The situation of Technical Textiles and other textile prospects

The situation of Technical Textiles and other textile prospects

Techtextil and Texprocess will take place next June in Frankfurt, Germany, and present the newest developments. We already now wish to throw some light on the latest global developments and European developments

The 15th Techtextil highlighting Technical Textiles and Nonwovens will take place from June 11 – 13, 2013 and Textilprocess, the international high-tech fair for the apparel and textile in parallel from June 10 – 13, 2013, both are considered as world leading exhibitions for their sectors.

It is the merit of Techtextil to define the 12 major application and product groups – a nomenclature that is used as worldwide guideline – and by offering an unrivalled international innovation platform. The twelve areas are reflected in Table 1

techprocess-preview-2013-1-8 (zip)

The 15th edition will present expanded and new product groups as shown in Table 2

bild2 (zip)


Therefore the exhibition will be larger than ever before and there are joint pavilions from Belgium, China, Czech Republic, France, India, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Taiwan, Great Britain and the USA. Complementary there will take the 17th Techtextil Symposium. The 12th Techtextil Innovation Award, the 12th Student Competition “Textile Structures for New Building (organised by Techtextil and supported by TensiNet) and a brand new “Textile Exhibition Stand” Award will be bestowed for the first time ever.

Texprocess will present international high-tech solutions and cutting edge technologies for design, cutting, IT, stitching, joining, embroidering, knitting, textile dressing, finishing and logistics. The conceptual partner is the German umbrella organisation VDMA Garment and Leather Technology. Other partners are EURATEX, IAF, GermanFashion Dialog Textile Apparel Association, SPESA, JASMA and CSMA. Expected are around 330 exhibitors from 40 countries and estimated 17000 visitors. It further entails Source it, a procurement service for the fashion industry with national pavilions and production companies from the top sourcing countries and also a match-making platform i-tex – the apparel sourcing systems permit a choice of companies to fix appointments in advance.  In order to support knowledge transfer there is a Texprocess Forum with a high level lecturing programme covering inter alia, sourcing, sustainability, social standards, new  technologies, quality management and logistics. Bestowed will be the Texprocess Innovation Award for outstanding new developments by Texprocess exhibitors, and in order to assist young professionals there is Texprocess Campus.

Within this context we would like to draw your attention also to the fact that Messe Frankfurt organises als Techtextil Noth America + Texprocess Americas 2014 for the second time in Atlanta, Georgia (USA) from May 13 – 15 2014.

The German research perspectives to 2025

At the international press conference last January, German Forschungskuratorium Textil held a presentation by Dr. Klaus Jansen who explained what the umbrella organisation for textile research (16 institutes and 20 associations are members) is aiming for, namely the promotion and coordination of joint research between the textile industry and research establishments. Further a steady strategic development of textile research as well as testing of research objectives from the user perspective according to scientific and economic criteria and to provide information to political decision makers and the general public about textile research.

What the German Textile Industry stands for can be had from Table 3

bild3 (zip)

The German textile Industry has a turnover of around EUR 17.9 billion and the garment industry of EUR 11.1 billion. The textile industry supplies 43 % to the garment sector and 40 % to other sectors, 9% goes into vehicle manufacture (automotives), 6 % to the furniture industry, 5 % to the metal and electrical industry and 4 % to the chemical industry and 16 % to other segments of the industry. 17% goes to the end consumer or is exported. The garment serves the end consumer and exports to 98 % and 2 % are delivered to other sectors.

The German textile industry is very innovative and the share of turnover from new products is high as can be taken for 2010 from Table 4

bild4 (zip)


How much is spent on innovation for textile, leather and clothing 1998 -2012 is shown by Table 5

bild5 (zip)


Table 6 presents the investment forecast

bild6 (zip)


The key targeted research areas of Forschungskuratorium Textil take into account the key issues of demography, climate change, recycling, use and consumption of resources, and is focusing on architecture, city of the future, nutrition, health, energy, clothing, production, logistics and mobility.

In a look back to the future, all of these mentioned areas are leading to assumptions and conclusions. In regard to key issues, the estimate is that in 2025 there will be a global population of  9 billion people with growth in Asia and Africa. The number of adults over 60s will increase as well as the age of experienced staff in work processes, the requirement for care and therapy will increas. Reduction in energy use and raw material consumption will be below earth’s regenerative capacity and resource recovery and use will be in the focus, also emission minimisation will be an issue. The conclusions and needs are a textile based protection for people, building and motor vehicles, aids for the elderly and handicapped, product design has to enable recycling, there will be renewable raw materials and bio based materials. There will also be a considerable elimination of environmental damage and pollution.

