The TFI-Institut für Bodensysteme an der RWTH Aachen e.V (TFI – Institute for Flooring Systems at RWTH Aachen e.V.), founded in 1964, is a research institute affiliated to the RWTH Aachen University. The precompetitive research of the TFI in the field of flooring systems and other interior textiles covers their entire life cycle – from raw materials acquisition, product manufacturing, process analysis and improvement, use phase to products’ end-of-life management. The technical centre of the TFI has an extensive range of machinery for the production of textile floor coverings. In addition to developing products tailored to the needs of consumers, the TFI also concentrates on the permanent optimization of product design including design for circularity as well as design for recycling concepts. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC) are applied in several research projects. The TFI is actively involved in European standardization working on issues related to floor coverings (CEN TC 134). The institute employs researchers and engineers from the fields of textiles, mechanical engineering, chemistry, building physics, environmental sciences and economics. Within the scope of the cooperative research, the TFI is involved in several national and European funded projects, as research partner or project coordinator.
In regard to CISUFLO by the long-standing competence and expertise in machine technology and digitalization, material and product development including product design (Design for Circularity), and testing and characterization of floor coverings, the TFI is taking the lead in supporting the development of Design for Recycling for circular textile flooring in WP1 and contributing with these insights to WP4. In addition, the experience of the TFI in LCA and ecological assessment will support the work in WP6.
CISUFLO creates the conditions for the TFI to further explore the circular economy of floor coverings. By taking a holistic view of the entire life cycle, the development goes through all the process steps relevant to a circular floor covering, from tracking the flow of materials to tagging, installation and recycling. In view of the political development and the necessity to think in material cycles, this topic is very present, and we hope to carry the innovative approaches into further projects. Since the beginning, the TFI has maintained a good relationship and exchange with many partners in the flooring industry due to various projects and research activities. Therefore, it is important for us to use the findings from research and industry and to multiply knowledge.
We at the TFI are pleased to accompany this innovative project, to contribute our expertise and thus to sensitize interested parties to the topic of circular economy.