German textile machine builder Schlafhorst is predicting further high growth in the garment sector for elastane yarns such as Lycra.

The company, part of the Swiss-based Saurer Group, says production of these yarns over recent years increased by an average of 10 per cent per annum A similar growth rate is anticipated in the medium term.

Global elastane fibre consumption of more than 200,000 tonnes a year is expected, with the most important manufacturers being DuPont (Lycra), Korea's Tae Kwang Industrial (Acelan) and Bayer (Dorlastan).

Schlafhorst says around 50 per cent of clothing worldwide already contains some form of elastane in blends with other yarns, although this figure may be slightly exaggerated.

It adds that besides traditional applications in knitwear, underwear, hosiery and swimwear, primarily for sport, leisure and children's clothing, elastane yarns are increasingly being used in jeans and more fashionable items such as jackets and trousers.

By Geoff Fisher.