Tech textiles – what’s the big deal?

Technical textiles have become increasingly important to our technology driven lives so it makes sense that technical textiles are conquering more and more new application areas and are replacing conventional fabrics. Examples of this include reinforcement materials made of textiles in concrete construction, artificial arteries used in medical technologies and textile sandwich materials in vehicle construction and sport. This list can be extended virtually endlessly.

It also cannot be ignored that Germany plays a leading role in the development and production of tech textiles and nonwovens. The German sector — approximately 600 companies with a turnover of more than 6 billion euros — is regarded as the market leader in Europe.

So what places Germany at the forefront of this new and exciting wave of tech textiles? This is what I would like to find out.


Technology leadership

Firstly, technology leadership plays a vital role. According to Jürgen Grebe, Corporate Sector Analyst, German Commerzbank AG, Germany is regarded as “the global technology market leader”. So I get it, Germany is a technology leader and it is only natural that they lead in tech textile, right? But wait, there is more.


Always be unique

Then there is the importance of being unique – to avoid the greatest possible degree of competition with suppliers of mass-produced goods and low-quality products. Therefore to be successful in the wearable electronics industry you must not only be a leader in your field, but should do so with the highest quality of produce.


Research, research, research

Research has also helped a great deal in making Germany a leader in this industry, because, to be competitive in a growing market, you must remain consistently innovative. Germany has some world-class institutes and universities dealing with textiles – this means a great deal of research indeed!


Mass production equals mass failure

Compared to classic textile products, industrial fabrics are very much tailor-made. Therefore designers and makers must be innovative, clever and very fast. It’s always the same old story: not the big ones are swallowing up the small ones, but the fast swallowing the slow ones. Low-cost producers from countries such as China or India do not have this structure. That’s why Europe and most certainly Germany, are still in the forefront of these markets.


Buy cheap, buy twice

Frankly speaking, it’s the knowledge portfolio that preserves the technological leadership of German suppliers. Copycat machines may look very similar to the systems they are designed to emulate, and they are a price class cheaper. But all too often, they merely prove the truth of the proverb; “buy cheap, buy twice.” Only the original designers have the expertise and know-how to coax the last ounce of performance out of the system. To put it in a nutshell: the initial price for a German machine pays off after a few years due to low maintenance costs and reliability in production. So far, only a few suppliers can compete with this superiority and advantage of German technology.


In summary, tech textiles need a high degree of specialisation, an excellent work force and a top product quality with faultless environmental standards and technology leadership. Germany has managed to tick all of these boxes and secure its position as a forerunner in the tech textiles field. I think that deserves a round of applause, don’t you?


Techtextil held at Frankfurt am Main is the leading international trade fair for technical textiles and nonwovens. With over 1,300 exhibitors from 48 countries and around 27,500 visitors from 97 different nations, Techtextil amounts to the world’s central marketing and sourcing platform for users and manufacturers of technical textiles and nonwovens.

Why not take advantage of the opportunity to visit the show from 4 to 7 May 2015, to meet a host of international business contacts and to experience this centre of innovation at first hand?

Click here to book your place.


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