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Photo: Rostyslav Savchyn, Unsplash
22.03.2022

Again more Chinese company takeovers in Europe

  • Increase from 132 to 155 transactions - transaction value increases eightfold to 12.4 billion US dollars
  • Number of Chinese acquisitions in Germany rises from 28 to 35
  • UK most popular investment destination for Chinese companies followed by Germany

After the pandemic-related decline in Chinese company acquisitions in Europe in 2020, the number of transactions increased again in 2021: from 132 to 155. The transaction volume also increased: The value of investments and acquisitions has increased more than eightfold from $1.5 billion to $12.4 billion.

  • Increase from 132 to 155 transactions - transaction value increases eightfold to 12.4 billion US dollars
  • Number of Chinese acquisitions in Germany rises from 28 to 35
  • UK most popular investment destination for Chinese companies followed by Germany

After the pandemic-related decline in Chinese company acquisitions in Europe in 2020, the number of transactions increased again in 2021: from 132 to 155. The transaction volume also increased: The value of investments and acquisitions has increased more than eightfold from $1.5 billion to $12.4 billion.

Chinese investors also appeared more frequently again in Germany: After only 28 transactions by Chinese companies were counted in 2020, there were 35 of such investments or acquisitions in 2021. The investment volume rose from USD 0.4 billion to USD 2.0 billion. This figure does not include venture capital investments in German startups totaling USD 1.9 billion in 2021, in which Chinese companies were active as part of international investor groups.

These are the findings of a study by the audit and consulting firm EY, which examines investments by Chinese companies in Germany and Europe.

"Chinese companies remain cautious about investing in Europe overall," observes Yi Sun, partner and head of China Business Services in the Europe West region at EY. "One contributing factor is still the pandemic, which continued to cause disruptions in 2021 - partly because of mitigation measures such as travel restrictions, strict quarantine rules for people traveling to China from abroad, and lockdowns both in Europe and in China itself. Most Chinese companies that have already acquired companies abroad have been more concerned with restructuring in Europe in recent years rather than expanding further - especially in the automotive supply and machinery sectors."

According to Sun, the now high hurdles for foreign investments, especially in certain critical industries, as well as increasing competition from financial investors with strong capital, also had a dampening effect. "Purchase prices on the M&A market have risen sharply recently - in some cases, the Chinese interested parties didn't want to go along with that. Listed Chinese companies in particular fear putting pressure on their own share price with expensive acquisitions," Sun said. "In addition, some of the potential takeover candidates own production facilities or R&D centers in the US. In such cases, they may fear rejection by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) - and potential Chinese bidders may not even be invited."

Declining interest in industrial companies
Traditional industrial companies continue to account for the majority of deals - especially in Germany: 12 of the 35 transactions in Germany and 30 of the 155 transactions in Europe took place in the industrial sector.

However, their number is declining: In 2020, 36 industrial transactions were counted across Europe. "Chinese investors are still interested in European automotive suppliers or mechanical engineering companies - but now more in the subsectors of electromobility, autonomous driving and high-tech materials," says Sun.

However, Yi Sun identifies a significant increase in interest elsewhere: "Chinese private equity funds and venture capitalists are becoming increasingly active. In Germany in particular, there were some very large investments in startups last year in which Chinese investors were significantly involved. In addition to German engineering skills, e-commerce expertise is increasingly in demand."

High tech/software companies accounted for 27 transactions across Europe last year (previous year: 20). "We see an increased interest in game developers and software programmers, for example. Especially the most active Chinese investor last year, Tencent, has recently become heavily involved in this segment," observes Sun.

The number of acquisitions and investments in the healthcare sector also increased: from 16 to 26 transactions. "The healthcare sector - whether pharma, biotech or medical technology - is increasingly becoming one of the most important target sectors for Chinese companies because there is a lot of pent-up demand in this sector in China, especially in research and development."

Great Britain replaces Germany as top destination in Europe
Most transactions were recorded in the UK last year. With 36 acquisitions and investments, the UK is just ahead of Germany (35 transactions) and well ahead of the third-placed Netherlands (13).

In the previous year, the order at the top was reversed: in 2020, Germany with 28 transactions was ahead of the UK with 21 deals.

"To the extent that the interest of Chinese investors is moving away from classic industrial companies toward technology, software and media companies, the target market of Great Britain is gaining in importance," says Sun. However, she is convinced that Germany remains an attractive market for Chinese investors: "Many Chinese companies have had good experiences with their investments in Germany in particular. In addition, there are now close and resilient ties between China and Germany at many levels. We will see more Chinese transactions in Germany in the coming months - especially when the impact of the pandemic on the economy subsides," Sun expects.

The largest investment in Europe last year was the sale of Philips' home appliances division to Hong Kong-based investment firm Hillhouse Capital for $4.4 billion.

The second largest transaction was Tencent's acquisition of the British developer studio Sumo Digital for US$1.1 billion, followed by China International Marine Containers' takeover of the Danish reefer container manufacturer Maersk Container Industry for also US$1.1 billion.

Study Design:

  • Sources: EY research, Thomson ONE, Merger Market, communications from the companies or consulting firms and law firms involved.
  • Acquisitions and investments originating from companies headquartered in China and Hong Kong or their subsidiaries were examined.
  • The target companies are headquartered in Europe and are operationally active.
  • Pure real estate transactions were not included.
  • The analysis also included transactions that had not yet been completed as of the reporting date of Feb. 17, 2022

Increasingly, Chinese investors are also participating in venture capital financing rounds, mostly as part of investor groups. In these cases, it is often not possible to determine the amount provided by the Chinese investor. Therefore, these transactions are included in the number of transactions but not in the total values.

Source:

Ernst & Young Global Limited (EYG)

Graphik: Pixabay
11.01.2022

FIMATEC innovation network enters second funding phase

The network for the development of fiber materials technology for healthcare and sports will receive funding from the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM) for another two years.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWi) approved a corresponding application in December 2021. This will continue to provide funding for the development of innovative functional fibers, smart textiles and application-optimized fiber composite materials until June 2023 and strengthen the technological competitiveness and innovative strength of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The network for the development of fiber materials technology for healthcare and sports will receive funding from the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM) for another two years.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWi) approved a corresponding application in December 2021. This will continue to provide funding for the development of innovative functional fibers, smart textiles and application-optimized fiber composite materials until June 2023 and strengthen the technological competitiveness and innovative strength of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

For this purpose, the FIMATEC innovation network combines competences from different engineering and scientific disciplines with small and medium-sized manufacturers and service providers from the target sectors in medicine and sports (e.g. orthopaedics, prosthetics, surgery, smart textiles) as well as players from the textile and plastics industry.      

This interdisciplinary combination of industrial partners and application-oriented research institutions increases competitiveness and enables the players to realise their technical research and development projects quickly and in a targeted manner. The focus for the joint R&D projects of the companies and research institutions is on the development of innovative materials and efficient manufacturing technologies. 
          
