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Several drivers are shaping developments of a range of fabric-based solutions designed to offer protection against chemical and biological threats. Ian Hutcheson from Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics describes what these drivers are and urges users to take care when selecting from the array of solutions now available to them.

At Techtextil in Frankfurt, Germany (11–13 June 2013) Groz-Beckert of Albstadt, Germany, will tell visitors that its needles, and weaving and knitting accessories are being used increasingly to make smart fabrics.

The humble needle has been in use for at least 20 000 years and anthropologists believe its invention was crucial for our species: by allowing Homo sapiens to create clothing that fitted better than mere animal skins, the needle, and associated sewing technology, gave us a distinct advantage over our rivals, such as the Neanderthals, during the period of the last Ice  Age. In short, needle and thread contributed to our eventual domination of the planet. 

Before investing in new machinery and plants, spinners should consider the alternative of modernization and conversion. Hans-Joachim Schaupp and Rudolf Opitzer of Mainsite Technologies argue that lower investment costs, the retention of established process

With its automotive industry currently booming and an upturn in construction anticipated, now is a good time for nonwovens manufacturers to be doing business in the USA, according to Adrian Wilson.

John McCurry polled the exhibitors heading to Anaheim, California, USA, for Techtextil North America (19–21 March 2013) to ask their opinions about the show and the economy, and to discover the highlights of their proposed presentations.

Safety concerns have led to the recent grounding of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner fleet and focused media attention on lithium–ion battery technology. Adrian Wilson investigates the role nonwovens play in such devices.

Niki Tait learns from various key suppliers about the importance of the correct selection of a sewing machine needle, and how this choice can significantly improve the quality and productivity of sewn technical textiles.

To mark the forthcoming 21st anniversary of Technical Textiles International, first published in May 1992, Adrian Wilson looks back at the state of the nonwovens industry in the early 1990s and assesses the key developments of the intervening years.

John McCurry writes that the first two decades in the life of Technical Textiles International have been a period of considerable change for the North American industry: just as production of commodity textiles has nearly disappeared from the continent over the past 20 years, the technical sector has emerged as a dominant force.