With a total of 1818 exhibitors from 59 countries and about 47 000 trade visitors from 116 countries, the two biggest editions of Techtextil and Texprocess ever to be held took place concurrently in Frankfurt, Germany, on 14–17 May 2019, according to the organizer Messe Frankfurt GmbH. Arguably, however, the numbers are not so different from the previous editions held in Frankfurt in 2017, but in any case, statistics do not tell the whole story.
Machinery, particularly automated machinery, has become a big part of Techtextil/Texprocess
, but machinery builders will reveal even more developments during ITMA
Having attended every Techtextil and Texprocess in Frankfurt since launching the magazine Technical Textiles International in 1992, I can agree that this edition was the busiest. In addition, with the exception of a traditionally quieter final day, the Halls were crowded throughout and exhibitors consistently expressed the opinion that the visitors were high-quality contacts.
Attendees also widely agreed that the industry is currently experiencing a downturn in fortunes, with many blaming a lack of confidence brought about by the Trump Administration’s approach to trade between the USA and the rest of the world and, in Europe, an important region for the technical textiles industry, the ongoing uncertainties of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU)—so-called “Brexit”. Nevertheless, the consensus was that the downturn is modest, probably now stabilizing and that spending power is readily available to improve fortunes if these broader economic issues can be resolved.
Heightened levels of concern among consumers about the negative impacts of manufacturing and manufactured products on the environment, however, are seen as important and long-term issues that must be addressed. To its credit, the industry has long sought to reduce its consumption of energy, water and raw materials, but there are now greater pressures driving the design and development of recycled, recyclable, biodegradable and biocompostable products, as well as the use of raw materials from natural resources (for instance, High-performance binder based on natural raw materials for coatings). “Sustainable manufacturing” and “sustainability” were ubiquitous terms spoken loudly and often throughout the shows.
Since the inception of Texprocess, machinery builders and process equipment manufacturers have become an increasingly important part of the combined exhibitions and this helped highlight another trend—the increasing integration and automation of manufacturing processes. Properly considered, these developments could help to do more to mitigate the industry’s impact on the environment and so the coincidence of these trends is fortunate.
Nevertheless, far more details of machinery and equipment developments will be unveiled during ITMA, which takes place in Barcelona, Spain, on 20–26 June 2019. Consequently, we have prepared a number of previews of the exhibitors’ plans at another of the key shows in the industry’s calendar:
Paid members of the site can use these articles to prepare for another busy few days and, simply by registering for a free account, others may have access to a limited amount of the editorial (see below). In addition, our team will be attending the show itself to look behind the numbers and the public announcements, and to gauge the mood of attendees and reveal the trends that will shape the industry over the next few years.
Nick Butler, Editor, Technical Textiles International