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(c) CHT Group
22.06.2021

CHT: "We are hiring." Humans Resources Policy in Times of Pandemic and Skills Shortage

The CHT Group is a globally operating company group for specialty chemicals. It has been in business for more than 65 years in a wide variety of industrial sectors and markets. Innovative and high-quality specialty chemicals alongside convincing services are just as much part of the portfolio as chemical auxiliaries and additives.

Textination spoke with Kurt Speckle [Head of Technical Service Dyestuffs] and Ursula Häberli [Head of Human Resources] specifically for the Textile Solutions division about the challenges of a successful human resources policy in such special times as a pandemic and the shortage of skilled workers.

The CHT Group is a globally operating company group for specialty chemicals. It has been in business for more than 65 years in a wide variety of industrial sectors and markets. Innovative and high-quality specialty chemicals alongside convincing services are just as much part of the portfolio as chemical auxiliaries and additives.

Textination spoke with Kurt Speckle [Head of Technical Service Dyestuffs] and Ursula Häberli [Head of Human Resources] specifically for the Textile Solutions division about the challenges of a successful human resources policy in such special times as a pandemic and the shortage of skilled workers.

The Technical Service Dyestuff department, headed by Kurt Speckle, who has worked for CHT for 32 years, currently comprises 16 people. It consists of a technical staff, which supports customers worldwide in the form of technical advice, on-site trials, lectures and in the creation of presentations, as well as a laboratory team, which handles inquiries regarding color settings, problem solutions, fastness, etc. Depending on the customer inquiry, both departments work hand in hand together.

The know-how and the heart of the technical staff consists of six people, all 50+, whom Kurt Speckle - with a grin - also calls "textile dinosaurs". In addition, young technicians with operational experience are being trained in order to be introduced to larger tasks. The apprenticeship training for textile laboratory technicians at CHT SWITZERLAND AG has a supporting effect.

As a globally operating company group for specialty chemicals, the CHT Group has been active in numerous industrial sectors and markets of 20 countries for more than 65 years. CHT Switzerland AG turns 50 this year and is the world's competence center for dyes. How has it been possible to establish and maintain such a good market position in dyes?

Kurt Speckle: In addition to the quality level of our products and the wide range of more than 700 products covering the various quality requirements of today's customers, CHT Switzerland also offers an excellent technical service for the product application. This globally known additional service makes us interesting for customers and generates inquiries worldwide. Transferring customer-specific problem solutions from our laboratory to production is one of the keys to our success.

In the Textile Solutions division, you have a wide range of specialty chemicals and dyes for textile production in your portfolio. In your opinion, in which direction is the textile industry currently moving in terms of dye chemistry - what trends do you see? What does this mean for your product range?

Kurt Speckle: One of the challenges today is to find the right dye gamma for the desired application. In recent years, we have constantly adapted the range to the new needs and requirements. In addition to these technical specifications, the entire textile finishing industry is also constantly confronted with new ecological and toxicological legal requirements. Textiles and also technical textiles not only have to meet certain fastness requirements, but also have to comply with countless label requirements. REACH and many labels lead to constant adjustments in the dye finishing to ensure that the products are up-to-date with the latest technology.

How does optimal teamwork work in the dyestuff team, and how can you ensure that the knowledge and experience gained over many years is passed on?

Kurt Speckle: Exchange of experience works with people who have practical experience. Only this can be built upon and new information can be stored accordingly. We operate and communicate on a common drive. Lively verbal communication is also essential for this. Our own tests in the laboratory and also in the production at customers' sites form the actual wealth of experience of our employees.

We are observing various megatrends that have taken a new turn as a result of the pandemic and that also directly affect your customers in the textile industry: Neo-ecology, connectivity and digitalization, health - to name just a few. To what extent does this challenge you as a service provider for your customers and as an employer? Is there a changed requirements profile for your employees?

Kurt Speckle: Due to the omission of traveling and direct customer contact, the working picture has of course changed. Due to the experience potential, however, many problem inquiries can be processed and solved via a wide variety of communication options. However, this cannot be seen as a sustainable and permanently established system. Experience and further development can only take place through practical trials on the most varied machines under the most varied conditions and with our dyes.

In which areas of training - whether at university or in apprenticeships - do you see a need for improvement in the curricula? Do career starters have the necessary skills for your company, or do you need to provide additional training in fundamental required areas?

Ursula Häberli: We train our future pool of specialists internally. In addition, we have several apprentices every year as textile and chemical laboratory technicians, whom we offer a permanent position afterwards. The training at the vocational school and in the advanced courses is excellent. The apprentices are challenged in many different areas. Textile laboratory assistants complete exactly the same training as chemical laboratory assistants, but have additional 240 lessons of textile training and textile courses. Textile laboratory assistants now require very extensive, in-depth and broad specialist knowledge. The textile industry is developing rapidly and new, complex content is constantly being added to the already very broad basic knowledge. We also actively support further education, for example the BSc Design & Technology at the Swiss Textile College. This training is broadly based and provides employees with good specialist knowledge and various additional essential skills.

What do you think about the personnel situation at CHT in general? Can you fill all positions? Who are you currently looking for most urgently?

Ursula Häberli: Our long-standing market presence and the good reputation we have built up over 50 years with our "customer first" approach always help us to attract talent. We are currently looking for a person as a textile technician for the Dyestuffs BU. Here we are planning early for the succession of a textile dinosaur who may retire in 2022. And for the Garment Team we are also looking for a textile technician.

The garment sector is a textile specialty that has been increasingly relocated to eastern countries in the last 10 years. Therefore, the search will certainly be a challenge.

You have built a career portal for CHT at https://career-switzerland.cht.com. With this website, you directly address different target groups: Apprentices, students, young professionals and experienced professionals. What role do the "old stagers" play in the company group?

Ursula Häberli: The old stagers are sometimes called "dinosaurs" by us - textile workers like them, with an often lifelong career in the textile world, are rare, pessimistically speaking: dying out. But all joking aside, the old stagers are enormously important. It is up to them to actively pass on their knowledge to future generations. This is already working very well on a day-to-day basis. The dyestuff team - including the boss - deliberately sits together in one large room so that a lot can be overheard and discussed. The team recently launched the "Textile Lunches". These are short concise learning nuggets to share knowledge and experience.

Employer branding seems to have been the magic word for some time now. Create an attractive employer brand, focus on strengths such as open corporate culture, transparent communication, responsibility for one's own area and employee benefits - and all positions are filled very quickly. What does CHT think of employer branding, what experience have you had with it, and what special offers do you provide to prospective employees?

Ursula Häberli: With the career site https://career-switzerland.cht.com, we have deliberately chosen a modern, outward-looking tool to strengthen our employer brand. CHT ambassadors tell their stories and make job seekers want to join us and help shaping the future. Another big plus is that the workplace is located in a wonderful landscape with a high recreational value, close to Lake Constance and an impressive mountain landscape, where our employees like to spend their time.

For some time now, the CHT company group has been operating under a new claim: Chemistry with Character. This statement was created for marketing purposes, but it certainly also says something about the company. What does this claim mean in particular for your personnel policy? Who is already on your team? Who are you looking for? And how many rough edges are employees allowed to have?

Ursula Häberli: We are looking for doers with high team player qualities. That's what sets us apart and makes us prepared for the future. We offer an extremely exciting field of work that demands a high degree of personal responsibility, initiative and creativity. We are proud to be the competence center for dyes at the Montlingen site - one of the few companies in the geographic area of Eastern Switzerland / Vorarlberg / Southern Germany that still exists and will continue to exist for a long time.

 

The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, Managing partner Textination GmbH

Photo: pixabay
13.04.2021

KPMG Study in Cooperation with EHI: Fashion 2030

For years now, fashion retail has been able to show a moderate but steady growth in sales. However, the share of sales accounted for by online retail is becoming significantly stronger, and consequently that of stationary retail is becoming weaker. In just 10 years, online fashion retail will have a market share as high as that of local fashion stores, according to one of the findings of the study "Fashion 2030 - Seeing what fashion will be tomorrow" by KPMG in cooperation with EHI. "For retailers, the decline in sales in the stationary sector means that they have to reduce their stationary areas," says Marco Atzberger, Managing Director of EHI. A dilemma, because the majority of customers prefer to shop in their local fashion store, despite all the online alternatives.

For years now, fashion retail has been able to show a moderate but steady growth in sales. However, the share of sales accounted for by online retail is becoming significantly stronger, and consequently that of stationary retail is becoming weaker. In just 10 years, online fashion retail will have a market share as high as that of local fashion stores, according to one of the findings of the study "Fashion 2030 - Seeing what fashion will be tomorrow" by KPMG in cooperation with EHI. "For retailers, the decline in sales in the stationary sector means that they have to reduce their stationary areas," says Marco Atzberger, Managing Director of EHI. A dilemma, because the majority of customers prefer to shop in their local fashion store, despite all the online alternatives.

