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Successfully transforming the Textiles Industry

MEDIA RELEASE - 13th December 2007

“Successfully transforming the Textiles Industry”

The Transform Initiative, launched on the 14th December 2006, has now officially received confirmation of funding for six research and development projects within the textiles industry.

The Transform Initiative was funded by Textiles New Zealand, with the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) providing the research investment to fund the projects. The Foundation for Research Science and Technology (FRST) will administer the funds and have played a key role in the development of the process and the allocation of funds.

The Transform initiative was designed and implemented for Textiles New Zealand by Locus Research, a consultancy based in Tauranga specialising in Product research & development, Project management and implementation.

“This initiative was created to drive the uptake of research and development within the Textiles sector and enable companies to grow their exports” says Paula Smith from Textiles New Zealand. “The initiative has also provided a forum for companies to discuss their new development opportunities with research providers”.

Jonathan Woodward (CTO) from Zephyr Technology has found the Transform initiative “a great process to facilitate the development of textile based technology for New Zealand companies; enabling the application of research that will follow through to commercial deliverables”

The initiative stimulated interest in research, science and technology with over 80 registrations, and 66 detailed proposals being received. Ten proposals were selected for further evaluation by an experienced external advisory panel. These companies were then investigated by Locus Research, FRST, and Textiles New Zealand in greater detail. Six companies were then selected to proceed to the ‘validation’ phase, all of which have been successfully funded and are now starting the development process.

Blythe Rees-Jones from Locus Research says the “successful projects from the textiles and apparel sectors of the industry represent a range of very exciting opportunities, not only for those involved but for the wider industry. They will also help to advance the technical expertise that we have in New Zealand.”

The Validation phase was designed by Locus Research to ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of the projects selected. Verne Atmore from Levana Textiles outlines that “the Transform Initiative has been an excellent enabling catalyst for Levana Textiles, assisting with the development of a new global business stream for the company, fostering the development of collaborative technical partnerships with relevant industry players, and providing the impetus to drive a more innovative culture across the company”.

Locus Research Principal Timothy Allan states “The notion of a full research phase with a detailed ‘Project Development Specification’ was a new concept for some companies. It also introduced the concept of life cycle thinking to the companies, giving them a more systemic view of the technical, market, economic, and environmental factors and risks associated with their project”

FRST involvement has been pivotal in the success of the initiative. Craig Holmes, Strategy manager at FRST, notes that the foundation has worked “closely with Locus Research to ensure the normal rigorous contestable selection process it uses for all of its research and development investments was fairly applied to the Transform Initiative. The initial proposals selected represented a good cross-section of projects that would deliver transformational benefits to both the companies involved and New Zealand.”

The Companies Selected are:
1. Levana Textiles – ‘Encircle’ – Non-Invasive compression technology
2. Jaedon Enterprises & Manukau Knitting Mills – ‘Protex’ – Technical chainsaw protective wear.
3. Zephyr Technology – ‘Bioharness’- Fabric sensing technology.
4. Designer Textiles – ‘Modus’ – Sustainable merino shrink resistance
5. Maxwell Rodgers – ‘Lave’ – Machine washable bed throws
6. South Canterbury Textiles – ‘Repose’ – Easy care sleepwear

ENDS

Transform: www.transform.org.nz
Textiles New Zealand: www.textilesnz.org.nz
Foundation for Research, Science and Technology: www.frst.govt.nz
Locus Research: www.locusresearch.com

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