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Abstract
Technical textile: A promising Future

Based on the different reports, it is believed that technical textile sector will put on a
significant share in future. In addition, there are several drivers of growth prevailing. For
example, changes in life style, requirement of specific products, process complexities, quest of
better productivity, hazardous incidents, fast movement of vehicles, security
situation, advancement in medical science, occurrence of extreme situation,
terrorist attacks, protection of soldiers during war, and even threat of nuclear war
have increased the demand of technical textile. Conversely, frequently inventions of material
that have distinct qualities to withstand under extreme situations are one of the major drivers of
growth on supply side. In current scenario, data shows that developed countries have major
share in technical textile. This might be due to high tech nature of technical textiles. This study
provides an insight of technical textile business, which may be helpful for firms having
intention to enter in this market.

Introduction

Generally, textile industry is considered as an industry fulfilling clothing requirements of


human beings for protection, grace, and improves aesthetic sense. This sector is known as
traditional textile, general textile. On the other hand, textile is also used for specific purposes;
use of textile in industry, for human protection from extreme situation etc. This sector has
many names but the most common are technical textile, industrial textile, and functional
textile. Keeping in view the usages of textile, we can divide textile into two main sectors;
traditional textile and technical textile. Traditional textile deals with the general demands of
human being, mainly it covers clothing, made ups, bead wears, etc. whereas, technical textile is
a product made to serve a particular and technical requirement; water proof jackets, filters,
fire proof seats etc.

Before the invention of synthetic fibres, natural fibres were treated with chemicals to make it
useful in some specific situations. In addition, other than normal weaving process, nonwoven
techniques were used to manufacture technical textile. "Technical and nonwoven textiles
and fibres are widely regarded as the most thriving and fast changing sector of the
global textile industry" (TT and NW, 2006 p. 19). It shows that nonwoven technique to make
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fabric lived along with weaving technology and played a significant role in developing
technical textile. TT and NW report further elaborates that "Innovation in new materials,
processes and applications is expanding non-traditional end uses for both
new and existing textile products. In contrast to popular perception of the
broader TCF industries, technical textiles and fibres is a high-
technology and high value-adding activity. In short , technical and
nonwoven textiles are about function rather than fashion" (p. 19).

In last three centuries, world has witnessed a rapid growth in fibre production which have a
very distinctive characteristics such as high resistance to temperature, stable under stress and
strain, strong enough to absorb impact of highly reactive chemicals etc. Textile industry
produced a number of products by using such fibres. The outcome of all these efforts has
boosted the growth of industrial and technical textiles.

Apparently, there is a strong link between the development of different man-


made fibres; particularly synthetic fibres and production of technical/industrial
textile. Because newly developed materials have the capability to fulfil the
industrial and other specific requirements. Chang and Kilduff (2002) report that almost
technical textiles sectors consume 30% of fiber in North America. It shows the significance of
this sector.

Based on the above discussion, it can be assessed that production and demand of
technical and industrial textile may grow at a higher speed comparing to past.
Prevailing situation of hazardous incidents, fast movement of vehicles, security
situation, advancement in medical science, occurrence of extreme situation, and
terrorist attacks, protection of soldiers during war and even threat of nuclear war
have also increased the significance of technical textile.
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There a number of supporting documents and reports, that underscores the


capability and strength of technical textile to fulfil the latent demands of
functionality. "Technical textiles have been slowly but steadily gaining ground due
to one or more of the reasons such as functional requirement, health and safety, cost
effectiveness, durability, high strength, light weight, versatility, customisation, user
friendliness, eco-friendliness, logistical convenience, etc." ( Chakrabarty, 2007).

There are many ways to produce technical textile but the nonwoven technology is one of
the oldest method to produce technical textile. "N onwoven techn ology is one of the
conventional sectors of the “traditional” textile industry and was best
known for making felt used in craft products such as stuffed toys, hats
and shoe linings, to name a few. Indeed, felted fabrics were around for
centuries before weaving and knitting techn ology were invented" ( TT and
NW, 2006, p. 21).

