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The Rupp Report: Man-made Fibers Congress - 50 Years

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

This year, the world-famous summit of the man-made fibers industry is celebrating its 50th anniversary. From Sept. 14 to 16, 2011, the global community of the man-made fibers industry will gather at the 50th Dornbirn Man-made Fibers Congress (Dornbirn MFC) in Dornbirn, Austria, in the state of Vorarlberg near the Swiss border to hear news about the latest research and development, new products and applications for man-made fibers and related industry sectors.

The Future Of Man-made Fibers
The main subject of the congress concerns communicating the future of man-made fibers. And the future of this industry sector, mainly in the West, is quite questionable because the production sites of the global man-made fibers industry have changed drastically:

In the latest edition of Oerlikon Textile GmbH & Co. KG's "The Fiber Year" report, the global production of staple and filament man-made fibers is recorded at 65.9 million metric tons, of which China produced 45.8 million metric tons or 70 percent. India is in second place, accounting for 6.1 million metric tons, some 9 percent. And even third place is in Asian hands — namely, Pakistan.

Having this in mind, it is no surprise that the Dornbirn MFC is being held under the umbrella theme: "Man-made Fibers — the Next 50 Years." Most of the papers will be dedicated to future trends and developments.

The past 50 years of the Dornbirn MFC will be highlighted also in a plenary session presenting different speeches, including one by the former director of the Saxon Textile Research Institute, Chemnitz, Dr. Hilmar Fuchs, who knows the story of the congress very well.

Other topics will be quite interesting. One panel discussion will cover the reduced availability of natural fibers and the consequences for man-made and artificial fibers such as viscose.On the opening day, Friedrich Weninger, Lenzing AG, president of the Austrian Man-made Fibers Institute, will give a speech, followed by the usual welcome addresses from local politicians. A presentation by the European Man-made Fibers Association (CIRFS) will cover future man-made fibers industry developments and the challenges for professional organizations in this sector of the textile industry. Another interesting paper will be presented by the Hamburg University of Technology, Institute of Environmental Technology and Energy Economics, Germany, discussing possibilities and challenges of biomass for nourishment, raw materials and energy.

100 Presentations
Around 100 individual lectures will be given in all. Main issues in the different panels include:

  • new fiber developments;
  • functional fabrics including sports and leisurewear, and medical textiles;
  • fibers for industrial/technical fabrics;
  • sustainability;
  • finishing; and
  • European Union research projects.

Furthermore, leaders from various institutes, associations and businesses will discuss future developments and research projects in their respective organizations.

From September 12 to 16, viscose producer Lenzing will present a workshop in Vorarlberg which will attract some 900 major customers worldwide.

Close To ITMA Europe In Barcelona
Unfortunately, as has happened before, the Dornbirn congress is one week prior to ITMA Europe, which will open September 22. Various interested parties and individuals have expressed their disappointment about this timing. However, the congress organizer, the Austrian Man-made Fibers Institute, is quite optimistic that more than 700 visitors from more than 30 countries will attend the jubilee edition of the man-made fiber industry summit. Let's hope they're right.

July 19, 2011