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New on Technical Textiles

ITMA Asia preview

TTNet is pleased to make available articles highlighting the technical and performance textiles content of ITMA Asia and CITME exhibitions. To access a PDF of these articles as they appear in our sister publication Technical Textiles International, please click here.


Record-breaking show reveals that industry recognizes its need to invest

21 October 2016: Since its beginnings in 2008, the biennial ITMA Asia + CITME machinery exhibition has been an important hub for the textile industry. Now in its fifth incarnation, the show organizers report it has reached a record-breaking size: over the next five days, 1673 exhibitors representing 28 countries will welcome around 100 000 visitors to the show’s new home, the National Exhibition and Convention Centre in Shanghai, China. The exhibitors occupy more than 170 000 m2 of the six halls housing the event, a 12% increase compared with the previous show in 2014.

Fritz Mayer is the newly elected President of CEMATEX, one of the owners of the ITMA Asia + CITME exhibitions.

Nevertheless, the show takes place against a backdrop of continuing difficulties for the global economy: the world is still struggling to overcome the effects of the financial crisis that began nearly a decade ago; political turmoil and conflicts dominate the news; electorates are showing their dissatisfaction with governments and creating further uncertainties in the global economy (see “Uncertainty is the only thing of which we can be sure” below). Unsurprisingly then, the textile industry is experiencing a hard time, even in China itself, the economic powerhouse of recent years. In their opening statements for ITMA Asia + CITME 2016, newly elected President of the European Committee of Textile Machinery Manufacturers (CEMATEX) Fritz Mayer referred to the “current sluggish economic climate” and President of the China Textile Machinery Association (CTMA) Wang Shutian described economic conditions as difficult.

Why then is the show doing so well? Certainly the Chinese Government’s drive to increase the degree of automation in its country’s industries is a major spur. Rising wages are considerably reducing one of the country’s advantages as a manufacturing economy: published this month, World Markets for Technical Textiles to 2022 says that China is the country that has seen its labour costs grow the most since the beginning of the century—up to US$2.65 an hour from US$0.69 (284%). China then is joining the band of industrialized economies that seek to invest in manufacturing machinery that can help keep labour costs down.

Simultaneously, these investments also help companies to reduce their consumption of energy and raw materials, because, recognizing the problems that the rising costs of energy and petroleum-based materials have caused their customers over the last decade and more, machinery builders have focused their developments on improving efficiency. Numerous examples of these types of development can be found in our freely available preview of the exhibits at ITMA Asia + CITME 2016, which is unique in concentrating on machinery for the manufacture of high-performance textiles and nonwovens.

The industry then understands why it needs to invest in such hard times and is heading to Shanghai to find out more about what it can invest in. If you can’t join them, you can learn a great deal from our previews, and if you are in Shanghai, let these be your guide to finding the best developments.

Site members can also access all of our individual preview articles, focused on machinery for:



Uncertainty is the only thing of which we can be sure

Just over three months have passed since the UK electorate chose narrowly (52% to 48%) in a referendum held on 23 June 2016 to instruct its government to end the country’s 43-year-long membership of the European Union (EU)—a process now commonly referred to as “Brexit”. The result of the vote took many by surprise, including supporters of the campaign to leave, and it is still too soon to be sure what the ramifications will be; in fact there is currently uncertainty as to when the UK government will invoke Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, the first and necessary step in a period of preparation and negotiation lasting up to two years for the withdrawal of a member state, with some going as far as to speculate whether the government will even take this step; the results of the referendum are not legally binding and a 2+% swing in public opinion is modest by any standards, they argue.

It is clear, however, that the decision had and continues to have a dramatic impact on markets around the world. Within hours of the announcement of the result, for instance, the value of sterling fell by 10% to its weakest level against the US dollar for more than 30 years. Significant variations in exchange rates affect the price of goods and so the balance of trade. Simplistically, UK manufacturers can benefit from a weak currency, because their exports are effectively cheaper, while imports are hampered by the opposite effect. Analysts have even begun to talk of textile manufacturing returning to the UK, so-called “re-shoring”, if the fall in the exchange rate is maintained.

At the same time, stock markets around the globe, themselves still fragile and far from fully recovered following the financial crisis that began in 2007, are experiencing high levels of uncertainty, initially falling significantly in value, but currently being significantly higher than they were on 23 June 2016.

A constant throughout this narrative is continuing uncertainty. Uncertainty is bad, because it dampens the willingness to invest, which is particularly bad news in sectors of the economy, such as technical textiles, that require investments in new technologies. An unwillingness to invest also disproportionately affects small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which characterize a large part of the technical textiles industry. Worse still, the uncertainty will be prolonged; as recent history has shown, it takes many years to negotiate/renegotiate trade agreements and even those that are nearing completion, such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the USA and the EU could be further delayed by the Brexit decision.

Against this gloomy background, it should be stated that the technical textiles sector has performed relatively well throughout the years since 2007, when it faced these same problems, as has been consistently documented in numerous reports, including the latest, World Markets for Technical Textiles to 2022, a comprehensive analysis of data compiled from many independent sources by CIRFS. We must all hope that by the time of the next edition of World Markets for Technical Textiles, the data can tell the same story.

Nonwovens for High-performance Applications

The Conference on Nonwovens for High-performance Applications (NHPA2017) will take place in Prague, Czech Republic, on 7-8 March 2017.

To download the full conference brochure click on the image below.

For further information on the Speakers and presentation Abstracts, visit the conference website here.

The conference offers ample networking facilities via the exhibition area and evening reception, as well as during the breaks and lunches, which delegates from the two previous editions have found invaluable. For more information on Sponsorship offers at NHPA2017 please click here.

To purchase your Early-bird discounted delegate place click here.

Now available: World Markets for Technical Textiles To 2022

World Markets For Technical Textiles To 2022 is the ONLY current comprehensive survey of the international technical textiles industry and its future development. The report will help you to identify future business opportunities in the changing market for technical textiles. It will give you detailed and reliable information in a single volume, saving you and your company time and money.

Available now for immediate download in PDF format, or ensure your printed copy by ordering today. Click here for full information on the report and to order.


More Features

More and more, nonwoven manufacturers are looking to make fabrics for technical applications and machinery builders are responding by developing equipment to meet their specific needs. Nick Butler reviews those about to be exhibited in Shanghai.

ITMA Asia + CITME 2016 will be held in Shanghai, China, on 21–25 October 2016 and Nick Butler shares his highlights of the exhibits relevant to manufacturers of technical textiles. He starts with technology for digital printing where the rapid pace of development will be evident as visitors discover just how much has changed in the scant few months since the last ITMA was held in November 2015 in Milan.

The oil price may be low, but as far as the growing market for biopolymers and biofibres is concerned, the prices of sugar and corn are just as significant, according to Adrian Wilson.

Ian Holme reports technical textiles were high on the agenda at the 24th International Congress of the International Federation of Associations of Textile Chemists and Colourists, held in Pardubice, Czech Republic, on 13–16 June 2016.