Technical Textile

Literature provides three different terms to describe textile products other than traditional
textiles. These are:

1. Technical textiles
2. Industrial textiles
3. Functional textiles

Apparently, there is a clear line between traditional and technical textile. However, sometimes,
it may create confusion. To resolve this issue American Textile Manufacturers Institute
(ATMI) defines nonwoven fabric, "A fabric formed of textile fibres that are held together
by mechanical interlocking in a random web or mat, by fusing the case of
thermoplastic fibres or by bonding with a cementing agent.” Furthermore, it becomes
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more difficult when we are dealing with apparels, which are treated to serve certain purpose.
This problem has been highlighted by TT and NW (2006) in the following words:

The line between a traditional textile and a technical /industrial


textile may seem unclear to an outsider, as many products could arguably
fall into either division depending on their end use or functional qualities.
Of course, the broad range of products described as industrial or
technical textiles adds to the complexity of defining exactly what
an industrial or technical textile is, and thus individual firms
identify themselves by their products’ end use applications"(p.18).

Textile Institute Manchester defines technical textiles in the following words:

"Materials and products intended for end-uses other than non-protective clothing, household
furnishing, and floor covering, where the fabric or fibrous component is selected principally
but not exclusively for its performance and properties as opposed to its aesthetic or decorative
characteristics" (Textile Terms and Definitions, TI, Manchester, 10the Ed.).

Another definition of technical textiles is by Encyclopedia Universalis as cited by Nemoz


(2001) " Technical textiles are materials meeting high technical and quality requirements
(mechanical, thermal, electrical, durability...) giving them the ability to offer technical
functions" (p. 3). There is a no big difference in the above mentioned two definitions of
technical textile. A third definition is by Memon and Zaman (2007), "Technical textiles as
defined as textile materials and products manufactured primary for their technical
performance and functional properties, rather than for their aesthetic and decorative it
characteristics"(p. 120).
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Furthermore, Nomez extends the classification of textile to functional textiles. Nomez says that
a textile is divided into two main categories; textile apparel and upholstery and technical
textile. Nomez makes a link between technical textile and apparel and upholstery through third
type of textile and that is functional textiles. Functional textile develops special properties in
apparel and made ups by applying special chemicals and finishes. For example, by applying
anti microbial chemicals we can develop a characteristic in the apparel and made ups to resist
against the attack of any microorganism. Making of fireproof apparel for fire fighting is
another example of functional textiles.

Apparently, it looks that technical textiles are products, which are used for specific purpose by
people, e.g. water and fire proof uniform for firefighting people etc. Whereas, industrial
textiles are used by different industries to help any process e.g. filters in chemical plants etc.

All above discussion provides a little confusion between traditional or general textile and
technical/industrial/functional textile. It more likely will prevail due to nature of the products.
To avoid any confusion we divide textile into two main categories:

1. General Textile
2. Technical Textile

We take that general textile is area which deals with the clothing and made ups made to serve
the human needs under normal conditions, whereas, technical textiles deals with the demands
of people, process or industry to perform specific functions, mostly under extreme conditions.
In this paper, we will use term "Technical textiles" to represent this sector. This is primarily to
make discussion simple for better understanding of readers.

Production of Technical textile


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History of technical textiles is as old as general textiles. It is supported from the use of ropes,
which are in use since centuries and it is one simple form of technical textiles. These ropes
were used for some functions; it may be for sailing or to give a strong grip to tents. We can
find a number of other usages of technical textiles in history. However, it looks that majority of
technical textiles were developed with the nonwoven techniques. Nevertheless in current era,
other methods like, knitting, weaving, braiding, tufting are also ways and methods to produce
technical textiles. Still nonwoven techniques dominate the whole lot of technical textiles
manufacturing techniques. This technology is as old as weaving and has been used to produce
products, which were used to produce certain products. "Nonwoven technology is one of
the conventional sectors of the “traditional” textile industry and was best known for
making felt used in craft products such as stuffed toys, hats and shoe linings, to name a
few. Indeed, felted fabrics were around for centuries before weaving and knitting technology
were invented" (TT and NW 2006, p. 20).

