About 130 of the most important manufacturers of textile machinery and accessories from all sectors of the trade in Germany are affiliated within the VDMA Textile Machinery Association. The largest parts of the companies are medium-sized firms and stand for approximately 90 per cent of the entire sector volume. In 2015, the branch produced textile machinery worth about 3.1 billion euros.
The association’s main activities are economic and technical representation of the branch’s interests, exchange of experiences as well as services such as statistics, observation of significant markets and reporting on the situation in the textile industries throughout the world, active support regarding political decisions relating to exhibitions, regular circular letters containing any information important to the member companies, and PR.
The members of the Textile Machinery Association offer machines and accessories for all production steps of the textile industry. The spectrum ranges from classical spinning or weaving machinery to specific machinery for geotextiles, fish nets, mooring lines or artificial lawns to name only a few.
Thomas Waldmann, Managing Director, VDMA Textile Machinery, Germany, interacted via email with Samuel Joseph, Editor of Indian Textile Journal, and exchanged information on the German textile machinery industry.
Post-ITMA & post-India-ITME, how has been the going for the German textile machinery industry in terms of performance?
Looking at the whole year of 2016, German exports of textile machinery and accessories to India performed positively. They summed up to more than approx. Euro 341 million, a plus of 5 per cent year on year, and plus 25 per cent compared to 2014. Several VDMA member companies have production bases in India and sell their machines directly in the Indian single market, which makes the results even higher. After the two shows, business has been performing well.
Were there any special efforts mounted in recent times to boost German industry’s presence in Asia, and particularly in India?
At ITMA ASIA last October in Shanghai, there was again a strong German presence. More than 100 German machinery manufacturers exhibited at the fair. The overall exhibition space occupied by German machinery manufacturers was more than 7,000 sq m, confirming Germany’s leading position among exhibiting foreign countries.
The next big event in India is Techtextil India, taking place mid-September in Mumbai. Due to the importance of India, the VDMA Textile Machinery initiated an official German presentation sponsored by the German government for this show.
How has Blue Competence been faring and how is the response from the industry?
In the framework of the Blue Competence initiative, the VDMA continued to emphasise that German technology can play a major role in efforts to make the environment cleaner, to increase the energy efficiency and so the competitiveness of textile producers. For some time now, VDMA member companies have been focusing on the issue of sustainability for their products to satisfy the demand for efficient technology solutions that effectively cut back on consumption, and consequently on production costs. Professionally investing customers are happy to pay for sustainable technologies and improved energy efficiency. The VDMA calls this “Sustainability meets profit”.
How are the energy reduction efforts bringing fruitful results to the industry?
Experts of VDMA member companies examined the energy-saving effects over the entire production chain of five textile products: A cotton t-shirt, a functional t-shirt, a textile billboard, an architectural textile and a hygienic nonwoven. The result of this in-depth analysis is impressive: In the production of these products up to 30 per cent energy can be saved with German technology of today compared to the one available 10 years ago. Since energy is one of the major cost drivers, these savings potentials are indeed fruitful for the textile industry.
Which are the segments in the German textile machinery industry that hold out good scope for the Asian textile industry?
The members of the VDMA Textile Machinery offer machines and accessories for all production steps of the textile industry. The spectrum ranges from classical spinning or weaving machinery to specific machinery for geotextiles, fish nets, mooring lines or artificial lawns, to name a few. For most machinery companies, Asia with its large population and growing incomes in many countries will continue to be an attractive place for business.
How do you look at the future of global textile industry? What is the role VDMA will be playing and what are the new developments that one can look forward to for the growth of the industry?
In general, the fundamental driving factors of the textile machinery business are provided: A growing world population, increasing gross national products, growing income classes, increasing per capita consumption, new application fields for textiles (e.g., technical textiles).
The future of the textile industry is more and more determined by Industrie 4.0. This interconnection of IT and manufacturing processes is on track. Leading customers are increasingly interested in condition monitoring and predictive maintenance, including remote services. Other hot topics are virtual machines, traceability, remote control data exchange, self-optimising, intelligent user interfaces or individualisation.
Generally speaking, smart machine controllers will correct process parameters automatically according to the sensors report. Or, if delivery deadlines are not met, downstream production processes will be adjusted immediately. Without discussing the potential of new business models, immediate advantages of Industrie 4.0 are improved plant efficiency, more economical production processes, energy savings, more flexible production, among others.