Textiles, media and electrical goods are currently the categories most frequently purchased online. Consumers believe that online shopping in these categories will also be particularly attractive in the future, although there is also considerable interest in online purchasing of furniture, drugstore and hardware store products.

With sales of 16.5 billion euros, online fashion retail already accounts for 25 percent of total fashion sales, which were around 66 billion euros in 2020. The experts at KPMG and EHI predict that this share will double in the next ten years. The forecasted annual sales of 79.2 billion euros in 2030 are to be divided equally between online and stationary stores. In order to position itself correctly here, the textile trade is facing strategic changes in terms of sustainability and digitization in addition to reductions in retail space. Concepts such as circular economy (recycling) or re-commerce (second-hand) are just as much part of the customer's demands as a smooth (channel-independent) shopping experience or a targeted customer approach.

Online information sources are becoming increasingly important for customers. However, browsing in stores continues to be the main source of information when shopping. One exception, however, is electrical goods - the independent opinion of reviews is the most important source of information here.

Reductions in retail space
As the market share of online fashion retail is becoming increasingly stronger than that of the overall fashion market, there will be a scissor effect for the stationary clothing retail – unless decisive parameters such as store rents change. Permanently reducing the share of fixed costs in the stationary sector can lead to a harmonization of both sales channels and prevent massive cannibalization effects, according to the authors of the study. The reduction in retail space will have the most severe impact on department stores and multi-story formats. Interviews with retail experts show that the retail expects a reduction in space of around 50 percent by 2030 and anticipates shrinkages of up to 70 percent at peak times. However, the current crisis also offers fashion retailers a greater choice of appealing rental spaces and therefore the opportunity to position themselves for the future by strategically streamlining their own store networks, adapting their space and differentiating their concepts to suit their target customers - in combination with smart digital solutions.

Multi-channel approaches are continuing to grow. On the one hand, stationary retailers will increasingly enter the online market; on the other hand, it can be observed that the opening of their own local stores by previously online-only retailers is on the rise.

Shopping experience
For a successful shopping experience, the city centers must be vibrant as well as attractive and should offer entertainment. All of this requires cooperation between all of the local players involved and collaboration with conceptually oriented urban development. To increase the individual customer loyalty and build real trust, fashion retailers must invest more in emotionality and use IT solutions. Whether in-store or online, customers want a targeted and smooth shopping experience, which for retailers means cleverly linking the systems. Availability and finding clothes in the right size also play a significant role in the stationary fashion retail. 42 percent of customers say that they would shop more often in stores, if these factors were guaranteed.

Already today, a concrete shortage of qualified personnel can be observed in certain regions and areas of responsibility. This is likely to become even more severe in the future. The retail’s own qualification measures will increase, and the industry's image will have to be improved.

Despite all technological support, the human being remains the most important factor in retailing - 88 percent agree on this. For 60 percent of consumers, encounters with people in a retail store are becoming increasingly important.

Sustainability
For almost half of the consumers surveyed (46 percent), sustainability is already a worthwhile concept today. This also includes re-commerce and second-hand. 34 percent of customers already buy used clothing, and another 28 percent can imagine doing so. In terms of occasions, a large proportion can also imagine renting clothing. The second-hand clothing trend has the potential to claim a market share of up to 20 percent in the next ten years and therefore to become a significant market segment in fashion retail.

In addition to the sustainability debate, the main factors driving this trend are the digitalization of the "second-hand store around the corner" and the large online fashion platforms that are discovering this market for themselves and making consumers increasingly aware of the models of temporary use.

Laws and regulations as well as increasing pressure from stakeholders have contributed to the growing importance of sustainability. However, the consumer goods sector attaches greater importance than other sectors to the aspect of being able to achieve a reputational gain through a sustainability strategy.

When it comes to the circular economy or rather the recycling of raw materials from used clothing, many companies are already involved in non-profit initiatives and research projects to develop the relevant technologies. In 2030, also due to legal initiatives, many clothing items will probably be made from recycled textile raw materials or fibers, which would substantially shorten the supply chains. "Automated fiber recovery, increasing unit labor costs in the Far East and fewer used textiles, this is the starting point for a perspective revival of textile production in countries close to Europe as well as in Europe itself," says Stephan Fetsch, Head of Retail EMA at KPMG. Although circular economy does not yet play a major role due to the current limited availability, it shows great potential: 28 percent have already purchased recycled textiles, and over 50 percent are positive about it.

Customers believe that retailers and manufacturers are responsible for sustainability. They, on the other hand, would like consumers to initiate the upswing of re-commerce by changing their behavior. New compliance guidelines will have an accelerating effect on the development of the re-commerce market.

Source:

(Studies; KPMG/EHI or rather KPMG):
- Fashion 2030: Sehen, was morgen Mode ist (Seeing what fashion will be tomorrow - only available in German)
- CONSUMER MARKETS: Trends in Handel 2020 (Trends in Retail 2020 - only available in German)

(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:

26.01.2021

DBU-Funding: From 3D Knitting Machines to Washing without Water

Environmental protection through digitalization - funding for start-ups

Clothing on-demand, a new type of textile cleaning and locally generated green electricity - these three business ideas of “Digitale Strickmanufaktur” (Krefeld), “Infinity Startup” (Aachen) and “prosumergy” (Kassel) convinced the Green Start-up Program’s jury of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU). They will receive a total of around 370,000 euros in technical and financial support.

The DBU promotes company foundations and start-ups that combine solutions for the environment, ecology and sustainability in an innovative way with a focus on digitalization.
General conditions for promotion:

Environmental protection through digitalization - funding for start-ups

Clothing on-demand, a new type of textile cleaning and locally generated green electricity - these three business ideas of “Digitale Strickmanufaktur” (Krefeld), “Infinity Startup” (Aachen) and “prosumergy” (Kassel) convinced the Green Start-up Program’s jury of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU). They will receive a total of around 370,000 euros in technical and financial support.

The DBU promotes company foundations and start-ups that combine solutions for the environment, ecology and sustainability in an innovative way with a focus on digitalization.
General conditions for promotion:

  • in the founding phase as well as start-ups up to 5 years old
  • up to 125,000€ per project
  • up to 24 months duration

A cloud service for retail
The “Digitale Strickmanufaktur” wants to change the clothing industry sustainably. The founders are developing a cloud service that is directly linked to retail. Customers of the " “Digitale Strickmanufaktur” can order individualized garments in which size, color and design are adapted to their wishes. The order data is then transferred using the cloud, an online storage medium. They can be retrieved at any place in the world.

First order - then produce
If a customer orders a hat, for example, the order is automatically transmitted to 3D knitting machines. Then production begins, followed by shipment of the goods. The “Digitale Strickmanufaktur” produces knitwear on demand completely automatically with robots and a 3D knitting machine.

In this way, sales can be planned for retailers and not too much clothing is produced. Additionally: The products are manufactured close to the customer in Germany. Long transport routes and times are eliminated.

Washing without washing machine
The “RefresherBoxx” of the “Infinity Startup” is basically a mobile textile cleaner that does not require water or detergent. “Using a combination of different physical methods, it disinfects, dries and refreshes all kinds of textiles - especially those that can't be put in the washing machine, like leather, velvet and silk,” explains founder Stefan Chang. The “RefresherBoxx” is gentler, more environmentally friendly and only takes 30 minutes for one washing phase. According to Chang, the mobile textile cleaning system can be used in the medical sector, but also in the private and leisure sector.

Local power for commerce and e-mobility
The start-up "prosumergy" offers building owners and tenants a low-cost power supply from renewable energies that are mainly generated locally. "With the help of the DBU, we want to further develop our energy supply approach. By means of standardization and digitization, we want to develop concepts for the decentralized power supply of commercial properties and charging solutions for e-mobility," says founder Lena Cielejewski.

25 founding teams already funded
The three founding teams will now be funded for two years in the DBU's Green Start-up program. "They bring together solutions for the environment, ecology and sustainability with a focus on digitalization in an innovative way," said DBU Start-up coordinator Dr. Stefanie Grade. 22 other companies have already convinced the selection committee of themselves since the program was launched.

