Textiles are indispensable part of human life. They are used mainly to cover the human body for protection against all the adversities. Technological innovations have also made it possible for textile industry to offer technical solutions to the multiple end-users in the different industries.
Technical textiles are defined as textile materials and products used primarily for their technical performance and functional properties rather than their aesthetic or decorative characteristics. Other terms used for defining technical textiles include industrial textiles, functional textiles, performance textiles, engineering textiles, invisible textiles and hi-tech textiles.
An outstanding feature of the technical textile industry is the range and diversity of raw materials, processes, products and applications that it encompasses.
Technical textiles are used individually or as a component/part of another product. Technical textiles are used individually to satisfy specific functions such as fire retardant fabric for uniforms of firemen and coated fabric to be used as awnings. As a component or part of another product, they are used to enhance the strength, performance or other functional properties of that product as done by the tyre cord fabrics in tyres and interlining in shirt collars. They are also used as accessories in processes to manufacture other products like filter fabric in food industry or paper maker felt in paper mills.
Technical textiles have been slowly but steadily gaining ground due to one or more of the reasons such as: functional requirement, health & safety; cost effectiveness; durability; high strength; light weight; versatility; customization; user friendliness; eco friendliness; logistical convenience etc.
Unlike conventional textiles used traditionally for clothing or furnishing, technical textiles are used basically on account of their specific physical and functional properties and mostly by other user industries. Depending on the product characteristics, functional requirements and end-use applications the highly diversified range of technical textile products have been grouped into 12 sectors application wise:
- Agrotech (Agriculture, horticulture and forestry)
- Buildtech (building and construction)
- Clothtech (technical components of shoes and clothing)
- Geotech (geotextiles, civil engineering)
- Hometech (components of furniture, household textiles and floor coverings)
- Indutech (filtration, cleaning and other industrial usage)
- Meditech (hygiene and medical)
- Mobiltech (automobiles, shipping, railways and aerospace)
- Oekotech (environmental protection)
- Packtech (packaging)
- Protech (personal and property protection)
- Sporttech (sport and leisure