Germany: Textile Machinery Manufacturing Leader

There are not many countries that can provide as big a range of textile machinery and peripheral
equipment as Germany. The more than 120 member companies of the German Engineering Federation
(VDMA) Textile Machinery Association — led by Managing Director Thomas Waldmann together with a
capable staff of people — form a strong body that is second to none.

For decades, Germany has played the major role among the top textile manufacturers in
Europe. In terms of volume, the Association of Italian Textile Machinery Manufacturers (ACIMIT) may
have more members, but Germany has the largest turnover.

Powerful Branch

VDMA, a private nonprofit organization, represents more than 3,000 member companies in the
engineering industry, and is among the largest and most important industrial associations in
Europe. The Textile Machinery Association represents one of the most powerful branches of German
engineering. In 2012, its members exported textile machinery and accessories worth 3.1 billion
euros. The 120 member companies — coming from all sectors of the industry, and having some global
market leaders among them — are mainly small and medium-sized companies, which represent about 90
percent of the industry’s total volume.

The main activities of the association are to represent the economic and technical interests
of the industry on both the national and international level; provide opportunities to exchange
experiences; offer services such as generating statistics, monitoring key markets and reporting on
the situation in textile industries around the world; actively support fair political decisions
with regards to exhibitions; and publish regular newsletters to provide important information for
its members.

Key committees are the Executive Board, the Exhibition and Marketing Committee and the
Advisory Board for technology and research. The Executive Board consists of 15 people, and each
specialized branch is represented. Chairman of the Board is Fritz P. Mayer, recently retired
managing partner and owner of Karl Mayer Textilmaschinenfabrik GmbH in Obertshausen. Vice
presidents are Heinrich Trützschler, managing partner of Trützschler GmbH & Co. KG,
Monchengladbach; and Karlheinz Liebrandt, CEO of Liba Maschinenfabrik GmbH.

Current focal points of the representation work include:

  • labor market and pay policy, and deregulation;
  • education policy, attracting new generations;
  • tax, research and technology policy;
  • corporate financing and trade policy;
  • environmental/energy policy; and
  • trade fairs/trade and related policy.


After Switzerland and Italy, Germany is the third, but biggest, CEMATEX member country to be
covered in Textile World Asia’s survey of textile machinery suppliers. Twenty-six VDMA Textile
Machinery Association member companies responded to a questionnaire. Most reported a good year in
2012, and some said it was excellent. China is the most important export country, followed by the
United States, India, Turkey, Indonesia, Brazil, Bangladesh and, in some cases, Pakistan. However,
Europe is still a very important market, especially for technical textiles and nonwovens.

Table 1 lists the respondents and the machinery each supplies.

Outlook: Promising But Vulnerable

German producers expect 2013 to bring the same good results as in 2012, or better. But in
spite of a promising start in 2013, the market remains vulnerable, some companies report.

However, for nonwovens machinery, the market is said to be good. It seems that there are
some plans from producers to invest in new capacities.

Regarding future and promising markets, China will further play a major role because buying
power in China is growing very fast. On top of that, China has potential and is fast-growing in its
consciousness regarding quality and sustainability for export markets and — of course — the
increasing domestic market. But it’s not only China — Turkey, Brazil, Bangladesh and Indonesia are
also promising markets for the VDMA members. Some production will move away from China to other
Asian markets. Already a lot of Chinese companies are investing in foreign countries like Vietnam
and Bangladesh, which have lower labor costs. Some experts see a shift in the Chinese domestic
textile industry from East China to West China.

It was also mentioned that the United States, Mexico and some parts of India will invest
more in new machinery than they did last year.

As ever, the machinery industry is facing the same problems: labor costs, energy prices or
lack of power, low prices, and a lot of competition. Frankly speaking, this is nothing new to
people from this industry. On the other hand, some emerging countries are showing promise because
traditional textile producers are investing more money in technical textiles production. Another
positive factor — at least for countries in the eurozone — is the weak currency, along with higher
labor costs and energy costs in the Far East and demands for high-efficiency machinery. The
technical textile market in China is growing — and, therefore, the Chinese producers need highly
sophisticated solutions.

Mayer On VDMA, German Textile Machinery Sector

In an exclusive interview with

TW Asia
, Mayer explains the reasons why Germany represents the premier league in textile
machinery production.

TW Asia
: What are the activities of the VDMA Textile Machinery Association?

Mayer: Since the textile machinery sector is an export-driven branch, sales support is a key
activity. We are very active in organizing symposia and conferences in major textile markets. On
the occasion of these conferences, German companies present their latest technologies to
high-ranking technical experts and decision makers from the respective textile industries. The
lectures are complemented with business-to-business meetings and panel discussions on core topics —
for example, sustainability or life-cycle costs.

TW Asia
: How are these activities organized?

