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Cover Story | January 2019

Manifold challenges ahead: Waldmann

The challenges for the textile machinery industry are manifold with a view to 2019: The political and economic framework conditions have deteriorated, incoming orders in important markets are difficult to predict. Markets that have so far been less in focus have to be observed and worked on more intensively. Digitalization requires the design of business processes and models. At the same time, the recruitment and retention of both academic and industrial junior staff is becoming a permanent task for companies, says Thomas Waldmann, Head of textile Machinery Division of VDMA.

The ITMA ASIA was the most important marketing and sales event for the industry in 2018 - albeit in China in a demand environment that is currently declining in many segments. Nevertheless, in a VDMA survey, 74 per cent of participants rated the number of visitors to their own stand as “satisfactory” to “very good”. The quality of the discussions held with visitors from outside China was assessed even more positively. Members took advantage of the VDMA offers for image promotion, networking and exchange, in particular the press conference and the Association’s half-time results evening.

ITMA 2019 will offer visitors an optimal overview of the innovation diversity of the entire industry: In line with this goal, a group of experts led by the VDMA is developing the Research & Education Area initiated in 2007 into the "ITMA Innovation Lab", with the focus on: innovative raw materials and manufacturing technology, strategic business innovation through automation and digitisation, technical textiles innovations and manufacturing technology, and sustainable textile and garment manufacturing in the circular economy.

These four strategic topics for textile entrepreneurs will be addressed by prominent experts at the Speakers Corner. The ITMA Innovation Lab approach also includes exhibitors presenting their innovative technology in the virtual framework of the "ITMA Innovation Video Showcase".

In 2017, joint textile research was able to raise project funds amounting to millions of Euros. Around 82 projects were started, 161 projects are running at German textile institutes. Textiles continue to be the frontrunners of industries carrying out joint industrial research.

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