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Textiles and clothing

Technical and industrial textiles

Technical and industrial textiles relate both to kinds of products and to the application of textiles to particular uses. Examples of technical textiles products are high tenacity yarns, or special elastic or coated fabrics, all of which have high technology content. As far as industrial applications are concerned, textile-based articles can offer considerable performance advantages compared to other materials.

The sector of technical textile has experienced a spectacular increase during last years. Technical textiles consumption has increased worldwide by about 20% in volume, between 2000 and 2005. Cars and the transport industry, furniture, medical applications, clothing and construction are important users of technical and industrial textiles.

Given that innovation in new materials, processes and products is an inherent feature of this sub-sector, expenditure on research and development (R&D) is higher in this field than for 'conventional' textiles (reaching up to 8-10% of turnover, compared to the industrial average of 3-5%). In the development of fibres, yarns and fabrics, functional aspects - such as anti-bacterial, anti-static, UV protective, thermal, or biodegradable functions - are playing an increasingly important role. Performance requirements and technical specifications determine the success of a product. Usually, technical textiles are created in a close relationship between the producer and the consumer so as to ensure tailor-made solutions to specific user purposes.

Some fields of application for technical textiles

SECTOR

EXAMPLES

MARKETS

Earthworks

Linings, netting, insulation, artificial grass ("geotextiles")

Construction companies for roads, water engineering, soil stabilisation, tunnels and other earthworks

Construction

Insulation and roofing materials ("building textiles")

Building firms, architects

Agriculture

Sun protection for greenhouses, fishing nets ("agrotextiles")

Farming, horticulture and fishing

Transport

Car mats and lining, airbags, fire resistant seat covers and carpets, safety belts

Producers of cars, aeroplanes, boats

Medical and healthcare

Bandages, medical corsetry
("medical textiles")

Hospitals, nursing homes, households

Protection

Safety nets, ribbons and tapes, fire resistant clothing
("protecting textiles")

Industry, public procurement, households

Packaging

Twine and cordage, sacks and bags, tarpaulins ("packing textiles")

Industry, distribution, households

Military and public services

Fire service equipment, bullet-proof jackets, army tents, parachutes, extinguishing blankets, tubes

Military/security, forestry, offshore oil industry

Specialised clothing

Sports, skiing and leisure

Active sports, mountaineering, households

Communications

Optical fibres, image conductor cables

Communication sector

Industry

Filters, drive and conveyer belts, abrasive belts

Engineering, machinery, chemicals, plastics, mining, energy, etc.

Furnishing

Interlaid scrims, braiding, shower curtains, umbrellas, parasols, deck chairs, textile wall papers

Decoration firms, households

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