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ITMA Marks 60 Years

Quadrennial expo will offer expanded exhibit categories and colocated events in Barcelona, the heart of the Spanish textile industry.

TW Special Report

In spite of certain rumors and difficulties, ITMA Europe is still alive. And there will be a few novelties at ITMA 2011, which will be held in Barcelona, Spain, September 22-29. The European Committee of Textile Machinery Manufacturers, (CEMATEX), owner of ITMA, and ITMA 2011 organizer, MP International Pte Ltd., Singapore, are preparing a program that is more versatile than ever under the theme "Master the Art of Innovation."

As of Textile World 's press time, more than 1,300 exhibitors from 44 countries around the world have registered to participate in ITMA 2011 at the Fira de Barcelona Gran Via. About 70 percent of the exhibitors are from European countries. Italy represents the largest contingent, with more than 300 exhibitors; followed by Germany, with more than 200; Spain, 85; and Switzerland, 62. Among non-European countries, the three largest exhibitor groups are India, with 123 exhibitors; Turkey, 87; and China, 80.

ITMA attendees are invited to stop by Hall 3, Booth C153 to receive complimentary copies of Textile World , Textiles Panamericanos and Textile World Asia .

Changes And Faster Rhythm
ITMA is celebrating its 60th birthday this year. It's been a long road from the first ITMA in 1951 in Lille, France, to this year's show in Barcelona. However, the "most important textile machinery exhibition," as it is generally considered, is under pressure for various reasons.

In 2000, CEMATEX decided to hold a second ITMA in Asia, reflecting the emerging markets in Asia and the Pacific Rim. The first and second ITMA Asias took place in Singapore in 2001 and 2005. Then the show moved to Shanghai in 2008 — and it is still there. Meanwhile, OTEMAS — the quadrennial Osaka International Textile Machinery Show organized by the Japan Textile Machinery Association and held in Osaka, Japan, in alternation with ITMA Europe — ceased to exist; and the biennial China International Textile Machinery Exhibition (CITME) gave up its Beijing location and merged with ITMA Asia in 2008. Meanwhile, in competition with and in alternation with ITMA Asia, ShanghaiTex is held in odd-numbered years.

Another significant decision by CEMATEX was to organize an ITMA Asia every two years. With this decision, the tradition of having an ITMA every four years, and after that, every two years alternating between Europe and Asia, was gone. There is now an ITMA three years in a row: 2010 in Shanghai, 2011 in Barcelona and next year again in Shanghai.

Despite the pressure on exhibitors because ITMA Europe is sandwiched between two ITMA Asias and exhibitors are expected to introduce something brand-new at every ITMA, the European suppliers are committed to exhibiting at the European edition; and, in general, one may say that as long there is European textile machinery production, the Europeans will not abandon ITMA in Europe, although they don't like the idea of having three ITMAs in a row. The major comment from several suppliers surveyed recently by TW was that everyone must take return on investment into consideration, and the visiting customers must do the same.

"No first-class supplier can afford to stay away from ITMA Europe," said Jean-Philippe Dumon, sales and marketing director, NSC nonwoven, France. "Today, ITMA has changed: Nobody is expecting truly new developments. That's why I am pretty sure we will not see too many novelties in Barcelona."
Klaus Heinrichs, vice president marketing, A. Monforts Textilmaschinen GmbH & Co. KG, Germany, expressed the same opinion and added: "Every exhibitor is also expecting new impulses from the markets. An ITMA is not only an exhibition, but also a place for discussions. And, by all means, ITMA Europe will survive, at least in the mid-term."

Hermann Selker, head of marketing, Trützschler GmbH & Co. KG, Germany, also doesn't like the idea of three ITMAs in a row. "This is too much. In spite of the faster development of new equipment these days, ITMA is still the showcase to exhibit new highlights," he said. "But with such a short period of time [between shows], nobody is able to present true novelties at every show." With the reshaping of Trützschler, including the acquisition of Fleissner and Erko, the Trützschler Group will now have one single booth of approximately 1,000 square meters in Barcelona. "We are expecting a stabilization of the business," Selker continued, "and we should not forget that the textile industry is still the largest industry worldwide. As a European manufacturer, we strongly support ITMA Europe, which will remain the top event for high-performance textile machinery."

Important Apparel Sector
But coming back to the present: in spite of all rumors and complaints, ITMA is still said to be the indisputable top global marketplace and networking platform for the industry. The 60th birthday edition will feature an expanded product index with new chapters, and also will encompass new events.
Some years ago, the apparel manufacturing sector split away from ITMA and formed its own exhibition, IMB — World of Fashion and Textile Processing, organized by Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany. There was another change when trade show organizer Messe Frankfurt attracted sponsors and supporters away from IMB and formed Texprocess, which debuted in May 2011 alongside Techtextil in Frankfurt.

However, the yarn and fabric-forming sectors and the apparel producers today have much more in common than ever, considering the ongoing verticalization from yarn to finished garments — indeed, virtually every global knitwear player is 100-percent vertically organized. For this reason, at ITMA 2011, CEMATEX is offering a more comprehensive platform reflecting apparel manufacturing's increasing importance. The show's expanded product index includes a chapter focused on garment-making technologies and machinery.

New Fibers & Yarns Chapter
In addition, there will be a new chapter dedicated to natural, man-made and technical fibers and yarns; and ITMA 2011 exhibits will now be classified into 18 separate chapters (See Table 2). This new chapter has received support from numerous fiber- and yarn-focused organizations around the world, and also has generated so many booth applications that ITMA organizers have expanded the space allocated to house all of the exhibitors.

