The FabricLink Network’s Top 10 Innovations recognize technical achievements and originality that improve or advance finished product applications and performance. The winners for 2016–17 include new fiber and fabric developments; novel insulation improvements and smart fabric technologies; and a tagging solution using DNA to protect intellectual properties.
The winning innovations:
- The CertainT Platform, developed byApplied DNA Sciences, authenticates synthetic products throughout the supply chain and provides users of the SigNature T system for man-made fibers and synthetics with a single platform to tag, test and trace their products from source to shop—to protect products, brands and intellectual property from fraud, counterfeiting, theft and diversion.
- Freudenberg Performance Materials has developed comfortemp fiberball padding, thermal insulation that the company says is as light and soft as down. The material traps air in pockets between the small fiberballs, creating thermal insulation capabilities. The company states the material has a uniform structure that ensures there are no cold spots and most often does not require baffles to maintain its construction.
- Introduced byMarubeni America Corporation, Electro-Yarn is a conductive thread made of polyester multifilament, multi-walled, carbon nanotubes. Each filament in the yarn has been coated with carbon nanotubes. The yarn is said to maintain high conductivity even through extreme expansions and contractions. The company expects the product to be used in functional outerwear (heating and signal); as a signal/power line for body sensors; and for built-in wiring in tents.
- Each year in the U.S., 13.1 million tons of textile waste are created; 11 million tons of it ends up in landfills. To offset those statistics, Evrnuand Levi Strauss & Co. have created jeans made from regenerated, post-consumer cotton waste. Using a new patent-pending recycling technology, five discarded cotton T-shirts became the Levi’s jean prototype.
- Teijin Cordley developed Maestley, a new high-grade natural leather substitute. The company’s hopes to respond to higher demand and decreasing supply of natural leather. The company will test the market and the product’s comfort, durability, breathability and moisture permeability by applying the product to high-end shoes and bags.
- Noble Biomaterials Inc. collaborated with Bemis Associates to develop a fully bonded, conductive material. The product is engineered with Noble’s Circuitex, which permanently bonds pure silver to the surface of a textile fiber or fabric. The material provides detection, transmission and protection of electronic signals in a soft, flexible format. Using Bemis Sewfree bonding is meant to allow for integrated stretch and durability. Possible applications include data streams (ECG, EMG, strain and pressure mapping), as well as active power delivery (lighting, electro-muscle stimulation).
- Schoellerhas developed a layered insulating fleece fabric for outerwear. The laminate uses schoeller-WB-400 soft-shell fabric with a Swiss wool interior layer. The washable wool comes from sustainable sources in Europe and is mulesing-free. The fabric is available with or without a membrane. The company asserts that designers have the option to baffle, quilt or leave the fabric solid without the wool insulation migrating.
- Spinnova, a spin-off from VTT Technical Research Center of Finland, has developed a new technology that turns wood fibers directly into yarn without the use of complex chemical processes. The method resulted from an idea to combine the web-weaving capabilities of spiders with paper manufacturing. The wood fiber yarn manufacturing method consumes 99 percent less water and 80 percent less energy than cotton, according to the company. Based on the technology, the company asserts that the amount of wood used annually in Finland would be enough to replace the world’s entire cotton production.
- Xtegra is an auxetic fabric made from yarn and developed by Advanced Fabric Technologies. The Xtegrayarn is composed of an elastomeric core fiber and a wrapped fiber with a smaller diameter than the core. This wrapping creates an auxetic effect. As the yarn is pulled, the wrap tends to straighten, which causes an increase in the effective diameter of the yarn, making it thicker and stronger. Applications are expected to include blast protection and medical monitoring, status reporting and autonomous triage.
Launched in 1995, FabricLink is a trade-to-consumer online resource for consumer textile education and product promotion. To be eligible for the award, the textile product technology or production process improvement must have been developed in the previous year, and be commercially available during the current year.