“In India particularly, Italian sales last year amounted to Euro 135 million, a 3 per cent drop compared to 2015,” says ACIMIT President Raffaella Carabelli, who interacted via email with Samuel Joseph, Editor of Indian Textile Journal.
How has been the going for the Italian textile machinery industry in terms of performance in 2016? How has it fared in India?
Italy’s textile machinery industry closed the year 2016 in positive figures, with 5 per cent production growth compared to the previous year. This growth regarded the Italian market especially (+14 per cent). Italian exports grow by 4 per cent, thanks to good performances recorded in areas other than the primary markets, i.e., China, Turkey and India, where demand for textile machinery was less vibrant. In India particularly, Italian sales last year amounted to 135 million Euros, a 3 per cent drop compared to 2015.
Were there any special efforts mounted in recent times to boost Italian machinery industry’s presence in Asia, and particularly in India? What were the results?
Thanks to the support of the Ministry for Economic Development and the Italian Trade Agency, in recent years ACIMIT’s initiatives have focused increasingly on promoting Italian machinery manufacturers in a variety of markets. There’s certainly a correlation between promotional activities and Italian exports, especially in countries where Made in Italy is still little known. In other markets, such as India, where Italy’s presence is more consolidated, our initiatives tend to be more diversified. An example of this is the technology training centre created a few years ago in Ichalkaranji, in the district of Kolhapur, in the federated state of Maharashtra, in partnership with the Textile & Engineering Institute DKTE’s.
How have sustainability campaigns of Italian textile machinery industry doing since the launch and how is the response from the industry?
Since 2011, the year in which our Sustainable Technologies project was launched, the commitment of ACIMIT associated members and participants in this project has grown significantly, adapting new machinery to production requirements aimed at reducing the use of water, energy and raw materials. I must say that the market has responded positively. Clients have ascertained firsthand the benefits of our research, with reductions exceeding 20 per cent for the consumption of water, energy and chemical substances, all made possible by the use of machinery certified by our Green Label.
Which are the segments in the Italian textile machinery industry that hold out good scope for the Asian textile industry, particularly India?
I believe no one sector is more important than another. Rather, there’s an awareness on the part of Italian machinery manufacturers that their proposed offers must be tailored to the needs of individual clients. These needs are already being addressed in ACIMIT’s Sustainable Technologies project: low-power consumption, highly efficient machines that ensure a high level of sustainability, along with environmental and economic efficiency.
How do you look at the future of global textile industry? What is the role ACIMIT will be playing and what are the new developments that one can look forward to for the growth of the industry?
The global textile industry is facing a series of important challenges. Growing product customisation demanded by end consumers and speedy obsolescence will determine a need for increasingly smaller production lots and quicker production processes. In this situation, the digitisation of business will become a necessity even in countries where the textile industry is anchored to traditional production processes. Industry associations such as ours are tasked with spreading the work on key technologies that can enable this new industrial revolution.
Italy has always been at the forefront of textile technologies, and what is its wishlist for the Indian industry and the Government to promote textile industry’s growth in India?
The support the Indian Government has already been providing for years now to the local textile industry to help boost its competitiveness in global markets is essential. This competitiveness relies on a renewal of existing machinery, and Italian technology providers are focusing on this policy of financing the upgrading of technology, as promoted by India’s Government.
Your mandate as president of ACIMIT expires end of June – can you briefly sum up what’s been achieved, and what would you like to say to your successor?
Over the past four years as president of ACIMIT, I’ve sought to expand the association’s promotional initiatives to Countries in which Italian textile machinery are still largely unknown. Thus, the number of markets interested in our actions has grown. It has required a great deal of effort on our part, both from an organisational and economic standpoint, but thanks also to the support provided by the Italian Trade Agency, I believe that we’ve reached our goal, as evidenced by our sales trends in various second tier countries (Bangladesh, Vietnam, etc.).
One positive aspect of my presidency certainly includes the staging of ITMA Milano, as the event held in 2015 was undoubtedly a resounding success in terms of exhibitors and visitors. I’m proud of having organised this event under my tenure. To my successor, I would like to wish that the participation of our associated members in the association’s issues be further enhanced. This will lead ACIMIT to continue to provide services that are increasingly in line with the current real needs of businesses, presenting the excellence of Italian technology in its completeness to the world’s markets.