  • The latest from PFAFF: The sewing machine specialist, PFAFF Industriesysteme und Maschinen, has introduced a new sewing machine, the PFAFF 3791 that combines, for the first time, the Docu-seam technology with the advantages of a post-bed machine (Better handling of tube-like resp. three-dimensional items) in one machine.

  • HCiX2 for handlook carpets: Van De Wiele has developed a three rapier weaving machine, the Handlook Carpet Innovator HCiX2, especially for weaving handlook, Carpets. The machine is based on the Innovator generation, which is a strong and rigid machine, equipped with the Van De Wiele state-of-the-art servo drive technology for an increased flexibility and productivity.

  • Nya Nordiska wins Red Dot award: A new airy decoration fabric that Nya Nordiska has developed - which stands between textile and paper - has won this year's Red Dot Design award, one of the most prestigious design awards in Germany. The winning product called Batumi CS which combines the transparent Trevira CS Fleece and colour intense print design is made of flame retardant fibres and is therefore very well suited for home and contract use.

  • A new benchmark for pigment printing: A pigment printing system that BASF has introduced recently for sensitive textiles used, for example, in infant and baby clothing is said to be setting a new benchmark for safety standards. It is called Helizarin EcoSafe, a 'zero addon' formaldehyde pigment printing system.

  • A new textile platform: Three top Italian mills, Nuova Fratelli Boretti, Green Line and Lanificio Stelloni, have recently formed a new textile platform called Re.Verso that is designed as an 'open door' platform, meaning that it welcomes input from all manufacturers to process their surplus waste through its system, even encouraging them to use their own selected mills to finalise fabrics.

  • An innovative whitening agent : Huntsman Textile Effects has introduced an innovative fluorescent whitening agent to help textile mills achieve very high and brilliant white shades on cellulosic fibres, thus helping them to meet brands' high white standards for towels, knitted apparel, T-shirts, underwear and other articles made from cellulosic fabrics.

  • Eco-friendly coating for leather goods: For fashion brands, lowering the environmental impact of their products is a priority. To support these brands, Stahl, the Netherlands-headquartered chemicals producer for leather products and performance coatings now offers a complete EVO range, the next generation polyurethane coatings for shoes, bags and other fashion items. .

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