Technical textiles are increasingly replacing traditional materials in challenging applications, and their end uses are becoming more and more diverse - which in turn is driving demand for highly specified needles and threads.

Needles must be able to withstand the physical demands of the stitching processes used to manufacture technical textile products, and threads must maintain their integrity in the extreme environments in which many technical textile products are used.

In order to cater to the requirements of the industry, many manufacturers of sewing needles tailor the geometry of their products to the demands of the technical textile that is being sewn, a new report says. They are also applying special coatings to sewing needles in order to improve their performance and enhance production efficiency.

For instance, Organ Needle's NY2 series of sewing needles helps to counteract the problem of skipped stitching. And in Groz-Beckert's MR sewing needle, the risk of needle deflection has been reduced through the use of a special blade and scarf geometry. Schmetz's Serv 7 sewing needle has a blade with a conical reinforcement which increases needle stability and helps to prevent the needle from deflecting.

In addition, titanium nitride coatings are used to strengthen the needle, and anti-adhesive coatings are applied to prevent substances from adhering to the needle during sewing.

Sewing threads which are designed to be used in technical textile applications must possess a number of important characteristics in order to ensure that they maintain their integrity under extreme conditions. Such characteristics include high strength and flexibility, as well as resistance to chemicals, high temperatures, fungi and mildew.

One example of such threads is Amann's K-tech range of threads made from tow spun para-aramid fibres. Another is Gore Tenara sewing thread by WL Gore & Associates. This is made using ePTFE fibre, making it highly resistant to UV light, extreme weather conditions and chemicals.

Also, glass fibre is increasingly being used to manufacture sewing threads in order to provide resistance to extremely high temperatures.

In the future, the proliferation of technical textiles will give rise to further opportunities for introducing greater innovation, higher quality and added value to needles and threads used in the manufacture of such textiles.

The report 'Sewing needles and threads for technical textiles' is published by Textiles Intelligence in issue No 93 of Technical Textile Markets. Click here for more details.