Founded in 1964 as the "Deutsches Teppichforschungsinstitut e.V." (German Carpet Research Institute), the Institute has been a competent partner for research, testing and certification in the field of floor and wall systems as well as other interior design products for almost 60 years under the motto "Test, Research, Inform".
Until the 1980s, the institute's work concentrated mainly on material and fire testing of textile floor coverings, but also upholstery fabrics. Research was conducted mainly in the areas of usage properties, wear, visual aspects as well as suitability for stairs and chair castors of all kinds of carpet constructions. The results of this research still form the basis for the worldwide quality and use classification of carpeting.
Since the late 1980s, environmental and health protection issues have increasingly dominated the TFI's activities. The TFI conducted extensive research on emissions and pollutants in carpet. The results of this research formed the basis for the GUT signet of the Gemeinschaft umweltfreundlicher Teppichboden (GUT), which was founded in 1990. The institute also set clear accents in the research of tufting technology and dealt with coatings, the shearing process and recycling.
As the testing and certification business steadily grew in scope and importance, the Textiles & Flooring Institute GmbH was founded in 2000 as a 100% subsidiary of the Deutsches Teppichforschungsinstitut e.V. (German Carpet Research Institute). In 2007, the "Deutsches Teppichforschungsinstitut e.V." was renamed "TFI - Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für Bodensysteme e.V.".
In 2010, the institute was recognised as an affiliated institute of RWTH Aachen University under the new name "TFI - Institut für Bodensysteme an der RWTH Aachen e.V." Since then, the TFI has not only been active in research, but also in teaching. The institute took on a teaching assignment at the Institute of Textile Technology at RWTH Aachen University (ITA) to qualify future engineers in the fields of textile floor coverings, home textiles and building products. The two institutes have been working closely together in research for many years. The appointment of the TFI as an affiliated institute of the RWTH has made it possible to further intensify and expand this long-standing cooperation.
In 2014, the TFI celebrated its 50th anniversary in the historical ambience of Rahe Castle in Aachen with numerous guests from industry, research and associations, among others.
In 2016, the TFI was one of the founding members of the "Deutsche Industrieforschungsgemeinschaft Konrad Zuse e.V." (German Industrial Research Association Konrad Zuse) based in Berlin. With this association, about 130 institutions of industry-related research partners of small and medium-sized enterprises find a common mouthpiece and the bundling of common interests. Also in 2016, the GmbH was renamed from "Textiles & Flooring Institute GmbH" to "TFI Aachen GmbH".
With these name changes, the TFI opened up for research, testing and certification of all building products for interiors. In the future, too, the Institute intends to continue to follow this system idea. Research tasks and services increasingly concern the interior as a whole, i.e. floor, wall and ceiling systems as well as furnishings in buildings and vehicles.
TFI Aachen GmbH
As a modern service company, TFI Aachen GmbH is primarily concerned with the testing, monitoring and certification of building products as well as technology transfer. The main focus is on interior construction. The testing and certification includes safety, health and quality aspects. TFI Aachen GmbH is a 100% subsidiary of TFI e.V..
The main focal points of its work are:
- Fire tests
- Emission tests
- Pollutant analyses
- Sound tests
- Thermal tests
- Functional tests
Accreditations and designations
The TFI has the following accreditations and designations, among others:
- Accreditation as certification body according to ISO 17065
- Accreditation as certification body according to ISO 17065
- Notified Body for EU Construction Products Regulation (Notification No. 1658)
- Notification for EN 13813 (screed mortar and screed compounds)
- Notification for EN 14041 (Resilient, textile and laminate floor coverings)
- Notification for EN 14342 (parquet and wood flooring)
- Notification for EN 14904 (sports floors)
- Notification for EN 15102 (Decorative wall coverings)
- horizontal notification for reaction to fire
- horizontal notification for emission of hazardous substances
- horizontal notification for sound insulation properties
- Testing, monitoring and certification body within the scope of building inspectorate approvals (DIBt)
- Testing and inspection body for the trademark TÜV PROFiCERT-product Interior
- Testing and monitoring body for the GUT signet
- Testing body for the classification of textile floor coverings, mattresses, upholstered furniture, resilient floor coverings and installation materials according to RAL (Blue Angel)
TFI - Institute for Floor Systems at RWTH Aachen e.V.
The pre-competitive research of the TFI covers the entire life cycle from the use of raw materials to production, installation, use and recycling at the end of the use phase. One focus is the optimisation of processes with regard to production speed, flexibility and freedom from defects. Priority is given to the aspects of quality, ecology and economy as well as their interactions.
Within the framework of joint research, the Forschungskuratorium Textil e.V. finances extensive multi-year research programmes with funds from the AiF and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). The European Union and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia also support projects that provide new impetus for industry as product and technology innovations.
As an institute at RWTH Aachen University, the TFI is also active in teaching and thus contributes to the training of young professionals for industry. The bodies of the TFI are the General Assembly, the Board of Directors, the Advisory Board and the Scientific Advisory Board.