Fiber-based materials have become indispensable in many applications in medicine and sports. As a pure fiber, processed into a textile or as a fiber composite plastic, they offer an almost unlimited variety for adjusting property and functional profiles. At the same time, the demands on the range of functions, performance and cost-effectiveness are constantly increasing, so that there is great potential for innovation. Developments are driven on the one hand by new materials and manufacturing processes, and on the other by innovative applications. Products with new and superior functions create a technological advantage over international competitors and enable higher sales revenues. In addition, efficient processes, application-optimized materials or even the integration of functions into the basic structure of textile materials lead to lower production costs and improved marketing opportunities in the future.
For developments in this context, the partners have joined forces in the FIMATEC innovation network, thus combining their expertise. Within the network, innovative materials and processes are being developed jointly in the following areas and tested in future-oriented products and services:

  • Functional fibers
    Innovative fiber materials with integrated functionalities
  • Preforming
    Highly load path optimized fiber orientations for complex fiber composite components.    
  • Smart Textiles
    Textile-based sensors and actuators
  • Hybrid material and manufacturing technologies
    Application-optimized components through cross-technology solution approaches.    
  • Fiber composites  
    Intelligent matrix systems and function-optimized fiber materials.    
  • Fiber-reinforced 3D printing  
    High-quality additive manufacturing processes for the efficient production of individualized products.

 
17 network partners are researching fiber-based materials for medical and sports technologyCurrently, ten companies and seven research institutions are involved in FIMATEC. Interested companies and research institutions as well as potential users can continue to participate in the cooperation network or R&D projects. In the course of membership, the partners are actively supported in identifying and initiating innovation projects as well as securing financing through funding acquisition. One application for ZIM project funding has already been approved by FIMATEC in its first year.

The aim of the already approved project "CFKadapt" is to develop a thermoformable fiber-plastic composite material for optimally adaptable orthopedic aids such as prostheses and orthoses. In the "Modul3Rad" project, which is currently being worked out in detail, the project partners intend to develop a modular lightweight frame system for the construction of user-friendly therapy tricycles, suitable for everyday use by severely and very severely disabled children. Three further collaborative projects are already in the planning stage.

The technology and knowledge transfer enables in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access cutting-edge technological research, especially these are often denied access to innovations due to the lack of their own research departments. The IWS GmbH has taken over the network management for FIMATEC and supports the partners from the first idea to the search for suitable project partners and the preparation and coordination of funding applications. The aim is to obtain funding from the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM), which offers companies funding opportunities for a wide range of technical innovation projects in cooperation with research institutions.

FIMATEC-netzwork partners
all ahead composites GmbH | Veitshöchheim | www.bike-ahead-composites.de
Altropol Kunststoff GmbH | Stockelsdorf | www.altropol.de
Diondo GmbH | Hattingen | www.diondo.com
Mailinger innovative fiber solutions GmbH | Sontra | www.mailinger.de
Sanitätshaus Manfred Klein GmbH & Co. KG | Stade | www.klein-sanitaetshaus.de
STREHL GmbH & Co KG | Bremervörde | www.rehastrehl.de
WESOM Textil GmbH | Olbersdorf | www.wesom-textil.de
Faserinstitut Bremen e.V. (FIBRE) | www.faserinstitut.de
E.F.M. GmbH | Olbersdorf | www.efm-gmbh.de
REHA-OT Lüneburg Melchior und Fittkau GmbH | Olbersdorf | www.rehaot.de
Fraunhofer-Institut für Fertigungstechnik und Angewandte Materialforschung IFAM | Bremen | www.ifam.fraunhofer.de
Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung Dresden e.V. (IPF) | www.ipfdd.de
Institut für Polymertechnologien Wismar e.V. (IPT) | www.ipt-wismar.de
Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH | Kaiserslautern | www.ivw.uni-kl.de

Associated network partners
9T Labs AG | Zürich, Schweiz | www.9tlabs.com
Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz, Institut für Kunststofftechnik (FHNW) | www.fhnw.ch
KATZ - Kunststoff Ausbildungs- und Technologie-Zentrum | Aarau, Schweiz | www.katz.ch

Source:

Textination / IWS Innovations- und Wissensstrategien GmbH

(c) JUMBO-Textil GmbH & Co. KG. CEO Andreas Kielholz (r.) and Business Development Manager Patrick Kielholz in the state-of-the-art production facility of JUMBO-Textil GmbH & Co. KG.
23.03.2021

JUMBO-Textil – Innovative Narrow Textiles redefined

A dynamic family business as a future-oriented solution partner for high-tech elastics
 
The various branches of the German textile and fashion industry generate a combined annual turnover of around € 32 billion. Of the approximately 1,400 companies, the vast majority are medium-sized. Special solutions made in Germany are in demand. The importance of technical textiles has been growing for years - as has their share of turnover. Textination spoke with Andreas and Patrick Kielholz about innovative product solutions, the importance of family businesses in today's world, traditions and innovations, challenges and the courage to fail, aircraft construction, the automotive industry, medical technology and diving suits.

A dynamic family business as a future-oriented solution partner for high-tech elastics
 
The various branches of the German textile and fashion industry generate a combined annual turnover of around € 32 billion. Of the approximately 1,400 companies, the vast majority are medium-sized. Special solutions made in Germany are in demand. The importance of technical textiles has been growing for years - as has their share of turnover. Textination spoke with Andreas and Patrick Kielholz about innovative product solutions, the importance of family businesses in today's world, traditions and innovations, challenges and the courage to fail, aircraft construction, the automotive industry, medical technology and diving suits.


The history of today's company "JUMBO-Textil GmbH & Co. KG" goes back to the last millennium. Founded in 1909 in Wuppertal, you have moved beyond the production of pure yard goods for the lingerie industry and are now a demanded competence partner for high-tech solutions for narrow textiles. Which industries do you focus on when developing your technical textiles?

Andreas Kielholz: JUMBO-Textil focuses on particular competences in the field of narrow textiles and not on specific industries. We produce narrow fabrics, narrow braids and knitted fabrics. In these three fields we bring out our special competences: Elastics, individual solutions and individually fabricated elements in combination with non-textile components. There is, of course, a long-standing intensive cooperation with customers from the automotive industry, for example. In this sense, JUMBO-Textil is also an "interior expert". However, this does not imply a focus on a specific industry. Quite the opposite: We are very broadly positioned in terms of industries. New sectors are opening up all the time; most recently, we supplied the toy industry with textiles specially developed for babies and toddlers. We also supplied the medical technology sector with narrow-textile solutions in form of skin-friendly elastics.


Speaking of Elastics - how did the specialization come about?

Patrick Kielholz: The specialization in elastic narrow textiles began as early as the 1920s. In our entrance area you can see one of the first specialized braiding machines that was purchased for this purpose. It is about 100 years old. A landmark decision: It made the step from apparel textiles to technical textiles, which - many years later – became essential for survival, if not possible, then at least considerably easier.
 

What characterizes elastics? Why is the property so important for technical textiles?

Andreas Kielholz: Technical textiles, as well known, are textiles that are developed for a specific technical function. They have to, if you like, be capable of doing something: securing a load, sealing an opening, protecting from heat ... Many of these industrial functions can only be accomplished with elastic textiles - from applications in aircraft construction to protective suits for divers and to textiles in medicine. It is often the specific, highly precisely defined strength-elongation-ratio that makes use in such extreme, highly demanding applications possible. Innovative fibers are manufactured and finished by us on highly modern, digitally controlled equipment. In this way, we achieve highest precision and safety in the elongation properties and and produce a textile high-tech product with high-performance fibers for extreme, often individually requested technical applications.
 

And what does your product portfolio look like for your customers as a whole?

