The Techtextil/Texprocess fair, held in Frankfurt from May 9 to 12, 2017 attracted a large turnout of textile machinery manufacturers, with the contingent of Italian suppliers showcasing some innovative products.

The Association of Italian Textile Machinery Manufacturers, popularly known by its acronym ACIMIT, told CTA that it provides a common roof to companies that account for more than 80% of the Italian textile machinery production worth some €2.6 billion, with exports contributing the main share of this value.

Italian textile machines, comprising spinning, weaving, knitting, finishing and laundry machines, are exported to about 130 countries, mainly in Asia and Europe.

Italian exhibitors showcased a wide range of products under the aegis of the Italian pavilion at the show, attracting a steady stream of inquisitive visitors and potential buyers.

Raffaella Carabelli, sales director of Fadis SpA, headquartered in Solbiate Arno, was exhibiting precision-winding machines which, as she put it, were of “100% of Italian origin”.

Raffaella Carabelli, sales director of Fadis SpA.Over 90% of our production is exported to 70 countries around the world, Asian importers being the biggest buyers of our machines.  We sell to China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, etc. However, Italy also continues to be an important market for us,” Carabelli explained in an interview with the CTA at the show.

Carabelli maintained that customization of her machines suited to the specific needs of the customers was the key attribute of her products. This factor, she said, appealed very much to the individual customer.

Fadis S.p.A. has been able to triple its turnover to €27 million in 2016 compared to the 2011 turnover. One characteristic of the globalization phenomenon is that more and more buyers were resorting to local production. Indeed, buyers are increasingly looking for reliable local suppliers. Chinese companies, for example, are investing in high cost machines to reduce their labour costs which have risen sharply.

Carabelli was also bullish about Southeast Asian markets such as Indonesia, the Philippines, etc. Textile manufacturers from a number of traditional Asian supplying countries such as India, Bangladesh, China and Turkey were moving to Africa whose low-cost production was giving them a sharp competition edge.

Another Italian company whose products attracted visitors was Mesdan SpA of Puegnago del Garda, near Milan, whose product group included technical accessories, laboratory and measuring equipment, cloth-tech, protective clothing, sportswear, sport-tech general, etc.

Claudio Bertolotti, Mesdan’s area manager.We have two lines: firstly, the yarn-joining devices without any sign of a knot, and secondly testing equipment for quality control. Some 90% of our production is exported, mainly, to Asian countries such as China, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Turkey, but we also supply to the United States, Germany, etc. We have also been supplying to Ethiopia, Mauritius, etc. which have, increasingly, strengthened their textile-manufacturing prowess,” said Claudio Bertolotti, Mesdan’s area manager, in an interview with the CTA.

But Bertolotti also discerned signs suggesting that textile manufacturing could return to the United States which relies heavily on textile and garment imports. He also wondered what the long-term impact of increasing Chinese involvement in the U.S. textile industry would mean. He pointed out that a Chinese company had recently taken over a textile company in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Bertolotti was “very pleased” with the quality of visitors at the show, who came from various sectors such as automotive, aerospace and other industries to identify suitable suppliers of technical textiles. “We received visitors from far-flung places like Brazil though we had, mainly, visitors from Europe,” he said.

Alba-based Bianco SpA, an Italian company which for 40 years has been designing and manufacturing machinery with advanced technology for the textile finishing segment for the technical textile industry and, more recently, for the fast-growing non-woven fabric industry, was showcasing machines and accessories for textile finishing. The machines and accessories, as Luca Fabris, the company’s area sales manager told CTA, were entirely designed and manufactured in house.

According to Fabris, the company has three major markets for its three segments: for machinery, the company’s major market is Asia; for devices, it is Europe and for quality-control systems, the markets are Europe, Asia and Turkey.

The markets are changing fast in our times. Labour costs in Bangladesh, for example, are rising. Many Bangladeshis are, in fact, thinking of relocating their production facilities to African countries such as Ethiopia … India and China are also doing the same. However, Ethiopia needs to build up infrastructure for textile manufacturing. Our company’s markets will continue to be Asia, Europe and South America,” Luca Fabris, the area sales manager, said.

There were about 70 Italian machinery manufacturing companies, in all, at the Techtextil/Texprocess 2017 fair.

Of these, 25 companies were exhibiting in the exhibition area organised by the Italian Trade Agency and ACIMIT.  Exhibiting companies under the ACIMIT aegis included: 4M Plants, Beschi, Bianco, Bombi, Bonino, Canalair, Carù, Cogne, Cubotex, Dell’orco & Villani, Etv, Fadis, Mesdan, Monti-Mac, Noseda, Pmt Ribbons, Ratti, Rollmac, Sariel, Saspe, Sicam, Textape, Toscana Spazzole, Unitech, and Zappa.

Michael Jänecke, director, Brand Management Technical Textiles & Textile Processing, Messe Frankfurt.In recent years, the technical and innovative textiles industry has seen a great deal of development in many markets, and especially in Europe, where over 30% of revenue in the textile industry is derived from the production of textiles for technical and innovative applications.

Demand for such products has consequently also driven a demand for ad hoc machinery specifically designed for this sector. The offering promoted by Italy’s textile machinery industry is thus expanding to the new demands of customers operating in this specific sector. ACIMIT estimates that more than 100 of its member companies are now working in this sector.

“Technical textiles rank among the most important driving forces of growth in the textile sector,” said Olaf Schmidt, vice president, Textiles and Textile Technologies, Messe Frankfurt. “The fact that so many companies have already registered for Techtextil 2017 is an indication of how dynamically the sector is developing.

“The technical-textile sector offers the textile solutions needed to move around and survive in space,” said Michael Jänecke, director, Brand Management Technical Textiles & Textile Processing, Messe Frankfurt. “This is what we will show in a professional, and at the same time, entertaining way on a dedicated area at the trade fair. For visitors, the area will offer inspiration and orientation.”