Executive Forum: The New Trützschler Group: Getting Fibers Into Shape – Step By Step

Trützschler GmbH & Co. KG is a group of companies with some 2,700 workers and nine production
sites in Germany, the United States, Brazil, India, China and Switzerland. The company is a leading
supplier of machinery and equipment for spinning, nonwovens and man-made fibers as well as card

Trützschler was founded in 1888 in Crimmitschau, Saxony, Germany by Paul Heinrich
Trützschler; followed by his sons Bruno, Karl and Willi. After World War II, Hans and Hermann
Trützschler began reconstruction in Mönchengladbach and developed the company into a global
enterprise. Today, Managing Partners Heinrich Trützschler and Dr.-Ing. Michael Schürenkrämer lead
the group together with Managing Directors Dirk Burger, Ph.D., CEO, and Andreas Ebennöh, chief
technical officer, who share the business operations. The managing partners mainly focus on new
business strategy and development.

Burger recently spoke with

TW Asia
about the company highlights and future direction.


Trützschler Group CEO Dirk Burger, Ph.D.

TW Asia: Trützschler was known as a leader in the field of classic spinning
preparation. Then, there was a radical rethinking (See Table 1). Why did the company expand the
product portfolio over the past few years at such a pace?

Burger: From our point of view, Trützschler has changed over the last decades up
to now more in an evolutionary way. In the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, we expanded our original spinning
preparation program of blowroom machines to carding machines and draw frames. At the same time,
Trützschler’s early globalization began with the startup of production sites in North America,
Brazil and India. In 1985, we presented a feeder for roller cards, which could control the web over
the whole width. With this product, we started to learn about the nonwovens industry. Many industry
contacts motivated us to get more involved.

TW Asia: What were the main reasons to acquire all these companies?

Burger: The natural fibers sector is somewhat limited, so these acquisitions
focused on man-made fibers. With card clothing from Hollingsworth, we could offer development,
sales and marketing of cards and clothing from one source. Erko allowed us to further extend the
web-forming portfolio. Fleissner is one of the leaders in nonwovens bonding. Bastian’s technology
enabled us to further round out our portfolio with competence in winding. Swisstex complements our
competence in man-made fibers and will open new markets.

TW Asia: What are the group’s main advantages?

Burger: First, to offer complete spinning preparation solutions for natural and
man-made fibers. Synergies are obvious: It doesn’t matter if you prepare fibers or the carding for
spinning or nonwovens production; it’s more or less the same technology. There are a lot of
synergies in the man-made-fiber sector: We can serve customers with one team for all products,
demonstrating our enlarged competence. All sectors cover fiber treatment. In formulating
Trützschler’s comprehensive competence, we can say “getting fibers into shape.”

Burger describes the company’s philosophy: to be fast when changes occur; to lead in
technology; and to be close to the markets and thus, to the customers. On top of all is the
proximity to customers with strong and fast local service.


TW Asia: How have you been able to integrate all individual group members?

Burger: Integration is like a soccer game: A group of stars is not a team yet.
They need focused coaching, which we do very carefully. On one side, we support the individual
strengths of the group members. On the other, we integrate them into a corporate team and culture.
We deliberately did not close any branches, and thus, there is no big move of people from one place
to another.

The main target is to have a consistent market entrance with all group members. This is not
such a difficult task in a family-owned company with short decision routes.

TW Asia: How have your employees and customers reacted to the acquisitions?

Burger: Very, very positively. Our employees see a strategy of growth and a secure
future. Don’t forget, the acquisition was made by a technology company, and not by a financial
investor. Here is somebody with a long-term investment that has a lot of confidence in the people.

For our customers, our group signals that it is a reliable partner with a solid
technological background. As we can offer complete lines, it’s getting better all the time, and one
can build up trust with the customers. For example, we’ve sold complete man-made fiber lines to
Indonesia, Pakistan and China. Trützschler Nonwovens is working well, and the winding department
has a full order book for one year ahead.

TW Asia: What are Trützschler’s top sellers and export markets?

Burger: In spinning, our top seller is the TC 11, the most economical card in the
market. In the blow room, the Foreign Fiber Separator SP-FPU with its complete, modular system for
detection and safe separation of foreign parts without high fiber losses is well-accepted
worldwide. In the draw frame sector, we continuously increase our market share. In card clothing,
the trend is to new products with less maintenance and increased product quality. For nonwovens,
our core competence is in the know-how of complete lines. We’re the only company that can master
four nonwovens bonding technologies. A focal point is spunlaced lines. In man-made fiber, we are
successful in lines with a daily production capacity between 100 and 600 metric tons.

For spinning machinery, our most important export markets are Southeast Asia including
Pakistan and Bangladesh, and, of course, Turkey. Big markets like China and India are mainly served
by our local production plants. Nonwovens machinery exports are only shipped from Germany.

TW Asia: How do you see the current market situation? What do you expect in

Burger: We see a slight improvement compared to 2012, particularly for China and
India. Due to political instability, there are problems in Egypt and Syria. The poor supply of
energy in the south of India is also a handicap for development of the local textile industry.

For 2013, we expect stable business development without big growth, but also considerable
market breakdown. We expect our export share will increase further in the nonwovens and man-made
fibers sectors.

Countries with a growing consumption of textile products are Trützschler’s most important
markets and, of course, all countries with a high export share of textiles and apparel.

TW Asia: Where will you go in the next few years?

Burger: I think China is not a low-cost country anymore; it also has a huge
domestic market and consumption. Many Chinese textile producers have stopped exporting; the local
markets are in better shape. On the other hand, this will give other countries a chance to increase
their own exports.

TW Asia: What do you expect from this group of companies for the future?

Burger: We want to be the partner around the whole fiber and fiber preparation
business. We want to be the technology leader in these fields of applications.

TW Asia: In certain product portfolio areas, you are considered to be a market
leader. Why is this, and how do you plan to keep that position?

Burger: We have strong quality and service commitments to our customers. We want
to be close to our customers and their markets, and deliver technology and products that are in
demand in the various markets.

R&D is of great importance for our business. Development will be even more global and
specific to the different markets. Our service around the globe will be very present for our
customers and will surely expand even more.

TW Asia: Are more acquisitions possible?

Burger: We don’t have concrete plans in that direction. We think we are in pretty
good shape today. However, one should never say “Never.”

January/February/March 2013