Contact details
Digitale Strickmanufaktur PoC GmbH (Krefeld)
Connecting textile trade and automated textile production with the help of cloud services
Contact Mr. Christian Zarbl
URL: digitale-strickmanufaktur.de

Infinity StartUp GmbH (Aachen)
Development, production and distribution of cleaning equipment for textiles, especially using physical methods, as well as development of related applications.
Contact Mr. Stefan Chang
URL: refresherboxx.com

prosumergy GmbH (Kassel)
prosumergy GmbH realizes decentralized energy supply projects as project developer and energy supplier
Contact Christopher Neumann
URL: prosumergy.de

ISPO Munich 1 (c) Messe München GmbH
13.10.2020

ISPO Munich 2021 as a hybrid event

  • Hybrid concept to combine the best of both worlds
  • Systematic enhancement of ISPO’s digital strategy
  • End consumers to be digitally integrated into the event for the first time

The world-leading trade fair ISPO Munich will take place from January 31 to February 3, 2021, for the first time as a hybrid event that will be held both in-person in Munich and online around the world. The new concept marks the event’s systematic transformation into a platform and applies the broad range of digital expertise that ISPO has gained over the past 10 years. With the threat of travel restrictions looming over the trade fair, the digital elements will create the ideal basis for integrating global target groups: While representatives from European markets are generally expected to attend the in-person event, the digital enhancements will enable an intercontinental audience to participate as well.

  • Hybrid concept to combine the best of both worlds
  • Systematic enhancement of ISPO’s digital strategy
  • End consumers to be digitally integrated into the event for the first time

The world-leading trade fair ISPO Munich will take place from January 31 to February 3, 2021, for the first time as a hybrid event that will be held both in-person in Munich and online around the world. The new concept marks the event’s systematic transformation into a platform and applies the broad range of digital expertise that ISPO has gained over the past 10 years. With the threat of travel restrictions looming over the trade fair, the digital elements will create the ideal basis for integrating global target groups: While representatives from European markets are generally expected to attend the in-person event, the digital enhancements will enable an intercontinental audience to participate as well. Another new addition next year will be the digital integration of end consumers.

“Sports and outdoor activities – two areas that are closely related to the topic of health at the moment – have never been so socially relevant,” said Klaus Dittrich, the Chairman and CEO of Messe München. “This has created a growing desire in the industry for personal interaction. The urge to present and discuss new potential, partnerships and business models is greater than ever. The industry has been communicating this need to us, and we have come up with the concept to meet it.”

Personal interaction meets global participation
New participation options, new topics, expanded target groups: All of these things are reflected in particular in the large number of physical and digital attendance options devoted to the focus topics of creativity & digitalization, health and sustainability. In addition to product presentations in the trade fair halls, the event will focus on networking, matchmaking, knowledge transfer and innovations.

Thanks to the integrated hybrid stages, people will be able to attend presentations, talks and workshops not only on site, but also from locations around the world. Brands, key players and top athletes will speak with an audience that extends well beyond the walls of the trade fair halls. ISPO Munich will also include two single-day conference formats: ISPO Digitize Summit (February 1, 2021) and the Sports Tech Conference Europe (February 2, 2021).

In implementing the hybrid concept, the ISPO team has drawn on the digital expertise and reach that it has acquired over the past 10 years: They are based on the development of an eco-system with services that extend along the value chain and on the implementation of an entirely digital ISPO Re.Start Days in the summer of 2020.

New: digital integration of end consumers  
For the first time, end consumers will have an opportunity to experience something that was formerly reserved for the B2B audience: the chance to participate digitally and conduct a direct dialogue with the industry. With the help of presentations, workshops and master classes, the brands and companies will have an opportunity to make digital presentations to sports and outdoor fans around the world and speak directly to them. The ISPO Open Innovation Community has already demonstrated the effectiveness of this concept: Approximately 80,000 end consumers contribute their know-how to crowd-sourcing and market research campaigns and provide companies with valuable insights about new products and ideas throughout the year.

Personal interaction on the exhibition grounds in Munich will remain the provision of the B2B audience.  

Markus Hefter: “We are ready for ISPO Munich 2021 and are really looking forward to lots of new ideas. One thing is clear: Even though many issues can be solved digitally, the desire to meet and interact in person has grown dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic. We are really happy about the strong support we have received from the industry and will provide our customers with a safe platform.”

Maximum safety and flexibility  
A comprehensive safety and hygiene concept that Messe München worked out with the state government of Bavaria will be used during the on-site activities of ISPO Munich 2021. The safety of exhibitors and visitors will have the highest priority. Events began to be successfully held once again on the Munich exhibition grounds on September 1. The rule of thumb for international visitors is: Trade fair participants may travel from all countries to Germany provided that certain conditions are met because they are considered to be business travelers on an important mission.

Exhibitors will have more flexibility as a result of the extension of deadlines and flexible cancellation terms. If needed, pre-built booths may be used in order to cost-effectively and efficiently participate in the trade fair.

If exhibitors or visitors have any questions about the safety and hygiene concept, they may contact the Messe München hotline by phone +49 89 949 11400 or e-mail at corona.support@messe-muenchen.de. The service hours are: Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Carl Meiser GmbH & Co. KG (c) Carl Meiser GmbH & Co. KG
06.10.2020

Nopma - Experts for antimicrobial finishing: Technical textile coatings from the Swabian Alb

The Carl Meiser GmbH & Co. KG - started in the early 1950s as a day- and nightwear manufacturer. Over the last 20 years the company has become a specialist in the field of technical textiles. With its brand nopma Technical Textiles the company is present as developer and producer of textile solutions via coatings. The main products are nopma anti-slip - textiles with anti-slip effect, nopma adhesion - adhesive pre-coated films, spacer fabrics and substrates for lamination in automotive interiors, nopma ceramics - abrasive more resistant textile surfaces and nopma silicones - silicone coatings on textile surfaces.

Textination talked to the managing director, Jens Meiser, who joined the company in 2005, realigned the division and developed it into a service provider, about his plans and objectives.

The Carl Meiser GmbH & Co. KG - started in the early 1950s as a day- and nightwear manufacturer. Over the last 20 years the company has become a specialist in the field of technical textiles. With its brand nopma Technical Textiles the company is present as developer and producer of textile solutions via coatings. The main products are nopma anti-slip - textiles with anti-slip effect, nopma adhesion - adhesive pre-coated films, spacer fabrics and substrates for lamination in automotive interiors, nopma ceramics - abrasive more resistant textile surfaces and nopma silicones - silicone coatings on textile surfaces.

Textination talked to the managing director, Jens Meiser, who joined the company in 2005, realigned the division and developed it into a service provider, about his plans and objectives.

Founded in 1952, Carl Meiser GmbH & Co.KG has changed from a day- and nightwear manufacturer to an innovator in the field of technical textiles, presenting themselves as a specialist for plastic-based coating processes. If you had to introduce yourself in 100 words to someone who does not know the company: What has influenced you most in this development process and what makes you unique?
Innovation is the new normal - This has been true for the textile industry not just since Sars CoV-2. Our industry was one of the first to be disrupted in the early 1990s and has always been subject to constant change. This urge for further development, which is essential for survival, has left its mark on us intensively and has enabled us to manage huge leaps in innovation in recent years

Today we regard ourselves as an innovative development and production service provider with a focus on textile coating. We develop and produce almost exclusively customized special solutions.

Through the combination of coatings on textiles these hybrid materials receive completely new properties.

You manufacture exclusively at your location in Germany. Why? Have you never been tempted to set up subsidiaries in other countries, for example to benefit from lower wage levels?
Today we supply global supply chains from our headquarter in southern Germany. Although we produce in a high-wage country, much more important for us are know-how and the drive of our team to create something new. Globalization will continue to be the key to success in the future. Therefore, subsidiaries in North America and Asia could be very interesting for us in the medium- and long-term perspective. However, this is still too early for us.

You use CIP and Kaizen techniques intensively in your company. How did a Japanese concept come about in the Swabian Alb?
KAIZEN, the change for the better, are actually German virtues. The urge to improve and optimize things is in all of us. Due to the continuous improvement process we do not stand still but evolve constantly. Besides, there is the personal affinity to Japan. A look at another culture simply opens the horizon. And if you additionally recognize parallels in the working methods, it’s even better. 

10 years ago, you turned your attention to new markets: aviation, automotive, protection, caravan and furniture manufacturing, to name just a few. Some of these segments have collapsed significantly during the Covid 19 pandemic. What market development do you expect in the medium term and what consequences will this have for your company?
Of course, the aviation or automotive industry, for example, have substantial problems during or due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Quite honestly, many of these problems existed before. They were further tightened, as if a fire accelerator has been used. Of course, these cut-backs are also hitting us hard economically. But we are pursuing long-term goals. As a medium-sized company, you have to have the resilience to continue on your path. Thanks to our specialisation and the split of our industrial sectors, which we drive forward every day, we manage to decouple ourselves more and more from economic developments in individual industries. For our customers this is a great advantage of relying on a very stable partner with long-term orientation.

