eemingly, nothing can stop Techtextil. A record number of visitors attended the most
recent Techtextil, International Trade Fair for Technical Textiles and Nonwovens, and Avantex,
Forum for Innovative Apparel Textiles. Once more, Techtextil confirmed itself as the right place
and information platform for industrial textile applications.
The events in Frankfurt closed their doors after setting a new record of more than 23,200
trade visitors from 80 countries, compared to 21,730 in 2005. These figures make Techtextil and
Avantex 2007 the largest event since the inaugural Techtextil in 1985, said Detlef Braun, member of
the Board of Management of show organizer Messe Frankfurt, summing up the results of the biennial
fairs. The proportion of trade visitors from outside Germany rose by 8 percent to represent 54
percent of the total. Thus, every second visitor came from abroad —in particular, from Europe,
North America and Asia.
According to Messe Frankfurt, the exhibitors of both fairs were delighted with the high
degree of cosmopolitanism and the great expertise and purchasing authority of visitors. Around 60
percent of visitors to the 12th Techtextil, which had 1,086 exhibitors, were managers with
decision-making and purchasing authority and came from several different branches of industry. The
4th Avantex, with 33 exhibitors, was attended primarily by industry, fashion, design, sports
apparel and medical technology experts.
The most recent Techtextil in Frankfurt attracted 23,200 visitors, setting a new record for
Favorable Economic Situation
Participants rated the economic
situation in the sector as better than ever: 88 percent of exhibitors and 89 percent of visitors
shared this optimistic outlook. The fairs’ symposia attracted 1,039 visitors — more than ever
before. In 120 seminars and expert lectures, speakers from Germany and abroad discussed topics of
current interest from the fields of research and development, technology and industry; and from the
marketing and user points of view.
The 10 leading European visitor nations after Germany were Italy, France, Great Britain, the
Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Poland and the Czech Republic. In the case of
non-European countries, the ranking was headed by the United States, Japan and India.
The high degree of visitor satisfaction — 97 percent of visitors, 2 percent more than in
2005, rated their visit to the fair as having been a success — was a major contribution to the
highly successful event. Visitors primarily were interested in woven fabrics and fibers, textile
finishes, reinforcement textiles, composites and innovative garments. On the exhibitor side, the
degree of satisfaction with visitor quality and contacts with the appropriate target group also set
a new record at 98 percent. This is confirmed by the exclusive interviews conducted at the show by
Textile World Asia
Fritz Legler, sales director, Sultex Ltd.
Machinery Industry With Strong Participation
Ever since the first Techtextil, a
large number of exhibitors have come from the machinery and accessory sector. How do these
enterprises view Techtextil? Were they satisfied with the results?
interviewed enterprises that represent these areas to find the answers. Rieter Perfojet,
France; NSC nonwoven, France; Sultex Ltd., Switzerland; and Groz-Beckert KG, Germany, have
participated in Techtextil since its inception. For A. Monforts Textilmaschinen GmbH & Co. KG,
Germany, this year’s event was its third time. Mount Holly, N.C.-based American & Efird Inc.
(A&E) exhibited for the first time in Frankfurt, but previously had been an exhibitor at
Techtextil in Atlanta.
Sultex, as a manufacturer of weaving machines, is the only supplier according to Fritz
Legler, sales director, that offers three weft-insertion systems — projectile, rapier and air jet.
As Legler explained, rapier weaving machines such as the G 6500 are very well-represented in the
air-bag sector, but also for weaving aramid and glass fabrics. He also said Sultex, as the only
supplier of projectile machines, can build these machines up to a working width of 655 centimeters.
These heavy machines are especially suitable for geo- and agrotextiles, fly screens or
polypropylene ribbon. They also are particularly suitable for heavy fabrics and high-tech fabrics
such as bag fabrics or sails. Many Techtextil segments are target groups for Rieter Perfojet,
according to Laurent Jallat, marketing manager. In cooperation with NSC nonwoven, Rieter Perfojet
offers a wide spectrum of spunlace and spunbond production lines that are well-established in the
Jean-Philippe Dumon, sales and marketing director, NSC, said NSC’s products are the only
ones that include machines and plants for both medium- and high-speed production. Here, both
capacity and the ability to manufacture niche products of high quality are equally important
elements in nonwovens production.
Groz-Beckert, a manufacturer of needles for technical textiles and nonwovens, has a broad
range of needles for knitting, weaving, felts and tufting; and also sewing needles for many
Wolfgang Kaphahn, managing director, Monforts, described coating plants as its most
important product groups for these markets, as well as through-air and conveyor dryers for distance
fabrics. Important target groups are the manufacturers of awnings, protective apparel,
nanocoatings, medical textiles, wipes and sportswear. For Mark Hatton, global marketing manager,
Technical Textiles Division, A&E, the most important target groups for A&E yarns are tubes
and belts, reinforcements, cable sheetings, motors and filtration.
Laurent Jallat, marketing manager, Rieter Perfojet
New And Future Developments
Technical high-performance fabrics
are woven partly from very expensive yarns such as aramids. For these fabrics, Sultex offers the G
6500 rapier weaving machine with leno technique and a so-called economizing selvage. This selvage
technique can save expensive material in comparison with traditional selvages, making it
particularly interesting for heavy and thick fabrics.
