Technical textiles or functional textiles, considered a sunrise sector in the country, is all set for demand taking off for products such as geo and agro textiles.

What are technical textiles?
A technical textile is a textile product manufactured for non-aesthetic purposes, where function is the primary criterion.

Technical textiles include textiles for automotive applications, medical textiles (e.g., implants), geo-textiles (reinforcement of embankments), agro-textiles (textiles for crop protection), and protective clothing (e.g., heat and radiation protection for fire fighter clothing, molten metal protection for welders, stab protection and bullet proof vests and spacesuits).

It is a large and growing sector and supports a vast array of other industries. The global growth rates of technical textiles is about 4% per year greater than the growth of home and apparel textiles, which are growing at a rate of 1% per year.

Currently, technical textile materials are most widely used in filter clothing, furniture, hygiene medicals and construction material.

It can be used in infastructure projects, including ports, roads, and railways, and in sectors such as agriculture. It can also improve productivity, health standards, and infrastructure.

Geo textiles, for example, are permeable fabrics that are used in association with soil and which have the ability to separate and filter, while agro-textiles are used in shading and in weed and insect control.

How will demand for technical textiles be created?
The schemes by the Government, better awareness, interface initiatives with other ministries are all expected to create demand.

Challenges to technical textiles in the country
The main challenges for technical textiles in the country are awareness among consumers, need for technology and knowledge about it among entrepreneurs, the investments and time needed to be innovative and develop applications, and raw material availability.

(Adapted from The Hindu)