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(c) STF Swiss Textile & Fashion Institute
23.02.2021

Sustainability Management in Textiles - Interview with Sonja Amport, Director of STF

Contact restrictions, mandatory use of face masks, home office: The Coronavirus has turned our daily lives upside down and reduced public life almost to zero. The impact of the pandemic has even further in-creased the existing pressure for action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. And that is why, it is not surprising that the issues of sustainability, climate protection and digitization are gaining ground in the industry's and consumers' awareness. New management qualities are required.

Textination talked to Sonja Amport, Director of the STF Swiss Textile & Fashion Institute, about the new training course CAS Sustainability Management in Textiles. After career experiences in the industry and in associations, the business economist with a master's degree in International Management has been contributing her knowledge of textiles, education, business administration, as well as marketing and sales to STF with vigor and passion since 2015.

Contact restrictions, mandatory use of face masks, home office: The Coronavirus has turned our daily lives upside down and reduced public life almost to zero. The impact of the pandemic has even further in-creased the existing pressure for action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. And that is why, it is not surprising that the issues of sustainability, climate protection and digitization are gaining ground in the industry's and consumers' awareness. New management qualities are required.

Textination talked to Sonja Amport, Director of the STF Swiss Textile & Fashion Institute, about the new training course CAS Sustainability Management in Textiles. After career experiences in the industry and in associations, the business economist with a master's degree in International Management has been contributing her knowledge of textiles, education, business administration, as well as marketing and sales to STF with vigor and passion since 2015.

The history of the STF Swiss Textile & Fashion Institute began in 1881. In this year Pablo Picasso was born and Billy the Kid was shot. The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach was premiered and Thomas Alva Edison built the world's first electric power station. The Breuninger department store opened at Stuttgart's market square and Rudolph Karstadt's first store in Wismar.
What led to the foundation of STF during this period of time and what values do you still feel committed to today?

In 1881, the textile industry in Switzerland was thriving. Companies in the sector of spinning, weaving, finishing and others burgeoned. However, there was a shortage of trained specialists who could have operated or repaired the machines. This is why the companies teamed up and founded the STF Swiss Textile & Fashion Institute - a place for education and training of specialists for the Swiss textile and clothing industry. For this reason, the STF is still organized as a cooperative today. Therefore, we are still committed to the values of competence, customer orientation, innovation, inspiration and passion to this day.

If you had to introduce your educational institution in 100 words to someone who doesn't know the Schweizerische Textilfachschule: How does the school define itself today and on which fields of activity does it focus?
The STF Swiss Textile & Fashion Institute stands for sustainable educational competence covering the entire life cycle of a textile, fashion or lifestyle product. With the "STF-LAB", the STF positions itself as an educational service provider with three business fields. The core field is "Education", where the STF offers numerous training and further education courses, from basic education to bachelor's and master's degrees. In the "Incubator & Makerspace" (STF Studio), the main focus is on shared infrastructure, mutual inspiration and the thereby together achieved progress. In the third business field, "Think Tank & Consulting", the school acts as a think tank, where experts can be "hired" and part-time management is offered.

Keyword life-long education: What further education programs does the STF offer for the textile and clothing industry, even after a successful degree?
Which industry sectors and which countries are you focusing on?

Firstly, we offer a variety of informal modular courses for the textile and clothing industry as well as retail, in which one can achieve a good overview of a specific topic within 45 lessons. Such as: Welding & Bonding, Smart & Functional Textiles, Start-up in Fashion or the Steiger Stitch Module, where you learn to program your own knitting designs and then knit them on a "Shared Machine" at STF. We also offer two-week intensive summer courses each year, for example in Sustainable Fashion Design. In terms of formal education, I can recommend our master’s program in Product Management Fashion & Textile in German or our two CAS in Sustainability Management in Textiles. Once with face-to-face classes in German and once via e-learning in English. At the moment, we are focusing our programs on Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH region). Our internationalization strategy was abruptly stopped due to Covid-19. With our English master's programs, we were focusing particularly on the Indian and Chinese markets We are now strategically repositioning ourselves with English language courses and will start marketing again from 2022 onwards. The goal is to provide flexible, modular master's programs with a high e-learning component, so that costs remain moderate and travelling can be reduced.

Sustainability has changed from a buzzword to a matter of course: The latest OTTO Trend Study even says, that sustainable consumption has entered the mainstream society. What does this mean for the textile and clothing industry? Are the companies positioned in terms of personnel in such a way, that they have professionally incorporated this complex of topics into their service portfolio?
Swiss companies have recognized, that they only have a chance against foreign competitors, if they are capable of innovation, consistently operating in a niche and can stand out through sustainable production. Sustainability is therefore an absolutely central USP. With this in mind, many companies are dealing this and, of course, also send their employees to us for further training.

The STF offers - so far being the only one in the German-speaking area - an internationally recognized further education in the field of Sustainability Management in Textiles as a Certificate of Advanced Studies CAS. Which sub-areas from design, production, process optimization to marketing does the certificate cover?
The STF offers the internationally recognized University of Applied Sciences certificate in collaboration with SUPSI, the Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana in Ticino.

In the degree program, we look from a holistic perspective and at the entire value chain of a textile, i.e. from design to production and to marketing, global challenges, where sustainability acts as a multilateral solution. In addition, the normative and strategic management of sustainability, topics related to social responsibility as well as initiatives and standards for the textile industry are highlighted. An important element of the CAS are raw materials and products, i.e. not only sustainable fibers but also fabrics or the use of chemical agents. Last but not least, aspects around biodiversity, animal welfare, marketing, labeling as well as possible future scenarios and best practice examples are highlighted.

Who could be interested in the CAS Sustainability Management in Textiles and why? What impact can the certificate have on a career?
The CAS is attractive for managers who are generally concerned about the strategic orientation of a company, as well as for specialist employees in design, product development, purchasing, sales or quality management who are responsible for operationalizing the sustainability strategy. And of course we always welcome young designers with their own fashion labels willing to break new, sustainable grounds and to stand out from the rest. The push in professional life is strongly related to one's own personality. So far, however, all graduates have found attending the further education program to be extremely beneficial for their own career paths.

What about the formal aspects of the CAS? For example, are there selection criteria, by when do you have to register, what does the curriculum look like, and what are the fees for attendants?
We start the educational courses at the end of August each year. Early registration, preferably by mid-May, is recommended to secure a place. In the face-to-face course, 120 lessons take place in Zurich and Ticino, costs of CHF 5,900. -, including teaching materials and examination fees, can be expected. In the e-learning course, with a few days of on-site attendance, the content is taught synchronously by Microsoft Teams, usually by the same lecturers. Here, the fee is CHF 5,600.

These costs do not include personal expenses as well as travel and accommodation costs.

Those who are interested can find the facts & figures on our homepage (available in German only):
(www.stf.ch/kurse/cas or www.stf.ch/kurse/cas-online)

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly shown us the limitations of mobility. How have you responded to this as an educational institution?
Physical limitations can easily be overcome with e-learning. One of the reasons why our classes continued regularly throughout the pandemic period. For the period after Covid-19, we are planning, in addition to face-to-face study modules, further online-only seminars, such as our CAS-Online. These will be offered increasingly in English as well. We are also currently testing possible forms of hybrid lessons. Meaning, while some are educated on-site in Zurich, people who have to travel a long way, such as those from Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH region), can attend the lessons virtually and live from a distance.

The past year has left its mark on the textile and apparel industry. When you look back on a year of "state of emergency" - what positive experiences do you take with you, where do you see a need for improvement?
It was definitely a year of a state of emergency! One positive aspect is, that we at STF were ready and able to teach online from day one of the lockdown. The learners, students and my team all showed the greatest understanding and flexibility. But as an institute in the textile, fashion and lifestyle sector, teaching also thrives on visual materials. Being able to feel and smell the yarns and fabrics, as well as to discuss the experiences in person, are important learning experiences. It is definitely a challenge to implement such key learning elements online. Overall, Covid-19 has catapulted us forward as an institution in regards to the topic of digitization by what feels like two years. However, I would be grateful if we could return to normality as soon as possible and to an everyday life with "less distance".

Breaking new ground means willingness to make decisions, overcoming fears - and thus courage to fail. Not every project can succeed. In retrospect, which decision that you made for the STF profile are you particularly pleased about?
I'm proud to say that most of the projects we tackle are successful. There is almost always a way. Sometimes, as you move forward, you just have to adjust the direction a bit to get where you want to go. A groundbreaking innovation was certainly the modularization of (almost) all degree programs. Students can therefore benefit from a wide range of choices and create their own curriculum.

A second decision I'm grateful for was that, as a small institute, we invested a lot in expanding our digital capabilities and infrastructure at a very early stage, which we are now benefiting from. With very well-trained lecturers and a learning platform, a VM platform and modern 3D software in various subject areas, we consider ourselves a pioneer in e-learning and digitalization across Europe. Capabilities, which also pay off in terms of sustainability.

The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, Managing Director of Textination GmbH

 

Further information:

(c) Claudia Bitzer
05.01.2021

Telling good Stories - PR Challenges of the medium-sized Textile Industry

Interview with Claudia Bitzer, Owner Bitzer PR, Albstadt

The past year was not only a big economic challenge for many companies, but also in terms of communication - whether in advertising or in PR topics - new ground had to be broken. Contact restrictions up to a strict lockdown, the cancellation of many trade fairs, congresses or other event formats made it necessary to rethink.

Textination discussed it with Claudia Bitzer, owner of the PR agency of the same name in Albstadt, Baden-Württemberg. Her customers include medium-sized companies from the textile and clothing industry as well as machinery manufacturers, public clients and the media.

Interview with Claudia Bitzer, Owner Bitzer PR, Albstadt

The past year was not only a big economic challenge for many companies, but also in terms of communication - whether in advertising or in PR topics - new ground had to be broken. Contact restrictions up to a strict lockdown, the cancellation of many trade fairs, congresses or other event formats made it necessary to rethink.

Textination discussed it with Claudia Bitzer, owner of the PR agency of the same name in Albstadt, Baden-Württemberg. Her customers include medium-sized companies from the textile and clothing industry as well as machinery manufacturers, public clients and the media.

With your PR agency based in Albstadt, you have also been busy in the textile industry for a good 5 years. If you had to introduce yourself in 100 words to someone who doesn't know you: Why did you decide to become your own boss after working for an agency, and what distinguishes your work?
Actually, self-employment gave me a call: An acquaintance suggested that I take over the communication for his employer, a textile machine manufacturer in the Alb, as a freelancer. When I was on the phone, I had our ten-day-old son in my arms. I was also a PR consultant at Ketchum in Stuttgart. Because I was curious, I got to grips with the matter over the next few months. With success: The textile machines have turned out to be surprisingly tangible products, after all, they make the clothes that we wear on our bodies every day. From this my access to the textile industry developed, which I would call my home base today.

Because I serve various companies along the textile chain, I have an overall view of the industry and can offer overarching stories with different perspectives. I also have a weakness for complex, "dusty" topics, regardless of the industry. I can delve in them with devotion in order to present them vividly. That's why I would call myself a content specialist.

In addition to German, English, Spanish and French, you speak Swabian fluently. Why is it important to have regional roots when you work for export-oriented companies in the textile industry in Baden-Württemberg?
You got that about fluent Swabian from my website, right? (Laughs) But yes, it is very helpful if you can feel whether "gschwind" – Swabian for “pretty fast” - tolerates a delay or has to be dealt with immediately.

I think the Swabian is really important in terms of the mentality behind it. I grew up in the Alb, my father ran a medium-sized company of his own. I understand many things without a customer having to explain them to me.

For example, modesty in relation to one's own person. Especially in long-established family businesses, the owners play an important role. They bear a great responsibility, both in the company and at their location. Nevertheless, the focus is always on the entrepreneurial performance, the product that, manufactured somewhere in the Swabian province, can keep up with the German, European or global competition. That doesn't happen by itself, but requires courage, entrepreneurial spirit and a great deal of openness to new things, and that fascinates me. I also often notice that by the passion, that these leading family businesses bring with them, I am carried away.

Breaking new ground means being willing to make decisions, overcoming fears - and thus also having the courage to fail. Not every project can succeed. In retrospect, which entrepreneurial decision are you particularly glad to have made?
Apart from being self-employed? The first corona lockdown with home schooling and closed daycare centers was a big challenge. On the one hand, I was relieved that it became quieter on the customer side between the end of March and the beginning of June, otherwise it would not have been feasible either professionally or in terms of family. On the other hand, this silence scared me and I often asked myself whether self-employment was the right way to go.

In early summer, when the situation on all sides had stabilized somewhat, I tackled the problem head on: I looked for co-working spaces and took extensive further training in online marketing. Being honest, of course, these were business decisions. Fortunately, they are already paying off, even if I may sit alone in the office for now.

Is there any work you are particularly proud of? Which story moved you beyond normal and which thematic challenges do you love?
One project that I fondly remember is the communication referring to a repdigit anniversary one of my clients was celebrating. For this, I first put 111 years of the company’s history down on paper in weeks, no, months of archive work. Because I had delved so deeply into the subject, I came up with many ideas for the messages of the anniversary celebration. Fortunately, the client was quickly convinced. At some point we had a signet, a slogan and a really good story for the anniversary. Incidentally, we still benefit from the numerous proof points we worked out for the occasion in our product and corporate communications today.

In addition, the project has naturally deepened the relationship with this client. I also work closely with the advertising agency that accompanied the anniversary communication. I consider such long-term partnerships as a great asset.

Have the messages you want or need to communicate for your clients changed in Corona times? And what was the focus of your work in 2020?
Unsurprisingly, the focus of work in 2020 was on online communication. For almost all of my customers we will start planning and implementing new measures in this area in the coming year.

As for the messages, little has altered. This is certainly due to the fact that the meta-topics have remained the same. Take sustainability, definitely a long-running favorite in the textile industry, and the sub-topic regionality. In contrast to previous crises, the Corona pandemic has not sidelined these approaches, but intensified them because it has shown us how dependent we are on production abroad. The same applies to the issues of transparency and quality.

Precisely because the themes have stayed the same, the crucial part for me is to find a unique story within these permanent themes so as not to disappear into the big river. That requires empathy, creativity - and a good portion of diligence.

Moving away from the simple advertising message to storytelling - what recommendation would you give medium-sized companies in general regarding their communication for the coming year? Are there any special features that the textile industry in particular should consider?
I think that will go in the direction of "We are still there, and even stronger than before". After all, the crisis demanded a lot from everyone. But it is always a productive phase, because when it comes to a head, it forces us to develop further that otherwise would not have been initiated or at least would have been initiated later. Therefore, it can represent a turning point, definitely for the better.

Take digitization, which is the most obvious approach: the crisis has given rise to a boost in this area; the online shop was or is to be expanded, the service is to become more digital.

Apart from that, there are certain individual changes in every company that the crisis has brought about. You can have the courage to name and tell them, because these are stories that interest everyone.

Goodbye Facebook - good morning TikTok. Which social media platforms do you recommend to your clients and under what conditions should medium-sized companies get involved?
TikTok has so far been more of a topic that I discuss with my daughter, who is almost 12 years old. But seriously: I recently read in a study published by Hootsuite that at the beginning of 2020, less than ten percent of Germans were using TikTok. On Facebook, the user share is still over 60 percent. For that reason alone, we shouldn't simply dismiss Facebook.

When I discuss the topic of social media with my clients, it is important for me not to think from the channels. Sure, it's tempting, but other questions should be asked at the beginning: What is the long-term goal of the social media activities? What resources are available - and what budgets? By now it is well known that social media is an extensive field of activity in its own right, which ties up corresponding resources. In medium-sized businesses, where I rarely have access to a multi-headed marketing team, a solid strategy is the be-all and end-all. It must be very, very clear which target groups are to be addressed. Then I can talk about channels and choose the most important ones. This almost certainly includes LinkedIn and Xing, as well as Instagram and Facebook, the latter especially in an international environment. By the way, the evaluation is just as important, it tends to fall behind. The relationship between measured values and corporate goals is anything but trivial.

Trade fairs, events, press conferences and meetings - these have almost completely fallen by the wayside in 2020. How important do you consider face-to-face communication to be in the long term, and which channels and measures do you recommend to your customers to compensate for these losses?
Face-to-face contact remains important! Of course, we all realised last year that not every event has to be a face-to-face event. A video conference saves time and money and, with the right discipline, can be just as effective as a face-to-face meeting. Many service cases can also be solved by video telephony, no one has to travel around. I am therefore convinced that we will not return to the meeting in person culture we had before Corona, even if this will be possible again at some point.

That's why I advise my clients to take advantage of the digital opportunities that are opening up everywhere. At the moment, everyone is still a beginner, you can only learn. Take virtual trade fairs: This is a fundamentally different approach than the classic presence fair. There is no need for a large trade fair team that is ready from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. There are no press appointments either. It is much more important to contact the visitors directly, i.e., to collect leads, to group the visitors and to stay in touch with them after the event by providing them with tailor-made content. Speaking of content: at the latest with such online events, it becomes clear how diverse content must be prepared. To pick up customers in the virtual space, you need graphics, videos, animations and much more.

