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On 24 January at ENSAIT, CLUBTEX, ENSAIT, IFTH, UP-tex in partnership with CD2e and sponsor of ECO TLC* held the 27th Technology Day on textiles solutions to the problem of rehabilitation in the construction industry, which attracted over 100 participants.
Textiles rank fifth among the materials used in construction, after concrete, wood, steel and glass. They offer an efficient and aesthetic solution not only due to their lightness and mechanical and chemical properties but also when functionalized for domotics applications.
The purpose of this day was simply to create synergies between contractors, architects and designers and the textiles industries and research laboratories.
Private and public contracting authorities in the building sector need to meet the needs of users as well as the new environmental regulations. While these regulations do not present much of a problem for new buildings, rehabilitation of older buildings is more complicated: there are around 1 750 000 homes in the Nord-Pas de Calais 80% of which are over 20 years old : high energy consumption in these homes is a major concern.
Mr Coppé, president of the order of architects in the Nord-Pas de Calais and a main stakeholder, explained the respective roles of the contracting authorities and constuction companies and proposed some solutions for using innovative materials in buildings.
Several textiles firms presented products with low carbon footprints: insulating felt made by Duflot Industries, acoustic strech ceilings made by Newmat, innovative reinforcing wire fabric for lighter and functionalized concrete and coatings with Fitco and the IsoPEG heat insulating material made from recycled plastic bottles.
Over and beyond the complex and demanding regulations regarding eco-design and life cycle analysis (presented by Veritas research department and ENSAIT), textiles offer some fantastic development opportunities, as shown by Christine Browaeys of T3NEL who presented a detailed chart showing how textiles can be used in buildings.
More information at www.clubtex.com
2013, une année pleine de promesses pour le CETI !
To have set up a textiles firm in 2008, you must have either been a bit crazy or believed strongly in your project ? ?
Guillaume TIBERGHIEN / I think it's a combination of the two! It wasn't actually such a mad thing to do. I didn't set up Tibtech to make a fast buck. That would indeed have been crazy. Advanced textiles materials is not a good area for opportunists for the simple reason that it is a demanding market that requires long term investments. One of the fundamental traits of this market, besides the fact that it is segmented and sub-segmented into a number of niche markets, is that it takes a long time to put the products on the market. Long term investments need to be made for projects that can take from 3 to 10 years to qualify. But when the project comes to fruition, we are lucky that in these high-tech sectors, the markets are relatively sustainable, allowing us to develop applications and products whose service lives can be as long as 20 years, providing that we can guarantee that production can be maintained for this time or even longer and that the project can be reviewed if necessary. "Capability" and quality are essential. For this type of market, you have to be pro-active and have good ideas; it is really not for opportunists!
How has TIBTECH managed to get a foothold on the market in just a few years ?
Guillaume TIBERGHIEN / As I have said, we work in niche markets that obviously generate smaller volumes. We get a lot of enquiries in the advanced textiles market. But a third of these quickly come to nothing. Another third may continue for one or two years then go to ground. And one third will end up leading to a couple of projects. When we are working on these projects we have all the cards in our hands. To bring them to completion, you have to be able to work acrosss the board. I think that this is Tibtech's main strength: we are ultra specialized in conductive materials, while offering a wide range of technologies. This is thanks to a vast network of sub-contractors working in complementary fields. It is impossible to have a solitary or blinkered approach. We have to have a broad outlook on the trade and work with other firms to combine our technologies. If we can manage the interfaces between all these technologies, we can create innovations.
How do you see your cooperation with CETI ?
Guillaume TIBERGHIEN / CETI provides us with just the right type and range of facilities and equipment we need to support our research. For companies like ours who are developing three-component fibres and composite materials with scope for other functionalities, CETI offers some prime advantages: it enables us to see for example that a technology we are developing can not be used on its own or that it is not the best one for what we want to do. CETI has the capability for long term development and can therefore help us to optimise our technical solutions and also help our partners in industry who contract the work to us. It is the perfect tool for constructing the future.
You say that there are still many reasons to believe in the future of the European textiles industry ? What in particular makes you think that ?
