The Rupp Report: Itema Moves Forward With Technical Textiles

Techtextil, the event for technical textiles and nonwovens took place recently in Frankfurt. Almost all textile machinery suppliers have finally realized that this event is a must-attend show. No exception to this idea is Italy-based Itema S.p.A., the only weaving machinery producer with all three weft-insertion technologies available on the market, who participated at the recent Techtextil. The Rupp Report talked with Diana Profir, head of Marketing and Communications, Itema.
Rupp Report: Itema exhibited at all last Techtextil shows. Why?
Diana Profir: We see Techtextil as a must-attend trade show and we will be certainly present in the events to come in the future. For us, Techtextil is a perfect meeting point to see the entire value chain of technical textiles. It is an opportunity to meet our customers and see their innovative new ideas and products woven on our machines; but also to see also our customers’ customers and how they apply the products. However, and this is very important, it is a chance to meet and get to know new and potential customers for Itema.
RR: Is it also an opportunity to see what the weaving machinery sector is doing?
Profir: Absolutely. We like the possibility to see the competitive landscape of what is being offered to weavers of technical textiles, this is by all means not to be underestimated. We flourish on good, healthy competition that is helping us to pull up our sleeves and push ourselves to bring the best forward. In conclusion, the benchmarking in a prestigious and supreme trade show like Techtextil is important indeed.
The Exhibition
RR: Are you happy so far with this year’s Techtextil?
Profir: Yes. Techtextil once again met our expectations both in terms of number and quality of visitors attending our booth. It is a well-organized, efficient, smooth running trade show – one of the very best in our industry from the organization viewpoint and also with a variety of attractive propositions for visitors, including conference, awards, and even a fashion show with technical textiles. All this makes Techtextil a great experience for exhibitors and visitors. As exhibitors we are happy with the return on the investment and the contacts we made.
RR: Was the visitor’s frequency satisfactory for you?
Profir: It was not only satisfactory, we hit a record. During the four days, we welcomed over 100 visitors to our booth from some 25 countries.
RR: From which countries did the visitors mainly come from?
Profir: Well, not surprisingly, the biggest numbers of visitors were from European countries, but we were impressed to see also we had some contacts with visitors from as far away the Asia Pacific region as well as Latin America. Our expectations were fulfilled for the most part. We are happy with our participation and contacts made during the exhibition.
RR: How do you like the fact that Techtextil now takes place for four days?
Profir: Well, for us the addition of one extra day has helped our booth team to meet and greet additional existing and potential customers, but also to visit the fairground to see first-hand our customers’ booths’ and learn more about market trends and innovations. We definitely welcome the longer format of Techtextil also for future editions.
RR: Of course, you can’t exhibit machines, so how did you communicate to your visitors?
Profir: With interested visitors, we focused on sharing the main features of our rapier, airjet and projectile weaving machines. We think that we have the most comprehensive portfolio on the market today for technical textile weavers. New additions to our portfolio specifically for technical textiles have been the rapier weaving machine R9500 tailored for airbag and fiberglass weaving. The P7300HP continues to show great interest from weavers working with projectile weaving machines.
RR: How was the feedback to these machines?
Profir: We’ve enjoyed a very positive feedback. Regarding attention, we had a tie – with both R9500 and P7300 in pole position, and a very strong interest also for the A9500p, which is the premium version of our airjet weaving machine launched at ITMA Asia 2014.
RR: What are the main reasons for this interest?
DP: We think the reasons are be three-fold: The R9500 continues to enjoy a global success and the roll-out of special customized versions for technical textiles is very much welcomed by our customers. The projectile weaving machine continues to be an unbeatable benchmark for those who are looking to weave the widest fabrics with widths over 6 meters and specialty fabrics. On the other hand, the A9500 attracts the interest of technology driven people.
Market Situation
RR: How do you judge the recent market situation for technical textiles, referring to your product portfolio?
Profir: We see an increasing trend in inquiries for weaving machines from weavers of technical fabrics, as well as in requirements to weave increasingly innovative styles. Our expectations are that this trend will continue for a foreseeable future and we are ready to serve this particular and very demanding segment of the market worldwide.
RR: Can you tell our readers the share of your turnover that goes in traditional textiles and to technical textiles?
Profir: Some 10- to 15-percent of our overall turnover we achieve with sales of weaving machines for the technical textiles market.
RR: Where are the main markets for technical textiles at the moment for your company?
Profir: Our main technical textiles market is divided into some 50 percent in Asia, about one-third in Europe (EU and non-EU) and the balance is generated in North America.
The Future
RR: If you compare this event and the one in 2013, do you see any difference?
Profir: No, we don’t see any difference, with the welcomed exception, of course, of the extra day.
RR: So as a consequence, will your company take part at the next Techtextil in 2017?
Profir: Oh, absolutely yes. We have already marked the date in our calendars for 2017.
RR: Final question: Will the importance of the technical textiles market further increase?
Profir: Yes, of course. It is a promising, growing market and we are excited to be part of it.

July 7, 2015