Like so many events, the anniversary celebration of the German Institutes of Textile and Fiber Research (DITF) had to be postponed. And so it was 100+1 years of textile research that were celebrated on 22.2.2022. According the motto "Let's celebrate the textile future", the DITF had invited guests to the Haus der Wirtschaft in Stuttgart. A varied program with speeches, lectures, entertainment, an exhibition, music and good food awaited the more than 300 guests from politics, industry, science and DITF employees.
At the beginning of the event, the DITF anniversary film took the audience on a journey through time and showed impressions from the founding of the German Research Institute for the Textile Industry in Reutlingen-Stuttgart to today's pilot plants and laboratories of the modern research center in Denkendorf. Here, from the 1970s onwards, all areas of research came together: from chemistry to mechanical engineering, from process engineering to economics.
"The claim of the founding fathers -- consistent application orientation -- still characterizes Denkendorf’s textile and fiber research today" explained DITF Chairman Professor Michael R. Buchmeiser in his welcoming speech. "With product- and technology-oriented innovations along the entire textile value chain - from the molecule to the finished product - we continue to support the industry today and thus make an important contribution to securing the location."
Professor Buchmeiser thanked all those who made this success story possible: the industrial partners who carry out pioneering projects with the scientists and implement research results on the market, the politicians and administration for their reliable support and trust and - above all - the employees who drive the DITF forward every day anew with great commitment.
The importance of textile research in Denkendorf for all future topics was underlined by the Minister of Economics of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut and the Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Economics, Dr. Franziska Brantner. Dr. Brantner, who joined live from Berlin, praised the DITF for constantly reinventing itself and rediscovering itself. In doing so, she said, the research center is making a significant contribution to bringing digitization and climate protection together. "I thank you for approaching challenges in a positive way. We, the federal government, set the framework for this and the DITF are an important partner for us," said Dr. Brantner.
„The work of the German Institutes of Textile and Fiber Research along with the technology transfer to small and medium-sized enterprises have made a significant contribution towards turning the traditional textile industry in Baden-Wuerttemberg into an innovative high-tech industry," stated the Minister of Economics, Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, in her speech.
Dr. Antje von Dewitz, VAUDE, Professor Klaus Müllen, Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, and Peter Dornier, Lindauer Dornier, were invited to give the keynote speeches. All three addressed key future topics such as sustainability and digitization. Dr. von Dewitz used the example of VAUDE to show that environmental and climate protection cannot slow down economic success, but can instead ensure growth. Although textile companies are not yet considered environmentally friendly, they have great innovation potential and can take on holistic responsibility.
"Is the future black?" was the question Professor Müllen pursued in his lecture. He was referring to the diverse contributions that carbon materials and carbon structures can make to innovations - from sustainable energy generation to personalized medicine. He advocated interdisciplinary research and bringing science and industry together. In both areas, he said, the DITF are proven bridge builders.
Dornier amazed the audience with the realization that the topic of digitization in weaving is nothing new, because the fabric is the digital product par excellence. It is always a matter of the two variants, whether the weft thread is guided above or below the warp thread. Joseph-Marie Jacquard punched this information onto punch cards as early as the beginning of the 19th century and used it to create complex fabric patterns. He inspired mathematics to use the same method to digitally solve algebraic equations using zeros and ones. Thus, he said, weaving is the basis of digital transformation.
During the break, "edutainment" was offered in keeping with the science theme. The "Physikanten & Co." have been turning physics into magic for 18 years: In the Haus der Wirtschaft, for example, a coarse fabric turned the laser beam into an electric bass, a helmet with rotor blades made the presenter (almost) take off, and the bang effect at the end was provided by an exploding barrel.
The presenter of the anniversary event also stands for grippingly explained science. "MrWissen2go" Mirko Drotschmann, known through YouTube and from various science shows on TV, led through the varied program.
"We are very happy to be able to welcome the guests personally in this festive setting, albeit belatedly. This was very important to us" emphasized Professor Buchmeiser. " After two years of pandemic people enjoy the personal conversation and the real experience, outside the digital world" said Professor Buchmeiser.
Afterwards, the visitors could stroll through the exhibition, where the twelve competence and technology centers of the DITF showed examples of their research. The anniversary celebration ended with music and food.
Instead of giveaways, the DITF will build a fog catcher (textile, of course) in Peru and thus support a project of the WasserStiftung.