ITMA 2023 virtual launch was held on social media.
ITMA 2023 virtual launch was held on social media.
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ITMA 2023 was launched virtually on social media earlier, where key figures of the show talked about what could be expected in the international textile technology fair to be held in Milan.

Members of the panel discussion included: Charles Beauduin, Chairman of ITMA services & CEO/Owner of Michel Van de Wiele NV; Alex Zucchi, President of ACIMIT (Association of Italian Textile Machinery Manufacturers) & Managing Director/ Shareholder of Ferraro SpA; Regina Brückner, ITMA services board member, Chairperson of VDMA & owner of the Brückner Group; and Oscar Rius, President of AMEC - Amtex (Spanish Association of Textile Machinery Manufacturers) & COO/Co-owner of RIUS-COMATEX.

When it comes to the opportunities being seen in the textile industry during this challenging time, Oscar Rius believes there will be opportunities in healthcare and new designs after the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that ITMA 2023 would bring a new impact on the textile industry in terms of moving towards sustainability, as global environmental problems were recognized during the pandemic. It will be a huge trend for the industry to pursue a circular economy, he added.

Sharing her viewpoints on the current difficulties and opportunities in the industry, Regina Brückner said that people have been adapting to digitalization. “There is a chance that we will work in a different way in the future. And, of course, digitalization will bring a lot of positive move-forwards to our industry, but in the end, it is about personal contact.”

Digitalization

However, new innovations and solutions that will be presented at ITMA 2023 may still be in planning stage. “What we are going to see in 2023 probably is not yet developed because digitalization now is booming and improving. Every day there is a new developer,” Alex Zucchi stated. “Certainly, digitalization will be one of the most important things. We will see machines interconnected and everything will be more sophisticated.”

Alex Zucchi continued, “We will give the opportunity and let everybody, even the smallest company, to be on this platform, to show them it is possible that even a small-size company can be present all over the world just with a click.”

He said small companies may have to form ties with each other if they want to survive and he predicts that mergers in the textile industry would happen more frequently in the coming years. “We have to intensify the cooperation to be more powerful and invest in what is for the future - that I said before is digitalization. This is certainly the trend.”

Charles Beauduin remarked that many technologies including digital printing and jacquard weaving are getting digitalized and we may see  breakthroughs that are at this moment unimaginable in the next ITMA.

Sustainability

Regarding the issue of making the textile industry more sustainable, the audience asked if there would be new offers in post-consumer solutions. Regina Brückner anticipated that sustainable production would be a trend reflected at ITMA 2023, adding that consumers want to know about the textile supply chain –  where the goods are made and how they are made.

She said that  traceability in the textile supply chain is appreciated by consumers and will be better realized with digitalization. “I think with the help of digital utilization, we will have traceability and a more sustainable way of production.”

To further talk about sustainability, progress of the textile industry moving towards Circular Economy was discussed.

Charles Beauduin observed that the textile industry has been quickly picking up to make products in a circular way, reducing the global footprint. “We see a lot of investments going into...  how to regenerate the waste that we produce, for example. The plastic bottles that we now see are being reused in textiles,” he said.

Advancements in textile machinery can enable the industry to achieve sustainability and circular economy.

Oscar Rius stressed that sustainability is not only related to end-products but also the whole process. He named some ways of how the industry can try doing so as to achieve a more sustainable production. For example, equipping the machines with solar panels, using materials that can be retaken back to the market and recycled, as well as reducing energy and water consumption.