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Coating & laminating industry buoyant

Jul 01, 2016

Arecord-breaking number of delegates travelled to Prague, Czech Republic, for the latest edition of the International Conference on Textile Coating and Laminating; TCL 2016 was held recently. As well as learning about the latest technologies, materials, machinery and trends in the textile coating and laminating industry, the attendees were able to interact with one another and the exhibitors, who filled the available space outside the conference hall. Over a busy two days it became clear that this sector is buoyant and full of optimism. Discussions were numerous and lively, and centred around a number of key themes. Sustainability is talked about at many events, often however in the vaguest of terms, but in this case it took the form of debates about a number of tangible issues, including: the drive to find alternatives to fluorocarbons for repellent coatings, and alternatives discussed included carbon-6 technologies and fluorocarbon-free chemistries, including a radically new technology - hyperbaric dry finishing from Green Theme Technologies.

During the event, the company from Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, revealed that new investment was behind a plant now being built in Taiwan to commercialise the technology and hinted at further developments that will allow three-dimensional (3D) coating, presenting an increased surface area for the functional surface; Solvent-free technologies.

Vetex of Ingelmunster, Belgium, for instance, confirmed its commitment to develop solvent-free technologies regardless of the existing regulations; the imperative for the industry to reduce its consumption of water; the impact on the industry of pressure groups, such as Greenpeace.

Driven more directly by legislation around the world, many companies are striving to find effective alternatives to the existing flame-retardant (FR) agents used to treat textiles, which are increasingly being banned because of their potentially toxic properties. Much of the discussion in Prague focussed on this topic and one company, ICLIP of Tel Aviv, Israel, presented its work on assessing the suitability and safety of FR agents in order to help make the substitution of such chemicals work effectively.

Participants declared the event a valuable and unique opportunity to co-locate different strands of the global industry together in one venue. Barry Goodwin of Amba Projex said ´We were impressed once more with the number and calibre of the delegates and speakers attending the TCL in Prague. The event was well organised and we managed to network and engage with a number of existing and potential clients focused in our industry.´