Patrick Kielholz: The spectrum ranges from woven tapes and belts to braided tape, tubular braids and braided cords to nets - in all widths, made from numerous raw materials and with specific, even demanding properties, special features and fabrications. As a solution partner, we often guide our customers from the initial idea to the finished product.
The importance of narrow textiles as components is growing visibly. Since they are very light, very efficient and at the same time very quiet, they are being used more frequently as an alternative to components made of other materials. The demands placed on the textiles are growing with their tasks: Their specifications are becoming increasingly more precise, the tolerances increasingly tighter. In the automotive sector and in protective equipment, for example, fire safety requirements play an important role. Therefore, we only have success with narrow textiles that are permanently flame retardant. We are currently addressing many inquiries for fitness bands with highly precisely defined strength-elongation-ratios. We are also responding to the sustainability question with our portfolio: We are increasingly working on projects with recycled materials or recyclable products. This development is embedded in a comprehensive sustainability strategy, which we are addressing for the entire Group - also in connection with the new planning of our sister company vombaur GmbH & Co KG.

 
What has particularly influenced the company's development process of about 110 years? Were there any significant changes of direction or decisions?

Andreas Kielholz: In the 1970s, we broadened our range enormously by no longer producing technical narrow textiles only for the apparel industry, but for all industries. At the same time, we continued to specialize - in elastics. This is not a contradiction: We implement what we are particularly good at, however, for all industries.
In the recent history of the company, we made a strong push with our new building in 2016. Optimal production conditions were created. With a variety of new production plants, we are at the advanced level of technology and high production capacity. The environment also has an effect on our team. You can feel that people enjoy working here. At the beginning of 2019, we again set an important strategic course when we combined our competencies with vombaur GmbH & Co KG under the umbrella of Textation Group GmbH & Co. KG.
 

These two traditional companies for demanding high-tech narrow textiles will remain independent as companies and brands. Why did you decide to take this step, what is the market response and what can you recommend to other producers in terms of partnerships?

Andreas Kielholz: We have had very good experiences as a sister company: Knowledge transfer, trade show appearances, digitization workshops - the partnership is beneficial in many ways. But - unlike in real life - we were able to choose our sister. The partner companies have to be compatible. Sure, you have to pay attention to that. They should have things in common without doing exactly the same thing. Because if they are too similar, there is a risk of competition, even cannibalization of one of the brands.
Our construct is perceived by our market companions as a good and elegant solution. We could serve as a role model for one or the other. Perhaps we will also expand our circle in the next few year, which we are open to. And our move has also been well received by our customers. In addition to all the other positive effects, succession issues can also be solved more easily in the Group. We are thereby demonstrating future prospects and security.
 

In the medium-sized textile industry, companies were and still are shaped by people - founding personalities, owners, families who live and breathe textile tradition and innovation. In your opinion, what qualities do people need to have in order to be successful in our niche-oriented German industry?

Andreas Kielholz: Successful and formative are people with curiosity and drive. People who like to explore new territories, first in their thinking and then consistently in their implementation. You should be able to inspire others in these explorations. In addition, you should keep a close eye on the market and act accordingly, i.e., constantly questioning the status quo. Self-criticism is therefore also important: Is our path still the right one? Are we fulfilling our aspirations? To move forward as a company, you have to work tirelessly not only in, but also on the company.    

Patrick Kielholz: The important thing is to recognize change and see it as an opportunity, not as a threat. I fully agree with that. However, I would strongly question the idea that it is the one founder, the one owner, and therefore individual people who make a company successful. We live in a very complex and fast-paced world that cannot be overseen and comprehended by a single person. Don't get me wrong, great ideas can come from individuals and help a company succeed. But we can't rely on that. A company today must be managed in such a way that ideas are developed by divergent teams. An environment must be created that gives each person the opportunity to make a difference. A leader must therefore understand how to develop functioning teams.
 

Mr. Kielholz Snr., you are the managing partner of JUMBO-Textil GmbH & Co. KG and one of the managing directors of vombaur GmbH & Co KG. For about two years now, you have your son Patrick at your side as Business Development Manager of JUMBO-Textil. How did that come about? Did you encourage your son to follow in your footsteps?

Andreas Kielholz: Not explicitly. My sons - there's also Kevin, Patrick's brother - had a lot of freedom in their childhood and youth. It was always up to them how they wanted to live their lives. During their school education and their studies, I tried to support everything in a trusting manner. Education has a lot to do with leading by example. I always had a lot of joy in what I did, even if it wasn't always easy. They witnessed this joy every day - and so I may have implicitly encouraged them.  
The fact that Patrick is now part of the team, performing a very good job and already bears a lot of responsibility - of course I'm very happy about that. He is a good, trustworthy corrective for me, because he can do some things better than I can. There is a high chance that Kevin will also join us after completing his technical studies.
 

Mr. Kielholz Jr., you completed your studies with a master's thesis on family businesses. How do you assess the future of family businesses in a global textile industry in general? And where do you see JUMBO-Textil here?

Patrick Kielholz: Family businesses are usually employers that retain their employees for a long time - by providing a family-like working environment and a corporate culture that creates trust. These include values that are important to the younger generations. Status symbols are becoming less important. This can create a working environment in which highly innovative and flexible work can be done - if it is not prevented by an overly patriarchal structure. Family businesses can usually still work on this. We are trying to create such an innovation-friendly environment in the Textation Group with JUMBO-Textil and vombaur, and in this way to be the best solution partner for narrow textiles in the future.
 

You manufacture exclusively in Germany. Why? Have you never been tempted to benefit from lower wage levels in other countries?

Andreas Kielholz: We position ourselves as a highly qualified solutions partner and aim to provide our customers with excellent expertise in the field of narrow textiles. We can do this best in a country with very good education and training opportunities, which for us, is Germany as a location. Of course, we also work in close cooperation with partners in Eastern Europe.
 

Customized instead of solutions for major customers: The topic of individualization up to batch size 1 takes up a lot of space today. At the new site in Sprockhövel, you have invested significantly in innovative production technology. What is your opinion of individual product solutions, and in which areas of application have you already implemented them successfully?
     
Andreas Kielholz: We don't produce tailored suits; we produce goods by the meter. Batch size 1 - this has a special meaning for us: We develop in exchange with our customers for one project - a car seat in an off-road vehicle, a crab on a crane, an exoskeleton, a baby grab ring, whatever - so we develop a textile component for this one project. Individually specified for the particular concrete application and its requirements - for example, with regard to elongation, temperature resistance, skin-friendliness, etc. All the properties of the textile are configured individually. And then it is produced in the required quantity. This is definitely a customized solution. So; if the customer project is the tailored suit, then "individualization up to batch size 1" is our day-to-day business. Because that's what we do.
 

What does it take for such solutions?

Patrick Kielholz: A close exchange is important for such individual solutions, but also precise industry knowledge and knowledge of the applicable standards. We assist some customers all the way to product registration and advice on technical delivery conditions and documentation. For individual solutions, know-how and experience go far beyond technical textile expertise. The key basis here is to understand the customer's product, the manufacturing process and its purpose. We want to offer a complete solution that provides the greatest value for the respective client company. This starts with the selection of the raw material and ends with the use by the end consumers..


Breaking new ground means being willing to make decisions, overcoming fears - and therefore also having the courage to fail. Not each project can succeed. In retrospect, which entrepreneurial decision are you particularly glad you made?

Andreas Kielholz: The courageous decisions to reconstruct JUMBO-Textil, the corporate alliance with vombaur and the planned new building here are among them - and: having my son on the Executive Board. He brings a new, different perspective to the company, which enriches us enormously. In addition, I simply enjoy it. Who sees their grown-up children every day?

Patrick Kielholz: Yes, that took courage to fail. (laughs) Seriously, not every result of a decision can be dated as firmly as the commissioning of our new building. We are right in the middle of some processes. We started digitization early on, for example, and it will certainly never be completed. It has an infinite number of facets - from materials management to product development, from quality assurance to internal and external processes. It’s an unbelievably dynamic topic that is constantly evolving and opening up new potential for improvement. You need smart people who want to work as a team to advance the issues, otherwise you'll be lagging behind instead of moving forward. The same applies to sustainability - also a topic that must be viewed as an opportunity rather than an unwanted evil, as is so often the case.

