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Cooperation with Kazakhstan takes shape

TITK is pushing ahead future projects with companies, associations and universities in the aspiring countries of Central Asia. Following leading representatives of the textile industry in Uzbekistan, the Association of Light Industry Enterprises Republic of Kazakhstan (APLP) and the Kazakh Textile Industry Association (Qaz Textile Industry) have now also visited Rudolstadt.

On 11 March 2024, TITK Director Benjamin Redlingshöfer welcomed APLP Vice President Natalya Akhshabayeva and Ms Alma Kadyrkulova, representative of Qaz Textile and General Director of the Adal Kyzmet Group LLP garment factory, to the institute. Both are part of a delegation currently on a short visit to Thuringia, led by the Deputy Minister of Industry and Construction of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr Olzhas Saparbekov.

Benjamin Redlingshöfer had his first meeting with the APLP leadership in September 2022 as part of an exploratory trip. A cooperation agreement was then signed in April 2023 during a Thuringian delegation trip to the Kazakh capital Astana. The two sides have now exchanged views on concrete steps towards successful cooperation. First and foremost is the transfer of technology to Asia in order to establish a cellulose fibre industry in Kazakhstan in the medium term with the help of the patented Lyocell technology. However, cooperation in the field of functional fibres from Rudolstadt is already possible immediately, emphasised Redlingshöfer.

Joint research projects in the areas of synthetic and natural polymers, including their processing methods, are also being examined. "Possible fields for research and innovation projects include, for example, the processing of textile fibres made from hemp, the development of new insulating materials from natural raw materials or an analysis of the wool of coarse wool sheep in the south of the country."

Two applications for project funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research were submitted at the beginning of this year. The starting point for this was the funding call "Measures for the establishment of sustainable joint partner structures", which was issued as part of the directive on "Research and innovation cooperation with countries of the Eastern Partnership and Central Asia". Not only SMEs, but also the Almaty Technological University (ATU) are to be involved in the cooperation with Kazakhstan.

In keeping with this, Natalya Akhshabayeva and Alma Kadyrkulova were given an insight into the TITK's melt spinning technical centre, among other things. And they learned how the institute is now also bringing other cellulose suppliers such as hemp or recycled textiles to application maturity for its lyocell fibres. The APLP Vice President thanked them with a noble coin full of symbolic power: it shows the image of our planet in human hands. The reverse is emblazoned with the flowering saxaul - a desert and steppe plant typical of Asia, which is considered to be particularly robust, firmly rooted and hardy. Natalya Akhshabayeva said at the handover that all these characteristics should characterise the collaboration with the TITK.

On 12 March 2024, the TITK Director and the two guests will take part in a business round table organised by the Thuringia State Development Corporation in Erfurt.

Presentation of gifts by the visitors from Kazakhstan. (Photo: TITK / Steffen Beikirch)
APLP Vice President Natalya Akhshabayeva presents TITK Director Benjamin Redlingshöfer with a noble coin with symbolic character. (Photo: TITK / Steffen Beikirch)
Coin full of symbolism: the reverse is emblazoned with flowering saxaul - a desert and steppe plant typical of Asia that is considered to be particularly robust, firmly rooted and hardy.
In the Textile Cell - a technical centre at the TITK - Sandro Eippert shows guests special tapes. (Photo: TITK/Steffen Beikirch)
The lyocell spinning process was explained in the Küttner technical centre. (Photo: TITK/Steffen Beikirch)
Material check in the melt spinning technology centre. (Photo: TITK / Steffen Beikirch)
TITK scientist Dr Gulnara Konkin (left) was present as an interpreter. (Photo: TITK / Steffen Beikirch)
Discussion round with the guests. (Photo: TITK / Steffen Beikirch)
Commemorative photo (from left): APLP Vice President Natalya Akhshabayeva, TITK interpreter Dr Gulnara Konkin, Alma Kadyrkulova from Qaz Textile and Institute Director Benjamin Redlingshöfer. (Photo: TITK / Steffen Beikirch)