As part of its effort to gather information about the involvement of French textile machinery
manufacturers in the nonwovens and technical textiles sectors,
Asia prepared a questionnaire that was distributed by the French Textile
Machinery Association (UCMTF) to its membership. Responses were received from 24 out of a total of
some 35 member companies. Below are profiles of the respondents, followed by a table providing a
portfolio of the machinery and accessories offered by those respondents.
AESA Air Engineering
AESA Air Engineering specializes in air-conditioning and waste-collection systems for
textile mills. It has established its position as a leading supplier in the field for more than 70
years. The company came together when two companies, France-based Ameliorair and Germany-based LTG
Air Engineering, merged fifteen years ago. Today, AESA operates independently with companies in
France, Egypt, India, Singapore, Hong Kong and China; employs 100 people of 15 different
nationalities; and has thousands of installations in operation worldwide in all kinds of industrial
The company’s aim currently is to strengthen its position in the Middle Eastern region. AESA
is looking at increasing business volume by targeting customers in the fields of spinning and
weaving, for cotton and other natural fibers, synthetic fibers, and any kind of blends, as well as
in the field of chemical fiber production. The company offers solutions for automatic humidity
control, temperature control, ventilation and cleanliness of production areas; as well as automatic
waste-collection systems for cotton trash and fiber dust, for both continuous and intermittent
AESA supplies complete solutions consisting of pre-filters and waste compactors; drum
filters; fine-filters and dust collectors; all types of centrifugal and axial fans; air washers for
adiabatic cooling and chilled water systems; air mixing dampers; return-air grilles; supplier-air
diffusers; fully automatic electronic control systems including of PCD controller, electrical
actuators, valves, inverters, all types of humidity, temperature and pressure sensors; as well as
computer software to run its plants.
Projects start at the design stage, according to the customer’s requirements, and go all the
way to the full commissioning of the plants, including the delivery of all the required equipment,
drawings and files. Its customers most often are new textile mills in need of air-conditioning and
waste collection, existing mills needing revamping or extensions of their existing systems,
existing mills that will be relocated after dismantling, and other such customers.
Foundation date: 1984
Number of employees: 100
Headquarters location: Thann
Subsidiary companies: 4
Annual turnover: 15 million euros
Calemard specializes in the design and manufacture of in-line and off-line slitting and
rewinding machines. Present since 1955 in a wide range of markets, Calemard has focused its
activities on very technically demanding applications. The strong market position has been achieved
thanks to a strong know-how in slitting technologies. The company has expertise in crush, shear and
razor slitting systems, and also in sealing/cutting technologies including hot cutting and also
ultrasonic cutting through Decoup+, its sister company.
Calemard also has expertise in rewinding technologies. Originally focused on narrow web
slitting, the company has expanded its knowledge in spooling technology. As an alternative to the
use of pancakes, its spooling technology is said to be the the solution that enables 10 times more
product to be rewound than a pancake and offers a stable package of narrow products.
Foundation date: 1955
Headquarters location: Roche la Molière
Annual turnover: 7.8 million euros
Owner: Spoolex Group
Decoup+, Calemard’s sister company, specializes in the design and manufacture of ultrasonic
cutting/sealing/splicing solutions, which are applicable at any stage of the textile and nonwoven
fabrication and conversion process. Ultrasonic devices use high-frequency vibratory energy combined
with pressure to effect a cut or splice on synthetic textiles. Decoup+ ultrasonic modules are very
compact components and are easy to integrate on existing manufacturing lines.The Decoup+
slitters/sealers cleanly cut and seal the edge of synthetic films and fabrics in a single pass.
Fraying, unraveling and material beading along the cut edge are totally eliminated.The solutions
developed by Decoup+ are part of an industrial range of ultrasonic equipment; they are proven
solutions with power from 75 to 1,200 watts and are specifically adapted to continuous operations.
These solutions are proposed as modular units to be mounted on existing lines, as adapted benches
or as handheld units.
Foundation date: 1996
Number of employees: 9
Headquarters location: Roche la Molière
Annual turnover: 2 million euros
Owner: Spoolex Group
Dollfus & Muller S.A.S.
