IKME Finishing & Knitting
Milan exhibition drew 8,500 visitors to view the latest finishing and knitting technologies.
Jim Borneman, Editor In Chief
“We received orders directly at the fair and established contacts that can be expected to turn into contracts,” said Paolo Banfi, managing director and shareholder of Italy-based Comez S.p.A. and newly elected president of ACIMIT. “The manufacturers’ commitment, aimed at improving the performance of their equipment, was rewarded. Europe, and Italy in particular, confirmed their leadership on the world textile scene. IKME Finishing & Knitting is one more reason to look optimistically [to] the future, where technological leadership always wins.”
An IKME Finishing & Knitting and Italian Trade Commission collaboration attracted 60 buyers from Brazil, Russia, Syria, Iran, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey; along with representatives of the academic world from Russia, Iran and Turkey.
Excellence On Display
The show featured an Excellence Area that displayed innovative products and techniques accomplished using exhibitors’ technologies. According to organizers, the area was “designed to satisfy two objectives: to provide a ‘live’ display of the innovative products that can be obtained using the existing machines; and to experiment with a new kind of partnership between equipment manufacturers and users — seen as a true and innovative market driver.”
“[The Excellence Area] introduced two strong messages,” Banfi said. “The first is we are studying niches in more detail because, like a laboratory, within each of these niches we can find some winning products, and some ideas for other products. The second is talking and working together. This is a true revolution that is much stronger than it would first seem. In fact, customers are increasingly asking for solutions rather than products, and this renewed relationship with the customer promises to redraw the textile industry.”
Flat-bed knitting stalwarts Shima Seiki Manufacturing Ltd., Japan; Protti Fashiontronix S.p.A., Italy; and H. Stoll GmbH & Co. KG, Germany; among others, attracted high visitor traffic with their latest innovations.
With a focus on productivity, ergonomics and quality output, IKME gave visitors a first look at several Stoll products. The company continues to concentrate on flexibility with multigauge machinery and software developments. Gerhard Berger, communications manager, said this was the first time the new generation of CMS flat knitting machines was on display.
“The apparel industry is very strong for knitwear,” Berger said. “I am confident it will continue to grow. The market continues to shift, but with more consolidation and stability. The knitter needs to offer a quality product with speed, and flexibility is the key issue. Machine productivity within these parameters offers a return.”
Circular knitting technology also was on display. Companies such as Lonati S.p.A., Sangiacomo S.p.A. and Santoni S.p.A. — all based in Italy — presented their latest innovations.
Marco Braga, sales area manager, Santoni, pointed to a trend in sportswear and performancewear markets beyond the intimate apparel so strongly associated with seamless knitting technology. According to Braga, the goal is to increase the value of the garment and reduce the number of sewing operations necessary for completion.
Among several new developments he mentioned was the SM4-TR2 knitting machine, which offers true transfer capability and utilizes a patented needle from Germany-based Groz-Beckert KG that enables transfer on single jersey.
Warp knitting and crochet technologies also were on view from the likes of Italy-based Jakob Müller Italiana S.p.A., Spain-based Valentin Rius Clapers S.A. and Comez. This was an area of great interest, as was apparent in the Excellence Area, where the flexibility of these technologies beyond traditional end-use applications caught the interest of visitors exploring industrial, medical and automotive sectors.
Dyeing And Finishing
The addition of dyeing and finishing technology added depth to the exhibition. Leading dyeing technology companies including Loris Bellini S.p.A., Master S.a.s., Tonello S.r.l., Tecnorama S.r.l. and Cimi S.p.A. — all based in Italy — exhibited equipment at IKME. MCS S.p.A., also based in Italy, presented its new Universal rope-dyeing machine featuring horizontal fabric positioning. The machine’s fabric basket is introduced into the lower end of the dyeing chamber.
Nicola Canziani, president of Italy-based Brazzoli S.p.A., was happy with the turnout. “When we discussed [this show] three years ago, I was pessimistic,” he said. “Now I realize I was wrong. Customers have visited from Central and South America, Turkey, India, Iran — almost more than from Italy. I am happy to be wrong.”
Marco Cortiana, managing director of Italy-based Cibitex S.r.l., introduced customers to the new “Ready” machine — a shrinkage plant for knits for an in-line process of knit fabric.
Marco Cortiana presents Cibitex S.r.l.'s new "Ready" shrinkage plant for knits
Tecnorama offered the Dose & Dye® system, which focuses on small-batch quality. On display was a dyeing unit with a capacity of 10 to 100 grams in sampling and 1 to 10 kilograms in small production.
Germany-based Lindauer Dornier GmbH, a well-known name in weaving, continues to make headway in knit-finishing equipment. Andreas Mondry, manager, textile finishing machinery, explained how Dornier technology allows the knitted fabric to remain in tubular form throughout the finishing process by using uniquely designed squeezing technology. In addition, Mondry spoke of the company’s tubular singeing process — which creates a stripe-free finish in tubular form with reduced fabric loss — as an alternative to enzyme finishing.
Rossano Biancalani, general manager of Italy-based Biancalani S.p.A., spoke of a “very good response” at the exhibition. “We have had visitors from all over and a good response from South America,” he said. The company introduced the ONDA washing machine for very light and delicate fabrics. The machine was developed for customers interested in small batch sizes.
Italy-based Avantec De Franceschi introduced the Turbo Pintora garment-dyeing machine with “ super-high spin.” According to the company, the Turbo Pintora’s design reduces dyeing times by 25 to 30 percent while increasing load capacity.
Overall, IKME Finishing & Knitting 2005 was a different experience than IKME 2003, held just prior to the International Exhibition of Textile Machinery (ITMA) 2003. The knit area was as strong as expected, and the addition of dyeing and finishing equipment, along with the ability to draw 35 percent of show attendees from outside of Italy, makes the show a strong contender for future success.