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New beginnings in a post-pandemic world

By CEMATEX President Ernesto Maurer, 04 Jan 2021


CEMATEX President Ernesto Maurer shares his views and hopes after a year of economic and social challenges.


The year 2020 was a year of massive disruption caused by the global coronavirus pandemic. Hence, it is with great expectations and hopes that we welcome 2021.


We were fortunate that ITMA had been successfully staged in Barcelona in the summer of 2019. Organised at a peak in the textile machinery investment cycle, the exhibition had all the hallmarks of a good show: a great host city and venue, huge exhibition size with a record number of exhibitors, and delighted participants with business objectives met.


The success of ITMA parallels that of the textile industry – one of the oldest industries in the world. Despite the many challenges that have threatened entire industries, the textile industry has remarkably emerged stronger from each crisis.


Today, advanced materials are used from day-to day use clothes and garments, up to space suits that keep astronauts alive in the very hostile vacuum conditions of space, and meltblown nonwoven fabric has become the material of choice for face masks and other personal protection equipment during this crisis.


The resilience of the industry can be credited to the continuous research and development needs, coupled with the willingness of textile industrialists to embrace innovative ideas and technologies, and to seize opportunities created by global trends and changes in consumer’s behaviour.


The pandemic has brought sustainability to the fore. The acceleration towards a sustainable textile and garment industry could present opportunities for technology and solution providers as business leaders look at improving existing processes and business models and finding innovative new practices and strategies.


A research based on a quantitative survey of 150 top European and American brand executives in the fashion, retail and textile industry undertaken by the Economist Intelligence Unit last July revealed that sustainability is business critical.


These leaders report that they are introducing sustainability measures throughout the supply chain, from sourcing sustainably produced raw materials (65%) and investing in new technologies, such as 3D printing and blockchain (41%).


The role of Industry 4.0 has also become even more critical during this pandemic. Businesses leveraging digital solutions are better-positioned to weather the storm as they could respond faster than their competitors.


As the world pivots towards digitalisation, ITMA is also breaking new ground. It will be providing an online sourcing platform to connect sellers and buyers 24x7. The platform which complements the quadrennial exhibition will enable manufacturers to maximise opportunities and transact more effectively all year round.


As we continue to reinvent and to make ITMA a relevant industry platform, we will be introducing other new initiatives for the 2023 exhibition. The show and supporting events will centre on the theme Transforming the World of Textiles, and sub themes as diverse as advanced materials, automation and digital future, innovative technologies, and sustainability and circularity.


We invite you to be part of the global textile community and to showcase your innovations at ITMA 2023. We are confident that the Milan show will have the same ingredients that has guaranteed the immense success of every ITMA exhibition.


Until we are able to meet in person, we wish you good health and success as we cautiously navigate 2023.

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