Renewcell x Inovafil x Saurer – the story of a sustainable fiber’s journey to ITMA

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Renewcell x Inovafil x Saurer
The Saurer Autocoro spinning machine at Inovafil factory. Photo - Saurer

At ITMA in Milano, on the Saurer booth in Hall 2 B 101, visitors can experience what happens when three innovative companies which are all focusing on increasing sustainability in the textile value chain, meet, and decide to showcase how a new innovative sustainable fiber is turned into yarn. Renewcell’s circulose fiber, prepared by Inovafil for Saurer, is being spun simultaneously in three different spinning applications: air-, rotor- and on selected days also on ring-spinning.

The ITMA 2023 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.

Jeans made of CIRCULOSE. Photo - Saurer
Jeans made of CIRCULOSE. Photo – Saurer

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 sustain tech 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 fibers and spun into new yarn for textile production. Inovafil in Portugal is one of these spinners since 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 fibers.

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 applications for staple fiber, Saurer is today already prepared for processing recycled and regenerated fibers. When Saurer launched the new air-spinning machine Autoairo for field tests, Saurer relied on Inovafil’s expertise for continuous development, and was shipping one of the very first machines to Inovafil. Recognizing the potential for the highest processing efficiency, Inovafil was spinning viscose made from CIRCULOSE® successfully on Autoairo.

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