Textile materials are predominantly insulators and do not allow the flow of electricity. The electrical load generated is accumulated on the surface of the polymer. In order to prevent accumulation and enhance the possibility of electrical load transfer, textile materials are turned into electrical conductors. A conductive textile is a fabric made from metal strands woven, coated or blended during the construction of the textile. Some of the conductive metals used in these textile include gold, silver, carbon, titanium and nickel. The base fabric materials include cotton, nylon, polyester and wool. Conductive textiles can conduct electricity and hence, are used in several end use industries. The main function of a conductive textile is to control static electricity and shield electromagnetic interference.

The method of producing conductive yarn depends on the application and several other factors, such as voltage, ductility, strength and durability. The three common methods include adding carbon or metals in different forms, i.e. wires, fibres or particles using inherently conductive materials and coating with the conductive substances. In clothing, flexibility and comfort is of greater importance. Some of the product examples include metal mesh, aerospace textiles and taser vests.

Conductive Textile Market: Drivers and Restraints

Conductive textiles have several advantages, such as consistent conductive performance, consistent electromagnetic reflection properties and outstanding stretching and flexibility capabilities. These, along with the growing awareness of these textiles are major drivers for the conductive textiles market. The global conductive textile market is projected to grow at a high growth rate amidst growing demand from military & defence sectors. Growth in the smart fabrics market is another factor driving the demand for conducting textiles.

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The use of environment friendly graphene-based inks could create new possibilities for flexible and wearable electronics. It would help by avoiding expensive and toxic processing steps and open a completely new set of applications in healthcare, wellbeing and internet of things. Graphene has excellent physical properties useful for electronics, sensing and energy storage. Its environmental compatibility, along with strong adhesion to cotton makes it ideal for wearable applications. This could also help to increase its use in fitness and sports. High cost of the finished product is seen as a major restraint for the conductive textile market. Consumers prefer cheap and good quality products, since high cost makes products unaffordable for middle class families. Providing a good product at reasonable prices could be a major challenge for conductive textile manufacturers. Maintenance of these textile is difficult and could be another foreseeable challenge for this market.

Conductive Textile Market: Segmentation

On the basis of fabric type, the global conductive textile market can be segmented into:

  • Cotton
  • Nylon
  • Polyester
  • Wool
  • Others

On the basis of type, the global conductive textile market can be segmented into:

  • Woven conductive textile
  • Non-woven conductive textile
  • Knitted conductive textile

On the basis of end use industries, the global conductive textile market can be segmented into:

  • Healthcare
  • Military & defence
  • Sports & fitness
  • Consumer electronics
  • Others (aerospace, architecture, automotive)

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Conductive Textile Market: Region-Wise Outlook

As of 2016, owing to rapid industrialisation and aggressive expansion of the manufacturing sector, APEJ is expected to be a relatively fast growing region in the global conductive textile market. There is a high demand for conductive textiles from countries, such as China, Japan, India and South Korea. Europe is anticipated to dominate the conductive textile market during the forecast period. This high growth can be attributed to technological advancements in wearable technologies, coupled with huge R&D expenditure and continuous innovations in this market. North America is the other prominent market in terms of rising demand for conductive textile. Middle East, Latin America and Africa are expected expand with a relatively low CAGR over the forecast period.

Conductive Textile Market: Market Participants

Examples of some of the market participants in the global conductive textile market identified across the value chain include:

  • 3M
  • Eeonyx
  • Laird
  • Seiren
  • Emei Group
  • V Technical Textiles Inc.
  • Temas Engineering
  • Metal textiles
  • KGS Diamond
  • New Cut
  • Wujiang City Yuzhen Textile Co. Ltd.
  • Holland Shielding Systems
  • Swift Textile Metalizing
  • Bekaert
  • Parker Chomerics
  • Toray Industries

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