After many months – even years – of preparation, ITMA 2015 was officially opened this morning and new records have already been set.
There are a total of 1,691 exhibitors from 46 countries taking part at this year’s event, compared to the previous peak achieved in Munich in 2007, when 1,451 exhibitors from 38 countries were present.
At the opening press conference this morning, Charles Beauduin, President of Cematex, said that with 108,000 square metres of exhibition space over the 11 halls of the Fiera Milano Rho, the event is 20% larger than the last in Barcelona four years ago.
There are also quite a lot of significant anniversaries being marked at ITMA 2015 this week.
Already back in June, for example, ACIMIT – the trade association representing Italy’s manufacturers of textile machinery – was marking its 70th anniversary at special events here in Milan and on Lake Como.
Around 30% of the total exhibition space at ITMA 2015 is taken up by Italian machinery manufacturers, with a total of 453 companies occupying 32,540 square metres of space. This is an increase of over 50% compared to the last ITMA in Barcelona.
Italian textile machinery sales in 2014 were €2.3 billion, with exports accounting for around €1.94 million. Exports to Asia amounted to 41% in 2014 and those to Europe 40% (with a further 16% sold within Italy itself).
Perfectly in sync with the ITMA 2015 slogan, ‘Master the Art of Sustainable Innovation’, ACIMIT president Raffaella Carabelli observes: “The textile machinery sector is moving towards more competitive production processes, where reduced production costs, through savings in the consumption of water, energy and raw materials, are combined with greater attention to environmental issues.”
Her sentiments were echoed by Regina Brückner, chair of the textile machinery branch of Germany’s VDMA and Managing Associate of finishing machinery leader Brückner at a press conference this afternoon.
“Sustainability in terms of machinery and production is about thinking in the long term,” she said, “and considering the total life cycle of that machine and what saving and efficiencies can be made.
A series of case studies illustrating the benefits of the latest German textile machinery in these areas has just been issued and I’ll say more about them later in the week.
The three ‘E’s’
In September, it was the turn of the Swiss textile machinery organisation Swissmem to celebrate its 75th anniversary in grand style, with a gala dinner in the very beautiful Alpine spa resort of Bad Ragaz.
A major emphasis by the leading Swiss companies here in Milan this week is on what Saurer defines as E3 – for economy, energy and ergonomics.
With 4,000 employees worldwide and annual sales of around €1 billion, Saurer can draw on over 160 years of experience textile machinery development.
“We have to constantly adapt our products in order to match our understanding of major trends,” says Saurer CEO Martin Folini. “Currently, these include skilled labour shortages in key markets, most notably in China, resource efficiency – particularly in respect of energy usage – and the quick turnaround demanded by the fast fashion market.”
Another Swiss exhibitor, Uster (Hall 2, stand D104) is marking the 50th anniversary of its automatic yarn clearers which have made a solid contribution to yarn quality – today embodied in the leading Quantum 3.
Uster notes that the motivation for its development came initially from a group of spinning mills located along the River Aabach, not far from Zurich.
This area had become famous for the success of its yarn and fabric producers, with as many as 30 mills originally using the river to provide power for their machines. So profitable were these enterprises, that the Aabach was dubbed ‘the Millionaire River’ by locals.
Loepfe, meanwhile, at Hall 4, stand B101, is also celebrating 60 years of business in yarn clearers and fabric quality systems here in Milan.
On the weaving front, Picanol held an Open House event at its headquarters in Ieper, Belgium, in September to mark the 40th anniversary of the company’s rapier machine production programme.
“Because our very first rapier was presented to the world at ITMA Milan in 1975, we’re delighted it’s once again the stage for displaying some of our rapier innovations this year,” says Picanol’s Vice-President of Sales, Marketing and Services Johan Verstraete. “Since the launch of the first rapier back then, we have sold over 90,000 rapier machines throughout the world.”
Picanol currently has more than 175,000 weaving machines running in some 2,600 weaving mills worldwide and is exhibiting ten weaving machines in Hall 1 (stand D101). They are producing a wide array of fabrics, including shirting, denim, terry and automotive right through to technical fabrics. In addition, a Picanol OptiMax-i with jacquard is on display by Bonas across on stand C101 and an OMNIplus Summum demonstrated at Stäubli’s stand B111.
Finally, in June this year, the 50,000th Trützschler carding machines rolled off the production line in Mönchengladbach, Germany.
The machine is on display in Hall 2, stand C11, along with the latest TC 11 card and equipment from all four Trützschler divisions – spinning, card clothing, nonwovens and manmade fibres.
The first Trützschler card, the DK 700, was delivered in 1968, with the DK 715 introduced at ITMA 1979 in Hanover and subsequently built in large numbers.
The 25,000th card was a DK 903 manufactured in 2002.
So far, the most successful Trützschler cards have been those in the TC series, with the first, the TC 03 introduced at the ITMA 2003 in Birmingham, UK.
Meanwhile, in the first bit of news announced at the show today, German finishing machinery specialist Monforts announced the takeover of the know-how of coating specialist Timatec, based in Velden, Austria.
Timatec has a portfolio of coating units for virtually all applications – including solvents treatment and those for wider width fabrics – which will now be manufactured at the Monforts Montex factory in Austria.
Due to its small sales force, Timatec has only been active in the Central European markets to date, but has excellent references for a machine range that includes knife over air, knife over roller, magnetic roller and printing-head coating options.
Timatec’s former director will now support Monforts as a consultant.
At tonight’s Gala Dinner taking place at La Pelota, the winner of the first ITMA Sustainable Innovation Award will be announced. Read my earlier blog Technology Pioneers: The 1st ITMA Sustainable Innovation Award. Adrian Wilson is an experienced analyst and writer specialising in textiles, nonwovens and composites, and current editor of Sustainable Nonwovens, Smart Textiles and Nanotechnology.