UPDATED | Technical Textiles in Northern Ireland

The local technical textiles group held a recent meeting and had an exciting line up of industry speakers.

Speakers included:

Barbara Shepherd, Associate Dean for Enterprise in the Department of Apparel at Manchester Metropolitan University. Barbara has been involved in garment manufacturing for more than 20 years including supply to the leading UK high street retailers.

Joan Johnston, MD Bespoke Fabrics. Jean is a textile designer with experience in weave, print and knit, using Scottish cashmere, English silk jacquard and Irish linen, Joan has spent 17 years working with clients such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Hermes and Burberry.

Michael Thompson, MD Resonate Testing. Resonate Testing Ltd is a new commercial test house for organisations in need of high quality testing and certification services within all industrial sectors. Resonate Testing is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Nacelle Group, the parent company of the highly reputable aerospace engineering organisation.

Download speaker presentation from the Technical Textiles group meeting.


07 Jul, 2015

Technical Textiles is a growing variety of products and manufacturing techniques being developed primarily for their technical properties and performance rather than their appearance or other aesthetic characteristics.

In the UK, Technical Textiles are estimated to represent £1.2 billion in turnover and in the EU this is an estimated €36 billion. A key growth area is textile chemicals.


The time is right to build on this strong foundation and embrace collaboration to supply and deliver, highly-innovative products, embracing new emerging technologies and high value manufacturing. We are proposing to re-establish a formal Technical Textile collaborative network or cluster in Northern Ireland. The network would aim to support greater levels of innovation for mutual benefits across a variety of sectors utilising Technical Textiles.

Re-establish a formal Technical Textile collaborative network

The network would be expected to support innovation across the value chain by tapping into the local technical expertise that exists in the Northern Ireland Advanced Composites and Engineering Centre (NIACE) and national expertise available from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.


Technical Textiles workshop

As a first step towards this goal we held a workshop on 12 June in Belfast, bringing together local industry representatives, the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and university researchers to explore how local companies can benefit from the growth opportunities that exist in the area of Technical Textiles and identify how they might work together in the future.

At the event, we outlined how we can offer the sector a range of R&D support and advice. It was also outlined how, for those with ambition, collaboration between local companies and academia can offer a way forward to global market.


Northern Ireland has a broad range of skills, expertise and capability in the production and use of Technical Textiles.

Also presenting was Dr Alistair McIlhagger who has many years experience and is expert in 3D weaving of composite fibres and one of the founders of the NIACE centre.

Feedback from the event was extremely positive and indicated attendees would like to be involved in some form of Technical Textiles Collaborative Network. We hope to confirm a date and venue for a facilitation workshop to establish this network.

Further information

View the guest speaker presentations.
Article | 3D weaving with Axis Composites.
Article | Local companies Tactility Factory, Mourne Textiles, McBurney and Black and Enrich and Endure are featured in Issue 1 Textiles magazine, 2015.

If you missed technical textiles event but want to find out more about our support contact us on 0800 181 4422.