A competitive textile industry
Australian manufacturing constantly faces pressure from increasing production costs and mounting global competition. To increase market share our manufacturing businesses need to grow through competitive advantage, and improved profitability.
Entering and expanding into international markets is vital for the longevity of Australia's manufacturing industry. It is important that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) receive the research and development resources and capabilities which allow them to maintain competitiveness in the global market.
Textor Technologies, a Victorian family-owned company, produces an array of technical textiles used in health care, personal hygiene and industrial products.
These technical textiles that make up incontinence products in particular, focus on moisture management through permeable barrier materials.
The competitive technical advantage in this product sector, comes from material with advanced fluid absorption.
Textor's goal was to enter the international market by demonstrating a significant technical advantage over competitive products, many of which are produced in low labour cost countries
CSIRO and Textor co-invested, initially through the then Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and "Researcher in Business" Program, and later via sequential bilateral arrangements, to conduct research into:
- surface treatments of textiles using plasma
- understanding moisture transport via capillary action
- odour reduction; and new composite web structures.
Ultimately, the research culminated in the invention of a novel three-dimensional fabric that is employed as a next-to-skin component of predominantly infant diapers.
The fabric, produced via hydroentanglement, is highly effective in facilitating moisture movement away from the 'point of insult' and into the absorbent layer of the diaper whilst maintaining a sense of dryness, and hence comfort, to the wearer.
The product can be efficiently produced in large quantities.
The new material has been incorporated into the millions of nappies produced around the world by global company Kimberly-Clark.
Competitive advantage for an Australian business
CSIRO's commercial engagement with Textor resulted in a new product development, in turn increasing annual gross turnover. Textor now manufactures the novel moisture-management fabric, making it a key supplier to the global market via Kimberly Clark Corporation.
Textor has also invested substantially in its manufacturing plant, particularly in the areas of automation and data management to support expansion into international export markets, including the Asia-Pacific Region, Russia and the United States.
Much of this investment occurred during the period of Australian/US dollar parity, taking advantage of currency strength to make capital purchases.
The export achievements and success of Textor, in conjunction with its ability to tap into the benefits of co-investing with CSIRO to achieve measureable outcomes, is a compelling demonstration of the ability of adaptable and determined Australian manufacturing companies to succeed in competitive global markets.
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