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Spin-Offs | March 2016

Solvay invests in textile fibre technology

Solvay Group is investing in fibre and smart polyamide textile yarn production technology to meet the growing market demand for innovative textile products. The investment, of around $50 million, is being made in the latest equipment in texturing area and the modernisation of textile weaving machines in Santo André (Brazil).

The investment is aligned with the growth strategy for the Solvay Fibras Global Business Unit, under a plan that includes increased productivity and competitiveness of its activities through a series of actions related to industrial and commercial operations, while reinforcing the development of sustainable innovations in yarns and fibres – a segment in which this area of the company is recognized nationally and internationally.

Sustainable innovations

“Innovation is a key axis for our growth and the development of the textile sector, considering the market demand for new products that effectively create value,” says Renato Boaventura, who is as of July 1 will take over as CEO of the Solvay Fibras Global Business Unit.

“While consumers previously wanted quality and comfort, they now want textiles that combine these characteristics with features that can boost well-being and performance, and which are aligned with sustainability. These benefits can only be offered by smart textile fibers,” says Boaventura.

The Fibras Global Business Unit has a number of projects in its pipeline of textile innovations with a sustainable footprint. Research and innovation is driven by large global trends, related to increased demand for health and well-being, climate change combined with the scarcity of resources, the challenges of increasing urbanisation, and to the advancement of technologies that increase connectivity among people.

“We have a big goal to double the sales volume of our innovations. Today, the products launched less than five years now account for 20 per cent of our revenues and by 2018 we want to reach 40 per cent,” adds Renato Boaventura.

Emana®, Amni® Soul Eco and Amni® Sustainable White

The company was a pioneer in the launch of all the synthetic fibres and yarns in Brazil and was also the first to develop polyamide micro-fibres and smart yarns that incorporate functions aimed at improving the wearers’ well-being. The latest textile innovations created in Brazil are Emana®, a textile yarn which reduces the signs of cellulite and slows muscle fatigue, and Amni® Soul Eco, the first polyamide textile yarn in the world that is biodegradable and which has been formulated to allow clothing made from it to decompose quickly when disposed of in a landfill.

At the Brazilian Fashion Show (June 21-23 in São Paulo), the company will launch Amni® Sustainable White – a white yarn that increases productivity and saves water, energy and products used in its manufacturing processes. As an added benefit, the new white yarn is resistant to the natural yellowing of textile fibers.

Markets

In addition to primarily supplying the Brazilian market, the Fibras Global Business Unit also works on exports, mainly of Emana®, which has been a success in several countries in Europe and Asia and which is being introduced to the North American market.

“The Brazilian textile industry has a huge capacity to produce innovations,” says Boaventura, adding that Amni® Eco Soul, launched at São Paulo Fashion Week by designer Ronaldo Fraga, will be launched globally at the next ITMA, the world’s leading textile trade show and congress, held every four years and which in November this year will be held in Milan, Italy.

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