Dollfus & Muller manufactures endless woven belts, specific woven fabrics – especially
of wide widths, endless nonwovens and coated fabrics for conveying, calendering, filtration and
advertising. It is recognized as a top player in open mesh conveyor belts and endless felts
manufacturing. The major markets are textile finishing, nonwovens, tanneries, advertising,
aluminums and food. The company invests 10 percent of its turnover in research and development
(R&D). Its R&D team in its own laboratory works on process improvements, development of
durable and reliable products, as well as improvements in finishing.
The company has a worldwide network of agents dedicated to helping every customer in the
Foundation date: 1811
Number of employees: 55
Headquarters location: Mulhouse
Annual turnover: 7 million euros
Ebelmann specializes in precision engineering of hard metals. Present since 1981 in a wide
range of markets, the company has focused its activities on very technically demanding
applications. Thanks to constant technical innovation, helped by fully digitized equipment at the
leading edge of technology, Ebelmann contributes, with its customers and partners, to the
enhancement of their production resources by offering reliable, high performance solutions to equip
textile machines with cutting tool systems.
For technical fibers such as Kevlar®, carbon fibers and glass fibers, Ebelmann manufactures
special scissors, made with carbide tungsten blades, in association with polycrystalline diamond
inserts. The company sees its position to be a global innovator, offering customers the best
products and services in terms of both performance and quality; maintaining synergy among the needs
of customers, suppliers, staff and the environment; and actively supporting any initiative aimed at
further improving productions and services.
Active in the weaving sector, the company’s most important target groups are weavers of
technical fabrics. Three percent of its annual turnover is invested in R&D. Service is globally
organized, and Germany is the company’s most important export country.
Foundation date: 1981
Number of employees: 9
Headquarters location: Éloyes
Annual turnover: 850,000 euros
Laroche specializes in textile waste recycling, fiber preparation and complete lines to
produce nonwoven products using airlay web-forming technology. Its processes are used in
applications such as hygiene and medical, wipes, building, mattress, heat and acoustic insulation,
automotive, underlayer, technical products and paper for banknotes, among other applications.
The company has given top priority to developing a new technology for semi-cured and/or
thermobonded felts using the Air-Felt airlay process for flat or molded parts, semi-cured or cured
nonwoven products used in the automotive and appliance industries; as well as for products used in
the bedding and furniture, insulation and building industries. This airlay short process allows
blending of thermobonding resin with many types of fibers without losing resin and with very low
energy consumption and high efficiency. With the steam process after the Air-Felt process, the
fibers are adhered by the thermobonded resin, which permits handling of the nonwoven matt to the
press and processing of molded parts. By adding a Laroche opener after this process, the company is
able to make very inexpensive thermobonded fibers from recycled fibers such as cotton. This
technology is also dedicated to the processing of very short fibers — less than 3 millimeters —
as fluff pulp, wood and cellulosic fibers, as well as shredded paper or particles ans many other
Laroche holds some patents for its machinery, and some 10 people are working in R&D.
Roughly 15 percent of the annual turnover is invested in R&D. Laroche runs its own laboratory
for technical trials at its headquarters at Cours la Ville, and also conducts trials at NSC
nonwovens’ Asselin-Thibeau trials center in Tourcoing.
Machinery for opening, blending and dosing units for nonwovens; airlay units for hygiene and
medical, building, mattresses, heat and acoustic insulation, and underlayer; and recycling
machinery for nonwovens are at the forefront of demand. The most important export countries and
regions are Europe, the United States, Russia, Turkey and Asia. Due to the current economic crisis,
many projects have been postponed. However, thanks to new developments, Laroche is still doing some
Foundation date: 1926
Number of employees: 100
Headquarters location: Cours la Ville
Annual turnover: 15 million to 17 million euros
Owner: Laroche family
Lemaire has been a designer and manufacturer for more than 100 years, and especially of
technical and special calenders for 40 years. The company is involved in processes such as
heat-setting and heat-bonding – including fuse, powder, hotmelt and film processes – for products
such as nonwovens, technical textiles, plastics, and many other technical products. It manufactures
machines and processing lines for applications such as upholstery, nonwovens, floor coverings,
insulation, leather and shoes, luggage, care, hygienic and pharmacy products.
