Mr. Avinash Mayekar- MD & CEO,
Suvin Advisors Pvt. Ltd.
It’s an era of advances & developments where concepts & proposed theories are converted to hardcore realities. Innovations & inventions are the gist of today’s living. All possibilities for bringing in extra comfort, ease & on the border prospects a greener future are thought, tested & executed. Today innovation is a driving force for each & every industry. We all know that today textiles have widened there horizon & are no longer providing just garments to the world but sourcing high performance delivery products from industrial filters, geotextiles, home textiles to sport textiles across all industries.
Today textile products are mapping each & every necessity & providing products with value added features. For eg.: Stain resistant garments, fire retardant clothes, clothes that glow in dark & many more such features are all possible due to advanced dyes & chemicals furnished on the specialized fibres. Over the years researchers have mapped all the limitations of fabric & made developments in fibres & yarns to provide finished product with minimum limitations. Once upon a time walking into fire or using mere air bag to protect from high end collision was a rare magical incident but today it is very much a reality.
In past, only natural fibres were produced but with developments in Science & the need of durable fibres led to the discovery of synthesized fibres named Rayon/Nylon. But today numerous fibers having fire retardant properties like Aramids, Carbon Fibres (Polyacroylonitrile and Pitch based), Carbon Precursor Fibres made from pyrolytic carbonization of a modified acrylic fibre, glass fibre, Polybenzimidazole (PBI), Melamine are being used. Apart from the above, Poly-phenylene benzo-bisoxazole is also developed having exceptional ignition resistance, low heat release rate, and very less smoke emission. It’s high tensile strength and thermal properties are two times higher than that of aramid fibres. Fabrics made from these fibres exhibit good dimensional stability, and low shrinkage under high temperature treatments.
Over the years there are many developments in textile fibres serving its purpose in various industries like Fashion, Construction, Sports & medical textiles. Advances in Biotechnology and nanotechnology have further facilitated the research & developments in Fibres. Some of which are polylactic acid, Basalt, Bionolles, Shape changing fibre, Vectran, Polyallylate, Chameleon fibre, polyketone fibre, Artirosa, Alginate, Super absorbent fibre, Hyaluranan & collagen and nanofiber. Of the many advances let us have a look at certain ice breaking inventions.
Bandages that detect infection:
Recently CISRO has developed a fibre with an intermediate sensor layer made from thermochromic liquid crystalline material. These crystals change their reflected colour based on temperature when illuminated by white light. When applied onto the human body in the form of a bandage, the fibre exhibits a change visibly in colour or colour gradient from a temperature change as small as 0.5 degrees Celsius within a range of 25 to 45 degrees Celsius. This means that healing problems such as infection can be quickly identified. The sensor fibre comprises an outer layer encapsulating an intermediate sensor layer of thermochromic liquid crystalline material which is transparent, and the filamentary core which provides a contrast to see the change in colour of the thermochromic material when there is a change in temperature. The fibre itself may be woven or knitted into a loose textile product for incorporation into a wound like dressing. Thus it helps in monitoring the healing process & also in identifying infections at much earlier stages.
Viscose fibres against marine pollution
Viscose speciality fibres manufacturer Kelheim Fibres is introducing a new concept to help prevent marine litter. They have developed alternative to conventional wet wipes having significant share of synthetic fibres by producing wet wipes from viscose speciality short cut fibre Viloft and cellulose or cotton. Both of which are plant-based and therefore completely bio-degradable.
Trevira GmbH from Bobingen has made a new offering in biopolymer fibres (Ingeo™) called a siliconized PLA hollow fibre for use in fillings. With regard to the increased need for fibres with additional functionalities and the use of fresh combinations of raw materials, capacities in bico-fibres are being expanded. For both the polyester and the PLA programme, Trevira has also developed modified fibres for the hygiene sector (e.g. for wet wipes) having an advanced feature of soft handle. Efforts are being taken on finishes for fibres that must meet food industry standards, likewise on antimony-free polyester fibres to enhance product safety.
Technical Absorbents Limited has developed Super Abrsorbent fibre. The Fibre that emerges from the production line is white and can absorb: up to 200 times its own weight of de-mineralized water. In addition, internally or with a toll manufacturer, the company makes woven and nonwoven fabrics, and yarns from SAF, a diversity of products that have applications in agriculture and horticulture, water-blocking tapes, filter materials, food packaging, geomembranes, wound dressings, garments for comfort and protection, and textiles for personal hygiene, including incontinence and feminine hygiene products.
Lenzing group recently developed fibre named Tencel (Lyocell fibre) that is absorbent, pure, soft, strong and biodegradable used in nonwovens. The company has also developed grades specifically for use in dry and wetlaid fabrics, where short staple lengths, typically below 20 mm, are required.
Biosteel® fibres: Developed by AMSILK are powerful, nature-designed, soft, smooth and high-performance fibers like no others having highest skin sensation, controlled moisture management & are 100 % vegan and biodegradable. This intelligent fiber is superior due to its combination of strength and elasticity – and at the same time ultralight. The unique performance of Biosteel® fiber offers a wide range of capabilities. The most natural and intelligent ingredient for high-performance applications like sport apparels, active footwear, automotive textiles, Furniture’s, workwear & in medical textile.
It is a high performance synthetic fibre that has been manufactured with a hollow core. The unique cross sectional shape determines the mechanical, thermal and optical properties of the fiber. They provide high loft with less weight properties that are essential in an insulated clothing (Rwei, 2000) they are small tube like filters approximately 200 microns in diameter. They can have properties such as anti- static, moisture management, chemical & Fire protection, thermal resistant & lightweight. They have applications in industries such as Carpet & upholstery, Sportswear & equipment. These fibres have multiple trade names some of which are thermolite® & Aerocapsule®.
As long as one breathes & thinks there will be innovations & developments taking place across industries. The growth in one industry opens numerous applications & scope for advance in other sectors. A simple need of preventing damage caused by landslides in construction industry has led to advances & developments of geonets & geogrids that protect from landslides. With every new product launched the packaging industry grows & recent packtech advances have led to development of eco-friendly packaging materials. Innovation is not only driven by the future needs but also the scarcity of resource that needs utmost attention for developing substitute products. Recently we have noticed a great amount of advances as developing sustainable products has become the main mantra in today’s world.
As far as textile industry is concerned, there have been great developments in the entire value chain right from developments & research in fibres, yarns, advance finishes on fabric to the machineries. With age everything is improvised. Most of these advances are focused on increasing the performance of the product & adding high value features which is ultimately increasing the economy of product. Thus researches should keep in mind development of economical products. Though all these advances are very much a necessity but for masses these advances increase the selling price of products & thus economy of products becomes a greater question especially for highly engineered garments that after a span of time with changing fashion only remain in one’s wardrobes for several years without any wear & tear. All said & done we must also take into account the preference that natural fibres get over synthetic fibres when it comes to skin care & hygiene. This very feature of natural fibres is the reason why they are dominating the markets so the developments should also be focused on adding high performance delivery properties to natural fibres.
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