Andreas Kielholz: That's the crux of the matter: As a company, it's important not to be driven by such major issues, but to actively drive development forward yourself.
 

How important is the concept of sustainability in corporate decision-making? Which certifications do you use and where do you go beyond legal requirements?

Andreas Kielholz: Our quality management system is certified according to IATF 16949:2016, an extension of ISO 9001 developed by the automotive industry. We have also been awarded Formula Q-Capability according to the VW Group's customer-specific certification with a score of 95%. In the area of environment and sustainability, we are certified to the environmental management standard ISO 14001:2015, and many of our products meet the OEKO-TEX® Product Class I certificate. In addition, we expressly stand by the claim to enforce human rights, labor, social and ecological standards in economic value-added processes, as formulated in the Code of Conduct of the German Textile and Fashion Industry.

Patrick Kielholz: A specific feature of family businesses becomes apparent here as well. The demands on the company and the values it stands for are much more personal demands. People must and want to be measured against these demands as individuals. They cannot and do not want to hide in the anonymity of stock corporations. A family business owner is also personally connected to the stakeholders of his company and therefore has a stronger interest in pursuing social, environmental and economic sustainability.


How do you judge the efforts of other countries, such as China, to increasingly address the issue of sustainability? Will this mean that an important unique selling point in the comparison between Europe and Asia will be lost in the future?

Andreas Kielholz: The topic of sustainability has not yet reached its peak, in other words: demand will continue to rise here as well. China is getting stronger, but Europe is also working on not losing its pioneering role. Increased demand and competition will benefit us all, especially agile companies.
 

The COVID19 pandemic has also left its mark on the textile and clothing industry. When you look back on just under a year of "state of emergency" - what positive experiences do you take with you, where do you see a need for improvement, for what support are you grateful and where did you feel left alone?

Andreas Kielholz: By facing up to the challenges early on and - thanks to our timely, multi-layered controlling - always knowing where we stand, we were able to adapt quickly. This is how we have largely come through the crisis well. The newly developed forms of work - mobile working and video conferencing, partly also in-house - will continue to exist. We have also made significant progress in digitalisation and new media.

     
If you had to introduce your company in 100 words to someone who does not know JUMBO-Textil: What would you say? What makes you unique?

Patrick Kielholz: JUMBO-Textil is a solution partner - our customers are always at the center of our thoughts and actions. For them and their projects, we develop and manufacture sophisticated technical narrow textiles: precise, custom-fit and Made in Germany.

Andreas Kielholz: I don't even need that many words: Highest quality standards, intensive customer relationship, reliability and unique Elastics expertise.

Patrick Kielholz: These were eight. (laughs)

The Interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius,
Managing partner of Textination GmbH

 

Photo: Pixabay
16.02.2021

Carbon with Multiple Lives: Bringing Innovations in Carbon Fiber Recycling to Market

When it comes to the future of motorized mobility, everyone talks about the power drive: How much e-car, how much combustion engine can the environment tolerate and how much do people need? At the same time, new powertrains place ineased demands not only on the engine, but also on its housing and the car body: Carbon fibers are often used for such demanding applications. Like the powertrain of the future, the materials on the vehicle should also be environmentally friendly. That is why recycling of carbon fibers is required. Institutes of the Zuse Community have developed solutions for this.

Carbon fibers consist almost completely of pure carbon. It is extracted from the plastic polyacrylonitrile at 1,300 degrees Celsius, using a lot of energy. The advantages of carbon fibers: They have almost no dead weight, are enormously break-resistant and sturdy. These properties are needed, for example, in the battery box of electric vehicles in structural components of a car body.

When it comes to the future of motorized mobility, everyone talks about the power drive: How much e-car, how much combustion engine can the environment tolerate and how much do people need? At the same time, new powertrains place ineased demands not only on the engine, but also on its housing and the car body: Carbon fibers are often used for such demanding applications. Like the powertrain of the future, the materials on the vehicle should also be environmentally friendly. That is why recycling of carbon fibers is required. Institutes of the Zuse Community have developed solutions for this.

Carbon fibers consist almost completely of pure carbon. It is extracted from the plastic polyacrylonitrile at 1,300 degrees Celsius, using a lot of energy. The advantages of carbon fibers: They have almost no dead weight, are enormously break-resistant and sturdy. These properties are needed, for example, in the battery box of electric vehicles in structural components of a car body.

The Saxon Textile Research Institute (STFI), for instance, is currently working with industrial partners on combining the static-mechanical strengths of carbon fibers with vibration damping properties to improve the housings of electric motors in cars. The project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, is aimed at developing hybrid nonwovens that contain other fibers, in addition to carbon fiber, as a reinforcement. "We want to combine the advantages of different fiber materials and thereby develop a product that is optimally tailored to the requirements", explains Marcel Hofmann, head of department of Textile Lightweight Construction at STFI.

The Chemnitz researchers would therefore complement previous nonwoven solutions. They look back on 15 years of working with recycled carbon fibers. The global annual demand for the high-value fibers has almost quadrupled in the past decade, according to the AVK Industry Association to around 142,000 t most recently. "Increasing demand has brought recycling more and more into focus", says Hofmann. According to him, carbon fiber waste is available for about one-tenth to one-fifth of the price of primary fibers, but they still need to be processed. The key issue for the research success of recycled fibers is competitive applications. STFI has found these not only in cars, but also in the sports and leisure sector as well as in medical technology, for example in components for computer tomography. "While metals or glass fibers cast shadows as potential competing products, carbon does not interfere with the image display and can fully exploit its advantages", explains Hofmann.
 
Using Paper Know-How
If recycled carbon fibers can pass through the product cycle again, this significantly improves their carbon footprint. At the same time it applies: The shorter the carbon fibers, the less attractive they are for further recycling. With this in mind, the Cetex Research Institute and the Papiertechnische Stiftung (PTS), both members of the Zuse Community, developed a new process as part of a research project that gives recycled carbon fibers, which previously seemed unsuitable, a second product life. "While classic textile processes use dry processing for the already very brittle recycled carbon fibers in fiber lengths of at least 80 mm, we dealt with a process from the paper industry that processes the materials wet. At the end of the process, in very simplified terms, we obtained a laminar mat made of recycled carbon fibers and chemical fibers", says Cetex project engineer Johannes Tietze, explaining the process by which even 40 mm short carbon fibers can be recycled into appealing intermediates.

The resulting product created in a hot pressing process serves as the base material for heavy-duty structural components. In addition, the mechanical properties of the semi-finished products were improved by combining them with continuous fiber-reinforced tapes. The researchers expect the recycled product to compete with glass-fiber-reinforced plastics, for example in applications in rail and vehicle construction. The results are now being incorporated into further research and development in
the cooperation network of Ressourcetex, a funded association with 18 partners from industry and science.

