Today it’s needed to adopt a different approach to textiles; fabrics have to be regarded not only just as a surface, to be interpreted graphically, but as a material to all intents and purposes, with its own intrinsic structure and performance. In the sector of technical textiles there are a large number of niches and products.
Textiles are everywhere in modern society; worn as protection and self expression on the human body, used as decoration and comfort elements in homes, offices, hospitals, hotels or public buildings, as interior components in cars, buses, trains, ships and airplanes, or structural elements for tents, roofs, bridges, or as reinforcements for roads, and dikes but also as bags, nets or artificial turf in sports and outdoor activities. In spite of the fact that normally the textile industry is considered a traditional sector, today it has become one of the main test-beds regarding new business strategies. The new market standards, achievable with process innovations, which on one hand reduce costs, whereas on the other hand allows to distinguish oneself from the other competitors, have become a very important competitive factor. Ever since the mid 80’s, the market of textile products started to change radically, and it was divided between: standard productions, identified with a low innovation and technology level, medium to low quality, weak customer service – complex productions identified with a high product innovation level, with the use of state-of-the art process technologies and product research, a strong aesthetic element, as well as certain and high quality levels, quick timing addressing requirements, production flexibility and customer service. As well as the above, currently there is a new phase in the textile field in which new materials allow to make dynamic and interactive products, able to offer protection, comfort and performance. The textile materials are therefore becoming the basis for a completely new range of new applications.
Innovative and Technical Textiles: A Sector of Niches with High Added Value
Today it’s needed to adopt a different approach to textiles; fabrics have to be regarded not only just as a surface, to be interpreted graphically, but as a material to all intents and purposes, with its own intrinsic structure and performance. In the sector of technical textiles there are a large number of niches and products, often highly technological and where the end user requires specific requirements, and for which the cost is no longer the only parameter taken into consideration. Regarding innovative textiles the market is growing rapidly and many developments of new products and applications are underway. The technological evolution which transversally integrates human science, materials and information technology, does allow to foresee positive perspectives in the approach towards development of new products and applications.
The general trend is therefore towards high tech, high performance fabrics designed not just to look attractive, but to offer a significant added value in terms of functionality.
Application Field of Technical Textiles
In the field of specialized applications, the technological assets are those that provide the highest performance and comfort standards, and ensure a better quality of life. Already there are fabrics capable of reducing risks (e.g. antibacterial, mite-proof, insect proof, odorless, flame retardant, soil-resistant, anti-UV and anti-electromagnetic radiation, etc.). Other fabrics function actively (e.g. heat-regulating, with new visual features, or providing cosmetic-medical effects, and so forth).
Traditionally textiles have been an important part of the interior of human habitations, as well as human transportation systems such as cars, buses, passenger trains, cruise ships or airplanes. In that respect textile served three basic purposes:
- Decoration (carpets, wall coverings, curtains & drapes, table cloths, etc.)
- Comfort (Upholstery, seat covers, mattresses, bed sheets, blankets, carpets etc)
- Safety (Safety belts and nets, airbags)
While the basic functions remain unchanged, increased user and regulatory requirements for textile interiors have already made such products more complex, multifunctional or even “intelligent”.
This article comes from technical-textile edit released