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Making the Transition from Traditional to Technical Textile Markets
published in Issue 71, 4th quarter 2007
Technical textiles provide scope for firms in industrialised countries to achieve sustainable growth and escape from the tough competitive environment faced by manufacturers of traditional textiles. Technical textile products are used principally for their performance or functional characteristics rather than for their aesthetics. Consequently, markets for these products tend to be less price sensitive, and greater importance is attached to technical skills, and specialised knowledge, materials, processes and equipment.
End uses served by technical textiles are numerous and diverse. Messe Frankfurt, which organises the trade fair Techtextil, has grouped those end uses into 12 broad categories: agriculture and horticulture; architecture, building and construction; clothing technology; geotextiles; functional textiles for the home; industrial textiles; medical and hygiene; transportation; environmental; packaging; safety and protection; and sports and leisure. Also, a new category is emerging in the form of smart and intelligent textiles.
However, 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. Technical textile products belong to niche rather than mass markets and those niche markets are often characterised by small runs. Manufacturers therefore need to be flexible and able to switch production from one product to another product which might be quite different. Machinery too may have to be adapted for more flexible and smaller production runs. Would-be technical textile manufacturers must ensure that their products meet the quality and technical standards which the application demands. In some cases products must satisfy certain legal requirements. Innovation is often vital so firms must be willing to invest in research and development (R&D) as well as equipment—which means that they need to be able to raise the capital required. And to defend their investments in R&D, they need to understand the laws about intellectual property rights (IPR). Overall, cooperation is needed at all stages of the supply chain so that products meet the exact needs of customers, especially if they are to command a price premium.
Technical Textile Markets provides intelligence, analysis and insight on the global man-made fibre, nonwoven and technical textile industries.
What's in it? Each issue contains data and expert analysis on key industry topics, including: automotive technical textiles; biopolymers; chemical protective textiles; circularity; composites; e-textiles; environmental sustainability; filter media; flame resistant fabrics; glass fibre; graphene; Industry 4.0; insulation; medical textiles; military textiles; nonwoven specialities; personal protective equipment (PPE); synthetic fibre; and wearable technology.
A single issue of Technical Textile Markets includes:
an editorial think-piece on a topical issue from an industry expert a report on the latest product developments and innovations a profile of the world's top producers of nonwovens a main feature on a new or established market a round-up of the latest business newsstatistical data and analysis of fibre and fabric production in a key geographical market
An annual subscription to Technical Textile Markets is a cost-effective way to keep informed about trends and developments in the global man-made fibre, nonwoven and technical textile industries. Subscriptions are available in printed and/or digital formats. Printed and digital subscribers receive each issue in printed format in addition to a digital PDF file, which is available immediately on publication. Subscribers also receive a complementary digital subscription to Technical Textiles Business Update, delivered directly by email once a month. This free supplement contains essential information on business news and the latest product developments.
Like all Textiles Intelligence publications, Technical Textile Markets is a reliable source of independently sourced business information, and it does not carry advertising.