THE HEAT IS ON
With the spring weather we were lucky enough to receive during Techtextil, you could be forgiven for not thinking much about heated textiles as you were munching on your bratwurst and sipping a beer in the fairground’s sunshine-bathed courtyard. But the unseasonal April snow in Frankfurt a few weeks before the fair – a particularly tough day for this writer, usually based in tropical Hong Kong – served as a reminder of the huge growth in the smart textiles industry and its heated textiles subset.
Heated textiles are certainly something at the forefront of the minds of those working at LiTex Textile & Technology, a Taiwanese exhibitor at Techtextil. Like many textile companies from Taiwan, they evolved from a traditional fabrics manufacturer to an innovator of textile products, in their words “after many years of trial and error.”
At the LiTex booth, Stanley Hsu outlined their ground breaking Conductive Metal Yarn (CMY) Technology which has patents for its capability to withstand dyeing, finishing and washing, as well as it flexible heating element. The uniqueness of their yarn is achieved by coiling a micro-thin metal foil over a traditional polymer yarn core in a helical fashion. This allows for a toughness and flexibility that’s superior to other heating elements including carbon fibre, stainless steel fibre and flexible PCBs, while the yarn can be more easily mass-manufactured than these alternatives thanks to the company’s looms.
In fact, Hsu explained that after changing looms to meet a new client’s request, they can now weave a width of 70cm, up from 5cm, which has opened up new possibilities. “This 70cm version is our newest item, and we even received an enquiry here about using it as a horse rug! With such a wide variety of buyers at this fair, you can easily get new ideas like this for how your product can be applied,” he commented.
Here’s hoping next April in Frankfurt, a LiTex-produced heated horse rug won’t be required to keep warm!
Author: Liam Rodden (Messe Frankfurt China)