FTILab+ is a leading space for innovation and INDUSTRIAL Manufacturing demonstration where imaginative solutions are created to empower the textile, fashion and other manufacturing industries to transform into circular, bio-based and digitised businesses. By means of connecting all stakeholders we give support to build resilient, inclusive and innovative industries that maximise the use of local resources, exploit advanced manufacturing techniques, invest in digital transformation and engage in cross-sectorial collaborations and strategic clusters.
FTILab+ engages its multidisciplinary expertise in three main research areas:
- Biobased materials and circular economy
- Advanced manufacturing strategies in product development, manufacturing and value chains
- Comfort and protection for both humans and animals through design and/or optimisation of products for sports, health, work & interior using smart materials and/or innovative manufacturing techniques
Our research projects.
Biobased materials and circular economy
- Cannabisnes: scaling up the cultivation and processing of hemp for textile applications in the bio based economy
- SUSTEX: inventory of SUStainable TEXtile materials and exploration of new fibers sources from local vegetable residual flows
- Hemp4Textiles: hemp fibers for textiles applications
- Spiral: spinning of bio based, recycled and smart textiles
- Own grown hemp: optimisation of hemp fiber qualities via an integrated chain approach
- Hemp4All: Low-impact finishing of hemp yarns and fabrics
Advanced manufacturing strategies
- Smartfit: the use of 3D anthropometric data for morphotype analysis to improve fit and grading techniques
- New perspectives for product development and pollution control through the use of UV-technology textiles
- SHAPE: adapted performance wear
Horseback: fitting a saddle to every horseback: the digital revolution
Comfort and protection
- SmartSeam - Sensory and Actuating Functional Seams Applying Hybrid Yarns for the FashionTech Industry
- COVVID-PPE: Comfort & Safety in Occupational or crowded environments
- Development and Characterisation of Smart Textiles in the field of thermophysiological comfort : optimisation of clothing systems and Identification of the Impact of wearing those clothing systems on the operational capability
- Comfortex: thermophysiological comfort of clothing
- Wintex: advanced weaves for intelligent textiles
- Touché: boosting innovation through application of basic understanding on the process and testing of textile touch and fabric feel
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Services and infrastructure.
FTILab+ offers tailor-made research, training and advice to professional partners (companies, government and other organisations) active in textiles, fashion, wood & furniture, sports and animal welfare. Our researchers have strong expertise within these domains and a long history of interdisciplinary cooperation. Our experiments and tests, advice and training are based on solid, practically oriented research and are formulated to suit your company or organisation.
Pilot and industrial scale infrastructure
Our (semi) - industrial infrastructure is open to companies and designers in their search for new, innovative products and / or for the production of a prototype. This includes among others:
- textile production equipment (spinning, weaving, knitting), including fancy yarn spinning, jacquard or textured weaving and fully fashioned knitting
- textile dyeing & finishing equipment, including package dyeing, fabric dyeing, screen printing, coating and plasma treatment
- digital printing facilities
- garment development & manufacturing, including body scanning for optimal fit, 3D simulation of design, CAD pattern drafting, an industrial cutting room and production facilities
You can contact us for a wide range of tests on various materials (textile, wood …) such as tensile strength and extension, tear strength, colour measurement, piling, abrasion, scratch resistance, ageing under the influence of UV-light, moisture and heat, water resistance , bending stiffness, colour fastness, moisture management, fabric touch etc.
The comfort of textiles and clothing is a perception of feeling that is the result of psychological aspects such as design, quality and aesthetics as well as physiological aspects such as thermophysiological and sensory comfort.
The thermophysiological comfort of a textile material is the result of the heat and moisture transport through the material. The thermophysiological comfort of a garment is influenced by the materials used, the style and the fit.
The sensory comfort is the result of the nerve impulses generated when the textile comes into contact with the body or is manipulated. The softness, dexterity, skin tolerance, wind chill and adhesive effect are considered. The sensory comfort of a garment is influenced by the materials used, the fit and (to a lesser extent) by the garment joining method.
In sports and protective clothing, increased comfort generally translates into improved performance, safety and well-being. FTILab+ has extensive expertise in the various aspects of clothing.
A modern, sustainable equestrian sport requires safety, performance and welfare of humans and animals. In order to secure our 'social license' as a sector, and simply out of love for the horse, we take a proactive position. We focus on 'equation science': science at the service of equestrian sports. Multidisciplinary, together with veterinarians, saddle adjusters, statisticians, engineers and comfort and material specialists, we tackle issues within modern equestrian sports. The core is linking health and performance: only a healthy athlete and horse can deliver good performance over time. We are always looking for practical applicable solutions.
An important pillar of our current research is saddle fitting. Not only world class horses and riders, but every rider and every horse deserves the optimal material to be able to ride safely for many years. Our modern sport, with a large diversity of horses in terms of size and build, has changed the requirements for saddles. With a group of enthusiastic colleagues, we are therefore looking for the right sizes and shapes for saddles. We measure horses in 2D and 3D, develop and test measuring methods and devices and analyse the measurements found.
In addition, we also test the comfort of the horse and, if desired, the rider, when using various rig and / or materials. We integrate and test new materials (such as leather, plastics and smart textiles) and techniques (such as 3D design and printing).
The reintroduction of hemp as a multifunctional, ecological and sustainable crop is on the rise worldwide. The R&D activities of FTILab+ in this domain support companies that explicitly want to use hemp as an alternative fiber for high-quality textile applications and biocomposites.
Our research focuses on:
- Cultivation and harvest optimisation, standardisation of the retting process (in collaboration with the AgroFoodNature research center)
- Production of fine yarns according to cotton spinning principles
- Eco-friendly dyeing & finishing