Research & Development

Ground breaking R&D for the Textile Sector

NWTexnet has an exciting portfolio of European research projects and are recognised as the only UK Technical Textile Cluster on the European Cluster Platform. We help our member companies source business solutions and provide personal development for their staff. Based in Bolton in the North West of England project partners include Bentley Motors, Sigmatex and Panaz in the UK. Our projects include developing new cooling systems for fire fighters, lightweight components for the automotive and aerospace industry.

More importantly we use our research to help inform and design our training programmes. Strategic partnerships with the Textile Institute Nottingham, Trent University, University of Bolton and the University of Galway have all helped to ensure that our material is current and relevant. We helped design and develop the new Higher Level 4 Apprenticeship with specific units for Product Development and Technical in partnership with Skillset. Our recent work with Fashion Enter has taken us into the Retail sector.


The FP7 Coordination Action 2BFUNTEX will exploit the untapped potential in functional textile structures and textile related materials.

It will bring together all innovation actors in the field fostering a multidisciplinary approach between universities, research institutes, SMEs and sector associations.

3DLT is based on a high performance, air textured hybrid yarn incorporating reinforcing glass fibres and thermoplastic matrix material. This material exhibits high strength to weight ratio and is changing the way we build cars and aircraft. Our partners include:

• Austrian Institute of Technology – one of Austria’s largest research bodies
• Federal Mogul – worldwide supplier of protection systems
• FIAT – Italy’s largest automotive company
• Bentley Motors – combining ultra-high technology with hand-crafted luxury

NWTexnet has been appointed to lead a new 2 year, £1 million research project aimed at developing anti-microbial textile coatings for use in the healthcare sector.ACTIn (which stands for Antimicrobial Coatings for the Textile Industry) is a collaborative effort, supported by Innovate UK’s Newton Fund, between Mexican and UK companies and research institutes for the development of durable anti-microbial textiles for the healthcare industry. This is a strategically important area worldwide due to the significant economic and social impact of hospital acquired infections, which lead to extended stays in hospitals, higher healthcare costs, and thousands of deaths annually. Eight organisations, five from the UK and three from Mexico, make up the consortium involved in the project.
Steve Kay, Managing Director of NWTexnet, said: “ACTIn is a challenging and exciting project with potential to benefit not just the textiles sector but the public at large. A recent report highlighted the severe and growing problem of Health Care Acquired Infections (HCAIs). ACTIn aims to play a role in reducing the impact of HCAIs on NHS budgets and, more importantly, in helping prevent these potentially fatal infections.”

The StayCool project helped to develop and prototype a novel system for cooling the body that is light weight, has low energy consumption and so can be worn for prolonged periods of time. Wearing the StayCool system will reduce the wearers core temperature and allow fire fighters to stay at the fire for greater periods of time and so improve the efficiency of fighting the fire, extinguishing the fire quicker and so reduce risk of loss of life and damage to property.

Many of you are working to develop new markets. Trade missions are an invaluable way of reaching new customers or sourcing additional production capacity. Our work with UKTI means that we can introduce you to the Passport for Export and help you manage your visit by working alongside other companies who are want to explore emerging markets in North Africa, Canada, Japan and Brazil.

The project is part of the “Marie Curie Strand of the Framework Programme 7. The project is about exchanging skills, knowledge and technology across Europe and beyond. Bio-mimetic collagen based scaffolds offers a potential breakthrough in helping repair tendon injuries. Now in place in partnership with University of Galway. Mike Bentley will be providing a series of lectures to Bio-medical PhD students as part of helping small businesses help develop and commercialise new product development.

The textile SME-Associations in this consortium has come together to represent textile SMEs, which are part of a sector that employs 1.9 Million people in Europe with a turnover that is expected to reach €260 Billion by 2015. It has been established that our Members require an environmentally responsible textile treatment with the ability to have strong cross links with the fabric, to provide durable multifunctional performance. There is a growing market need, for different applications require different functionality. It is an added advantage for the industry to be able to access materials at a highly competitive price. Recognising this need of our members, Tex-Shield project is aimed to develop a feasible solution.