FET has long been at the cutting edge in new applications and process development for fibre extrusion. The growing trend towards global sustainability has been embraced by textile and yarn manufacturers and FET is at the forefront of innovation to help make this objective possible.
The FET range of laboratory and pilot Melt Spinning extrusion lines is ideally suited for both process and end product development of sustainable materials. Installation of such equipment enables customers to undertake process development in-house. All systems are designed to be material efficient, can be bespoke designed and offer both flexibility and a high level of processing capability. They are supplied as self-contained units for ease of installation in a laboratory or small scale process evaluation environment.
In addition to the supply of equipment, the FET Process Development Laboratory is a vital component, enabling access to equipment for customers to test and trial sustainable raw materials and processes. During 2019, a high proportion of FET’s laboratory development time related to the sustainability sector, with many successful outcomes in long term projects.
Some of these projects involved clients testing and developing sustainable ways of manufacturing yarns which were previously non-sustainable. In other cases, FET worked with polymer developers and inventors who wished to further evaluate the technology and take it to the next level in manufacturing capability.
FET has successfully applied for grant funding for research into ground-breaking research in the field of hollow filament technology.
Client feedback from recent projects has indicated that there is a growing market need for new and better hollow filament forms, produced from a range of technical polymer formulations, for use in specialist areas such as filtration.
Customers are seeking small scale / pilot equipment for manufacturing high performance, hollow filaments for use in filter membranes and cartridge systems within the medical, healthcare, chemical and other technical sectors. In particular, they are looking for bespoke solutions enabling them to satisfy demanding niche markets where the capability of present processing equipment falls below the required levels of performance.
To address these concerns, FET has obtained grant funding from Innovate UK, a part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. The purpose is to carry out targeted industrial research into this technological field and create the data and know how to address this need within an 18-month time frame. FET will then be in a position to offer appropriate solutions in the form of custom-built process equipment. We will keep you informed on progress.
Two years ago, Fibre Extrusion Technology Limited of Leeds, England introduced the FET-200 Series, a new pilot and small scale production line for wet spinning technology. At ITMA Barcelona 2019, FET launched its new Laboratory scale version, which is particularly suitable for the early stages of formulation and process development.
FET-200 LAB can be used for a wide variety of different fibre types, ranging
from systems based on corrosive aqueous salt solutions such as alginate fibres
through to acidic systems like engineered silk and also systems using
flammable, toxic solvents such as UHMWPE.
Each type of wet spun fibre requires a unique
processing route: first to produce and meter the dope solution, then to
coagulate the filaments and finally to dry and draw the yarn to develop its
tensile properties. FET has the expertise to design and manufacture systems to
meet these challenges and can configure a complete processing line or specific
elements as required.
Apart from the configuration, the equipment is
scaled to the output required and the specific type of fibre to be produced.
FET has recorded its most successful ever number of customer enquiries in a short period totalling over 100, having exhibited at Techtextil Frankfurt and ITMA Barcelona in May and June. Total enquiries are up by over 40% in comparison with the previous two exhibitions and orders are expected to break previous records. These enquiries came in from over 20 different countries. The bespoke exhibition stand was newly designed and received a favourable response from customers old and new. The extended FET stand used at ITMA premiered the new Laboratory scale FET-200 wet spinning system, which is particularly suitable for the early stages of formulation and process development. Techtextil has always been a perfect fit for FET’s presence and aspirations in the high-end technical textile market. As the leading international trade fair for technical textiles and nonwovens, Techtextil attracts international blue-chip companies at the cutting edge of technology, seeking innovative solutions to technical challenges. ITMA is the world’s largest international textile and garment technology exhibition and is an excellent medium for showcasing FET’s leading position in melt spinning technology.
of the main annual events on the calendar, the 4th International
Conference on Nonwovens for High-performance Applications, took place in Cannes,
France on 10-11 October 2018. This conference is a unique symposium designed to
inform delegates and the industry in general about latest technical
developments and opportunities offered from technical nonwovens for
underlined its growing profile in the industry when R&D Manager Mark Smith
gave a keynote presentation to delegates. The R&D team at FET conducts
processing trials and investigations to assist clients in their development of
new polymers and fibrous products and have a very active programme of in-house
research projects to extend processing capabilities.
this background and expertise, Mark was selected to present a technical paper
entitled “Melt Spun Nonwovens from Engineering Resins.” This presentation
examined such questions as:
can high melt viscosity polymers with high melting temperatures be successfully
melt spun to form nonwoven webs?
sorts of polymers can be processed using the methods and equipment developed?
are the unique properties and characteristics of the resulting fabrics?
new opportunities do such nonwovens offer?
presentation was well received at the Conference and some excellent ideas and
feedback were enjoyed by all the delegates.
FET enjoyed a successful attendance at September’s Cinte Techtextil China exhibition in Shanghai. Sharing an extended stand with its agent and partner Chemtax Industrial Co which provides an invaluable service in supporting and enabling FET to effectively reach China and its immediate area both geographically and culturally. FET secured new fibre extrusion systems as well as upgrades for existing clients with a combined potential value of more than $2 million.