More Events To Come
ITMA 2011 has garnered support from 144 industry organizations from 60 countries and representing sectors throughout the textile and garment value chain as well as related industry groups. Several of these organizations have partnered with CEMATEX and scheduled or helped to organize special events to take place prior to, alongside or as part of ITMA (See Table 1).

Focus On Sustainability
Consumer demand for eco-friendly products is increasing, and with it, support for businesses that are committed to implementing eco-friendly processes. Sustainability is no longer just a marketing attribute, but an essential component of a successful business. Reducing energy and water consumption and increasing social awareness are now key expectations for the entire global textile industry.

Many European textile machinery manufacturers have already reacted to this trend. In various presentations to the trade press, they have shown new machinery that not only addresses end-consumer demands, but also reduces production costs. Sustainability will be an important topic at this year's ITMA, not only in the Sustainable Textile Leaders Roundtable — during which speakers will share the latest on sustainable innovations, machinery advances and trends — but also at nearly all of the other special colocated events.

About Barcelona
Located on Spain's northeast Mediterranean coast, Barcelona is capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia, and — with a population of more than 1.6 million people in the city proper and a metropolitan area population of approximately 4.5 million — Spain's second-most populous city after Madrid and Europe's largest Mediterranean coastal metropolitan area. The city was founded before the dawn of the Common Era, and there is evidence of human settlements dating from the Neolithic period. Phoenician or Carthaginian traders settled there in the 3rd century BC, and the Romans established the colony of Barcino there near the end of the 1st century BC. Over the next centuries, the city passed from Roman to Visigothic to Moorish to Carolingian rule before gaining independence and later being consolidated into the Kingdom of Aragon, and its name evolved to Barcinona and then to Barjelunah and finally to Barcelona. During the Middle Ages, the city gained prestige as the economic and political center of the Western Mediterranean region. However, subsequent political and economic changes contributed to a decline in the city's importance as well as its culture.

A revival of sorts took place with the rise of an industrial economy in the late 18th century. Textile production was an important component of this industrialization, and it continues to be important today — indeed, the vast majority of members of the Spanish Association of Manufacturers of Textile and Garment Machinery (AMEC AMTEX) are located in Barcelona province, and AMEC AMTEX has its headquarters in the city of Barcelona a couple of miles up the road from Fira de Barcelona. In addition, the city has attempted more recently to become a major fashion center.

The Catalan region has long fostered a strong separatist identity and today still values its regional language and culture. Although Spanish is spoken by virtually everyone in Barcelona, Catalan is understood by about 95 percent of the population and spoken by about 75 percent.

Barcelona's Roman origins are evident in several locations within the Barri Gòtic, the historical center of the city. The Museu d'Història de la Ciutat de Barcelona provides access to excavated remains of Barcino underneath the center of present-day Barcelona, and parts of the old Roman wall are visible in newer structures including the Gothic-era Catedral de la Seu.

The strange, fanciful buildings and structures designed by turn-of-the-century architect Antoni Gaudí, found in numerous locations around Barcelona, are major attractions for visitors to the city. Several of them together comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the designation "Works of Antoni Gaudí" — including the Façade of the Nativity and the Crypt at the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, Parque Güell, Palacio Güell, Casa Milà, Casa Batlló and Casa Vicens. The site also includes the Crypt at the Colònia Güell, an industrial estate established in nearby Santa Coloma de Cervelló by Eusebi Güell, a textile business owner who moved his manufacturing business there from the Barcelona area in 1890, setting up a state-of-the-art vertical textile operation and providing living quarters and cultural and religious amenities for the workers. The mill closed in 1973.

Barcelona was also home at one time or another to 20th-century artists Joan Miró, a lifelong resident, as well as Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. There are museums devoted to the works of Miró and Picasso, and the Reial Cercle Artístic de Barcelona houses a private collection of works by Dalí.
The Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, located in the Parc de Montjuïc near Fira de Barcelona, has a major collection of Romanesque art and other collections of Catalan art spanning the ages.

Barcelona also has a textile museum. The Museu Tèxtil i d'Indumentària offers a collection of garments dating from the 16th century to the present; Coptic, Hispano-Arab, Gothic and Renaissance fabrics; and collections of embroidery, lacework and printed fabrics.

Those wanting to get a taste of life in Barcelona may want to join the locals in the evening for a stroll through the streets of the city, and sample the local cuisine and nightlife. Just remember that dinner is served late — restaurants generally serve between 9 and 11 pm — and partying goes on very late into the night.

Not to be missed is Barcelona's largest festival, La Mercé — held to honor the city's patron saint, la Mercé, or the Virgin of Mercy — which will take place September 22-25. Events include concerts, dancing, fireworks, parades, costumes and human towers.

There are several options for getting around Barcelona. Public transportation services include a metro with nine lines, buses, both modern and historic tram lines, funiculars and aerial cable cars. Fira de Barcelona Gran Via is served by Metro lines 1 and 3, and bus route 79.

Editor's note: Executive Editor Jürg Rupp and Managing Editor Janet Bealer Rodie contributed to this report.For more information about ITMA 2011, visit www.itma.com.

July/August 2011

Related Files:
Click here to view the ITMA Exhibitors Hall plan
Click here to view Table 1: Associated & Colocated Events
Click here to view Table 2: ITMA Exhibit Chapters