Mayer: All activities are organized in cooperation among the VDMA office staff in
Frankfurt and the respective committees of the association. Today, the Textile Machinery
Association has five regular committees.


Fritz P. Mayer, chairman, VDMA Textile Machinery Association

The Chairman’s Focus

TW Asia
: What is the main focus of the chairman of the VDMA Textile Machinery Association?

Mayer: The main focus of the chairman is to represent the interests of the branch toward a
variety of groups: trade fairs, customer industries, politics and administration, and others.
Together with the colleagues from the Executive Board and the managing director of the association,
the chairman guides the policies and activities of the association. The chairman is also a member
of the European umbrella association CEMATEX.

TW Asia
: What are the main advantages of being a member of VDMA?

Mayer: Besides networking, it is noteworthy to mention the huge service portfolio
and expertise VDMA offers exclusively for member companies. There are experts for law, economics,
statistics, taxes, research and technology, just to mention a few. Not to forget data and market
information — those are of great help for planning and doing business.

TW Asia
: Is there a technical textiles and nonwovens group in VDMA?

Mayer: Not for technical textiles and nonwovens in general. But VDMA founded the
Composite Technology Forum in 2010. The forum seeks to be an interface between the skills of
machinery manufacturers and the needs of industries using fiber composite materials. It aims to
bring about cooperation and exchanges among associations, clusters and other customer industry
organizations. The objective is to create a close network among the players.

TW Asia
: VDMA is one of the most active bodies of the European textile machinery industry in terms
of participation and other factors. What are the reasons for that?

Mayer: One reason, of course, is the size of the industry. But I think it has also
to do with the corporate culture of VDMA. It is not a pure federation, but an association service

TW Asia
: What advice do you have for an interested party or producer of this sector’s products to
make contact with its members?

Mayer: A helpful tool is definitely VDMA’s Internet portal for the customer
industries: The sourcing service on this website helps to find products
and technologies for the textile industry. Visitors to the sourcing service are assisted by a broad
range of search possibilities like free text search, company name or location search, hierarchical
search for categories of textile machinery and accessories, as well as hierarchical search of
textile products for which production technology is requested.

The Difference

TW Asia
: How would you describe the difference between German and other textile machinery products?

Mayer: The experience of many German companies shows that textile mills are
increasingly looking at the life-cycle costs of machines. The reason behind this is that the
investment costs represent only about 10 to 50 percent of the overall costs that occur not only
during the entire lifetime of an investment good, but as well for a shorter time. Therefore, mills
are increasingly looking at the accumulating costs over the life cycle in a textile mill — and,
there are many expense factors to examine: costs for acquisition, installation and startup. The
initial price for a German machine pays off after a few years due to low maintenance costs and
reliability in production.

Market Situation

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

Mayer: In general, I’m satisfied with the current market situation. Germany still
has a strong economy and is less affected by the sovereign debt crisis compared to other countries
in the eurozone. Until now, the crisis had no severe consequences for the member companies, as our
industry predominantly exports its products outside the eurozone.

TW Asia
: How do you see the current market situation for your member companies?

Mayer: Since the end of last year, the business climate has noticeably improved.
The order income in the first two months of 2013 was 11 percent higher compared to the same period
in 2012. In February, the increase was even bigger, with a plus of 29 percent. For the coming
months, I see good business prospects.

TW Asia
: Where are the most significant markets for your member companies?

Mayer: The big five in 2012 have been China, with exports totaling 1 billion
euros; Turkey, 350 million euros; India, 240 million euros; the United States, 170 million euros;
and Indonesia, 120 million euros. The exports to Indonesia increased by 132 percent. Among the top
ten, it’s worth mentioning Bangladesh, with German exports worth 50 million euros in 2012.

In 2012, the total exports of German textile machinery reached 3.1 billion euros. That was a
decrease of 5.5 percent year-on-year. The year 2012 was no record year, but, in general, business
was on a good level.

The Future

TW Asia
: Where do you put the main focus on VDMA’s activities in 2013?

Mayer: As I already mentioned, sales support in major textile markets is an
integral part of VDMA’s activities. Another focus is sustainability. Sustainability has been a
loosely used watchword in the past. But today, it is a competitive factor: Volatile prices for
commodities and for energy are obviously worrisome signs for textile manufacturers in almost all
countries. In the framework of the VDMA Blue Competence sustainability initiative, we will show
textile manufacturers exactly how to realize substantial raw material and energy savings with the
help of German technology.

Ongoing Leadership

TW Asia
: German suppliers are considered to be market leaders in some segments. Why is this, and
what do you plan to do to keep them in this market position?

