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Kettherstellung (c) Schmitz Textiles Kettherstellung (c) Schmitz Textiles
23.04.2019

Interview with CEO Stefan Ruholl (Schmitz Textiles): We are Textile

  • Innovations for Indoor and Outdoor Applications

At the beginning of 2018, the textile company Schmitz-Werke GmbH & Co. KG, Emsdetten, was restructured. In order to be able to react more quickly and flexibly to the markets and their demands, the brands drapilux, swela and mobiltex have since been combined under Schmitz Textiles.

Managing Director of this legally independent company is Stefan Ruholl, who has been working for Schmitz-Werke for more than 30 years, answering the questions of Textination. In 1996 he became head of the finishing department, three years later head of production and development for the textile finishing division, in the beginning of 2000 technical director, and finally 2018 he took over the management of the business unit and of the company Schmitz Textiles.

  • Innovations for Indoor and Outdoor Applications

At the beginning of 2018, the textile company Schmitz-Werke GmbH & Co. KG, Emsdetten, was restructured. In order to be able to react more quickly and flexibly to the markets and their demands, the brands drapilux, swela and mobiltex have since been combined under Schmitz Textiles.

Managing Director of this legally independent company is Stefan Ruholl, who has been working for Schmitz-Werke for more than 30 years, answering the questions of Textination. In 1996 he became head of the finishing department, three years later head of production and development for the textile finishing division, in the beginning of 2000 technical director, and finally 2018 he took over the management of the business unit and of the company Schmitz Textiles.

Schmitz Textiles is a family business that has been offering textile solutions for indoor and outdoor applications for more than 90 years. If you had to introduce yourself in 100 words to someone who doesn't know the company, what makes you unique?
As an almost fully integrated manufacturer in Germany, we have advantages that many other market players are likely to envy. We can respond flexibly, technically and with good service to the needs of our customers. Under the drapilux brand, we distribute intelligent design textiles for the contract sector, outdoor and sun protection fabrics under the swela brand and textiles for the automotive segment under the still young label mobiltex. All brands benefit from the broad know-how in production and product development. A few years ago, Germany as production location may have been regarded more negatively as a pure cost factor, but today we see this as valued by our partners as a clear strategic advantage.

In which product areas do market and partners particularly challenge you?
And with which product innovations in the field of technical textiles do you think you can move most?

In each of our fields of activity, we are confronted with comprehensive challenges. At drapilux, for example, we have to meet strict safety requirements in the context of fire protection certifications for the use of our materials on cruise ships and have invested massively in this subject. The sun protection sector is characterized by high demands on color and light fastness combined with optimum resilience - here we were able to gain a major technological advantage with the change from acrylic to polyester qualities years ago.
With the new, award-winning development of our convertible top fabric for mobiltex, also based on polyester, we were able to realize product properties that are completely new in this form in this segment.

For which socially relevant topics do you see particularly great need for innovation in the upcoming 10 years
and what is your assessment that the textile industry will be able to offer solutions with its products?

When we look at the next ten years, then it is surely the topic of sustainability that is already omnipresent today. At the moment we are living in a phase where we want sustainable products on the one hand, but, on the other hand, the willingness to pay higher prices for them is not yet pronounced and people tend towards staying with conventional products. This will change. Sustainable products from companies that really live sustainability in the dimensions of ecology, economy and society will win the race. The textile industry offers the best conditions to turn this vision into reality - albeit under investment in production and research and development.

Today, product and technology innovations mean to a large extent digitalization of production and business processes.
New business models often aim at verticalization and demand the path to batch size 1 - what does this mean for Schmitz Textiles?

For an industrial company with a B2B focus, such as Schmitz Textiles, "batch size 1" must be answered with a certain bandwidth. However, in principle, this topic is not new to us, for example in yarn dyeing, we can couple micro-installations for larger batches - and conversely control correspondingly smaller batches through our process chain. In the digital printing sector for the contract business, we are very individually and customer-oriented positioned with a minimum quantity of 25 meters. For our sister company and customer markilux we are supplier for their "Color on Demand" offer for the individual awning cloth with a choice of 1625 RAL colors. With an industrial production scale, you can hardly get much closer to "lot size 1".

