Jóse Royo and Mike Simko Converse about Partnering for Sustainability at Kingpins24 FLASH – Hyosung Performance Textiles

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Jóse Royo and Mike Simko Converse about Partnering for Sustainability at Kingpins24 FLASH

Story | March 3, 2021

New innovations to drive real-world sustainable solutions make it an exciting time to be in the textile business

In case you missed the live-stream Partnering for Sustainability video with Jóse Royo, sales director of major Spain-based textile manufacturer, Tejidos Royo, and Mike Simko, our Global Marketing Director, you can listen here! The conversation was conducted by Miguel Sanchez, technology leader at Kingpins, during Kingpins24 FLASH last month.

A couple of takeaways:

Hope you enjoy the listen! A transcript of the conversation for those who prefer to read is provided below.

Miguel: Welcome everyone. Thank you very much for joining our [inaudible] streaming. I have the pleasure to have with me today, Mike Simko from Hyosung, and Jose Rafael Royo from Tejidos Royo to discuss about innovation on spandex and elastics. They have interesting things to tell us. So the first question goes for you Jose. So what is the approach of the Tejidos Royo to bring sustainable products to the denim market?

Jose: Well, our idea is to have the most sustainable fabric in the world, not to be better or worse than their competitors. We want to believe in us always, we want to set the standards. How can you set the standards on an industry where everybody is going towards the same direction? Well, we started with the dry technology. We are quite happy with it. We sold a lot of meters and we’re saving millions of liters of water plus chemicals. And we are quite happy with that, but we needed something else and we believe that to have a hundred percent recycled fabric is the future. Why? Very easy. We need the lands for food. We don’t need it for cotton. We need to fix the problems that we have today with the technology that today, when you recycle, the strings of the fabric are no good.

And today we are offering, or we’re going to offer starting in April, 100% recycled fabric with different blends and, what is more important, the creora® regen spandex. For us, it’s been a great breakthrough because we have 100% recycled elastomeric fiber that we needed. This project without this creora® will not be possible. So for us, it’s been a very important partner. We believe in the same philosophy. We have the same targets. We have everything. We are different in size, but in mentality, we’re very similar and we’re very happy because now we are able to present 100% recycled fabric. So Mike, I pass it to you.

Miguel: Yeah. Jose just mentioned recycled spandex. What can you tell us about it?

Mike: Yes. Well thank you for having me. As Jose mentioned, our recycled spandex, which we call Creora Regen, comes from 100% reclaimed waste. Just as with our other products in nylon and polyester, we all go with 100% clean waste. At Hyosung, our objective is to improve the environment, and so we plan to consume waste as best we can. So 100% is the way to go. It’s also important to note that creora® regen is GRS certified. So there’s an outside organization called Control Union, and we meet their GRS standards. While there’s been, as Jose mentioned, plenty of people looking at sustainability and recycling today, the spandex kind of wasn’t there. And so by having our 100% spandex, we can now complete the picture. And as Jose said, you could now have the fabrics be 100% made from recycled content. And so now it’s going to be the sustainable future in my opinion.

Miguel: That sounds great. And Jose, when would we expect to see that product on the market?

Jose: Well, if everything goes well or as planned, by mid-April we shall have the fabric ready. Of course, we will always launch it with one or two of our best customers that we always develop with them together, the fabrics. And once they try it and they give us the okay, the technical okay, then we will present it to the rest of the market. The idea, as always, even though we’re talking about 100% sustainable fabric, it must be fashion, must be nice. We cannot make something that is not going to work, because if it’s very sustainable, but it doesn’t sell, at the end it is just suspending time on the assume, but it is not realistic. So we believe that by mid-April, we shall have this fabric ready, and it should be ready by June for the rest of the customers.

Miguel: Yeah. That sounds very interesting. And well, June is not that far away, so it’s going to be very exciting. And Mike, what else are you working with, with Tejidos Royo?

Mike: Yeah, so last April with Kingpins, we introduced our new 3D Max for denim. So this is a creora® spandex product, which is targeted at high stretch denim, but you want low growth. Generally, we’re talking greater than 50% stretch with 5% growth. So as we’ve launched this, and as we’re working with our key partners, we’re learning more about the advantages of this product. What’s significant about the creora® 3D Max is it is a spandex-only textile solution of types of fabrics. It’s made with a proprietary covering process, and there’s a special creora® spandex involved.

But what we find is that there are two advantages that are really showing up in the marketplace. First off, because you’re putting in significantly less stretch yarns. So you’re putting in the normal 2-3% in the denim, yet you’re able to get that high stretch and the low growth. You’re seeing some good cost and efficiency implications. So working with about eight or nine different mills, we’ve been able to validate that. And then also, because for these high stretch fabrics, we’re eliminating the polyester component, stretch polyesters are not needed, we’re starting to see some advantages in some environmental finishing techniques. So lasers sometimes has an issue when you’re involving polyester. So the laser treatments (with 3D Max) are good. And we’re also learning about splicing defects that, because again, it’s 100% and it’s a low content, 2-3%. You’re basically eliminating those concerns. So we’re finding that it’s a nice product, and we really have a lot of high aspirations. We think it’s going to be broadly adopted.