Lemaire provides solutions for processes such as transfer-printing, laminating,
heat-setting, metal foil lamination, waxing, calendering and heat-bonding. Customers may also
update existing machinery, including simple modifications and also the total revision of machines
and regulation systems. The company also provides accumulator, winder, stacker and special
machinery for technical applications.
Foundation date: 1909
Number of employees: 25
Headquarters location: Hem
Annual turnover: 3 million euros
Owner: Frédéric Bernard
N. Schlumberger S.A.S.
N. Schlumberger manufactures spinning lines for processing long-staple fibers for technical
applications. Long-staple yarns can be spun in various blends from any high-performance fibers.
Natural fibers such as wool, silk, flax, ramie and hemp; as well as man-made fibers such as
acrylic, polyvinyl alcohol, high-tenacity and aramid can be processed. Fabrics containing
long-staple fibers are appreciated for their strength, flexibility, cleanness, evenness,
traditional look and soft touch.
The company offers three processes to produce long-staple top for technical fibers: carding,
stretch-breaking and crush-cutting. These three processing lines are composed of different machines
including cards; converters; pin drafters; blenders; defelters; combers; and rubbing, roving and
spinning frames. All these components are based on five trademarks including Cognetex, San’t Andrea
Novara, N. Schlumberger, Seydel and Thibeau; and are marketed under the NSC fibre to yarn label.
Foundation date: 1810
Number of employees: 230
Headquarters location: Guebwiller
Annual turnover: 29.6 million euros
Owner: NSC Groupe
NSC nonwoven is a worldwide supplier of Excelle® and Axcess cards, crosslappers, drafters,
needlelooms, winders and slitters-rewinders. The compant designs, builds and supplies turnkey
nonwoven lines for needlepunching, spunlacing, thermobonding, air-through bonding and chemical
bonding. The lines are equipped with a supervisory control assistance system, which includes
production recipes, maintenance and assistance to line management.
Over the last decade, innovations in crosslaid technology concentrated exclusively on
improved weight evenness. The new IsoProDyn technology not only further improves the capability of
the Prodyn system, but also controls machine direction:cross direction (MD:CD) characteristics
across the fabric width. Direct benefits are potential fiber savings with lighter products and
improved quality. Customer benefits are an enhanced strength uniformity, improved weight
uniformity, added product value and performance.
Foundation date: 1896
Number of employees: 274
Headquarters location: Tourcoing
Owner: NSC Groupe
Rieter Perfojet S.A.S.
Rieter Nonwovens Systems, also known as Rieter Perfojet, is part of Rieter Textile Systems
and is responsible for the engineering, development, sales, marketing and services for nonwovens
machinery. The company says its expertise in spunlace, spunbond and spunjet processes makes it the
only supplier to offer all these nonwovens technologies from a single source. Globally, the company
has installed more than 150 spunlace lines. Through a collaboration with NSC nonwoven, Rieter
supplies complete spunlace lines from the opening to the winder.
The company reports the Perfobond™ spunbond system demonstrates several production benefits,
including excellent web uniformity for low fabric weight and isotropic web strength. Rieter
Nonwovens has more than 200 patents for spunlace, spunbond and spunjet technologies. One of the
main patents in spunlace technology is the random micro-perforated entanglement sleeves (MPA),
which provide producers many benefits such as the reduction in operating pressures, energy savings,
and up to 500-percent gain in bonding.
Regarding the spunjet process, the pick-up of the spunlaid filaments from the conveyor belt
to the hydroentanglement system is important in order to have the bonding of the filaments without
pre-calendering or needlepunching. This patented system avoids web damaging and improves the final
characteristics of the fabrics.
Rieter Nonwovens has its own R&D service including six experts in the nonwovens area
responsible for processes, technical and fabric development, and intellectual properties.
Since 2003, the company has offered nonwovens producers access to its technical center in
Montbonnot, where trials, product development, marketing tests, technical training and expertise
support are conducted with the most important technologies of the nonwovens technologies.