Textile history tells us that before the invention of synthetic fiber; only natural fibers were
main raw material for technical textiles. It may be vegetable, protein or mineral fibers. One
way to make technical textiles was treatment with certain chemicals to improve their
functionality, like, application of wax to make it water proof etc. and second way was
application of different fabric formation techniques e.g. tufting, stuffing, knitting, braiding are
a few examples.

However, the invention of synthetic fiber provided an edge to technical textiles and today
majority of technical textiles are made of synthetic fibers. First synthetic fiber, acetate was
invented in 1799 known as artificial silk. Later in 1894, it was known as Viscose and in 1924,
it was called Rayon. Rayon, viscose, and acetate are not truly synthetic; their raw material is
mainly wood pulp. Nevertheless, Nylon is the first synthetic fiber made in USA in 1939 and
posses many characteristics which are highly useful in technical textile. Another landmark in
the production of synthetic fiber is invention of polyester, which was invented in 1953. There
is a long list of synthetic fibers, which are available today, and frequently under use and every
new product is coming out. Discussion on the development of synthetic fibers is out of the
scope of this article.
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There are many ways and techniques to produce technical textile. Tex.in (2009) has provided
the following methods to manufacture technical textile:

1. Thermo-forming
2. Three Dimensional Weaving
3. Three Dimensional Knitting
4. Fabrics Produced Using Nanotechnology
5. Heat-set Synthetics
6. Finishing Treatments such as Water-resistant Coatings & Holographic Laminates
7. Hand-made elements such as Stitch or Appliqué

Above list covers probably maximum methods to produce technical textile. Nevertheless, there
might be other ways to produce technical textile. Broadly, we can divide production of
technical textiles into two main categories; by applying chemicals on general textiles (fire
proofing of fabric made of cotton) and second by using synthetic or natural fiber in fabric
formation.

Types of Technical textiles

Nomez divides Technical textiles into main four classes based on their functions:

1. Mechanical functions (Mechanical resistance, Reinforcement of materials, Elasticity)


2. Exchange functions (Filtration, Insulation and conductivity, Drainage Impermeability,
Absorption)
3. Functionalities for living beings (Antibacterial, Antirust, mites, Biocompatibility,
Biodegradability/bioresorption)
4. Protective functions (Thermal, Fire, Mechanical, Chemicals, Impermeable, -
Breathable, Antistatic Particles, antireleaseVicenza, Electrical insulation, IR and UV
rays, NBC High visibility Electromagnetic fields .....)

Chakrabarty (2007) divides technical textiles into following twelve categories:

1. Mobitech
2. Meditech
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3. Sportech
4. Protech
5. Indutech
6. Geotextiles
7. Packtech
8. Oekotech
9. Agrotech
10. Clothtech
11. Buildtech
12. Hometech

There might be many more classifications of technical textiles. All above discussion is an
effort to provide an overview of technical textiles. This short discussion is enough to
understand different types of technical textiles.

Usages of Technical textile

Tex.in provides the following list of areas where technical textile or high-performance textiles
are used:

1. Aerospace applications
2. Aquaculture
3. Architecture
4. Abrasion-resistant materials
5. Absorbent materials
6. Adhesive materials
7. Agriculture
8. Anti ballistic materials
9. Anti magnetic materials
10. Anti static materials
11. Auxetic materials
12. Bedding materials
13. Biodegradable materials
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14. Biomaterials
15. Building materials
16. Cleansing materials
17. Composites
18. High performance clothing
19. Computing industry high performance materials
20. Cut-resistant materials
21. Deodorizing materials
22. Elastic materials
23. Electrical and electronic industries
24. Environment
25. Filtration materials
26. Fire-resistant materials
27. Flooring textiles
28. Furnishings
29. Geosynthetics and geotextiles
30. Hygiene materials
31. Insulating materials
32. Leisure
33. Lines and ropes
34. Luggage
35. Luminescent and reflective materials
36. Marine industry materials
37. Medicine
38. Medical clothing
39. Therapeutic clothing
40. Surgical clothing
41. Anti allergy materials
42. Anti bacterial materials
43. Anti microbial materials, Anti radiation materials
44. Wound dressings & bandages
45. Prostheses
46. Orthopaedics materials
47. Dental industry
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48. Military applications