Nevertheless, it will not work without direct, physical contact. I remain convinced that people buy from people. Video conferences work particularly well when the participants already know each other from real life. And the textile industry in particular thrives on haptics. I can never feel a yarn or a fabric digitally. Nor can I feel the production speed of a machine. With every revolution there is a slight breeze. You can't get that digitally.

 

The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

Fraunhofer IZM: Jessica Smarsch (c) Jessica Smarsch
01.12.2020

Fraunhofer IZM: High-Tech Fashion – art and science for the clothes of tomorrow

For most people, the word "fashion" evokes thoughts of cuts, colors and patterns - but why not of live evaluations of vital functions or training sessions for rehabilitation patients? Up to now, products of the fashion industry have been largely analogous. The project Re-FREAM, however, was created to design smart clothes in the digital area. Here, researchers and artists work side by side, developing innovative and sustainable ideas and implementation options for the fashion industry, while simultaneously providing impulses for user-oriented synergies between textiles and technology.

For most people, the word "fashion" evokes thoughts of cuts, colors and patterns - but why not of live evaluations of vital functions or training sessions for rehabilitation patients? Up to now, products of the fashion industry have been largely analogous. The project Re-FREAM, however, was created to design smart clothes in the digital area. Here, researchers and artists work side by side, developing innovative and sustainable ideas and implementation options for the fashion industry, while simultaneously providing impulses for user-oriented synergies between textiles and technology.

The writer Maxim Gorki summed up the connection between two social spheres that were long believed to be irreconcilable: "Just as science is the intellect of the world, art is its soul". In the project Re-FREAM they are connected because fashion is not limited to the decision of the external, it is directly afflicted with sociological, technological and ecological world views. It is less and less sufficient to present only the beautiful, because the dark sides of the fashion industry must also be uncovered and countered with sustainable production cycles and fair working conditions. It is precisely this rethinking and redesigning of processes, production methods, but also of functionality and traditions in the world of fashion that is part of the Re-FREAM project.

The aim is to create an interaction between fashion, design, science and urban manufacturing in order to combine creative visions with sustainable technological solutions. In teams, artists and scientists developed projects together and then presented their innovative aesthetics at the virtual Ars Electronica Festival 2020.

The cooperation with Fraunhofer IZM's scientists opens up entirely new technological possibilities for artists: Microelectronics not only serves as a fashion accessory but is also brings new functions to clothing. With the help of integration technologies, clothing can be integrated into networks and textile-integrated sensor technology can be used, which opens up perspectives of wearable applications in the field of e-health.

One difficulty that Fraunhofer researchers are facing is the electronic contact points between electronics and textiles, because these must be manufacturable on an industrial scale and function reliably under typical textile mechanical stress and washing without any loss of performance. The electronic modules are a further challenge. At Fraunhofer IZM, the electronic components are miniaturized to such an extent that they do not stand out in the garment. The connecting conductor tracks are finally laminated or embroidered onto the fabrics.

Each sub-project in Re-FREAM is a unique joint effort, a fact that reflects the versatility of the cooperation partners. The Italian designer Giulia Tomasello, for example, wants to reveal taboos around female health in her project "Alma" and realize a monitoring of the vaginal flora. The team consisting of designers, an anthropologist and Fraunhofer researchers is developing underwear with an integrated pH sensor, designed to enable a non-invasive diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis and fungal diseases in everyday life and prevent serious inflammation.

In the gusset of the underwear, the reusable biosensor collects data and transmits them to a module measuring approximately 1 cm². Thanks to a modular design, the microcontroller can be easily removed from the textiles. The textile sensor, too, can be removed from the underwear. In addition to the technological solution, aesthetic requirements are another main focus. Other potential applications would be the monitoring of abnormal uterine bleeding as well as menopause. "Through close cooperation with the artists, we have gained very special insights into the user's perspective, and they in turn into that of application-oriented technologies. We have always challenged each other and have now found a solution that combines medical technology, wearables and a circular production method to empower women," says Max Marwede, who provided technical support for "Alma" at Fraunhofer IZM.

In the "Connextyle" project around designer and product developer Jessica Smarsch, the team also focuses on developing user-oriented garments: The tops, which are equipped with textile printed circuit boards and laminated EMG sensors, measure muscle activity and thus optimize rehabilitation processes for patients. An app provides visual feedback from the collected data, generates reports on the healing process and makes it easier for therapists to adapt the measures ideally.

Soft Robotics are the key point in the "Lovewear" project, because here inclusive underwear was developed, which is intended to help people with physical limitations in particular to explore their own intimacy and develop a greater awareness of their own body. Through interaction with a connected pillow, which functions as an interface, compressed air inserts are activated in the lace fabric. Instead of the commonly used silicon-based materials, Soft Robotics are made of textiles and thermoplastic materials. The researchers thus avoid the long curing process of silicone-based approaches and enable faster and more cost-effective mass production with available textile machines.

Particularly challenging and at the same time fruitful is the collaboration in creating sustainable and circular production designs in fashion. Ecological principles are taken into account at the design stage, minimizing negative environmental impacts throughout the product life cycle. This includes the reliability of the component contacts, the length of time the sensors adhere to the textile, the choice of materials and the modular design for reuse of the microcontrollers. However, the teams do not create individual pieces - they want to show that the path to high-tech fashion can also be an environmentally friendly one. They also worked on circular business models that fit the sustainable mission of the projects.

Thus Fraunhofer IZM’s expertise in the fields of e-textiles and circular design represents a considerable added value in the Re-FREAM project. With further investigations on suitable conductive materials, the researchers are currently developing sensory textiles and textile-suitable interconnection technologies. They are also working on thermoplastic substrates that can be integrated into almost any textile.

Re-FREAM is part of the STARTS (Science + Technology + Arts) program, which is funded as an initiative of the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.

Source:

Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM

Photo: Wilhelm-Lorch-Foundation.
11.08.2020

Wilhelm Lorch Foundation: Demand and Support - Qualifying young and up-and-coming Talents

  • Interview with Klaus Kottmeier, Elke Giese, Markus Gotta, Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Maike Rabe

In June 1988, the shareholders and management of Deutscher Fachverlag announced the Wilhelm Lorch Foundation to the textile and garment industry. Its purpose is to promote vocational training, including student assistance as well as science and research.

Upon its establishment, the Foundation received an initial endowment of DM 300,000 from Deut-scher Fachverlag. Today, the Foundation has assets of approx. 2,85 m. Euro (as at Dec 2019). Since 1988, the foundation has awarded sponsorship prizes of around EUR 1,933,564 (as of June 2020) to date, in order to fund the initial and further training of young people from all areas of the textile industry, with a particular focus on young and up-and-coming talents.

  • Interview with Klaus Kottmeier, Elke Giese, Markus Gotta, Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Maike Rabe

In June 1988, the shareholders and management of Deutscher Fachverlag announced the Wilhelm Lorch Foundation to the textile and garment industry. Its purpose is to promote vocational training, including student assistance as well as science and research.

Upon its establishment, the Foundation received an initial endowment of DM 300,000 from Deut-scher Fachverlag. Today, the Foundation has assets of approx. 2,85 m. Euro (as at Dec 2019). Since 1988, the foundation has awarded sponsorship prizes of around EUR 1,933,564 (as of June 2020) to date, in order to fund the initial and further training of young people from all areas of the textile industry, with a particular focus on young and up-and-coming talents.

Textination talked to the former chairman of the supervisory board of Deutscher Fachverlag GmbH, the current member of the executive board and founding member of the foundation, Klaus Kottmeier, as well as three members of the board of trustees: Mrs. Elke Giese - trend analyst and fashion journalist, Markus Gotta, managing director of Deutscher Fachverlag GmbH, and Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Maike Rabe, who will take over the chairmanship of the foundation board on September 1, 2020, about the challenging task of continuing successfully the foundation's work in an environment characterized by the pandemic.

The figure 3 seems to play a very special role for the Wilhelm Lorch Foundation (WLS). In 1988 announced on the occasion of the 30th Forum of the TextilWirtschaft, it was endowed with assets of DM 300,000. 2019 marked the 30th anniversary of the award of the sponsorship prizes. If you had to introduce the WLS in 100 words to someone who does not know the foundation: Which 3 aspects have particularly influenced its development and made it unique?

Klaus Kottmeier: In more than 30 years the WLS has been in existence, the foundation has received great support all over the sector from the very beginning. This continues to this day and is not only reflected in the financial support provided by generous grants, but above all in an active commitment of many sector leaders on the foundation board and board of trustees. A second aspect is the unique range in the topics of the support, which extends across design, business and technology, covering young talents in retail as well as university graduates, but also involving educational institutions themselves. And thirdly, the motivation of so many applicants we experience every year, who prepare their applications with incredible diligence and thus impressively demonstrate their willingness to perform.

 

The name of the foundation is a tribute to Wilhelm Lorch, the publisher and founder of the trade journal Textil-Wirtschaft and thus of Deutscher Fachverlag, who died in 1966. Which of his characteristics and traits do you still see as exemplary for the next generation in our industry today?

Klaus Kottmeier: We are a publishing media house where professional journalism based on sound research always forms the basis. This is associated with classic values such as entrepreneurial courage and will, diligence and discipline, but also a sense of responsibility and team spirit, which were exemplified by our founder and which still form the culture of our company today. These all are qualities young people should take to heart and which, coupled with a passion for their profession, encourage them to continue on their path.

 

According to its statutes, the primary purpose of the foundation is the awarding of "... awards and prizes to graduates of continuation schools of the German retail textile trade, textile-technical training institutes and [...] for final degree or doctoral theses from universities, as far as these deal with textile topics.” How nationally and internationally does the WLS work?

Prof. Maike Rabe: The prizes are mainly awarded to graduates and applicants from Germany and German-speaking countries, but there are also always talents from Europe, who have close ties to the German market.

Markus Gotta: The focus is clearly on the core market of Germany or Germany-Austria-Switzerland respectively, which we cover with the TW - accordingly, we do not advertise internationally, but there is no exclusion for foreign applicants, the only requirement is that the submitted works and reports must be written in German or English.

 

Over the past 31 years in which the foundation has been awarding prizes to people, projects and works, you have met many young talents who have moved our industry or will certainly do so. Are there any unusual stories or special award winners that have remained in your memory? And how do you assess the development of the applicants' educational level over the years?

Elke Giese: The applicants come from very different schools and universities, differing significantly in their profiles and focus. The demands on teaching have grown enormously, especially as a result of increasing digitization. Since the job profiles in the fashion business are also constantly changing and will continue to be subject to major changes in the future, the challenges for schools and students remain very high.
From each year, particularly talented and creative personalities remain in one's memory. To name one, Elisa Paulina Herrmann from Pforzheim, who was twice among the prize winners in 2017 and 2019 with her bachelor's and then master's thesis. Her ability and originality were overwhelming for the board of trustees. She now creates exclusive knitwear collections for Gucci. Among the young men is Niels Holger Wien, who received WLS funding in 1995. He has been the specialist for color trends and zeitgeist of the German Fashion Institute for many years and is currently president of the world's most important color committee INTERCOLOR.

Klaus Kottmeier: There are many award winners who have subsequently made a great career, to name just one example, Dr. Oliver Pabst, current CEO of Mammut Sports Group AG and WLS award winner in 1994.

 

Due to its proximity to TextilWirtschaft, the foundation is primarily associated with fashion design and topics related to clothing production or marketing. In 2020 you have put Smart Textiles in the virtual spotlight with two project sponsorships. How do you see future topics in the field of technical textiles? Can you imagine creating a new focus on that field?

Prof. Maike Rabe: First of all, the WLS supports talented young people who, thanks to their training, can take up a career in the entire textile and clothing industry. Of course, this also includes the field of technical textiles, which is of great importance in terms of production in Germany being a technological leader. Here the boundaries to clothing are fluid, just think of outdoor or sports equipment.    „    

Klaus Kottmeier: Our excellently staffed board of trustees is open to all innovative topics in the industry. Innovations in the field of technical textiles in particular are important topics for the future. In 2017, for example, the sponsorship award went to the Anna-Siemsen-School, a vocational school for textile technology and clothing in Hanover, through which we supported the procurement of a pattern design software.

 

The Wilhelm Lorch Foundation has set itself the goal of supporting qualified young people in the textile and fashion industry. However, you preclude the support for business start-ups. In times, in which start-ups receive increasing attention not only through corresponding TV formats but also through industry associations, there must be reasons for this. What are they and how do you assess future prospects?

Klaus Kottmeier: Support for business start-ups is precluded by §2 of our statutes, which defines the purpose of the foundation. The WLS is exclusively dedicated to the charitable purpose. Support for start-ups and business start-ups would contradict this. We therefore concentrate fully on the further education of young professionals in the sector and the promotion of educational institutions, from which the entire sector benefits.

Prof. Maike Rabe: WLS funding is aimed at further developing the skills of graduates and young talents from the sector. They should receive specific further training, possibly reach a further academic degree, and also learn in an interdisciplinary manner. All of this benefits the sector as a whole and this is our strict objective.


          
The foundation also promotes the training and further education of young and up-and-coming talents who are already working in the textile retail trade. Grants are available to cover course or study fees for further qualification. The closure of shops caused by the lockdown  during the pandemic hit the stationary retail trade hard, and even today we are still miles away from regular business operations. Against this background, how do you see focused funding opportunities for further training in the e-commerce sector?

Markus Gotta: The topics of stationary retail and e-commerce can't really be separated, both have long since become part of the basic requirements in fashion sales and thus also of the topics of training and further education in general.
 
Prof. Maike Rabe: E-commerce has become an integral part of our industry and is naturally reflected in many grants and subsidies. The junior staff members are allowed to make their own suggestions as to where and how they would like to train. We support this. But we would also like to strengthen the connection between stationary and digital trade in particular. Our prize winners have come up with wonderful concepts for both sales channels, and of course they can be combined.

 

Breaking new ground means willingness to make decisions, overcoming fears - and thus courage to fail. Not every project can succeed. In retrospect, which decisions in your foundation work are you particularly happy to have made?

Markus Gotta: That we implemented the Summer School project last year. We broke new ground with the foundation, and this - in cooperation with the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences - was very successful.

Elke Giese: Especially in the field of design and creation, it is important to recognize an applicant's future creative potential from the work at hand and the information provided by the applicant. I am therefore always particularly pleased when the board of trustees makes courageous and progressive decisions.    

 

The Wilhelm Lorch Foundation offers project funding of € 10,000 to universities and educational institutions. They do not make any thematic restrictions here, but simply demand that there must be a clear reference to the sustainable further training of young up-and-coming talents in the textile and fashion industry. According to which criteria do you finally decide which project will be funded?

Elke Giese: One criterion is the relevance for future developments in the textile and fashion industry. Projects in recent years have enabled schools and educational institutions to train on laser cutters and 3D printers, for example, but also to purchase modern knitting machines or software programs.

Prof. Maike Rabe: All the projects submitted are evaluated very strictly by the jury's experts using a points-based system. This results in a shortlist which is presented to the board of trustees and intensively discussed by them. In this way, we ensure that all submitted applications are honored and that we then award the Wilhelm Lorch Prize to the outstanding project submissions in a joint consensus. The most important criteria are sustainable teaching of innovative learning content, practical training and the feasibility of the submitted project.

 

There are many different definitions of sustainability. Customers expect everything under this term - from climate protection to ecology, from on-site production in the region to the exclusion of child labor etc. Public procurement is increasingly switching to sustainable textiles. What does this mean for WLS, and what are you doing to promote sustainable thinking and acting, not only among young professionals?

Prof. Maike Rabe: At the foundation, we base our definition of "sustainability" on the 1987 report of the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, the so-called Brundtland Commission: "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". The textile and clothing sector plays a pioneering role as a globally enormously connected industry with complex supply chains, which should definitely also play a model role. We therefore make it a priority for all award winners to observe these criteria and at the same time try to provide a platform for people who, through their work and actions, offer suggestions for improvement or even already implement improvements.

 

Virtual instead of red carpet: Usually the awards are presented in the festive setting of the TextilWirtschaft Forum. In 2020, due to the Covid-19, there was only a digital version in the form of a short film. How important do you consider networking opportunities that arise from meeting influential personalities face-to-face? Or has such a format become obsolete in the age of video conferencing?

Prof. Maike Rabe: It is certainly remarkable what digital event formats can achieve. But one thing doesn't work: spontaneity, personal contact and closeness. Therefor it is a real pity that the Forum had to be cancelled this year due to corona. Especially for career starters, the chance for direct networking is of great value.

Markus Gotta: The need for personal exchange and meetings will continue to be of great importance and demand in the future. And I can say at this point: We are already working on the plans for the TW Forum 2021 as a live and meeting event with the top decision-makers in the sector.

 

In which socially relevant areas do you see a particularly great need for innovation and action during the next five years? What is your assessment that funding - for example from the Wilhelm Lorch Foundation - can provide targeted support for solutions? And what role do the experiences from the corona pandemic play in this assessment?

