TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION CONCERNING TEXTILE CLOTHING INDUSTRY
Reference scenery for TC system
It is difficult to foreseen the evolution of TC industry, its future placing, that is it is difficult to answer the following questions:
However, it is indispensable to try to stress the most important and more probable elements of this evolution, because otherwise it not logical to hypothesize an INNOVATION action.
A) From the conceiving of a product to its placing in the market, the wide distribution (that is the distribution in big sales areas) is getting more and more importance, in contraposition to the traditional trade.
The main market exigencies, as far as product kinds, performances, distribution characteristics and costs are concerned, are given by this, in a more and more decisively way as regard to the past.
Even the big social-cultural exigencies of the market (that is, search for lightness, for freshness and for comfort) are filtered and interpreted by distribution.
All this involves a different approach by half-worked fabric (yarns, raw fabrics, finished fabrics) suppliers.
B) The way of producing evolution brings businessmen of different areas closer. Technological and qualitative differences are destined to be further reduced. Raw materials, machinery and plant suppliers play a notable role of unification.
"Medium" products, as for kind and prices, destined to mass uses, must be produced on significant economy scale. Their success is based on conditions of big competition and some Countries are more competitive than more industrialized ones. This emphasizes time and production cost problems.
C) De- location, both of manufacturing and of textile industry, is very important. A bigger appealing to virtual actions can reduce costs bound to the distance between market and the origins of a product; still, an important economic and logistic problem is not solved: the transporting of finished products has a notable influence that is bigger than that of raw materials and textile manufactures.
D) Textile and clothing industry in the same Country or area don't necessarily develop the same way. Probably, production will remain in the area of use, that is production will more likely be in homogeneous areas as to consuming areas.
E) Product and process ecology (ecologically correct production) doesn't seem to be a significant competition factor.
F) Imperatives such as flexibility, rapid market entering, mistakes and waste reduction seem to be more decisive as for competition inside a homogeneous area than in different areas.
G) In countries with an older industrialization there is a strong pressure caused by imports increase (bound to the currency relative strength and to the substantial fall of rules and bonds) and by the consequent need of reorganization.
H) Reduction of lot dimensions and the shrinkage of life time of products is destined to continue. Production develops through products, consumers and markets niches. But even niches are shrinking and competitors are increasing in number, with a competition growth that is in some cases exasperated.
Macro-economical situation described above has substantially been the same for some years now, that is it is dominated by the same factors-elements, now more intensified and exasperated.
Among the strategies that can be used, some are intimately connected to technological innovation.
To leave clothing textile for technical textile (Picture 1), seizing in this way some opportunities even if having to face notable difficulties;
To innovate the product creating something that can be perceived as new:
To innovate the process:
Re-conversion strategy towards Textiles for technical uses: Japanese situation
Distinction between product and process innovations is schematic and doesn?t consider facts complexity. In some cases process innovation can be so important that it significantly changes competitiveness parameters.
On the other hand, even biggest product innovations must submit to economical exigencies that can be only guaranteed thanks to some processes kinds.
It can be affirmed that product innovation is strictly bound to the research in materials, chemistry, physics, biology areas. Chemical industry is directly involved, producing raw materials (fibers) and auxiliaries.
On the other hand, process innovation involves machinery, plant and their management more directly. Basic research (vision theory and technique, physiology etc..) can give effective contribution to problem solutions.
Appealing to informatics and telematics, privileging virtual actions as regards to physic ones, is getting a decisively importance for TC industry development, above all as far as process innovation, (from product planning, to organization of their production and to distribution in the market) is concerned, also considering the more and more important flexibility and rapidity exigencies.
Those who have been innovating for a long time, like Japan, are working hard to keep a technical leadership increasing innovation process rhythms and expanding basic research to a longer time, both as far as materials and processes are concerned.
Attention is concentrated upon special products rather than upon commodity products, because the formers are more sensible to technology effects.
Research macro-themes in Japanese textile industry
A. OBJECTIVE CHARACTERIZATION OF TEXTILE
B. PRODUCT INNOVATION
standard products (commodity)
products that are special thanks to characteristics concerning:
2. Smell and fragrance
(fibers, fabric finishing)
3. Microbe proof action
(fibers, fabric finishing)
6. Lightness ( very low density)
7. Electro conductivity
8. Light-warmth converting
( fibers, fabric finishing)
ultraviolet reflection, absorption and infra-red reflection
(fibers, fabric finishing)
11. Natural fibers simulation
C. PROCESS INNOVATION
appeal to fluid casting processes
D. LIKELY TO OCCUR IN THE FUTURE PROJECTS
4 USA EXAMPLE
As far as Textile Clothing is concerned, in the USA process innovation is bestowed a privilege and they try to make the textile system in its joints get the maximum of efficiency. Biggest resources are concentrated in finishing, where today there are the biggest diseconomies and inefficiencies.
Research projects in current development in Textile Clothing in USA
COMPUTER-AIDED FABRIC EVALUATION (CAFÉ)
TEXTILE RESOURCE CONSERVATION (TRC)
ON-LINE PROCESS CONTROL (OPCon) IN FLEXIBLE FIBRE MANUFACTURING
COTTON BIOTECHNOLOGY (BioCot)
RAPID CUTTING (RCUT)
ELECTRONIC EMBEDDED FINGERPRINT (EEF)
SENSOR FOR AGILE MANUFACTURING (Sensors)
The future of USA textile seen through some expectations:
ITC= INTEGRATED TEXTILE COMPLEX
M$= millions of dollars
INDICATORS as far as the future of USA textile is concerned:
This article is published on NT New Textiles, see the contents.