Several European FP6/FP7 smart textiles projects resulted in a variety of high market potential developments. Representative NMP projects are SAFE@SEA–advanced personal protective clothing; POLYTECT–smart textile materials for reinforcing and monitoring infrastructure and DEPHOTEX–flexible photovoltaic textiles.
SUSTA-SMART will start from the standardisation needs encountered in these projects, which had each at least one SUSTA-SMART partner involved, as well as those from a carefully selected group of other FP6/FP7 projects. Given the wide range of potential applications, the efforts will be restricted to three focus domains: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), construction and infrastructure and consumer goods.
Although first steps have been taken, the interaction between research and standardisation can still be improved tremendously. SUSTA-SMART opts for a systematic three step approach to forward standardisation:
- Mapping both the relevant standardisation actors and the standardisation issues of the FP6/FP7 projects. For the latter, a standardisation strategy audit procedure will be worked out.
- Synthesising and prioritising of the needs, based on a broad consensus, leading to a standardisation roadmap.
- Compilation of dedicated standardisation input documents (including New Work Item Proposals) and presenting them to relevant standardisation committees. Of special interest will be CEN TC 248 WG31 – Smart textiles, the convenor of which will also serve as the coordinator of SUSTA-SMART. Also liaising with other relevant actors (including in North-American ones) is foreseen.
Standardisation is a key issue for further exploitation and commercialisation of smart textiles, especially for PPE and construction as it supports legal provision in those areas. By teaming up with a group of external partners (14 companies and 4 standardisation actors supplied a support letter) SUSTA-SMART is convinced it collected sufficient critical mass to reach its ambitious goals.