|Innovation and Technology Symposium 2011|
|Time||9:15am - 6:00pm|
|Venue||Hong Kong Science Park, Shatin, New Territories|
|Organiser||The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel|
The Innovation and Technology Symposium drew to a successful close on 13 April 2011. The two-day Symposium invited speakers from different sectors such as the government, industry, academia and research institutes to shed light on the latest R&D developments and their prospects in the keynote sessions, plenary sessions and industry workshops. Over 260 participants took part in the Symposium.
Speakers of the keynote sessions covered different aspects pertaining to the development of the textile industry. Mr Yang Donghui, Vice President of China National Textile and Apparel Council, examined the interactions between technological advancement of the industry and economic development in the Mainland. He also explained the national policies on transforming the textile industry from the biggest to the strongest in terms of technological improvement, brand building and training.
Prof Tao introduced to the floor a great variety of applications in the textile and apparel industry. To name a few, they are applicable to the aviation and automobile industries, as well as home and technological textiles. Prof Tao, in particular, gave an account of the potential applications of the integration of electronics into smart textiles.
Sustainability is a hot topic today. Mr Woo Pat-nie, Chairman of Sustainable Fashion Business Consortium, emphasised the need in a paradigm shift in manufacturing facing the global threats of diminishing natural resources. He shared his business experience in reaching a win-win situation of achieving sustainability and profitability.
Government support for innovation in R&D is essential. Miss Janet Wong, Commissioner for Innovation and Technology explained related policies in this area. A number of HKRITA’s research deliverables can be adopted by different departments, for example, protective clothing by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and adult bibs with added functional properties by the hospitals and nursing homes. These applications demonstrate that our research has gone beyond the laboratory and are practical in daily applications.
Our latest research projects were introduced covering novel technology and textiles, energy saving as well as innovative functional fabric and clothing in the plenary sessions. “Innovative energy and utility management system” applies advanced sensor technology to obtain and monitor real-time energy utilisation data (e.g. steam, water, electricity). By integrating the point-of-sales database of the fashion retail companies, the “smart fashion sales forecasting system” adopts artificial intelligence techniques to generate accurate and reliable mid-term sales forecasts to help fashion buyers conduct sales forecasting activities and plan development.
As mentioned by Prof Tao, technological advancement of the textile industry can benefit different sectors. Research of intelligent anti-sprain sport shoes makes use of myoelectric stimulation theory to stop sprain motion so reducing the possibility of injury. “Fabric sensors for three dimensional surface pressure mapping” can be widely used in functional wear, health care equipment and building maintenance. Speakers of the plenary sessions gave illuminating insights to the audience.
Six experienced industry practitioners gave an account of the latest technology developments and profound market knowledge in the areas of sustainable materials and advanced finishing. The topics included merino products, moisture management for cotton fabrics, recycled yarns, advanced finishes which provide sustainable protection and comfort, technologies to reduce demand for exhaust pre-treatment, dyeing of cellulosic fibres with reactive dyes and silver antimicrobial technology.
An exhibition was held concurrently with the Symposium, showcasing the latest HKRITA’s research deliverables. For example, “quick testing sensor of formaldehyde” which can control the level of formaldehyde in the production process; and patient gowns for paraplegic and quadriplegic patients which can improve handling softness of fabrics with moisture management and anti-bacterial properties.
The textiles and apparel industry has long been contributing significantly to the economic development in Hong Kong. Its export value amounted to $710 million or 6.6% of the total exports in the first two months of 2011. As said by Dr Harry Lee, “to continue to be a key player, we must retain our cutting edge and, to achieve this, technology and innovation is essential.” Serving as a platform for technological exchange, the Symposium has provided an opportunity for us to review our R&D direction and brainstorm new ideas of the way ahead.
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