Winter 2016

Innovations in textile technology

For TenCate, product and technological innovation is business as usual. It often stems from collaboration with research and educational institutions at home and abroad, including Saxion. Both have an interest in connecting applied research with process and product innovations. The developments in textile technology are following one another in rapid succession. ‘TenCate can see us as an application-oriented development laboratory.’ 

As a material technology concern operating worldwide, TenCate considers innovation to be of paramount importance. TenCate stimulates product and technological innovation. The company develops and renews customer-specific and functional materials, modules and systems not only internally but also together with research and educational institutions and end users.

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Ger Brinks, lector in the Smart Functional Materials unit of the Saxion academy Creative Technology

Saxion is one of the research and educational institutions with which it has collaborated directly or indirectly for years. Ger Brinks is lector in the Smart Functional Materials unit of the Saxion academy Creative Technology. His tasks and those of his lecturer-researchers are organised along four lines of research: Sustainable Textile, Responsive Smart Textiles, Surface Modification and Textile & Garment Construction Technology.

Theresia Grevinga, Ger Binks en Gerit Bouwhuis tonen de eerste geweven stof van SaXcell
Theresia Grevinga, Ger Brinks and Gerrit Bouwhuis showing the first woven SaXcell
® fabric

Within Saxion, Sustainable Textile encompasses SaXcell® (an innovative cellulose fibre that is made from waste cotton). TenCate is indirectly involved here. The production of SaXcell® is under preparation. The fibre characteristics are currently being evaluated and the results will lead to yarn characteristics and then textile characteristics. The projects XoSoft and TexEnergie fall under Responsive Smart Textiles (‘wearable electronics’). XoSoft is ‘an external skeleton/frame that the elderly and handicapped can wear to support their legs and give them more strength'.

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Ger Brinks: 'There’s a considerable amount of specialist knowledge and expertise at TenCate'

‘TexEnergie is a combination at textile level of the capture and storage of solar energy,’ explains Ger Brinks. ‘Solar cells and batteries constructed at ribbon-shaped filament level are interwoven in the fabric.’ Such solar cells and energy storage in interwoven wires convert textile into a new functional material. 

Currently, TenCate is directly involved in only one of the above projects. ‘The cooperation is beneficial to both of us,’ feels Ger Brinks. ‘For example, I would like greater collaboration in the field of protective clothing. There’s a considerable amount of specialist knowledge and expertise at TenCate, which I always find challenging. TenCate could see us rather as an application-oriented development laboratory – although it does have to take in account the dynamics of higher professional education.’ 

Blue fabric (Tecawork Blue 65287)