Factory of the Future


The Factory of the Future program

The innovation program ‘The Factory of the Future’ aims to develop environmentally friendly smart manufacturing processes for textile finishing which will result in a revolution for the textile industry and provides added value for the entire production supply chain and for the end users. Within this innovation program, materials technology group TenCate collaborates together with numerous regional partners, including Norma Group and Gemini Electronics, and Reggiani Macchine, the Italian supplier of textile printers, on the development of digital finishing technologies. 

Digitization of manufacturing processes is an important part of this innovation program. Currently, two digital process technologies are in development and partly operational, namely continuous ink jet technology and drop-on-demand technology. These two processes are the key enabling technologies for a variety of applications in the future, both for (smart) functional materials as for future production processes.

The vision of TenCate

The vision of TenCate for 'The Factory of the Future' is focused on smart production with the objective to optimize durability and flexibility, reduce costs, and to add new functionalities to textiles and textile based materials. In The Factory of the Future program projects give shape to this objective by working towards a digital textile factory of the future. For the textile industry, digital finishing processes are key enabling technologies to achieve this objective, but certainly not the only technologies. Digital also refers to the support of ICT and linking data to optimize and create self-learning processes.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility is a major objective in the operation of TenCate in the near and further future. Ink jet technology contributes to this objective because it is expected to significantly reduce the amount of waste, energy consumption and raw material usage. The amount of waste in the total value chain will be reduced because of the possibilities of mass customization. During production the energy consumption and raw material usage will drop sharply due to the characteristic features of ink jet technology. Inkjet technology delivers the following estimated savings compared to the traditional processes: 
  • Savings on energy: up to 60%
  • Savings on water: up to 80%
  • Savings on inks: up to 90%
  • Savings on color waste: up to 90%
  • Reduced stock: up to 70%
  • Improved sustainability
FOTF Background