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Concerns about our ability to feed everyone as the world’s population continues to expand are creating opportunities for agrotextiles, according to Sarah Gibbons and Keith Nuthall, but the next generation of such products must be developed to reduce their overall burden on the environment.

Custom machinery builder Cygnet Texkimp has built a global business around fibre. Technical Manager Andy Whitham explains why fibre integrity is the essential design element in every piece of machinery Cygnet Texkimp engineers. He shares the company’s approach to fibre handling, and the technical considerations that ensure the integrity of valuable fibres is protected during processing to deliver materials and end-products of the highest quality. 

Specialising in state-of-the-art knitted technical textiles currently offers incredible challenges as well as numerous opportunities. As competitors fail, for instance, manufacturers can acquire new capabilities and new customers. One such company, reports John McCurry, is Apex Mills, which made its first acquisition in 2019.

A growing appreciation by engineers of the benefits of using fibreglass in a range of industries (notably wind-energy generation, automotive and construction) is predicted to lead to a boom in sales for the material, reports Sarah Gibbons. At the same time, this demand is also stimulating a market for recycled and re-used fibreglass.

The global covid-19 pandemic has resulted in shortages of disposable face masks and triggered manufacturers to ramp-up their production urgently. In addition, the development of new products that could offer greater protection than existing ones – or be cheaper and faster to produce – continues at a rapid pace, reports Adrian Wilson.

The haptic Internet – which will allow the sense of touch to be transmitted over long distances, with or without visual feedback – is close to commercial reality and smart fabrics will have a significant role to play in its far-reaching impact, writes Adrian Wilson.​

A boom in civil engineering and building projects, rapid growth in the healthcare and automotive sectors, the expanding scope of agrotextiles, a growing interest in sustainable manufacturing and protection of the environment, and the present Government’s policies have given fresh hope to India’s technical textile industry, reports Samuel Joseph.

Greater use of high-performance man-made fibres in China depends on two critical factors: finding ways to make the fibres more cheaply at the same time as reducing the harmful impacts of their manufacture on the environment. Jason Chen reports from the 25th China International Man-made Fibre Conference (CIMFC).

The fibre, nonwoven and technical textile industries continue to show their propensity for innovation, despite currently operating within a gloomy economic environment. Adrian Wilson reports on the latest developments from the annual Global Fiber Congress (GFC), held most recently on 11–13 September 2019 in Dornbirn, Austria.

The terms “Industry 4.0” and “digitisation” were heard routinely throughout the last staging of ITMA, but the terms can have different meanings for different developers, even among Germany’s machine builders, who arguably lead the drive to exploit such concepts to create the manufacturing plants of the future. Adrian Wilson takes a closer look.