Successful Implementation in the Automotive Industry
Industrial solutions for the recycling of carbon fiber production waste are being developed at the Thuringian Institute of Textile and Plastics Research (TITK). Several of these developments were industrially implemented with partners at the company SGL Composites in Wackersdorf, Germany. The processing of the so-called dry waste, mainly from production, is carried out in a separate procedure. "Here, we add the opened fibers to various processes for nonwoven production", says the responsible head of the department at TITK, Dr. Renate Lützkendorf . In addition to developments for applications e.g. in the BMW i3 in the roof or rear seat shell, special nonwovens and processes for the production of Sheet Molding Compounds (SMC) were established at TITK. These are thermoset materials consisting of reaction resins and reinforcing fibers, which are used to press fiber-plastic composites. This was used, for example, in a component for the C-pillar of the BMW 7 Series. "In its projects, TITK is primarily focusing on the development of more efficient processes and combined procedures to give carbon fiber recycling materials better opportunities in lightweight construction applications, also in terms of costs", says Lützkendorf. The focus is currently on the use of CF recycled fibers in thermoplastic processes for sheet and profile extrusion. "The goal is to combine short- and continuous-fiber reinforcement in a single, high-performance process step."

1) Since February 1st, 2021, Dr.-Ing. Thomas Reussmann succeeds Dr.-Ing. Renate Lützkendorf, who retired 31 January.

Source:

Zuse Community

(c) Pixabay
15.12.2020

Protection against Corona: Materials research provides findings at institutes of the Zuse Community

As the year draws to a close, expectations are growing that protection against COVID-19 will soon be available. Until this is the case for large sections of the population, the successes achieved in research and industry to protect against the virus in 2020 offer a good starting point in the fight against corona and beyond. At institutes in the Zuse community, progress have been made not only in medical but also in materials research.

As the year draws to a close, expectations are growing that protection against COVID-19 will soon be available. Until this is the case for large sections of the population, the successes achieved in research and industry to protect against the virus in 2020 offer a good starting point in the fight against corona and beyond. At institutes in the Zuse community, progress have been made not only in medical but also in materials research.

These successes in materials research include innovations in the coating of surfaces. "In the wake of the pandemic, the demand for antiviral and antimicrobial surfaces has risen sharply, and we have successfully intensified our research in this area," explains Dr. Sebastian Spange, Head of Surface Technology at the Jena research institute INNOVENT. He expects to see an increasing number of products with antiviral surfaces in the future. "Our tests with model organisms show that an appropriate coating of surfaces works", emphasizes Spange. The spectrum of techniques used by INNOVENT includes flame treatment, plasma coating and the so-called Sol-Gel process, in which organic and inorganic substances can be combined in one layer at relatively low temperatures. According to Spange, materials for the coatings can be antibacterial metal compounds as well as natural substances with antiviral potential.

Nonwovens produced for mask manufacturers
In 2020, the textile expertise of numerous institutes in the Zuse community ensured that application-oriented research could prove its worth in the practical fight against pandemics. After the shortage of mask supplies in Germany at the beginning of the pandemic, textile research institutes reacted to the shortage by jumping into the breach. The Saxon Textile Research Institute (STFI), for example, converted its research facilities to the production of nonwovens to supply German and European manufacturers of particle filtering protective masks. "From March to November 2020, we supplied nonwovens to various manufacturers in order to provide the best possible support for mask production and thus help contain the pandemic. At a critical time for industry and the population, we were able to help relieve critical production capacity - an unaccustomed role for a research institute, but one we would assume again in similar situations," explains Andreas Berthel, Managing Commercial Director of STFI.

Development of reusable medical face masks
For the improvement of everyday as well as medical face masks the German Institutes for Textile and Fiber Research (DITF) are working on this project. In cooperation with an industrial partner, they are currently developing in Denkendorf, among other things, reusable medical face masks made of high-performance precision fabric using Jacquard weaving technology. The multiple use avoids waste and possible supply bottlenecks.

There are regulations for all types of masks, now also for everyday masks. At Hohenstein, compliance with standards for masks is checked. A new European guideline defines minimum requirements for the design, performance evaluation, labelling and packaging of everyday masks. "As a testing laboratory for medical products, we test the functionality of medical masks from microbiological-hygienic and physical aspects", explains Hohenstein's Managing Director Prof. Dr. Stefan Mecheels. In this way, Hohenstein supports manufacturers, among other things, with technical documentation to prove the effectiveness and safety. Respiratory protection masks (FFP 1, FFP 2 and FFP 3) have been tested at the Plastics Centre (SKZ) in Würzburg since the middle of this year. Among other things, inhalation and exhalation resistance and the passage of particles are tested. In addition, SKZ itself has entered into mask research. In cooperation with a medical technology specialist, SKZ is developing an innovative mask consisting of a cleanable and sterilizable mask carrier and replaceable filter elements.

ILK tests for mouth-nose protection
The fight against Corona is won by the contributions of humans: Of researchers in laboratories, of developers and manufacturers in the Industry as well as from the citizens on the street.
Against this background, the Institute for Air and Refrigeration Technology (ILK) in Dresden has carried out investigations into the permeability of the mouth and nose protection (MNS), namely on possible impairments when breathing through the mask as well as the protective function of everyday masks. Result: Although the materials used for the mouth-nose protection are able to retain about 95 percent of the exhaled droplets, "under practical aspects and consideration of leakages" it can be assumed that about 50 percent to 70 percent of the droplets enter the room, according to the ILK. If the mask is worn below the nose only, it can even be assumed that about 90 percent of the exhaled particles will enter the room due to the large proportion of nasal breathing. This illustrates the importance of tight-fitting and correctly worn mouth and nose protection. "On the other hand, from a physical point of view there are no reasons against wearing a mask", ILK managing director Prof. Dr. Uwe Franzke emphasizes. The researchers examined the CO2 content in the air we breathe as well as the higher effort required for breathing and based this on the criterion of overcoming the pressure loss. "The investigations on pressure loss showed a small, but practically irrelevant increase," explains Franzke.

The complete ILK report "Investigations on the effect of mouth and nose protection (MNS)" is available here.

08.12.2020

Fraunhofer FEP: Boosting Innovations for COVID-19 Diagnostic, Prevention and Surveillance

The recently launched 6.1 million Euro project INNO4COV-19, funded by the European Commission (grant agreement no. 101016203), will support the marketing of new products to combat COVID-19 over the next two years, throughout Europe. The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP is contributing its know-how in sterilization using accelerated electrons and on near-to-eye visualization.

The €6.1 million project INNO4COV-19 is committed to supporting the commercialization of new products across Europe for combatting COVID-19 over the next two years. Looking for the fast development of products – from medical technologies to surveillance solutions - the project will boost innovation to tackle the new coronavirus, reinforcing Europe's technological leadership, and invigorating an industrial sector capable of protecting citizens' safety and well-being.

The recently launched 6.1 million Euro project INNO4COV-19, funded by the European Commission (grant agreement no. 101016203), will support the marketing of new products to combat COVID-19 over the next two years, throughout Europe. The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP is contributing its know-how in sterilization using accelerated electrons and on near-to-eye visualization.

The €6.1 million project INNO4COV-19 is committed to supporting the commercialization of new products across Europe for combatting COVID-19 over the next two years. Looking for the fast development of products – from medical technologies to surveillance solutions - the project will boost innovation to tackle the new coronavirus, reinforcing Europe's technological leadership, and invigorating an industrial sector capable of protecting citizens' safety and well-being.

Officially starting on October 1, the virtual kick-off took place on October 6 – 7, counting with the support of two European Commission officers.

The 11-partner consortium led by INL – International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, is looking for efficient and fast solutions that can help in the fight against COVID-19 jointly with the other actively involved industrial and RTO partners.

The mission of INNO4COV-19 is to create a “lab-to-fab” platform and a collaboration resource where companies and reference laboratories will find the tools for developing and implementing innovative technologies – from idea assessment to market exploitation. This work will be carried out as part the European Union Coronavirus initiative and in strong collaboration with all the funded projects where to accelerate the time to market for any promising product.

