Technical Textiles: Potential For The US Chemical Industry

June 20, 2021

In the post-COVID era, it has become necessary for all industries to keep track of emerging sectors and opportunities. Technical textile is a sector of chemical textile production that holds immense potential in the USA and abroad. Most experts agree that the technical textile market is going to continue to be robust in the coming years, greatly benefiting the chemical supply companies in the US.

What are Technical Textiles?

The term “technical textile” refers to any fabric or clothing designed and used for a non-decorative purpose. Instead, technical textiles are created with performance and function at the forefront of their design.

Technical textiles is a very recent technology sunrise sector that is steadily becoming lucrative and gaining ground worldwide. They are functional, non-aesthetic fabrics that have applications across various industries, including automobiles, civil engineering, agriculture, healthcare, industrial safety, personal protection, etc. Based on their specific construction, properties, and intended use, they’re classified into many types, like geotech, meditech, sportech, etc.                          

While commercial or consumer textiles usually focus on comfort and aesthetics, technical textiles are designed and created with function in mind. Industrial textiles and fabrics can be designed to exhibit a wide variety of specific features and functions, making them suitable for use in a comprehensive range of industries and non-aesthetic applications. 

Technical Textiles in the Pandemic

Many of these subsectors have witnessed enormous growth due to the pandemic-driven growing need for non-aesthetic textiles. The chemical industries which manufacture these raw materials can capitalize on this increased demand by ramping up their production.

The demand for protech (protective textiles) has increased manifold due to its extensive use in personal protection equipment. PPE kits demand textiles that can protect the wearer’s body against infection. They also include essential apparel like face masks, shields, and helmets. Protective gowns are generally made from spun bond or melt-blown nonwovens made of polypropylene, polyester, polyethylene, or something similar. Medical gloves can be made from several different kinds of rubber, from latex to natural rubber to nitrile. Raw materials for visors in face shields usually consist of polycarbonate, propionate, acetate, and polyvinyl chloride.

Due to the increased production of edibles, agri-tech textiles used extensively in agriculture, are also bound to see an increase in demand. Agri-tech is used to make warp knit nets, anti-hail nets, mulch mats, etc. Raw materials used in the production of different agritech products are generally synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester. Nets and mats are also made from various forms of HDPE polymer. The implementation and employment of highly efficient techniques and use of technical textiles in the agricultural industry are expected to enhance crop yield, thereby influencing the overall productivity and the demand for technical textiles.

Technical textiles are vital to nearly every industrial sector due to their versatility, functionality, and adaptability. Rising awareness about the benefits of technical textiles is expected to boost its demand across various end-use industries, including agriculture, construction, aerospace, medical, and packaging. Technical textiles are also expected to have significant export potential for the US in the coming decade. The chemical industries in the US should keep a close eye on the developments and trends and leverage the growing demands for raw materials of the sector.

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