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General
  • Technical textiles are ‘textile materials and products manufactured primarily for their technical performance and functional properties rather than their aesthetic or decorative characteristics. A non-exhaustive list of end-uses includes aerospace, industrial, marine, military, safety and transport textiles and geotextiles.

  • The growth in the technical textiles sector in developed countries, including Australia, is being driven by:

  1.  increasingly stringent environmental regulations;

  2. the need for increased energy efficiency and utilisation of waste;

  3. high performance/whole of life cost factors;

  4. changing needs of an ageing population; and,

  5. an increased focus on leisure.

  • Technical textiles are generally recognized to be one of the most dynamic and promising area for the future of the textiles industry. Advances in polymers, fibres, yarns, chemical technology and fabric/web forming technologies have spearheaded the development of technical textiles. 

Technology Involving In Textiles

  • In the near term, the opportunity for nanotechnology in the textiles industry is in product innovation, not process innovation. Nanotechnology is more likely to be used to produce new materials, or enhance the properties of existing materials, than to reduce the production cost or improve quality.

  • UV radiation curing has had little impact on the textile industry, despite the widespread use of polymer treatments on fabrics and garments. However the use of UV to modify the surface properties of fabrics, especially natural fibres, offers an alternative application with commercial potential.

  • An alternative approach has recently been developed by CSIRO using UV radiation to modify the fabric surface whilst leaving the bulk textile unaffected. Surface fibres must either absorb UV radiation directly or a suitable photoinitiator must be applied to produce large numbers of highly reactive free radicals when the textile surface is exposed to UV. Surface modification is particularly useful on natural fibres such as wool and cotton, where the engineering of fibre and fabric properties, now commonplace for synthetics, is precluded.

Techtextiles Markets And Industries

  • Technical textiles play a much more important role worldwide than is commonly acknowledged. According to David Rigby Associates’s estimates, world consumption of technical textiles in 2000 amounted to just over 16.7 mn tons of fibre and polymer with a finished textile product value of US$ 92.9 bn. In weight terms, this represents over onequarter of the estimated 62.2 mn tons of fibres consumed across all end-uses in that year.

  • The world forecasts from 1995 to 2010, indicates a rather higher growth rate over the second half of the current decade than for the first. However, this largely reflects an anticipated upturn in global economic activity after a period of slow growth (and in many countries actual recession) around the turn of the century. Forecast average growth rates (in volume terms) of 3.5% per annum between 1995 and 2005, and 3.8% per annum from 2005 to 2010 remain relatively attractive, especially in comparison with most other, non-technical, textile markets. In India, present technical textile market is estimated to be worth Rs. 20,128 crores and the market is expected to reach 42,006 crores of rupees by year 2007-08.

Applications Of Techtextiles

  • The textiles business encompasses the development and production of textiles for automobile seat fabrics, headliner surface treatments, and highly functional uniforms. Toyota Boshoku relies on its new materials development efforts to produce fabrics that are comfortable to wear and gentle on the environment. 

  • Geotextiles are a proven solution for a variety of civil and environmental engineering challenges. They are used to improve performance and reduce costs of virtually all civil engineering structures, including subsurface drains, roadways, railroads, embankments and landfills. Geotextiles also enable construction to progress under difficult field conditions which would otherwise make work impossible.

  • The technical developments in the sports clothing industry have resulted in the use of engineered textiles for highly specialised performances in different sports. With high-functional and smart materials providing such a strong focus in the textile industry generally, companies are increasingly looking for ‘value added’ textiles and functional design in sportswear as well as intelligent textiles which monitor performance with in-built sensors.

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