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Event Report | May 2019

Feel the power of Swiss innovation

Booth: B10-11

For textile machinery manufacturers and their customers, ITMA is the ‘greatest show on earth’ – attracting huge numbers of delegates eager to discover the latest technology trends and the newest machinery developments. The 2019 edition of this four-yearly event takes place in Barcelona in June, and there will again be a strong presence of Swiss textile machinery companies, whose participation at any ITMA is always the focus of enormous visitor interest.

The majority of the 63 exhibitors from Switzerland at ITMA 2019 will attend under the organisation of their national representative body, the Swiss Textile Machinery Association (Swissmem), whose president, Ernesto Maurer, promises an exciting and dynamic showcase of genuine innovation:

“Swiss machinery manufacturers always provide some of the headline presentations at the big exhibitions,” he says. “Barcelona this year will be no exception, as our members will certainly demonstrate the power of Swiss innovation, a tradition rooted in our national DNA across numerous ground-breaking inventions in textiles and the wider world.”

Swissmem is keen to emphasise the spirit of inventiveness which has brought history-making breakthroughs as diverse as the chocolate bar, fizzy drinks and the computer mouse – as well as a continuing stream of textile-related innovations for which ITMA will provide the latest evidence.

The heritage of the Swiss Textile Machinery Association members is impressive, dating back to the dawn of the industrial revolution and amounting to a combined total of more than 4,000 years of expertise in meeting the needs of textile producers worldwide.

At ITMA, every major sector along the textile value chain will be covered by Swiss exhibits, ranging from fibre and yarn manufacturing through knitting, weaving, nonwovens, dyeing and finishing. In many of these disciplines, such as textile testing and quality control and yarn spinning, Swiss firms lead the world. Tradition provides the essential background to the Swiss innovative spirit, but progress today sees companies which are in the forefront of modern and future trends in areas such as digitalisation, sustainability and energy efficiency, with data handling and interpretation underpinning practically every aspect of their work.

Cornelia Buchwalder, Secretary General of the Swiss Textile Machinery Association, accepts that the industry faces ever-changing challenges – not least of which is inexorable globalisation of the textile business. “We in Switzerland are confident that we have the structures and strength to keep pace with the continuing evolution of the textile world, thanks to our financially sound companies and, of course the ongoing development of the machinery and equipment that our ‘inventor DNA’ makes possible,” she says.

“We also have the shared commitment to customer needs which is the core of our offering to the marketplace. Ultimately, we aim to provide added-value to our customers, to help them reach their business goals and achieve sustainable profitability.”

Swissmem is the leading association for SMEs and large companies in Switzerland's mechanical and electrical engineering (MEM) industries and related technology-oriented sectors. Swissmem enhances the competitiveness of its 1100 or so member companies both at home and abroad by providing needs-based services. These services include professional advice on employment, commercial, contract and environmental law, energy efficiency, and knowledge and technology transfer. Swissmem operates a number of strong networks, including 27 specialist groups. The Swiss Textile Machinery Association is the oldest division, founded in 1940. It represents the interests of the Swiss textile machinery manufacturers.

Swissmem and the Swiss Textile Machinery Association are headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland and have branches in Winterthur and Lausanne.

French connection at ITMA

French Textile Machinery Manufacturers are offering hardware, software and services. Evelyne Cholet, the Secretary General of their association, states that “the French textile machinery manufacturers are technology partners for their customers. Together they cooperate on a long-term basis often from a specially-designed machine to many after-sales services”. The objective of these services is to let the customers get the best return from their investments. They include, for examples, remote assistance through Internet, spare parts availability and upgrading.

“In fact, she adds, often, even before the investment decision is made, the machinery manufacturers’ R&D teams work directly with the customers to design specialty machines.”

R&D and service are embedded in the French Textile Machinery Manufacturers’ DNA. It has always been. Remember that Jacquard, the star of the textile machinery invention was French! The manufacturers are agile SME’s run by entrepreneurs with long-term objectives. The managers have very often a long history and strong ties with their companies. Then, in such SME’s, the information flows very rapidly between the commercial, technical and research departments. This is how it should work and it does. It allows to go much further than purely commercial relationships with the customers; trust and confidence are not buzzwords.

That’s why France is the sixth textile machinery manufacturer worldwide with an annual turnover of about 1 billion Euros. They are particularly strong in long fibre spinning (wool, acrylic… ), yarn twisting and control (including technical yarns), space-dyeing, heat setting for carpet yarns, carpet systems, dyeing and finishing, felts and belts for finishing processes, nonwovens, air conditioning of textile plants, and recycling processes of textile materials.

Cholet concludes, “We have worked hard to welcome our customers on our booths at ITMA, and surprise them; my message to them about our machines is: make it yours!”

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