Specialty Fabrics Review May 2019 - 63

MARKETS

FOCUS

The Army's new Soldier
Protection System includes
a new vest and an Army
combat shirt with built-in
protection pieces.
Photo: Alan Lessig / Staff.

The protective
textiles market
Advanced textiles sector participants can benefit
from strong growth predictions.
BY SESHADRI RAMKUMAR

Protection Strategy Pyramid

T

he protective textiles sector is expected to grow at an annual rate of 4 percent, according
to a recent report by Leeds, U.K.-based WTiN Intelligence Service. Earlier estimates by
other market survey agencies, such as Grand View Research, estimated the annual growth
rate to be 3.4 percent. These estimates show that the growth rate of the protective textiles sector is
normally higher than the growth rates of GDP of developed economies, including those in Europe
and the U.S., which, according to 2017 World Bank data, are 2.435 percent and 2.273 percent.
As GDP is an indicator of the economic strength and confidence of nations, to have an
industry that has been constantly outperforming GDP growth rates is very much a positive
indicator for that sector. Developing nations such as India, where the advanced textiles sector
is nascent and growing, show higher growth rates. For example, India's technical textiles
sector, which encompasses the defense and protective textiles industry, is expected to have
an annual growth rate between 11-13 percent.
These figures suggest that the protective textiles sector is in a worldwide growth trajectory,
but there are many challenges. New entrants, particularly, may face a tough uphill battle,
due to four main factors:
1. This is a defined and esoteric market;
2. Strict regulations;
3. Intensive R&D requirements; and
4. Marketing hurdles.
ROAD MAPS TO GROWTH
The protective textiles industry faces constant pressure to address a host of market demands.
These can include functionality requirements, new and emerging threats in need of protective
products, and the desire for improved performance and comfort. While this field is dominated
by established industries, it can offer good scope for small- and medium-scale enterprises
(SMEs). One way for new entrants to participate is to serve as a subcontractor or supplier to
OEMs. This strategy has its advantages, offering less risk and more flexibility, which helps
with R&D and the marketing pipeline.

SENSE
SHAPE
SHIELD

SUSTAIN

Protection pyramid
The U.S. Dept. of Defense has devised
a strategy to develop protection tools
against threats, and although focused
on CBN defense, it can be applied to
tackle all threats.
The threat countermeasures
strategy includes: sensing the threat
(sense), modeling and understanding
the threat (shape), protection (shield)
and cleaning/decontamination (sustain).
This strategy is known as 4S and
is important for the industry to follow
while developing protection equipment
and tools. Also, from an R&D point
of view, industry and research
laboratories can focus on these four
aspects to attract funding.
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Specialty Fabrics Review May 2019

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