Itema is a leading global provider of advanced weaving solutions, including best-in-class weaving machines, spare parts and integrated services. The company is the only manufacturer in the world to provide the top three weft insertion technologies: rapier, airjet and projectile, with an ample product portfolio and a commitment to continuous innovation and technological advancement of its weaving machines. Itema has a tradition of almost 200 years with an installed base of over 300,000 weaving machines in operation. A global presence in more than 100 countries ensures a fast and reliable service.
In an exclusive tete-a-tete with the Indian Textile Journal, Christian Straubhaar, Sales & Marketing Director, Itema Group, speaks on market for Itema products, and provides suggestions for improving India’s weaving segment.
According to recent reports, Itema Weaving has done very well in the global market. What are the developments? Give details of its performance.
Born from the successful mergers and acquisitions over the years of legendary textile machinery brands, such as Somet, Sulzer and Vamatex, Itema is headquartered in northern Italy’s Bergamo area – historic cradle of the Italian textile industry – and is uniquely positioned as the only manufacturer in the world to provide all the top three weft insertion technologies: rapier, airjet and projectile.
Since 2012, Itema experienced a great success in the market, doubling the sales of its weaving machines. The positive result is mainly due to the growing acceptance and appreciation of the R9500, launched in 2012 and today the most successful rapier machine in recent history, along with the new Itema airjet portfolio which, based on the A9500, features the most innovative airjet machine in the market, the Itema A9500p. Moreover, the company’s strategy to focus and invest in innovation, with the creation of two R&D departments, out of which one entirely dedicated to advanced innovation (ndr ItemaLab), guaranteed the development of breakthrough weaving solutions consistently reducing time to market and quickly answering to new fabric trends and weavers needs.
How has been India figuring in the strategies of Itema in the recent past and how is it faring, especially post-India ITME 2016?
India is one of the top three markets for Itema and the results are improving year-on-year. With the appointment of Updeep Singh as Managing Director of Itema Weaving India in 2014, we are experiencing a steady growth in the sales of our weaving machines. Last December, during India ITME, we had the possibility to meet in person the Indian weaving sectors players – from corporate companies to artisan mills – showing to them our technological leadership in weaving and the Itema strong and reliable organisation. Furthermore, we had the chance to collect the precious hints of the sophisticated Indian weavers.
Just a few months before India ITME, we inaugurated our new office in Mumbai, a modern and strategic location to welcome our customers. In the country, we also have other premises, among which stands out the Coimbatore training centre, a fully-equipped facility where our customers technical staff can experience hands on and highly specialised training courses carried out by the Itema skilled technicians.
Which are the latest machines of Itema and what are its USPs? How have they been faring globally?
As mentioned before, the rapier R9500 along with the airjet A9500 are the backbone of the Itema portfolio. Their success in the worldwide market is undeniable and continuously growing, and we are constantly implementing new solutions, such as the brand-new Itema Pneumatic Tuckers available for the rapier R9500, which allow reduced maintenance costs and no speed limitations, providing utmost fabric quality and the possibility to have very narrow tucked-in selvedges leading to a significant reduction of fabric waste. On the airjet side, we recently developed the Full Width Reed Tuckers guaranteeing to the weavers the possibility to reduce reed stock and increase the flexibility of the machine. Moreover, the brand-new Double Tandem Nozzles ensure superior fabric quality and significant cost savings.
In 2015, we launched our new R9500 terry, the rapier machine exclusively dedicated to weave terry towels. Nowadays, the machine performances both in term of sales and customers’ satisfaction are excellent, even exceeding our expectations. R9500 terry confirmed the leadership in terry weaving of the previous Itema model Silver DT and in general of the historic rapier models for terry of the past from Sulzer and Vamatex. The increasing demand for R9500 terry is also due to the growing requirement of fabric quality and versatility that only a rapier machine can ensure to the weavers, trend that we are experiencing even here in India.
Last but not least, arrives the latest new launch of Itema, the brand-new R9500 denim. Introduced in the market during ITMA Asia in October 2016, the R9500 denim is the first rapier machine tailored and fine tuned to weave denim. The technical advancements featured on the machine were developed to meet denim weavers expectations in terms of machine reliability, fabric quality and utmost versatility.
What according to you is lacking in India’s weaving sector? What are your suggestions for improving India’s weaving segment to meet global challenges in the future?
Actually, it’s difficult to find something which is lacking in the Indian weaving sector. India are today based on some of the most-renowned weaving companies of the world, which are applying all the latest industrial developments to weave sophisticated and advanced fabrics. In our customers portfolio, besides corporate companies, we have medium size mills, which are carrying on the strong heritage and exclusivity of the traditional Indian textiles, such as shawl and pashmina, using our advanced and modern weaving technology to excel and compete in the global market. Probably, a segment that must be better explored is the one of technical fabrics, where the demand is increasing – especially in geotextiles and agrotextiles – both for the internal market but also for exports.
Moreover, I believe that an important room to grow is the evolution of the actual shuttleloom mills, that by switching to the latest shuttleless weaving machines will highly improve their competitiveness.
What are the strategies Itema will be adopting to increase its share in the Indian market?
When we sell the Itema weaving machines to our customers, we are not only providing the most advanced weaving solutions. We are building a win-win relationship, based on mutual benefit and success. Itema, with its four premises in India, guarantees a real-time after sales service assistance and the quickest spare parts delivery. We believe that our strategy to focus on innovative and tailored-made weaving solutions coupled with the central position of the customer in all our activities is the proper way to meet and exceed the expectations of the Indian weavers.
How are Itema technologies suitable for weaving technical textiles? What prospects do you see for these machines in the Indian market?
Itema derives a growing portion of the overall turnover from sales of weaving machines specialized in technical textiles applications. Asia, Europe and North America are just among some of the strategically important areas where the adoption of Itema’s technology for technical textiles is on the rise. A significant number of weaving machines by Itema are used for technical textiles, like geotextile, coating, filter fabrics to list just a few applications. Itema is uniquely positioned to offer technical textile manufacturers the top three technologies for weft insertion, rapier, airjet and projectile, in what is the most comprehensive portfolio on the market today for technical applications. As mentioned before, India could take advantage from the increase of technical textiles production, since the internal demand is constantly growing reflecting the worldwide trend.