Mayer: Frankly speaking, it’s the knowledge portfolio that preserves technological
leadership of German suppliers. Copycat machines may look very similar to the systems they are
designed to emulate, and they are a price class cheaper. But all too often, they merely prove the
truth of the German proverb “Buy cheap, buy twice.” Only the original designers have the expertise
and know-how to coax the last ounce of performance out of the system. Many batteries of tests are
needed before the machines, components, sensor systems and the electronic controllers are perfectly
synchronized, so that the desired product quality is achieved all the time, even at maximum working
speed. This insider knowledge is hard-won. The engineers gradually gain an understanding of the
internal workings of a machine, and how it responds to external stimuli, so that they can then
implement new functions on it. This works because of the permanent high research and development
expenditures of the German textile machinery companies as well as the quality of German

Traditional & Industrial Textile Suppliers

Autefa Solutions

  • Nonwovens preparatory machinery
  • Cards
  • Crosslappers
  • Needle looms
  • Winders & packaging machinery
  • Complete nonwovens lines
  • Fiber balers

DiloGroup (Industrial)

  • Nonwovens preparatory machinery
  • Cards
  • Crosslappers
  • Needle looms
  • Complete nonwovens lines

Lindauer Dornier GmbH

  • Air-jet & rapier weaving machines

Erhardt + Leimer GmbH

  • Nonwovens machinery & accessories
  • Printing machinery
  • Cutters
  • Winders & packaging machinery
  • Miscellaneous machinery & accessories


  • Weaving preparation machinery
  • Other weaving machinery & accessories
  • Warp knitting & knitting preparatory machinery
  • Other knitting machinery & accessories
  • Flocking machinery
  • Dyeing machinery: wovens

Groz-Beckert KG

  • Needles/sewing needles
  • Weaving preparation machinery

Heinrich Derix Betriebsges mbH (Industrial)

  • Other weaving machinery & accessories

Lenzing Instruments GmbH

  • Yarn formation machinery & accessories
  • Nonwovens machinery & accessories
  • Miscellaneous machinery & accessories

LIBA Maschinenfabrik

  • Warp knitting & knitting preparatory machinery
  • Warp knitting machines
  • Raschel machines
  • Knitting machinery & accessories (Industrial)

Memminger-IRO GmbH

  • Knitting machinery & accessories
  • Other knitting machinery & accessories

Mayer & Cie. GmbH

  • Circular knitting machines

Merz Maschinenfabrik

  • Circular knitting machines

A. Monforts Textilmaschinen GmbH & Co. KG

  • Bonding machinery: thermal & chemical (industrial)
  • Thermofinishing machinery
  • Coating, laminating & bonding machinery
  • Flocking machinery
  • Dyeing machinery: wovens
  • Special machines: plasma treatment, etc. (traditional)
  • Rotary screen printing machinery (industrial)
  • Transfer printing machinery (industrial)

Nanoval GmbH & Co. KG

  • Complete spunbond & meltblown lines

Power-Heat-Set GmbH

  • Thermofinishing machinery (industrial)

Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG (Industrial)

  • MMF production machinery: spun & filament
  • Texturing machinery
  • Long-staple spinning preparation & fiber spinning machinery
  • Nonwovens preparatory machinery
  • Cards
  • Crosslappers
  • Winders & packaging machinery
  • Air-jet, rapier & projectile weaving machines
  • Flat, circular, warp & raschel knitting machines
  • Mechanical finishing machinery: shearing, raising, etc.
  • Dyeing machinery: yarn, wovens & knits
  • Printing machinery: Flat screen & ink-jet
  • Sewing machines
  • Welding machines
  • Winders & packaging machinery
  • Miscellaneous machinery & accessories

Reiners + Fürst GmbH

  • Yarn formation machinery & accessories

Sedo Treepoint GmbH

  • Printing machinery & accessories (traditional)
  • Quality & quality assurance equipment

J. Schlenter Production

  • Mechanical finishing machinery: shearing, raising, etc.

Hans Schmidt & Co. GmbH

  • Quality & quality assurance equipment

Schönherr Textilmaschinenbau

  • Rapier weaving machines

Spindelfabrik Suessen GmbH

  • Short-staple spinning machinery (cotton, MMF)
  • Long-staple fiber spinning machinery
  • Making-up accessories (traditional)

Trützschler GmbH & Co. KG

  • Short-staple spinning preparation machinery (cotton, MMF)

TEXPA Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. (Traditional)

  • Sewing machines
  • Winders & packaging machinery & accessories
  • Miscellaneous machinery & accessories

Trützschler Nonwovens & Man-Made Fibers GmbH

  • MMF production machinery: spun & filament
  • Nonwovens preparatory machinery
  • Cards
  • Crosslappers
  • Needle looms
  • Bonding machinery: thermal & chemical
  • Hydroentanglement machinery
  • Spunlaced lines
  • Nonwovens calenders
  • Winders & packaging machinery
  • Complete nonwovens lines

XETMA Vollenweider GmbH

  • Mechanical finishing machinery: shearing, raising, etc.

July/August/September 2013