Technological Advances in the Textile Industry

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  • 0:04 Textile Industry
  • 1:06 Computerized Machines
  • 1:49 Printing & Other Advancements
  • 2:52 Product Advancements
  • 4:07 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

Although the original machines developed in the textile industry are still being used today, technological advances have added to this global industry. In this lesson, we will look at the current and future forms of technology used to advance the textile industry.

Textile Industry

Did you know that industry leaders are looking to create ''anti-counterfeiting'' technology so that off-brand clothing manufacturers will no longer be able to perfectly replicate valuable pieces? Instead, the products will have a specific DNA that will make them completely unique. This technology was created to counter the replication fraud rampant in the market, especially in high fashion. This is just one of many new technological advances in the textile industry.

The textile industry is a global industry. This industry is one of the largest in the world and employs millions of people. Textile materials are made from fiber, yarns, and fabrics. Textiles can be found in a variety of materials, ranging from the clothes in your closet to the air filters in your vacuum cleaner. While the textile industry's focus was originally on the end product, countries have started to focus on the science and technology aspect of textiles. The ability of a country to create new machines and technology gives its manufacturers an even larger share of this market, which, in turn, results in greater profits.

Computerized Machines

Over the last few decades, the textile industry has undergone a facelift. Although the original machines and their processes are still being used, they have evolved into more technologically-advanced versions of the originals. Now, machines that skilled laborers used to operate manually can be computerized and programmed to produce textile materials. This development has negatively affected the employment rate for this industry, since there are fewer people needed to man the machines. For example, employment in the textile industry within the European Union alone saw a 40% drop during the 1980s and 1990s, a serious downfall of the new processes. However, the prices of textiles decreased due to this automation, creating more money for the industry and the countries producing textiles.

Technological advancements in the textile industry include the use of new machines. For example:

  • Knitting machines - Machines create knitted fabrics in large swaths of material, instead of long strips, that are then looped and sewn together.
  • Pleating - Pleating can now be done solely by machines instead of laborers.
  • Laser printing - Textile machines now use laser printing to produce images on clothes, like jeans and shirts. As a result, designs can be transferred to materials more quickly and more precisely.
  • Digital printing - Layered printing allows for more complex designs.
  • 3D Printers - Although mostly found only in the high fashion community, companies like Nike are finding ways to use 3D printing to make innovative shoes, a technology that may be eventually applied to thinner and more resilient fibers to make actual, soft clothing.
  • Nanotechnology - The textile industry is looking to use nanotechnology to create more scientific clothing, like fire-repellent, self-cleaning, and water-repellent items. Nanotechnology will also allow the textile industry to make products at lower energy thresholds, which helps to sustain the environment.

Technological Advances in Textiles

Remember the old movie Tron, that featured clothes that lit up and changed at the press of a button? These ideas are no long fantasy - they are the result of science and technology.

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