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Disrupt or be disrupted

November 11th, 2014 / By: / My Take

At IFAI’s Advanced Textiles Expo in October, Dr. Benham Pourdeyhimi from NCSU’s Nonwovens Institute concluded his presentation with this admonition: “Disrupt or be disrupted.” (See Keynotes offer overviews” on this site.) Nonwovens markets are growing, but they are also undergoing significant change, with new engineered products making an impact in the nature of growth in the nonwovens industry.

One of the markets ready and able to use new technologies is the military—and not just the U.S. military. Another keynoter, Mary Lynn Landgraff from the U.S. Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) told her audience, “If our military likes it, I can guarantee that other militaries will want it.”

Nonwovens, wovens, knits—whatever can do the job and meet their specific demandsmilitary customers want to know what you can offer. Fashion, extreme sports, health and other markets have an interest in advanced technologies in textiles, but few offer the volume and variety available in one customer, or the partnership structure, for that matter.

Uniforms, backpacks, tents and parachutes are just the beginning. Not only are there many products and applications, but the military is also looking at high-tech versions—for example, a tent made of an e-textile that is its own power source for light and other energy uses. (See “Into the future“)

Many products will require high performance, as well, such as FR, antimicrobial, water repellent, chem/bio protection and other qualities.

And the military wants to help you provide what they need. This message comes through clearly in information provided by U.S. Army’s Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) See “U.S. Army wish list in the Featured section for useful and interesting details.

If you haven’t done business with the military (either in the U.S. or internationally), or you are thinking of expanding sales in this market, this is your issue. Read the articles, and then take a serious look at the potential for your company.