Prof. Maike Rabe: We don't think in five-year periods, today's world requires much greater agility - this applies to the Foundation as well as to the entire industry. With each award we re-orientate ourselves towards current topics. Topics such as aesthetics, function and innovation will certainly continue to play a major role, as will quality instead of quantity, eco-social justice and customer loyalty. It is also important, however, that our economy, which is strongly supported by medium-sized companies, is clearly perceived by the public and in politics; we still have to work on that.

Klaus Kottmeier: I gladly agree with Prof. Rabe's closing statement. Agility is also of great importance in a media company like ours. We live in a constant transformation process with constant changes that have to be faced. The corona pandemic has shown us very impressively how quickly original plans can become waste. Today, and more than ever before in the future, a constant willingness to change is required, and this applies not only to us but also to our hopeful young employees.
 

The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius,
CEO Textination GmbH

Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH, Michael Steidle (c) Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH
21.07.2020

„COVID-19 - We could and should have appeared better as noble knights" Michael Steidle, Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH

  • Interview with Michael Steidle, Managing Director Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH

At least Europe seems to be able to breathe a sigh of relief after weeks of lockdown during the corona pandemic. The textile industry, an industry that has lived globalisation for so many years, is facing the challenge of maintaining its place in the new normal and building on its previous performance as quickly as possible.
Textination talked to three company representatives along the textile chain about personal and operational experiences.

  • Interview with Michael Steidle, Managing Director Textildruckerei Heinrich Mayer GmbH

At least Europe seems to be able to breathe a sigh of relief after weeks of lockdown during the corona pandemic. The textile industry, an industry that has lived globalisation for so many years, is facing the challenge of maintaining its place in the new normal and building on its previous performance as quickly as possible.
Textination talked to three company representatives along the textile chain about personal and operational experiences.

The Interview with Michael Steidle, managing director at the textile printing company Heinrich Mayer GmbH, marks the provisional end of our series that started with Wolfgang Müller, Head of Sales & Services at Mayer & Cie. GmbH & Co. KG and was continued by Andreas Merkel, managing director of Gebr. Otto Baumwollfeinzwirnerei GmbH & Co. KG. The textile printing company Mayer, a family business on the Swabian Alb, is a leader in textile printing, in screen, rouleaux, rotary, sublimation and flock printing and as well as in 3D coating. They are increasingly using these skills in the area of technical textiles.

How have you felt about the corona era to date - as a company and personally?
What would you on no account want to go through again and what might you even consider maintaining on a daily basis?

 The corona time hit us hard. At the beginning of April, sometimes it felt like the lights would go out within the next 24 hours. In numbers there is a drop in sales of 30 percent.
And that's not just the way we are, this crisis has incredibly broader implications. Involved in the word of the Chamber of Commerce I am concerned with many companies in the region. Sectors that would not come to mind spontaneously also feel the effects. This also includes recycling companies. After all, there is also less commercial waste when companies are on short-time work.
At a personal level you can deal with the crisis, hand hygiene, sneeze etiquette, you can learn all of this. But we miss people-to-people contacts. We have a teenage daughter; young people in particular lack the ability to be out and about with their peers.

 
What has the pandemic meant for your company so far?
As I said, the Corona period brought us a significant drop in sales. That means we think twice before spending money. At the beginning of the year we moved to our new, spacious company building. There are still a few small investments to be made. So far, we have put it off until the situation has calmed down again. And so do many. The economic network extremely got out of hand due to the lockdown.
We applied for short-time work, which has been running for three months now. However, you have to see how long that makes sense. Our customers also had a drop in sales, which they first of all have to recover.

 
What adjustments or innovations to your product portfolio have you felt obliged by the pandemic to undertake?
The mask production was a very strong topic in April and May, the phone almost rang continuously. This enabled us to compensate for many orders that were lost otherwise.
We reacted quickly, not only printing masks classically, but also developing coatings for medical face masks and protective clothing. The coatings that we offer are antibacterial and have the lotus effect. This results in the formation of droplets in the aerosols. We have had checked and certified these innovations in an urgent procedure.
We converted our machines ad hoc so that we could apply innovative coatings instead of paint. This was even possible for ready-made masks.
In general, I rate this ability to react quickly as one of our great strengths. We are a small company, so the path from idea to implementation is rather short. If we recognize a trend, an opportunity in our industry, we examine ourselves: Do we have resources that could be used or adapted to offer a solid, marketable solution in a very short time? This refers to know-how, ideas, machines and, for larger projects, also partners. Experience has shown that on the one hand we have the necessary imagination, but on the other hand we also have a fairly realistic view of ourselves. If we can answer the question with “yes”, then we get started without delay. We can evaluate a trial in the evening and continue working on it the next day. There is no need for a meeting with five persons beforehand.
 

What are your views on global supply chains in the future, and will you be drawing consequences for your procurement policy?
We cannot avoid global supply chains; and it will remain this way. In the short term, you may reflect on regional procurement, as far as that is still possible. Many things are simply no longer available and the development over the past 30 years cannot be turned back. Let's take pigment paint: it comes from India and China, otherwise it doesn't exist anymore. Nobody in Europe can keep the prices. And yes, that also means that the production of systemically relevant products can no longer be guaranteed.

          
How do you rate the importance of partnerships within the industry in the future? Does Covid-19 have the potential to promote the creation of new cooperation arrangements in the industry? Or have they already taken shape?
Existing partnerships are important. We must keep the ball rolling: Interrupted projects have to be continued with existing partners.
I think it is important to maintain partnerships at eye level. Sure, now everyone has to see how they can make ends meet. It will be shown, however, who works loyally in the long term and with respect to the business.
Personally, it is important for me to be true to my word. Only a few days ago I spoke to a student, whom we promised her internship and a corresponding payment in February. This young woman can start her internship with us; what paying is concerned, I had to tell her honestly that we have to talk about it again. Fortunately, that was not a problem. It is important to the student that she can complete the required internship at all. This is not so easy since most companies do not accept anyone right now. That is understandable too, but we will need the well-trained people again soon, that’s for sure!

 
What initiatives or approaches for your industry would you welcome for the near future?
I would be very interested in a positive and comprehensive description of what value added is still available in Germany. An initiative that illustrates that the textile industry is an important industry, with many companies that have been family-owned for generations, often with a young, dynamic management and high-quality products. Really nobody has that on his radar. Just today, two designers from a company nearby visited us. They were surprised which services we offer in the field of technical textiles - they were not even aware of it.
The textile industry has played itself down for a long time, that has to stop. Of course, we no longer have added value like the machine building industry. But now, in the corona crisis, it would have been the right time to take advantage of the situation and to initiate much-needed lobbying..


What would you like to see as part of the German textile industry? Do you feel that the status of the German textile industry has changed as a result of the pandemic, especially in respect of public procurement?
No, only at very short notice. Everything was taken during the crisis, the main thing was that the requested product, i.e. masks and protective clothing, was even available. Now the old cycle is back: I have a certain budget, where can I get the most for it? This is frustrating because the willingness to face this challenge was high on the part of the companies.
We also have driven the development and had our coatings for masks certified in an urgent process. Others have switched their entire production at a significant cost to meet demand. Nobody became a millionaire this way.
I think the textile industry could have sold better here. We could and should have appeared better as noble knights. Unfortunately, this was lost in the heat of the battle.

Until now the big issues have been globalisation, sustainability / climate change / environmental protection, digitisation, the labour market situation and so on. Where do they stand now and how must we rate them against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic?
We take sustainability into account with our certifications, with GOTS and ISO 9001. Digitisation does not work quickly for us; it will take years before we can digitise processes. Sure, in administration we are now increasingly working with web meetings and video conferences, but personal contact is important to me. I regularly give lectures; my next one will be at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences and I very much hope that it can take place. I am just a guy for direct contact.
The labour market situation depends on the pandemic and how it develops. In any case, it remains difficult to get young people excited about textile professions. When I open a mobile phone store, I don't need a day to have my employees together. When we present ourselves at a training fair, we are happy to have a handful of good conversations.
Training is so valuable. Someone who has one will always have a different status than an unskilled person, even if - at some point - he works in a completely different branch. The dual training system is absolutely untouchable for me, because we live from this economic performance. We have nothing else but our knowledge. And we have to keep developing because only the high level gives the necessary output.
 

What lessons are to be learnt in respect of these targets for the post-corona era?
Innovation, innovation, innovation. You must not stand still. Nobody knows what to do next. But in three years from now I have to live from what I am developing today, just like I live from what I developed three years ago. Now, in times of Corona, it is much harder to remember, but it does not help: I can’t stand still, waiting for what is happening next, being like a deer caught in the headlights.

This interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

Photo: pasja1000 Pixabay
19.03.2019

SRI LANKA'S APPAREL AND TEXTILE EXPORTS RECEIVE A BOOST

  • Modernization of production facilities required

Thanks to the reactivated GSP import status of the European Union, Sri Lanka's textile and clothing industry is looking to the future with confidence and expects better sales opportunities abroad.

The textile and clothing industry is of macroeconomic importance for Sri Lanka. The sector accounted for almost 43 per cent of the country's total exports in 2018 and provides employment for nearly 350,000 workers in the formal sector and about twice as many in the informal sector. In total, this is about 33 percent of all jobs in the manufacturing industry. The majority of employees are women.

  • Modernization of production facilities required

Thanks to the reactivated GSP import status of the European Union, Sri Lanka's textile and clothing industry is looking to the future with confidence and expects better sales opportunities abroad.

The textile and clothing industry is of macroeconomic importance for Sri Lanka. The sector accounted for almost 43 per cent of the country's total exports in 2018 and provides employment for nearly 350,000 workers in the formal sector and about twice as many in the informal sector. In total, this is about 33 percent of all jobs in the manufacturing industry. The majority of employees are women.

The textile and clothing industry contribute around 6 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP). "In view of the development of other sectors, it is very unlikely that another industry will reach this level of performance in the short to medium term," Jeevani Siriwardena, head of the Export Development Board (EDB), said in an interview with Germany Trade and Invest. The textile and clothing industry will continue to be an important sector for the Sri Lankan economy.

Short to medium-term prospects are good
On May 18th 2017, the European Union (EU) reactivated the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) status for Sri Lanka after a seven-year time-out. This means that when goods are exported to the EU, the island state is exempted from customs duties on more than 66 percent of customs tariff lines. "Without GSP status, Sri Lanka's export losses are said to have cost around 32 billion between 2010 and 2017," stressed Ravindi Ranaraja, Deputy Head of the Export Service Division of EDB, in a GTAI interview. In particular, the strongly export-oriented clothing and textile industry will benefit from the regained GSP status. Sri Lanka's textile and clothing industry is looking to the future with confidence and also expects better sales opportunities abroad.

Sri Lanka's textile and clothing exports to the EU and Germany in 2018
(in USD million; change year-on-year in %)  
HS-Code Definition
 
EU
 
Change
 
Germany *) Change
 
61 Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted 1,177 0.7 232.55 9.6
62 Garments and clothing accessories, not knitted or crocheted 874 7.6 151.59 18.1
63 Other made-up textile articles; sets worn clothing and used textile articles 52 18.2 7.8 13.5
Total   2,103 3.9 391.92 12.8

*) Estimation
Sources: Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association; press releases; calculations by Germany Trade & Invest; Destatis, February 2019

Positive impulses are already visible. According to the latest foreign trade figures available, Sri Lanka was able to increase its total exports of textiles and clothing (HS codes 61, 62 and 63) by almost 4.8 percent to approximately USD 5 billion in 2018. Exports to the EU increased by 3.9 percent to USD 2.1 billion. Exports to Germany were able to recover a plus of 12.8 percent.

It is not yet certain that Sri Lanka will be able to make up for the losses of the past. In the meantime, countries such as Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, which have already enjoyed tariff concessions in foreign trade with the EU for the entire current decade, have passed by the island state. Bangladesh in particular, recorded a strong increase in its clothing and textile exports compared with Sri Lanka..

Sri Lanka textile and clothing exports 2018 (HS codes 61, 62, 63)
Country In USD million 1)
China 172.4
Vietnam 36.0
Bangladesh 32.9
India 20.9
Indonesia 2) 14.0

1) Estimation; 2) Forecast
Sources: Press Releases; Calculations Germany Trade & Invest, February 2019

Sri Lanka focuses on higher quality products
Numerous domestic textile producers are switching to the production of higher-quality garments in order to maintain their competitiveness. "In Sri Lanka, the focus is not on mass but rather on higher quality products," confirmed M. Raghuram, Chief Executive Officer of Brandix, one of the country's largest clothing companies, in an interview with GTAI. The island state concentrates on the production of just a few product categories such as underwear, sportswear or lounge wear..

Sri Lanka has become a location for the manufacture of high-quality garments. This is also confirmed by the World Bank. In its 2016 study "Stitches to Riches" (website), it found that Sri Lanka outperformed its competitors India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in terms of quality, delivery times, reliability and sustainable social responsibility.

Sri Lanka serves fastidious international companies such as Victoria Secrets, GAP, Nike or Marks and Spencer. According to expert estimates, the production of the top 10 Sri Lankan textile and clothing companies accounts for around 85 percent of the industry's total exports.

The ambitious goal is to increase the garment industry's export revenues to USD 8 billion by 2025, which will require an annual growth of 6 percent. For this Sri Lanka must improve capacity, technology and resource problems. "It is becoming more and more difficult to find suitable personnel. For many young people working in the garment and textile industry in Sri Lanka is simply unattractive”, Nilanthi Sivapragasam, Chief Financial Officer of the conglomerate Aitkence Spence, told GTAI. The training of the workforce is also a major challenge. "Training new employees is very time-consuming and labor-intensive," confirms Sivapragasam.

Imports of German machinery decline
In addition, Sri Lanka's textile companies must modernize their machinery and expand their capacities in order to further increase productivity and added value. Accordingly, there is a great demand for technically sophisticated textile machines in the country. This offers good opportunities and chances for machine suppliers. According to experts, the demand for textile printing and dyeing machines, stenter frames and finishing technology will develop particularly dynamically in the future.
 
In Sri Lanka itself only relatively simple machines are being produced. High-end technology is mainly imported. China is the most important supplier of textile machinery, accounting for about one third of all imports. India has also been able to significantly increase its machine exports to Sri Lanka in recent years. In 2017, India achieved exports of USD 6.3 million, an increase of 46.7 percent, compared with exports of USD 2.6 million in 2010.

German machine exports suffered enormous losses. Sri Lanka's imports of textile machinery from Germany amounted to USD 16.5 million in 2017, a decrease of 54.2 percent. Over the past years, Germany has lost share of its deliveries. According to industry experts, this trend will continue: Made in Germany stands for quality and continues to be very popular in Sri Lanka; however, German machine manufacturers are often unable to keep up with the low-cost products from China or India.

Sri Lanka's imports of textile and clothing machinery
(SITC 724; USD million) 
Country 2016 2017 Change
China 56.3 51.8 -8.0
Japan 26.6 18.3 -31.1
Germany 36.0 16.5 -54.2
Singapore 13.6 14.5 -6.8
India 4.3 6.3 46.7
Total 192.8 155.3 -19.5

Source: UN Comtrade, March 2019

Contact addresses
Title Internet address Remark
Germany Trade & Invest http://www.gtai.de/srilanka Foreign trade information for the German export industry
AHK Sri Lanka http://www.srilanka.ahk.de Contact point for German companies
Sri Lanka Export Development Board http://www.srilankabusiness.com/edb State organization responsible for the development and promotion of exports in Sri Lanka. 

 

More information:
Sri Lanka
Source:

Heena Nazir, Germany Trade & Invest www.gtai.de

Photo: Pixabay
26.02.2019

TURKEY REMAINS AN IMPORTANT MARKET FOR GERMAN TEXTILE MACHINERY

  • Competition from the Far East increases modernization pressure

Turkey is an important market for German manufacturers of textile machinery. However, the textile and clothing industry has a problem: exports have been stagnating for years.

  • Competition from the Far East increases modernization pressure

Turkey is an important market for German manufacturers of textile machinery. However, the textile and clothing industry has a problem: exports have been stagnating for years.

The Turkish textile industry is broadly based: Companies manufacture all intermediate products in the country, including yarns, fibers and fabrics. Production along the entire textile value chain means great sales potential for German suppliers of textile machinery. In fact, Turkey is the second most important export market for German spinning, weaving, textile finishing machines and the like after China, as it can be seen from the figures of the Federal Statistical Office Destatis.Nevertheless, the sector is not a growth market. Apart from a few outliers upwards and downwards, Turkish textile machinery imports have remained at the same level for several years. This is due to the fact that Turkish exports of textiles and clothing are also stagnating. Particularly noticeable: companies benefited only marginally from the weak lira last year.