INNO4COV-19 is set to assist up to 30 test cases and applications from several areas spanning from Medical technologies, Environmental Surveillance systems, Sensors, Protection of Healthcare workers and Artificial Intelligence and Data mining. To achieve this, INNO4COV-19 is awarding half of the budget to support 30 enterprises selected through a set number of open calls during the first year of the project.

The first call will be launched in November 2020 across several platforms. Awardees will receive up to €100,000 each and benefit from the INNO4COV-19 consortium's technical, regulatory, and business expertise.

Roll-to-Roll Equipment and Electron Beam Technology for Large Area Sterilization of textile materials
During pandemic events like COVID-19, MERS, SARS or Ebola a substantial shortage of sterile materials for medical uses was observed due to peak demands. Fraunhofer FEP will contribute their roll-to-roll equipment and electron beam technology for the purpose of large area sterilization of textile materials to the INNO4COV-19 project.

Usually the textile material is produced in non-sterile conditions and therefore must be sterilized before being delivered to the consumers (e. g. hospitals); Sterilization at product level (sterilizing the final manufactured masks) is limited in throughput, due to a high number of individual small pieces, that must be sterilized.

Project manager Dr. Steffen Günther of Fraunhofer FEP explains the role and aims of the institute in more detail: “INNO4COV-19 will establish and verify a process chain for high throughput (4500 m²/h) electron beam sterilization of fabric material in roll-form in a single TRL 7 pilot machine to allow efficient manufacturing of sterile face masks and other fabric based sterile products without the need to sterilize the final product.”

OLED Microdisplays for Detecting Infected People
Another topic of Fraunhofer FEP within INNO4COV-19 deals with the earliest possible detection of infected people. A widely used strategy to early identify individuals with disease symptoms is body temperature screening using thermal cameras.

One possibility to allow continuous body temperature monitoring, is the integration of a thermal camera into a smart wearable device. Therefore, Fraunhofer FEP is using their OLED microdisplay technology. This allows small (< 3 × 2 cm²), ultrathin (< 5 mm including control circuitry) and ultra-low power (< 5 mW) devices to show visual information. In combination with an infrared sensor a thermal imager will be realized to both measure body temperature and directly displays the result via near-to-eye visualization. The system can be embedded within smart glasses, hats, caps or personal face shields.

About INNO4COV-19 project:
Website: www.inno4cov19.eu
Please contact: info@inno4cov19.eu

 

Source:

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP

Fraunhofer IZM: Jessica Smarsch (c) Jessica Smarsch
01.12.2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source:

Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM

China Gerd Altmann, Pixabay
17.09.2019

FAIR MARKET CHINA

The People's Republic of China has experienced unprecedented economic growth since the late 1970s, with average double-digit growth rates. Over the past 10 years, the country has become the export world champion and holds the position as the second largest economy after the USA for almost as long. Along with the economic boom, modern China faces major challenges, including high wage increases, massive environmental problems and overcapacity in many industrial sectors.
 

The People's Republic of China has experienced unprecedented economic growth since the late 1970s, with average double-digit growth rates. Over the past 10 years, the country has become the export world champion and holds the position as the second largest economy after the USA for almost as long. Along with the economic boom, modern China faces major challenges, including high wage increases, massive environmental problems and overcapacity in many industrial sectors.
 
Unlike at the beginning of the opening policy more than 40 years ago, when foreign investors with the appropriate technology and know-how were targeted, China is now pursuing a strategy to strengthen the domestic market. With the support of the "Made in China 2025" decree adopted in 2015, the Middle Kingdom is to become one of the leading industrial nations in three ten-year programs by 2045. In doing so, the government is focusing on promoting innovation, increasing production efficiency, optimizing the industrial structure and "green" production. Key sectors such as robotics, medical technology, electromobility and modern agricultural technology are defined as particularly eligible. The development of Industry 4.0 is also of great importance.

Economic data 2018/2019* (estimates and forecasts)
GDP      USD 14,217 billion*
Population    1,395.4 billion
Exports    USD 2,487.4 billion
Exports to Germany EUR 106.3 billion
Imports USA 2,135.6 Mrd. billion
Imports from Germany EUR 93.1 billion 

    Source: GTAI, Ministry of Foreign Affairs    

China's regions have developed at different rates. Although the economically strong regions at the east and southeast coast of the country generate about half of the annual GDP, the areas in central and western China are recovering dynamically. With the "go-west" policy, since the turn of the millennium, the Chinese government has been increasingly working to promote and develop the western regions, increasing the attractiveness of the affected regions to foreign investment and business settlements. 

Another ambitious project is designed for decades: The “One Belt and One Road” initiative, i.e. the revival of the "Silk Road", which connects more than 60 states in Asia and Europe via land and water. Planned and already implemented billion investment in the construction of ports, railways and telecommunications equipment. Opportunities for German companies exist above all for providers of special equipment in rail, shipping, port and aviation technology. 
 
German-Chinese economic relations have developed very well in recent decades. At the beginning of 2014, the first Chinese Chamber of Commerce (CHKD) in Europe was founded in Berlin to promote the intensification of trade relations. Since 2011, Germany and China have been conducting regular government consultations that include comprehensive strategic partnerships.  

In 2018, German exports to China amounted to EUR 93 billion. Imports from China today amount to more than EUR 100 billion. With a trade volume of about EUR 200 billion in 2018, Germany is by far China's most important European trading partner. For Germany, the People's Republic of China is again the most important trading partner in Asia and the third most important worldwide. The main products supplied to China are machinery, motor vehicles and automotive parts, electrical engineering and chemical products. Around 5,200 German companies are based in China; around 900 Chinese companies have settled in Germany. 
          
Trade Fair Industry
Although China's economy is slowing, the world's second-largest economy continues to grow. Investments worth billions in infrastructure, housing, climate and environmental protection, combined with the construction and expansion of trade fair venues, have made China the most important trade fair venue in Asia, and this position is undisputed. Especially in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, the professionalism of the trade fair organizers is high, above all because of the numerous international cooperation. 
 
The fairs in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou continue to characterize the Chinese fair landscape. Beijing as an important trade fair location is characterized by its proximity to political decision-makers and the extensive expansion of infrastructure. The majority of the major trade fairs take place in Shanghai and the concentration of international organizers is high.  

The increased reorientation of the Chinese economy on the domestic market also influences the further development of the Chinese trade fair landscape, as the exhibition industry is increasingly turning to the service sector, digitization, automation, health, education and high-quality consumption.  

The "New Silk Road" project also has a major influence on the Chinese trade fair industry: Chinese organizers are increasingly conducting trade fairs and trade fair participations in countries that are to be linked via the Silk Road. In 2018, 76 trade fair organizers were involved in 718 trade fairs in 33 countries, an increase of around 14% compared to the previous year. Most of the fairs were classified as multi-sector and machine-building exhibitions. With an increase of 19% compared to the previous year, the majority of the exhibition-related projects were realized in Russia.

Country Number of Fairs Exhibitors from China
Russia 132 3,870
India 89 3,129
United Arab Emirates 82 3,906
Turkey 30 1,728
Thailand 47 1,641

Since 2015, the Chinese State Council has been pursuing the strategy of making the domestic trade fair industry more international and transparent by 2020. For example, the approval of new trade fairs is to be gradually decentralized and responsibility transferred to the provinces. There is a noticeable professionalization of trade fairs outside the traditional trade fair locations of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. In addition, China has developed into the world's largest e-commerce market, i.e. online platforms are used as distribution channels for products. This development is also increasingly affecting trade fairs as a marketing instrument, as traditional aspects of trade fairs are virtualized.   
 
