Techtextil North America that concludes in Houston, TX, this week, has attracted a great diversity of visitors and delivered a range of new solutions for both visitors and exhibitors alike.

[quote_box_center]“The number of people from different industries that have come to our booth to ask what that they can do with our technology is very encouraging. The visitor quality is very high, and the actual number of leads we have got from this show in Houston is equivalent to Atlanta,”[/quote_box_center] commented Matthew Llewellyn, Vice President of v-bed knitting machine builder Shima Seiki USA.

[quote_box_center]“The trends we see are an upturn in interest in using knits in the new areas for automotive and transportation sectors and we’ve also noted a shift in demographic. The visitors seem to be getting younger which perhaps shows that technical textiles in the USA is now being seen as an exciting career and not a cloth cap industry.”[/quote_box_center]


Perhaps given the location in Houston, NASA technicians from the Johnson Space Center, located just 20 miles from the Techtextil event, fielded many inquiries from potential solution providers hoping to get a piece of the NASA action.

[quote_box_center]“This show has also provided us with an opportunity to ask the technical textiles sector for help in overcoming some of the unique challenges we face,” said Mark Schaefbauer, of NASA. In addition to the obvious requirements for fabrics in space to be highly flame retardant, Schaefbauer explained: “Because our astronauts operate in a sealed environment, fabric off-gassing can be a problem because the air is recycled.[/quote_box_center]

[quote_box_center]“Similarly, we’re looking for innovations in antimicrobials because there are no laundries in space and so we need to have textiles that remain clean and have an extended life-time being worn multiple times between laundering.”[/quote_box_center]

Novel knits

[quote_box_center]“Like everyone else here we’re trying to get more and more in to the technical textiles market,” said Hannes Hermann, Managing Director at Austria-based Willy Hermann, which was showing a range of superfine gauge knitted textile in up to 80G. “Our business is around 75% in the intimate apparel and lingerie markets, but there are many potential applications of our fine gauge knits in technical applications where the drape and stretchability of knits give significant advantages over woven textiles.”[/quote_box_center]

The company exhibited an 80G fine gauge nylon mesh fabric on its stand knitted on a Mayer & Cie circular knitting machine using 6 dtex nylon. Lightweight, soft and extremely durable, the fabric is said to be pushing the boundaries of the possibilities of the knitting technology.

Holding up two samples of fine gauge weft knit 20G polyamide single jersey fabrics, one with a unidirectional basalt fibre inlay and the other with a carbon fibre tucked in behind the latch needles, Daniel Hermann, Head of Technical Textiles at the company said: “We can also substitute the basalt or carbon for cotton and micromodal. We think it will be useful for 3D form fabrics that are impregnated with resin as they have better stretch and drape than wovens.”

[quote_box_center]“We’re at this show to find out about new possible applications for these novel technical fabrics from the wide variety of experts here from different industries.”[/quote_box_center]


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