Textile and apparel industry benefits little from weak lira
Year Turkish exports of clothing and textiles (in US$ billion) Annual change (in %)
2015 26.3 -10.3
2016 26.1 -0.6
2017 26.7 2.1
2018 27.7 3.6

Source: Turkish Statistical Office TÜIK (http://www.tuik.gov.tr)

Increasing pressure from the Far East
Turkish clothing manufacturers are increasingly feeling the effects of competition from the Far East. Despite the high number of informal workers, wages in Turkey have risen to such an extent that they cannot keep up with the low wages of Asian sewing factories. The geographical advantage of Turkish companies over Chinese competitors is at stake because of the new Silk Road and the development of faster transport routes. Free trade agreements that the European Union is currently negotiating with India and South Korea will further increase the pressure on Turkish producers.

Slump in 3rd quarter 2018
In addition, there is the difficult economic situation in the country: the Turkish lira reached a record low, especially in the months of August to October 2018, and commercial banks raised their lending rates. As a result, financing costs for machinery from abroad suddenly increased, orders from Turkey failed to materialize, especially in the third quarter. The German knitting machine manufacturer Mayer & Cie has also noticed this, as Stefan Bühler, who is responsible for the Turkish business, reports: "In the last three months of 2018, the market was virtually dead. In the meantime, however, the industry is gradually recovering.

Akar Textile plans new factory
Announcements about new investments cannot yet be heard at this time. As early as June 2018, Akar Textile (http://www.akartextile.com) announced that it would build a new factory for 47 million Turkish lira (TL) in the municipality of Savur in southeastern Turkey. 3,000 employees are there to become employed. Akar Textile produces for companies such as C&A, Mango and H&M. Only a few months after the announcement of the project, the economic crisis in Turkey deepened in September. The extent to which the turbulence has affected the project implementation is not known.

Technical textiles as a driving force for growth
Far Eastern competition is increasing the pressure to modernize the Turkish textile industry. In the future, industry will have to compete primarily with high-quality products. Growth impulses are currently coming from the sector of technical textiles. According to industry reports, more than 200 small and medium-sized enterprises are already producing technical textiles and nonwovens in Turkey. These textiles and fabrics are being used in the automotive, packaging and cosmetics industries.

In June 2018, the Turkish METYX Group (http://www.metyx.com) invested in its machinery parc. The company is manufacturing technical textiles and has ordered a line of warp knitting machines from the German textile machine manufacturer Karl Mayer. The manufacturer of composite materials is thus increasing its capacity by 12,000 tons of glass and carbon fibers. In recent years, more and more research and development centers have emerged to promote the necessary technology transfer in the industry. The Institute for Technical Textiles at RWTH Aachen University (ITA) founded a research center in Istanbul in October 2016. In the Teknosab industrial zone in Bursa the BUTEKOM research and development center for textile technology was established in 2008. The institute offers training as well as research and development cooperation to and with companies.

However, many medium-sized textile companies often lack the money to invest in modern machinery. The short planning horizon makes an access to research and development more difficult. As a member of the management board of the German-Turkish Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Frank Kaiser has been observing the Turkish business landscape for eight years. He points out that the textile manufacturers, like other medium-sized companies in the country too, often plan in short terms. "In view of the volatile business environment, this is rational," Kaiser explains.

Turkish imports of textile machinery and exchange rate comparison  1)
Year Import from Germany
(in USD million)
Total imports
(in USD million)
Exchange rate
(1 US$ = ?TL)
2009 143 505 1.55
2011 521 1,851 1.67
2013 619 2,211 1.90
2015 382 1,398 2.72
2017 447 1,478 3.65
2018 1) 2) 490 1,774 4.81

1) the slump in the 3rd quarter is not yet visible in the annual figures for 2018; it will not become noticeable until 2019
Sources: UN-Comtrade, TurkStat 2), Bundesbank

 

 

 

 

ISPO Beijing (c) Messe München GmbH
29.01.2019

ISPO Beijing CELEBRATES SUCCESSFUL ANNIVERSARY

More than 400 exhibitors representing 682 brands and approximately 30,000 trade visitors and key opinion leaders (KOLs) took part in ISPO Beijing and Alpitec China held at the China International Exhibition Center (CIEC) from January 16 to 19, 2019. This year, the most important sports trade fair in the Asia-Pacific region was jam-packed with numerous forums, trends and innovative products and services relating to winter sports, outdoors, health & fitness, and manufacturing & suppliers. Soccer also featured for the first time.

More than 400 exhibitors representing 682 brands and approximately 30,000 trade visitors and key opinion leaders (KOLs) took part in ISPO Beijing and Alpitec China held at the China International Exhibition Center (CIEC) from January 16 to 19, 2019. This year, the most important sports trade fair in the Asia-Pacific region was jam-packed with numerous forums, trends and innovative products and services relating to winter sports, outdoors, health & fitness, and manufacturing & suppliers. Soccer also featured for the first time.

“The Chinese have discovered a passion for soccer and their enthusiasm for it continues to grow. European clubs and leagues in particular are a huge source of inspiration for the emerging Chinese soccer market. ISPO Beijing has found a strong new partner in Bundesliga International for continuing to drive the soccer boom in Asia over the next few years,” says a delighted Elena Jasper, Exhibition Director ISPO Beijing. The specially created Football Activation Area played host to seven German first-league teams, namely Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Eintracht Frankfurt, FC Schalke 04, VfB Stuttgart and VfL Wolfsburg. They challenged visitors to take part in various activities such as Speed Goal and Goal Wall Shooting and created a thrilling soccer atmosphere for them. The program also featured the Football Forum, which was held on the opening day of the trade fair. High-profile speakers from the clubs set out their strategies for activating the market in China and presented concepts for promoting and encouraging fresh young talents as well as ideas on brand positioning.

Winter sports continue to be popular thanks to Olympics
Winter sports have proven to be hugely popular for several years now, especially in view of the upcoming 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. As well-known brands and exhibitors in this segment, Burton and Oakley made a welcome return to ISPO Beijing. The Market Introduction Program, designed for brands keen to penetrate the Chinese market, also focused on this area. As part of the two-day seminar program, representatives of 10 brands from across Europe, Asia and the U.S. gained a solid understanding of the specific ins and outs of the Chinese market thanks to industry experts in distribution, online and offline retail and commercial law, and made preliminary contacts.

The Asia Pacific Snow Conference was held for the 11th time in collaboration with the longstanding partner event Alpitec China, the leading trade show for mountain and winter technologies. Representatives from the technology, sports and tourism industries discussed advances being made with China’s ski resorts as well as models and measures for developing, maintaining and expanding them.

Ski Resort Tour participants were given an insight into the infrastructure of the winter sports resorts and treated to a taste of what to expect from the Olympics. Three 2022 Winter Olympics training venues and sites were on the itinerary, namely the Shougang Olympic Park, Wanlong Ski Resort and Genting Ski Resort Secret Garden. “China’s professionalism in preparing for the major sporting event is very impressive. Sports venues are being designed and built in line with the very latest standards. The Olympics will be just the start of China’s development as a winter sports nation,” says Klaus Dittrich, Chairman and CEO of Messe München.

Valuable knowledge transfer throughout all segments
An extensive supporting program was also provided for the other trade fair segments. The Sports Industry Forum focused on the topic of new investment opportunities for the sports business in China, including with regard to digitalization. Sport injuries and rehabilitation options were the main focal points of the Health & Fitness Forum. The China Climbing Report was published as part of the China Rock Summit. In the ISPO Textrends Area, international consultant for textile trends, Louisa Smith, presented the textile trends relating to materials, fibers, cuts and accessories set to take the industry by storm in the next few years. At the ISPO Award Exhibition and the ISPO Startup Village, visitors gained an overview of the most important innovative products and latest ideas to be devised by young entrepreneurs.

Creation of an advisory committee for ISPO Beijing
An international advisory committee has been set up in order to further develop and bring ISPO Beijing even more in line with the needs of the market, exhibitors and trade visitors. Representatives of exhibitors’ interests, industry representatives and partners met for the first time ever on the eve of this year’s event in order to discuss the strategic direction of the trade fair. The consensus amongst all participants was that the current format of ISPO Beijing represents a solid base with plenty of potential. New segments such as Sports Fashion and Travel should be added to the event in the future and the target group of key opinion leaders (KOLs) should be further expanded. Exchanging experience with Europe is the primary focus of interest.

The next ISPO Beijing will be held from February 12 to 15, 2020 at its new location, the China International Exhibition Center (CIEC).

For more information on ISPO Beijing, please visit https://www.ispo.com/en/beijing

13.11.2018

TUNISIA'S TEXTILE SECTOR RECOVERS

German suppliers can benefit from production expansions
Tunis (GTAI) - After difficult years, Tunisia's textile sector is recovering. Exports and foreign investment are on the rise again. Production is for export, especially to Europe.

At the end of October 2018, the Swiss auditing group SGS reported its expanded testing capacity for textiles in Tunisia. This was in response to the increased demand from producers producing for the world market in Tunisia. The sector has not been doing well in recent years. Even before the revolution in 2011, competitive pressure from Asian producers had left its mark, especially after the expiry of the multi-fiber agreement in 2005. According to the FTTH (Fédération Tunisienne du textile et de l'habillement), more than 400 companies have left the country since 2011 and 40,000 jobs have been lost.

German suppliers can benefit from production expansions
Tunis (GTAI) - After difficult years, Tunisia's textile sector is recovering. Exports and foreign investment are on the rise again. Production is for export, especially to Europe.

At the end of October 2018, the Swiss auditing group SGS reported its expanded testing capacity for textiles in Tunisia. This was in response to the increased demand from producers producing for the world market in Tunisia. The sector has not been doing well in recent years. Even before the revolution in 2011, competitive pressure from Asian producers had left its mark, especially after the expiry of the multi-fiber agreement in 2005. According to the FTTH (Fédération Tunisienne du textile et de l'habillement), more than 400 companies have left the country since 2011 and 40,000 jobs have been lost.

Now positive news are coming: In 2018, for example, the German Gonser Group opened its fifth production facility in Tunisia. In total, foreign direct investments in the first six months of 2018 amounted to Tunisian Dinar (tD) 24.9 million (approx. EUR 7.5 million), 1 tD = approx. EUR 0.301as of 11. 07.), more than twice as high as in the corresponding period of the previous year. The fact, that the number of new created jobs as a result has risen much less, can be seen as confirmation of the structural change: Away from simple mass production to higher-value production.

A high level of employee training is also decisive for this. The Sartex company shows how this can be ensured. In 2014, the Tunisian company opened a training center, in which some 500 Tunisians have already been trained and most of them were hired by Sartex. The company was supported by the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Centre d'Orientation et de Reconversion Professionnelle (CORP) of the AHK Tunisia.

During the visit of Federal Development Minister Müller in October 2018, an agreement was signed on the establishment of a training center in EL Alia in the Bizerte governorate. Among others the German company van Laack is producing in the region. A total of 180,000 Tunisians now work in the textile sector, which accounts with that for about 40 percent of industrial jobs.

Wage increases in two steps
More than one year after its foundation, FTTH has established itself as the interest representative of textile companies. In 2017 the company split from the employers' association UTICA (Union Tunisians de l'Industrie, du Commerce et de l'Artisanat), not least because the envisaged general wage increases for the company's own industrial sector were considered unworkable. But meanwhile, common ground and cooperation have been emphasized again, or FTTH describes itself as part of UTICA, with a high degree of autonomy.

An agreement has now also been reached with the Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail (UGTT). This provides for wage increases of 6.5 percent as of 1 January 2019 and 2020 respectively. This wage increases are thus likely to be lower than the inflation, provided that the forecasts for the inflation rate of around 7.5 percent for the current year 2018 will be that way. Currently, the minimum wage in Tunisia's textile and clothing industry for unskilled job starters is around EUR 129 (as of 07-11-2018) per 48-hour week.

Of the more than 1,600 textile companies, over 1,400 are producing exclusively for export. The target markets are clearly in Europe. More than 60 percent of exports went to France and Italy in 2016, with Germany in third place with about 11 percent. As the largest non-European customer, the USA was ranked ninth with less than one per cent. By joining the Common Market for Southern and Eastern Africa (COMESA), Tunisia aims to develop new markets. According to the Ministry of Commerce, bilateral talks are underway with several African countries to provide duty-free market access for Tunisian textiles.

Are Chinese investors discovering Tunisia as a location?
In addition to the relations with the African continent, relations with China could also change in the medium term. At the China-Africa Cooperation Forum held in Beijing in September 2018, Chinese textile companies expressed their interest in Tunisia as a production location. As wages have increased in China in the meantime, a relocation of production to certain sectors of the textile industry could prove useful for the European market.

Exports already increased in 2017. The trend seems to continue in 2018. In 2016 exports were USD 2.9 billion, in 2017 USD 3 billion (a significant increase due to the Dinar's decline in exchange rates (7 billion tD against tD 8.4 billion). According to the first announcements, exports to Europe in the first months of 2018 are expected to have increased again by 3.5 percent compared to 2017. Improving transport and customs clearance should be important for the further development of the textile sector. Especially the companies producing purely for export express this again and again. The textile sector in particular is dependent on short delivery times.

Meanwhile, FTTH is also working to improve the competitive position of Tunisian textile companies on their home market. This applies, for example, to the imports of used clothing for which stricter controls are being desired.

Tunisian imports of machinery, apparatus and equipment for the textile and leather industries and parts thereof (SITC 724; in USD million)
Origin 2015 2016 2017
Total 68.8 67.0 67.3
Italy 15.8 13.7 17.9
China 20.5 12.4 10.6
France   6.5   4.0   7.4
Germany   5.0   6.3   7.2

Note: Thailand was the third largest supplier in 2016, but fell behind in 2017. The table shows the four most important suppliers in 2017
Source: UN Comtrade

In addition to production expansions by German companies, German suppliers could also benefit if the recovery and, above all, structural changes will continue. While total imports of textile and leather machinery fell slightly from around USD 70 million to USD 67 million between 2015 and 2017, German deliveries increased from USD 5 million to USD 7.2 million. (JPS)

Further information on the Chinese commitment in Tunisia can be found online (German only): Link

 

More information:
Tunesia GTAI
Source:

Peter Schmitz, Germany Trade & Invest www.gtai.de

Usbekistan Photo: Pixabay
30.10.2018

UZBEKISTAN PUSHES FOR GLOBAL SHOE AND LEATHER MARKET

  • Projects worth USD 52 million planned

Tashkent (GTAI) - Uzbekistan wants to become an international player in the shoe and leather industry. The market offers foreign companies a lot of potential for cooperation.

The Government of Uzbekistan has adopted a new initiative for the modernization and expansion of the leather, footwear, leather goods and fur industries. It is aimed at increasing efficiency and expanding production as well as accelerating integration into the international market. Producers are focusing primarily on Russia and Kazakhstan, but also on Western markets such as France. Foreign companies are welcome to participate in the planned projects. In the long term, value chains are to be created, clusters established and exports promoted.

  • Projects worth USD 52 million planned

Tashkent (GTAI) - Uzbekistan wants to become an international player in the shoe and leather industry. The market offers foreign companies a lot of potential for cooperation.

The Government of Uzbekistan has adopted a new initiative for the modernization and expansion of the leather, footwear, leather goods and fur industries. It is aimed at increasing efficiency and expanding production as well as accelerating integration into the international market. Producers are focusing primarily on Russia and Kazakhstan, but also on Western markets such as France. Foreign companies are welcome to participate in the planned projects. In the long term, value chains are to be created, clusters established and exports promoted.

Cooperation with Uzbek companies are possible in the production of leather goods, passive contract finishing, supply of equipment, auxiliary materials and chemicals to companies or in the trade with footwear, leather and fur goods. There are plenty of high-quality raw materials and a large potential of available and motivated workers.

The framework conditions for companies in Uzbekistan have improved noticeably. Labor and energy costs are low. In 2017, the government initiated economic liberalization and opening of the country. Uzbekistan wants to more than double its shoe exports by 2020. In 2017 Uzbek manufacturers sold shoes worth USD 150 million abroad.

Foreign investors are planning new projects
The O´zcharmsanoat's key 2019 investment program lists projects valued at USD 52 million. In addition, there are other projects which have not yet been included in the program due to ongoing coordination with potential foreign investors or which are planned in companies that operate outside O´zcharmsanoat.
An overview of current and planned projects for the development of the leather, shoe, leather goods and fur industry in Uzbekistan can be downloaded here.

Association O´zcharmsanoat is the main contact partner
The Association of the Leather Industry O´zcharmsanoat acts on behalf of the state as the central regulator and coordinator of the sector. It was restructured in May 2018 and controls, among other things, investments and foreign trade. Almost all notable Uzbek players in the leather industry are active under its umbrella. These include 30 automated slaughterhouses (supplied by livestock farms), 63 tanneries, including pre-tanning facilities, 131 shoe manufacturers and 28 producers of other products, including fur products (as of June 30th 2018). It also operates 13 warehouses for the purchase of raw materials from private animal breeders.

The leather processing companies produce hard leather (foot and insole leather) and upper leather, mainly chrome leather goods and Russia leather. The annual raw material supply amounts to around nine million hides and five million skins. About two fifths of this volume is currently exported. Among the 252 companies, which are employing about 26,000 people, there are 47 companies with foreign capital participation as well as numerous purely private Uzbek companies.

