IKME Finishing & Knitting


M
ilan hosted 225 exhibitors and more than 8,500 visitors at the second IKME — the
International Exhibition of Finishing & Knitting Machinery — which was enhanced with the
addition of dyeing and finishing exhibitors. Promoted by the Association of Italian Textile
Machinery Manufacturers (ACIMIT) and organized by Fiera Milano International S.p.A., 35 percent of
show visitors came from outside Italy from countries and regions such as Germany, Turkey, Spain,
France, central and eastern Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, and Central and Latin America.

“We received orders directly at the fair and established contacts that can be expected to
turn into contracts,” said Paolo Banfi, president and CEO of Italy-based Comez S.p.A. and newly
elected president of ACIMIT. “The manufacturers’ commitment, aimed at improving the performance of
their equipment, was rewarded. Europe, and Italy in particular, confirmed their leadership on the
world textile scene. IKME Finishing & Knitting is one more reason to look optimistically [to]
the future, where technological leadership always wins.”

The IKME Finishing & Knitting and Italy-based Istituto per il Commercio Estero
collaboration attracted approximately 60 buyers from Brazil, Russia, Syria, Iran, Morocco, Tunisia
and Turkey, along with representatives of the academic world from Iran, Russia and Turkey.

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Excellence On Display

The show featured an Excellence Area, which displayed innovative products and techniques all
accomplished with exhibitors’ technology. According to organizers, the area was “designed to
satisfy two objectives: to provide a ‘live’ display of the innovative products that can be obtained
using the existing machines and to experiment with a new kind of partnership between equipment
manufacturers and users — seen as a true and innovative market driver.”

According to Banfi: “[The Excellence Area] introduced two strong messages. The first is we
are studying niches in more detail because, like a laboratory, within each of these niches we can
find some winning products, and some ideas for other products. The second is talking and working
together. This is a true revolution that is much stronger than it would first seem. In fact,
customers are increasingly asking for solutions rather than products, and this renewed relationship
with the customer promises to redraw the textile industry.”

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The Excellence Area provided a look at advanced manufacturing techniques.


Knitting Shines

Flat-bed knitting stalwarts Shima Seiki Manufacturing Ltd., Japan; Protti Fashiontronix
S.p.A., Italy; and H. Stoll GmbH & Co. KG, Germany; among others, attracted high visitor
traffic during the show with their latest innovations.

With a focus on productivity, ergonomics and quality output, IKME gave visitors a first look
at several Stoll products. Stoll continues to concentrate on flexibility with multigauge machinery
and software developments. Gerhard Berger, communications manager, Stoll, said this was the first
time the new CMS flat knitting machine generation was on display.

“The apparel industry is very strong for knitwear,” said Berger. “I am confident it will
continue to grow. The market continues to shift, but with more consolidation and stability. The
knitter needs to offer a quality product with speed, and flexibility is the key issue. Machine
productivity within these parameters offers a return.”

Circular knitting technology also was on display. Companies such as Lonati S.p.A.,
Sangiacomo S.p.A. and Santoni S.p.A. — all based in Italy — presented their latest innovations.
Marco Braga, sales area manager, Santoni, pointed to a trend in sportswear and performancewear
markets beyond the intimate apparel so strongly associated with seamless knitting technology.
According to Braga, the goal is to raise the value of the garment and reduce the number of sewing
operations necessary for completion.

Among several new developments he mentioned was the SM4-TR2 knitting machine, which offers
true transfer capability and utilizes a patented needle from Germany-based Groz-Beckert KG that
enables transfer on single jersey.

Warp knitting and crochet technologies also were on view from the likes of Italy-based Jakob
Müller Italiana S.p.A., Spain-based Valentin Rius Clapers S.A. and Comez. This was an area of great
interest, as was apparent in the Excellence Area where the flexibility of these technologies beyond
traditional end-use applications caught the interest of visitors exploring industrial, medical and
automotive sectors.

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Marco Cortiana, managing director, Cibitex S.r.l., with the company’s new “Ready”
machine


Dyeing And Finishing

The addition of dyeing and finishing technology in 2005 added depth to the exhibition for
visitors. Leading dyeing technology companies including Loris Bellini S.p.A, Master S.a.s., Tonello
S.r.l., Tecnorama S.r.l. and Cimi S.p.A. — all based in Italy — exhibited equipment at IKME. MCS
S.p.A., Italy, offered a glimpse at its new Universal rope-dyeing machine featuring horizontal
fabric positioning. The fabric basket is introduced into the lower end of the dyeing chamber.

Nicola Canziani, president of Italy-based Brazzoli S.p.A. said, “When we discussed [this
show] three years ago, I was pessimistic. Now I realize I was wrong. Customers have visited from
Central and South America, Turkey, India, Iran — almost more than from Italy. I am happy to be
wrong.”

Marco Cortiana, managing director of Italy-based Cibitex S.r.l., introduced customers to the
new “Ready” machine — a shrinkage plant for knits for an in-line process of fabric. Tecnorama
offered the Dose & Dye® system, which focuses on small batch quality. On display was a dyeing
unit with a capacity of 10 to 100 grams in sampling and 1 to 10 kilograms in small production.

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Dyeing and finishing machinery were new additions to IKME in 2005.

Germany-based Lindauer Dornier GmbH, a well-known name in weaving, continues to
make headway in knit finishing equipment. Andreas Mondry, manager of textile finishing machinery,
explained how Dornier technology allows the knittted fabric to remain in tubular form throughout
the finishing process by using uniquely designed squeezing technology. In addition, Mondry spoke of
the company’s tubular singeing process — which creates a stripe-free finish in tubular form with
reduced fabric loss — as an alternative to enzyme finishing.

Rossano Biancalani with Italy-based Biancalani Textile Machinery spoke of a “very good
response” at the exhibition. “We have had visitors from all over and a good response from South
America,” he said. The company introduced the new ONDA washing machine for very light and delicate
fabrics developed for customers interested in small batch sizes.

Italy-based Avantec De Franceschi introduced the Turbo Pintora garment-dyeing machine with “
super-high spin.” According to the company, the new design reduces dyeing times by 25 to 30 percent
while increasing load capacity.

Overall, IKME Finishing & Knitting 2005 was a different experience than IKME 2003, held
just prior to ITMA 2003. The knit area was as strong as expected and the addition of dyeing and
finishing equipment, along with the ability to draw 35 percent of show attendees from outside of
Italy, makes the show a strong contender for future success.

January/February 2006

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