The final meeting of the ALTEX European collaborative project was held in December 2007 at TWI in Cambridge.
The Automated Laser Welding for Textiles project had partners in Germany, Italy, Poland and the UK from textile manufacturers and users and equipment automation companies. The partners were Arlen, Akatex, D'Appolonia, Dorimi,Highftech, Frizza, GZE, Monarch Textiles, PIL, ProLas, Silentnight and TWI.
The project developed the use of laser welding and Clearweld® in the construction of waterproof garments and bed mattresses. It included testing of new fabrics and use of new robotic equipment for welding 2D and 3Dseam shapes. The results showed that the industry requirements for seam strength and waterproofness could be easily exceeded with many different existing fabrics, but also proposed that even greater performance could be realised with alternative fabric designs.
These new automated techniques serve as an alternative to the current methods using stitching followed by seam taping: a procedure that is time consuming, labour intensive and that has weaknesses in terms of waterproofing and durability.
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