By  on October 8, 2012

PARIS — A major research and development hub for the textiles of the future is to be inaugurated near Roubaix in northern France on Wednesday.

The European Center for Innovative Textiles, or CETI, will house laboratories, workshops and a business incubator in an area covering 160,000 square feet.

The project represents an investment of 40 million euros, or $51.8 million at current exchange, according to CETI managing director Marc Honoré.

Around two-thirds of that sum came from public funding, with the remainder being invested by industry and through loans, Honoré said.

“Textiles are increasingly used in all sorts of domains beyond fashion,” he said, citing the medical and aerospace industries as key areas of growth.

Within apparel, innovative textiles are particularly relevant to sportswear applications, he noted.

“This part of Europe has the highest concentration of innovative textile companies in the world,” he added. “We hope to attract more foreign companies to set up business in the region thanks to the presence of CETI.”

The first stage of the CETI’s development concerns the installation of tricomponent spinning, dry-laid and melt-blown, nonwoven fabric tools, the implementation of which should be accomplished before the end of the year. A second phase will involve research into woven textiles and will be implemented starting in 2014.

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