We are positive about the future. Megatrends like sustainability, digitization and ongoing globalization will lead to new business models in the above-mentioned sectors, as in many others, and to renewed growth. Our coatings on textiles and flexible woven materials can contribute a wide range of solutions to this. If, for example, materials become lighter with identical usage properties or suddenly become biodegradable, because of biodegradable plastics, many new opportunities will arise.

Tailor-made instead of solutions for major customers: The topic of individualization down to batch size 1 is making up a large part of the discussion today. In 2015, you opened a large development laboratory where you have a wide range of testing technologies for textiles and plastics available. What do you think about individual product solutions, and in which application areas have you successfully implemented them?
In principle, we do not use any standards. We live individualization with the smallest possible batch sizes. In our field, we do not manage batch size 1, but we start with MOQs of 300 running meters at process-safe series production. We have very few finished products, and above all we have no collections. Our development laboratory is the key for this. Together with our customers we have the possibilities to realize very lean development processes.

Even on a laboratory scale, we can develop and test new products within just a few hours. We then strive to scale up to production at a very early stage in order to obtain production series results. This way, we offer our clients speed and power that represent a special potential for our partners.

You register important input factors in the production process and evaluate them in monthly environmental analyses. What are these factors in concrete terms and to what extent have their analyses already changed production operations? How do you define environmental management for your company?
For us, environmental management means a holistic approach. In principle, we operate production units and manufacture products that consume many resources. Due to the high production volumes, this continues to accumulate. Because of this, it is self-understanding that we record and evaluate our input and output flows and derive measures from them. This makes economic sense, but is also necessary because of our responsibility for our environment. Specifically, these are energy consumption values, consumption data of primary chemicals, electricity load peaks, our Co2 footprint, just to name a few. This consideration has changed us in many areas. Today we operate a power plant with gas condensing technology, our free roof areas are greened or carry photovoltaic modules, we offer our employees and visitors electric filling stations and finally we have converted the entire power supply of our factory to environmentally friendly hydroelectric power.

With nopma, you have been building up a brand for the technical textiles industry since several years and communicate this via an Individual website parallel to Carl Meiser GmbH & Co. KG. How did this brand name come about and what is the product portfolio behind it?
This is the name of a first technical textile product from the 1990s. It was a textile - coated with dots. Dots on a knitted fabric. NOPMA. My father created this brand.

In 2016 you invested in an additional production line for nopma products and were able to start a directly serial delivery in the NAFTA area. How do you currently assess the market opportunities for North America and Mexico?
We continue to see opportunities in globalization and thus on the North American market also. However, these markets are still severely affected by the pandemic and there are major distortions. When these return to normal, we surely will see more success on these markets again.

As an innovation leader, Meiser offers solvent-free PU adhesive systems as pre-coatings for lamination. How do you assess the importance of such innovations in the context of REACH?
These innovations offer our customers the opportunity to decouple themselves from the pressure REACH triggers in some industries. However, we also have some products that have been developed newly in recent months. This keeps us busy, but also creates opportunities to open up new market segments.

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?
I think this time has also strengthened us as a society, as people and even as entrepreneurs. Each crisis you go through makes you a little more relaxed for the unforeseen, but also more motivated to achieve your goals. In my opinion, there have been a lot of positive things in the last few months. Suddenly, for example, digitalization tools have become accepted in our everyday lives, and I feel that people are paying more attention to others again. Hopefully this will stay this way.

The futuristic "tube" escalator at the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall is just as impressive as the building itself and the longest escalator in western Europe. In August, a start-up based in Cologne installed an UV technology that keeps the handrails clean at all times. At the same time, you presented an antiviral functional coating that can be applied to all textiles in the form of yard goods. How does this work and for what purposes will this technology be suitable?
We have already been working with antimicrobial finishing techniques for many years. This already started with the swine flu in 2009/2010, when we made initial contacts with a young start-up and launched a development. Due to a lack of market interest, however, this had to be discontinued after a few months. Today we are experts in the field of "antimicrobial equipment by means of coatings". We were also able to build up an enormous amount of knowledge on the subject of approval and biocide regulation. Today, we can support our customers holistically in these areas. The function by skin-compatible active substances from the cosmetics sector with a vesicle booster can kill viruses and bacteria within a few minutes.
Since the pandemic has shown us the enormous importance of a new level of hygiene, the applications are very diverse and differentiated. We have already realized the use in personal protective equipment, work furniture, vehicles and for example gloves. In principle, every application is predestined where textile carriers are exposed to many touches by different persons in high frequency. Here our nopma products offer a new level of protection and hygiene.

To break new ground means decisiveness, overcoming fears - and thus the courage to fail. Not every project can succeed. In retrospect - about which entrepreneurial decision are you particularly glad to have made it?
We fail again and again. This is part of the game. But it has never happened that we did not learn anything. The pandemic situation is another good example. In spring we accepted our corporate responsibility for our society and were one of two companies in Baden-Württemberg to achieve certification for FFP protective masks. Since we did not want to participate in the revolver market at that time, we offered these products only to the public sector at favourable pre-crisis prices. However, the decision makers could not make up their minds for weeks and did not order. This disappointed our whole team very much at that time. Today we have overcome this and have taken a lot of knowledge with us from this development.


The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

(c) Messe München
23.06.2020

ISPO Re.Start Days: New digital live conference

Orientation for the sports and outdoor industry on June 30 and July 1, 2020 

  • Digital live conference for the sports and outdoor industry
  • Main topics: digitization, sustainability and health
  • European Outdoor Group and Association of German Sports Retailers support event

In the course of the current corona pandemic, the international sports and outdoor industry is facing far-reaching challenges. The ISPO team also had to cancel OutDoor by ISPO 2020 and the ISPO SDG Summit and postpone the ISPO Digitize Summit. However, the focus and motto of the current anniversary year, "50 years of tomorrow", will remain.
 
Based on the feedback and needs of the most important industry stakeholders, ISPO developed a digital live conference for the sports and outdoor industry. The ISPO Re.Start Days on June 30 and July 1 2020 offer orientation and growth strategies during and after Corona.

Orientation for the sports and outdoor industry on June 30 and July 1, 2020 

  • Digital live conference for the sports and outdoor industry
  • Main topics: digitization, sustainability and health
  • European Outdoor Group and Association of German Sports Retailers support event

In the course of the current corona pandemic, the international sports and outdoor industry is facing far-reaching challenges. The ISPO team also had to cancel OutDoor by ISPO 2020 and the ISPO SDG Summit and postpone the ISPO Digitize Summit. However, the focus and motto of the current anniversary year, "50 years of tomorrow", will remain.
 
Based on the feedback and needs of the most important industry stakeholders, ISPO developed a digital live conference for the sports and outdoor industry. The ISPO Re.Start Days on June 30 and July 1 2020 offer orientation and growth strategies during and after Corona.

Based on this year's anniversary, ISPO proclaimed "50 years of tomorrow" at the beginning of this year. The existing events, supplemented by new formats, were intended to further promote sports and the outdoors and to make them drivers of global, sustainable change. However, the developments around the corona virus made the original planning obsolete. OutDoor by ISPO 2020 had to be cancelled, the premiere of the ISPO SDG Summit is postponed to 2021 and the ISPO Digitize Summit will be held at ISPO Munich 2021. But also, or especially under the new circumstances, the ISPO group continues to focus on its motto.

Digital format for a restart
"Corona is changing the world, the rules are just being rewritten" says Klaus Dittrich. The Chairman of the Board of Management of Messe München is certain: "We are living up to our pioneering role even in these difficult times and are making a fresh start with the sports and outdoor industry. We are focusing everything on the '50 years of tomorrow'.”

European Outdoor Group supports  SPO Re.Start Days
The digital live conference is aimed at an international audience and is developed in close cooperation with industry associations such as the European Outdoor Group (EOG) and the Association of German Sports Retailers (vds). Mark Held, President of the European Outdoor Group: "Access to nature is important and helpful for the well-being of all people.
This is where we continue to see a growing importance and major role for the outdoor industry. At the same time, however, we must discuss the negative consequences of the crisis for society and the economy as a whole and rethink the challenges it poses. We can only do this together and we will be fully involved.”
 
Focus on digitization, sustainability and health 
The event will focus on three main topics: Digitalization, Sustainability and Health. The program is dedicated to best cases in times of Corona and will present ideas, projects and campaigns implemented at short notice. Experts will talk about the boost the pandemic is giving digitization, which aspects of it will be preserved and which counter-movements are already forming as a result. Industry experts will show in which areas consumers are questioning the behavior of companies and how brands should react.

ISPO Re.Start Days

More information:
ISPO ISPO Munich
Source:

Messe München GmbH

(c) Deutsche Messe AG / Sonia Wedell-Castellano, Global Director DOMOTEX
15.10.2019

Interview with Sonia Wedell-Castellano about DOMOTEX 2020

  • Sonia Wedell-Castellano, Global Director of DOMOTEX,answers key questions on DOMOTEX 2020
  • "We're the world's flagship fair: At DOMOTEX, you can view the entire range of products from the global floor coverings industry."

