Thursday, November 5, 2009

[ Technical Textiles -Textiles Intelligence Press Release.]

Textiles
Intelligence.



Press Release.

November 4, 2009.

For immediate release.


New technologies will slash raw material costs and allow faster, more efficient
and highly flexible processing in the coated fabrics industry, according to a
new report published by Textiles Intelligence.

The report, "Coated Industrial Textiles: Coating Technologies and Profiles of
Three Specialist Producers", examines the history and growth of the coated fabrics
industry and looks at how three European companies -- Contitech, Gamma and Sioen
Industries -- have successfully resisted the threat of competition from lower
cost countries through specialisation in this field.

"Coated fabrics are employed in a wide variety of applications, ranging from
protective clothing to architectural materials," explains the report’s author
Wilson Adams, a UK-based specialist in the international textile and apparel
industry. "Established technologies involve the application of elastomers and
silicones, polyurethane (PU), and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) to textiles
using processes such as direct, transfer online and extrusion coating, as well
as calendering. But now we are seeing the emergence of three new technologies
in particular, which will have a profound impact on the sector."

One of these technologies is plasma coating -- a fast, flexible and versatile
surface engineering process for adding functionality to textiles using either
non-polymerisable gases or graft polymerisation employing monomers. Plasma coating
has minimal impact on the environment, and enables the noxious chemicals which
are employed in other conventional surface treatments and coating and laminating
processes to be avoided.

Continuing research into nanomaterials, a second technology, has already led
to advancements in fabric coating technologies for antiviral and biocidal properties.
Permanent fabric treatments based on metallic nanoparticles which give textiles
these properties, as well as making them more resistant to water, stains and
wrinkles, are already commercially available. Other recent nanocoated materials
are able to kill almost all known influenza viruses.

A third -- and potentially the most game-changing emerging technology -- is that
of inkjet deposition. Inkjet deposition is being seen increasingly as more than
just a printing technique. Its important benefits in an industrial environment
will be greatly influential in simplifying manufacturing processes, increasing
productivity, reducing operating costs, making mass customisation possible, achieving
design flexibility and creating miniature devices.

As part of the Euro12.7 mn (US$18.61 mn) Digitex project, for example, researchers
are attempting to find ways of using inkjet printheads to disperse coatings at
line speeds of up to 20 metres per minute with drop sizes of between four and
120 picolitres.

"The procedure on which they are working involves three dimensional (3D) drop
positioning in order to achieve a precise and tailored depth of deposition into
a given substrate," explained Mr Adams. "The focus is on understanding the behavior
of drops in a substrate, and a key research task is to model this behavior.

"The ability to predict the behavior of chemicals at such a level could lead
to huge benefits in terms of cost savings because manufacturers would be able
to pinpoint precisely the right amount of a certain chemical substance required
to achieve a desired effect."

Inkjet deposition would also have tremendous ecological benefits too, according
to the report. Being in complete control down to the picolitre level would enable
a process to be automated and thereby minimise wastage of chemicals and materials.


Ends.

"Coated Industrial Textiles: Coating Technologies and Profiles of Three Specialist
Producers" was published by the global business information company Textiles
Intelligence in Issue No 77 of Technical Textile Markets.

Other reports published in the same issue include: "Technical Textiles in the
Czech Republic: Profiles of a Cluster and Five Major Players"; Global Technical
Textiles Business Update; "Statistics: Fibre Consumption and Production in Asia";
and "Editorial: The 2010 Polyolefin Gold Rush Could Benefit Technical Textile
Producers".

Technical Textile Markets is a quarterly publication from Textiles Intelligence.
Each issue provides an independent and worldwide perspective on the global fibre,
technical textiles and nonwovens sectors.

Issue 77 of Technical Textile Markets costs £334 / Euro593 (Europe, Middle East
or Africa) or US$774 (Americas or Asia Pacific). An electronic supplement is
available; please contact us for details. For more information, please contact
Christina Johnson at Textiles Intelligence, Alderley House, Alderley Road, Wilmslow
SK9 1AT, UK.
Tel: +44 (0)1625 536136; Fax: +44 (0)1625 536137. Email: info@textilesintelligence.com

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