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 research on the development of advanced textile materials, conducted by an expert research team appointed by 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 who will venture into an entirely new area for both the industry and the 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 consumer demands grow and 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 whom the university has signed a separate non-disclosure agreement.
The Research team from the Faculty of Science of the university is headed by Professor R.M.G. Rajapakse, Senior Professor, Department of Chemistry and Dr. S.S. Gunathilaka, Senior Lecturer of the Department of Chemistry. 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 Faculty of Science, 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,” says UoP Vice Chancellor Professor Upul B. Dissanayake.
Whilst the university will conduct research related to products manufactured by TJ, in order to introduce smart functionalities to their products, the company will provide necessary chemicals and other materials the research team would require to conduct their experiments. The company will also provide the opportunity for students nominated by the research team for the various projects, to visit their factory premises and to get practical knowledge under the supervision of their Manager, Product Innovation, who would be working closely with the students.