As Global Director of DOMOTEX, you took over responsibility for DOMOTEX just over a year ago. What have you been able to accomplish so far?

  • Sonia Wedell-Castellano, Global Director of DOMOTEX,answers key questions on DOMOTEX 2020
  • "We're the world's flagship fair: At DOMOTEX, you can view the entire range of products from the global floor coverings industry."

As Global Director of DOMOTEX, you took over responsibility for DOMOTEX just over a year ago. What have you been able to accomplish so far?

In rapid response to the wishes voiced by our exhibitors and visitors, we have, for example, opted for changes in the fair's layout. Previously, premium suppliers were located in the immediate vicinity of the special Framing Trends showcase. They will now go back to their traditional market environments, in their respective halls. For visitors, this means shorter distances and easier on-site orientation. We are also addressing our target visitors in an even more differentiated and more targeted way. We have also reassessed the concept of our classic "Preview" press conferences, and are now touring key media cities, visiting editorial offices and organizing informal dinners, to which we invite exhibitors as well as partners and the press – a networking event with a view to 2020.

Nearly 97,000 square meters of space have already been sold for DOMOTEX 2020. Who are some of the more interesting exhibitors that visitors can look forward to at the event?

With some 1,500 exhibitors anticipated, the list is already quite long, so I'll only mention a few: Rug Star by Jürgen Dahlmanns, Naziri, Creative Matters, Galleria Battilossi, Rica Basagoiti will be showing in the handmade carpets segment. In the category of machine-woven carpets we are looking forward to Oriental Weavers, Carmel Carpet, Royal Hali, Prado Egypt, Stefany and Reinkemeier. US Floors, Windmöller, Moderna (MeisterWerke) and IVC will be exhibiting their resilient floor coverings, while ter Hürne, Decospan, BIMBO, SWISS KRONO and Forestry Timber will be presenting parquet, wood and laminate flooring. The manufacturers of installation technologies include Mapei, Selit, Välinge, Unifloor, Uzin Utz and Küberit.

What is the ratio of domestic to foreign exhibitors?

Of all Deutsche Messe events, DOMOTEX is by far the most international. This applies to exhibitors and visitors, alike. German exhibitors account for some 12% of display space, with the international share consequently running at 88%. This is naturally quite an achievement for the world's leading marketplace for floor coverings and carpets. That said, we also aim to expand our exhibitor lineup by attracting more exhibitors from Germany and the rest of Europe.

As a result of the changes made to the show's layout plan, Hall 8 will now be devoted entirely to the Framing Trends display. What can visitors expect to see there – and what's new?

Hall 8 will star as the pulsating, emotive heart of the event, with visitors being welcomed and wowed by a large textile horizon showing projections of atmospheric images. Our new lead theme of "ATMYSPHERE" will address how floors can improve our sense of well-being. In a series of Frames, we'll be showing the contribution that a floor's appearance makes to the overall atmosphere, how its texture dampens noise and how ecological production techniques make for a healthier indoor climate. Manufacturers, artists, universities and, for the first time, start-ups will take up these and numerous other characteristics to create soothing, personal worlds of experience via their creative approach.

Our partner agency, Schmidhuber will moreover be staging four pavilions consisting of furnished themed rooms, so as to make the lead theme even more tangible. "Hotel – Sustainable", for example, illustrates the impact of materials and furniture, including acoustic paneling in a hotel room. "Wellness – Green Living" emphasizes health-promoting and environmentally friendly aspects. "Conference – More than Floor" focuses on acoustic solutions, going all the way to upholstered seating landscapes, while "Health – Wellbeing" features a yoga room for relaxation. In the space between these focal points, the advantages of outdoor floors and a flowing transition from indoors to outdoors will be highlighted. The aim is not only to provide inspiration to designers, architects and retailers, but also to illustrate concrete areas of application.

Visiting professionals from retail, the skilled trades and architecture are among the main target groups at DOMOTEX. All of these groups have different needs and requirements. Apart from having interesting exhibitors, what will DOMOTEX be offering its attendees?

There will be something for everyone at the event. For top buyers from the wholesale and retail trades, we'll be offering a special service package to make their visit at DOMOTEX as pleasant as possible.

Craftspeople can look forward to a more state-of-the-art "Treffpunkt Handwerk" – a forum featuring issues ranging from the challenge of digitalization for the skilled trades and topics related to personnel and recruiting young talent to current product trends and cutting-edge application techniques. In addition, craftspeople can visit their associations here, such as the Federal Association for Parquets and Flooring Technology. In the adjacent live-action zones, our exhibitors will once again be giving practical tips on how to prepare and lay wooden floors.

As a special showcase, Hall 8 is ideal for architects and designers. On all four days of the event there will also be a wide range of presentations by renowned architects followed by discussions. This year for the first time ever, exhibitors can join in on staged panel discussions. The focus will be on the latest social transformations and their significance for architecture, in particular as it applies to floors. In specific terms, trendy topics such as building information modeling (BIM) or healthy living and working will be explored. In addition, AIT Dialog Tours – guided tours where internationally renowned architects and interior designers will share their personal highlights of DOMOTEX – will be conducted daily.

Exhibitors displaying new products and services for digitalization will be of interest to all three target groups. For retailers, this will consist of digital sales tools, for architects, the focus will be on building information modeling, and for craftspeople, interest will revolve around things like how to introduce an up-to-the-minute order database.

What do you see as the top USPs of DOMOTEX?

We are the world's only global business platform for carpets and floor coverings: At DOMOTEX, you can see and experience the entire range of products on offer by the global floor coverings industry.

Here you can get an overview of the latest trends and developments in the international market and keep abreast of the latest developments. Manufacturers and buyers as well as partners, architects and designers from all over the world come together at DOMOTEX. New business relationships and cooperation opportunities are emerging that were hitherto inconceivable. The show attracts visitors of extremely high caliber, nearly 90 percent of whom play a decisive role in their companies' buying decisions.

DIGITALE PROZESSKETTE SICHERT ZUKUNFT DES LEICHTBAUS © Reed Exhibitions Deutschland GmbH
10.09.2019

DIGITAL PROCESS CHAIN SECURES THE FUTURE OF LIGHTWEIGHT CONSTRUCTION

  • At COMPOSITES EUROPE from 10 to 12 September
     
  • Incubator of ideas for multi-material lightweight construction
     
  • „Ultralight in Space“: Market study examines lightweight construction trends in aerospace

Whenever there’s movement, mass and weight quickly become destroyers of energy. From 10 to 12 September, the Lightweight Technologies Forum (LTF) at COMPOSITES EUROPE in Stuttgart will show how lightweight construction contributes to more efficient and better cars, airplanes and machines. The focus at the Forum will be on the commercially viable implementation of cross-material and holistic lightweight construction systems. The way to get there is through the digitalisation of the process chain.

  • At COMPOSITES EUROPE from 10 to 12 September
     
  • Incubator of ideas for multi-material lightweight construction
     
  • „Ultralight in Space“: Market study examines lightweight construction trends in aerospace

Whenever there’s movement, mass and weight quickly become destroyers of energy. From 10 to 12 September, the Lightweight Technologies Forum (LTF) at COMPOSITES EUROPE in Stuttgart will show how lightweight construction contributes to more efficient and better cars, airplanes and machines. The focus at the Forum will be on the commercially viable implementation of cross-material and holistic lightweight construction systems. The way to get there is through the digitalisation of the process chain.

From the idea to the component – that’s the path the Lightweight Technologies Forum aims to illuminate and support. To that end, the forum will gather current lightweight construction projects in Stuttgart, including from automotive engineering, aerospace and mechanical engineering – precisely those industries whose stringent material, safety and reliability demands make them idea generators for many other industries.
The commonality that runs through all the projects: a consistently digital process chain contributes significantly to the implementation of innovations. Another focus area is connecting and joining technology in multi-material lightweight construction.

"The Lightweight Technologies Forum is conceived as a cross-industry and cross-material incubator of ideas, a place where all stakeholders can consider new concepts. For that, we’re bringing successful flagship projects to Stuttgart”, says Olaf Freier, who on behalf of organiser Reed Exhibitions is responsible for the programme of the forum.

The growing significance of digitalisation and bionics
Support in putting together the forum programme comes from Automotive Management Consulting (AMC). The consulting company specialises in lightweight construction strategies, processes and structures in the automotive industry. “Lightweight construction requires comprehensive, systematic thinking”, says Rainer Kurek, the managing director of AMC. “The most important key factor, though, is the digitalisation of the process chain. Only virtual and simulation-driven design work can bring about competitive lightweight construction products, because they’re launched faster and ensure process safety while costing far less in development”, Kurek adds.

