The most all-encompassing event ever to explore the impact of Industry 4.0 in textiles and apparel is set to open in Amsterdam, in November, featuring a line-up of top industry and thought leaders. Innovate Textile & Apparel is a new three-day, multi-stream business and technology conference, designed to shed light on the character and progress of digitalisation in the textile value chain, and its implications for business strategy. Keynote speakers include: Ian Cronin, of the World Economic Forum (WEF); Thomas Dawidczyk, of Lux Research; and Milli Tharakan, of Welspun Group’s TILT Innovation.

Running on 6 – 8 November at the Novotel Amsterdam City, Innovate Textile & Apparel will also introduce product developers to the latest smart materials and will host the fourth edition of the Future Textile Awards, recognising innovation in everything from novel fibre to smart manufacturing technology.

Organised by World Textile Information Network (WTiN), the event expands on last year’s successful Textile 4.0 Conference, which remains a core element, now complemented by: Textile Business Futures, a high-level conference for strategic decision-makers; and Re:Think Materials, which will focus on the application possibilities of the latest e-textiles and the ‘wonder material’ graphene.

The three complementary conferences, each exploring a different theme with innovation at its heart, will deliver vital insights into the most important areas of business and product strategy in textiles and apparel. Sponsors include: Archipelago; Inspectorio; Lectra; LIRICO; Lubrizol; MTIX Ltd; Oerlikon; Softwear Automation; and SPGPrints.

The Textile 4.0 Conference will explore emerging digital business models and introduce the latest application opportunities in smart factory development, including robotics, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and virtual or augmented reality. In an opening keynote presentation, Lux Research analyst Thomas Dawidczyk will trace how innovation in smart textiles is moving from the materials themselves to analysis of the data they can provide using sensor integration. The conference’s first day will examine central Industry 4.0 themes, including robotics, augmented reality and harnessing ‘big data’. Day 1 will conclude with a networking reception, exclusively sponsored by MLSE® . Day 2 begins with a keynote presentation from Ian Cronin, WEF’s project lead for accelerating sustainable production, who also heads its efforts to advance the implementation of 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies. Further topics will range from digital printing and additive manufacturing to the emerging retail demand for full supply-chain transparency.

Re:Think Materials will provide expert technical insights for product developers, including market opportunities in connected textiles; conductive fibre and yarn; textiles for energy harvesting and storage; printed textile electronics; the application possibilities of graphene; and the use of MLSE (multiplex laser surface enhancement technology) for textile finishing. Keynote speakers are: TILT Innovation’s chief innovation officer, Milli Tharakan; Despina Papadopoulos, CEO and founder of Principled Design; and Anne Prahl, design and innovation consultant at Concept+Design.

Textile Business Futures is an intensive one-day introduction for C-level executives and will examine digital business strategy, risk management, return on investment, leadership and culture change. Hosted by leading textile business consultants Gherzi, it will feature a second keynote introduction by WEF’s Cronin, with contributions from: Gherzi partner Giuseppe Gherzi; Charles Beauduin, CEO of Van de Wiele; Dondu Unal Haktar, head of corporate project management at Hugo Boss Solutions; and Mark Jarvis, CEO of WTiN. The winners of the 4th Future Textile Awards will also be announced at a special reception on the early evening, 7 November.