Strategic Sector For Quality Textiles

he spinning machine sector is a strategic market segment that plays an instrumental role
in the realization of a high-quality textile product. Spinning machines made in Italy are highly
competitive at the international level and offer to the various application fields a technology
capable of meeting the most exacting requirements.

In 2005, the spinning machine segment accounted for approximately 25 percent, or 635 million
euros, of Italian textile machinery production. More than 83 percent of the turnover — about 524
million euros in 2005 — is achieved in foreign markets.

In the first half of 2006, exports amounted to 250 million euros. Asia is the main
destination for the spinning machines produced in Italy — accounting for 52 percent of textile
machinery exports by Italian manufacturers. China is by far the main export market, with a
22-percent share of total export sales. Other markets in which the Italian manufacturers of this
sector hold an interesting share are India, with 10 percent, and Poland, with 6 percent.

Italian companies engaged in the production of spinning machines are located mostly in the
areas of Biella and Prato, in the provinces of Lombardy — which have a longer textile tradition —
and in the Veneto region.

The Italian supply is nearly all-inclusive, as the machines enable the processing of the
whole range of fibers used in textile production. Equally wide is the range of equipment engineered
and manufactured to create the manifold specialities that characterize the Italian spinning
machinery sector.

A selection of products from Italian spinning machinery manufacturers, courtesy of the
Italian Association of Textile Machinery Manufacturers

Italian spinning technology has a leading position also in the wool sector, where
some manufacturers of carding and spinning machines are highly regarded by international users in
this sector.

Also, as far as cotton spinning systems are concerned, some prominent Italian companies
offer complete equipment for the processing not only of cotton, but also of flax and blends with
man-made fibers, both artificial and synthetic, from bale-opening to the final treatment of the

In recent years, applied research of the Italian spinning machinery manufacturers focused
mainly on the critical points of the process, while also considering the priorities of the textile
market downstream.

As to the preparatory processes for spinning, Italian manufacturers strive to find proper
solutions to the following primary needs: to reduce the investment and management costs of the
preparatory lines; and to focus attention on machinery for niche production with higher added value
in order to obtain a higher remuneration of invested capital. These efforts gave rise to
preparatory lines that are more compact and simpler, and feature smaller overall dimensions than
earlier lines, thanks to greater sophistication of the opening and cleaning zones for the processed
fibers, as well as to more thorough and electronically managed supervision of process conditions in
the long run. Almost all manufacturers have done their utmost to find more effective solutions for
the elimination of the equipment, which increases operating, maintenance and surface occupation
costs. The Italian supply of preparatory spinning machines stands out particularly because of its
flexibility and ability to adapt to a production logic that aims, by managing small lots, to
achieve substantial added value and permits spinners to approach market niches with profitable
remuneration levels.

Over the years, the yarn-formation process experienced intense technological evolution.
Italian manufacturers maintained a sensitive and vigilant attitude to grasp the most specific
aspects of the technical and stylistic performances of a final textile product under continuous
transformation; in this way, they were able and ready to offer the machines suited to meet the
requirements of the very moment. The manufacturers of cotton- and wool-spinning machines
practically abandoned the traditional technology — especially in the last two or three decades —
and designed new solutions.


One of the fundamental developments applied to traditional spinning is the
exploitation of the automation concept and the assembling of services required by the spinning mill
to reduce operating costs and ensure good quality in the long run. The latest developments — which
to a greater extent stimulated the more sophisticated manufacturers of the Western world,
especially in Italy — were principally the compression spinning system and the spinning system for
special fancy yarns. These technological breakthroughs, which originally appeared on
cotton-spinning machines, now also are used in wool-spinning machines, which are more difficult to
design. Italian manufacturers are leading the wool sector with their ring frames for compact

Fancy yarn spinning certainly does not lack research, creativity and attention to fashion
changes. The resort to fancy yarns for the production of articles with special effects permits the
approach to market niches that can offer reasonable profit margins, even against fierce
international competition.


In the rotor-spinning sector, the technological developments implemented on
open-end (OE) spinning machines, which saw also the contribution of Italian companies, have been
manifold during the years. The latest developments concern the OE production of knitting yarns —
where the most significant innovations, applied on devices considered to be the heart of the
machines, regard the proper selection of fibers, rotor and opening roller type, twists, and of the
type of “certified” cone to be produced. Thanks to this technological progress, the OE spinning
machine opens up to the knitting sector, a sector that in the past was rather reluctant to use OE
yarns owing to the rougher hand applied by the yarn onto textile goods. Another technological
development made it possible to attain rotor speeds of up to 150,000 revolutions per minute; this
permits the spinning of small yarn lots, while reducing delivery times. This high flexibility,
which could hardly be realized in the past, permits thorough planning production on independent
machine fronts, minimal downtimes and high-quality production. An important aspect of this
innovation is the production of cones with “certified” quality, featuring a winding density
30-percent higher than cones produced on traditional OE spinning machines.

Italian companies also specialize in the manufacture of machines for the processing of
regenerated fibers — cutting machines, tearing machines, openers and carding willows, for example.
These machines serve a textile segment that is still important in Italy and enjoys considerable
demand from many foreign markets, especially from Eastern Europe.

Italian companies play a leading role in manufacturing machines for the automatic handling
of spinning packages — bobbins, cops and cones. Some companies offer plants and systems for air
processing room conditioning and cleaning. These systems are indispensable to optimize production
in the spinning mill.

The stock of Italian technology for the spinning sector maintains, therefore, a high market
value. The long tradition and high competence acquired through daily contact with textile
industries downstream has led Italian spinning machinery manufacturers to play a role of primary
importance as technological partners for the production of high-quality textiles.

November/December 2006