The Rupp Report: ITMA Europe Or ITMA Asia – Or Even Both?

In spite of rumors and difficulties, ITMA Europe is still alive and celebrating its 60th birthday.
However, the “most important textile machinery exhibition,” as it has been called for decades, is
still under pressure for various reasons:

First of all, some say there are still too many exhibitions around the world. And more than
ever, companies have to justify every cent spent for foreign events such as exhibitions — not only
for the booth as such, but also for transport and logistics; and the true costs for the attending
personnel can be very high. Many show organizers argue that with low per-square-meter prices, every
little option for the booth is very expensive and raises the costs up to extreme heights. And all
that doesn’t include the hotel prices.

Many will remember OTEMAS, the quadrennial Osaka International Textile Machinery Show in
Japan, in the late 1990s, when transport of the exhibits from Europe to the Japanese port of
Yokohama was cheaper than the transport from the port to the fairground. This is just another in a
long list of reasons, all of which result in the same conclusion: the number of exhibitions must be
reduced, especially in the up-and-coming countries of the Far East, where every show organizer
wants to have a piece of the cake.


In the 1990s, ITMA as such was not in question. However, with the booming Asian markets, the
situation was challenging, and the European Committee of Textile Machinery Manufacturers (CEMATEX),
owner of ITMA, decided to start a second ITMA in Asia. After the first and second ITMA Asias in
Singapore in 2001 and 2005, CEMATEX moved the show to Shanghai in 2008, having in mind the soaring
Chinese market. In the beginning, there was the same rhythm as in Europe — every four years and on
an alternating schedule with ITMA Europe; so there would be one ITMA in Europe; and two years
later, one in Asia; and so forth. There were even discussions to establish a third ITMA in the
Americas, but CEMATEX didn’t find a way to bring these three events under one umbrella without
again having too many exhibitions. And ITMA Europe was really under fire to be cancelled — even
forever, especially after the Birmingham show in 2003. But then the surprise came:

There was another ITMA Asia in 2010, and it was rumored that the show would be held every two
years going forward. One of the stated reasons was that with this move, other Chinese exhibitions
could be abandoned. The outcry and head shaking among the European exhibitors began during ITMA
Asia 2010 because the textile industry would now have ITMAs three years in a row — in 2010, 2011
and 2012.

ITMA Europe (?)

The discussions have never stopped about this issue: should ITMA Europe be cancelled or not?

Textile World
asked some European machinery manufacturers and members of CEMATEX what they thought. To
get a broader view of the issue, in the focus were suppliers who are visiting the ITMAs as well as
Techtextil. In general, one may say that as long there is European production of textile machinery,
the Europeans will not abandon an ITMA in Europe.

The answer to the question, “How do you like the fact that there are three ITMAs in a row?”
was crystal clear: None of those interviewed like the idea. The major comment was that everybody
must take the return on investment into consideration, and the visiting customers have to do the

“However,” said Sales and Marketing Director Jean-Philippe Dumon of NSC nonwoven, France, “no
first-class supplier can afford to stay away from ITMA Europe. Today, ITMA has changed: Nobody is
expecting true new developments. That’s why I am pretty sure we will not see too many novelties in

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

Although there have been some logistical problems and misunderstandings, which are not
atypical between trade show exhibitors and organizers, the conclusion is obvious: ITMA Europe in
Barcelona will be a great show in a great town. Let’s hope that the euro will be in better shape by
September, and that Italy will organize a great ITMA 2015 in Milan.

July 5, 2011