„Ultralight in Space“: Market study on lightweight construction trends in the aerospace industry
When it comes to ultra-lightweight construction, space travel has played a pioneering role since its inception, having driven many disciplines to new record performances. In cooperation with the Luxembourg-based aerospace suppliers GRADEL, AMC are currently conducting a market study to examine the latest technological trends. The results will be revealed at the LTF in Stuttgart on 10 September.
"Even though aerospace is a niche business: technical solutions that meet the stringent material demands here lead the way into the future, which in turn impacts other industries. That’s why it’s important to know the customer’s needs as well as the lightweight strategies, processes, structures and material decision-making of this market”, Rainer Kurek says assuredly.

Also underlining how important space travel is for the development of new technologies is Claude Maack, managing director of GRADEL: “All components are exposed to extreme conditions. Right from the launch of the rocket, they have to withstand enormous acceleration forces. In space, material must resist radiation exposure – and for many years. Then there are the high temperature differences from minus 185 to plus 200 degrees Celsius – alternating every couple of hours from one extreme to the other.“

The material question: Composites with biggest growth potential
Metals currently hold the largest market share among lightweight materials – but fibre-reinforced composites are said to have the biggest growth potential. More and more often they get to apply their strengths in lightweight construction. In the exhibition area, the LTF demonstrates how glass-fibre reinforced (GFRP) and carbon-fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) play to their strengths in hybrid structural components.
On display, among other things, will be an ultra-lightweight seat by Automotive Management Consulting (AMC), Alba tooling & engineering and csi entwicklungstechnik GmbH, which was presented as a feasibility study – based on the lightweight construction innovation xFK in 3D – and virtual prototype at the 2018 LTF.

The innovative ultra-lightweight seat, which only weighs 10 kg, is based on a special winding process for fibre-composite components. The  “xFK in 3D process” uses a resin-impregnated continuous fibre from which components are wound and produced without waste to match the load. Conceivable uses for the concept seat include the so-called hypercars, sports cars and the air taxis of the future. Just a few weeks ago, the prototype was presented to the public and swiftly recognised with the German Innovation Award.

Exhibitors will be presenting additional lightweight construction solutions in the adjacent Lightweight Area. Some examples include structural components, semi-finished goods, technical textiles, adhesives and resins for automotive engineering and aerospace.

Altogether, visitors of the Lightweight Technologies Forum and COMPOSITES EUROPE will meet 300 exhibitors from 30 countries who will come to Stuttgart to showcase the entire process chain of fibre-reinforced plastics – from materials to machines for processing to concrete application examples from automotive engineering, aerospace, mechanical engineering, construction, wind power, and the sports and leisure sector. Besides new products, a special focus of the trade fair will be on advances in process technologies for large-scale series production.  
 

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.

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.

 

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

Photo: Pixabay
29.05.2018

ITALIAN FASHION INDUSTRY ON COURSE FOR INNOVATION

  • FOCUS ON DIGITIZATION AND SUSTAINABILITY

Mailand (GTAI) - The Italian fashion industry is changing. The digitalization of production and the growth in online trading are forcing a rethinking in the traditional sector. The topic of sustainability is becoming increasingly important. Against this background, Italian fashion houses are increasingly investing in their future strategies. German companies see good business opportunities as technology partners.

The Italian fashion industry is one of the core sectors of the Italian economy. In 2017, the sector increased its sales by 2.4 percent to EUR 54.1 billion, as reported the industry association Confindustria Moda. For 2018, the association expects a further increase of 2.6 percent to EUR 55.4 billion. The goal is to exceed the EUR 60 billion by 2020.

  • FOCUS ON DIGITIZATION AND SUSTAINABILITY

Mailand (GTAI) - The Italian fashion industry is changing. The digitalization of production and the growth in online trading are forcing a rethinking in the traditional sector. The topic of sustainability is becoming increasingly important. Against this background, Italian fashion houses are increasingly investing in their future strategies. German companies see good business opportunities as technology partners.

The Italian fashion industry is one of the core sectors of the Italian economy. In 2017, the sector increased its sales by 2.4 percent to EUR 54.1 billion, as reported the industry association Confindustria Moda. For 2018, the association expects a further increase of 2.6 percent to EUR 55.4 billion. The goal is to exceed the EUR 60 billion by 2020.

But the sector is developing inconsistently. Sales of intermediate products such as fabrics have been stagnating for years, while sales of end products such as clothing, shoes and bags are increasing. Both areas grew in 2017. End products (+2.9 percent) continue to be more successful than primary products (+2.2 percent). The main reason for the positive development of the fashion industry in recent years is the strong export demand for Italian products. In 2017 exports rose by a total of 3.5 percent and exceeded the EUR 30 billion mark for the first time.

The main export hits are clothing (one third of fashion exports), leather goods (around 20 percent) and shoes (around 18 percent), followed by fabrics (9 percent) and home textiles (9 percent). Sector representatives are concerned about developments in some important sales markets. Exports to the USA and Japan declined in 2017, the rising demand from China and Russia could not compensate these losses.

Significant rise in fashion imports
Domestic demand for fashion stagnated in 2017, while significantly more preproducts from the Far East and end products from industrialized countries were imported. Overall, imports increased by 2.2 percent to EUR 21.1 billion in 2017, Confindustria is expecting a further increase of 2.4 percent in 2018.

Germany is one of the most important markets for Italian fashion manufacturers; Italian shoes and bags are particularly popular with German customers. In return, Germany, with imports worth EUR 1.3 billion (plus 4.1 percent), ranked fourth as a supplier country in 2017, behind China, France and Spain. Clothing accounts for about half of German fashion imports and textiles for the other half. Germany is an important supplier of technical textiles, including sports goods and for the automotive industry.

Many companies strengthen their online presence  
The digitalization of the Italian industry does not stop at the fashion industry either. Thanks to the new technologies, traditional manufacturers can increasingly reach their customers directly without intermediaries.

How well this works was demonstrated by the Italian start-up company Yoox, an online luxury fashion retailer. Founded in 2000, the company merged with the French online fashion company and strong competitor Net-a-Porter in 2015. The Group is now active in 180 countries and generated sales of EUR 2.1 billion in 2017.
Many companies are strengthening their online presence and using their stores primarily as showcases to promote brands or new collections. The company Beste with the still new brand for men Monobi is an actual example. The traditional fashion houses Loro Piana and Zegna have been active in this direction already for several years.

Industry 4.0 sets impulses
Digitalization also makes new production processes possible for fashion houses. The networking of machines reduces production times, increases efficiency and reduces electricity and water consumption. In addition, manufacturers get the opportunity to offer tailormade solutions. Digitalization also ensures through just-in-time concepts that inventories and sales areas can be reduced, which leads to falling costs.

Well-known Italian fashion houses are investing heavily into the future. The luxury company Gucci has invested around EUR 100 million in a new innovation center, the so called ArtLab, in the greater Florence area. The company Beste has started two research projects in the field of Industry 4.0. The intensive research focuses on the development of new, environmentally friendly materials and the development of a digital platform for the planning, production and distribution of garments.

Sustainability is increasingly becoming a sales argument
The topic of sustainability is becoming increasingly important. The National Chamber of Italian Fashion (CNMI), for example, organizes discussion rounds on the subject. The fashion house Ferragamo has presented a sustainability plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption. A new development by Ferragamo is also a sustainable fabric made from orange peels.

Gucci, Armani, Bulgari, the list of the world-famous Italian fashion companies is long. At the same time, Italy also has a large number of small and very small companies in the fashion sector. In 2017, the average number of employees in the companies was 9. Small and medium-sized com-panies also rely on sustainability.

The major Italian bank Unicredit, together with the European Investment Bank, is providing low interest loans for small and medium-sized fashion companies (up to 250 employees) for relevant investments. Similar programs are provided by the major bank Intesa Sanpaolo.

Source:

Robert Scheid, Germany Trade & Invest www.gtai.de

Apparel Show @ Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH
24.01.2017

TECHTEXTIL ON A GROWTH CURVE

Living in Space: Techtextil presents technical textiles in the aerospace industry in cooperation with ESA and DLR

More exhibitors and a journey to Mars: visitors and exhibitors can look forward to an even bigger event and a completely new trade-fair experience at the coming Techtextil from 9 to 12 May 2017. With around four months still to go before the leading international trade fair for technical textiles and nonwovens opens its doors, the booked space already exceeds the total area of the last edition in 2015. Moreover, the extensive complementary programme of events is set to be distinguished by a variety of innovations in 2017. The highlight of this year’s Techtextil will be the special ‘Living in Space’ event in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Aerospace Centre (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt – DLR).

