TexEng Software Ltd – software, consultancy and conferences for the technical textile industry
The University of Manchester has a strong record in research on the structural mechanics of textile materials. At the start of the 21st century, projects supported by the UK Technology Strategy Board through the TechniTex Faraday Partnership led to the development of software, TechText CAD, for modeling the geometry and mechanics of 2D woven fabrics. Workshops were held to demonstrate the programs to the technical textiles industry. Another important area of research covered the design and production of 3D woven fabrics aimed at a variety of applications. Weave Engineer, which is part of TexhText CAD, has been extensively used in 3D fabric research.
In 2004, TexEng Software Ltd was set-up as a spin-off company from the University in order to commercialise these developments. The shareholders were those who participated in the developments.
- Dr Xiaogang Chen
- Professor John Hearle
- Brian McCarthy
- Tension Technology International Ltd (TTI)
Unfortunately, the technical textiles industry is not ready to exploit the surge of computer aided design (CAD) and performance prediction that has swept through most engineering industries. The wealth of traditional experience, practical expertise and ingenuity enables companies to produce textile fabrics that meet customer needs without computing input. When necessary, trial-and-error enables an approach to optimum solutions to be achieved.
The dominance of this traditional culture means that there have been no sales of TechText CAD and hence there has been no creative interchange between developers and users that would make the software more attractive for industrial use. Current cultural changes, particularly the demands of customers in engineering industries, mean that CAD will need to be adopted in the coming years. TechText Software Ltd remains ready to work with companies that wish to embrace this change.
Consulting and a very successful series of conferences on 3D Fabrics and their Applications have enabled the company to survive. The first conference was in Manchester in 2008. Others have followed in USA, China, Germany and India, with the sixth due to be held in Raleigh, NC, USA in May 2015.