Dr Andrew Hewitt joined the University of Huddersfield as Lecturer in Textiles in March 2018. Though new to academia, Andrew is no stranger to textile research, with 24 years of commercial textile R&D experience. Before joining he worked at a university spin-out company for over 12 years, conducting confidential textile R&D for industrial clients across the globe.
Andrew was drawn to the University of Huddersfield by the vision of Future Fashion Factory co-investigator Prof. Parik Goswami, aiming to re-establish the town and region as a world leader in textiles by harnessing novel technologies and manufacturing techniques. Huddersfield’s heritage as a major centre for the chemical industry was another catalyst for the formation of the Technical Textiles Research Centre in 2019.
On arrival at Huddersfield, Andrew’s first project was to help prepare the funding application for what is now the Future Fashion Factory programme.
“One of the things about my job that excites me most is the ability to make real differences to businesses, to society and to our planet,” he explains.
“I get a thrill from innovation that results in new products and processes that are adopted commercially. Listening to businesses and consumers is key. I enjoy hearing about the technical challenges they face and working to develop innovative solutions to overcome them.”
Andrew is working on a variety of FFF projects, one of which is researching how woven cloth can be modified whilst retaining the same warp beam, using tailored online treatments to the warp and/or weft threads during production. The aim is to be able to produce a wide range of products without the costly, time-consuming process of changing the warp.
At the same time, he is involved with a systematic study of wool fibres from different UK sheep breeds, establishing new applications and develop new finishing techniques to broaden their range of useful properties. A further project examines the benefits of waterless plasma treatments and other novel finishing technologies on textile coloration.
Andrew is also passionate about producing the next generation of textile researchers. Inspired by conversations with industrial partners that highlighted a shortfall in high quality graduates, Andrew and his colleagues at the Technical Textiles Research Centre have developed an all-new Masters course called ‘Product Innovation with Textiles’ which will start in September 2020. The course centres on an understanding of textiles, but also on design management for innovation and how to plan and conduct successful research projects.
If you have a technical product or processing challenge in your textile business that could benefit from academic support, Andrew would like to hear from you. You can contact him to discuss collaborative opportunities at firstname.lastname@example.org.