Only about a dozen of the 131 shoe manufacturers, which are currently active at O´zcharmsanoat, employ 100 people or more. The development of efficient medium-sized structures in the sector is still in its infancy and is likely to gain momentum.

Government grants tax and tariff preferences for five years
The slaughterhouses and manufacturers of raw, semi-finished and finished goods as well as the new foreign trade company Uzcharmimpex will receive tax and customs relief. These apply to existing companies of the association O´zcharmsanoat until January 1st 2023. Newly established companies can benefit from the preferences for five years from the date of company foundation.
In detail, the following preferential conditions are granted:

  • Exemption from the profit and wealth tax or the uniform tax levy for micro and small companies
  • Exemption from compulsory contributions to earmarked central funds
  • Exemption from import duties for the import of equipment, completion parts, raw materials and materials which cannot be procured in the country and are intended for production.
  • Granting a 60-day deferment of payment of import duties (from the date of the customs declaration) for the import of all other equipment, completion parts, raw materials and supplies and other goods for production needs
  • VAT exemption for imports of raw materials and intermediate products for the use in production and of equipment for footwear production

Uzcharmimpex imports equipment for Uzbek companies
The foreign trade company Uzcharmimpex is engaged both in the export of sector products and in the import of equipment, spare parts, auxiliary materials and chemicals. The list of imported capital goods includes butchery, cutting, slicer, splitting and shaping machines, vacuum dryers, electronic measuring instruments for leather surface measurement, sewing machines and footwear assembly equipment.

The industry modernization initiative also provides for the creation of an industry development fund. This is fed by a levy amounting to 5 percent of export earnings from chrome-tanned hides and skins that have not yet been dressed (wet blue). These funds are intended for investment projects, the granting of loan guarantees, the financing of ISO certifications, the promotion of trade fair participations and the promotion of training and further education.

Usbekistan doubles shoe production
According to the Association of the Leather Industry O´zcharmsanoat, about 40 million pairs of shoes were produced in Uzbekistan in 2017, including 17 million pairs of full and partial leather shoes. An output of 34.2 million pairs of leather shoes is planned for 2020. Then the leather production is expected to reach a volume of 1.3 billion square decimeters. For 2018, the association expects 1 billion square decimeters of leather. O´zcharmsanoat aims to increase its total exports to USD 480 million by 2020 and to USD 1 billion by 2025 (Actual 2017: USD 150 million).

The collapse of the Soviet Union, a failed privatization policy and a difficult business climate led to a breakdown in production in the mid-1990s to around 2009/2010. On average, manufacturers produced less than four million pairs of shoes a year. Previously, around 30 medium-sized manufacturers brought 50 million pairs of shoes onto the market each year. In addition, 2.4 million bags and 200,000 pairs of gloves were produced annually. After 2010, there was a start-up boom in the sector thanks to preferential tax arrangements for particularly small companies.

Contact address
O´zcharmsanoat uyushmasi (Association of the Uzbek Leather Industry)
Contact person Sardor Uktamovich Umurzakov, Chairman of the Management Board
109, Mustakillik ave., 100192 Tashkent/Uzbekistan
T +99871 267 58 47, 268 40 66
F +99871 268 40 66rais@uzcharm.uzinfo@uzcharm.uz,
Directory of companies http://www.uzcharmexpo.uz/spravochnik
rais@uzcharm.uz, info@uzcharm.uz
http://www.uzcharm.uz

 

More information:
shoe industry Uzbekistan Leather
Source:

Uwe Strohbach, Germany Trade & Invest www.gtai.de

Texcare Asia and China Laundry Expo (c) Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co Ltd
07.08.2018

TEXCARE ASIA AND CHINA LAUNDRY EXPO TO MERGE – CREATING ASIA’S LARGEST EXHIBITION FOR LAUNDRY EQUIPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY

As disclosed in an agreement signed on 18 July 2018 by the organisers of Texcare Asia and the China Laundry Expo, the two trade fairs will merge into a single show in a win-win arrangement to integrate industry resources.
 
The new joint-venture fair will be the largest annual industry event covering the textile care and laundry chain in Asia. The first edition will take place in September 2019 at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre and will be jointly organised by Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co Ltd, Unifair Exhibition Service Co Ltd, the China Laundry Association, and the China Light Machinery Association.  
 

As disclosed in an agreement signed on 18 July 2018 by the organisers of Texcare Asia and the China Laundry Expo, the two trade fairs will merge into a single show in a win-win arrangement to integrate industry resources.
 
The new joint-venture fair will be the largest annual industry event covering the textile care and laundry chain in Asia. The first edition will take place in September 2019 at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre and will be jointly organised by Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co Ltd, Unifair Exhibition Service Co Ltd, the China Laundry Association, and the China Light Machinery Association.  
 
Mr Wolfgang Marzin, President and CEO of Messe Frankfurt Group, said: “The merger is fantastic news for the textile care industry in Asia as a whole and also for the Messe Frankfurt Group. By integrating Texcare Asia’s extensive resources with those of the China Laundry Expo, we will provide a larger and more complete platform for the industry to converge upon. The new show will provide coverage across the entire supply chain, including dry cleaning, dyeing, detergent and disinfecting chemicals, leather care, textile rental, digital solutions and much more.”
 
Ms Xiuping Han, General Manager of China Unifair Exhibition Services Co Ltd added: “The laundry industry in China faces numerous challenges, such as the tightening of sewage treatment and disposal regulations, while opportunities are also arising in the form of increased demand for energy saving technologies. By merging the China Laundry Expo and Texcare Asia under a single banner, we will provide an ideal platform to facilitate industry development and address these challenges and opportunities.”   
 
The annual China Laundry Expo was founded in 2000 and is held on a rotating basis between Beijing and Shanghai. Organised by the China Laundry Association and Unifair Exhibition Services Co Ltd, the show receives significant government and commercial sector backing. The 19th edition is held at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre over the next three days and will play host to more than 220 exhibitors representing around 500 brands from over 10 countries and regions. The fair is also expecting to welcome over 20,000 trade and industry visitors to an impressive 23,000 sqm of exhibition space.   

Key product categories of the China Laundry Expo include laundry equipment, accessories, chemicals, consumables, leather care products, energy-saving and environmental protection equipment, informationbased intelligent products and solutions, and much more. Not only do these product categories cater to the purchasing demands of visitors around the globe, but the strong variety also serves to attract more suppliers and industry players.
 
With a similar focus to the China Laundry Expo, Texcare Asia made its debut in Singapore in 1998 and was introduced to Hong Kong in 2002. The fair then move to China in 2005 in Beijing and has been located in Shanghai since 2013. With the strong international network and industry support from the mother fair, Texcare International, the China event is now recognised as Asia’s biggest laundry and dry-cleaning show. It has served as a biennial meeting point for textile care manufacturers, suppliers and professionals to network, trade, conduct business, and catch up with industry developments.   
 
The fair also holds a unique position as a platform for providers of textile rental services, training services for institutions, and machinery for the cleaning of carpets, floor coverings, upholstery and buildings. By combining product groups from the China Laundry Expo with those of Texcare Asia, the merged platform promises to deliver a comprehensive value added experience for its customers and visitors.  
 
The expanded product portfolio and merging of resources mean that the newly merged show is predicted to attract an impressive 300 exhibitors and 25,000 industry visitors across 30,000 sqm of floor space when it opens its doors in September 2019.   
 
For further details, please visit www.texcare-asia.com, or contact texcareasia@china.messefrankfurt.com.

BANGLADESH RESTARTS LEATHER INDUSTRY Photo: Pixabay
20.02.2018

BANGLADESH RESTARTS LEATHER INDUSTRY

  • Production and export on the upswing
  • Environmental problems and other challenges remain

The leather industry in Bangladesh reports rising exports and growing domestic demand. The location scores with low labor costs and the availability of leather. However, too many tanneries still burden the environment. The industry structure of the manufacturers of leather goods and shoes ranges from outdated to modern. International, export-oriented companies are showing the way.

  • Production and export on the upswing
  • Environmental problems and other challenges remain

The leather industry in Bangladesh reports rising exports and growing domestic demand. The location scores with low labor costs and the availability of leather. However, too many tanneries still burden the environment. The industry structure of the manufacturers of leather goods and shoes ranges from outdated to modern. International, export-oriented companies are showing the way.

Bangladesh's leather industry is the second largest exporter of the emerging market after the apparel industry. The majority of exports in the 2016/17 financial year (July 1st 2016 to June 31st 2017) were USD 537 million on leather shoes (USD 495 million in the previous year), followed by leather goods with USD 464 million (388 million). The export of leather footwear rose again by 9 per cent in the second half of 2017, leather goods were at the same level as in the same period of the previous year.

By contrast, leather exports reached USD 233 million in 2016/17 (USD 279 million), down 29 percent in the second half of 2017. The main reason is lower demand for leather in China. Instead, it is increasingly being processed in Bangladesh into finished products for domestic and foreign customers.

Potential not yet exhausted
The Department of Commerce wants to quadruple the total exports to USD 5 billion by 2021. It has mandated this task at the Bangladesh Leather Sector Business Promotion Council. This should increase with suitable measures both the production quantities and the processing depth in the country. Leather production and processing have potential because they could well repeat the successful development of the domestic textile and clothing industry.

International investments are welcome. Foreign investors can find a subsidiary in their own hands and apply for subsidies and tax exemptions. Eight export processing zones and other special economic zones offer many legal and technical advantages, says the investment authority Bangladesh Investment Development Authority.

The Association of Leather Goods and Footwear Manufacturers & Exporters of Bangladesh (LFMEAB) reports that companies from Taiwan, China, South Korea and Japan are increasingly investing in the industry. Among other things they are relocating production from China to Bangladesh.

Foreign direct investments in Bangladesh's leather industry
(inventory June 2016 in USD million)

Country of origin Inventory 2016
Taiwan 76
Netherlands 37
Hongkong 26
Korea (Rep.) 17
Total 192

Source: Central bank

According to the Central Bank in the fiscal year 2016/17 USD 82 million were directly invested in the leather industry (previous year: USD 48 million).  Taiwan was by far the largest investor with USD 50 million (USD 14 million).

Also, former investors show a successful development. As an example the German company Picard Lederwaren has a joint venture in 1997 and produces now  32.000 leather bags per month and 40.000 small leather goods per month.

Certified manufacturer of leather goods
The most important buyers of leather goods and shoes are the EU, Japan and the USA. The EU and Japan generally do not impose quotas or import duties on Bangladeshi imports under their preference systems for developing countries.

The export-oriented leather goods manufacturers usually produce at a technical level required by the customers. These include certifications and exams. The trade association LFMEAB is committed to meeting industry-standard levels among its 150 member companies. The European Union also supports a sustainable, resource-efficient development of the leather sector with its ECOLEBAN project. Several tanneries and leather factories have been proven to adhere to the labor and social standards of the UN organization ILO and the ISO standard 14001 for environmental management systems.

With increasing demands and volumes, leather processing companies will also import more quality materials such as soles and accessories. Their machines and equipment are also from abroad.

Problematic conditions in leather production
However the leather is manufactured under problematic conditions. The agricultural land has a population of about 24 million cattle and thus about 1.7 percent of the world's total. The meat industry also processes buffalo and goats in larger quantities. Animals suffer from improper slaughter. Modern slaughtering processes and advanced processing steps could improve the quality of leather production.

The number of tanneries is estimated at more than 200, producing approximately 29 million square meters of leather per year, two-thirds of it are leather from beef skins. The industry has a poor reputation, the situation in many companies is criticized by independent observers. In most companies processes and equipment for occupational safety and environmental protection are not available. According to various reports children are working in poorly controlled factories.

The situation in Hazaribagh is dramatic. The Supreme Court has ordered already in 2003 that the approximately 150 small tanneries from this residential area in Dhaka should move to an alternative location. The public company Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corp. was commissioned to set up the leather industry park Savar Tannery Park in a northern suburb of Dhaka. The complete relocation to the new leather cluster in Savar has since been delayed again and again.

According to the Bangladesh Tanners Association, the move to the Savar leather-industrial-park should have taken place in the meantime, however the local central sewage treatment plant seems not to work completely. The tanneries pollute the environment there as well. Media also report still tannery activity in Hazaribagh.

More skilled workers needed
In a recent 2013 survey the number of leatherworking companies was estimated at 3.500. The manufacturers develop their own designs for the domestic market and some want to place their own brands internationally.

But the intensity of training of skilled personnel does not keep up with the industrialization of the industry. Tanneries and leather industry employ directly and indirectly about 75.000 people. Their knowledge and skills are often based on old and traditional procedures and short briefings.

The need for skilled personnel is estimated at 60.000 persons. A center of excellence is involved in the training since 2009. The Center of Excellence for Leather Skills Bangladesh (COEL) has trained around 15.000 people in machinery and design since. Two universities train engineers in this field. The University of Dhaka has established an Institute of Leather Engineering and Technology, and the Khulna University of Engineering has a leather technology department.

The Ministry of Commerce and the association LFMEAB has organized in November 2017 the first edition of the trade fair BLLISS (Bangladesh Leatherfootwear & Leathergoods International Sourcing Show). The organizers were able to present the procurement market and want to continue the event annually. The industry event attracted 30 exhibitors and 20.000 visitors. The next edition will take place from  November 24th- 26th 2018 in conjunction with the leather technology fair Leathertech (http://www.leathertechbangladesh.com).

Contacts

Name Internet address
Leathergoods and Footwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association of Bangladesh http://www.lfmeab.org
Bangladesh Tanners Association http://www.tannersbd.com
Centre of Excellence for Leather Skill Bangladesh Limited http://coelbd.com
EU-Project ECOLEBAN (2014 until 2018) https://www.ecoleban.com

 

30.01.2018

TEXTILE AND CLOTHING MANUFACTURERS INVEST IN EGYPT

  • Chinese companies are planning several major projects
  • Germany is supplying more textile and clothing machinery

Several Egyptian and Chinese companies have announced some heavy manufacturing investments in textiles and clothing. The government is committed to creating new production priorities for textiles and wants to increase added value. Labor-intensive industries benefit from the low value of the Egyptian pound for their exports. For textile and clothing machinery, Germany achieved a delivery share of around 20 percent in 2016. In the Egyptian textile and clothing industry, the signs point to expansion and modernization. Local media reported on a series of investment plans by Chinese and Egyptian companies. According to the newspaper Al Gomhouria, a Chinese producer is planning the world's largest textile factory for USD 6 billion in the economic zone on the Suez Canal.

  • Chinese companies are planning several major projects
  • Germany is supplying more textile and clothing machinery

Several Egyptian and Chinese companies have announced some heavy manufacturing investments in textiles and clothing. The government is committed to creating new production priorities for textiles and wants to increase added value. Labor-intensive industries benefit from the low value of the Egyptian pound for their exports. For textile and clothing machinery, Germany achieved a delivery share of around 20 percent in 2016. In the Egyptian textile and clothing industry, the signs point to expansion and modernization. Local media reported on a series of investment plans by Chinese and Egyptian companies. According to the newspaper Al Gomhouria, a Chinese producer is planning the world's largest textile factory for USD 6 billion in the economic zone on the Suez Canal. The Chinese companies TIDA and Shoon Dong Roy want to build a clothing factory for USD 800 million. Sino-Egypt Minkai plans to build a textile industry complex for around USD 750 million. The local paper and stationery manufacturer Mintra plans to start the production of sports shoes with an initial investment of USD 50 million. Manufacturing in the 10th of Ramadan City is scheduled to begin in mid-2018, serving both the domestic and overseas markets. Egypt is still importing about 85 percent of the shoes sold in the country.
Oriental Weavers plans to purchase new production lines, machinery and equipment in 2018. For this purpose, EUR 6 million are to be invested. According to the newspaper Al Shorouk, the expansion will be financed by a bank loan.

State relies on new textile cities and more value added
The Egyptian state also wants to strengthen textile and clothing production. The Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation, the Supreme Council for Textile Industries and an unnamed Chinese partner want to set up a free zone for textile production in Minya. The ministry plans to provide part of the funding through international institutions and create specialized training programs for workers. According to media reports, the project value should be at USD 324 million.

In early 2017 the Egyptian Ministry of Industry announced that it would set up new textile production centers at a total of ten locations. In particular, spinning mills and weaving mills are in the spotlight. This perspective is shared by the Ministry of the Public Sector. It is aimed primarily at increasing value adding and therefore carried out a study in 2017.

Import demand for textile and clothing machinery is expected to increase
Egyptian textile and clothing companies often produce with a lot of manual work and partly outdated machines. On the one hand, the government is keen to ensure that as many jobs as possible are created for the approximately 800,000 young people who enter the market each year. On the other hand, a more automated and modern production of textiles and clothing would enable more complex products. These could be sold at a higher profit, but may also require less human labor.

An Indian company has secured a contract to modernize cotton processing. In compliance with a framework agreement with the Cotton and Textile Industries Holding, Bajaj Clothing automates cotton ginning systems. A total of eleven companies in different parts of the country will be equipped with the new machinery until August 2018. In late December 2017, Egypt Today announced that the government wants to modernize the spinning and weaving mills in Northern Egypt. The investment volume will amount to a total of one billion Euro over a period of five years.