Rieter Nonwovens offers its customers a supply of original spare parts as well as the
possibility to retrofit their existing lines in order to improve machine performances and fabric
Rieter has developed on its Perfobond machine a new nonwovens process, called Spunjet, which
entails in-line hydroentanglement of continuous filaments from spunlaid technology. The process
offers nonwovens properties with regard to fabric bulk, softness, drape, tensile strength and an
isotropic MD:CD ratio.
At the moment, the main business is the installation or retrofitting of spunlace lines.
Making up 50 percent of the total spunlace production, wipes is currently the fastest-growing
end-use market. Therefore, a line comprising Rieter’s Jetlace® machine combined with NSC nonwoven
cards provides state-of-the-art spunlace fabrics for the wipes industry. Its Jetlace Essentiel
hydroentanglement system is designed for the production of light spunlace fabrics from 25 to 80
grams per square meter (gm2), and has a capacity of up to 15,000 tons per year.
The company’s most important export countries comprise a balance among the United States,
Europe and Asia. Nevertheless, the nonwovens market in emerging countries also is developing. In
order to support the development of emerging countries, Rieter has launched the Jetlace Avantage
machine, designed for the spunlace production from 30 to 120 gm2 and having a capacity of up to
4,000 tons per year.
Rieter Nonwovens sees the current market situation as being not very good in light of the
financial crisis. A lot of nonwovens producers are coping with the economical slowdown by
consolidating. In different geographical zones, the situations vary. Some producers see the crisis
as an opportunity to retrofit existing lines in order to be better-performing when the business
booms again in the future.
Looking into the future, the company sees the main product trend as the engineering of
lighter nonwovens. Ten years ago, the weight of a standard wipe was of 60 g/m
2, and today, the weight of spunlace fabrics for wipes is 40 g/m
2. In order to maintain product bulkiness and the same properties, Rieter Nonwovens has
improved the technical performance of its machinery. The company also believes nonwovens business
will head toward sustainable development and environmental solutions.
Foundation date: 1984
Number of employees: 80
Headquarters location: Montbonnot
Annual turnover: 34.7 million euros
Owner: Rieter Group
RITM is active in ring and two-for-one twisting, direct and conventional cabling, air and
conventional covering, air and false twist texturing, spooling, winding, and assembling machinery
for continuous filaments including: man-made fibers such as polyamide, polyester, polypropylene,
polyethylene and aramid; artificial fibers such as rayon and acetate; natural fibers such as wool,
jute, sisal and cotton blends with continuous filaments; mineral fibers such as glass and quartz;
and metal fibers such as steel and copper.
The company’s most important target groups are companies in the technical yarn segments –
especially electronic-glass yarn twisting and assembling, and tire-cord yarn cabling; but also all
industrial yarn applications such as ropes, twines, nets, belt reinforcements, hoses, tarpaulins,
carpet backing and artificial grass, as well as carpet-yarn twisting and cabling.
RITM holds numerous patents and has more pending. Its R&D staff totals some 30 people,
out of a total workforce of 150 people. Roughly 5 percent of the turnover is invested in R&D,
and the company operates its own laboratory for technical trials at its Valence plant. Boasting a
company philosophy of “Think globally and act locally,” RITM maintains customer service operations
in the United States, Turkey, China and Taiwan, as well as in France.
The most important export countries and regions are Taiwan, China and the United States.
Actual key developments are in the making for glass, tire-cord and industrial applications. Current
top sellers are dedicated to two main sectors: electronic-glass and industrial yarns applications.
RITM claims to be a market leader in these two sectors.
The current market situation is considered to be very tough. The company believes only the
key players will survive – not necessarily the biggest ones, which RITM contends are too large and
not able to adapt their structures to the current situation. The companies that will remain are
those that respect their customers and propose innovative solutions – technologically,
economically, and ecologically – in a mutual win-win partnership. Small, innovative and flexible
companies will survive, especially if they are able to work together as a network. In the
short-term, RITM believes 2009 and maybe 2010 will be very tough to go through but it claims it is
in a good situation to face these challenging times.