49. Nanotechnology
50. Packaging
51. Phase change materials
52. Safety
53. Protective and safety clothing
54. Sails and tenting
55. Shape memory materials
56. Smart textiles
57. Soluble materials
58. Sports
59. Sports goods
60. Substrates
61. Therapeutic materials
62. Thermal materials
63. Transportation
64. Automotive
65. Waterproof materials
66. Windproof materials

It is presumed that above list is not exhaustive in nature. There might be many more
application of technical textile. After looking the above list it can said safely that there is no
filed left untouched by technical textile. We see everywhere technical textile and it is predicted
that role of technical textile will increase in coming years in every field.

Market of Technical textiles

Technical textile is a niche market and its characteristics are quite different from the traditional
textile market. In most of the cases, it is consisting of small runs. To full assorted demands,
there is a need of flexibility in its production system. For better flexibility, there is a need of
diverse nature of machinery. It looks impossible that technical textile market will come up with
the norms of mass market of general textile. It will remain a niche market and will have its
own indentify (Memon and Zaman, 2007; Zhang, 2008; Mital (2008).
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Policies of India and China provided insights of the market of technical textile. "By realising
its importance, China has launched a comprehensive programme called ‘Double Incentive
Scheme for Technical textiles’, whereas India has also announced a bundle of relief package
for the promotion of technical textiles in the country". (Memon and Zaman, 2007, p. 121). This
statement favors the assumption that in future technical textile will be one of the major
products and will be able to contribute in economies of countries.

Zhang (2008) foresees that need of technical textile is increasing every day. This is mainly
because there is a drastic change in the life style and every day new demands are emerging
from different corners and with the advancement of nonwoven techniques, technical textile
will grow with higher speed as compared to past. Nonwoven technology will help produce
different products required for some specific purpose.

Mital (2008) has reported the steps being taken by government of India. As per Mital Indian,
government established an Expert Committee on Technical textiles in 2002. The main
responsibilities of the committee were to develop strategies to promote technical textile in
India. Mital further reports that in next five years government of India will provide $170-200
million to promote technical textile in India. This amount will be spending on the
recommendation of committee. It shows that seriousness of government of India to promote
this sector. Mital states that technical textiles in India are attracting a lot of attraction of
business people. There is a huge activities expected in the manufacturing and consumption of
technical textile. In addition to that, Mital points out that a budget of US$6.25 billion is also
available for Technology Up gradation Fund Scheme.

Mital has explained three plans to improve technical textile in India. According to these plans,
50 million US $ will be spend to improve capacity of local manufacturers. 75 Million US $
will be given to develop testing facilities, and finally export of technical textile will be made
possible. All above discussion shows the efforts of government of India to improve technical
textile in India.
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Another example of development in technical textile is the projects launched by USA. The
recent project is to develop state of the art uniform marines combating in different parts of the
world. The main stress is to develop a composite, uniform nonwoven that possesses high
strength, softness, improved abrasion resistance, printability and other related characteristics. It
is a 25 years project. This size of this project is an indicator of growth in military textile
demands in coming years.

" It is forecast that the world market for technical textiles and industrial nonwovens will
increase by 3.5% per annum between 1995 and 2005, and 3.8% per annum from 2005 to 2010
in volume terms, to reach 23.8 MT with a value of $126 Billion by 2010" (Czajka, 2005, p.
14). This report shows that there is a steady growth of technical textile and it is expected that
nearly 4% growth rate of technical textile. This growth rate supports that there is a scope of
technical textile in coming years. Zhang estimates that technical textiles represent about 40%
of the total textile industry and in 2010, technical textile market size will be of $127 billion,
and 24 million tons fibres will be consumed for the production of technical textile.

Nomez (2001) has given the major consumers of technical textile and has provides the growth
rate of demand for technical textile by different sectors.