The newly announced projects are expected to increase the demand of import machinery in the near future. Like other types of equipment, the vast majority of textile and clothing machinery will be imported into Egypt. Deliveries from Germany were able to improve both in absolute terms and relatively in 2016, despite an overall shrinking of the volume of imports. The German supply share jumped from 15.8 to 20.4 percent compared to 2015.

Import of textile and clothing machinery into Egypt (in USD  1,000)
HS Category 2015 thereof from Germany 2016 thereof from Germany
8444 1,135 0 4,481 2,025
8445 34,550 10,653 26,105 5,429
8446 18,902 984 23,591 13,346
8447 26,040 5,940 15,713 3,052
8448 23,39 5,158 20,574 3,365
8449 440 0 299 0
8451 34,796 3,335 36,512 2,334
8452 30,456 1,264 23,186 1,698
8453 3,087 5 3,678 137
Summe 173,145 27,339 154,139 31,386

Source: UN Comtrade

The consequences of the release of the Egyptian pound in November 2016 will mainly benefit labor-intensive industries and those that are processing mainly local raw materials. After October 2016, the value of the EURO soared from just under 9 to 21 Egyptian pounds and has stabilized at this level. According to various figures the textile and clothing companies in the country employs between 1.0 and 1.2 million workers. It is reported that state-owned enterprises are strongly represented in the textile sector, while the private sector plays a greater role in the clothing sector.

The advantage is dampened by the import requirements for cotton. In Egypt, especially soft and high-quality long-staple cotton is grown and exported. By contrast, domestic textile and clothing companies mainly use short-staple cotton from abroad as a raw material. Their import as become more expensive due to the currency developments. Nevertheless the competitiveness of Egypt's textile and clothing exporters has improved as a result of the new foreign exchange situation. Their exports should have developed better in 2017 than at the peak of the currency liquidity crisis in the previous year. At that time, exports fell by12.6 percent to around USD 1.7 billion.

Egyptian exports of textiles and clothing
(Selection, in USD millions, Change in %)
HS Category 2015 2016 Change 2016/2015
57 339.8 303.5 -10.7
60 2.0 35.7 1,685.0
61 483.6 388.0 -19.9
62 870.4 756.6 -13.1
63 262.2 227.2 -13.3
Summe 1,958.0 1,711.0 -12.6

Source: UN Comtrade

Increasing labor costs at Asian production sites, long transport routes and sometimes dissatisfaction with the product quality make some customers look for new sources of supply for textile and clothing products. According to a report by the news portal Middle East Eye, Egypt lies at least with USD 100 as a monthly salary for workers roughly equivalent on a level with India or Bangladesh and about half of Chinese salaries. In addition, the country at the Suez Canal is capable of fast deliveries to Europe and the United States. Regional competitors include Turkey and Tunisia. Egyptian manufacturers are not always recognizable as such, as they often manufacture for major international brands. Middle East Eye names Calvin Klein, Decathlon, Tommy Hilfiger and Zara as examples. In November 2017, Dice Sport and Casual Wear agreed to supply Levi Strauss & Co. with children's clothing.

Since 2017, Egypt became part of the Better Work Program of the International Labor Organization. The program includes 30 apparel factories in which the working conditions should be improved. Such confirmations could then give Egyptian products competitive advantages in export. However, to stand up to the tough international price warfare and at the same time to meet by the customers expected production standards will be a challenge.

12.12.2017

ETHIOPIA FOCUSES ON CLOTHING AND TEXTILE EXPORTS

  • Industrial parks should enable a quantum leap
  • Progress in infrastructure, Deficits in foreign exchange provision

The Ethiopian textile, clothing and leather industry scores not only with comparatively low wages and high-performing personnel, but also with modern industrial parks. In the meantime the technology has to be fully imported and the supply of materials needs to be greatly expanded. There is a great progress in logistics, but unfortunately not in foreign exchange procurement. German suppliers of relevant equipment should definitely consider Ethiopia in their acquisition.

  • Industrial parks should enable a quantum leap
  • Progress in infrastructure, Deficits in foreign exchange provision

The Ethiopian textile, clothing and leather industry scores not only with comparatively low wages and high-performing personnel, but also with modern industrial parks. In the meantime the technology has to be fully imported and the supply of materials needs to be greatly expanded. There is a great progress in logistics, but unfortunately not in foreign exchange procurement. German suppliers of relevant equipment should definitely consider Ethiopia in their acquisition.

So far, only Mauritius has made a name for itself as a producer of high-quality clothing south of the Sahara. Attempts to locate textile and clothing companies in Namibia and Lesotho in a larger style have not been very successful. Meanwhile Kenya and Ghana have far too expensive production conditions. "Clothing companies are nomadic,” says a consultant, who is specializing in the trade, "they go where it's cheapest for them."

Meanwhile, Ethiopia offers several advantages: Wages and additional costs are far below the Chinese ones. A worker in the Ethiopian factories earns an average of USD 909 a year, according to a survey by the US Center for Global Development, compared to USD 835 in Bangladesh, USD 1,776 in Tanzania, and USD 2,118 in Kenya. Another advantage is appreciated by employees: Ethiopia has a long tradition of textile and clothing production as well as in leather processing and thus at least an expandable base of skilled workers.

The supply of native cotton and leather meanwhile is considered strongly expandable. In times of drought, such as in 2016 and partly in 2017, the supply of cotton is insufficient. However, the government is cooperative and increasingly open to the needs of producers. Thus, the infrastructure has been currently sustainably improved, in particular the transport routes to the seaport Djibouti, from where Europe is much faster to reach than from the Far East. In addition, the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa has a capable aviation hub with a dozen direct flights to the EU, including Frankfurt and Vienna. There is also a modern air freight center.

Modern industrial parks as a game changer

Just as important as the delivery routes are the "modern" production conditions in the emerging industrial centers all over the country, Made by China: pothole-free roads, guaranteed electricity and water supply, proper waste and wastewater disposal, workers' settlements in the vicinity. From the Ethiopian point of view, a great many jobs are created, families are fed and foreign exchange is earned.

According to its government, Ethiopia is in a transformation process away from an agrarian economy and towards an industrialized state. By 2025, the country should reach a "middle-income status" and become the largest industrial production hub in Africa. To achieve this, Ethiopia is investing heavily in roads, railways and power generation, in health and education, in urban and rural development, and in the creation of industrial clusters.

Ambitious export specifications

In July 2016 the Hawassa Industrial Park was officially opened, dedicated to the export of textiles and clothing, and is the largest industrial park in sub-Saharan Africa. As early as 2018, the park is expected to employ 60,000 workers and generate USD 1 billion in exports of clothing and textiles - a steep target given in a view of the current export figures. As early as 2030, Ethiopia wants to reach a total of USD 30 billion by exporting textiles and clothing - but it's still a long way off. At present, 15 in-ternational companies are already investing in Hawassa, including the US PVH Corporation (formerly Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation, prominent brands: Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfinger) and Epic Group (Hong Kong), a supplier of, among others, Walmart , JC Penny, Levi Strauss, VF Corporation, Tesco, Sansbury's, Marks & Spencer and C & A. Epic wanted to go to Kenya first, but then decided for Ethiopia at the last minute, which, according to Epic boss Ranjan Mahtani, is "still unpolished," but has the most potential.

The challenges are considered to be high: "Our seam-stresses have never got a job before and have never seen a sewing machine," Mahtani says training therefore is a top priority. At the same time, however, his company also relies on state-of-the-art automatic machines, for example for attaching bags. The production halls are also all around computerized with RFID technology. The current efficiency Mahtani estimates at 25 to 30 percent. After experience with other production sites, results of 75 to 80 percent are possible after about ten years.

Wide range of new industrial parks under construction

In July 2017, another industrial park was opened in Kombolcha City. A whole range of other parks are in various stages of realization and all are focused on the apparel, textile, pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing sectors. According to the Ethiopian Government, there is no shortage of interested investors from the PR of China, India, Turkey, the US, Hong Kong and South Korea. Ethiopia benefits from the African Growth and Opportunity Act of the United States, which, for example, reduces its import duties by 16.8 per cent on cotton pants and 30 per cent on synthetic shirts. In addition, Ethiopia has a duty-free access to the EU market under the Everything-but-Arms initiative.

Ethiopian exports of textiles, clothing and leather goods (including shoes), in USD mio
SITC- product group 2014 2015 2016
61 Leather and leather goods  97.51 98.20 78.63
65 Yarn, fabrics finished textiles and re-lated products 39.34 39.12 29.61
84 Clothing and clothing accessories 55.53 77.94 68.25
85 Shoes   33.88 37.69 43.80
Total      226.26 252.95 220.29

Source: Comtrade, as of 18 October 2017

Ethiopian imports of machinery and equipment for the textile and leather industry and parts thereof (SITC 724, in USD mio, change in%)
Supplying country 2014 2015 2016
Total      131.30

170.51

111.10
PR China 43.87 42.40 62.07
Italy 6.38 11.75 11.72
Japan 4.40 10.11 6.89
Turkey 4.86 19.14 4.92
other Asian countries, not specified 1.85 1.87 4.11
India 6.07 6.49 3.06
Germany 9.22 9.08 2.44

Note: The import figures mentioned above are based on Ethiopian data, which for various reasons are not considered particularly reliable. Equally not reliable are often the relevant export data of the partner countries, because all sea transports go via Djibouti and deliveries statistically are recorded often as exports to Djibouti.
Source: UN Comtrade, as of 18 October 2017

German exports expandable

German exporters of technology for the textile, clothing and leather industries are not yet well positioned in Ethiopia. According to the preliminary figures of the Federal Statistical Office (SITCM 724), in 2016 only EUR 1.06 mio of relevant technology went to Ethiopia, compared to EUR 1.05 mio in the previous year and EUR 5.02 mio in 2015.

More information:
Ethiopia Export Textilindustrie
Source:

Martin Böll, Nairobi (GTAI)

Composites Europe © COMPOSITES EUROPE
05.09.2017

COMPOSITES EUROPE 2017: Lightweight automotive construction propels use of fibre-reinforced plastics

  • Market study “Lightweight Construction as Innovation Factor”: Presentation at COMPOSITES EUROPE
  • 21 September: Focus Day Automotive

No other industry has drawn more public attention to glass- and carbon-fibre reinforced plastics (GFRP/CFRP) than the automotive indus-
try. Next to the aerospace industry, it’s one of the innovation and growth drivers for composites. The great significance of composites for the automotive industry must be credited to the continuing lightweight construction trend. From 19 to 21 September, COMPOSITES EUROPE in Stuttgart will show how the composites industry can support automakers and their suppliers in this area. Programme highlights include the Focus Day Automotive and the Lightweight Technologies Forum.

  • Market study “Lightweight Construction as Innovation Factor”: Presentation at COMPOSITES EUROPE
  • 21 September: Focus Day Automotive

No other industry has drawn more public attention to glass- and carbon-fibre reinforced plastics (GFRP/CFRP) than the automotive indus-
try. Next to the aerospace industry, it’s one of the innovation and growth drivers for composites. The great significance of composites for the automotive industry must be credited to the continuing lightweight construction trend. From 19 to 21 September, COMPOSITES EUROPE in Stuttgart will show how the composites industry can support automakers and their suppliers in this area. Programme highlights include the Focus Day Automotive and the Lightweight Technologies Forum.

Presentation of the study “Lightweight Construction as Innovation Factor”
When it comes to composites in the automotive sector, modern lightweight construction is the No. 1 topic, according to industry expert Rainer Kurek, CEO of AUTOMOTIVE MANAGEMENT CONSULTING GmbH (AMC) from Penzberg near Munich. After all, he says, it comprises all the aspects of lightweight automotive construction – from concept, functions and joining technologies to materials. The training and consulting company specialises in auto-industry strategies, processes and structures; together with COMPOSITES EUROPE organiser Reed Exhibitions, they will, on 21 September, present the study “Lightweight Construction as Innovation Factor” (“Leichtbau als Innovationsfaktor” in the original German), which takes a holistic and detailed look at the issue. “Created in cooperation with Reed Exhibitions, the market study ‘Lightweight Construction as Innovation Factor’ synthesises the German automotive industry’s knowledge from nearly 150 years of experience”, explains Kurek. “Against the backdrop of increasing environmental and climate-protection requirements, a fragile energy supply and the resulting more stringent resource-conservation targets, it serves to sustainably enhance and strengthen Germany’s role as a centre of innovation.” The developer says he used to think in terms of materials first, but “design engineers today approach lightweight construction with an integrative mindset – with other joining and production technologies as well as with new materials. These days, the typical tasks we get from OEMs are almost always based on integrative lightweight construction.”
 
Positive Outlook
With about a third of the GFRP materials produced in Europe being used in the transport sector, innovations and the current development status of composites for the automotive market will be emphasised in the exhibition halls of COMPOSITES EUROPE 2017, as well. The future looks bright, according to Composites Germany’s latest market survey. No fewer than 46 per cent of responding companies expect this segment to grow. Only 15 per cent anticipate a downturn. The automotive industry isn’t just one of the biggest buyers of thermoplastic composites, it’s also a major purchaser of thermoset materials like SMC. Exhibitors such as Saint Gobain Performance Plastics, capricorn COMPOSITE, Lange+Ritter, SGL TECHNOLOGIES GmbH, ARKEMA France, Cevotec and EMS will be onsite to address the automotive industry’s composites requirements.

Theme day for “motorists”: Focus Day Automotive
What’s more, the entire third day of the trade fair – dubbed the Focus Day Automotive – will be dedicated to visitors predominantly interested in composites for the vehicle industry. A free one-hour guided tour at 11 am on 21 September, for example, will give visitors a comprehensive overview. Stops include the stands of industry-leading companies such as Evonik Industries, Huntsman, the Institute of Aircraft Design at the University of Stuttgart, PHP Fibers, Toho Tenax Europe and Vosschemie. Since the number of participants is limited, it would be advisable to register in a timely manner by visiting: www.composites-europe.com/guided-tours.

The subsequent Automotive Business Lunch taking place at the stand of sponsor Hexion (Hall C2, BO6) at 12 pm will provide an excellent networking opportunity. In addition, expert lectures at the COMPOSITES Forum in Hall 6, Stand B76, will cover automotive basics, trends and innovations. Admission is free of charge for trade fair visitors.
 
Hybrid lightweight construction: The best from different material worlds
Hybrid lightweight construction, which combines metallic materials with composites, is another trend in automotive engineering, as Kurek confirms. In his estimation, it’s imperative to intelligently leverage the strengths of each respective material. “We need to think very carefully about how the different materials can be used in line with the required strength.” Composites, for instance, are great at absorbing tensile forces, while metallic materials are better suited for compressive forces.” This is exactly the issue Kurek sees as COMPOSITES EUROPE’s most critical task: “Even with composites, we long ago moved from ‘either-or’ to ‘both’. Metallic materials have a right to exist just as composites do.”
That’s why the Lightweight Technologies Forum at COMPOSITES EUROPE will provide answers to questions revolving around lightweight construction with other materials like aluminium or steel. The combined exhibition and presentation forum featuring exhibitors such as Kunststoffwerk AG Buchs, Linn High Therm, Schütze, OCSiAL Group, Hexcel Composites and ar engineers will serve as the cross-material interface between metal and composite technologies in structural components.

Trade fair opening event: 3rd International Composites Congress (ICC)
Kicking off COMPOSITES EUROPE 2017 on 18 and 19 September 2017 will be the “3rd International Composites Congress (ICC)” hosted by the trade association Composites Germany in Stuttgart. Current trends, new applications and technologies, and a comprehensive overview of market developments in Europe and worldwide will be the centre of attention at the 3rd ICC. This year’s partner country, South Korea, will be represented with several exclusive speakers.

 

Interior.Architecture.Hospitality Expo at Heimtextil 2018 © Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH
29.08.2017

HEIMTEXTIL 2018: NEW EVENT FORMAT FOR INTERIOR DESIGN

  • New event format for interior design:
    Interior.Architecture.Hospitality Expo
  • Exhibitors showcase their range of services relating to the focal theme “customised”

Textile solutions for interior design, architecture and hotel furnishing convince above all in terms of their flexibility, functionality and sustainability. With the Interior.Architecture.Hos-pitality Expo, there is now a new exhibition format dedicated to this issue. The Expo will take place in Frankfurt from 9 to 12 January 2018 within Heimtextil, the world's leading trade fair for home and contract textiles.

  • New event format for interior design:
    Interior.Architecture.Hospitality Expo
  • Exhibitors showcase their range of services relating to the focal theme “customised”

Textile solutions for interior design, architecture and hotel furnishing convince above all in terms of their flexibility, functionality and sustainability. With the Interior.Architecture.Hos-pitality Expo, there is now a new exhibition format dedicated to this issue. The Expo will take place in Frankfurt from 9 to 12 January 2018 within Heimtextil, the world's leading trade fair for home and contract textiles.

