Urs Stalder, CEO, Sanitized AG, talks about the increasing use of hygiene functions in textile products, using intelligent systems for odour management in activewear, and expansion activities of the company in China.
How big is the market for antimicrobial function and protection specifically for textiles? Which countries have high demand for such products?
Official numbers summarising the market segment do not exist. Experts estimate the market volume for antimicrobial treated textiles at US$0.8 to US $1.2 billion dollar exchange rate. Major markets today are in the United States of America, Europe, Japan and South America. We have observed a growing interest in China and other Asian countries.
What fabrics can be treated for hygiene? Is the effect the same across the spectrum?
One should know that an antimicrobial treatment produces a wide range of different effects. Depending on the material, intended use and expected benefits, the effects can be intelligently combined.
Sportswear and work clothing can be protected against bacteria and odours. With textiles worn close to the body, the result is a pleasant, fresh feeling and improved wearing comfort. In addition, mattresses and bedding can be treated against dust mite infestation and mildew growth. For outdoor textiles or architectural textiles such as awnings or other light management textiles, a protective function against mildew makes sense. This prevents deterioration of the material, the product remains functional longer and the desired aesthetic appearance is preserved for a longer period of time.
Which textile products (apparel, home textile, medical textile) use your hygiene function the most? The markets for which, according to you, are growing?
Each of the three segments contains products that acquire genuine added value due to the Sanitized antimicrobial treatment:
In apparel these are sportswear and outdoor clothing, socks, underwear and work clothing. Mattresses, towels (especially for hotels) and carpets dominate the home textiles. And in the medical field they are mattresses, bedding as well as staff clothing.
The Sanitized® hygiene function supports and supplements existing hygiene concepts effectively here.
The demand for all segments is growing. And the demand from the manufacturers and customers for innovative technologies is skyrocketing. Sanitized is actively doing research and working closely together with the producing industry here.
How aware are end users of hygiene functions like antimicrobial treatments? In which countries do you see demand for such products increasing?
Consumers are increasingly better informed - naturally also due to the Internet. They are actively looking for information about textiles with antimicrobial treatments, and they are looking for safety and requiring transparency in the entire textile production chain.
For that reason, many of our customers are using the Sanitized Ingredient Brand in their marketing activities to underscore the superior value, reliability and quality of the built-in hygiene function. The number of our licensed partners who label their finished products with the Sanitized Quality Seal is steadily increasing. For the brand owners / textile manufacturers this means an appreciation of the value of a product and a way of distinguishing themselves from the competition.
There are also growing markets in the United States of America and Europe.