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Conductive textiles are fabrics that can conduct electricity. Conductive fabrics or textiles are materials made by coating or blending with conductive metals including gold, carbon, titanium, nickel, silver and copper. Conductivity is established within thin layers by impregnation of the textile with thiophene derivative monomer followed by oxidative polymerization thereby, maintaining the flexibility of the textiles. Individual filaments within a fabric or yarn are uniformly coated with conductive formulations. The global conductive textiles market includes fabrics of any composition and construction that could be coated and transformed into conductive textiles. Typical substrates include woven, non-woven, felts and knits of polyester, nylon, glass, quartz, spandex, polyolefins and aramids. Base-fabric materials include cotton, wool, polyester and nylon. These textiles are manufactured by inserting conductive additives or yarns or by using different conductive coatings. Conductive textile can be supplied as a cloth or as pressure-sensitive adhesive (PAS) tape, which has the ease of application to plastic housings in order to cover complex forms and shapes. Conductive textiles have low contact resistance and the tape version has superior adhesive force. The product shields electromagnetic interference (EMI) effectively.
Conductive textiles have the softness and malleability of fabric coupled with electrical properties. These textiles find applications in projects with a requirement of soft, flexible and washable circuit. They are also used for creating low profile switches in projects where manufactured and hard conductive materials cannot be used. Fabrics can be cut, sewn, stretched, crumpled and manipulated in ways where hard metals, carbon and plastics cannot be used.
Conductive textiles are used in various industrial applications to provide shield to electromagnetic interference. Conductive fabrics can be used to conduct electricity in small spaces, for static dissipation, EMI shielding, signal and power transfer in low resistance versions and in heating elements in higher resistance versions, in medical equipment such as electrodes and others.
The global market is expected to witness a growth during the forecast period (2017-2023). The development of conductive fabrics using graphene inks and the increasing usage of conductive textiles in wearable fitness and medical devices are expected to showcase a positive growth in the overall market. Based on type, the woven textiles segment is expected to be the largest and fastest-growing segment in the global conductive textiles market during the forecast period. Military and defense is expected to be the largest market during the forecast period. Additionally, the sports and fitness is projected to be the highest growing application segment during the forecast period.
The rising focus on new product development, innovations and research and development activities is estimated to generate lucrative opportunities for the key players operating in the global market during the forecast period. Additionally, new advancements in the global market in several developing countries is expected to showcase a positive trend.
Recent developments, which involve the exposure of fibers in the textile to vaporize electrically-conductive polymers (plastics). The condensation covers the surface of textile fibers in the form of a film that provides excellent conductive and mechanic properties. Additionally, the process allows the textiles to remain flexible and may give an appearance of ordinary, untreated textiles. Such developments in the field of global conductive textiles market is expected to bolster the market growth during the forecast period.
The key drivers for the global market for conductive textiles is the increasing usage of such textiles in medical devices and wearable fitness. The conductive textiles market in Europe is expected to gain traction owing to the technological advancements and innovations in wearable technologies. Asia-Pacific is the fastest-growing region in the global conductive textiles market. This growth is mainly attributed to the high demand for conductive textiles from China, Japan, India and South Korea. Conductive textiles are used in medical applications such as patient monitoring. These textiles help in easy data and power transmission in the medical and healthcare sector thus, propelling the growth of the global conductive textiles market. Additionally, heated covers and textiles for monitoring the pulse are in increasing demand thereby, fueling the growth of the global market during the forecast period.
The key restraints hampering the growth of the global conductive textiles market is the high cost of finished products that has impacted the adoption of conductive textiles. Durability of the fabric may depend of the stretch ability and flexibility based on end use may pose as a challenge to the global conductive textiles market.
Additionally, building circuits when the conductive textiles are uninsulated, makes them susceptible to noise and interference from outside sources and the noise generated by the circuit itself that encourages short circuits which may hamper the growth of the global conductive textiles market.
The major companies operating in the global market are Parker Chomerics, Toray Industries, Inc., Laird PLC, Seiren Co., Ltd., Bekaert, Holland Shielding Systems B.V., Shieldex, 3M, Emei (HK) Electronics Ltd. and Metaline.
By Fabric Type