The Factory of The Future (Factory 4.0)

Bison code: L.28217

Enschede Textielstad is a sustainable weaving mill that turns natural and recycled yarns into fashion and upholstery fabrics. The textile industry is changing; automation, flexibility and sustainability are becoming increasingly important. At the same time there is a trend of vertical mills; all production steps and even recycling within one factory.

The main question in this project is: What will the factory of the future look like? And how can Enschede Textielstad anticipate these factors and become more flexible in production? Customers of Enschede Textielstad want to become fully circular and use their waste in the production of their new collection. However, recycling facilities only process big quantities of textile waste. The customer demand for waste recycling is too small for custom-made processes. How can Enschede Textielstad serve the demand of their customers and act as a front portal for brands that want to work with different waste flows within their products? Can these waste flows be upcycled, recycled, downcycled or perhaps used as promotional materials? A special focus in this project will go to the production process, specifically the finishing of woven fabrics on a small scale. Could certain material flows perhaps be used without finishing by incorporating them into products? You may be able to distinguish natural material flows from synthetic material flows. Example: suppose that a curtain supplier has a waste flow and part of it is not reusable as new material for curtains, could they possibly use these waste fibers to make sample books?

The aim of this project is to design a prototype for a sorting unit that can be placed at the factory of Enschede Textielstad. This sorting unit should be designed for small-scale requests, should include pre-selection of waste, software to determine and combine the total pile of textiles and should be tested for implementation. In addition to the sorting unit, a proposal to process waste flow management will be created. After using the sorting unit at Enschede Textielstad, it should be clear which flows can be combined and sent in bigger quantities to our recycling partners and what products can be produced for our customers with this waste. At the end of this project, Enschede Textielstad will be able to make it possible for brands to use more recycled material in their new products and to offer a solution for different waste flows. For more information, check our website or YouTube channel.

Cluster: Circular Production

This project contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):