Textile Functionalisation & Surface Modification

Development & optimisation of sustainable textile processes

Textiles are a versatile material, combining very divergent properties, such as flexibility, strength, drapability, permeability, barrier and FR properties, in one single and easy to process substrate. This is why an increasing number of different industrial sectors are applying textiles (construction & architecture, composites, transport, electronics...). These new applications go hand in hand with a growing number of severe requirements. Hence, textiles are becoming increasingly technical and complex products.

Surface treatment

In order to change or improve the surface characteristics of textiles, one may interfere in both the extrusion and textile finishing phase. In the extrusion phase, one adds (migrating) melt additives or special spin finishes to the polymer to produce yarns with additional or improved functionalities. One may then give a permanent character to these characteristics by plasma treatment of the yarns.

Sustainable textile finishing techniques

In the field of textile finishing, new products as well as new techniques are being developed. Due to the rising energy costs and the enormous expenses related to waste removal, Centexbel pays a lot of attention to water and energy savings during the development of new textile finishing techniques and products.

Centexbel researches and promotes novel technologies for sustainable textile finishing and coating

Textile finishers still use (too) much chemicals, water and energy. However, textile finishing is and will remain a very important step in the textile production process for the difference is made right here: the final colour, prints are applied during this phase, the feel is adjusted to the final use, the textile substrate receives additional functionalities (FR, water repellent, crease resistant... properties) and the performance and quality (such as resistance to wear) are improved.

The major Belgian textile products, such as mattress ticking, upholstery fabrics, carpets, canvas, protective clothing, medical textiles ... are usually coated or laminated. This process step mainly uses formulas based on water and solvents that have to be cured in a thermal oven. The formulas result in excellent and long lasting coatings, but this technique consumes o lot of water and/or energy. Moreover, a lot of volatile organic components are released in the case of solvent-based coating that have to be combusted.

The use of chemicals, water and energy is increasingly under attack: the stringent European environmental legislation obliges producers to radically reduce their consumption of water and energy and the recently introduced REACH directive imposes restraints on the use of hazardous chemical substances. Moreover, changing societal needs are compelling the industry to work in a more conscious, innovative, sustainable and flexible way. It goes without saying, that this has to be done - in view of the globalisation - in an economically responsible manner.

Centexbel promotes and supports the introduction of alternative water, energy and chemical saving technologies, formulas and/or additives and helps the industry in selecting and implementing eco-friendly products and techniques.