Cinte Techtextil China is Asia’s leading biennial trade fair for technical textile and nonwoven products. With the rapid growth in the China market, the demand for high quality technical textile is enormous and the previous show in 2016 saw a record-breaking 480 exhibitors from 26 countries. It is therefore an ideal medium for FET to showcase its range of products and ability to find technical solutions for manufacturers of high value textile materials.
The exhibition was well attended and FET was able to make invaluable face-to-face contact with customers old and new. Once again the focal point of the stand was the FET-100 Series multi-functional laboratory and pilot melt spinning system.
FET will next be attending Techtextil Frankfurt and ITMA Barcelona with its own bespoke exhibition stand in May and June 2019 respectively.
FET UK is proud to announce its 20th anniversary, having been founded in April 1998. During this time, FET has developed from its early days of engineering and systems manufacture, evolving into one of the world’s leading experts in extrusion technology and research.
Managing Director, Richard Slack explains: “We are delighted to reach this milestone in our company’s history and do so in greater health than we have ever experienced. Last year our revenues increased by 29%, a reward for extensive investment in our Process Development Laboratory and all the hard work of our dedicated staff. We focus in particular on the requirements of our customers – they expect us to provide yarn and fibre engineering knowhow and extrusion equipment which will allow them to consistently produce fibres of the highest quality, capable of meeting required regulatory standards.”
Just prior to Easter, we held a staff event at a local hotel to celebrate our 20th anniversary. A slide presentation included a potted history of the business and its deeper roots as a family concern spreading back to the 19th century when Slack’s Mill manufactured brushes using horsehair before moving on to synthetics and extrusion. Suitably educated, our employees then enjoyed a drink and buffet before setting off for their Easter holidays!
We have now modernised the company logo and refreshed the website and all other means of communication we enjoy with our customers. We are looking to the future by ramping up our Apprenticeship Scheme and continuing an ambitious investment policy in new equipment and proven technology.
FET has long been committed to training and excellence in the industry. Our apprentice Jacob Thompson is now well into his second year with us, training in electrical engineering, but at the same time gaining valuable all-round experience and understanding of all related FET technical processes.
Jacob is on day release undertaking his NVQ at college. FET is working in conjunction with training company Kirkdale Industrial Training Services Ltd (KITS) which provides facilities, assistance and supervision for engineering apprentices in their work and general education. This has proved highly successful for Jacob and all parties involved and FET looks forward to developing its apprentice scheme in the near future.
FET has installed the FET-100 Series multifunctional laboratory melt spinning system into one of the world’s most renowned research facilities, The University of Massachusetts. UMass is a five-campus public university system, recognized as a model of excellence for public universities.
Managing Director, Richard Slack explains: “This reflects the collaborative policy FET holds with its clients – in this case UMass Lowell and its Plastics Engineering Department, an internationally recognized leader in plastics engineering education.”
The installation was configured with a bi-component FET-100 Extrusion Module, which is capable of processing a wide range of polymers, coupled to a FET-101 Multifilament drawing and winding system capable of processing a range of multifilament yarns. This will bring to UMass Lowell the capability to fabricate shaped fibres which will provide a step change in functionality compared to traditional fibres and fabrics. The total market for traditional engineered textiles is forecast to reach $84 billion in 2020 and new engineered textiles developed at UMass Lowell could address over 10% of the available market. Researchers at UMass Lowell, including Stephen Johnston and Javier Vera-Sorroche, are exploring properties such as high temperature, high strength, flame retardance, high conductivity, and super omniphobicity.
The inherent flexibility and versatility of the system will allow future adaptations, such as FET-102 Nonwoven or FET-103 Monofilament, depending on future research requirements. This system design appeals to many end-users, not only allowing for upgrade in process capability but also for staged investment.
Since its launch in 2015, the FET-100 Series has exceeded all our expectations. In 2016 alone, we have taken orders for 8 systems in varying configurations with an order value of over $3 million. These have been, or will be, delivered to customers as far afield as USA, Western Europe, South East Asia, New Zealand, Turkey and Hungary. A primary benefit of FET-100 systems is that they can be specified to be multi-functional, allowing easy and fast conversion between material formats. These systems configure to all combinations of multifilament, monofilament and melt spinning of nonwoven structures for medical device, composites and many other applicati
Under the UK parliamentary system, it is a fairly rare event for small businesses to receive a visit from our politicians, so it was a pleasure to welcome Andrea Jenkyns, the new local MP for Morley and Outwood, who successfully beat Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls in the last general election.
As a former retailer and manager, Andrea understands the challenges faced by local businesses and likes to keep her finger on the pulse of industry by visiting and speaking with business owners and managers.
Andrea said: “It is fascinating to hear about the evolution of a company which went from making brush bristles to developing machinery capable of manufacturing materials used in surgical operations.
“Fibre Extrusion Technology is a real local success story and it was a pleasure to visit.”
