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New on Technical Textiles

Uncertainty is the only thing of which we can be sure

Just over three months have passed since the UK electorate chose narrowly (52% to 48%) in a referendum held on 23 June 2016 to instruct its government to end the country’s 43-year-long membership of the European Union (EU)—a process now commonly referred to as “Brexit”. The result of the vote took many by surprise, including supporters of the campaign to leave, and it is still too soon to be sure what the ramifications will be; in fact there is currently uncertainty as to when the UK government will invoke Article 50 of the Treat of Lisbon, the first and necessary step in a period of preparation and negotiation lasting up to two years for the withdrawal of a member state, with some going as far as to speculate whether the government will even take this step; the results of the referendum are not legally binding and a 2+% swing in public opinion is modest by any standards, they argue.

It is clear, however, that the decision had and continues to have a dramatic impact on markets around the world. Within hours of the announcement of the result, for instance, the value of sterling fell by 10% to its weakest level against the US dollar for more than 30 years. Significant variations in exchange rates affect the price of goods and so the balance of trade. Simplistically, UK manufacturers can benefit from a weak currency, because their exports are effectively cheaper, while imports are hampered by the opposite effect. Analysts have even begun to talk of textile manufacturing returning to the UK, so-called “re-shoring”, if the fall in the exchange rate is maintained.

At the same time, stock markets around the globe, themselves still fragile and far from fully recovered following the financial crisis that began in 2007, are experiencing high levels of uncertainty, initially falling significantly in value, but currently being significantly higher than they were on 23 June 2016.

A constant throughout this narrative is continuing uncertainty. Uncertainty is bad, because it dampens the willingness to invest, which is particularly bad news in sectors of the economy, such as technical textiles, that require investments in new technologies. An unwillingness to invest also disproportionately affects small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which characterize a large part of the technical textiles industry. Worse still, the uncertainty will be prolonged; as recent history has shown, it takes many years to negotiate/renegotiate trade agreements and even those that are nearing completion, such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the USA and the EU could be further delayed by the Brexit decision.

Against this gloomy background, it should be stated that the technical textiles sector has performed relatively well throughout the years since 2007, when it faced these same problems, as has been consistently documented in numerous reports, including the latest, World Markets for Technical Textiles to 2022, a comprehensive analysis of data compiled from many independent sources by CIRFS. We must all hope that by the time of the next edition of World Markets for Technical Textiles, the data can tell the same story.

Early-bird delegate registration to NHPA2017

The organisers of the Third International Conference on Nonwovens for High-performance Applications have announced that Early-bird delegate registration is now open.

The conference will take place in Prague, Czech Republic, on 7-8 March 2017, once again bringing together senior managerial, technical and marketing staff from nonwovens manufacturers, suppliers to the industry, converters/finishers, product designers and processors, application sector OEMS, researchers and end-users to discuss progress and possibilities.

The conference programme is evolving fast and details will be made available soon on the conference website here along with speaker biographies.

Presentations will relate to a variety of topics, including:

•         The substitution of nonwovens for existing engineering materials in order to create lightweight products of similar or even higher performance (for instance, in transportation and construction);
•         Uses of recycled and recovered carbon fibre, and natural fibres to make nonwovens;
•         Uses in the storage and generation of energy;
•         Advanced medical materials and implantable nonwovens;
•         Smart fabrics and patches;
•         Substrates for digital printing and signage;
•         Filtration (air, liquid and gas), including the integration of nanofibre webs with filter media.

The organisers say that the conference offers ample networking facilities via the exhibition area and evening reception, as well as during the breaks and lunches, which delegates from the two previous editions have found invaluable.

For more information on Sponsorship offers at NHPA2017 please click here.

To purchase your delegate place click here.

Coming soon: World Markets for Technical Textiles To 2022


World Markets for Technical Textiles To 2022 will be the ONLY current comprehensive survey of the international technical textiles industry and its future development. The report will help you to identify future business opportunities in the changing market for technical textiles. It will give you detailed and reliable information in a single volume, saving you and your company time and money.

Ensure your copy as soon as it is published by ordering now. Copies will be dispatched immediately on publication. Click here for full information on the report and to order. 


More Features

By observing key developments at two of the most important suppliers to the global automotive manufacturing industry, Adrian Wilson looks at the future for textiles technology in motor vehicles and concludes that lightweight and smart fabrics made from natural materials will dominate.

Discussions and presentations made during IDEA 2016 (held in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, on 2–5 May 2016) highlighted the fluctuating fortunes for players in different regions of the world and different sectors of the industry. Adrian Wilson summarizes what was said.

Reena Mital spoke to the Executive Director of Shiva Texyarn, K.S. Sundararaman, to learn about the company’s unique approach to making and selling technical textiles in India, and how it hopes to exploit the Government’s support for the replacement of many imports with locally made products. 

Germany’s textile industry is 50% dedicated to technical textiles, if not more, and where the focus is on the supply of high-quality, sophisticated goods, it is the market leader in Europe, according to a market study conducted by Commerzbank of Frankfurt, Germany. Further, the report’s author Jürgen Glebe attributes much of this success to the industry’s collaboration with the country’s unique research network. To understand the nature of this network, Technical Textiles International is inviting researchers from key institutes to describe themselves and their work, starting here with Claus Lütke and his colleagues (see also, Further information, below) from the Institut für Textiltechnik of the RWTH Aachen University.