Rupp Report of September 28, 2010, reported about the outstanding idea of Switzerland-based
Rieter Textile Systems, which was searching for the oldest Rieter textile machine still operating.
And it was quite worthwhile to participate in this somewhat funny competition with a serious
The Proof Of Endurance
And indeed, Rieter received entries from around the world, from which some 20 had the chance
to win the first prize. Last week, the lucky winners were announced during a ceremony led by Peter
R. Gnägi, CEO of Rieter Textile Systems. The Rupp Report had an exclusive invitation to take part
in the event. In his lively and entertaining speech, Gnägi mentioned the age of Rieter, which is
215 years, and explained the idea behind this competition. Rieter machinery is known around the
world for its reliability and durability. The company wanted to know how long old spinning
machinery equipment can be in use and still be productive.
Gnägi thanked all participants for their entries and their long-standing loyalty and, of
course, for their outstanding maintenance achievements and taking care of the machinery. Some of
the machines have been in use for generations. He didn’t forget to mention that Rieter’s sales
force will visit all participating companies to convince them to buy new machinery.
The Winner Takes Almost All
Later, the award winner with the oldest machine in the contest was presented — Flawa AG from
Flawil, Switzerland, a producer of dressings and wadding. The oldest machine still in production
dates from 1940 and is a so-called bale breaker — better known today as a bale opener, which
explains the function of the machine. Gnägi presented the first prize, a trip to ITMA 2011 in
Barcelona, including the flight and a two-night stay. Gnägi declared the old machine officially to
“be the oldest existing Rieter machine still in a production line.”
It seems that Rieter already had given this machine some credit in advance to win the
competition. In the earlier Rupp Report, the machine had already been mentioned. Peter Bruelisauer,
Flawa’s general manager, explained in his address that ¨the machine is producing a semi-finished
product, a fiber batt, which is used to produce very special maternity pads.” The delicate
maintenance of the machine, which is equipped with special card clothing, has been executed for 19
years by the same operator, who also attended the ceremony. Of course, said the winner, these pads
are only 0.5 percent of the company’s turnover. At first, he said, he hesitated to take part in the
contest. However, it’s nice to win this global competition, which proves that serious and permanent
maintenance is worthwhile.
Next, Gnägi started to announce the second- and third-place winners. In a lucky draw, the
second and third prizes were won by two Indian companies, still producing with Rieter machinery
assembled in the mid-1950s. Both companies will receive high-quality Swiss watches, which will be
presented by the local representatives.
Gnägi said some customers possibly were hesitating to take part in the competition. Some
companies with old machines were reluctant to offer possible entries due to the age of the
machines. “But,” Gnägi said, “this competition is the confirmation that Rieter is producing
reliable machinery, which is able to be productive for decades. And this reminiscence of the past
is a promise for the future to supply top-class machines.”
These words concluded an exceptional idea, born in the crisis of the past 18 months. Gnägi
also reported that Rieter is very much on the way to getting back to its old strength thanks to
soaring sales, mainly in Asia. And there is more to come at ITMA 2011 in Barcelona.
More information on the competition can be found at