The Rupp Report: Shipments Of New Textile Machinery Down Slightly

Over the past few months, economic trouble in Greece in its possible exit from the Euro zone, the so-called “Grexit,” have clouded the global economy and created some difficulties for the Euro. And the latest news from Europe confirms this Grexit isn’t impossible in the near future. No one knows if money printed by the European Central Bank will help the textile industry make favorable investments, or is it just another tool for the banks to gamble? I’m sure, dear reader, you know the answer.
So all these small and big problems, in line with the rising costs in China are also reflected in the 37th annual International Textile Machinery Shipment Statistics released by the Switzerland-based International Textile Manufactures Federation (ITMF). The report covers spinning, draw-texturing, weaving, large circular knitting, flat knitting and finishing machinery. According to ITMF, the 2014 survey has been compiled in cooperation with some 110 textile machinery manufacturers, representing a comprehensive measure of world production.
Overall Decline
According to the 2014 statistics, shipments declined in most of the textile machinery segments. In a nutshell: Deliveries of new short-staple spindles fell by 15 percent from 2013 to 2014. On the other hand, shipped long-staple spindles and open-end rotors enjoyed an increase of 70 and 2.6 percent respectively. The increasing importance of man-made fibers is clearly demonstrated in the number of shipped draw-texturing spindles: shipments of single heater draw-texturing spindles for polyamide filaments grew by 76 percent; although shipments of double heater draw-texturing spindles fell by 12 percent. Furthermore, shuttle-less weaving machinery shipments dropped by 14 percent, and new large circular knitting machines also dropped by 22 percent year-on-year. In contrast, shipments of flat-knitting machines rose by 31 percent.
Short-staple Spindles
According to the ITMF’s report: “Shipments of new short-staple spindles fell by 15 percent in 2014 year-on-year and more than reversed the increase of 10 percent in 2013. The level of short staple spindles declined to 9.8 million spindles, the lowest level since 2009 and also lower than the ten-year-average of 10.9 million. Most of the new short staple spindles (91 percent) were shipped to Asia, whereby shipments fell by nearly 17 percent year-on-year. Thereby China, the world’s largest investor of short-staple spindles, experienced a decline of nearly 29 percent. Four of the five largest investors for short-staple spindles originate from Asia. Including China these are India, Vietnam and Indonesia. Shipments to Turkey, the fourth largest investor, increased by 5 percent in 2014, the third consecutive increase.”
Long-staple Spindles
The ITMF report continues: “Global shipments of long-staple (wool) spindles increased by 70 percent from 80,800 in 2013 to 137,650 in 2014. That is the strongest increase since 2012. The majority of long-staple spindles (69 percent) were shipped to Europe. Thereby, shipments to Turkey rose to 67,000, which is equivalent to a share of 49 percent of global shipments. Within Europe Belarus and Italy came second and third with shipments numbering 21,216 and 10,584 spindles. In 2014, shipments to Asia increased marginally by 0.2 percent to 29,000 spindles. While North and South America did not receive any shipments of long-staple spindles, shipments to Africa amounted to 432.”
Open-end Rotors
“Shipments of open-end rotors improved moderately in 2014 by 2.6 percent after they declined in the previous two years. The number of shipments reached 454,720, the highest level since 2011 and well above the long-term average of 402,669. Nearly 67 percent of worldwide shipments of open-end rotors were destined for Asia; however, the pace is declining. Shipments to Asia fell by 13 percent after declines of 13.9 percent and 11.9 percent in 2013 and 2012 respectively. Also, in South America shipments declined (-9.3 percent). In contrast, shipments to Europe and, especially, North America saw strong increases of nearly 27 percent and 402 percent respectively.”

This is in-line with the stronger textile industry in the United States, particularly in cotton spinning. There is certainly more to come about this at the next ITMF congress to be held in San Francisco in September 2015.
Texturing Machinery
In the texturing machinery segment, ITMF reported: “Global shipments of single heater draw-texturing spindles (mainly used for polyamide filaments) increased by 76 percent from 2,600 in 2013 to 4,576 in 2014. With nearly 57 percent Asia is the region where most of the single heater draw-texturing spindles were shipped to follow by Western Europe with 20 percent and South America with close to 15 percent.
In the segment of double heater draw-texturing spindles (mainly used for polyester filaments) the downward trend continued and global shipments fell by 12 percent on an annual basis to 443,352. However, the pace of decline moderated somewhat compared to 2013 when shipments fell by nearly 30 percent. Asia’s share of worldwide shipments amounted to close to 88 percent. Thereby, China remained the largest investor accounting for 60 percent of global shipments.”
Weaving Machinery
ITMF said: “In 2014, worldwide shipments of shuttle-less weaving machines fell by 14 percent to 71,667 units, the third decline in a row. … As in previous years the main destination of shuttle-less weaving machines was Asia amounting to a share of 97 percent of worldwide deliveries.” This decline certainly reflects the slowdown of the Asian economy in general, and the Chinese slowdown in particular. Investments are executed more carefully at the moment. It will be interesting to see what the industry — in this case, Shanghaitex exhibitors — tell the Rupp Report about the situation in China.
Of the 71,667 units, “shipments of water-jet shuttle-less looms dropped by 30 percent to 24,220, the third fall since 2012.” This is not a surprise because water-jet weaving machines are mainly at work in Asia for mass production of fabrics made of filament yarns. “Shipments of air-jet looms also declined though this was the first fall after four years of increases. The number of shipped air-jet looms contracted by 19 percent to 20,176 in 2014. In contrast, deliveries of rapier/projectile loom shipments rose by 14 percent from 23,828 in 2013 to 27,271 in 2014, the highest level since 2006.” This fact was confirmed in various discussions with suppliers of these machines. Rapiers and projectiles — manufactured by one producer,  Italy-based Itema — are enjoying good business.
“… the percentage of the three subcategories is relatively even. Water-jet looms measure 36 percent of shipments to Asia, 35 percent are rapier/projectile looms and 29 percent are air-jet looms. In Europe and North America, 73 percent and 54 percent of shipments are for rapier/projectile looms, while the share of water-jet looms is only 7 percent and 11 percent respectively.”
Large Circular Knitting Machines
In the area of knitting machinery, ITMF reported: “Global shipments of large circular knitting machines fell by 22 percent from 36,575 in 2013 to 28,502 in 2014, the lowest level since 2009. Also for this category Asia is the world’s leading investor. Nearly 88 percent of all circular knitting machines are shipped to Asia and with a share of 60 percent (close to 17,000 shipments) of worldwide deliveries China is the single largest investor. India and Turkey rank second and third with 2,464 (8.6 percent) and 1,325 units (4.6 percent) respectively.”
It could very well be that these numbers reflect an increasing trend towards smaller lots and more flexible production. Flat knitting machines are much easier to handle than big circular machines, including the production output.
Flat Knitting Machines
This idea is reflected in the results for flat knitting machines. ITMF said: “2014 was a good year for this segment as global shipments grew by 31 percent to 46,100 machines. This was the first increase since 2011. Again, Asia received the highest share of shipments. Over 85 percent of all deliveries went to Asia with China being the largest investor with a share of 42 percent equivalent to over 19,000 units. Including China, four of the five largest investors for flat knitting machines are Asian countries. Second and third are Bangladesh (11,312 units) and Vietnam (1,956). Turkey ranks fourth with 1,879 machines and India fifth with 1,840 units.”

Also China is facing strong competition and has to adapt it production policies towards more flexibility, smaller lots and improved quality.
June 16, 2015