Living in Space: Techtextil presents technical textiles in the aerospace industry in cooperation with ESA and DLR

More exhibitors and a journey to Mars: visitors and exhibitors can look forward to an even bigger event and a completely new trade-fair experience at the coming Techtextil from 9 to 12 May 2017. With around four months still to go before the leading international trade fair for technical textiles and nonwovens opens its doors, the booked space already exceeds the total area of the last edition in 2015. Moreover, the extensive complementary programme of events is set to be distinguished by a variety of innovations in 2017. The highlight of this year’s Techtextil will be the special ‘Living in Space’ event in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Aerospace Centre (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt – DLR).

“We are branching out in completely new directions with this year’s Techtextil and are, therefore, all the more delighted about the outstanding resonance of our exhibitors”, says Olaf Schmidt, Vice President Textiles & Textile Technologies, Messe Frankfurt. “Furthermore, the fact that we have gained strong new partners, ESA and DLR, from one of the main areas of application for technical textiles represents solid evidence of the application relevance of the products and technologies shown at Techtextil.”

Exhibitors include not only international market leaders but also numerous newcomers and returnees. Significant exhibitor growth comes from European countries, particularly from Ger-
many, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland and Spain. However, additional growth is also expected to come from Asia.

Special ‘Living in Space’ exhibition and special area in Hall 6.1

In cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), Techtextil will illustrate the wide range of applications for technical textiles with reference to the aerospace industry under the title ‘Living in Space’. To this end, the concurrent Texprocess trade fair will also be integrated into the exhibition.

“The technical-textile sector offers the textile solutions needed to move around and survive in space. This is what we will show in a professional and at the same time entertaining way on a dedicated area at the trade fair. For visitors, the area will offer inspiration and orientation”, says Michael Jänecke, Director Brand Management Technical Textiles & Textile Processing, Messe Frankfurt.

A special area in the vicinity of exhibitors of functional apparel and technical textiles is being created in hall 6.1 and, based on the areas of application for technical textiles, will show high-tech textiles and textile-processing technology from and for the aerospace sector. The highlight of the interactive area is a virtual-reality experience. On a special area, Techtextil and Texprocess visitors can undertake a virtual journey through space to Mars and discover how technical textiles and their processing technology can make it possible to set up communities in space. Additionally, the ‘Material Gallery’ will show textile products and processing technologies from Techtextil exhibitors with links to space travel. There will also be presentations by start-ups that work at the interface of technical textiles and space travel.

In hall 6.1, exhibitors and visitors will also find the ‘Innovation made in Germany’ area of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie – BMWi), which is aimed at young, innovative companies based in Germany. Applications for a place in the BMWi area can still be made on the Techtextil website.

Change in placement for CAD/CAM and Cutting, Making, Trimming

To make the profiles of Techtextil and Texprocess even sharper, the bonding and separating technology, CMT (Cutting, Making, Trimming), CAD/CAM and printing product segments will be concentrated together at Texprocess in hall 4.0. Thus, visitors will find Techtextil exhibitors from these segments at Texprocess. These product groups will be deleted from the Techtextil nomenclature.

Complementary programme with changes to the Innovative Apparel Show

Successfully started at Techtextil and Texprocess in 2015, the Innovative Apparel Show will get in 2017 even more international with universities for fashion and design from four European countries. These universities will present their visionary product ideas using technical textiles and modern processing technologies on all four days. They are: Accademia Italiana, Florence / Italy; ESAD College of Art and Design, Matosinhos / Portugal; Esmod Paris/France, and the University of Trier / Germany. The young designers will show designs revolving around the themes of textile effects, creative engineering and smart fashion while a fashion show in the foyer of Halls 5.1 and 6.1 presents their ideas in a professional way.

Techtextil Symposium in cooperation with Dornbirn MFC 

The concept of Techtextil Symposium, one of the world’s leading events for textile research, is being expanded with the coming edition to be held in seven consecutive blocks, each of seven lectures. Thus, all lecture blocks will be expanded by one lecture. Additionally, Techtextil is working together with the Dornbirn MFC Man-made Fibres Congress for the first time. Thus, Dornbirn-MFC will organise one of the seven lecture blocks within the framework of the symposium (to be held in ‘Saal Europa’ of Hall 4.0).
Moreover, outstanding new developments and advances in the fields of technical textiles, nonwovens and functional apparel textiles will be honoured for the 14th time with the Techtextil Innovation Award, the competition for which is also open to non-exhibitors. Entries are now invited. The deadline for receipt is 20 February.

Together with the international Tensinet network, Techtextil is holding the 14th ‘Textile Structures for New Building’ competition for students and young professionals, which honours innovative and practical concepts for building with textiles or textile-reinforced materials. The closing date for receipt of entries to the competition, which is worth a total of € 8,000, is 26 February 2017. In addition to the awards ceremony, all award-winning works from the student competition and the Innovation Award will be on show in special exhibitions in hall 4.1 and hall 6.1.

Technical Textiles market continues growth
 
According to the Confederation of the German Textile and Fashion Industry (textile+mode) the textile and apparel industry with more than 130,000 employees, 1,400 companies and an annual turnover of around 32 billion euros is the second largest consumer goods industry in Germany. The growth is primarily driven by technical textiles. “German companies are the global market leaders in terms of technical textiles. For years, the turnover has been growing steadily – a proof for the innovativeness of the industry and excellent products. The digitalization of textile products and processes will furthermore trigger an innovation boost in other industries”, says Manfred Junkert, Deputy General Manager of textile+mode.

Held concurrently with Techtextil, Texprocess, Leading International Trade Fair for Processing Textile and Flexible Materials (9 to 12 May 2017), offers insights into all stages of textile processing, including finishing and digital printing. Texprocess is also characterised by an outstanding number of exhibitor registrations exceeding the results of the previous edition, too. Techtextil 2015 was attended by 28,500 trade visitors from 102 nations, as well as over 5,500 trade visitors from the parallel Texprocess.

Japan's Machinery Engineers defy Competition © mg-projects.at / pixelio.de
04.10.2016

INDUSTRY COMPACT: JAPAN'S MACHINERY ENGINEERS DEFY COMPETITION

Large Companies focus on abroad and the Digitization 

Tokyo (GTAI) - Japan's machinery and facility manufacturers expect increasing orders again. An increase is expected, especially for the international business. They saw the slight financial doldrums of 2015 before. However, there were exceptions - for example at the robot technology. The big companies have a strong interest in the subject of Industry 4.0. Here are cooperation opportunities for German companies, also on third markets.

The Asian region remains high on the Agenda

Large Companies focus on abroad and the Digitization 

Tokyo (GTAI) - Japan's machinery and facility manufacturers expect increasing orders again. An increase is expected, especially for the international business. They saw the slight financial doldrums of 2015 before. However, there were exceptions - for example at the robot technology. The big companies have a strong interest in the subject of Industry 4.0. Here are cooperation opportunities for German companies, also on third markets.

The Asian region remains high on the Agenda

Japan's economy is not yet in full swing. A new in August released stimulus package of the government is to ensure the recovery. In total Yen 28.1 billion (EUR 246.49 billion, in early September 2016: 1 Euro = Yen 114) amounts to the "package” which is funded to about 25% directly from the state treasury. The investment plans of the manufacturing industry are looking promising in the fiscal year 2016 (4.1 to 3.31.). They could rise by 14.5% over the previous year, according to the result of a survey of the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) in July 2016.

This is confirmed by a survey of the business newspaper Nikkei with 1,140 participating companies. In the fiscal year 2016 they want to investment a volume of Yen 25.28 billion. This would be an increase over the investments made in the fiscal year of 2015 of 8.3%. If the expansion plans will actually be implemented, it would be the seventh consecutive increase year. Manufacturers of electronic machines have the most ambitious investment plans: Yen 3,64 billion, they have scheduled approximately 9.4% more than in the previous year.

Meanwhile lean foreign Business

According to the sector association JSIM (Japan Society of Industrial Machinery Manufacturers) in the fiscal year 2015 the incoming orders for industrial machinery remained below the expectations. Incoming orders came nearly to Yen 5.50 billion.  These were almost 10% less than the year before. Industry experts had already expected in advance that particularly the foreign business would suffer after the exceptionally successful year 2014. For the fiscal year 2016 the JSIM experts expect an increase of 4.6% to Yen 5.73 billion.

Not as positive as in the preceding years the situation looks in the machine tool segment. According to the industry association JMTBA (Japan Machine Tool Builders' Association) the orders declined in 2015 over the previous year by 11.4% and reached around Yen 1.40 billion. - This is justified by an overcapacity abroad. In fact it was the overseas business which fell by 22.1% to just under Yen 820 billion, while there was still an increase of 9.9% to Yen 579 billion yen domestically. With a view on the 1st quarter of 2016 the association has to state that the foreign business has not yet recovered. With more than one-quarter the orders declined compared to the same period last year.

