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Making the Transition from Traditional to Technical Textile Markets
published in Issue 71, 4th quarter 2007
Technical textiles provide scope for firms in industrialised countries to achieve sustainable growth and escape from the tough competitive environment faced by manufacturers of traditional textiles. Technical textile products are used principally for their performance or functional characteristics rather than for their aesthetics. Consequently, markets for these products tend to be less price sensitive, and greater importance is attached to technical skills, and specialised knowledge, materials, processes and equipment.
End uses served by technical textiles are numerous and diverse. Messe Frankfurt, which organises the trade fair Techtextil, has grouped those end uses into 12 broad categories: agriculture and horticulture; architecture, building and construction; clothing technology; geotextiles; functional textiles for the home; industrial textiles; medical and hygiene; transportation; environmental; packaging; safety and protection; and sports and leisure. Also, a new category is emerging in the form of smart and intelligent textiles.
However, companies looking to enter the technical textile sector must understand the key differences between technical textiles and the traditional industry in which they are used to operating. Customers look for products with highly specific performance attributes and functions, and they are often willing to pay a premium for these features. In return, manufacturers need to use approved testing methods to convince customers and others in project teams that their products meet the required specifications. Technical textile products belong to niche rather than mass markets and those niche markets are often characterised by small runs. Manufacturers therefore need to be flexible and able to switch production from one product to another product which might be quite different. Machinery too may have to be adapted for more flexible and smaller production runs. Would-be technical textile manufacturers must ensure that their products meet the quality and technical standards which the application demands. In some cases products must satisfy certain legal requirements. Innovation is often vital so firms must be willing to invest in research and development (R&D) as well as equipmentwhich means that they need to be able to raise the capital required. And to defend their investments in R&D, they need to understand the laws about intellectual property rights (IPR). Overall, cooperation is needed at all stages of the supply chain so that products meet the exact needs of customers, especially if they are to command a price premium.
Four times a year, Technical Textile Markets provides an overview of the global man-made fibre, nonwoven and technical textile industries. It provides market data and analysis of new and established markets for technical textiles, and is essential reading for senior executives in (or supplying) the man-made fibre, nonwoven and technical textile sectors as well as for those who are not involved in the industry on a day-to-day basis, but who need an authoritative source which helps them to quickly gain an understanding of the key issues facing the companies which are actively involved in this fast-growing sector.
Reports in Technical Textile Markets include:
company and country profiles giving you the opportunity to learn from strategies employed by others, in terms of production, sourcing, import/export, infrastructure and development, and plans for the future.
profiles of the world's top 40 producers of nonwovens updated each year with details of developments from each of the leading producers, including acquisitions, investments and divestments, and analyses of trends which the "rising stars" are using to their advantage.
statistical reports including consumption data, by fibre and end-use applications. Regular updates are published for fibre consumption in Japan, the rest of Asia, the USA, and Western Europe.
market sector information analyses of important commercial end-user applications, and profiles of both established and emerging markets which take into account such innovations and developments as nanotechnology and intelligent textiles.
regular updates on innovations in fibres, technical textiles, apparel and machinery including developments in the following categories: fibres and yarns; technical textile fabrics for industrial applications; machinery; technical textiles for apparel; composites; other technical textile products; and technical textile treatments and finishes.
reports on new technological developments and other topical issues with clear, authoritative comments on their economic and commercial significance. The reports bring to your attention the key issues which you can use to develop your business, and provides contact details of useful organisations.
So whether you are involved in man-made fibres, nonwovens or technical textiles in manufacturing, converting, import/export, or end use or if you are in education or consultancy or investment or finance a subscription to Technical Textile Markets will tell you what you need to know about the key trends in the industry.
Technical Textile Markets is available on subscription either in printed format only, or in printed and electronic format. If you choose the printed only option, you will receive 4 printed publications a year. Each issue contains five research-based reports (see above) and an editorial.
Electronic supplement If you choose the printed and electronic option, you will receive an extra service. You will still receive each issue in printed format, delivered to you by traditional post.
In addition, you will be able to download PDF files containing the same information but the PDF files will be available immediately on publication, so you dont have to wait for the printing and mailing. You also have all the benefits of electronic files: instant access even when you are away from the office; convenient storage in your PC or laptop; portability; electronic search facility; and copy/paste facility.
You will also receive a monthly update of business news, called "Technical Textiles Business Update" delivered to you by email, free of charge.
Technical textiles are used in a wide range of end-use applications and markets, including agricultural; automotive; building/ construction/ engineering; medical and hygiene; packaging; protective clothing; sports and sportswear; and transport. A subscription to Technical Textile Markets will support your decision making, and provide the information you need to expand into new markets.
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(Miguel ARISTIZÃBAL; Marketing Support & Foreign Trade Affairs; Enka de Colombia S.A.)