For decades, energy wasn’t such an issue for politicians, citizens or industry. However, with an
increasing consciousness of ecological issues and overloaded landfills, people — mainly in Europe —
started protesting for a “better and cleaner world.” Eventually, the first “Green” political
parties were founded in Europe, and in the beginning, the hype to be green was big. Even glamorous
show business stars participated and demonstrated their feelings on green issues.
However, environmental protection and not the worry over resources was primarily at issue.
Eventually, the first studies on climate change started to emerge in the public realm. Alternative
energy resources, mainly for cars, became a daily issue in the media. Japan as an island got the
message and started to produce cars that consumed less gas, as well as hybrid vehicles.
Changing Textile Markets
Also, textile markets are radically changing. Emerging countries in the Far East have started
more and more to intrude on international markets. This trend started in the 1960s — first with
Hong Kong in apparel, followed by Japan in textile machinery.
The situation changed dramatically when China started to be a production powerhouse for the
whole world, and not only in textiles. Hong Kong abandoned its production and became the gateway to
China. The energy consumption, and thus also the prices for energy, soared and destroyed most of
the Western textile production. The Western world claimed unfair processing methods regarding
A Way To Survive
With today’s energy prices and the lack of clean resources such as water, many Asian
countries are realizing that environmentally friendly processing, energy savings and a gentle
deployment of resources are no longer a political issue, but the only way to survive economically.
This trend has also left its footprints in the textile machinery industry by kicking off a
lot of new developments in yarn and fabric forming, mainly in the finishing sector. Reduced energy
consumption and lower liquor ratios are just a few key phrases in today’s competitive marketplace.
At ITMA 2007 in Munich, many manufacturers of textile machinery showed their latest equipment
operating with less energy and natural resources.
Recently, a well-known supplier of sports fabrics mentioned in an interview that only by
using finishing machinery with a reduced liquor ratio and water consumption was he able to pay for
his investment in three years.
And, a famous Germany-based manufacturer of screws and tools — and more recently, solar
panels — said: “In the beginning, ecological issues were considered in my company to be a bonus for
the corporate image. Now we have realized that we can make a lot of money out of it.”
November 6, 2007