Renewcell X Inovafil X Saurer – the story of a sustainable fiber’s journey to ITMA
The ITMA2023 motto “Transforming the World of Textiles” is excellently chosen, as the upcoming European Union (EU) directives as part of the EU textile vision 2030 set a framework for driving positive change and creating a more sustainable and resilient textile sector within the European Union. The textile industry will look for new sustainable solutions and new business models. New fibres, using textile waste as raw material, are being developed and brought into the markets. This is especially true for Scandinavia with its long history of paper production. This industry has fostered a deep understanding of pulp processing techniques, equipment, and technologies. The extensive knowledge in pulp processing has given the region a head start and empty paper mills have offered space where discarded textiles are given a new life.
One of the frontrunners in the new textile recycling development and the first for industrial scale up of production is Renewcell from Sweden. Founded by innovators from Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology in 2012, the award-winning, Sweden-based sustaintech company’s vision is to make fashion circular. Through its patented process, Renewcell is able to recycle cellulosic rich textile waste, such as worn-out cotton clothes and production scraps, transforming it into a pristine new material called CIRCULOSE® which is then processed to fibres and spun into new yarn for textile production. Inovafil in Portugal is one of these spinners in the early stages of commercialization.
Inovafil Fiação, S.A. spinning mill was founded in 2011 in Portugal. The company’s CEO Rui Martins is convinced that circular textile fashion can only be achieved with collaboration in all process steps. Therefore, he set up a platform to promote partnerships for closed loop textile projects and to generate groundbreaking ideas for new textile applications. Inovafil has been a Saurer customer from early on, trusting Saurer’s Autocoro rotor spinning machine for recycled fibres.
For decades, sustainability has been an important part of Saurer's vision for the future. As the only manufacturer of spinning machinery for all five end-spinning application for staple fiber, Saurer is today already prepared for processing recycled and regenerated fibres. When Saurer launched the new air-spinning machines Autoairo for field tests, Saurer relied on Inovafil’s expertise for the continuous development, shipping one of the very first machines to Inovafl. Recognising the potential for highest processing efficiency, Inovafil was spinning viscose made with CIRCULOSE® successfully on Autoairo.
When the team from Inovafil, Renewcell and Saurer met to share ideas, the ITMA Milano quickly was chosen as the right stage for showing the potential of the new sustainable fibre. Thanks to Renewcell’s kind support and the excellent fibre preparation of Inovafil, the visitors at ITMA can see CIRCULOSE® being spun daily on the Air- and Rotor-spinning machines, and on selected days on the ring-spinning machine as well. Renewcell has proven over and over again with its partner that the CIRCULOSE® is suited for a multitude of textile applications. Saurer is grateful for the opportunity to show the flexibility of the fiber on its spinning portfolio, recognising again what a great source of inspiration our innovative customers are.