Foundation date: 2006; successor of ICBT, created in 1984
Number of employees: Approximately 150
Headquarters location: Valence
Annual turnover: US$100 million in 2007
Owners: Carlos Matas, Noël Paul, Frédéric Belval
Roll Concept’s Alveotubes® are used as idler, transducer, accumulator, guide, contact, nip,
dancer, lay-on, calender, reel spool and roll cores. Its range includes simple profile but also
ready-to-be-installed solutions with a choice of mountings, coatings and coverings, notably
anti-adhesive coatings to prevent a hot product from sticking to the roll. They are also balanced
to insure perfect concentricity and straightness. Each tool is adapted to each specific inquiry,
taking into account productivity requirements, type of products processed and machine configuration
to guarantee regularity of production. The idler rolls guide and transfer the web at different
steps of the production run, keeping a constant tension on the webs thanks to reduced friction and
perfect rotation. Their light weight and the unique alveolar structure make it possible to combine
bending strength and resistance to corrosion. Customized rolls in different diameters and lengths
are available. Corexal® is a universal core adapter for all 3-inch shafts: this unique mechanical
system doesn’t need electricity, air or water. It allows changing of the winding core diameter
easily without any tubing, mounting or tools; nor any internal diameter modification.
Foundation date: 1991
Number of employees: 4
Headquarters location: Roche la Molière
Annual turnover: 1 million euros
Owner: Spoolex Group
Stäubli is a supplier of shedding systems for weaving machines, and the company reports it
holds a strong position as a supplier of shedding machinery for technical fabrics such as
geotextiles; carpet backing; tire cord; fabrics for parachutes, fire protection or weather
protection; and also for paper machine clothing and many more applications.
For the production of heavy technical fabrics, Stäubli provides extra-heavy shedding
equipment such as the electronic dobby type 2685 S or the closed-shed dobby type 4080. The delivery
also includes the complete heddle frame motion and the heddle frame, suitable for such drive
systems with high warp tensions and wide weaving widths. The series of machines for producing heavy
technical fabrics is completed with the electronic dobby Unival 500. This dobby drives each heddle
frame with one motor, independently from but synchronized with the weaving machine drive, allowing
total freedom in shed formation.
Shedding parameters may become essential when producing sophisticated technical textiles of
lighter quality. This is where users can benefit most from Unival 100, the single-end Jacquard
machine that uses servo motors instead of mechanical drives. Technical textiles, for example, for
automotive and aeronautic fabrics, but also for sports, industry or medical — and even with
materials made from glass fibers, carbon and Kevlar — can take advantage of the Unival 100
Stäubli sees its leading role as a supplier of shedding, weaving preparation and carpet
manufacturing machinery; and holds a lot of patents. Laboratories for technical trials are located
at its production sites in France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and China.
Foundation date: 1892
Headquarters location: Faverges
Other locations in France: Lyon
Owner: Antonin Stäubli family
Superba is a provider of complete solutions for saturated steam continuous heat-setting
processing of bulk continuous filament carpet yarn including polyamide 6, polyamide 6,6,
polypropylene, polyester and polyacrylic (PAN); or spun and wool blends. It has its own R&D
center and showroom dedicated to customers’ needs, a hotline service and international spare-parts
department for customer support, and skilled technicians for line installation and training.
The company has more than 35 years of experience in the highly specialized field of
high-quality tufted or woven carpets, providing advanced and competitive solutions with a complete
range of machines, including the new TVP3, third-generation heat-setting line, together with the
MF4 friezing machine and the B401 truly automatic winder. LV3 and DUOVAP steaming and shrinking
lines for PAN high-bulk yarns as well as sophisticated MCD-LA and DL5 space-dyeing lines complete
These lines integrate the latest technologies in term of automatiom, information treatment
and remote access; and are said to be high-performance and efficient, environmentally friendly,
energy-saving and economical. Superba exports approved machinery all over the world with
international certification and has sister companies in the United States, China and the
Foundation date: 1954
Number of employees: 180
Headquarters location: Mulhouse
Subsidiary companies: 3
Annual turnover: 35 million euros
Owner: Thierry Grasser