Textile technologists have scientific knowledge of the structure and properties of raw and finished textiles and of the conversion of fibres or filaments to all types of fabrics, such as spinning, weaving, knitting; the manufacture of non-woven materials, dying, printing and finishing. They also need an understanding of the problems involved in the production of textile fabrics.
Raw materials of textile manufacturing pass through many hands before they become finished fabrics. These may include natural fibres such as wool and cotton or synthetic fibres such as nylon or polyester. However, regardless of the raw material used, most textiles are produced by spinning the fibre into yarn, weaving or knitting yarn into fabric and dyeing and finishing the fabric. As a result most employees in the textile industry are directly involved in production, either working with their hands or operating machinery.
Important to the textile industry, but not directly involved in production, are textile designers and textile technologists who have special talents and post-school training in order to perform effectively on technical, supervisory and administrative levels.
Professional textile technologists have a broad range of specialist areas to choose from, including: knitted shade netting, pantyhose or woven denim fabrics or curtaining, as well as carpeting and non-woven fabrics used for road or dam construction.
In industry, textile technologists are engaged in quality control of products or processes, or they are involved in supervising the production of textiles. They are also concerned with organisational and personnel problems associated with running factories. Textile technologists also assist with technical advice in organisations concerned with the supplying or purchasing of many products used by the textile industry or in technical sales where the technologist advises customers on the best use of suitable products.
Textile technologists may also specialise in research in order to develop new or improved processes or materials. Laboratory technologists do physical, chemical or microscopic analyses on textiles, pigments and cleansing agents such as soap and detergents.
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