Swissmem is the Swiss association of mechanical and electrical engineering industries (MEM industries). Swissmem was created by the merger of two associations: ASM (Association of Swiss Engineering Employers) und VSM (Swiss Association of Machinery Manufacturers). Textile companies under Swissmem include Amsler Tex AG, AUTEFA Solutions, Bräcker AG, Loepfe Brothers AG, Graf + Cie AG, Jakob Müller AG Frick, Retech Aktiengesellschaft, Santex AG, SAURER AG, Saurer Components AG, SSM Schärer Schweiter Mettler AG, Stäubli Sargans AG, Uster Technologies AG, Werner Mathis AG, amongst others.
Cornelia Buchwalder of Swissmem, discusses how the Swiss textile companies has been doing in the Indian market, and their plans for ITMA Milano. Excerpts from the interview.
ITJ Editor: How has been 2014 for the Swiss textile machinery industry globally?
Cornelia Buchwalder (CB): The year 2014 was a positive year for the Swiss Textile Machinery industry, export rates showed a plus of 8.9 per cent compared to the previous year. This equals an export volume of 1.339 billion CHF. Some of the markets showed a very good development, namely Turkey, Uzbekistan, the US and Bangladesh. India was the third largest export market for Swiss textile machines in 2014 with a volume of 97.6 million CHF, which is a plus of 2.6 per cent compared to 2013.
ITJ Editor: How has the industry been doing in the Indian market?
CB: For many years India ranks in the top four export countries of Swiss textile machinery. But this is just part of the picture. Many of our members have a local presence in India, be it with sales or service centres of full production sites.
ITJ Editor: Now that ITMA Milano is nearing, how many Swiss companies are participating? What is the strategy to woo buyers at the exhibition?
CB: ITMA Milano is going to be the most important event for the Swiss exhibitors and for us as an association. Switzerland currently is the fifth largest exhibitor, represented by around 60 exhibitors following Italy, Germany, Turkey and China. Our exhibitors will attract buyers with their innovations. For most of our companies ITMA is still the event to present their innovations or their latest improvements of the existing portfolio. The Swiss Textile Machinery association will be represented in the association village located in hall 8 ´ and as we did in Shanghai, we will be offering a Swiss photo experience again.
ITJ Editor: Apart from Asia, where do you think the textile industry has bigger scope and how far the Swiss technologies have penetrated in these regions?
CB: There see a positive development in a number of regions, albeit at a much lower level than in Asia. Countries where we see a positive trend are the US, African countries such as Egypt or Ethiopia or Iran. Most of our members have activities in at least some of these regions, but business conditions are not easy and will develop over time.
ITJ Editor: What are the strengths of Swiss textile technology and what are its benefits for the Indian industry?
CB: Last year we launched a programme to support our members in its innovation process. Switzerland often ranks as an ´Innovation Champion´ in global analyses. Nevertheless we see that for SMEs the task of innovating their portfolio, services and processes is a difficult one. This is mainly due to the lack of resources. Therefore we started an initiative which offers to each of our members to analyse their innovation process and portfolio with an external consultant. This allows them to strengthen their respective capabilities and maybe to even find an additional innovation field outside the traditional textile market. Of course as for any market, these developments<