Weaving is one of the oldest manufacturing processes known to man, but in the age of technical textiles it is about to undergo exciting new transformations, says Peter D. Dornier, chief executive officer and co-owner of Lindauer DORNIER GmbH. An active member of the VDMA, his company is a world market and technology leader in building weaving machines. 60 per cent of all woven carbon and aramid fabrics, 50 per cent of all glass fibre fabrics, two out of every three airbags and three out of four motor vehicle tyres worldwide are woven on machines built beside Lake Constance.
Peter D Dornier, CEO of Lindauer DORNIER GmbH, on the departure into new textile worlds.
The name of Dornier has been synonymous with the pioneering spirit for almost a century?...
? like a unifying theme running through the history of our company: The ?Dornier Spirit?, the unceasing pursuit of technical advance. Even when he was working for Count Zeppelin, my grandfather, aircraft designer Claude Dornier was imbued with this spirit. My father, the founder of Lindauer DORNIER GmbH, inherited it from him, and it remains a hallmark of our enterprise to this day. Accordingly, our maxim for new developments has always been and will always be ?Use the best technology to offer the maximum customer benefit?.
To name just a few of the latest milestones: Very recently, we created the label ?DORNIER Composite Systems®?. This has enabled us to combine our expertise in constructing weaving machines and film stretching machines for a more efficient process for manufacturing high performance composites from film and fibres. Or our ?The Green Machine? concept, with the twin objectives of producing exceptionally high-performance woven products for protecting people and the environment, while maximising resource conservation. This sustainability has been a part of the corporate DNA of Lindauer DORNIER GmbH ever since it was founded, and not just because our weaving machines have been the same colour green for the last 50 years.
Was sustainability conspicuously evident at the ITMA in November in Milan?
Yes. Regarding ?The Green Machine? for example, we unveiled an item that surpasses everything for which we are known in terms of technology. Our green weaving machines are already widely respected as the ?benchmark? for environmental and personal protection, but we intend to expand their application spectrum significantly. For example, I am thinking of a market like China, which accounts for a quarter of our sales at the moment. Among many other items, DORNIER machines are used there to produce filter fabrics for ? desperately needed ? pollution control in water and air.
Incidentally, our ?green? machine concept is derived from the basic idea of the VDMA Blue Competence initiative for optimising machines or processes, that is to say reducing energy and air consumption will improving performance. But with regard to sustainability, DORNIER goes yet another step further, because our weaving machines and film stretching systems typically have service lives lasting 30 to 40 years. These are certainly not ?disposable products?. And one of our strengths is that we provide support with spare parts and service for as long as this makes financial sense for our customers. This is also what ?The Green Machine? means to us.
A question about the innovation process: Where do your ideas come from?
One of our great advantages is that we are active in more areas than all of the other weaving machine builders. Our customer base includes, for example, wire weavers, which manufacture ultrafine filter fabrics for turbochargers, or metal printer cartridge fabrics, carbon fibre weavers, which make cables as thick as yo