The standards cells are an initiative of the Belgian FPS Economy and have been created to better inform SME's about the impact of standards on their companies as well as to promote the application of standards.
Centexbel has created five standards cells to follow-up of the evolution of standards and regulations, to inform the textile industry by means of publications, work groups and information sessions and by facilitating personal contacts between companies and experts.
The standards cell "Technical Textiles" assists the sub-sector of technical textiles. This sector includes geotextiles (applied in road construction works, hydraulic engineering, drainage, refuse dumps...), agrotextiles and construction textiles (tensile structures). Other application fields are the industry (e.g. filtration cloths), sports fields (artificial turf) or technical clothing (protection, special corporate clothing). The latter field also resorts under the clothing sector.
In the field of standardisation, the sector of technical textiles is extremely subject to product specifications and legal regulations imposed by the different European Regulations (construction products, protective equipment, medical devices...). These directives require that the manufacturers of these products substantiate their product claims, that the product does not endanger the public's safety and that the product itself has no harmful side-effects. Moreover, the product's properties need to be sufficiently durable and resistant to sometimes extreme conditions of use.
The standards cell "Clothing Textiles" assists the sub-sector of clothing textiles. Companies belonging to this sub-sector manufacture products for different kinds of technical garments, such as workwear, protective clothing and clothing for medical purposes and use in "clean rooms". In addition, daily clothing, sportswear and leisure wear are still important products.
Despite a decreasing number of companies and a declining employment, the sector is still mainly export-oriented. The international competition forces the sub-sector to focus more and more on clothing (textiles) with a high added value, by adding extra functionalities to the textiles. In the field of standardisation this leads to the progressive development of standards regarding these new textile materials. These standards require that the manufacturers of these materials and garments substantiate their product claims, that the product does not have any harmful side-effects and that the added functionalities are durable and resistant to (frequent) washing.
This evolution corresponds to the consumer's growing concern for safety and health, which is even strengthened by the European Product Safety Directive (2001/95). In support of this legislation, European standards are being developed to detect certain harmful substances (azo-deystuffs, fire retardants) and to assess the burning behaviour of nightwear and the safety of children's clothing. Certain initiatives have been taken to incorporate a number of requirements of voluntary eco-labels (OEKO-TEX®, EU Flower label) into the European standardisation, giving them as such a more binding character.
The standards cell "Interior Textiles" assists the sub-sector of interior textiles. This sector includes textiles used to decorate interiors, both for residential and public buildings (hotels, community centres, companies...).
Despite the fierce international competition, the sector remains mainly export-oriented. The international competition forces the sector to focus more and more on interior textiles with a high added value, by adding extra functionalities to textiles. In the past few years - urged by the Belgian textile sector - a lot of standardisation activities have taken place in this field (resulting in the development of new standards for floor covering, upholstery, terry cloth, mattress ticking). A lot of attention has been paid to the legal aspects, resulting from the directives for construction products (CE marking) and product safety.
The producers of interior textiles are therefore often confronted with requirements about the emission of volatile components and indoor air quality.
Other safety and health related aspects concern burning behaviour and the presence of harmful components in textiles. It is to be expected that the introduction of the REACH legislation for the registration and authorisation of chemicals will affect this sub-sector rather drastically.
Nonwoven and textile products for hygienic and cosmetic applications
This standards cell assists the manufacturers of "Non-woven and textile products for hygienic and cosmetic applications".
Woven and non-woven textile products for hygienic and cosmetic (cosmetotextiles) applications are a rapidly growing sub-sector, in which functionalisation (antibacterial, anti-odour, hydrating, stimulating, slimming effects) is an important added value. Whereas products for body and skin care are mainly disposable articles, cosmetic products are more durable. The latter are mainly produced in the knitting sector. The reorientation of these mostly small enterprises towards more profitable markets is impossible without a thorough knowledge of the requirements in the field of standards related to hygienic and cosmetic properties.
Use of recycled plastics and textiles as raw material
The standards cell "Use of recycled plastics and textiles as raw material" is at the service of all companies having a direct interest in developments in the field of recycled polymers, including a broad spectrum of companies:
Plastic converting companies
- producers of plastic articles: melt processing of polymers (extrusion, injection moulding, compression moulding...)
- producers of compounds
- production of masterbatches
- fibre and yarn extrusion
producers of composites
- processing of reinforcing fibres with resins of thermoplastic polymers
- recycling companies
- collection of (separate) wastes
- separation, purification
- shredding, grounding, compounding
- producers of polymers and additives for compounding and polymer processing, glueing, coating
technology companies for machinery (re-)engineering
- polymer processing (extrusion machines, presses…)
- mould construction, tooling (filtres, …)
- waste seperation technology
designers and engineering offices
- product design optimisation in view of their dismantling and/or recycling
users of polymer-based products
- automotive, civil engineering, road construction, agriculture, food, non-food, medical sector, manufacturing sector...
Note: The French Triman regulation, that entered into force on 1 January 2015, requires that producers, importers and distributors of recyclable products that are sold in France, inform the consumers about the necessity of differentiated waste collection. This is depicted by the collective Triman pictogram.