The so-called twins, Techtextil (technical textiles) and Texprocess (processing textile and flexible materials), held parallel from May 9 to 12, 2017 in Frankfurt, demonstrated the technical textile industry’s innovation prowess and preparedness to meet tomorrow’s challenges. It turned into a veritable meeting point – a confluence – where carmakers could meet fashion designers, and medical engineers could meet industrial specialists.

The industry is in a bullish mood. This was also confirmed by many exhibitors at the show.  “You notice that there is a good climate of investment in Europe. People want to get things done.  We had lots of visitors to our stand, mainly Europeans and Americans. There were also more Russian visitors than anticipated”, said Jutta Stehr, Senior Marketing Manager, Trützschler Nonwovens & Man-Made Fibers.

The products on display reflected a combination of high creativity and high technology at the two parallel events.

The pavilion of Gerber Technology, the Tolland, Connecticut-based company attracted a steady stream of visitors and potential buyers from around the world; the company is in global expansion mode as a key player in the field of integrated technology solutions for the apparel and industrial markets; it showcased its cutting machines, focusing on the digitalised machines, the YuniquePLM, etc.

As a result of the possibility of transferring the data through our YuniquePLM Design Suite Plugin, the designers can concentrate now on the designing part of the world,” explained Peter Morrissey, the senior vice president (global sales and services) at Gerber Technology in an interview with CTA at the Techtextil/Texprocess show.

According to Morrissey, the YuniquePLM System enables the customers to easily install and automatically update features through the Adobe Add-Ons Marketplace. As a result, the designers can devote their time to designing new garment pieces.

Peter Morrissey, the senior vice president (global sales and services) at Gerber Technology.We are switching now from the 3-Dimension to 2-Dimension … one can eliminate procedures and create the image faster,” said Morressey who attributed Gerber’s success in the global markets to the company’s “follow-the-needle” strategy.

Within its Accumark family, the performance of the Accunest Engine is considered to be impressive.  While the algorithm enhances the precision, the digitalized data is transferred then from Accumark to Accunest.

Morrisey pointed out that there are special machines for specific tasks. For example, the Gerber precision machine is meant for clothing and the Gerber-Taurus is meant for leather.

Gerber also maintains subsidiaries in Portugal and China; additionally, it has representations in Cambodia, Vietnam, India and Hong Kong. It commands a share of 30 to 40% of the global market in sectors such as clothing, transportation (aviation and automobile), lifestyle and leisure, graphics (tools, machines, software in advertising, etc.) and packaging. The clothing sector, as the largest market segment in Asia, accounts for a 50% share of the company’s business. “Asia is our fastest growth market in the world. Gerber’s first major market in Asia was China,” Morrissey recalled.

He discerned that the “re-shoring” phenomenon was spreading in the clothing sector, with production being established as close as possible to the customers. The Chinese are, meanwhile, investing in Africa because they can access the U.S. market through the AGOA-Agreement signed between the U.S. and African nations.  The Indian and Turkish manufacturers were also, increasingly, relocating to Africa.

Crowds thronged to the Gerber pavilion at the Frankfurt show. “There are currently uncertainties in the market, but our customers are looking optimistically into the future,” Morrissey said.  Indeed, Morrissey said that Gerber could sell its Paragon-machine accessories, software, etc. at the show itself.

The company’s latest innovation Design Suite Plugin enabled the customer to operate more efficiently, claimed Morrissey. Some interesting features of the Design Suite Plugin are:

- Color Plugin(this helps create new colour palettes) and Image Plugin (users can resort to the use of Adobe Illustrator Digital Print Template as also sketches, graphics, CAD with YuniquePLM, etc.)

- Style Plugin – Designers can create new styles from sketches on the Adobe Illustrator; all changes or renewals can be immediately viewed on the YuniquePLM.

Gerber also organized the Innovative Apparel Show at the Texprocess fair, and displayed designs created by students of design and fashion school as also by the coming generation of designers to a highly-discerning international public.

The fashion industry, which had been overtaken by other industries in the area of digitalization, is on the verge of a digital technology revolution. All the participants – from the big to the small companies, predict that digital transformation will embrace all stages of clothing production from the designing to the final sale.

Gerber has developed CAD software in 10 languages, besides instituting updates in the product lifestyle management solution and automation hardware concepts.

Stäubli presents latest technology

The Swiss company Stäubli, a leading manufacturer of high-speed textile machinery, has specialized in high-speed textile machinery, providing shedding solutions for weaving machines, weaving preparation systems, and carpet weaving systems in the traditional textile industry.  The company has intensified its efforts in research and development to extend its product range.

Fritz Legler of Stäubli.The company offers textile machinery dedicated to the production of technical textiles. “Weavers who count on Stäubli high-performance machinery benefit from features like high reliability and flexibility will be able to take the lead on the market of technical textiles with innovative and creative products for countless applications,” Fritz Legler, a senior executive of the company explained to CTA.

Stäubli highlighted two of its machines which are suited in the production process of technical textiles. Furthermore, it also displayed technical fabrics including spacers and multilayers with variable thickness that have been produced in conjunction with Stäubli products, such as TF weaving systems, dobbies, Jacquard machines, warp drawing-in, or tying equipment.

The Magma T12 warp tying machine has been developed for technical yarn ties monofilaments, coarse multi-filaments, PP ribbons, bast fibres, coarse staple fibres, and many other fibre types. It has been developed for universal application ranging from coarse technical yarns to medium yarn-count range. Its rigid design includes an optical double-end detection system.

The UNIVAL 100 single-end control Jacquard machine offers more benefits for sophisticated technical textiles, such as automotive and aeronautic textiles, technical textiles in the sports, industrial, medical sectors, and new fabric constructions, even with glass fibre, carbon, and Kevlar.

Its new TF weaving system is designed to offer virtually unlimited weaving possibilities, whether for flat, spacer, or complex multi-layer fabrics and 3D fabrics, according to the company.

Featuring latest shedding machines in combination with the double-rapier weft insertion system and a special slaying motion this system is said to allow high-volume production of up to very thick and/or dense fabrics and efficient processing of a wide variety of technical and highly sensitive yarns. This weaving system is available featuring various machinery combinations and set-ups for weaving any application and desired technical fabric.

Digital Textile Micro Factory draws crowds

On display for the first time at the show was the completely networked, integrated production chain from design through to finishing. The Digital Textile Micro Factory attracted crowds who, admittedly, came out of sheer curiosity but then discovered that this model of a micro-factory could possibly define the future for the small companies.  The micro factory includes CAD/Designing, printing, cutting, assembling, labelling and finishing.

Christian Kaiser, a researcher at the Denkendorf-based German Institute of Textile and Fibre Research, the largest research institute in Europe, said that the digital small factory is the core element of the concept model.

Kaiser told CTA that the micro factory was typically about 300 to 400 sq. meters in size. “The micro factory deploys ‘smart machines’ which perform cutting, sewing, welding, etc.,” he noted. Adidas, for example, used these machines for sports-shirts.  “We are doing ‘smart designing’,” he said. “The machines designed as per our R&D enable savings … such a machine can cost from 300,000 to 400,000, this being the smallest version of the micro factory. These machines are already available in North America. The Chinese, Swiss, Japanese and Germans are making such machines. We received many visitors enquiring about the micro factory,” said Kaiser who was being referred to as the “father of the digital factory” by one fellow researcher.