he approximately 20 Italian machinery manufacturers producing weaving technology —e _ e
including machinery for production preparation and related accessories — exported a significant
portion of their overall turnover in 2005 — around 76 percent, or 416 million euros (US$562.4
million). In the first half of 2006, exports amounted to 244 million euros (US$330 million). The
primary destination of Italian weaving machinery is the Asian market, which absorbs 47 percent of
the industry’s total exports. Turkey and China are the most important markets for Italian
producers, acquiring 19 percent and 18 percent, respectively, of Italian exports. India remains the
other major player for manufacturers of weaving machinery, importing 15 percent of Italy’s total
Italian loom manufacturers occupy a particularly significant position, especially in the
area of rapier and air-jet looms. Italy is the leading worldwide producer of rapier and air-jet
weaving machines — not just in volumes sold, but also in terms of the high level of innovative
components it puts out in the market. Foreign acquisitions by Italy’s textile machinery industry in
recent years have given the sector the possibility of controlling the three main types of weaving
technology — rapier, air-jet and projectile weft-insertion systems.
While the past few years have been characterized by technology improvements geared to
electronic applications rather than mechanical systems, the weaving machinery sector has
nonetheless continued to seek out technology solutions targeting a combination of machine
productivity with the possibility of manufacturing innovative and niche market articles. This has
given rise to a wide range of new proposals aimed at some of the most widespread and proven
manufacturing technologies, such as rapier and air-jet weft insertion. For rapier looms, aside from
the development and generalized application of electronics, the recognized experience and art of
Italian machinery manufacturers in the design and development of insertion systems have allowed
this technology to evolve considerably, rendering it far more productive and versatile than
to develop automation devices that make use of hardware modules and software programs to create
sophisticated motion control systems. Weaving machine manufacturers also have developed a highly
differentiated product line.
Air-jet looms have evolved considerably in their design concept, with the latest models
featuring simple, lightweight construction, easy operation, and increased manufacturing yield for
mid- to high-production runs. A significant step forward has been made in the possibility of
producing multicolored fabrics, along with the adoption of reed control mechanisms that have
allowed high-quality results and increased productivity, creating the requisites for an entirely
new generation of looms featuring an unequaled degree of production flexibility.
Italian textile machinery manufacturers also have demonstrated their leadership in narrow
fabric technology, including ribbons, lace, passementerie, belts and technical fabrics.
Loom technology is supported by an important range of companies providing the necessary
components, accessories and electronics dedicated to weaving machinery manufacturers.
In the weaving preparation sector, Italian manufacturers offer a complete product range that
is competitive with even the most critical international rivals. Italian creel manufacturers
provide systems covering a wide array of different specifications, dimensions and operating
functions — both fixed and mobile — combined with the possibility of automatic production
material-changing devices or computerized yarn-feed control features such as count and color.
Warpers offer highly sophisticated electronic machinery management and control components. In this
sector, Italian machinery manufacturers can take pride in the level of technological excellence
achieved on a global scale, with firms located in the area of Lake Como leading the way in
designing production preparation systems dedicated to silk and man-made fiber filaments.
final preliminary loom preparation operations, which includes knotting and drawing-in cycles, as
well as more recent applications involving quick article or beam-changing systems.
Italy’s weaving machinery industry also is backed by a practically infinite range of
accessories, including heddles, heddle frames, heddle strips, weavers, weft feeders, selvage
winders and much more.
Rounding out the sector for modern weaving shops is the broad range of air-conditioning
installations, automatic warehouse and internal handling systems, monitoring and control
technologies, sophisticated control systems for detecting flaws, and packing and packaging systems.
Here too, “Made in Italy” supplies a varied gamut of the highest quality.
The weaving machinery and technology sector has created a thriving and flourishing number of
qualified companies working hand-in-hand with Italy’s most important loom manufacturers to keep
Italian technology at the head of its class. The diversity and range of products offered remains a
trademark and guarantee of the quality exemplified by the Italian textile machinery sector.