Table: 01

Textiles use by final markets Europe 1999 Market share and a

Annual growth planned

Market Annual
Share Growth
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(%) (%)
Industry 21 3.9
Transport 20 2.8
Medical 16 1.5
Construction 10 2.9
Agriculture 8 1.2
Civil Engineering 3 5.7
Sports and Leisure 2 3.3
Protection 2 5.7

Source: Nomez (2001)

Table 01 shows that major consumption of technical textile is in industry, whereas, transport is
second major user of technical textile. Nevertheless, protection and civil engineering have the
highest growth rate, which is 5.7%.

Memon and Zaman (2007) have discussed the future scenario of technical textile with respect
to consumption of synthetic fibre and production of nonwoven fabrics. Memon and Zaman
(2007) predicts that in "the share of synthetic fibres in the technical textile sector will rise from
79% in 2000 to 81% by 2010. There will also be an increase in the share of nonwoven and will
grow from 35% in 2000 to 39% by 2010 in weight terms" (p. 122). They hold the view that
global demand of technical textile will of US $130 Billion. This projection is on the higher side
as given by Zhang. They further points out that there will be a 4-5% average growth in
technical textile. It is comparatively less than general textile, which is 8 %.

Table 02

World Consumption and Growth of Technical Textiles


(Product Wise)

Quantity: Million MT

Product Quantity % Per Value Per


2000 2005 2000 2005
Fabrics 3,760 4,100 1.7 26,710 29,870 2.2
Non-woven 3,333 4,300 5.4 14,640 19,250 5.6
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Composites 1,970 2,580 5.5 5,960 9,160 5.6


Other 7,687 8,703 3.4 12,950 14,060 3.3
textiles
Total 16,75 19,683 3.9 60,260 72,340 3.7
0
Source: Technical Textiles and Industrial Non-woven’s, David Rigby Associates, 2002 (as
cited by Memon and Zaman 2007)
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Table 03

World Wide Consumption of Technical Textiles

(By application)

Quantity: Million MT
2000 2005
Quantity Value Quantity Value
Transport textiles (auto, train, sea, 2,220 13,080 2,480 14,370
Industrial products and components 1,880 9,290 2,340 11,560
Medial and hygiene textiles 1,380 7,290 1,650 9,530
Home textiles, domestic equipments 1,800 7,780 2,260 9,680
Clothing components (thread, 730 6,800 820 7,640
Agriculture, horticulture and fishing 900 4,260 1,020 4,940
Construction-building and roofing 1,030 3,390 1,270 4,320
Packaging and containment 530 2,320 660 2,920
Sports and leisure (excluding apparel) 310 2,030 390 2,210
Geotextiles, civil engineering 400 1,860 570 2,360
Protective and safety clothing 160 1,640 220 2,230
All others 5,410 520 6,003 3,580
Total 16,750 60,260 19,683 75,340

Source: Technical Textiles and Industrial Non-woven’s, David Rigby Associates, 2002 (as
cited by Memon and Zaman 2007)

Table 04
World Wide Consumption of Technical Textiles (By
application)

2000 2005
Quantity Value Quantity Value
Transport textiles (auto, train, sea, 2,220 13,080 2,480 14,370
Industrial products and components 1,880 9,290 2,340 11,560
Medial and hygiene textiles 1,380 7,290 1,650 9,530
Home textiles, domestic equipments 1,800 7,780 2,260 9,680
Clothing components (thread, 730 6,800 820 7,640
Agriculture, horticulture and fishing 900 4,260 1,020 4,940
Construction-building and roofing 1,030 3,390 1,270 4,320
Packaging and containment 530 2,320 660 2,920
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Sports and leisure (excluding apparel) 310 2,030 390 2,210


Geotextiles, civil engineering 400 1,860 570 2,360
Protective and safety clothing 160 1,640 220 2,230
All others 5,410 520 6,003 3,580
Total 16,750 60,260 19,683 75,340

Source: Technical Textiles and Industrial Non-woven’s, David Rigby Associates, 2002 (as
cited by Memon and Zaman 2007)

Nomez sees future of technical textile and writes, "For all future engineers: textile has to be
used as a material comparatively with iron, wood, glass, ceramics, plastics ... For all future
textile technicians, engineers or managers: textile has to be used as a multifunctional material
having high level of physical, mechanical, thermal, chemical properties" (2001 ,p. 10).