Mobility will create integrated functionality in lightweight construction materials. There will be an online status monitoring of composite materials and recyclable multi-material design becomes customary. There will be new smart fibres (cooling, heating, light, switching function, energy production and storage) and surface functionality will enhance (self cleaning, colour change, wear resistance).

In clothing there will be sustainable production technology, just-in-time and customer specific, reigning.  There will be colour change functions, integrated functions in fibres (sensory properties, electronic processing, redirection). There will be new fibres produced, energy stored and there will be adaptive materials for protective and leisure clothing.

The conclusions for production and logistics are as follows: There will be biologically degradable  polymers from renewable materials, individualised production, local, fully integrated production for small batch sizes. Textile prototyping will be enhanced by 3D production technology for fibre based materials. There will be systems technologies with variable usage possibilities and knowledge and innovation management will take place across value chains.

Living will need a building management with functional textile surfaces (heating, cooling) on walls, floors and ceilings. Adaptive solar protection with energy production will be common as well as assistance for the elderly and handicapped by textile displays. There will be addressable optical fibres existing, flexible spaces and lightweight furniture construction.

The global perspective of World Technical Textiles Markets

A speech by Francesco Marchi, Director General of EURATEX the umbrella association of the European Textile and Clothing Industry presented a breakdown of the global 2010 Technical Textile Markets based upon figures from Gherzi Consultants (CH) and the result is shown in Table 7

bild7 (zip)


The European share in Technical Textile worldwide exports can be had from Table 8

bild8 (zip)

As we all know, innovative textile materials and technologies are enablers for other industries, such as alternative materials, they are light weight, flexible, soft, (multi)functional, durable, energy efficient in production, transport and use. New technology require flexible, continuous, versatile, energy and material efficient manufacturing processes, and functional components have to be reliable, multi functional, cost effective, user-friendly parts of larger technology systems and solutions.

There has to be a continuous innovation process in textiles and fashion, allowing also technology transfer through eco-innovation and resource efficiency, recycling, customer and market driven cross-sector innovation. Design and creativity means also non technological innovation, user driven and social innovation. There is also a need for new business models through customisation and personalisation (for individuals, specific customer groups and new markets as well as value chain management, logistics, value added services and IT adaptation.

Marchi identifies future positive and negative drivers and both can be had from Table 9

bild9 (zip)


He lists also the seven foremost challenges to ensure international competitiveness and sustainable growth of the industry to be taken from Table 10

bild10 (zip)


The strength and visions are given in Table 11

bild11 (zip)


The analysis of textile machinery manufacturers exports in sewing and garment machinery

VDMA Garment and Leather technology presented a ranking of textile machinery in view to the sewing and garment industry and export destinations, and within a timeframe from 2003 – 2011. These indicators are important for Texprocess. Here are some details.

Austria is the most important supplier for sewing and garment machinery for Germany, China, Italy, Korea, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

 Switzerland delivers to Germany, Thailand, Italy, China and Taiwan.

Germany exports in the same segment mainly to Norway, Sweden, Lithuania, Denmark, Finland, Estonia and Latvia in Northern Europe and to Eastern countries, such as Turkey, Poland, Russia, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Serbia.

The Netherlands supplies to China, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, Italy, Belgium and the Czech Republic.

Great Britain’s deliveries in the two segments go to China, Germany, Taiwan, Thailand, Italy, Japan and Sweden.

France delivers to Germany, China, Denmark, Belgium and Italy.

Belgium, in turn delivers to Germany, USA, Netherlands, Taiwan, China and Italy.

Italy provides machinery of the two segments for customers in Germany, China, Netherlands, France, Denmark, Taiwan and Japan. In turn,

Spain supplies to customers in Germany, China, Italy, France, Taiwan and Belgium.

 Portugal’s customers are in Spain, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, France, China and Belgium.

Turkey delivers to China, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Italy and South Korea.

Poland supplies to Germany, Japan, China, Italy, the Netherlands and Czech Republic.

Russia’s customers are located in China, Germany, Taiwan, Italy, Czech Republic and Sweden.


As we all know, Technical Textiles seems to be a warrant to a bright future for highly sophisticated, innovation driven textile nations with a multitude of new possible applications. The recent developments show also the need for cooperative research on a global basis because the development of new techniques and technologies is becoming ever more demanding and involves high costs, those have to be shared and therefore joint knowledge platforms are of importance.

It has to be added that quite a number of industrialised countries are heavily involved and are betting on Technical Textiles. They are booking increasing order volumes with their new products. But also this sector will meet extensive competition over time. This is why TextileFuture is advocating to consider all textile segments and applications and not just by focusing all initiatives on Technical Textiles, because only a balanced basket of activities is serving the textile and clothing industry and helps the textile machinery manufacturer to bring the appropriate products to market!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.