Textured Jersey Lanka PLC (TJ), the region’s largest textile manufacturer, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Peradeniya (UoP), with the aim of expanding the smart textile segment of the industry, in collaboration with the university.
The company will fund the research on the development of advanced textile materials, conducted by an expert research team appointed by the UoP.
The initiative, which has the long-term goal of taking the textile industry in Sri Lanka and the region to the next level, will benefit both Textured Jersey and the university, which will venture into an entirely new area for both the industry and institution.
TJ on the other hand will use the research done by the university to manufacture smart textiles, which will be the future of the industry in terms of opening up new markets and meeting the advancing needs of their current client portfolio.
TJ Group CEO Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, commenting on the partnership said, “This is an exciting proposition for us and we look forward to working with the university to create some revolutionary changes in the industry. More will be demanded of textiles in the future as the consumer demands grow and the apparel manufacturers are challenged to produce better precision-fit garments for which the first raw material needed is the fabric. We are ready to meet the challenges of the market with the introduction of intelligent functionalities to our fabrics and products, at the same time encouraging new skill sets amongst our graduate students. This initiative is another step taken by us in furthering the weft knit textile industry.”
The MoU between TJ and the UoP has a number of research projects lined up, i.e., textiles with antimicrobial properties, super hydrophobic stain-resistant properties, anti-pilling properties, conducting yarns and antistatic properties as well as scratch-resistant and shape-memory properties. Some of the research projects would have the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF) with which the university has signed a separate non-disclosure agreement.
The research team from the Science Faculty of the university is headed by Chemistry Department Senior Professor R.M.G. Rajapakse and Chemistry Department Senior Lecturer Dr. S.S. Gunathilaka. TJ will provide grants for five postgraduate students reading for their M.Phil./Ph.D. degrees to be employed as research assistants for each of the projects undertaken by the team. “We were interested in partnering with Textured Jersey on this research initiative since it is the first time the Science Faculty of the University of Peradeniya is venturing into the textile manufacturing sector and there is invaluable learning our graduate students can gain from this sector. Also, there are insights that we can provide TJ, which would help develop the textile industry as a whole. As a premier university of the country, we are committed to help support our local industries by all means in order to improve their product qualities, decrease production costs and to increase profits obtainable so as not only to survive the industrial products in the future global market but also to create new products that present day society is demanding,” said UoP Vice Chancellor Professor Upul B. Dissanayake.
Whilst the university will conduct research related to the products manufactured by TJ, in order to introduce smart functionalities to its products, the company will provide the necessary chemicals and other materials the research team would require to conduct their experiments. The company will also provide the opportunity for the students nominated by the research team for various projects to visit its factory premises and get practical knowledge under the supervision of its product innovation manager, who would be working closely
with the students.