Technical textile covers a vast field in textile area & can be described in different manners but as general accepted definition can be as under
‘Textile materials and products manufactured primarily for their technical and performance properties rather than their aesthetic or decorative characteristics’.
Technical textiles are reported to be the fastest growing sector of the textile industrial sector. The speciality and challenge of technical textiles are in the need to understand and apply the principles of textile science and technology. It provides solutions, to technological problems but also often to engineering problems as well. With the emphasis on measurable textile performance in a particular field of application, this requires the technologist to have not only an in-depth knowledge of fibres / textile science and technology but also an understanding of the application.
Since last two decades, use of textile material is increased in various fields due to its need & scientists have started different applications of textile material. As need increased, use of various fibres went on increasing & a concept of composite material started. Where by various areas like civil engineering, medical science etc. – started use of selected textile fibres & started getting benefits of improvements in products.
The use of textiles at various segments of industry & are now popular as Technical textile with special names. Technical textiles include textiles for automotive applications, medical textiles (e.g., implants of organs), geotextiles (supports to reinforcement), agro-textiles (textiles for crop protection watering pipelines), and protective clothing or Personal Protecting Equipment’s (e.g., heat and radiation protection for fire fighter clothing, molten metal protection for welders, stab protection and bulletproof vests, and spacesuits). Over all, global growth rates of technical textiles are about 6.5% per year growth against clothing industry – the growth is quite low. In present market opportunities the importance of technical textile materials is increasing to accommodate the needs of requirement. Now a day the most widely technical textile materials are used in filter clothing, furniture, hygiene medicals, construction material & agriculture needs.
- Agrotech (Agro-textiles)
Textiles used in Agriculture are termed as agro textiles. They are used for crop protection, fertilisation, … The essential properties required are strength, elongation, stiffness, and bio-degradation, resistance to sunlight and resistance to toxic environment. All these properties help with the growth and harvesting of crops and other foodstuffs. There is a growing interest in using materials which gradually degrade (biodegradables).
- Buildtech (Construction Textiles)
Textiles used in construction – concrete reinforcement, interior construction, insulations, proofing materials, air conditioning, noise prevention, visual protection, protection against the sun, building safety.
An interesting application is the use of textile membranes for roof construction. This area is also referred to as textile architecture. PVC coated high tenacity PES, Teflon coated glass fibre fabrics or silicone coated PES are used for their low creep properties. Splendid examples of such construction are found in football stadium, airports and hotels.
- Hometech (Domestic Textiles) Textiles used in a domestic environment – interior decoration and furniture, carpeting, protection against the sun, cushion materials, fireproofing, floor and wall coverings, textile reinforced structures/fittings. In the contract market such as for large area buildings, ships, caravans, busses, fire retardant materials are used. Fire retardant properties are obtained either through the use of inherent fire retardant fibres such as modacryl or through the application of a coating with fire retardant additives.
- Indutech (Industrial Textiles) Textiles used for chemical and electrical applications and textiles related to mechanical engineering. Silk-screen printing, filtration, plasma screens, lifting/conveying equipment, sound-proofing elements, melting processes, roller covers, grinding technology, insulations, seals, fuel cell etc….
- Mobiltech (Textiles used in transport) These textiles are used in the construction of automobiles, railways, ships, aircraft and spacecraft. Examples are Truck covers (PVC coated PES fabrics), car trunk coverings (often needle felts), seat covers (knitted materials), seat belts, non-woven for cabin air filtration (also covered in induct), airbags, parachutes, boats (inflatable), air balloons.
- Ecotech (Environmentally-friendly textiles)
- New applications for textiles in environmental protection applications – floor sealing, erosion protection, air cleaning, prevention of water pollution, water cleaning, waste treatment/recycling, depositing area construction, product extraction, domestic water sewerage plants.
- Packtech (Packaging textiles)
- Packaging, silos, containers, bags, canvas covers, marquee tents etc…..
- Protech (Protective textiles)
- Protection against heat and radiation for fire fighter clothing, against molten metals for welders, for bullet proof jackets etc, all these things are obtained by usage of technical textiles with high performance fibres. In bullet proof jackets, special fibre aramid are used which have high tenacity, high thermal resistance and low shrinkage. Glass fibre is also used in fire proof jackets due to its high strength, chemical and flame resistance. Protective clothing is also used by the astronauts when they go in space. It was used by the astronauts when they went on moon, their suits where covered with special chemicals including lead to protect them from suns heat, their suit not only made from special fibres but their airship was also lined with special fabric.
- Sporttech (Sports textiles) Shoes, sports equipment, flying and sailing sports, climbing, angling, cycling, winter and summer sports, indoor sports wear, water sports clothing etc…Each segment has lots of inventions which lead to increase in consumption of textiles as a whole. In short, since morning – wakeup call to end of the day we use technical textile in our life
Some figures for growth in Indian Market
Below chart is analysed after collecting data from FICCI & I tried to analyse as under.
- Overall growth in technical textile is 216% in 10 Years that is growth of 6.66% every year
- There is very high growth % in Geo tech (589%) & Indus tech (309.5%)
- Major contribution is in Pack Tech 40% & same growth is maintained for coming 10 Years , Home Tech (10 % to 11%) Mobil tech is also shows steady growth of 10%.