To break new ground means decisiveness, overcoming fears - and with that the courage to fail. Not every project can succeed.
Which entrepreneurial decision are you particularly happy about having made it in retrospect?

If we look further back, about ten years ago, the decision to invest in digital printing and to build up know-how and our own production capacities was the right one. Having passed through these learning curves enables us today to expand our offer into the outdoor market without major problems. We are currently more convinced than ever that by entering the automotive segment with the still young mobiltex brand, we have established a new, important keystone for the long-term future of Schmitz Textiles.

The textile industry has been growing steadily worldwide for decades. The consumption of chemical and textile fibres more than quadrupled between 1975 and 2016. In terms of sustainability, there is, to put it mildly, a mixed feedback for our industry.
What is Schmitz Textiles concentrating on in order to fulfil their social responsibility?

If textiles are produced exclusively in Germany, the regulatory framework already requires a certain sustainable orientation. But of course, there is also room for maneuver. In order to meet the high demands of a sustainable and environmentally friendly production, we operate a very high expenditure. For example, all dyestuffs and textile auxiliaries are first checked for compliance with laws and regulations and for environmental and occupational safety aspects before they are used in-house. In addition, voluntary measures were implemented in the area of production long before legislation came into force, such as regenerative thermal post-combustion for the post-treatment of process exhaust air from finishing plants. This ensures that no harmful emissions are caused by exhaust air, waste water or noise. Many projects have also been successfully implemented for energy recovery from process waste water and process exhaust air. All process waste is either returned to the production workflow, recycled or professionally disposed of. A contribution to environmental protection, that should not be underestimated, is the use of synthetic fibres (here: polyester), which can be modified with much less chemicals than natural fibres and are much more durable.
 
The next Techtextil is just around the corner. What are your expectations at the Frankfurt trade fair?
We are a young but at the same time an almost 100-year-old company, having emerged from the corporate reorganization of Schmitz-Werke GmbH + Co. KG on January 1, 2018. Consequently, we are exhibiting for the first time as Schmitz Textiles GmbH + Co KG with our three brands mobiltex, swela and drapilux. We want to present ourselves as a textile competence center. However, the automotive textiles theme will be somewhat in the foreground. We are exhibiting a complete convertible roof with our mobiltex 388 soft top fabric, which was nominated for the German Innovation Award 2019 by the German Design Council, and we are confident that we may accept an award at the end of May.

 

Source:

The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

As part of its Newsline, Textination will give innovation leaders of the industry a special place to talk about success, experiences, forecasts and trends.

Foto Pixabay
16.04.2019

Happy Easter

Easter is here... A time for rejoicing, reaffirmation and renewal.
Have an egg-cellent and bunny-tastic Easter!

We hope you all enjoy the Easter holiday with your family and friends.
Wish you all a happy Easter, hoping for good times ahead.

Yours Textination-Team

Easter is here... A time for rejoicing, reaffirmation and renewal.
Have an egg-cellent and bunny-tastic Easter!

We hope you all enjoy the Easter holiday with your family and friends.
Wish you all a happy Easter, hoping for good times ahead.

Yours Textination-Team

Source:

Textination GMbH

(c) Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH
09.04.2019

Clothing Production in the Future

Individualisation, automation and digitalisation: micro-factories are the way forward for the future of clothing production and will be the main theme of Texprocess in Frankfurt am Main from 14 to 17 May 2019.

“Send your favourite design to the manufacturer today via an app and wear your individually designed, perfectly fitting trainers or shirt tomorrow.
It’s a long time since this was just a pipe dream for the future,” says Michael Jänecke, Director Brand Management Technical Textiles and Textile Processing at Messe Frankfurt. “Behind it, however, lies a host of complex processes, involving production, processing and logistics. Micro-factories, based on networked and integrated procedures, represent the progressive way of making textile processing quicker, more flexible and, because it is more local, also more sustainable; whilst, at the same time, producing personalised products.”

