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BAATPE participate in European project for improving the competitiveness of childcare products sector SMEs




The Spanish Manufacturers Association of Children’s Products (ASEPRI), working with the Valencia Institute of Biomechanics (IBV), has launched a European research and development project, Design 4 Children, with the aim of improving the competitiveness of European SMEs in the childcare products sector. 
DESIGN 4 CHILDREN will give impetus to sector competitiveness by means of developing three innovative tools using biomechanics R&D and ICT: a design support tool, a virtual dummy for trying out designs and web 2.0. These tools will encourage fresh differentiation of childcare products in order to compete internationally, in addition to promoting childcare product comfort, quality and safety and the design of innovative products.

Under the management of ASEPRI and with technical coordination by IBV, the consortium which makes up Design 4 Children encompasses three leading international research centres - IBV in Valencia, ISRI Intelligent Systems Research Institute in the UK, and BROWZWEAR technology development company in Israel - and four SME associations:: ASEPRI (Spanish Manufacturers Association of Children’s Products), CHILDREN FASHION EUROPE (European Association of Childcare Products), ECIPA (Ente Confederale di Istruzione per L’Artigianato e le Piccole Imprese), which is part of the CNA (Italian Business Confederation of Small and Medium sized Enterprises) and BAATPE (Bulgarian Association of Apparel and Textile Producers and Exporters). The international consortium is completed by three European SMEs: KOLEV AND KOLEV LTD (a Bulgarian children’s footwear manufacturer), BEBE DUE ESPAÑA, SA (a Spanish childcare product manufacturer) and BRAVOTEX II, SA (a Portuguese children’s clothing company), rounded off by co-worker organisations ASEIP (Association of Research Studies into Paediatrics) and MUOTIKAUPAN LIITTO RY (Association of Finnish Businesspersons). 

Design 4 Children will be developed over the next 3 years and will take as its starting point research into the conditions of children’s biomechanics and the interaction of children with articles of clothing and the products they come into contact with. Based on the conclusions reached, a set of criteria will be identified covering, among other things, fabric stretchiness, flexibility, warmth and movement comfort, and strength. 

The fruits of this research will be the development of the three R&D biomechanics tools and ICT. The company associations and promoters of the project will place these tools at the disposal of the European children’s fashion and childcare products sector. 

Specifically, the design support software tool will incorporate the research criteria into the design of new products, in order to create products better adapted to the requirements of children. 

The virtual dummy for trying out designs will assess the biomechanical criteria of products. It will enable SMEs to see how the product looks and if it fulfils the design criteria without having to actually create ‘real’ prototypes. It is a tool which will have a significant impact on reducing costs and speeding up the product creation process for companies.

Lastly, the web 2.0 linking parents-businesses-manufacturers will inform parents of the values of these products, and will be available for points-of-sale to help them improve their sales. 

The DESIGN 4 CHILDREN project is part of the framework of the European Commission 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. Likewise it has the backing of IMPIVA in its position as regional organisation for innovation in business, under the auspices of the Government of Valencia Department of Industry, Trade and Innovation. 

IMPIVA is backing the project throughout the stage of making the results available to the childcare product sector, above all given that the Department of Industry itself considers the sector to be a strategic growth sector in which the Community of Valencia is a leading light, and which receives support from the Valencian Businesses Sectorial Plans for Competitiveness.

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