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The Rupp Report

The Rupp Report: ITMA Flash VII

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

In this first week of 2012, the Rupp Report continues its information about ITMA 2011 in Barcelona. This week, the Rupp Report takes a look at Germany-based Groz-Beckert KG, which started its business more than 150 years ago as a producer of knitting machine parts. It goes without saying that nowadays the group is one of the most important suppliers of precision components in the field of textiles, and, in particular, of different kinds of high-performance needles for various textile applications. The global company has production sites in Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Portugal, North America, India and China employing some 7,000 people; as well as a sales network spanning more than 150 countries.

Large Portfolio
Over the years, the company has enlarged its portfolio with the acquisition of other companies and today can offer sewing machine parts, felting and structuring needles for nonwovens processing, as well as tufting components. Over the last 15 months, the group has enlarged its production program into the sector of weaving machine parts, weaving preparation and knitting cylinders.

Good Show
The Rupp Report talked with Harry Jetter, head of communications for the Groz-Beckert Group, about the outcome of ITMA in Barcelona. Like other interviewed exhibitors, Jetter has only reported good news so far, only questioning the rhythm of the ITMAs in Asia and Europe. He said ITMA Asia and ITMA Europe should each be held every four years — altogether every two years in alternation. Surprisingly, Jetter mentioned that most of Groz-Beckert's visitors came from Germany, then India and Latin America. And how were the visitor frequency and quality? "Well," Jetter said, "we are very happy. The frequency as well as the quality of the visitors was excellent. Our booth was always full with people, and our expectations were more than fulfilled. Frankly speaking, we didn't expect this huge success."

Regarding new products, and as a supplier to the knitting industry, Jetter mentioned only the new idea presented by Germany-based Mayer & Cie. — the spinitsystems machine that spins and knits in the same production process. "That is the only real novelty we did see at ITMA," he added. It was no surprise that ITMA's new setup with 18 different segments is very important for Groz-Beckert: "Absolutely," he said, "as a supplier with a broad portfolio, we can see now all our customers with the exceptions of tufting and sewing."

It was also no surprise for Groz-Beckert that Asia, and in particular China, is the most important market at the moment. "However," Jetter added, "Europe is very important too for us, especially in high-end markets. But every market with a high demand for technology and developments is very important for us."

World-record Needle
Among the highlights at the Groz-Beckert booth were the new ultrafine needles. In Barcelona, the company presented its product for a new knitting technology with the finest knitting cylinder for ultrafine knitted fabrics in gauge E90, which is claimed to be a world-record product.

Another highlight was the so-called high performance in nonstop operation. "Due to a needle modification, large-diameter circular knitting machines can now produce at even higher speed," Jetter said. "We changed the cheek geometry. At the same time, the service life of the needles has been extended." He pointed out that the needle modification has already been patented in the United States, Japan and South Korea. For Europe and China, patent applications have been submitted. According to Jetter, the feedback was very good: "We are very satisfied with the response of our customers."

Market Situation And Outlook
How does Jetter judge the current market situation? "Well," he said, "2010 was one of our best years ever, and 2011 looks pretty promising. However, after the booming 2010, the year 2011 will be on a more average level. Weaving is quieter at the moment; all other sectors are doing very well."

Jetter is expecting the year 2012 to be quieter, saying, "We think that the level will be more even and normal." And how is Groz-Beckert approaching the upcoming years? "We have to develop constantly new products, like the E90 gauge story. Everybody must do his homework, we have to take care especially for machinery components such as parts for needle beams and such."

Next Generation
The Rupp Report previously informed its readers about another astonishing story from Groz-Beckert: The company invited some 100 of its own apprentices to visit ITMA in Barcelona. What a good plan! (See " The Rupp Report: Think About The Next Generation," www. TextileWorld .com, October 18, 2011.)

The Rupp Report wishes all its readers around the world a Happy and a Prosperous Year 2012. May all your plans be realized. See you around!

January 3, 2011