For NSC’s Dumon, the company’s ProDyn® system is an important development that, after the
web is carded, regulates the evenness and the amount of fiber material at the entrance of the
feeder to produce nonwovens with a perfect machine-direction-to-cross-direction ratio. A short time
ago, NSC nonwoven delivered a plant to a southern European customer, and with this system, that
customer can save 7 percent of material in the needling and achieve the same product qualities.
Since 2003, more than 85 plants have been equipped with the system.
According to Rieter Perfojet’s Jallat, Perfojet’s SPUNjet system, in combination with
spunbonds, manufactures very good-quality products. And, as he mentioned, a little water applied on
the surface of the nonwoven during processing brings a much better textile feel. Both NSC and
Rieter Perfojet have achieved excellent results with their strategic alliance and are more than
happy with the cooperation.
Groz-Beckert also offers nozzle stripes for spunlace production plants, as Edelgard Keinath,
corporate services, explained.
Kaphahn described Monforts’ multifunctional Montex tenter with an integrated coating
aggregate at the entrance as a new development. The coating aggregate is movable, making the tenter
suitable for coatings and other traditional finishes.
Mark Hatton described A&E’s intermingled polyester yarns as a special new development.
These coated, high-tenacity yarns have improved adhesion ability, he said.
Wolfgang Kaphah, managing director, A. Monforts Textilmaschinen GmbH & Co. KG
Excellent Visitor Feedback
Without reservation, everyone
interviewed described the response to the products they showed to be from good to excellent. Dumon
mentioned that at the fair, NSC nonwoven sold a thermobonding line to the India-based Welspun group
for the production of wadding. Kaphahn also saw the response as very positive, due to the fact that
many classic textile enterprises are more and more involved in technical textiles and require very
flexible lines for many products. He added that the Montex 6000 TT tenter will be shown at ITMA
2007 in Munich.
According to Hatton, A&E’s first Techtextil participation in Europe also was a success.
The company had many enquiries for its yarns; its portfolio consists of not only sewing threads,
but also products for other areas.
Jean-Philippe Dumon, sales and marketing director, NSC nonwoven
Legler said Sultex’s top products
were weaving machines for carpets, floor coverings and air bags. According to Jallat, the JETlace
3000 is still the great frontrunner in Rieter Perfojet’s program. More than 150 plants have already
been sold with these spunlace lines. He said that at the moment, spunlace lines are very much
required because soft products of 30 to 80 square meters are in demand.
For NSC nonwoven, Asselin’s needle felting machines for geotextiles and filtration run
particularly well. However, spunlaced products such as coating substrates and wipes are also part
of NSC’s success. Three plants for coating substrates were sold to China, Dumon said.
According to Kaphahn, Keinath and Hatton, there is no true top-selling product at the moment
for their companies. However, this is not a bad state of affairs because sales are evenly spread.
Mark Hatton, global marketing manager, Technical Textiles Division, American & Efird
Most Important Markets
The music for technical textiles
still plays mainly in the United States and Europe — primarily in Germany, the United Kingdom and
Spain. Legler and Jallat also mentioned India, where Rieter Perfojet recently sold a spunlace plant
to Gini Filaments. Turkey, Korea and Japan were mentioned as well, and more and more, Bangladesh
and China. According to Hatton, growing markets for A&E are Canada and Mexico. Dumon said NSC
has even markets everywhere, and one can be happy with the situation. The company has a high
balance of products in these markets, which can only help to avoid outliers.
The nonwovens and technical textiles
segment performs very well at all interviewed companies. The segment has grown by 3 to 4 percent at
Sultex for years, Legler explained. The share of turnover for technical textiles is already more
than 15 percent and continues to increase.
Rieter Perfojet is selling now with delivery periods up to the year 2008. The company has
sold machines to India and tow spunlaced plants to Russia. These countries know how to work with
fibers, Jallat said. Dumon believes the market has calmed down in China a bit; however, other
markets are growing. NSC discovered that customers today buy different cards for different products
in order to be very flexible.
The market situation is also good for Groz-Beckert. Although the investment activity has
slowed down a little, it is still promising, according to Keinath.
Kaphahn sees Monforts’ prospects primarily in Europe and noted that Turkey is still not so
strong for these markets. However, he sees a growing interest from India.
A&E’s Hatton mentioned that high-tenacity yarns more and more are replacing steel in
certain industrial fields of application.
Edelgard Keinath, corporate services, Groz-Beckert KG
Although the interviewed companies
are working primarily in the traditional textile industry, a growing share of their sales volume is
realized in the technical textiles sector. The share of turnover for technical textiles is about 15
percent at Monforts, Kaphahn said.
It is not surprising that all
enterprises consider the future for technical textiles to be good-to-excellent. The sector will
further grow, and the trend towards higher quality always goes on and on, according to information
provided by Legler. Technical textiles are a highly specialized market for every supplier. Further
enterprises from the traditional textile industry will enter markets for technical textiles and
give the sector another growth push. Dumon mentioned that the development of the machinery is now
at the stage where the production speed is higher than the demand in the market for products.
Therefore, the machinery industry is forced to present innovations constantly, and also because not
only the machinery industry, but also its customers must differentiate themselves in the
marketplace if they want to be successful.