Selected suppliers will present their textile products and material solutions in the exclusive surroundings of the new Expo in hall 4.2. In this way, they can position themselves to specifically target interior designers, hoteliers and project planners. The Expo's offer encompasses both aesthetic and functional answers to questions regarding modern, sustainable design, as well as fire protection regulations and structural requirements.
Exhibitors at the Expo will present their products relating to the “customised” theme in the form of individual customer-oriented solutions. New products and innovations in acoustic textiles, modular carpets and wall coverings are also included. Trade visitors can discuss their current projects directly with the exhibiting companies in order to find solutions for their concrete design or application-related questions. The first brand companies to announce their participation include Drapilux and Low & Bonar.
 
Interior.Architecture.Hospitality – focal theme: contract furnishing
With the Expo, Heimtextil is expanding its range of offers for the contract segment, bundling them under the title “Interior.Architecture.Hospitality”. In addition to the Expo, this also comprises a high-quality presentation and training program for interior designers, architects and hotel furnishers, the Architecture.Hospitality Lectures and Interior.Architecture.Hospitality Tours, and guided tours of the trade fair that are tailored to the specific interests and requirements of architects or hoteliers. The starting point for the guided tours is the Interior.Architecture.Hospitality Salon in the centre of hall 4.2, which also invites colleagues to network with each other. Well-known industry partners have been secured both for the tours and lectures, such as the Association of German Interior Designers (BDIA), the industry event organiser hotelforum management, trade magazine AIT, the Allgemeine Hotel und Gaststättenzeitung (AHGZ) and, for the first time, the international architect network World Architects.

Inspiration and innovation within the vicinity of the Expo
Hall 4.2 is also the location for a new special presentation on textile floor coverings initiated by the Association of the German Home Textiles Industry (Heimtex). The themes of modularity, acoustics and design are showcased in an architecture-focused environment using textile floor coverings. Architects and contract furnishers will receive comprehensive and expert advice on these three main themes as well as all other issues relating to carpets.
The innovative fibre manufacturer Trevira will also be present in hall 4.2 for the first time as part of a big community presentation comprising 18 participating firms, including Engelbert E. Stieger, Johan van den Acker, Pugi, Spnadauer Velours, Swisstulle and Torcitura Lei Tsu.
A globally unique range of upholstery and decorative fabric offers with over 400 exhibitors can be found in hall 4 in the direct vicinity of the Expo. Visitors to the Expo will benefit from its proximity to the stands of high-quality international suppliers such as Deltracon and Muvantex from Belgium, Erotex from Israel, Loro Piana and Tali from Italy and Blom Liina Maria from Finland. The upholstery and decorative fabrics provide a comprehensive product offer that meets the highest aesthetic and functional requirements of interior design.

 

08.08.2017

INDIA'S TEXTILE AND CLOTHING INDUSTRY STRONGLY SUPPORTED

  • Textile companies comparatively broadly placed 
  • Garment sector scores too little internationally 

New Delhi (GTAI) - India is one of the world's largest manufacturers of textiles. Cotton fabrics and home textiles are among the export hits. The clothing industry plays a comparatively small role and threatens to fall behind in competition. Both areas are required to produce higher qualities and more sustainable. The Ministry of Textiles supports the fragmented industry. Foreign suppliers and buyers can explore the market at trade fairs.

  • Textile companies comparatively broadly placed 
  • Garment sector scores too little internationally 

New Delhi (GTAI) - India is one of the world's largest manufacturers of textiles. Cotton fabrics and home textiles are among the export hits. The clothing industry plays a comparatively small role and threatens to fall behind in competition. Both areas are required to produce higher qualities and more sustainable. The Ministry of Textiles supports the fragmented industry. Foreign suppliers and buyers can explore the market at trade fairs.

The Indian textile and clothing industry is of an overall economic importance. It accounts for 14% of the total industrial production and employs directly 51 million people. Additional further 68 million people in households and micro enterprises are working for the industrial companies. Because the national economy as a whole needs to create about 12 million additional jobs per year, the government has chosen the textile industry as an employment motor. India, in contrast to the textile giant PRC, has high advantages with its labor cost.

 
The availability of natural materials such as cotton, jute and silk is a further advantage of the textile industry, which can look back on a long tradition of processing. India is now the world's largest producer of cotton. In the cultivation year 2016/17 year (4.1 - 31.3) estimated 5.9 million tons are expected to be harvested.

The cotton will be processed into yarns and fabrics. For the production of yarns, 61 million spindles (measured in spindle equivalents) are available. In 2015/16, they spun about 5.7 million t of yarn, of which 4.1 million t are made out of cotton fibers. The production of cotton cloths was about 38 billion sqm., mainly produced in decentralized weaving mills with simple mechanical looms. The global trend in clothing, however, goes to artificial fibers. In order to protect their domestic production the Ministry of Finance levies tariffs.

Textile industry with its own ministry and many promotional programs 
The Ministry of Textiles subsidizes the sector through several programs, which support the technical modernization, the construction of industrial parks, qualification, training and marketing. Garment factories may even be reimbursed for duties and fees paid. For this purpose the budget of the Ministry of Textiles was once again significantly increased in the financial year 2017/18.

The textile and clothing industry does not only want to score on the domestic market, it also wants to play a bigger international role. In a five-year plan, the Ministry of Textiles had targeted an expansion of exports to USD 64 billion by 2016/17. This target has not yet been achieved, in 215/16 the exports of textiles and clothing amounted to USD 37.6 billion. The exports of textiles even shrank against the year before. 

Textile and clothing industry in India (financial years from April to March) 
  2014/15 2015/16
Export of textiles in USD Billion  21.7 20.6
Imports of textiles in USD Billion 5.5 5.4
Export of clothing in USD Billion 16.8 17.0
Imports of clothing in USD Billion 0.5 0.6
Change in the production of textiles (in %) 3.7 2.2
Change in the production of clothing (in %) 0.2 14.7

Sources: Ministry of Textiles, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation

The local garment industry has good chances of development on a large and growing domestic market. According to industry estimates the retail sector sold clothing worth approximately USD 45 billion in 2016. Experts say the world's fifth-largest market is expected to grow well above 10% in the medium term. The backlog of the 1.3 billion inhabitants is not yet covered. The trade imports international branded goods mainly from China and Bangladesh. Standard articles and custom-made products are sewn by the local industry.

Garment sector with opportunities and problems 
Cheap wages are a location advantage. They vary however very different within the subcontinent. The statutory minimum wage regulations differ between the 29 federal states. In addition the person's age, the company membership and abilities are used to calculate the minimum wage.

Due to the increasing production costs in China, labor-intensive manufacturing is moving to more favorable locations. Not only labor costs play a major role here. The complex labor law strongly restricts the efficiency of labor markets in India. Investors consider the labor law, logistics and the structure of supply chains as to be difficult. The World Bank found in its study "Stitches to Riches" in 2016 (see https://www.openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986) that Bangladesh, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam, surpass the competitor India in the points quality, delivery times, reliability and sustainable social responsibility.

India is also missing free trade agreements (FTAs) which facilitate access to international markets and regulate them reliably. The European Union and India have been negotiating as an example a comprehensive FTA for over 10 years with longer interruptions.

Fragmented sector structure with international Champions 
Information on the number of companies, their size classes and investment volumes are not available. Smaller textile companies and retailers are partially not registered and do not pay taxes. Medium-sized companies are very flexible, but they need to   mechanize, automate and upgrade technically in order to survive.
Larger companies look back on their long-standing tradition and have developed into internationally networked corporations. According to the Indian financial service Moneycontrol, the three largest corporations in the clothing industry are: KPR Mills (last net sales circa USD 300 million), Page Industries (USD 270 million) and Gokaldas Exports (USD 170 million); In the textile sector in general: Bombay Rayon (some USD 640 million), Sutlej Textiles (USD 350 million), SEL Manufacturing (USD  300 million), Mandhana Industries (USD 250 million); in the knitting sector: Nahar Industrial Enterprises (USD 270 million), Rupa (USD 160 million); Cotton spinning: Vardhman Textiles (USD 860 million), Trident (USD 560 million), Indo Count (USD 310 million); Spinning of synthetic fibers: RSWM (USD 450 million), Indorama (USD 390 million), Sangam (USD 230 million); Weaving and other processes: Alok Industries (USD 1.8 billion), Welspun (USD x750 million), Garden Silk (USD 370 million); Other areas: Arvind (USD 830 million), Nahar Spinning (USD 310 million), JBF Industries (USD 550 million), Bombay Dyeing (USD 280 million).

Foreign textile companies invest and explore
The government is promoting the "Make in India" campaign in the textile sector for foreign direct investments. Company foundations are for 100% in foreign hands (see http://www.makeinindia.com/sector/textiles-and-garments). The sector attracted USD 2.4 billion from 2000 to 2016 in FDI.

Foreign companies can explore the markets at various trade fairs. The textile ministry wants to expand the “Textiles India”, which took place in Gandhinagar (Gujarat) in June 2017, to a mega-event (https://www.textilesindia2017.com). The international garment industry also met at the same time at the „India International Garment Fair" (http://www.indiaapparelfair.com).

The "National Garment Fair" will take place from July 10th to 12th in Mumbai (http://cmai.fingoh.com/event/65th-national-garment-fair-1/Registration). And Messe Frankfurt is organizing "Techtextil India" from September 13th to 15th in Mumbai. Here German exhibitors can participate in a community stand (http://www.auma.de/de/messedatenbank/seiten/moesetailseite.aspx?tf=135499).

Internet addresses
Name Internet address Remarks
Germany Trade & Invest http://www.gtai.de/Indien Foreign trade information for the German export economy
AHK Indien http://www.indien.ahk.de Starting point for German companies 
Ministry of Textiles http://www.texmin.nic.in Ministry
Office of Textile Commissioner http://www.txcindia.gov.in Authority
Confederation of Indian Textile Industry http://www.citiindia.com Textile confederation
Textile Association India http://www.textileassociationindia.org Textile industry association
The Clothing Manufacturers of India http://www.cmai.in Clothing industry association

 

Source:

Thomas Hundt, Germany Trade & Invest www.gtai.de

Ariane5 © ESA_Stephane Corvaja 2016
09.05.2017

BAGS PACKED FOR SPACE: TEXTILES NEEDED FOR A MISSION TO MARS

  • Techtextil and Texprocess present ‘Living in Space’ in cooperation with ESA and DLR 
  • Nutrition, mobility, fashion and living: technical textiles make settlements in space possible

Beam me up, Scotty: a large amount of material has to be transported for a journey into space – and technical textiles account for a large proportion of them. Examples of the parts and products in which they are to be found will be on show at the ‘Living in Space’ exhibition during this year’s Techtextil und Texprocess (9 to 12 May 2017), which has been organised by Messe Frankfurt in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). Among the exhibits to be seen are materials and technologies from Techtextil and Texprocess exhibitors in a ‘Material Gallery’, architecture for space by Ben van Berkel, space-inspired fashions and an original Mars Rover.

  • Techtextil and Texprocess present ‘Living in Space’ in cooperation with ESA and DLR 
  • Nutrition, mobility, fashion and living: technical textiles make settlements in space possible

Beam me up, Scotty: a large amount of material has to be transported for a journey into space – and technical textiles account for a large proportion of them. Examples of the parts and products in which they are to be found will be on show at the ‘Living in Space’ exhibition during this year’s Techtextil und Texprocess (9 to 12 May 2017), which has been organised by Messe Frankfurt in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). Among the exhibits to be seen are materials and technologies from Techtextil and Texprocess exhibitors in a ‘Material Gallery’, architecture for space by Ben van Berkel, space-inspired fashions and an original Mars Rover. And – even without having completed a dizzying astronaut training programme – visitors can take a journey through space to Mars via virtual-reality glasses.

“At the ‘Living in Space’ exhibition, Techtextil and Texprocess visitors can see examples of textile materials and processing technologies in an application-oriented setting. In cooperation with our partners and exhibitors, we have created an informative and entertaining area, the like of which has never been seen before at Techtextil and Texprocess”, explains Michael Jänecke, Brand Manager, Technical Textiles and Textile Processing, Messe Frankfurt. Given that technical textiles are to be found in almost every sphere of human life, the materials and processing technologies shown are oriented towards the ‘Architecture’, ‘Civilization’, ‘Clothing’ and ‘Mobility’ areas of application.

Ideal homes in space

Visitors can get an idea of how building in space could function at the ‘Architecture’ area curated by Stylepark architecture magazine. Lightweight construction and canopy specialist MDT-tex joined forces with star architect Ben van Berkel of the international UNStudio firm of architects to create a ‘Space Habitat’ especially for Techtextil. Comprising 60 individual modules, each of which is double twisted and under tension, the lightweight pavilion has an area of 40 square metres and consists of specially designed aluminium profiles covered with PTFE sheets. MDT-tex designed the fabric especially for the pavilion in an extremely light grammage without sacrificing its high-temperature resistance and technical properties.

Ultra-lightweight materials play a leading role in space travel because the lighter the space capsule’s load, the cheaper the transport. Reclining in comfortable seats, visitors to the Space Habitat can also travel to Mars using virtual-realist glasses and, at the same time, find out more about technical textiles and their processing in space.

Hightech-Fashion in orbit

No one likes to be too hot or too cold. Space-wear should not only protect the wearer from extreme temperatures but also regulate their body temperature, drain off moisture and be durable and easy to clean. All the better, then, if it also looks good, as shown by the designs in the ‘Clothing’ segment of the exhibition. The ESMOD Fashion School from Berlin presents outfits made by students within the framework of the ‘Couture in Orbit’ project (2015/2016), which was organised by ESA and the London Science Museum. Additionally, the POLI.design centre of the Politecnico di Milano (Milan University) presents outfits from the followup project, ‘Fashion in Orbit’ under the scientific supervision of Annalisa Dominoni and the technical supervision of Benedetto Quaquaro in cooperation with ESA and garment manufacturer Colmar.

The Hohenstein Textile Institutes present two models from the Spacetex research project, within the framework of which astronaut Alexander Gerst tested the interaction of body, apparel and climate under conditions of weightlessness during the ‘Blue Dot’ mission. In this connection, the model, ‘Nostalgia’ by Linda Pfanzler (Lower Rhine University) reminds the wearer of the earth with an integrated library of fragrances. The suits of the ‘Dynamic Space’ collection by Rachel Kowalski (Pforzheim University) contain electrodes that stimulate important muscle groups under conditions of weightlessness. The outfits by Leyla Yalcin and Sena Isikal (AMD Düsseldorf) come from the ‘Lift off’ collection created in cooperation with Bremen-based silver-yarn manufacturer Statex. They include a sleeping bag for astronauts made from silver-coated textiles, which can also be used as an overall and protects the wearer from electro-magnetic radiation. Thanks to the silver threads, another garment, a raincoat reflects light and stores the wearer’s body heat.

Material Gallery: fibers for space

In addition to the exhibits at the special exhibition, around 40 Techtextil and Texprocess exhibitors offer ideas for fibre-based materials and processing technology suitable for use in space in a ‘Material Gallery’. For the ‘Civilization’ segment, they include spacer fabrics for growing vegetables, for ‘Mobility’ a carbon yarn, which was used to make a fairing for the solid-fuel booster rocket of the Ariane 6. The Material Gallery also shows fibre-composite structures made of carbon fibres, such as a robot arm, a whole-body suit that transmits the wearer’s movements to a 3D model in real-time, functional apparel textiles with flame-retardant, anti-bacterial and temperature-regulating properties, and membrane systems for ventilating aircraft.

Exhibits from ESA, DLR and Speyer Museum of Technology, including an original Mars Rover and space suits, make the exhibition an extraordinary experience. The exhibits are supplemented by impulse lectures by ESA experts for technology transfer throughout the fair.

 

Central America imports more textile machinery © Oliver Brunner/pixelio.de
07.03.2017

CENTRAL AMERICA IMPORTS MORE TEXTILE MACHINERY

  • Large-scale projects in Honduras
  • More vertical integration strived

Following the US President's decree against the Pacific Pact TPP, Central America's textile and clothing industry counts for its main market on further tariff advantages compared to the Asian competition. Next to the so far dominating subcontracting work the sector wants to intensify the production of pre-products, what requires more and better textile machinery for this purpose. Guatemala is already investing, while Nicaragua will continue to stay mainly with sewing and tailoring. The largest technology market was lately El Salvador.

  • Large-scale projects in Honduras
  • More vertical integration strived

Following the US President's decree against the Pacific Pact TPP, Central America's textile and clothing industry counts for its main market on further tariff advantages compared to the Asian competition. Next to the so far dominating subcontracting work the sector wants to intensify the production of pre-products, what requires more and better textile machinery for this purpose. Guatemala is already investing, while Nicaragua will continue to stay mainly with sewing and tailoring. The largest technology market was lately El Salvador.

