Technical Edge

he growth and expansion of technical textiles has shown promise in broadening fabric
possibilities and materials development – this means new markets, new business and diversification
for the textile industry. That’s hardly earth-shattering – but the interest in this area is really
gathering steam.

In “From Radomes To Mega Structures,” technical editor Richard Mansfield details the
development and use of fabric structures as viable alternatives to brick-and-mortar constructions.
Linking materials development, architectural demands and the companies that have made it happen
provides a profile of real industrial evolution.

When this year’s Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) Expo comes to Charlotte
in late October, 30 percent of the anticipated 500 exhibitors will be showing for the first time.
Expected to draw more than 8,000 visitors, the exposition features a broad range of interests, all
targeting technical textiles and associated industries. In the past year, this segment of the
textile industry seems to have consistently attracted attention.

“Weaving On The Cutting Edge” examines weaving technical textiles with insight from major
weaving machinery producers. The message is clear that technical textiles push development and that
some machinery companies have gone so far as to establish technology groups inside their companies
to serve this niche. Wider machines, air jets, water jets, rapiers and projectiles all serve the
formation of specialty products ranging from ballistic materials to agricultural applications.
Interest is also growing globally as manufacturers point to the international interests in the

Technical textiles are not the solution for every textile company, but this segment’s
extension of the textile marketplace can’t be ignored – especially now. Woven, knit and nonwoven
products that incorporate the latest in fiber technology are stretching textiles’ reach in the
day-to-day world – impacting automotive, consumer product and structural design capabilities. The
technology, productivity and creativity of the textile industry are largely misunderstood – take a
look at technical textiles and things really come into focus.

October 2002