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Austria focuses on smart textiles

November 12, 2015

The talent for innovation displayed by Austrian textile companies is one of the most important competitive advantages in the battle for international market share.

Despite the challenging international backdrop, Austria’s textile industry is experiencing pleasing growth. The revenue of the 126 companies with 12,145 employees rose to more than EUR 1.2bn in the first half of 2015 (+2%). Textile exports saw an even sharper rise of 4.9% to EUR 800m – a testament to the strong competitive ability of products “Made in Austria”. Almost 90% of production goes to European countries, with exports to the EU up by 5%. Certain special products to Africa were also very successful, undergoing a 6.6% hike.

Smart textiles is the sector which has generated the greatest success for Austria’s producers. Here the Smart-Textiles Plattform Austria links up textile companies with other industry sectors such as electronics and plastics. What’s more, so-called technical textiles already account for more than 50% of the Austrian textile industry’s total sales; the other half consists of home textiles and intermediate products for the clothing industry.

Technical textiles employ innovative materials such as carbon and glass fibres, as well as conductive filaments. They cover a broad range of products, from the textile interior of vehicles through to safety and protective textiles and medical textiles. One of the next steps will be the integration of microelectronics, sensors and actuators, opening up new functions for textiles.