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Textile Roundup: Fabric Discovery Center to Reinvent Textiles, India Imposes Cotton Duties, Dupont Launches Tychem

UMass Lowell to create the Fabric Discovery Center, India sets import tax on cotton, Dupont rolls out new flame protection fabric.

Fabric Discovery Center to reinvent textiles

The state of Massachusetts has awarded $11.3 million to UMass Lowell to fund the creation of future technologies expected to revolutionize the way fabrics are made, and reinvent the textile industry in Lowell.

A $10 million grant will allow UMass Lowell to create a new Fabric Discovery Center, a testing and development facility that will usher in the nation’s first collaborative investment between two manufacturing innovation institutes. The facility will serve Massachusetts and the region, rapidly transforming textile product concepts into functional prototypes, serving as an end-to-end innovation ecosystem for researchers and private sector partners as they work toward commercialization of revolutionary technologies.

UMass Lowell will also receive $1.3 million to support three projects with private industry partners SI2 Technologies and Raytheon. The funding will allow UMass Lowell to acquire new equipment to develop new materials and polymers that can be used in flexible, hybrid electronics. Combined with more than $2 million in federal and industry funds for these projects, these investments will create the foundation for future technological advancements, providing necessary resources to bring technology from research prototype to pilot scale for commercialization with industry partners.

Gov. Charlie Baker said the investment will give Lowell “an opportunity to return to the center of the textile industry and its future. We look forward to bringing these manufacturing innovation institutes together for this first-of-its-kind collaboration that will deliver new advancements in textile manufacturing, economic investment and job growth.”

In April 2016, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), in Massachusetts, was selected to serve as the national lead for the Revolutionary Fiber and Textile Manufacturing Innovation Institute, a $317 million public-private partnership.

“The Lowell Fabric Discovery Center represents a first step in implementing AFFOA’s nationwide strategy of centers designed to encourage entrepreneurship in advanced fabrics,” said Yoel Fink, chief executive officer of AFFOA.

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India imposes import tax on cotton

The decision by India’s Goods and Services Council to impose a 5 percent import tax on yarn and cotton, and apparel worth less than 1,000 rupees ($15.51 ) was met by a sense of relief from industry organizations that the duties were not more fragmented or severe.

The tax rate for garments above 1,000 rupees has been fixed at 12 percent.

Rahul Mehta of the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India said, “The rates are satisfactory, especially as they have removed the fragmentation in the industry. It’s been kept largely at 5 percent, with no confusion between types of fiber.”

Texprocil chairman Ujwal Lahoti told the Hindu Business Line that the low rate for cotton “will not only ensure compliance but encourage farmers to grow more cotton, will not cast any additional burden on the sector and above all ensure that India regains its competitiveness in the world market.”

A Sakthivel, Southern regional chairman of the Federation of Indian Export organization, told the Hindu Business Line that the lower GST rates across products would go a long way in promoting “Make in India.”

He said the focus given to the domestic textile industry would give a push to exports.

“We will be able to achieve $230 billion by 2020 by way of exporting more value-added products,” Sakthivel said.

Textile industry is the second largest employer in India after agriculture. It directly employs 50 million and indirectly up to 60 million people.

DuPont launches new protective garments

DuPont Protection Solutions has launched DuPont Tychem 2000 SFR, a new chemical and secondary flame protection garment.

This latest addition to the broad offering of DuPont Tyvek and Tychem protective apparel solutions is designed for use in refineries, petrochemical plants, laboratories and hazardous maintenance operations where dual protection against chemical and fire hazard threats is paramount to worker safety.

“Tychem 2000 SFR is the latest in a long line of innovative solutions that DuPont has introduced since the early 1970s to address the evolving protective apparel needs of workers around the globe,” said David Domnisch, global marketing manager for Tyvek Protective Apparel. “By providing dual protection, Tychem 2000 SFR meets the unique needs of industrial workers and HazMat responders who are exposed to both chemical and fire hazard threats, giving them the trusted protection they need to accomplish bigger things. This is just the first of several new protective apparel solutions that we will be launching in our Tyvek and Tychem product range during 2017 as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Tyvek while remaining firmly focused on the future.”

Tychem 2000 SFR provides an effective barrier against a range of inorganic acids and bases, plus industrial cleaning chemicals and particles. In the event of a flash fire, Tychem 2000 SFR garments will not ignite, and therefore do not contribute to additional burn injury if the wearer uses appropriate flame-resistant personal protective equipment.