Fibers & Textiles Research Laboratories
The year following Toray’s foundation, a research division for viscose rayon was established. In 1969, the Fibers & Textiles Research Laboratories was launched, integrating the fiber research laboratories that had previously been scattered throughout Japan. Ever since then, the laboratories has been conducting a wide range of research on fibers and textiles-including polymer design, fiber spinning technologies, and textile processing technologies-helping to bring new fibers and textiles to market．
The Fibers and Textiles Research Laboratories has yielded new apparel products, high-performance fibers for tire cord, ULTRASUEDE™ suede-texture artificial leather, TORAYSEE™ high-tech wiping cloth and other breakthroughs. Also emerging are carbon fibers, hollow fibers for use in artificial kidneys and other fundamental technologies to spearhead new business. At present, the laboratories are deepening fundamental technologies for the polymers and spun fibers used in new products for apparel. They are also creating novel types of environmentally-friendly fibers, and conducting research to achieve higher functionality of fibers designed to pursue the limits of what is possible.
ULTRASUEDE™ is a suede-texture artificial leather using micro-fibers produced through the “islands-in-the-sea” conjugate spinning process.
Due to its outstanding quality and functionality, it is used in a variety of fields including the fashion industry, and as a material for interiors and precision equipment.
SILLOOKDUET™ is a new silky textile surpassing the texture of conventional “Shingosen”, emerging from the pursuit of state-of-the-art fiber structure control technology.
This textile has a smooth texture in addition to an elegant sense of luster and gloss, and superior color development.
* Winner of the 2004 Senken Gosen Award, Material Division
New products used in apparel
In order to enhance our fundamental technologies, we are undertaking polymer research to improve functionality through the modification of polyester. The cation-dyeable polyester used in products such as Uniqlo’s HEATTECH™ was developed here at the laboratories, and we are broadly expanding our efforts by integrating our unique technologies of fibers and textiles.
* HEATTECH™ is a registered trademark of FAST RETAILING CO., LTD.
Environmentally-friendly fiber materials
Examples include ECODEAR™PLA, a polylactic acid fiber made from plant raw materials; Primeflex™, a polyester 3GT fiber using diols derived from biomass, and textiles made from that fiber; and FORESSE™, the world’s first cellulose-based fiber which can be manufactured with the melt spinning method. The Fibers and Textiles Research Laboratories are working to environmentally-friendly fiber materials which are expected to be increasingly important going forward.
FORESSE™ is a world’s first thermoplastic cellulose fiber which doesn’t require harmful chemicals used in the production of conventional cellulosic fibers.
This is also a breakthrough that opens the door to the manufacture of modified cross-section filaments, ultra-fine fibers and other fiber types that conventionally impossible in the past.
* Winner of the 2007 Senken Gosen Award, Grand Prix and Technical Division
Efforts to create the high-performance fibers
Efforts are being focused into research on super fibers which use liquid crystal polymers or heat-resistant polymers such as PPS (polyphenylene sulfide). We have also succeeded in creating the polyester conductive fiber, which has world-class conductivity performance and potential for application in the IT field. In the future, we will continue the creation of innovative high-performance fiber materials as important issues.
Limit pursuit of textile technology
In pursuit of the limits of fiber technology, we are conducting research that involves enhancing functionality by controlling the molecular orientation and crystal structure of fibers, as well as research of nanofibers that push the limit of fineness. Our relentless pursuit of the boundaries of fiber technology has led to the successful development of NANODESIGN™, an innovative spinning technology. This technology has enabled us to control a cross-section of fiber very precisely, and has led to the successful creation of the world’s first nanofibers with various cross-sectional shapes, and the minute spiral polyester fiber textile uts-FIT™.
World’s first nanofibers with modified cross section via NANODESIGN™
* Winner of 2018 The Award for High Technology Pioneering Originality, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Prize
Milestones in Toray R&D
|1927||Research Division for viscose rayon was established.|
|1941||Succeeded in mobilizing original technology to synthesize and spin Nylon-6 fiber.|
|1964||Commenced production of SILLOOK™ silk-texture polyester fiber.|
|1969||Fibers & Textiles Research Laboratories was established.|
|1970||Commenced production of ULTRASUEDE™ suede-texture artificial leather.|
|1987||Commenced production of TORAYSEE™ high-performance multipurpose wiping cloth.|
|2002||Commenced production of composite fiber using 3GT polymer.|
|2005||Created FORESSE™, the world’s first cellulose-based fiber employing the melt spinning method.|
|2014||Developed NANODESIGN™ innovative composite spinning technology.|
|2016||Developed uts-FIT™ polyester fine crimp textile.|