Guillaume TIBERGHIEN / We have said it so many times, but Europe still has many assets. To start with all the know-how it has acquired over the centuries but which is gradually disappearing. We have to preserve it, not by putting it in museums, but by using it and giving people the means to express their skills in a competitive environment. We must not allow this technology to drain away to developing countries on the pretext that the important thing is to keep research here. Every time I have had to seek a technology to meet my needs, I have managed to find it in Europe because, once again, we have a very efficient network of partners: CLUBTEX, UP-tex, CETI, Créativallée, the CCI, … networking is definitely another trump card in Europe's hand.
Are there not however some things that prevent the development of innovative textiles ?
Guillaume TIBERGHIEN / Of course the current instablity in Europe makes it difficult to construct anything in the long term. But what worries me most is the problem of industrial property rights. We need patents to protect our innovations. But the cost of patents in Europe is extremely high compared to the USA for example and this is crippling for micro-businesses and small and medium sized firms. While spending enormous amounts in relation to its size, Tibtech has only filed two patents out of around a dozen possible applications. I have the feeling that Europe has everything to gain from setting up a system for filing a "basic" patent at a very low cost, written directly in English and only in English, which would considerably reduce the translation costs. We need to standardize the rules of the game and exercise greater pragmatism if we want to defend European industry. The strategic future of innovation depends on it. Because in the meantime, China and the USA are filing patents right, left and centre.
What is INNOTEX and what is its relationship with GENI ?
Sylvain GERARD /INNOTEX, a textiles incubator set up 10 years ago, assists textiles innovation projects and business start ups.
With a team of coaches and a broad network, INNOTEX provides advice on setting up a business, facilitates contacts with textiles specialists and can provide funding for project development.
INNOTEX also belongs to the GENI (Grandes Ecoles du Nord Incubation) network structured around 5 prestigious educational establishments or "grandes écoles" (ENSAIT, Ecole des Mines de Douai, Centrale Lille, Arts&Métiers ParisTech centre de Lille and SKEMA Business School) and their incubators (INNOTEX, APUI, TONIC incubation) thus forming a hub dedicated to aiding innovation projects and the subsequent business start ups in the Nord-Pas de Calais.
Could you tell us about one or two of INNOTEX's main projects in 2012 ?
Benoit DEROY / Since 2008, Innotex has helped to maintain and create 217 jobs in 22 start ups.
Jacques Vial's project :
CEO of two slipper factories and a research centre for developing innovative products, Jacques Vial aims to revolutionize the slipper both in terms of design and functionalization. With a turnover of 2 million Euro, he plans to shake up the traditional economic model of the sector by putting the customer at the centre of the design of his products.
Maxime Dezoomer's project :
Maxime Dezoomer is a student at ENSAIT and a young engineer specialized in technical textiles. He was a prizewinner in a regional Crédit Agricole Nord de France challenge and also received an award at the Futurotextiles Awards 2012 at CETI.
His project aims to offer solutions to improve the floatability of kite surfing equipment, without hindering the movements of the surfer.
What are your targets for 2013 ?
Sylvain GERARD / In 2013, in addition to the 18 projects already followed by Innotex, the incubator plans to take on 6 to 8 new projects.
Why have you relocated to CETI ?
Benoit DEROY / CETI offered the necessary space for our prospective businesses while putting the incubator at the centre of an ecosystem that is conducive to the development of our future startups.
Do you have to be a bit crazy or just believe strongly in your project to set up a textiles business ?
Sylvain GERARD / You don't set up a business in textiles by chance, but in response to an existing underlying or expressed need. Textiles are used in all sectors. There is therefore strong economic potential for textiles startups on two conditions: that they have a clear vision of exactly what they do and have assessed their ability to generate value.
21/11/2012 : WEO
VIDEO BY CETI 2012
Juin - Film CORPORATE
Arnaud Montebourg, the minister for Industrial Renewal came to visit CETI on 15 November. On this occasion, UIT Nord decided to hold a round table with the minister and textiles industry chiefs. In his speech, and in his discussions with those taking part in the round table, Mr Montebourg (link to download text of speech at bottom of page) underlined the following points:
CETI, a centre for experimentation with high added value
This centre should enable businesses to take full advantage of the prospects offered by textiles and new fibre and non-woven technologies; offer them the best of textiles innovations in order to rethink or invent new products. It has been designed to offer solutions for industrial research, prototyping and pre-series manufacture, enabling its users to move quickly from the idea to the product and set in motion the market research process.
Speech by Arnaud MONTEBOURG