The roots of the Thuringian Institute for Textile and Plastics Research Rudolstadt (TITK) go back to 1935. When the "Thüringer Spinnfaser" or "Thüringische Zellwolle AG" was founded here on the Saale and Schwarza rivers to produce an artificial textile fibre on a large scale as a substitute for cotton as an export product, the need for research services in this field also grew.
In 1954, the "Institute for Textile Technology of Man-Made Fibres" (ITC) opened, from which the TITK emerged in 1991 as the first private and non-profit research institute in the Free State of Thuringia. Starting from the purely textile competence of the application of fibrous materials, today, some 30 years later, the TITK has developed into a modern, globally recognised institute for polymeric functional and construction materials.
After almost 18 years at the helm of TITK, Dr Ralf-Uwe Bauer leaves at the beginning of 2020, Benjamin Redlingshöfer now leads the institute alone.
The founder of the TITK, Dr Horst Bürger, dies at the age of 86.
In autumn, the TITK puts two newly equipped pilot plants into operation - first a sheet plant in cooperation with the Thuringian Innovation Centre for Mobility, then an extrusion pilot plant in cooperation with the Leistritz company. Total investment: almost 3.5 million euros.
At the end of November, TITK wins the Thüringer Innovationspreis in the category "Industry & Material" for a flexible, metal-free heating foil with integrated overheating protection.
The official groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a new production hall for the smartpolymer subsidiary took place at the beginning of September.
In addition to Dr Ralf-Uwe Bauer, Benjamin Redlingshöfer is appointed as Managing Director. He has already been managing director of smartpolymer GmbH, a company belonging to the group, since 2015.
The TITK subsidiary OMPG establishes the company SmartMelamine d.o.o. together with the Slovenian company Melamine d.d. for the industrial production of the fire-resistant and very well insulating special non-woven melamine meltblown.
In the same year, TITK receives three gold medals at the International Inventors' Trade Fair IENA in Nuremberg.
The third pillar of the German research landscape, alongside universities and the four major research societies, has for the first time been given representation and a voice with the founding of the Deutsche Industrieforschungsgemeinschaft Konrad Zuse e.V. . The TITK was also one of the 66 founding members of the association, which is open to technology and industry, in Berlin. The first president of the Zuse Association is TITK Director Dr. Ralf-Uwe Bauer.
As the third company in the TITK Group, smartpolymer GmbH is created through a spin-off from OMPG mbH with the aim of producing and marketing TITK developments in-house.
In the 20th year of its existence, the TITK inaugurates the new "Hugo-Richard-Küttner Technical Centre". It is used for dry-wet forming of dissolved polymers, and for the first time, creates the possibility to realise all essential technological steps of direct dissolution and dry-wet forming of polymers in a common test field.
The TITK receives the award "Selected Landmark in the Land of Ideas" and is honoured with a visit by Federal President Roman Herzog.
In the same year, a new multifunctional synthesis plant starts producing substances based on renewable and synthetic raw materials that lead to modified properties of plastics. This is a joint facility of the TITK and the universities in Jena and Ilmenau.
Furthermore, a new high-speed melt spinning facility is inaugurated. It produces high-performance and functional fibres from thermoplastically processed plastics using melt spinning technology at temperatures of up to 450 degrees.
The TITK is involved in the founding of the new company "Rubitherm Compound GmbH". This company manufactures and sells products for efficient heat storage.
The TITK wins the Thuringian Research Prize in the field of transfer for a worldwide new method for directly incorporating incompatible liquid or fusible substances into a cellulose fibre. This provides a valuable fibre raw material from which temperature-regulating clothing and textiles can be made.
smartfiber AG takes over production facilities from SeaCell GmbH to expand production capacities for functional cellulose fibres.
OMPG takes over the flocking plant of Coronet Schwarza GmbH to expand its own business field and for future new developments of innovative flock products in cooperation with TITK.
The TITK becomes an affiliated institute of the Ilmenau University of Technology. In the same year, smartfiber AG is founded. With the production and sale of functional special fibres on the basis of the ALCERU process in this company, the economic implementation of research and development results of the TITK takes place.
Integration of TITK and OMPG into the ALCERU-Hightech growth core: The aim of the innovative growth core is to develop the Rudolstadt region into a nationally and internationally recognized research, production and marketing center for cellulose-based functional and construction materials.
In cooperation with LEG Thüringen, TITK is the project management agency for an EXPO 2000 project entitled "Structural change with innovative materials from renewable raw materials".
Foundation of the joint venture ALCERU-Schwarza GmbH - Alternative Cellulose Processes - with the company Lurgi Zimmer AG, Frankfurt/Main
Foundation of Ostthüringische Materialprüfgesellschaft für Textil- und Kunststoffe mbH (OMPG) as a wholly owned subsidiary of TITK
Re-foundation of the institute with a new name "Thuringian Institute for Textile and Plastics Research e.V." (TITK) as the first private-law and non-profit institute of the Free State of Thuringia with a new strategic profile.