FET has won a £100,000 grant from Innovate UK, the executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. This 12 month programme came about following a number of requests from FET customers operating in the specialist filtration and advanced composites sectors.
These companies manufacture high value textile materials and require equipment to convert “difficult to process” polymers into fibres and yarns for use in technically demanding industrial and medical applications. The programme of Industrial Research to be undertaken by FET will seek to break through the technological barrier and achieve step-change improvements in the ability of melt blown processes to deal with advanced polymers which have high melt viscosity.
The developed data and know-how will allow FET to demonstrate its capability to achieve performance leaps to users. This in turn will help clients to differentiate their product ranges utilising enhanced FET technology and custom-built equipment.
It may only be a couple of years since we last updated our website, but things have changed considerably in the world of extrusion technology – for us and for our customers.
Our website is fully mobile friendly and so can be viewed easily on tablets, phones and other mobile devices. With customers in over 30 countries – and rising – we want to make it as easy as possible to find us and hopefully make contact.
We are always pleased to speak to companies with fibre extrusion requirements, no matter how challenging. We look forward to hearing from you!
OK, it’s not exactly a new logo, as we wanted to retain the overall look that has served us so well over the past 15 years or so. But we felt it was time for a refresh, so we have modernised and sharpened up our company logo to reflect the transformation that FET has achieved in recent times, in terms of embracing new technology and a can-do attitude throughout the organisation. The logo will be adapted for all means of communication we use to engage with our customers. We hope you like it!
We are looking to the future by ramping up our Apprenticeship Scheme and continuing an ambitious investment policy in new equipment and proven technology.
FET is delighted to have been shortlisted for no less than three awards at the prestigious Made in Yorkshire Awards. This annual event celebrates world-class companies based in Yorkshire & the Humber and the products they are making here and selling across the world. We are nominated under the following categories:
Advanced Manufacturer/ Technology Award
This award is for the company deemed by the judges to have used technology or technical processes to solve a problem or add value to customers. This includes companies in the areas of engineering, electronics, software, computer hardware or telecoms.
The Export Award is for the company deemed by the judges to be the most prolific exporter of products in terms of international presence, export growth and exports as a proportion of sales.
Manufacturer of the Year (under £25m)
This award is for the manufacturing company based in the region, with a latest reported turnover of less than £25m that has demonstrated excellence and quality in its products and services over the last 12 months.
Once again, thank you to the many customers and brand new contacts we met at the recent Techtextil exhibition in Germany. Techtextil is the leading international trade fair for technical textiles and nonwovens showing the full range of potential uses of textile technologies. This type of event is always an excellent opportunity to meet people face-to-face and Techtextil has once again proved to be the premier exhibition of its kind on the calendar.
For FET, the exhibition was a great success, with three FET-100 systems ordered on the stand and several excellent sales leads. We look forward to continuing our business relationship with all those we met there, as well as with those who could not make it! Like others, we were not totally convinced that the extra day tagged on to the show was necessary, but we thoroughly enjoyed our time at Techtextil nevertheless.
FET has launched a major upgrade to its Process Development Laboratory facilities. This is part of an ongoing programme of continuous improvement to keep pace with global technological progress in textile and high performance industries.
Managing Director, Richard Slack explains the philosophy behind the upgrade programme. “The laboratory is a vital resource for FET customers to test and find optimum solutions to their specific manufacturing requirements, prior to purchase or commitment to order. Development and testing in the past has included biomedical materials, specialised novel fibres, sustainable and difficult-to-process polymers, where proof of concept is financially essential to ensure a sound investment.”
FET’s customers have the option of developing processes in a secure environment, calling upon the expertise and advice of FET technicians. FET can organise sampling, prototyping, risk elimination, collaborative research and a wide range of evaluation procedures to ensure client objectives are met. Having achieved proof of concept, the client can then specify its requirement and order a bespoke FET pilot or production extrusion line with total confidence of a successful outcome. All client work is undertaken on the basis of strict confidentiality.
Fibre Extrusion Technology Ltd is extending and improving its facilities in Leeds, UK. To facilitate continuing growth, FET has purchased 500 square metres of adjacent land and buildings. These acquired buildings will become a new R&D Facility and Customer Visitor Centre, which will be kept totally separate from the production and administration areas. This new purpose-built facility is scheduled to open in 2018.
FET has beaten a number of larger organisations to be nominated for the prestigious Innovation Showcase awards. The Parliamentary Reception and Awards Ceremony was hosted by Innovate UK and Damian Collins MP in the House of Commons .
This R&D funding has enabled FET to develop prototype equipment which can produce very high strength absorbable yarns for use in advanced medical sutures or stitches. This process has been fast-tracked as a result of the funding, enabling a return of 400% on the grant from multiple sales to customers across three continents, with significant benefit to the UK export drive.
The aim of Innovate UK awards is to identify and recognise great innovation stories that inspire others and demonstrate innovation’s importance to the economy. FET’s particular award category is “Innovation leading to business transformation.” The suture project is likely to lead to further technical development and sales to the global market in the future, along with the potential for ‘spin-off’ benefits in other markets and industries.