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The Rupp Report

The Rupp Report: ITMA Asia + CITME 2012: It All Ends With Finishing

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

After yarn and fabric forming, finishing gives fabrics its final properties. Dyeing/printing/finishing is probably the most important step in the whole production chain. At the recent ITMA Asia + CITME, the booths of the producers of finishing machinery were always crowded with a lot of people. The Rupp Report spoke with two prominent representatives of the finishing sector: Verena Thies, managing director of Germany-based Thies GmbH & Co. KG; and Klaus A. Heinrichs, vice president, marketing, of Germany-based A. Monforts Textilmaschinen GmbH & Co. KG.

Chinese Acquisition
Monforts was very much in the focus of attention at ITMA Asia: On June 11, 2012, the 100-percent acquisition of the company by Hong Kong-based Fong’s Industries Co. Ltd. from its parent company, Germany-based L. Possehl Co. & mbH, was announced. The 50-percent stake in the Monforts Fong’s Textile Machinery Co. Ltd., jointly controlled by Fong’s and Monforts Group, was part of the transaction. Since 1998, Monforts and Fong’s have already built up a strong and successful partnership in China under the brand name Monfongs.

ITMA Asia + CITME — A Big Success
For both companies, the event was a hit. Thies said, “We are very happy indeed with the outcome of this show.” And Heinrichs expressed the same point of view: “Yes, and the quality of the visitors was much better than last time two years ago.”

Of course, also in the finishing sector, most of the visitors came from China, but also from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. “We could welcome many Indonesians, but most important was the fact that many of our regular customers came to see us for the new products,” Thies said, smiling. And Heinrichs added that his company also welcomed numerous visitors from Mauritius and Vietnam.

Clear Difference From 2010
Was there any difference between this ITMA Asia and the last one? “Absolutely,” said Thies. “ The 2010 show was very bad for the exhibitors of finishing machines. This time, it was much better in many respects.”

Heinrichs commented that “many non-Chinese visitors came to see the exhibition. On the other hand, the air-conditioning did not work properly, and there were way too many people to talk to if something was needed during the preparation for the show. On top of that, at the entrance of the halls, there were not enough taxis in the evening, and people had to wait for a long time. The logistics are more than questionable.”

New Products With Positive Response
Both companies presented new products for the first time at ITMA Asia + CITME, and both had very encouraging feedback. “We showed the MXL process for the first time ever,” Heinrichs said. “MXL is a process system for wrinkle- and crease-free finishing of shirting fabrics using an acid/air mixture in a stainless-steel chamber. I can say the feedback was excellent. Customers are looking for savings, and the MXL process can save a lot of chemicals and accelerates the production process.” The figures show pick-up of 70-80 percent, a temperature of 110°C with a chamber climate 30 percent volume to volume. The reaction time is three minutes with residual moisture of 7 to 8 percent.

Thies mentioned “a new dynamic drying process, in which the water treatment is using pulsating liquor flow to save a considerable amount of water.” According to Thies, potential savings depending on the liquor ratio are 15- to 30-percent fresh water and effluent, 40-percent heat energy, 5- to 10-percent electrical energy and 5- to 35-percent chemicals. “The feedback was very good,” she added.

Every Market Is Important
Is the European market still important for suppliers of finishing machinery? “Of course,” Thies said. “Every market is important for us. However, the market share for Asia is higher than the share for Europe or elsewhere.”

Heinrichs had a different point of view: “We are also dealing with technical textiles. That’s why Europe, and mainly Germany, is very important for us. However, the most important markets in recent times for us are China — of course, India, Turkey, Brazil, Germany and Italy; and China is by far the key market.”

As European suppliers, both companies are not complaining about the somewhat weak euro. It is rather an advantage for export sales, both added. Especially for Monforts, being under new ownership, the Chinese market is vital. “This new ownership will help us to get more market share, having more presence with the new facilities in China.”

Expectations For The Future
Both persons are slightly optimistic for the near future: Thies is looking ahead: “ Let’s go and do it,” she said with a convincing smile.

Heinrichs mentioned again that technical textiles are very important for his company: “We want to grow further in this sector. At the beginning of next year, our new application lab will be ready. We can provide facilities with two tenter frames: one for traditional textiles; and the other one for industrial applications.”

Thies closed by saying: “To remain on top, we must be very active. To be an innovation leader is vital for a true European supplier like us, and R&D also is imperative to be successful. In spite of a growing world population, the demand for textile machinery will shrink — thanks to more powerful machinery. And we have to be ready for that.”

That’s the truth!

July 24, 2012