58th Global Fiber Congress Dornbirn-GFC and Dornbirn-GFC Startupdays

KatharinaEvents, News

© Kirstin Toedtling
© Kirstin Toedtling

Dornbirn-GFC: Communicating Fiber Innovations

A firework of interesting topics and lectures from September 11-13 2019 in Dornbirn, Austria

Circular economy and sustainability, digitization and smart textiles, surface modification and additives, sports and leisure wear, nonwovens and technical textiles – those were the hot topics of this year’s Global Fiber Congress. During the opening session Uday Gill, CEO Fibers Indorama Ventures Ltd., Bangkok, Thailand, impressed once more by his visionary view. In his presentation “Sustainability Challenges and Way Forward” he outlined human consumption and carbon footprint and the consequences for our planet. EU uses 20% of Earth’s biocapacity although it comprises only 7% of world population he stated. “Is the price of affluence 5 earths”? This provoking question runs like a golden thread through his statements. Humans already exceeded Earth’s sustainable capacity in 1985: It is high time to have a rethink.

Isa Hofmann also moderated the session Digitization and smart textiles on Wednesday 11 from 03:55 until 6:00 pm. Five Lectures covered different issues of smart textiles in the era of digitization. From smart yarn production towards digital textile micro factory, mobile robotic systems to conductivity topics in the context of smart textiles.  Speakers were: Songül Kul, Korteks A.S. (TUR); Dieter Stellmach, DITF Denkendorf (GER); Falko Schubert, Sächsisches Textilforschungsinstitut e.V. (GER); Waleri Root, Insitut für Textilchemie und Textilphysik, Dornbirn (AUT); Kay Ullrich; TITV e.V., Greiz (GER).

Dornbirn-GFC Startupdays

Along with again more than 100 international lectures, the GFC Congress was enhanced by a startup event. In cooperation with PricewaterhousCoopers (PwC) GFC initiated the first Dornbirn-GFC Startupdays (September 11-12). Isa Hofmann was appointed to moderate a major part of the event on Thursday September 12. More than 20 international inspiring start-ups gave an insight into their business ideas and present-day challenges.

The startups were selected around the world based on their unique product ideas and technologies covering different industries from smart fabrics to sports and outdoor, wearables as well as recycling technologies mostly meeting the latest requirements and concepts in sustainability.
This new format was about to bring together established companies, research and retail with the innovative mindsets of young talents from around the globe to inspire and benefit from each other. The cultural challenge to merge startups with larger corporates was well placed. It brought a fresh breeze to the long-standing and prestigious Global Fiber Congress by creating a strong emphasis on future outlooks.

Haelixa AG, Switzerland

Isa Hofmann was moderating from 11:00 am to 3:15 pm in the afternoon starting with the already established Haelixa AG from Switzerland. The company was founded in 2016 as an ETH spin-off and received strategic investment by Clariant and Zurich Kantonalbank. Winner of the EU Women Innovator Prize 2019 Haelixa offers innovative traceability solutions for the textiles industry based on DNA markers.


Keego Technologies GmbH, Austria

Lukas Angst who worked for Red Bull and Amazon was driven to create a healthy plastic bottle that gives a good taste to water. The solution: Keego, a light and squeezable plastic bottle with a clean taste due to elastic titanium inside.


Labfresh, The Netherlands

Labfresh from the Netherlands was founded in 2017 and sells hydrophobic anti-bacterial shirts. Their mission is to fight fast fashion and overconsumption using always natural materials OEKO-TEX and Blue Sign certified.


Macun International GmbH, Switzerland

The afternoon session started with Macun International GmbH from Switzerland. Hans-Ludwig Dankwardt who had worked as personal advisor to the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Wealth of the Sultanate of Oman presented his idea to develop a new textile fibre based on wood from sustainable mangrove plantations heading for global partners to cooperate. His company develops project ideas to solve socio-economical & environmental problems.


Sonovia Ltd, Israel

Sonovia Ltd. from Israel offers an eco-friendly, sono-coating process without any chemical binders that had already been shown at ITMA in Barcelona this year.


Packtin srl., Italy

Packtin srl. from Italy converts food waste into new raw materials and strives to become a reference point for the circular economy in Italy and Europe.


Pireta Ltd., United Kingdom

Pireta Ltd. from the UK has developed a novel process for printing conductive patterns directly onto textiles, thus enabling a new generation of truly wearable and washable smart garments. The inventor Chris Hunt has a long experience in looking at material problems in electronic interconnects.


Re:newcell, Sweden

The fashion industry accounts for around 1/4th of the global carbon footprint. Re:newcell from Sweden offers a recycling technology that transfers used cotton and other natural fibers into a new biodegradable raw material.


Sulapac Ltd., Finland

Sulapac Ltd. from Finland was founded in 2016 with the mission to save the world from plastic waste.


Robomat GmbH, Germany

Very impressive also the product idea from Dipl-Ing. Dieter Ainedter from Robomat GmbH, Germany. He developed a hybrid camera and microscope with an included light box for image recognition. A smart device for quality control.