By Jan Brenny
So what will happen in the next five to 10 years? Performance fabric suppliers are seeing some developing trends, while others are already underway and affecting operations.
- Zach Kissel of MarChem CFI and Ed Silva of Engineered Polymer Technologies see even more interest in environmental products. Silva also predicts a longer life expectancy for whatever performance fabrics are developed.
- Amy Hammond of MMI Textiles says geosynthetics will become more popular because of their low cost. For the same reason, she also sees nonwovens gaining momentum. Customization can be engineered in during the manufacturing process rather than having to be applied as an additional fabric treatment, she notes.
- Bud Styles of TSG Finishing LLC sees even quicker turns, smaller runs and more technical end uses continuing as a trend. Being increasingly able to tweak or enhance a fabric with finishes will allow customers to accomplish varying results without deviating too much from standard production, he says.
- Jeff Leagon of Aurora Specialty Textiles Group Inc. sees treatment improvements and advancements, especially in the antimicrobial and moisture-managment areas. He also believes that R & D will become increasingly critical. “No matter what products we, or anyone else, make today, the mix will be different in five to 10 years,” he says.