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The Rupp Report: ITMA Asia + CITME 2012: It All Starts With Yarn Forming

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

After last week's interview with various executives in the weaving machinery sector, the Rupp Report is taking a look at the beginning of the textile production chain: the yarn-forming sector — or, in other words, spinning.

New All-Time High For Spindle Shipments
Spindle shipments enjoyed a new record in 2011: According to the most recent shipments statistics from the Switzerland-based International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF), after dropping in 2008 and 2009, worldwide shipments of new short-staple spindles recovered by 75 percent in 2010. In 2011, they rose further by 15 percent reaching an all-time high of 14.33 million. Asia was the destination for 94 percent of the total, with China 62 percent of global shipments; and India, 17 percent. Open-end rotor investments jumped in 2011 by 27 percent to a record high of 572,250. Asia again led, taking 81percent of global shipments, with China taking 68 percent of the total; and India, 6.6 percent (See " The Rupp Report: Positive News Ahead For ITMA Asia + CITME 2012," TextileWorld.com, May 22, 2012).

ITMA Asia + CITME — A Success
The Rupp Report talked to Edda Walraf, head of technology & marketing for Switzerland-based Rieter Machine Works Ltd. and André Wissenberg, vice president of marketing & corporate communications for now-Shanghai-based Oerlikon Textile.

Walraf said, "From our point of view, ITMA Asia was a success."

Wissenberg added: "ITMA Asia was an excellent show for us. What we expected from the visitors side was that there should have been more people from outside China. And, more people on the last two days. But finally, the quality of the discussions was good."

Both mentioned that most of the visitors came from China, "almost 90 percent," according to Walraf. However, there were also people from Southeast Asia, Pakistan and the Middle East; and a few from other regions. And the expectations were fulfilled. "Yes, with respect to the number and quality of visitors. Yes, with regard to the countries from which the visitor would come after ITMA Barcelona and ITM in Turkey some months ago and India ITME in some months to come," Walraf added. Also the quality of the visitors was judged to be rather good.

But, was there any difference between this ITMA Asia and the last one? "Yes," said Wissenberg. "Less people, more quality. That's the trend, which we have also seen at ITMA Barcelona 2011."

Positive Feedback On New Products
Both companies presented new products for the first time at ITMA Asia + CITME and had very positive feedback. "The main spotlight of Oerlikon Barmag was on Wings for FDY [fully drawn yarn], with the first production systems being commissioned in the first quarter of 2012. The market and the customers are open for this new modular concept," Wissenberg said. Oerlikon Schlafhorst presented its new ZinserImpact 71 compact spinning machine in combination with the Autoconer X5. "With the new ZinserImpact 71, the integrated Impact FX compact technology is now available as an entry-level model in a new class of machine," he claimed.

"Rieter introduced its new comber E 80," Walraf said. "This machine has a further increased productivity and can further increase the yarn quality and/or save material. The new unique round comb is an innovation, and we are certain that our Chinese customers in particular will appreciate the new yarn quality standards that can be reached. The visitors were interested in understanding the new solution and the accompanying benefits for their products and economy."

She continued: "Big interest was in our air-jet spinning machine that we showed for the first time in China. Customers are interested in understanding the machine concept, the yarn quality, the application range and the performance. Rieter is the only supplier that can supply and therefore consult about all four spinning technologies. But also, our new R 60 rotor-spinning machine enjoyed appreciation. The new box achieves better spin stability and therefore better quality at higher speed - a development that supports economy for our customers." According to Walraf, reasons for this success are that "there is a labor shortage in China. Solutions with a higher degree of automation are in the focus of investment. J 20 and R 60 are fully automated systems with low power consumption per kilogram of yarn."

"The new ZinserImpact71 and the Wings for FDY are the right answers to the requests that our customers address to us," Wissenberg mentioned. Both Rieter and Oerlikon Textile signed contracts at ITMA Asia 2012.

Asia The Most Important Market Region
Is the European market still important for Oerlikon Textile and Rieter? "Yes, if we look at the nonwovens markets," Wissenberg said. . "This is also true for BCF [bulk continuous filament] yarns. Turkey is coming back, so the BCF market is very important with further growth opportunities and potential."

"Absolutely," Walraf commented. "There are still important customers in Europe - in particular, when you count Turkey as being in Europe. And we all know that Europeans learned hard lessons of survival in a competitive environment."

Regarding growth opportunities, the Asian market is more important for both companies: China and India especially are still two of the most important Asian markets. China, Turkey, India, Brazil are the sources of the largest volume of orders. South Korea, Indonesia, the United States, Pakistan and Bangladesh are also important markets. However, China is still the most important country at the moment. The question, "How important is the Chinese market for your products on a scale of one to 10?" was answered this way by Wissenberg: "Seven for staple fibers, 10 for chemical fibers and four for nonwovens. China is still a huge market, but it also depends on China's future development and its five-year plan and other incentives as well as increasing wealth and consumption in the domestic market."

Walraf added: "It is important because China offers growth opportunities. With the increasing need in automation and low power consumption, Rieter is well-positioned and can offer fine solutions. And this trend is not yet broken."

The Future
What do the two companies expect from 2013? Here are the answers, ladies first: "Depending on the overall economic development, Rieter assumes that some of the postponed projects for extension and replacement will be realized," Walraf said. "For example, India's TUF (Technology Upgradation Fund) with focus on technical improvement downstream will create needs for better yarns and finally generate spinning investment. There are also projects to improve the power supply, which will certainly help our customers. Many of them have projects; therefore, only more security about a stable future is needed to trigger investment."

Wissenberg added: "Trends like automation and energy saving will go on. Oerlikon Textile has the right products for these trends."

And how do the two companies see the coming years? André Wissenberg is convinced that "Asia will still be dominant."

Walraf said: "Rieter believes in Asia. This is the reason why we invested in new factories and better market access in India and China. Volatility of raw material prices and increasing demand in sustainability will continue to be important. Fast reaction times to market needs and new technologies will be the key issues to stay competitive in the future. We must provide valuable solutions, which offer a fast return on investment, ensure technological leadership from fiber to yarn, support customers with a high level of services from making investment decisions to running entire installations."

July 17, 2012