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Biocatalytic pre-treatment processes of cotton

Industrial application of academic research

Biocatalytic pre-treatment processes of cotton

Industrial application of academic research

Samenvatting

Much research effort is invested in developing enzymatic treatments of textiles by focusing on the performance of enzymes at the laboratory scale. Despite all of this work, upgrading these developments from the laboratory scale to an industrial scale has not been very successful.Nowadays,companies are confronted with rapid developments of markets, logistics, and social and environmental responsibilities. Moreover, these organizations have to supply an ever-increasing amount of information to the authorities, shareholders, lobbyists, and pressure groups. Companies have tried to fulfill all of these demands, but this has often led to the loss of focus on new products and process development. However, both theory and practices of breakthrough innovations have shown that those rightfully proud of previous successes are usually not the ones that led the introduction of new technology, as shown and excellently documented by Christensen [1]. The textile industry is no exception to this observation.With the lack of management impetus for new product and process developments, companies began to reduce investments in these activities.However, this results in a reduction of the size of the company or even closure. Besides the hesitation from the top management of textile companies to focus on new developments,middle management level is also reluctant to evaluate and implement developments in new products and processes. One of the reasons for this reluctance is that many processes in the textile industry are notfully explored or known. From this lack of knowledge, it is easy to explain that there is hesitation for change, since not all consequences of a change in processing or production can be predicted. Often new developments cannot be fully tested and evaluated on the laboratory- or pilot-scale level.This is caused by the impossibility of mimicking industrial-scale production in a laboratory.Additionally, pilot-scale equipment is very expensive and for many companies it is not realistic to invest in this type of equipment. Fortunately an increasing number of textile companies have realized that they have to invest in new products and processes for their future survival and prosperity. New developments are decisive for future successes. If such companies decide to invest in new developments, it is clear that with the scarcity of capital for product and process developments, the chance of failure should be minimized. For successful process and product development, it is necessary to organize the development process with external partners because it is clear that it is almost impossible for individual textile companies to control the process from idea generation to academic research, implementation research, and development and industrial testing. These issues are especially characteristic for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Herein, the collaboration has been organized on two research levels. The first research level is knowledge and know-how based. The universities and chemical suppliers worked closely together to investigate the new process.The aim was to explore the influence of process conditions and interactions of chemicals in sub-process steps as a result of the treatment.The second level is that of the industrial implementation of the new process. The universities and chemical suppliers worked closely together with different industries to implement the newly developed process. The focus in this part of the research was the interaction between the chemistry of the new process, equipment, and fabrics. A co-operation between the beneficiaries of the new process was established.The selection criterion for the co-peration was “who will earn something with the new process”. To answer this question, the value chain has been drawn as the simplified scheme shown in Fig. 1 [2].

Toon meer
OrganisatieSaxion
InstituutAcademie ACT
LectoraatSmart Functional Materials
Datum2011-07-01
TypeBijdrage aan periodiek
TaalEngels

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