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Global markets for smart fabrics and interactive textiles, 2nd quarter 2008
published in Issue 73, 2nd quarter 2008
The market for smart fabrics and interactive textiles (SFITs) is likely to exceed US$640 mn by the end of 2008. This figure is well in excess of the figure of US$485 mn predicted in our previous report, published in 2005. Moreover, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18% which we forecast for 2004-08 has, in the event, turned out to be as high as 27%.
The bulk of turnover in SFITs is generated in the production of intermediate components, or SFIT modules—a sector involved in combining base electronic components into a textile substrate. However, this sector is growing by a relatively slow 19% per annum whereas finished SFIT-based textiles are growing by 76% per annum.
The biggest single end use for SFITs continues to be heated automotive seating. But other applications are expected to catch up and overtake it, particularly textiles for physiological sensing. Demand for SFITs for military use also continues to be strong.
One of the most important technical developments in SFITs has been the replacement of metallic fibres with conductive polymers—such as polypyrrole and polyaniline. In addition, there have been important developments in fibres coated with conductive metals. A further area of major promise is the use of nanotechnology, including carbon nanotubes—provided concerns over potential health hazards can be resolved.
The SFIT industry is characterised by the presence of a large number of relatively small companies. This is a consequence of the diversity of technical expertise involved and the wide variety of developments which have emerged. In this business environment, smaller enterprises are able to occupy profitable technological niches. Larger companies, by contrast, have been reluctant to enter the SFIT market. The industry is also characterised by strategic alliances and partnerships—despite low levels of competition. These have been seen as solutions to problems arising from limited production capacities and high costs of research and marketing.
For the future, a number of issues will need to be addressed as the industry develops. One is the lack of industry standards. Another is the need for more professional marketing. Of particular importance is the need to bring down the cost of manufacture—and hence selling prices.
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.
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