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Cover Story | January 2016

'FTAs to give impetus to textile industry'

Stäubli is an innovative mechatronics solutions provider with three dedicated divisions: Textile, Connectors and Robotics. With a workforce of over 4,500, Stäubli has a presence in 25 countries and agents in 50 countries around the world.

Since 1892, Stäubli has been one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-speed textile machinery. Fritz Legler, Head of Marketing – Sales & Service, Stäubli Ltd, speaks on how the year 2015 was for Stäubli and the hopes and trouble spots the company expects in the coming year and beyond.

How was the year 2015 for the segment you are in?

2015 is drawing to a close and we at Stäubli can be pleased with achievements concurred during the last 12 months. 2015 was again a mixed bag of ups and downs as was to be expected. Political instabilities and turmoil, currency distortions, drastic overcapacities in fabric production, many elections and so forth took their toll in certain markets. The final highlight of the year – the ITMA exhibition in Milano – triggered the final firework of the year, thus leaving us all with hope for coming months.

What are the hopes and trouble spots you expect in the coming year and beyond?

On the plus side are points like our successful show at ITMA – existing and prospective customers gave us a good feedback about our new Stäubli products and solutions for the weaving industry. Our shed forming technologies (jacquard machines, dobbies, cam motions) were attracting a lot of interest. ITMA showed that there is a lot of backlog demand to renew production units. Interesting free trade agreements are being talked about which should give some impetus to our textile industry. New fabric segments are being opened up in the field of technical and industrial textiles, which will require technical solutions from e.g. Stäubli. Automation is not just a buzzword anymore but a daily necessity – Stäubli offers many solutions in this field as well (e.g. automatic drawing-in). Trouble spots might again be issues like unnecessary conflicts, ongoing currency distortions, new supply chains in textiles being talked about but not fully implemented yet, terrorism as well as slow economies hampering global growth and so forth.

What according to you should the industry do to boost its fortune in the domestic as well as export markets?

Assuming that you are referring to e.g. Indian fabric manufacturers in the weaving industry, Stäubli would argue that the focus should be on quality in all manufacturers do. Do the right thing right – first time – every time! Proceeds will be larger this way. Differentiate yourself in what you do – specialise in certain fabric applications and forget about “me too products”. Manufacturers should avoid to be stuck in the middle. Upgrade your know-how of people and use latest technology. Liaise with our Stäubli unit in Mumbai to get advice on how you can upgrade your current manufacturing units.

What is your wish list for the Government? What urgent steps, according to you are needed immediately to uplift the sagging trends in the textile industry?

I do not think that it is up to Stäubli to make recommendations to the Indian Government. Important issues seem to be well understood and accepted. A fully liberal business environment, transparent tax codes and subsidy structures and incentives as well as well working financial institutions to support investment decisions of textile entrepreneurs of small to medium sized businesses are some of the obvious points. I sometimes have the feeling that there is too much red tape which hinders growth opportunities for the textile industry.

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