Wilson (2007) has reported views of Roshan Shishoo of Shishoo Consulting who paint the
picture of future of technical textile in a very rational way. Shishoo foresees that technical
textile industry will be driven by two main factors; first development in textile materials and at
the same time demands of the customers as well as new avenues of consumption of technical
textile. Shishoo has identified some important market drivers for new technical textiles. These
are related to life style, fashion, better quality life and highly functional sports, leisurewear and
personal protection areas.

According to Research and Market (2008), technical textiles are a sector, which provides a
lucrative scope of developed countries, which are facing difficulties to compete traditional
textile, manufacture due the stringent environmental regulations. This statement shows that
technical textiles are a vital area for developed countries. Nevertheless, there is a great chance
for developing countries to enter in this market but apparently, it looks difficult due to its high
tech nature. Presumably, developed countries will take more shares as compared to developing
countries. This is mainly due to requirement of most modern technical knowledge and high
tech instruments.
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Personal protection is one of the major issues of the current world. It has been discussed in
length in the report published to elaborate the future of technical textile in Europe by A Lead
Market Initiative for Europe. Heading of this report is "Accelerating the Development of the
Market for Recycling in Europe". In this report, authors have pointed out many new areas,
which are become highly important for personal protections. This report indicates that nearly
20% consumption of Technical textiles will be for protection purpose. It may at individual
level or in war field. This report further links the demand of Technical textiles with the current
geo political situation. Report says that due to the security concerns at international scenario,
the uncertainties around terrorist attacks, frequent occurrence of extreme situation, fire and
hazardous environments, risk of contamination, along with increase in safety awareness both at
personal and public level, will act as demand drivers in the coming years. According to report,
highest growth rate is expected in the demand of personal protection materials.

One major area of technical textile is medical textiles. Czajka point outs it is expected that in
2010, there will be more than 8.00 Billion US $ market of hygienic and medical products.
Czajka (2005) has discussed the growth of medical textile and work out the future of technical
textile. "In 2004, the number of people aged over 60 amounts to 40% of the entire population.
In 1980, only 22% of the Europeans belonged to this group age. Textiles represent an
absolutely ideal interface between man and medical treatment facilities" (Czajka, 2005, p. 13).
Czajka takes the demographic change as one of the drivers of demand for technical textile in
future.

All above discussion is sufficient to understand the future of technical textile. One can
conclude that there will be a steady growth of technical textile and it will be nearly 4%.
Nevertheless, it seems that developed countries will keep their share intact, rather will endure
to improve their share. Complacent attitude of under developed countries about their current
role and share in technical textile will also provide a crucial support to develop countries to
progress in the domain of technical textile.

A Few Modern Examples of Technical Textiles

Tex.in has provided a long list of fibers and fabric, which will be available in future and will
serve specific purposes and help making life better and secure from certain extreme situations.
Here is the list of such products:
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1. Breathable Synthetic Fabrics


2. Some Synthetic Fibers are Ultra-lightweight & High-stretch, some are thin & light-
reflective, Some Hollow Fibers Trap Air to Retain Heat
3. Natural Fibers Blended with Synthetics to Improve Strength, Crease Resistance & Easy
Care
4. Ultra Microfibers – Using the latest in micro technology, scientists are building fabrics
where the fiber itself is scrutinized and manipulated in minute detail. A microfiber is by
definition a material in which the yarn’s thickness is equal to or less than 1/60th the
thickness of an average human hair. Ultra-microfibers on the market are even finer –
some having thickness of just 1/200th the thickness of human hair.
5. Fabrics that have relief surfaces and even three-dimensional (3-D) structure
6. Metallic textiles – fluid & shimmering materials
7. Extreme Sportswear
8. Polyamide (warp) and paper (weft) woven together and then hand silkscreen printed.
This exquisite fabric, designed in a customized manner in Japan, is used for high-end
interiors.
9. Microfiber with metal foil spots combine to give a consistent metallic finish. This blend
can be used for high-end fashion garments (especially outerwear)
10. Phase change materials incorporated in fabrics can absorb excess heat, store it, and
gradually release it later. These are ideal for body temperature control.
11. Fabrics with charcoal as a component can filter odour and pollution. Charcoal was used
for its health-giving properties as it has the ability to absorb chemical impurities in the
air.
12. Microfibers engineered with substances suspended in minute bubbles that can be
gradually released. These microcapsules can contain medication, vitamins, insect
repellants, moisturizers, essential oils or perfumes...