Individualisation, automation and digitalisation: micro-factories are the way forward for the future of clothing production and will be the main theme of Texprocess in Frankfurt am Main from 14 to 17 May 2019.

“Send your favourite design to the manufacturer today via an app and wear your individually designed, perfectly fitting trainers or shirt tomorrow.
It’s a long time since this was just a pipe dream for the future,” says Michael Jänecke, Director Brand Management Technical Textiles and Textile Processing at Messe Frankfurt. “Behind it, however, lies a host of complex processes, involving production, processing and logistics. Micro-factories, based on networked and integrated procedures, represent the progressive way of making textile processing quicker, more flexible and, because it is more local, also more sustainable; whilst, at the same time, producing personalised products.”

In a total of four micro-factories at the up-coming Texprocess, trade visitors will be able to get an idea of how integrated textile processing works and where micro-factories are already being used.


Digital Textile Micro-Factory: on-demand and virtual reality
Following the success of the last event, Texprocess, in collaboration with the German Institutes of Textile and Fibre Research in Denkendorf (Institute für Textil- und Faserforschung Denkendorf – DITF) and partners from industry, will once again be presenting a ‘Digital Textile Micro-Factory’ display - and thus fully networked production chains - live in Hall 4.1. New this year: the ‘Digital Textile Micro-Factory’ will showcase three production lines – one for apparel manufacture, one for 3D-knitted shoes and one for processing technical textiles, largely for the motor-vehicle and furniture industries.

‘Fashion Line’ integrates virtual prototypes and customer interaction
The fashion industry plays a central role in the ‘Digital Textile MicroFactory’. The customer’s digital doppelganger is becoming more and more important in development departments in the apparel industry as the starting point for individualised and perfectly fitting clothes and for links with finishing departments. In the context of the micro-factory’s production line, it is the key feature.

The production line demonstrates the various stages involved, including CAD/Design, printing, cutting out, assembly, finishing and labelling. New approaches also combine 3D simulations of clothing with direct data transfer in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Instead of presenting the customer with physical examples of the clothing to be produced, the examples are visualised as virtual objects. And during the production process, the customer has the opportunity for direct input into the design of the product in question. This direct interaction between the 3D simulation of an item, the representation in VR/AR displayed on the customer’s own hardware and the direct impact on the production process has never been shown before in this way. Partners of the ‘Fashion Line’ are: Assyst (CAD/design), Mitwill (materials), Caddon, ErgoSoft, Mimaki and Multiplot (printing), Zünd (cutting), Juki and Stoll (assembling), Veit (finishing) and Vuframe (AR/VR).

3D knitting on the way to Industry 4.0
From 3D image to finished prototype in 18 minutes: the future is here in the world of knitting too! The ‘Digital Textile Micro-Factory’ at Texprocess and Techtextil shows a workflow which enables 3D-knitted uppers for shoes to be produced directly from the customer’s own particular foot measurements.
The ‘3D-knitting Line’ of the micro-factory demonstrates the process from the 3D model to the creation of a geometrically accurate knitting pattern by the software, based on the 3D data set, and the development of a specification of the final knitting data, through to the manufacture of a 3D-knitted prototype. Knitting is the additive manufacturing process for textiles. The ‘3D-knitting Line’ is partnered by Stoll.

Processing technical textiles in the micro-factory
Industry 4.0 live: the focus of the third production line of the ‘Digital Textile Micro-Factory’ 2019 is on the automated processing of technical textiles, personalised for the individual customer, taking us right through to the finished product. Trade visitors will see here on-demand inkjet printing and networked machines with integrated sensors, which are linked through a bus system – a future-oriented topic for integrated manufacturing. A robot arm with a special claw for use with textiles sorts the cut items as they emerge from the cutter in a free-moving open shuttle. The items to be sewn are conveyed automatically to the sewing stations. Tracing and tracking procedures show the progress of each order through the individual stages of the manufacturing process using an auto ID. In addition, the display will also show how creative ideas from the Cloud can be incorporated in the manufacture of technical products. Technology meets creativity. Partners of the production line: Mitwill (design), ErgoSoft (RIP), Caddon (colour management), HP (large-format inkjet printing), Zünd (cutting), Dürkopp Adler (networking, integration of an open shuttle, sewing), Veit (finishing), Next Robotics (material handling).

