Technical textiles has become a driving force of growth in the global textile sector, and it appears manufacturers are keen to capitalise on this as the number of new exhibitors for next year's Techtextil grows. 

Taking place from 9-12 May in Frankfurt, Techtextil 2017 has seen 85% of exhibition space booked, with around 15% of exhibitors taking part for the first time. To date, 750 companies from 39 countries have booked space including market leaders such as Forster Rohner, Freudenberg, PHP Fibers, Sandler, and Schoeller Textil.

According to the German Textile and Fashion Association, the turnover of the German textile and fashion industry rose by around 2% in 2015 compared to the previous year. Particularly successful were textiles and technical textiles with a growth rate in excess of 3%.

The economic climate in the sector is also good on the European plane, according to Euratex, the European Apparel and Textile Confederation, which says the production of nonwovens rose by 3%, and technical and industrial textiles by 6% from January to May 2016. Exports from European countries rose by 5% between 2014 and 2015.

In the US, technical textiles account for 37% of the country's textile production, while China is forecasting export growth of 4% in the technical textiles sector and aims to increase its production to 22m tonnes by 2020. India expects production to grow from the current level of around $18bn to $26bn by 2017.

"Technical textiles rank among the most important driving forces of growth in the textile sector," says Olaf Schmidt, vice president of textiles and textile technologies for Messe Frankfurt. "The fact that so many companies have already registered for Techtextil 2017 is an indication of how dynamically the sector is developing."

Held concurrently with Techtextil is Texprocess, the trade fair for processing textile and flexible materials, which offers insights into all aspects of textile processing, including textile finishing and digital printing.