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Success In Munich

The ITMA 2007 machinery exhibition in Munich set the standard for future shows.

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

T he globalization of the textile industry was reflected at ITMA 2007 in Munich, Germany. A total of 1,451 companies from 38 countries presented their latest developments and technical innovations for the entire textile chain to visitors and competitors, in a display area covering 102,000 square meters.

The 15th International Exhibition of Textile Machinery attracted approximately 118,000 trade visitors from 149 countries. Never before had ITMA had attendees from so many different countries. After Germany, the other top 10 countries with regard to visitor numbers were Italy, India, Turkey, Brazil, France, Switzerland, Spain, Iran and Belgium. Interest from Central and South America was particularly strong. More than 4,500 trade visitors came from Brazil, more than 2,000 from Argentina and more than 1,500 from Mexico. In total, ITMA 2007 attracted approximately 12,000 visitors from Central and South America.


ITMA 2007 filled 16 halls at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre with technology for the textile industry.

Small Progress
According to statements from everyone interviewed by Textile World at the show, there actually was no revolution at ITMA. However, there were many further developments of existing technologies and processes. The trend is clear: All producers are trying to increase output with lower and lower amounts of energy, water and dyestuffs, while the quality of the end products must improve. This squaring of the circle is not easy to accomplish.

Andrew Fernandes, head of marketing communications, Huntsman Textile Effects, Switzerland, thinks a dyeing machine still looks the same, but the results get better and better. Hans Rosemann, advertising manager, Germany-based Trützschler GmbH & Co. KG, explained that the actual machine improvements are considerable overall; however, improvements are still possible in the details. Klaus A. Heinrichs, vice president, marketing, at Germany-based A. Monforts Textilmaschinen GmbH & Co. KG, also thought there was no real sensation to see. The contributions vis-à-vis environmental sustainability are becoming more and more important, and many improvements to the machines are aimed exclusively in this direction.

There were some novelties to see, like Trützschler’s magnetic sets for cards, or the new weft insertion system from Switzerland-based Sultex Ltd. for different yarns, which was shown for the first time on an air-jet weaving machine. Edda Walraf, marketing head, Textile Division, Rieter Management AG, Switzerland, thought it was an ITMA of world records for Rieter. The company reported it exhibited four of its highest-performing machines ever.

All interviewed companies had 50 to 80 representatives in their booths, with the exception of the Oerlikon Textile group, which had 180 employees at different booths throughout the show.

Machinery Presentations Still Necessary
Presenting machines, preferably working, is one of the large cost factors affecting show exhibitors. Everyone agrees nevertheless to showcase machines because ITMA is the only place where visitors can compare so many machines in the same place at the same time. Johann Philipp Dilo, general manager, Dilo Maschinensystem GmbH, Germany, said his enterprise installed 300 tons of machines at ITMA within 24 days. Dilo had the biggest stand by far at the show. But, as Dilo stated, one cannot put forth such an effort at every fair, unless it is practically in front of your door.

Positive Feedback
Munich was confirmed as a virtually ideal fair location. Many exhibitors, including non-Germans, declared the organization, easy hall access and the open layout of the New Munich Trade Fair Centre as ideal for an ITMA. It was heard through the grapevine that the ideal fair places are Munich for Europe and Singapore for Asia.

The response to new products exhibited was very good. Bill Fong, executive director, European Operations, Fong’s Industries Co. Ltd., Hong Kong, thinks textile companies are full of confidence again after the turbulence with the World Trade Organization. After many slow years, it is now time to invest again, and not only in Europe.

Every one of the enterprises questioned was very satisfied with the visitors. The expectations of ITMA were mostly exceeded. It was particularly striking that the visitor quality continues to increase. Business owners often came together with their engineers to discuss and complete projects on the spot.

André Wissenberg, vice president of corporate communications, Oerlikon Textile GmbH & Co. KG, Germany, said the company had 4,000 high-quality conversations with visitors over the course of the show; this is 400 contacts per day.

Several companies confided to TW they had concluded sales during the show. Up to now, fairs like ITMA have been known more for the presentation of machinery rather than for big sales.

Dilo looks back at a good ITMA. He thought his company would never have had so many positive responses to its booth as at this ITMA.

Edi Strebel, manager of marketing services at Switzerland-based Jakob Müller AG, Frick, mentioned that more and more end products are being shown at the booths, and not just machines, so visitors can get a better idea of what kind of products the machines are capable of producing. The trend goes generally in this direction. One saw samples of semi-finished products at many exhibitor booths.

Everybody interviewed declared the current market situation to be very good to excellent. This opinion applies especially to the suppliers of machines for nonwovens and technical textiles, which still show constant growth rates of 10 to 15 percent. As important markets, China, India and Pakistan were mentioned, but also Turkey and Brazil. This gives great hope for the near future.

Daniele Pellissetti, administration and advertising manager of Italy-based Savio Macchine Tessili S.p.A., said today, one simply must follow the market and must produce what the markets need. He is also convinced that 2008 can be just as positive as 2007.

Too Many Fairs?
At a press conference hosted by the European Committee of Textile Machinery Manufacturers (CEMATEX), it was announced that ITMA Europe shall continue on a four-year rotation, and ITMA Asia will be held every two years. This will lead to some overlaps. No one who was asked about these plans wanted to comment positively. The question whether it is really necessary to carry out an ITMA for all industry segments every two years bothered Oerlikon’s Wissenberg. How shall one offer real novelties for the Asian market every two years? And one should show more innovations and less steel at ITMA, said Flurin Valentin, vice president, director of sales and marketing, ITEMA Weaving and Sultex. It gets particularly difficult for the exhibitors such as Dilo, Fleissner, Rieter Perfojet and Trützschler, who are also working in the nonwovens industry. Here the situation is amplified because the nonwovens industry carries out an exhibition on a three-year cycle in Europe, the United States and Asia.

Barcelona? Barcelona!
Of course, the venue of the next ITMA in 2011 created high waves in Europe. According to CEMATEX, eight venues were in the running to host the next ITMA, and ultimately, Barcelona was chosen. This provoked initial protests by some exhibitors, but during later conversations with these exhibitors, it appeared Barcelona was no longer an issue. It was mentioned that the next ITMA may have fewer Italian exhibitors because the Italian textile machinery industry consists for the most part of small and medium-sized enterprises that financially and logistically cannot afford to travel far to attend a trade show. It is hoped that certain sectors of the industry will not split off, as was the case with the knitters at ITMA 2003 in Birmingham.

Everyone wants to have a strong ITMA in Europe, and this can only happen if there are many exhibitors. ITMA simply should not degenerate into a tourist fair. There must be a balance between working time and leisure time. And one thing ITMA should never be is a money-making machine for the organizers. The original aim of ITMA Asia was to drastically reduce the number of exhibitions, and what has been decided is heading in a completely different direction.

November/December 2007