Smart Textiles Micro-Factory: industrial-type production of smart textiles
In their ‘Smart Textiles Micro-Factory’, located in the walkway between Halls 4.1 and 5.1, the Institute for Textile Technology (ITA) at the RWTH Aachen University, together with partners from industry and research, will be producing a ‘smart’ pillow which, with the help of integrated LEDs, provides new ways of interaction. With this demonstration, the partners in the project will present an exemplary, industrial-style manufacturing process for a smart textile from design to finished product. The prototype of the pillow was displayed in advance at Heimtextil 2019. The following are all involved in the ‘Smart Textiles Micro-Factory’: the Institute for Textile Technology (ITA) of the RWTH Aachen University (project coordination), Gerber Technology GmbH (cutting), the Korea Institute for Industrial Technology KITECH (electronics), VETRON TYPICAL Europe GmbH (sewing), Wear it GmbH (product design and concept) and ZSK Stickmaschinen GmbH (embroidery).
 
World of Digital Fashion: customisation of apparel
Six companies have grouped together under the ‘World of Digital Fashion’ umbrella. They work in areas of visualisation, CAD-cutting systems, automated body measurement, cutting out and process automation. Together, they will be showcasing, in Hall 4.0, ways of integrating and combining their products in a variety of workflows within the value creation chain and will enable visitors to experience what the digital process chain is like in practice. The focus will fall particularly on the customisation of apparel and fashion items. Partners of the ‘World of Digital Fashion’ are: Browzwear Solutions and Tronog (visualisation), Software Dr. K. Friedrich (CAD), Fision (automated body measurement), Bullmer (cutting), as well as Gertsch Consulting and Mode Vision (process automation).

Micro-factory presented by Efka and Gemini: easy to implement
Manufacturers of drive mechanisms for industrial sewing machines Efka will,in collaboration with CAD suppliers Gemini, be showcasing the production of a knitted garment that can be individually designed. The core element of their micro-factory, which closely reflects industrial practice, is the link to the sewing stage of production, something which is already available today as an economic, partially automated solution. The display presents a solution that can be easily implemented and adopted by most companies, using already available resources.

 

More information:
Texprocess
Source:

Messe Frankfurt Exhibtion GmbH

Gerd Altmann: PIXABAY
02.04.2019

ITALY'S SHOE AND LEATHER INDUSTRY WANTS TO BECOME MORE DIGITAL

  • Rethinking in traditional industry

Italy's shoe and shoe technology manufacturers are losing market share in important markets and want to make their production more efficient and digital. German companies score points in niches.

Even though 9 out of 10 shoes today come from Asia, Europe's largest shoe producer Italy still ranks among the top ten of the world's largest shoe producers and is the undisputed market leader in the luxury segment. Nevertheless, sales in terms of volume at home and abroad are falling and so is production. At the moment, the sector can only secure its turnover through higher prices.

  • Rethinking in traditional industry

Italy's shoe and shoe technology manufacturers are losing market share in important markets and want to make their production more efficient and digital. German companies score points in niches.

Even though 9 out of 10 shoes today come from Asia, Europe's largest shoe producer Italy still ranks among the top ten of the world's largest shoe producers and is the undisputed market leader in the luxury segment. Nevertheless, sales in terms of volume at home and abroad are falling and so is production. At the moment, the sector can only secure its turnover through higher prices.

