In recent years, rapid industrialization has given rise to myriad hazardous situations for workers, which has in turn boosted the popularity of the industrial protective fabrics market. These fabrics are designed specifically to adapt to various situations, offer protection, and enable the wearer to withstand any potential hazards in their workplace. Furthermore, individuals with existing injuries or handicaps also make use of protective apparel to circumvent the risk of any further damage.
Clothing has been considered an essential part of protection for the human body for ages. Protective apparel has long been used to shield the human body from various social, physical, or environmental threats. Protective clothing thus refers to any apparel that is used to physically protect the wearer against any external threats.
Strong regulatory outlook regarding worker safety will drive industrial protective fabrics market expansion
Over the past few decades, the industrial landscape has witnessed significant evolution, in terms of workplace practices, with technological innovations triggering the emergence of novel production practices and machinery technologies. However, as industrial practices have continued to evolve, so have the potential workplace risks and hazards. This has led to an intensifying focus on safeguarding workers from life-threatening or disabling illnesses and injuries, with various authorities across the globe establishing strict workplace safety regulations and standards for efficient protective apparel.
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For instance, the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), a global nonprofit organization committed to mitigating workplace injuries as well as economic and property damage has set several standards pertaining to flame-resistant clothing and general worker safety in hazardous situations. The NFPA 2112 standard, for example, regulates the design, production, and certification of flame-resistant apparel, to ensure optimum industrial worker safety in flash-fire conditions, with specific requirements for the industrial safety fabric that enable it to decrease the severity of short-duration thermal exposures.
High price points of good quality fabrics may hamper industry development
High-performance fabrics are essential to the efficiency of protective apparel. However, inconsistent supply patterns of these products are leading to an increase in prices for these raw materials, which is in turn presenting a significant roadblock to industrial protective fabrics market growth. Furthermore, industry growth may witness challenges due to the growing utilization of inferior quality and duplicate materials due to their low costs.
Burgeoning adoption of poly-cotton material for protective apparel will serve as a key trend fueling industry growth
Poly-cotton is rapidly emerging as a popular industrial safety fabric, given its myriad benefits including tear & abrasion resistance, breathability, and durability. Poly-cotton fabric is more cost-effective than pure cotton fabrics and combines the functional strengths of both polyester and cotton fabrics. The most common cotton to polyester ratio in poly-cotton fabrics is 65:35, which is the most popular for industrial applications, mainly due to its durability and price advantages over regular materials. poly-cotton material is also known for its longer life span. In fact, an ETSA (European Textile Services Association) study suggests that workers donning cotton-polyester blends during industrial activities require 25% less new clothes than workers who choose 100% cotton.
Technological and manufacturing advancements will present strong growth prospects to the industrial protective fabrics industry
The industrial protective fabrics market is witnessing prolific changes stemming from rapid technological innovations and novel production processes. These advancements, which include the emergence of new materials and advanced textile processing methods have greatly enhanced protective fabrics, with numerous R&D programs being focused on developing and commercializing new textile technologies on a global scale.
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For instance, a new protective apparel technology, dubbed the SmartSkin hydrogel, is designed to reinforce a composite Lycra/nylon-based wet suit fabric, by leveraging a hydrophobic/hydrophilic copolymer woven into a layer of open-cell foam bonded to a layer of closed-cell neoprene fabric on the inside. The SmartSkin hydrogel is built to absorb cold water that enters the suit and prevents the entry of more water into the apparel, by expanding and closing openings at the neck, hands, and feet. The water inside the suit is heated up in contact with the body. This novel protective fabric technology is designed to regulate the internal temperature within the suit, sans the need for mechanical or battery action.
Comfort, light weight, and high resistance to heat, tears, and other influences are the main factors expected to drive the development of protective fabrics in the years ahead. As textile trends continue their shift towards more durable and multi-functional clothing with superior mechanical and chemical resistance over the years, the industrial protective fabrics market is likely to witness many lucrative opportunities for growth in the foreseeable future.
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