Honduras wants to expand its textile and clothing industry strongly. The aim of the "20/20" program is to significantly increase exports and with it new jobs. One focus should be the production of sportswear and other synthetic clothing, including pre-products. Central America's "largest factory for polyester yarn" (DTY) went into construction at the end of January 2017 in Choloma. It is expected to cost USD 73 million and produce 25,000 tons per year. According to Mario Canahuati, a Honduran shareholder of the investor United Textiles of America, an additional USD 120 million factory for synthetic materials and garments should be added later.

Observers believe the sector's expansion plans are realistic because it can stem the relatively large investment in the synthetic fiber production. In the Honduran textile industry there are many joint ventures with US partners which can raise capital in North America. In the other countries of the region the sector companies are more strongly medium-sized. They are depending more on the local capital market with its high interest rates and restrictive banks.

Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador invest

According to a machine representative the textile manufacturers in Guatemala will invest more in dyeing machines in order to become more independent from suppliers and keep the quality better under control. According to Invest in Guatemala the sector there delivers higher quality end products than the competition from El Salvador and Honduras, on the US market clothing from Guatemalan is almost twice as expensive.

The textile industry in Guatemala and El Salvador is more vertically integrated than in Honduras: it produces relatively quite a lot of yarn and fabrics by itself and is less dependent of the typical subcontracting (Maquila) method, which only imports textiles and re-exports them as finished clothing. Honduras mainly processes imported synthetic fiber yarns, which the country - like El Salvador - manufactures partly by itself.

The best market in Central America for a large German textile machine manufacturer is currently El Salvador, which imports the most technology in the region. The customers are quite innovative and work more concept orientated, which makes the cooperation easier. Due to increased yarn prices, some weaving companies are currently investing in spinning machines, a machinery salesman says. According to the Central America Strategic Sourcing Review, more than 20% of the factories are "vertically integrated".

In the opinion of machine representatives, Nicaragua is still concentrating on subcontracting. Investors are reluctant to spend larger sums which would be needed for modern textile  manufacturing. In addition there is a lack of good specialists for the foreseeable future, the level of training is only sufficient for easier sewing and clothing manufacturing. In Panama the textile industry does not play a nameable role; in Costa Rica, which is also relatively prosperous, the sector is larger, but exports little.

Central America’s textile and clothing industry

Indicator Guatemala Honduras El Salvador Nicaragua
Number of manufacturers 215 125
(2015)
n.a. n.a.
Employees (direct) 90,000 (2013) 99,100
(2015)
75,000
(estimation)
70,000
(estimation, 2014)
Clothing exports to the USA
(2016, bn. US$) *)
1,380 2,554 1,941 1,472
Production of synthetic fibres
(2016, 1,000 t)
0 26,5 17,2 0
Installed capacity (2015, 1,000 Units)
Spindles 153 n.a. 250 40
OE-Rotors 21 n.a. 1.4 n.a.
Weaving looms 3.9 n.a. 3.2 0.65

*) Costa Rica 29 Mio.; Clothing = almost total industry exports; 80% of exports are for the US; data from US import authority. Source: ITMF; national associations and authorities; Press

Central America Textile companies are usually located in a free zone and produce for export, mainly the US. In Honduras, according to a study by the Central Bank, Maquila - with textile / clothing as the largest segment - produced 36% of pre-products for other contractors and 64% of final products, which in turn were exported up to 99%.

US protectionism could even help

The protectionism, which is announced in the main market USA, develops some optimism to Central America's textile industry. As listed in “Honduras 20/20” it now can deliver more cheaply to the US than the competition from China or Vietnam because of existing trade agreements. At an - now not targeted anymore - omission of cutting US customs duties for Vietnam, it would be much more expensive. In addition, a garment factory in Honduras is able to deliver to the US in two days, a delivery from Vietnam requires twenty days. In the today so very fast fashion world, this is the main reason why Wal-Mart & Co. are ordering massive masses in Central America.

Until now, Central America has been supplying mainly cheap clothing for the US mass market, but, as a German machinery exporter is hoping, they will try to settle themselves against the Asian competition with higher valuable goods. For this the Central American manufacturers would need better technology, which preferable comes from Europe. In the view of other representatives Central America will need in future productive machines that are cheap at the same time. Chinese machines with European components are a big competition.

Machinery imports rising

Central America Imports of textile machinery and sewing machines have risen by one-third to over USD 130 million between 2013 and 2015. In addition, according to the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF), Honduras has imported 170 round knitting machines in 2014 and 2015, Guatemala only 26, El Salvador 23 and Nicaragua ten. Germany was the fifth most important delivery country. Leading supplier was the USA. For Guatemala, with its many Korean-owned textile companies, Korea (Rep) was the main supplier.According to ITMF, Central America will shift its investments somewhat away from the clothing area towards the textile sector. Already today, the representative of a German manufacturer says: "We are currently selling very well in Mexico and Central America." 

Central America‘s1) imports of textile machinery (bn. US$) 2)

SITC Product group /Country / Country of delivery 2013 2014 2015 20163)
  total 97.5 116.0 131.6 70.8
72472) Machines for washing, drying, dying a.o. 25.7 27.9 35.4 9.4
724.35 Other sewing machines 21.0 24.2 29.2 18.8
7245 Weaving looms and knitting machines 21.7 23.7 28.8 20.9
7244 Spinning machines 11.5 21.7 19.8 11.6
7246 Auxiliary machines 14.4 12.8 13.8 8.1
72492) Parts 3.1 5.7 4.6 2.0
  USA 32.5 33.4 27.9 12.7
  Italy 8.8 10.6 20.8 17.5
  China 9.1 12.1 15.4 6.6
  Korea (Rep.) 6.2 9.5 12.1 0.5
  Germany 9.6 4.0 10.9 6.9
  Japan 3.9 7.2 7.7 6.0
  El Salvador 48.5 55.4 70.9 70.8
724.35   12.9 16.4 20.5 18.8
7245   7.0 11.7 16.1 20.9
72472)   11.3 12.0 12.9 9.4
7244   6.5 5.1 11.2 11.6
7246   9.4 8.6 7.9 8.1
  Guatemala 28.9 32.6 44.8 n.a
72472)   5.3 6.2 12.4 n.a.
7245   8.9 8.3 11.2 n.a
7244   3.5 4.9 7.2 n.a
724.35   5.8 5.9 6.8 n.a
7246   4.4 3.7 5.5 n.a
  Costa Rica 13.9 21.3 10.2 n.a
72472)   5.2 5.0 5.7 n.a
7244   1.4 11.4 1.3 n.a
7245   5.1 3.0 1.2 n.a
724.35   1.4 1.2 1.2 n.a
  Panama 6.1 6.8 5.8 n.a
72472)   4.0 4.7 4.3 n.a

1) without Honduras and Nicaragua; 2) SITC 724, without household sewing machines, (724.33), household washing machines, (724.71), machines for dry-cleaning(724.72), leather machines(7248), parts for household washing machines; 3) El Salvador only
Source: UN Comtrade

Orgatec © Photo: Koelnmesse
25.10.2016

ORGATEC 2016 ADDRESSES THE OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN TOMORROW'S WORLDS OF WORK

From 25 to 29 October, at ORGATEC in Cologne, 665 companies from 40 countries will be presenting the current trends in the world of work of the future. Long gone are the days when just desks, filing systems etc. were presented at the leading international trade fair for the modern world of work. Nowadays, it is much more to do with work culture, work processes and work environments. With its wide spectrum of products and concepts from international exhibitors, plus an excellent programme of events, ORGATEC 2016 is once again set to act as a think tank for the international office furniture industry. Topics to be addressed at the fair, which is expected to attract around 50,000 trade visitors from all over the world, will be new ideas on the current trends of team working, digitalisation, holistic interiors and the attractiveness of the workplace. The following is an overview of what is on offer in the supporting programme.

From 25 to 29 October, at ORGATEC in Cologne, 665 companies from 40 countries will be presenting the current trends in the world of work of the future. Long gone are the days when just desks, filing systems etc. were presented at the leading international trade fair for the modern world of work. Nowadays, it is much more to do with work culture, work processes and work environments. With its wide spectrum of products and concepts from international exhibitors, plus an excellent programme of events, ORGATEC 2016 is once again set to act as a think tank for the international office furniture industry. Topics to be addressed at the fair, which is expected to attract around 50,000 trade visitors from all over the world, will be new ideas on the current trends of team working, digitalisation, holistic interiors and the attractiveness of the workplace. The following is an overview of what is on offer in the supporting programme.
In high-calibre congresses and forums, trade visitors from all over the world can find out about current trends and discuss pressing issues of theory and practice.

ZEIT Work & Style conference
The Work & Style conference, a premium congress format hosted by the renowned German weekly newspaper "DIE ZEIT" will launch this year's ORGATEC and address both sociopolitical and aesthetic questions, in particular the following issues: what role does work play in the identity of the upcoming generation? How will work, life and lifestyle interact? What is it that makes an employer attractive? Which approaches to work will be successful in the future?
26 October 2016, from 10:00 a.m., Congress Centre

ORGATEC  Trend Forum
At the Trend Forum hosted by Hajo Schumacher, creativity and design will be the focus of discussion: with numerous exciting talks on the various different aspects of office design and work culture by distinguished speakers from the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and the Fraunhofer Institute, among others. On the very first day of the trade fair, it's already all about "Working differently and better!" This is where Bernd Fels, co-founder of if5, will be presenting trends, facts, ideas and examples for the journey into the world of work 4.0. The talk by AECOM, entitled "See further, go further - transformational change" will provide an in-depth exploration of the new challenges facing the world of work in the future and what new approaches global companies are adopting. And trend consultant Brigitte Gebhard will delve into the subject of creative learning environments under the banner of the "New Work Order".
25.-28. Oktober 2016, Halle 6, Stand B 029    

workplace congress
The trade journals "Der Facility Manager" and "industrieBAU" are hosting the second workplace congress at ORGATEC in Cologne. The congress, like its first edition, will focus on all aspects of the challenges posed by the office, in particular how to provide functioning, motivating workplaces. Practical concepts and solutions for office workplaces will be presented. Acclaimed speakers from research, teaching and practice will explore topics such as space and room planning, lighting, acoustics, air conditioning and ergonomics, and discuss current trends and their experiences, gathered over the course of many years in the field. The event is recognised by the Chamber of Construction Engineers of North Rhine-Westphalia as an advanced training course with six time units of 45 minutes each.
27 October 2016, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Offenbachsaal 

SEO Day
Presented for the first time at ORGATEC 2016: the SEO Day is an annual industry meeting of the search machine optimisation scene. Around 800 experts are expected to attend, with more than 40 German-speaking industry experts on hand, holding numerous talks and sharing the latest tips and tricks in the area of search engine optimisation, Google and co.
27 October 2016, Konrad-Adenauer-Saal, Congress Centre North

Speakers' Corner
Following a successful premiere in 2014, exhibitors at ORGATEC will this year once again have the opportunity to present themselves as well as new products and services to a broad trade audience and answer questions directly on site. In half-hour-long presentations, speakers will introduce trends, innovations and methods from their particular field of expertise (daily between 11.00 a.m. and 3.00 p.m).
25 through 28 October 2016,11:00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m., Hall 11.2, Stand J 002

Alongside the congresses and the forum, ORGATEC 2016 also offers numerous special events that offer trade visitors real added value. The offering ranges from the presentation of innovative materials, through Scandinavian design for indoors and outside, to the current trend of co-working spaces.

"RE/WORK - Moments of Inspiration by Ippolito Fleitz Group"
The competence centre "RE/WORK - Moments of Inspiration by Ippolito Fleitz Group" is an inspiring staging that traces valuable moments of inspiration, combines analogue and digital experiences, enabling a fresh view on the world of work from new perspectives. It shows, in a creative and humorous way, what the office of the future might have to look like in order to address changing requirements. The workplace is no longer bound to a particular space, but rather to moments: moments of networking through the perfect integration of technology, moments of well-being, of inspiration, of lifelong, playful experimentation. The competence centre takes ten examples of these moments and brings them to life in three dimensions. The Competence Centre takes ten examples of these moments and brings them to life in three dimensions.
Daily, Hall 11.2, Stand E 031/ F 030

The influence of design on co-working spaces can be seen by visitors to ORGATEC at the special event "The smart working space", in which the "smart co-working lobby" model showcases a module that will be at the core of the modern office block and that enables the co-working philosophy to be adopted in existing buildings. Using this approach, the trend towards co-working can be embraced relatively quickly and economically. The model will be presented in the form of a fully functioning prototype at ORGATEC. The curator of this specially designed area is Michael O. Schmutzer who, as Managing Director of Design Offices, has turned the idea of "New Work" into a remarkable success story. "The Smart Co-working Lobby" was developed in cooperation with the prestigious interior design office, brandherm + krumrey interior architecture (b-k-i), based in Cologne and Hamburg.
Daily, Hall 9, Stand B 010

Innovation of Interior
In Hall 8, the experts from Haute Innovation will be demonstrating the potential offered for modern working environments by the latest innovations in materials. They will be presenting about new sources of raw materials for manufacturers and planners, sketching out scenarios for the deployment of intelligent materials in the context of the smart office or smart home and outlining the opportunities for additive manufacturing in the furniture industry.
Daily, Hall 8, Stand B 010

Design meets movement
Creative design will be lined up for the visitors in the Passage between Halls 10 and 11. In the special exhibition Design meets Movement, leading European designers will present smart solutions from Scandinavia that go beyond working indoors and act instead as an interface to the outside world - a multifunctional installation for outdoor working.
Daily, Passage 10/11

ORGATEC Boulevard - Creativity Works
Exceptional design will also be on display on the Boulevard. This is where Koelnmesse, in cooperation with the German association for the office and working environment (IBA / Industrieverband Büro und Arbeitswelt e.V.) will be presenting various projects on the topic of "Creativity Works". For instance, the magazine FRAME will be staging a captivating exhibition of forward-looking workplace design in collaboration with young creative professionals. The magazine "100 working SPACES" will be presenting 100 current and innovative workplaces and office concepts from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, as well as the best and most amazing projects from the rest of the world. And, presenting the results of their research project, students of design at the University of Applied Sciences, Düsseldorf (HSD / Hochschule Düsseldorf) will be showing an ingenious fusion of fashion, workspace, performance and identity.
Daily, Boulevard

ORGATEC, with its 50,000 trade visitors from all over the world, has also traditionally been the appropriate place for the awarding of important honours. This is also the case in 2016.

Prize ceremony for the "Büro & Umwelt" ("Office & Environment") competition 
Sustainable behaviours in everyday office life and attention to environmental requirements in the procurement of office equipment are extremely important for our environment. The German Association for Environmental Management, B.A.U.M e.V. (Bundesdeutscher Arbeitskreis für Umweltbewusstes Management) aims to draw attention to this with the "Büro & Umwelt" competition. At the heart of the competition is the sustainable handling of resources in everyday office life, as well as the awareness of environmental concerns when procuring office equipment.
25 October 2016, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Trend Forum stage, Hall 6, Stand B 029

"Architektur + Office" Innovation Prize
The 9th Architecture + Office Innovation Prize will be awarded by AIT and xia during ORGATEC 2016. Designers and manufacturers will submit their products to the critical judgment of renowned architects. The aim of the award is to underline the importance of quality in architecture in the office interiors sector. Products on the market that are particularly effective in addressing the concerns of the target group will be awarded a prize. All of the submitted products will be displayed in a special exhibition at ORGATEC 2016 in Cologne.
25. October 2016, Hall 10.1, Stand E 011

Time is money. The same is true for the trade visitors to ORGATEC 2016. In order to get a comprehensive overview of the important new developments and trends on show, guided tours around the trade fair are available.

Guided tours around the fair by the Mensch&Büro-Akademie (People&Office Academy)
The Mensch&Büro-Akademie (MBA) and PRIMA VIER Publishing Frank Nehring (P4) will be offering two guided tours around ORGATEC 2016, based on the topics of "Health & Ergonomics" and "Design & Innovation", both taking place twice daily on 26, 27 and 28 October 2016.
Meeting point: Hall 7, Stand B 073

Guided tours for architects organised by Bauverlag
Actively promote dialogue between architects, interior designers, lighting planners and exhibitors - with this aim in mind, Bauverlag publishers is offering guided tours on four trade fair days to selected trade fair highlights at ORGATEC. The "Bauverlag architects' tours" around the trade fair will be conducted by editors from the magazines "Bauwelt" (Building World) and "DBZ" (Deutsche Bauzeitschrift/German Building Magazine). In the approx. 2 ½ hour tour around 10 important exhibitors will be visited. You will be met by competent representatives at the stands, who will demonstrate their new products and systems specifically from the viewpoint of the architect.
25 through 28 October 2016, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., setting off from: Passage 3/11, Stand P 001  
 
SIX-TO-NINE Party
What could be better than bringing the exhibition day to a relaxed close? On the first day of the fair, nothing could be easier - the ORGATEC Boulevard is the perfect setting for the legendary ORGATEC SIX-TO-NINE party. On the evening of the first day of the fair, all exhibitors, visitors and journalists are invited to this industry meeting to engage in lively conversations and exchange ideas in a relaxed atmosphere.
25 October 2016, 6.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m., ORGATEC Boulevard