Innovation in the Textile Sector

Research and Development in the Textile Sector. Think Research and Development (R&D) in textiles… now think again. Textiles are present in a wide variety of applications responding to the needs of customers. From the fabrics used in automotive and aerospace…

Blog15th Feb 2022

By Derek Gemmell

Research and Development in the Textile Sector.

Think Research and Development (R&D) in textiles… now think again.

Textiles are present in a wide variety of applications responding to the needs of customers. From the fabrics used in automotive and aerospace applications, to sports, architectural, defence and health applications – the textile sector is full of potential for R&D activities:

  • Designing materials and fabrics for specific properties (e.g. biodegradable fibres, extreme thermal performance).
  • Adapting existing materials, fabrics or combinations for new purposes.
  • Developing new and more efficient production processes, reducing waste and/or carbon emissions.
  • Developing monitoring, control and testing instruments or processes.

Imagine a textile with Graphene fibres embedded, able to exploit the electro-conductivity of this material to create electronics (i.e. sensors). These could be integrated into textiles for monitoring and diagnostics like an electrocardiogram, for detecting toxic gases, enabling electrical stimulation or serving as energy storage.

But if you think textiles are limited to just fabric development… think again.

Expanding the reach of digital technologies and data driven processes are becoming increasingly important in the manufacturing sector, and textiles are no exception. Sharing real time material/products tracking, production statistics and more could lead to efficiency gains and better-informed decision making. This englobes the entire chain, from fibre producers to spinners/weavers and fabric manufacturers – all pursuing a reduced carbon footprint.

The UK tax system provides companies with enhanced tax relief for expenditure on qualifying R&D activities. These activities could deliver a cash flow benefit to those innovating in the textile sector, as long as projects comply with the key eligibility criteria required.  This relief can:

  • Reduce existing tax liabilities;
  • Result in a cash payment to the company; and
  • Reduce future tax liabilities.

The claims process followed by AAB for R&D tax relief.

  1. Working together with AAB’s specialist R&D engineers, the qualifying R&D projects are identified.
  2. Working together with AAB’s specialist R&D engineers, the qualifying expenditure on the identified R&D projects is collected.
  3. AAB’s specialist R&D engineers prepare the claim package: supporting technical report and cost assessment.
  4. The claim is filed with the submission into HMRC’s portal.
  5. After processed by HMRC, the cash flow benefit is delivered.
  6. Repeat process next year.

To find out more about the importance of R&D in the textile sector, please contact Derek Gemmell or your usual AAB contact.

By Derek Gemmell

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