The main problem for the Chinese trade fair industry remains the great complexity of the Chinese trade fair market with its many trade fair offerings, which vary greatly in terms of quality. In addition, the "Go West" strategy of the Chinese government to promote and develop the western regions has resulted in a large number of trade fair centers that are often not profitable due to their low capacity utilization. In 2018, for example, around 9.83 million m2 of exhibition space is said to have been available in 164 exhibition centers in China. More than half of the exhibition grounds had a utilization rate of less than 10%. The competition between trade fair locations for trade show themes and thus exhibitors and visitors lead to overlapping themes and schedules. Sufficient information or independently collected data on space utilization, exhibitor and visitor numbers are scarce and make it difficult for everyone involved to make the right trade fair selection.

Trade fair cities and exhibition venues
In China, many large exhibition centers have been built during the last 10 years. In 2018, 164 exhibition centers with a hall area capacity of 9.83 million m² were counted. That were 11 exhibition centers or 480,000 m² more than in 2017. Shanghai is the most important exhibition hub in the country - two of the largest exhibition centers are located here.

The 10 largest fairgrounds in China (more than 100,000 m²)
Venue     Gross hall size in m²
National Exh. & Conv. Ctr (NECC), Shanghai 400,000
China Import & Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou 338,000
Kunming Dianchi Intern. Conv. & Exh. Centre 300,000
Western China International Expo City, Chengdu 205,000
Chongqing International Expo Centre 200,000
Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC) 200,000
Wuhan International Expo Centre 150,000
Nanchang Greenland International Expo Center 140,000
Xiamen International Conference & Exhibition Center 140,000
GD Modern International Exhibition Center, Houjie 130,000

Additional fairgrounds were built over the last years e.g.in the provinces Shandong and Guangdong. With a covered exhibition area of 1.54 million m2 spread over 21 fair grounds the southern province Guangdong takes the top position in China.

German Engagement
In a comparison of countries, the People's Republic of China takes first place concerning German trade fair organizers’ self-organized events abroad. The concepts of these events are based on the standards of leading international trade fairs in Germany. Almost all major German trade fair organizers are active in China. By far the most attractive market is the economic metropolis of Shanghai.

Outside the leading trade fair cities of Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, German organizers are active in Chengdu, Changsha, Foshan, Nanjing, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Qingdao and Xian. 

Year Number GTQ** China (without Hongkong) Shanghai
2019* 324 86 51
2018 321 88 51
2017 300 83 50
2016 296 84 49
2015 295 84 49

* preliminary
**Self-organized events by German trade fair organizers are advertised by AUMA with the label "German Trade Fair Quality Abroad" (GTQ). 
Source: AUMA database
 
Foeign Trade Fair Program 
In the PRC, German companies can present themselves at numerous well-established trade fairs under the umbrella brand "made in Germany" within the Foreign Trade Fair Program. The trade fair participations in the form of German Pavilions cover a large part of the capital goods sector, such as mechanical engineering, food and packaging machinery, automotive supply industry, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, agricultural technology, health care to chemical and environmental engineering. But also, furniture, fashion and consumer goods fairs have been an important part of the program for many years. China is the most important trade fair venue for German companies within the Foreign Trade Fair Program, with Shanghai remaining by far the most important trade fair location.

Contacts
Delegation of German Industry and Commerce Beijing
E-Mail: info@bj.china.ahk.de 
Homepage: http://www.china.ahk.de

Delegation of German Industry and Commerce Shanghai
E-Mail: office@sh.china.ahk.de  
Homepage: http://www.china.ahk.de

Delegation of German Industry and Commerce Guangzhou
E-Mail: info@gz.china.ahk.de  
Homepage: http://www.china.ahk.de

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
E-Mail: embassy@peki.diplo.de  
Homepage: http://www.peking.diplo.de

AUMA e.V.
Natalja Winges
Manager
Regions: Eastern Europe, Central and East Asia
Tel.: +49 30 24 000 124 Fax: +49 30 24 000 320
E-Mail: n.winges@auma.de

More information:
China trade fairs
Source:

AUMA Association of the German Trade Fair Industry

INDEX17:  Manage change in healthcare © INDEX™17 Press Office
04.04.2017

INDEX17: MANAGING CHANGE IN HEALTHCARE

An aging population is a critical issue facing the medical and healthcare industry. The European Wound Management Association (EWMA) maintains that persons aged 65 and over will account for 30% of the EU27’s population by 2060, compared to 17% in 2008, and that the highest share of inhabitants aged over 80 years in 2060, will be in Italy (14.9%), Spain (14.5%) and Germany (13.2%), closely followed by Greece (13.5 %).

There has been an exponential growth in healthcare costs mainly driven by the increased cost of medication and devices, and in tandem, a rise in the prevalence of chronic conditions. These trends have resulted in significant changes in European hospital services, with the number of hospital facilities, as well as the number of hospital beds decreasing. Furthermore, increasing pressures for early discharge from hospitals have caused a shift in the delivery of services from the hospital to the home, especially in the field of wound management.

An aging population is a critical issue facing the medical and healthcare industry. The European Wound Management Association (EWMA) maintains that persons aged 65 and over will account for 30% of the EU27’s population by 2060, compared to 17% in 2008, and that the highest share of inhabitants aged over 80 years in 2060, will be in Italy (14.9%), Spain (14.5%) and Germany (13.2%), closely followed by Greece (13.5 %).

There has been an exponential growth in healthcare costs mainly driven by the increased cost of medication and devices, and in tandem, a rise in the prevalence of chronic conditions. These trends have resulted in significant changes in European hospital services, with the number of hospital facilities, as well as the number of hospital beds decreasing. Furthermore, increasing pressures for early discharge from hospitals have caused a shift in the delivery of services from the hospital to the home, especially in the field of wound management.


Visitors and exhibitors at INDEX™17, the world’s leading nonwovens exhibition held in Geneva from 4th-7th April 2017, will have the opportunity to hear from “Big Picture” speaker Prof. Dr. Sebastien Probst, Professor of Tissue Viability and Wound Care at the School of Health Sciences, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland. “Chronic and highly-exuding wounds can often lead to the use of unreliable and costly treatments,” explains Prof. Dr. Probst. “Patients are frequently found to be at an increased risk of infection and delayed healing, which results in an enormous negative impact on their quality of life, both physically and psychologically. Superabsorbent nonwoven dressings are increasingly being used for a more effective wound care, removing bacteria and exudates and keeping the wound bed moist. Reducing healthcare costs while maintaining high quality of care remains paramount.” Another less visible but important benefit is that these products can contribute to reducing health associated infections (HAI) which still affect 1 out of 18 patients every day in Europe.

The rich three-day INDEX™17 programme, features a Medical & Healthcare seminar on 5th April organised in conjunction with market intelligence partners WTiN, where leading speaker Prof. Dr. Sebastien Probst will put forward the key challenges faced by the medical industry, and renowned experts in the field will then discuss how nonwovens are contributing to solving these challenges.