Miguel: Jose, would you like to add anything on the creora® 3D that was mentioned by… 3D Max that was mentioned by Mike?

Jose: Yeah, of course.

Miguel: Anything special? Yep.

Jose: We’re making a small collection because this is quite new, but so far, we are quite happy with the results that we’re having. The first tries didn’t come as we expected, but the second ones are coming quite nice, I will say. And Mike says something very important. We are taking away this picture of the polyester. Polyester is nice. I’m not saying anything wrong about the polyester, but the reality is that if we are into these sustainable natural fibers, polyester doesn’t match that much. Something that… we shall work on it, and this is a quite interesting project from my point of view. I’ll certainly not forget the reduction of cost. We’re not using that many man-made fibers.

Second of all, we’re reducing the amount of man-made fibers. So it’s cost and manmade fiber. So we are more into the natural fibers. If we make this as the project or the second step of the 100% recycled can be quite interesting fabric, having all the good characteristics of the regen spandex, plus the reduction of cost, which will be quite interesting. So I think it’s quite interesting project, and as I said at the beginning, that’s why both companies are matching quite along because we are in the same philosophy. We have something that is going to work quite well. So we’ll see, but this one will take longer.

Miguel: Well, we have time for one more question. Maybe I hope I’m not uncovering something that is too secret, or not yet ready to be publicly launched, but Mike, will you tell us more about the bio-based creora®?

Mike: Yeah. So as we all know, sustainability is a very broad discussion, and it could be about recycling. It could be about saving water. It could be about energy, and one thing that’s been very interesting to Hyosung is replacing petroleum-based raw materials with ones that are more renewable and naturally based. And so we’ve developed creora® bio-based spandex. And so what we’ve done there is we’ve taken 30% of the raw materials that are basically pulled out of the earth, and whether it’s oil or coal used for raw materials, and we’ve replaced it with a chemical raw material that’s core-based. So as the corn is growing, it’s consuming carbon dioxide and therefore lowering the carbon footprint. And so we’ve been able to make a product that is very similar to our – I’ll call it our typical Power Fit creora®. And so, it’s fairly close to our virgin creora® spandex.

And so we want to give people alternatives as they develop their sustainability plans. Some people are very interested in recycling, other people are more interested in other products. And so this is a nice alternative to that. We recently have published our data on the Higgs MSI, so anyone can go there and look at how our creora® bio-based compares with other spandexes. And so we’re seeing a nice savings in global footprint.

Miguel: That’s the way to go. We have time for one more question, but I would prefer to end up this very nice panel. I give you time for anything that you would like to add, any kind of comment, or any kind of thing that you would like to tell to our audience. Yes, no problem.

Jose: Well, I don’t want to take the time from Mike, because Mike is an important guy on this panel. What today we are presenting is the revolution of textiles. I know that most of you who know me, I always had the same, “it’s the revolution, it’s the revolution,” but today we are presenting something that will change all the spandex philosophy as we know it. So, that’s something that is, maybe it’s only the beginning of what will be in the next 10 years, but today we have a great company that is soon presenting a recycled, a bio-based, something that is real, something that is already working in the industry, something that we’re doing. So it’s not just a dream to be recycled or it is not just a dream to be a bio. It’s the reality that today we can present fabrics that will be 100% recycled, especially with creora® that which is the most difficult part, from my point of view, to create.

Miguel: So the future is here, right?

Jose: From my point of view, I don’t know if Mike agrees, but from my point of view.

Mike: Yeah. I mean, I’ve been in the industry and I’ll stop at 20 plus years. It’s a little more than that, but I’ve always been in the fiber end of the business and quite frankly, changing denier, changing cross-section, changing tweaks to the polymer, we’ve been almost always at the end of our rope, basically, to bring out innovation. And so what’s really exciting, especially for someone at the point of my career, is we have a whole new lease of innovation to bring out that are solving real-world problems and bringing out sustainability and sustainable solutions. So where five, six years ago, I would’ve said, “How can a fiber producer innovate?” Now, it’s like, “Oh my God, what should we do first, second, and third?” So it’s very exciting to be a textile professional.

Miguel: It is a very exciting world. Well, our time is up, and I want to thank you for being with us today. I want to thank Mike and Jose for your explanations about everything. I wish you good luck and all success with the new products that you are launching. I will forward in June to see the first material coming out from Royo. So thanks very much to you. Thank you. Okay. Thank you.

Mike: Thank you.