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Waterproof Breathable Fabrics: New Technologies for Greater Comfort
published in Issue 73, 2nd quarter 2008
Garments which are waterproof and breathable help to provide wearers with greater comfort. For consumers, comfort is an increasingly important consideration when buying performance apparel. For manufacturers, a garment which is both waterproof and breathable can often command a significant price premium. However, price differences have narrowed over the years as waterproof breathable garments have become more affordable than in the past.
Waterproofness and moisture permeability are mutually contradictory. It has therefore proved to be a major challenge for manufacturers to produce a material which has both these properties. In the past, fabrics which offered protection from wind and rain did not breathe, and this made them uncomfortable to wear. But great strides have been made in waterproof breathable technology over the past 30 years.
USA-based W L Gore & Associates (Gore) has been given credit for giving birth to the performance outerwear segment and to the 3-layer approach to dressing for the outdoors. In 1976 it introduced Gore-Tex, a PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) membrane, which revolutionised the waterproof apparel market. Since then, a myriad of functional alternatives to Gore-Tex have been introduced including Conduit from Mountain Hardwear, Entrant from Toray Industries, EPIC (Encapsulated Protection Inside Clothing) from Nextec, eVent from BHA Group, H2No Storm from Patagonia, Helly Tech from Helly Hansen, HyVent from The North Face, MemBrain and PreCip from Marmot, Omni-Tech from Columbia Sportswear, Pertex from Mitsui, Reflex from MacPac, Storm-FIT from Nike, Sympatex from Sympatex Technologies, and Triplepoint from Lowe Alpine.
The introduction of new waterproof breathable fabrics has greatly increased the range of choice for consumers. It has also led to greater segmentation in the market, as technologies have been developed for specific end uses and weather conditions. Also, competition has intensified as new players have entered the marketplace and have challenged Gore-Texs domination. Such competition seems set to intensify in the future, leading to an increase in the tempo of innovation as companies scramble to raise comfort levels for those who pursue outdoor activities.
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.