Medical & Healthcare seminar speakers include:

  • Dr. Parikshit Goswami, Associate Professor, Director of Research and Innovation, MSc Textiles Programme Leader, Technology Research Area Leader, will deliver a welcome note.
  • Prof. Dr. Sebastian Probst, DClinPrac, RN, Professor of Tissue Viability and Wound Care, School of Health Sciences, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, Geneva, will address global trends in nonwoven medical textiles.
  • Dionysia Patrinou, Intelligence Manager/Market Strategist, Advanced Medical Materials, World Textile Information Network (WTiN), will discuss opportunities in the medical market. .
  • Paul Greenhalgh, Director of Industrial Design, Team Consulting, will speak about a patient centric approach to medical technology development.
  • Dr. Bernd Schlesselmann, Head of R&D, Freudenberg Performance Materials, will discuss the future of nonwovens in advanced wound care..

Visitors from around the world will have the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of the latest developments in nonwovens for medical applications.
To attend INDEX™17, you can register online at www.index17.org/.
 

Turkish State pushes sluggish Economy © Bildpixel/ pixelio.de
06.09.2016

TURKISH STATE PUSHES SLUGGISH ECONOMY

  • Low interest rates and government subsidies should drive consumption and Investments
  • Less start-ups and fewer direct foreign investment

Istanbul (GTAI) - After the failed coup attempt of July 15th 2016 the Turkish government wants to support the economy. Financial relief, government subsidies and a low interest rate policy should aim strengthening of consumption and investment and eliminate the arisen uncertainty in the business world. At the same time the overall savings ratio should be increased and the basis for financing of major infrastructure projects be improved.

The target of the government for an economic growth of 4.5% in 2016 appears now as no longer realistic. After the impressive increase of 4.8% in Q1 2016 government representatives expect for the rest of the year lower numbers, so that for the full year 2016 a growth of around 3.0 to 3.5% could be achieved.

  • Low interest rates and government subsidies should drive consumption and Investments
  • Less start-ups and fewer direct foreign investment

Istanbul (GTAI) - After the failed coup attempt of July 15th 2016 the Turkish government wants to support the economy. Financial relief, government subsidies and a low interest rate policy should aim strengthening of consumption and investment and eliminate the arisen uncertainty in the business world. At the same time the overall savings ratio should be increased and the basis for financing of major infrastructure projects be improved.

The target of the government for an economic growth of 4.5% in 2016 appears now as no longer realistic. After the impressive increase of 4.8% in Q1 2016 government representatives expect for the rest of the year lower numbers, so that for the full year 2016 a growth of around 3.0 to 3.5% could be achieved.

But not only the failed coup attempt and subsequent the internal political turmoil are affecting the economic development. Also the in the recent months clearly increased geopolitical risks, the armed conflicts along the southeastern border with Syria and Iraq, and the threat of terrorist attacks are pressing on the business climate.

The number of start-ups is declining since April 2016th. According to the Turkish Chamber Union TOBB (Türkiye Odalar ve Borsalar Birligi) in July a provisional low point with a decline of about 34% over the same month of last year has been reached.

Establishment of new companies
Month 2015 2016

Change (%)

January 6,471 6,894 6,5
February 5,509 6,363 15,5
March 6,092 7,117 16,8
April 6,022 5,860 -2,7
May 5,635 5,422 -3,8
June 5,896 5,571 -5,5
July 4,760 4,760 -34,1
January til July 40,385 40,363 -0,1

Source: Turkish Union of Chambers of Commerce TOBB (http://www.tobb.org.tr)

"Tailored" state support for Investors

Despite a rising inflation (annual increase of consumer prices in late July 2016: 8.8%) since several months the Turkish Central Bank is lowering the interest rates in small steps and ensures an increasing liquidity. For investors the government is planning generous subsidies. In the words of economy minister Nihat Zeybekci the government investment promotion is standing before fundamental changes. The plan includes "unlimited, customized and project-based" facilitations for specific sectors, which will go far beyond current incentives.

In this context Zeybekci named metallurgy, petrochemical, pharmaceutical and medical technology, in addition the renewable energy and modern agricultural technologies. In addition to extensive tax breaks the planned state aids will also include subsidizing the salaries of highly skilled employees, a free allocation of land, subsidies of taxes and energy subsidies. With this especially international investors should be won and high technology projects should become supported.

Foreign direct investments slumped in the first half year of 2016

According to the Turkish Ministry of Economy foreign direct investment declined in the 1st half of 2016 compared with the same period of last year by 55%. In 2015 a net amount of USD 16.9 billion flowed into Turkey, and in 2014 approximately USD 12.5 billion. Of these USD 5.3 billion or resp. USD 4.2 billion were invested in real estate.

Foreign direct investment in Turkey without real estate (in USD million)
Sector 1.Halfyear 2015  1.Halfyear 2016  Change (in %)
Agriculture 5   24 380
Industry 2,710 866 -68
Mining 185 17 -91
Manufacturing  1,445 607 -58
Food, Beverages, Tobacco products 257 171 -33
Textile and Clothing 399 21 -95
Leather and leather goods 2 8 300
Wood and wooden products 0 1 -
Paper and paperproducts 4 20 400
Coke and refined petroleum products 500 11 -98
Chemical and pharmaceutical 
  products
69 136 97
Coutchouk and plastic products  21 54 157
Non metal  mineral products - 23 -
Metal and metal products 36 24 -33
Machines and machinery equipment 5 20 300
Electronic and optical products 46 98 113
Automotives 90 8 -91
Furniture 16 12 -25
Electricity, Gas 1,078 242 -78
Water, wastewater, waste-disposal 2 0 -100
Services  2,066 1,274 -38
Total  4,781 2,164 -55

Source: Turkish Ministry of Economy (Ekonomi Bakanligi, http://www.ekonomi.gov.tr)

State fund to finance infrastructure projects established

Of particular importance for the future financing of large infrastructure projects, especially in the transportation sector, is the law No. 6741 of  08  /19th / 2016, establishing the Turkey-Property Fund (Türkiye Varlik fonu - Sovereign Wealth Fund). The law, which was announced in the government Gazette No. 29813 on 08 / 26th /2016 regulates the structure and operational rules of the new fund, which originally was to be filled from the state budget and privatization proceeds and should have started with an initial capital of TL 50 million. The law provides the establishment of a stock corporation that will be responsible for investments, stakes and other commitments of the fund. The financial market operations of the fund are according to paragraph 8 of the law 6741largely exempt from taxes and fees.

From the new Turkey-Fund the government expects major funding contributions for ongoing and upcoming major projects. These include the third international airport in Istanbul and the planned "Canal Istanbul", which will run parallel to the Bosporus. Expected to the ideas of the government the fund should bring an annual contribution of 1.5 percentage points to the real GDP growth over the next ten years. Economy Minister Zeybekci expects through the fund in the long term an asset control of about USD 200 billion.

Debts to the State can be paid by installments

Companies that are under financial pressure should be relieved by the law no. 6736 for the restructuring of public demands from March 8th 2016. This came in force after the publication in the government Gazette no. 29806 of August 19th 2016. With this law firms and persons, which have debts at the tax office or at social security institutions, can get the possibility to settle their outstanding claims, including failure surcharges by installments within 18 months. On claims up to TL 50 (1 Euro = 3.31 TL) the state will entirely dispense. The redemption of debt from tourism enterprises, which are due in2016, will in accordance to the law shifted by one year.

The private retirement provision for all workers should increase the savings rate 

In order to increase the country's low savings rate, the Turkish government has adopted the law no. 6740 on August 10th 201616, which gets into force on January 1st 2017 (promulgated in the government Gazette No. 29812 on August 25th 2016). With this law, changing the law no. 4632 of March 28th 2001 about the voluntary private retirement provision all workers aged less than 45 years and of Turkish nationality will in the future "automatically" be included in the system of the private pensions system. Affected employees however have the right, within two months from the inclusion date to declare their abandonment and leave the system.