India is main market for Italian textile machine makers

India is main market for Italian textile machine makers

The pandemic has accelerated a transformation already underway in the textile supply chain. Realising the urgency of enacting a digital transformation, Association of Italian Textile Machinery Manufacturers (ACIMIT) has accelerated its Digital Label project for certifying Italian textile machinery that adopt a common set of data, in order to more easily integrate with the operating systems of their client businesses (ERP, MES, CRM, etc.). In this interview with Rakesh Rao, Alessandro Zucchi, President, ACIMIT, explains the importance of digitalization and sustainability for textile machinery makers.

The pandemic has accelerated a transformation already underway in the textile supply chain. Realising the urgency of enacting a digital transformation, Association of Italian Textile Machinery Manufacturers (ACIMIT) has accelerated its Digital Label project for certifying Italian textile machinery that adopt a common set of data, in order to more easily integrate with the operating systems of their client businesses (ERP, MES, CRM, etc.). In this interview with Rakesh Rao, Alessandro Zucchi, President, ACIMIT, explains the importance of digitalization and sustainability for textile machinery makers.

As the President of one of the most dynamic associations in the textile machinery space, what are your priorities at present?
For the next two years, I will work to make the Italian textile machinery industry even more competitive than it already is. The priorities of my term are speeding up the digitalisation of our companies and the sustainability of our machines.

The recently held ACIMIT’s general assembly highlighted the effect of Covid 19 pandemic on digitalization in the textile sector. Could you please elaborate more on this? Also, what does digital transformation mean to textile producers (like fibre, yarn, apparels, clothing, etc) and their vendors (like textile machinery and auxiliary equipment makers)?
The pandemic has accelerated a transformation already underway in the textile supply chain. The digitisation of the various business operations was already underway, especially in the B2C area and, therefore, in the relationship with the end customer. Forced by the Covid-19 pandemic to avoid personal contact, the relationship between technology providers and textile companies has also evolved, developing new solutions, especially with regard to remote machine maintenance.

How are Italian textile machinery manufacturers gearing up for digital transformation? Are you seeing the demand for automated textile machinery growing post Covid?
Italian textile machinery manufacturers have realised the urgency of enacting a digital transformation of their business. This is precisely why ACIMIT has accelerated its Digital Label project for certifying Italian textile machinery that adopt a common set of data, in order to more easily integrate with the operating systems of their client businesses (ERP, MES, CRM, etc.). I am sure that in the future the demand for more and more interconnected machines will grow. This development will enable textile companies to increase their productivity and competitiveness.

Italian textile machinery industry witnessed a sharp rebound in orders intake for the second quarter 2021. What contributed to this robust growth in demand?
The strong recovery in orders in the first half of 2021 is mainly due to the comparison with the sharp slowdown in the first half of 2020. But now textile companies have started to invest again. This is observed both in the Italian and foreign markets.

How was the performance of Italian textile machinery industry in 2020? What are your expectations for 2021?
In 2020, the Italian textile machinery industry declined by around 20% due to the economic consequences of the pandemic. 2021 will be decidedly more positive, thanks also to the resumption of trade fair activity in attendance.

Along with digitalisation, sustainability is a mega trend in the industry. How are Italian textile machinery manufacturers helping textile producers to fulfil their sustainability goals?
Our companies have been working on the issue of sustainable production processes in textiles for several years. In particular, the ACIMIT Sustainable Technologies project was launched 11 years ago and is yielding positive results. Italian green-certified machines allow users to save resources and reduce environmental impact.

Quality is an important factor for any textile producer. How are Italian textile machinery manufacturers helping textile producers produce high-quality products? Can a high level of automation/digitalization make the process of quality improvement effortless?
There is no doubt that the quality of textile products also depends on a highly digitalised production process in which textile machines can play a fundamental role in increasing the quality of products.

What is the contribution of India to the growth of Italian textile machinery industry?
India is historically one of our main markets. In 2020, we exported machinery worth more than EUR 61 million. Furthermore, in the first 4 months of 2021, our sales in India increased by 35% compared to the same period in 2020.

What is driving the demand for Italian textile machinery and technology in India? What kinds of new opportunities are Italian companies looking at in India?
India’s demand for Italian machinery covers all the sectors into which the textile production process is divided. Italian sales in 2020 were broken down as follows: 29% finishing machinery, 28% weaving machines, 16% spinning machines, 27% other machines. These figures confirm that the Italian offer is competitive in all sectors and is appreciated by many Indian textile companies.

India has been focusing on boosting its technical textiles industry. How can Italian machinery companies help India in this mission?
I believe that even in the most innovative sectors, such as technical textiles, there is an opportunity for fruitful cooperation between Indian companies and Italian suppliers. In the past, ACIMIT and the Italian Trade Agency have organised several technology seminars on Italian technologies for the production of technical textiles and nonwovens. The success of these promotional initiatives confirms the validity of the Italian technological offer also for the production of more innovative items.

Italy is one of India’s most trusted trade partners. How do you see the future of India-Italy trade relation in a volatile global environment?
The whole world is watching the progress of the Indian economy closely. India is a great country and there are many opportunities for Italian companies. I hope that other sectors of Italian industry can follow the example of Italian textile machinery, which has been recognised as a reliable partner by its Indian counterpart for decades.

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