Above all the most advanced area is E- textiles. There is a long list of E-Textiles. Here is a
short list of such products, which are a combination of electronics and textiles:

1. Sports shoes
2. Wearable computer jackets
3. Warning vests
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4. Photonic textiles for innovative lighting solutions


5. Wearable E-Health system
6. Electronic Textiles to Help Battlefield Medics

Tex.in has further pointed out that there are a number of products, which are made by the
combination of textile and non-textile materials. Some products are as under:

1. Combination of Stainless Steel Fiber with Cotton & Polyamide to create a soft &
flexible cloth
2. Combination of cotton, copper, polyamide, and polyurethane to create a metallic
surface
3. Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) embedded in hand-woven linen, programmable, and
controllable through sensors. These can be used in creative arts practice, sportswear, &
medical use, as well as in interactive costumes for dance, theatre, and expressive
gallery textiles.
4. Metals & Papers in combination with silks & polyesters
5. Layered weave structures made on computer-assisted looms allow for intricate
constructions and reversibles

Tex.in underpins the use silicone in technical textile. This shows that in future silicone will be
one of the major raw materials to manufacture technical textile. "Silicones possess excellent
thermal stability over a temperature range of more than 300° C, low surface tension, good
electrical properties, and a high degree of water-repellency, and are effective as release agents.
The mechanical properties of the condensed polysiloxanes are poorer than those of most
organic polymers at moderate temperatures, but are markedly superior at extremes of
temperature" (Tex.in, 2009). Many companies have developed different products with the help
of silicone application. Silicones are used to retain shapes, texture, and resistance to abrasion.
Silicone is also used for water proofing of leather, which is used in shoe making. Most
common area of silicone is conveyor belts, fabric insulation, water proofing of tarpaulins etc.
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All above discussion is a brief introduction of future products of technical textile. It is hoped
that in future we will see many more products, which will be able serve in extreme situations
and help in alleviation of current era severities. These may be related to our health,
environment, security, terrorist attacks, calamities etc.

Guidance to Enter in Technical textile Market

Textile Intelligence provides guidance for companies who are willing to enter in technical
textile business. This report suggests, "Companies looking to enter the technical textile sector
must understand the key differences between technical textiles and the traditional industry in
which they are used to operating. Customers look for products with highly specific
performance attributes and functions, and they are often willing to pay a premium for these
features. In return, manufacturers need to use approved testing methods to convince customers
and others in project teams that their products meet the required specifications" (Research and
Market, 2008, p. 1). Above statement shows that there are three main areas to be considered
for entering in technical textile:

1. Clarity between technical textile and general textiles


2. Knowledge about the requirements of customer and matching production facilities
3. Testing facility to test the product to ensure to meet the customer expectation and
specifications

Technical textile needs state of the art knowledge for production and testing. Currently
developed countries have dominance in this market. This is mainly due to many

Conclusion

Technical textile has two distinctive characteristics; first, it is high tech business and second it
has a niche market. Nevertheless, it owns it a specific place in the market. Apparently, size of
technical textile is small when it is compared with traditional/general textiles. It seems that it
cannot replace traditional textile. Currently, development countries are having a dominant
share in this sector and it is more likely that developed countries will improve their share in
this sector and will keep continual retreat from traditional market. On the other hand it is also,
a fact that technical textile provides better return on investment. Keeping all in view it is
suggested that developing countries should come forward and endeavour to have its share in
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this area. There is a steady growth in the demand of technical textile and it will continue in
future since there are many demand drivers are pushing the demand. For better results, it is
recommended that traditional textile manufacturers should start from the simple products and
then move to high tech products.
22

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