- Other than Pack tech & Home Tech & Mobl tech, Need to pay more attention in below segments where there is a potential of progress Build Tech, & Indu tech where volumes & growth both are good.
Overall technical textile market has bright future in India. Overall consumption in India is expected to grow and the growth of various end use industries offers good potential for the technical textiles industry. One can try to capture global market & multiple the progresses. India also offers many benefits for manufacturing of technical textiles including availability of raw materials, competitive labour cost, modern production facilities etc. Besides this favourable Government policies and support can further boost investments in technical textiles in India.
The global technical textiles industry is constantly changing in terms of applications, technologies, innovation and performance. Along with the product innovations and developments the demand for technical textiles is also growing with newer applications and growth of end user industries. A large part of demand for technical textiles comes from various end-use industries such as automotive, sports equipment and sportswear, environmental protection, construction, healthcare, packaging, clothing, and agriculture. Accordingly, technical textiles are segregated into 12 major segments mentioned in chart.
The global technical textiles market is led by the developed regions like US and EU, while emerging markets like China, India are showing high growth potential.
The biggest challenge facing the Indian textile industry is competition from the other low cost neighbouring countries which attract more business from the international market because of lower production costs, ease in doing business and easier trade routes, according to an industry expert.
“Competition from low cost countries” like Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia and Pakistan are the biggest challenge for the Indian textile industry. In the last few years, these countries are more concentrating on products & focused for increasing business in exports.
The advantage with these countries lies in competitive cost or at-par cost in terms of labour, power and interest rate, and also in the ease of doing business. Many of these countries have been offered a favourable import condition in many countries like the US and the European Union which ensures an easy trade route.
We India can have an upper hand on behalf of increasing domestic consumption & one can get benefit of volume if planned properly. The biggest challenge facing the Indian textile industry is competition from the other low-cost countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam & Indonesia. In the last few years, these countries have given a special importance to their textile industry have been able to build higher capacities with latest technology. With their competitive cost or at-par cost in terms of labour, power and interest rate, they have been able to give India a big challenge in terms of capturing the local & global mark. Additionally, many of them have been offered favourable import conditions in many countries in United States of America and European Union, ensuring an easy trade route.
Another major challenge is to ramp up domestic demand within the country. Indians continue to have a low per capita income, and hence lower per capita consumption of textile. We must achieve a high rate of GDP, increase in income per person. This will improve in local demand which can lead to competitive costing.
One more challenge is to change the mind set of investors. Majority are trying for “outsourcing & selling” rather than “Producing in India & selling”.
Very few industrialists develop infrastructure for Research & development. We all must have inherent strive for R&D.
TECHNICAL TEXTILES INDUSTRY (SWOT analysis)
How to address these challenges
The main steps suggested are:
- Change mentality from Cheap to quality products
- Focused on volume, quality and commitments to on time delivery
- Implementation of single taxation for various states (now GST) to ensure one market across the whole country without traditional barriers of trade between states. This will also control raw material availability & almost stability in rates. The producer can easily be focused on performance (Quality & On-time delivery)
- Government to promote Entrepreneurs’ & focus more on new developments & innovations for Technical textiles. Developing a better and competitive infrastructure for ensuring easier, economical and faster movement of goods.
Government Initiatives (As per source – FICCI)
A. Support for business start-up
Technical Textiles is a new area and entrepreneurs find it difficult to invest in this field due to lack of knowledge about technology, raw material, process etc. Therefore, support for ‘business start-up’ is being provided. The COE and other associations / institutes / independent reputed consultants are being empaneled by the MOT / Office of the Textile Commissioner who will Technical Textiles: Towards a Smart Future of the projects.
B. Providing fund support for organizing workshops
Reputed National and International agencies including the Indian Diaspora settled abroad are being invited to conduct Seminars, Workshops and short term training programmes in which knowhow about latest technology ,international practices ,market details ,global scenario etc. is being shared.
C. Social compliance through standardization, regulatory measures Consultants have been engaged to identify the needed regulatory changes required along with international best practices and also the strategy to facilitate such changes in the rules and regulations. 2 studies on developing measures for promoting usage of Agrotech and Geotech had been have been approved & same have been placed in this Office Website
D. Market development Support for marketing support to bulk and institutional buyers etc.
Under the intervention Buyers-sellers meet are being organized across the country wherein the indigenous manufacturers can showcase their products and institutional buyers are being invited for enhancing their marketing competitiveness.
E. Market development Support for export sales
There are many reputed technical textiles fairs organized abroad like TECHTEXTIL and Industrial Fabrics Exhibition, Index etc., the participation in which will improve the export potential of the indigenous manufacturers. Some of the technical textiles units are also participating in the exhibition of application based fairs. The support includes participation in Technical Textile fairs/Application based fairs by the Indian technical textiles manufacturers to exhibit their products.
F. Contract Research and Development through IITs/TRAs/Textile Institutes Technical textiles is high technology area where most of the new material high-end converted products are imported, there is strong need for indigenous development of products for which R&D is of prime importance. Therefore, contract research will be covered under this head. Individual unit or two or more unit may come together for a Contract research proposal.
Sanjay Harane (email@example.com)
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