Brussesls hosteed the European Textiles conference (going digital, going high-tech) on October 12 and 13. Nearly 150 participants from 24 countries attended the two day event. The key highlight of the event, organised by the European Technology Platform for the Future of Textiles and Clothing (Textile ETP), was the unveiling of the Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA).
The SIRA outlines the major innovation themes and research priorities which are expected to drive and shape the future of the textile and clothing sector in Europe in the coming decade. It has been jointly developed by over 100 textile industry, technology and research experts from across Europe.
The document, entitled ‘Towards a 4th Industrial Revolution of Textiles and Clothing’. expresses the conviction that the interplay of technology trends such as digitization and automation, market trends such as growing technical textile applications and more demand for sustainable fashion products and new business models such as circular and sharing economy concepts and personalized product-services, will provide a new basis for a more knowledge-intensive, growing and more profitable textile and clothing industry in Europe.
Representatives of the European Commission detailed the policies and programs in place to provide support to the industry for more research in materials, manufacturing technologies, digitisation and new business models; a stronger sectoral education and training provision and investment in clusters and other innovation support mechanisms at regional level.
The strong presence of the textile machinery sector through companies such as Brückner, Lindauer Dornier and Picanol underlined the importance of a close collaboration between world-leading Europe-based technology developers and their local lead industry customers to exploit advantages arising from greater resource efficiency, digitisation and new material processing. The conference also featured a number of new companies that exploit research know-how and advanced technologies for revolutionary textile based products for the health, construction, energy protection or outdoor markets.