Technology in textiles

by Jason Zanatta

Automation and cutting edge machinery are not the only types of technology emerging in the home textile industry. Changing the scene (for the better) is the large amount of research and development in the industry and, especially, the blending of technology and raw materials. Recently the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI), held their 2013 Expo in Orlando, Florida where for the first time, there was a separate area specifically for “Advanced Textiles.”

Simple cotton and polyester are no longer the norm. Materials now boast features far better than just breathability and washability. Our health continues to top our concerns and control our spending habits. We now see more anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, cooling, waterproof and heat resistant labels on our products. These are just a few of the health benefits found in the supercharged industry of advanced textiles.

What are some unique and noteworthy healthful technological advances?

Our expectations from sleeping and what it can do for us is drastically changed because of Celliant®. It effectively turns wasted body heat that some textiles might trap or vent, into usable energy. All our Ironman® home textiles, made with triathletes in mind, feature Celliant® technology because it is medically proven to promote circulation, increase tissue oxygen levels, enhance cell vitality and regulate body temperature. It’s all about infrared light which hospitals and doctors commonly use as a therapeutic treatment for conditions ranging from high blood pressure and congestive heart failure to muscle tears and rheumatoid arthritis. Celliant® converts body heat into infrared energy and reflects it back into the body, essentially rejuvenating you and giving you energy while you sleep.

Thomson Research Associates of Canada (TRA), a fellow Canadian company, is well known for their Ultra-Fresh™ and Silpure™ technology that promotes better health in a slightly different way that Celliant®. Ultra-Fresh™ and Silpure™ prevent the growth of microbes which can lead to stains, odours and rot. The reason TRA’s antimicrobial treatments are gaining such industry recognition is because of how easily they are applied to a wide range of fabrics, plastics and coatings to prevent bacteria and fungus growth. Such growths can produce stains and odours that significantly reduce the life and healthfulness of home textiles. This is why at Novo Textiles, we use Ultra-Fresh™ and Silpure™ technology in our pillows.

Of course, we cannot forget that sustainability and recycling remain the focus within many industries including home textiles. However, conversations are starting to shift from “how” to “how much”. All businesses know they must change their impact on the environment (for our health and the Earth’s), they just need to know at what cost. Consumers are far more welcoming when a premium is put on products that are sustainable or organic. It is no different when sustainable methods are present on the manufacturing side. Perhaps this is why many business conversations focus heavily on environmental solutions because they are not only viable, but economical. My advice is to look at sustainability as a long term investment versus a short term marketing campaign. Our GeoBlend® fill is only starting to gain industry recognition even though it has been in development for the last five years.

This holiday season, look for trends in Performance and Advanced Textiles: Coolmax® technology, that draws away moisture in pillows, sheets and towels and Talalay, the highest grade latex. Certainly, organic and eco-friendly products are here to stay given the interest in our environment, while natural materials such as cottons and latex will always be best-sellers. Make sure when buying latex that the cover is at least a cotton blend to promote breathability and remember to try the pillow – feel and comfort vary and no two pillows (or people!) are the same.

Happy shopping and have a safe and happy holiday season!

©Novo Textiles co 2014