The decline in export demand, which accounts for around 85 percent of Italian footwear, is particularly painful. According to the sector association Assocalzaturifici, international sales fell by around 4 million pairs between January and October 2018. Only an average price increase of 6.4 percent enabled a year-on-year increase. On the German sales market, sales of Italian shoes also stagnated at around EUR 1 billion, while German shoe exports to Italy, with a plus of 34.5 percent to around EUR 485 million, achieved one of the highest growth rates in German trade with Italy.

Orders received by the Italian footwear industry in the fourth quarter of 2018 declined both domestic (-2.5 percent) and abroad (-0.9 percent). The only market segment that is still growing in Italy itself are sports shoes/sneakers. According to experts, the falling number of units drives manufacturers to find solutions that help to reduce production costs.

Opportunities for Germans in Digital Change and in niches
In the shoe and leather technology domestic manufacturers dominate. Assomac, the Association for Shoe and Leather Technology, estimates, that in 2018 the approximately 240 Italian companies in the sector achieved a turnover of around EUR 760 million. By contrast, exports of shoe and leather machinery, which account for around three quarters of the sector sales, fell by around 6.2 percent in 2018. Italy is by far the most important exporter of leather and shoe technology in the world. In 2018, shoe and leather machinery worth of around EUR 439 billion went abroad, particularly to China, Vietnam and India.

German deliveries of shoe and leather technology to Italy are at a low level and, according to the VDMA trade association Textile Care, Fabric and Leather Technologies, reached around EUR 4 million in 2018. Italy thus ranked fourth behind China, the USA and Mexico in terms of export destinations. With foreign deliveries of around EUR 50 million per year, Germany is the world's fifth largest exporter.

Market experts see opportunities for German companies in Italy with components that help domestic companies in international competition, for example the use of intelligent and networking machines. Despite their great competence, Italian manufacturers are very traditional and are struggling with the digital changes. But industry experts report that the companies are rethinking and interested in new solutions.
"We support our Italian customers in installing more software solutions for sewing machines and in networking machines," says Sebastian Feges, sales engineer at the Schwetzingen-based company EFKA, one of the last German companies in the sewing industry.  EFKA supplies Italian shoe and leather machine manufacturers with sewing drive controls. The company scores particularly well in areas where maximum precision is essential and every wrong stitch leads to expensive scrap, such as leather seats for Ferrari. According to Feges, money for investments in Italy is not easy to get at the moment. However, he sees an interesting perspective in the promotion of the Italian government for the purchase of industry 4.0 equipment and software, the so-called Iperammortamento, which is not yet sufficiently known.

Further opportunities exist in niches that are gaining in importance due to current industry trends such as digital printing on leather. The machines of Hansa Mixer from Bremen produce foam for textile and digital printing and the sealing of leather hides. "We offer a niche product that can be used anywhere," General Sales Manager Achim Schmidt says. In addition to the shoe and leather industry, Hansa Mixer also supplies food manufacturers such as Ferrero. "Italy is an interesting market for us and we expect good orders."

Another industry trend is greater sustainability, especially in the often-criticized leather industry. Assomac is expressly committed to this goal and has – next to other thing - introduced the new Targa Verde certificate.

 

Kennzahlen der italienischen Schuhindustrie 2018
Indicator Value Change in 2018/2017
Imports of shoe and leather machinery (HS 8453) EUR 36 mio 5.6
Footwear production 185.7 million pairs -2.6
Domestic Shoe industry sales EUR 7.8 billion 0.7
Export volume 2018 176.5 mio pairs -2.3
Export revenues EUR 9.6 billion 3.9

Sources: Assocalzaturifici, Instat

The Italian footwear industry consists of about 4,700 companies with about 77,000 employees. According to the industry association Assocalzaturifici, sector sales in 2017 amounted to about EUR 14.2 billion. Industry clusters are the regions of Venice, Tuscany, Marche, Lombardy, Campania, Apulia and Emilia Romagna. The cluster in Brento, Veneto produces about 11 percent of the national output. Also International manufacturers such as LVMH and Louis Vuitton are investing and producing in Italy.