The domestic market thus wins in importance for Japan's machinery builders. Generally, there is a need of modernization of the partly obsolete equipment at the local businesses. In addition, the reconstruction of the earthquake regions is required too. In addition, the hosting of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo is considered quasi as a guarantor of business orders from the construction sector.

Orders by machine type, fiscal years 2014 to 2016 (in billion Yen), change in %)
  2014, total 1) 2015, total 2) 2016, total 3) 2016, domestic  2016, abroad Change 2016/15, total
Boilers, Turbines 1,809 1,796 1,896 1,390 506 5.6
Mining 23 29 31 28 3 6.9
Chemistry 4) 2,097 1,405 1,455 828 628 3.6
Tanks 30 47 56 26 30 18.7
Plastic processing 194 211 216 87 129 2.5
Pumps 336 358 373 270 103 4.3
Compressors 267 267 274 136 138 2.5
Ventilators 28 28 30 25 5 8.6
Boost material 355 400 433 282 150 8.3
Drive technology 50 53 54 45 8 2.5
Metalworking 162 182 186 79 107 2.5
Others 5) 725 703 725 535 189 3.1
Total  6,075 5,477 5,729 3,732 1,997 4.6

 
 1) actual results; 2) preliminary; 3) forecast; 4) also included in category: pulp- and paper machines, chillers, equipment for air- and water cleaning; 5) among others: equipment for waste treatment, industrial washing machines
Source: Japan Society of Industrial Machinery Manufacturers, February 2016

A high importance is given to the field of environmental and energy technology for the machinery industry in Japan. Although reactors, that meet stringent safety regulations, are expected to enter the net again in the next few years, renewable energy will be pushed up. In addition, there are intelligent power networks (smart grids) in the focus. Especially in areas with high priority, such as the energy and environmental technology, German suppliers with innovative technologies and customized solutions can win the points.

Connection links by Industry 4.00

Digitalization and with it topics related to Industry 4.0 keep the Japanese machinery and factory builders now very much interested. In June 2015, the "Industrial Value Chain Initiative (IVI)" was launched. About 40 Japanese companies belong to this interest group – like as the branches of the German Bosch and Beckhoff Automation GmbH. End April 2016 the German Federal Ministry of Economics (BMWi) signed with the Japanese Ministry of Economy (Meti) a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for joint cooperation in the region.
Equipment manufacturers from abroad should observe under cooperation aspects with big business interests the international activities of the Japanese mechanical and plant engineering. The Japanese abroad generated production shares are not far from the 40% mark the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) determined the end of 2015. This creates opportunities for third-market operations, which are often controlled by the parent companies in Japan.

In foreign projects the PRC stands not as strong in the foreground as it used to be. The focus is increasingly directed on the ASEAN countries („Association of Southeast Asian Nations"), while currently the general economic activities in the emerging markets are critically observed. In the longer term India has been planned as a manufacturing location. Single, large companies dominate.

According to preliminary data from the industry association JMF (Japan Machinery Federation) Japanese engineering companies manufactured machines worth of about Yen 13.55 billion in the fiscal year 2015. This was 2% less than last year. Important were cooling machines, (Yen 1.98 billion, 4.8%) as well as equipments for manufacturing of semiconductors and flat panel monitors -Yen 1.61billion, 2,8%. The manufacturer of metalworking machines had a production decline over the previous year by 5.9% to Yen 1.18 billion. Growth rates of just over 10% are registered in the robotics segment since several years.

In general the concentration in the individual equipment segments is high. According to the Yano Economic Research Institute in the fiscal year 2015, slightly more than two thirds of the NC milling machine production came from three companies: Makino Milling, Okuma and OKK. In general metalworking machines Amada, Kobe Steel and Kawasaki Hydromechanics (subsidiary of Kawasaki Steel) came on a market share of about three-quarters. Other important tool machine vendors are Yamazaki Mazak and Mori Seiki. Also in construction, textile, packaging and food processing equipment the three leading manufacturers account for at least 60% of domestic production for themselves.

Production by selected machines, Fiscal years 2014-2016
(in billion Yen, change in %)
  2014 1) 2015 2) 2016 3) Change 2016/15
Boilers, Turbines 1,433 1,193 1,127 1,9
Pumps, Ventilators 440 486 498 2.5
Compressors 677 666 669 0.4
Boost Equipment 533 533 595 7.5
Robotics 594 681 750 10.2
Drive – technology 419 413 418 1.2
Agricultural machinery 456 444 422 -5.0
Metalworking 1,257 1,183 1,120 -5.4
Food processing machines 448 518 520 0.5
Chillers  1,894 1,984 1,958 -1.3
Machines for the production of semiconductors and flat Monitors 1,564 1,608 1,772 10.2
Total machinery 13,838 13,554 13,784 1.7

1) actual results; 2) preliminary; 3) forecast
Source: Japan Machinery Federation (JMF), July 2016

Japan imports partly from our own production abroad

The Japanese imports of machinery and equipment continue to increase. It should be noted, that some of the imports are based on the foreign production of local companies. The largest share of supplies from abroad accounts for the category pumps and compressors. According to the United Nations Comtrade database this category reached on the basis of USD around USD 3.57 billion in 2015. This was 6.5% less than in the last year.

Just over 30% of the supplies came from the PRC; probably to a not inconsiderable proportion from Japanese production. The latter is also the case with electrical machines. According to Comtrade these reached in 2015 an import value of slightly more than USD 55 billion (-8%). More than a third of this was accounted for the PRC; about one-fifth to Asian emerging markets. In the import statistics Germany is especially noted in machine tools and food and packaging machines.

Despite displacements to abroad Japanese exports continue to play a role. In 2016 they are likely to suffer from the resurgent Yen. Moreover, the economic slowdown in the Asian emerging markets is becoming more noticeable.

Import of machinery to Japan (in million Yen)
HS Description of goods 2014 2015 From Germany(2015)
8429 bis 30, 8474, 8479.10 Construction- and Constructionmaterial machines, Mining machinery 41,275.5 48,946.3 4,699.8
8444 bis 49, 8451 bis 53 Textile- and Leathermachines 65,712.2 64,431.0 4,934.5
8439 bis 42, 8443.11 bis 19 Printing and Papermachines 43,089.1 43,239.5 15,835.5
8422.30 bis 40, 8437, 8438, 8479.20 Food- and Packaging machines 38,155.9 49,887.9 11,197.5
8465, 8479.30 Woodworking machinery 8,466.0 8,099.7 2,215.3
8477 Plastic- and Rubber machines 67,477.2 64,335.5 6,783.4
8413, 8414 Pumps and Compressors 403,986.5 432,352.1 26,565.7
8425 bis 28 Boost Technology 61,233.1 65,326.0 13,124.7
8456 bis 63 Machine tools for metalworking  93,513.9 111,394.1 26,701.5

Source: Japanese custom statistics

 
Commercial practice

Relevant provisions for machine and plant engineering in Japan will be supplied by the following institutions: Japan Customs, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Center for Information on Security Trade Control Japanese Standards Association (http://www.jsa.or.jp), the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee , the Japan Accreditation Board for Conformity Assessment  and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO ). JETRO published in February 2010 the still actual report "Handbook for Industrial Products Import Regulations 2009", which contains the specific import requirements for some types of machines, especially for machine tools, food processing and packaging machines.

Detailed information on commercial and tax laws are available at http://www.gtai.de/recht and for import arrangements, tariffs and NTB under http://www.gtai.de/zoll

Internetadresses
Name Internet addresses Comments
Germany Trade & Invest http://www.gtai.de/japan Foreign Trade Information for German Export
AHK Japan http://japan.ahk.de Information place for German companies
Minstry of Economy, Trade and Industry http://www.meti.go.jp Responsible for strategy and planning for industrial
machinery engineering and related sectors
Japan Machinery Federation http://www.jmf.or.jp Association of Machinery Engineering
Japan Society of Industrial Machinery Manufacturers http://www.jsim.or.jp Association of Industrial Machinery Manufacturers
Japan Machine Tool Builders' Association http://www.jmtba.or.jp Association of Machine Tool BuildersHerstellerverband für Werkzeugmaschinen
JIMTOF/Japan International Machine Tool Fair Tokyo Big Sight      http://www.jimtof.org Largest and most important machine tool exhibition
(every two years, next date November
17th – 22nd 2016)


The series “Sector compact” provides analysis on important key sectors of German export economy.
Other country reports for machinery and plant engineering and other industries can be found at http://www.gtai.de/branche-kompakt .
Contact for engineering: Roland Lorenz; E-Mail: roland.lorenz@gtai.de