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Turkey Looks Toward Manufacturing More Technical Textiles

Technical textiles are fast becoming a trend in Turkey and the country is steadily investing more money and effort into meeting growing demand for value-added functional fibers.

Speaking at a textile and apparel sector meeting in mid-December with the Textile Engineering Department at Ege University in Izmir, Turkey, Aegean Apparel Exporters’ Association (EHKIB) chairman Emre KızılgüneÅŸ underlined the importance of technical textiles and said he expects to see continued growth in demand and, as a result, in exports, according to Mersin Press.

Technical textiles are gaining importance in Turkey as consumers become more interested in high-quality product performance and functionality. Research and development in the area is an ongoing pursuit and Turkey’s emerging textile engineers will have to be continuously innovative to keep the country competitive among international markets, KızılgüneÅŸ said. Collaborative projects with the Aegean Exporters’ Union of Textile and Raw Materials and engineering students and graduates centered around improving the sector are also part of the effort.

Manufacturers should be thinking not just in terms of functional properties for apparel, but note that technical textiles can be used for safety and health products as in medical textiles and fabrics for the automotive industry, Kızılgüneş said.

One company expanding in order to keep up with the technical textiles trend is Korteks, a polyester filament yarn producer that operates two plants in Bursa, Turkey.

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Mutlu Sezen, R&D manager at Korteks said the company is currently targeting technical textiles for growth as a result of the increase in use and demand for man-made fibers. “At present, Korteks is increasing its sales into technical textiles applications such as automotive, medical, protective work-wear and industrial textiles,” he said.

The company is currently researching the development of fibers for insulation to be used in building and home textiles and also looking into applying nanomaterials as additives to achieve functionalities such as antimicrobial effects, UV protection and thermal- and electro-magnetic insulation.

“For 2013, we will complete the year above our targeted sales level, also being above previous year’s sales volume,” Sezen said. “Going forward, thanks to the importance that we give to technical textiles as functional products and our R&D studies, we will enter into new markets and strengthen our export options.”

Turkey currently exports $26 billion in textile and apparel products each year and Kızılgüneş said the goal is to reach $72 billion by 2023. With plans for development in infrastructure design and service, the country will be set to sustain expected growth and transition to manufacturing high value-added products with new production models, he added.

The country will host the sixth International Conference on Future Technical Textile in Istanbul in March 2014. The focus of the conference will be to share advances made in the world of technical textiles with interactive panels, expert speakers and technical courses. By playing host to the event, Turkey could secure its position as a leader in the technical textiles sector.