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Indian textile producers are increasingly interested to automate

Jun 01, 2021
Indian textile producers are increasingly interested to automate

German textile machinery manufacturers are known to offer energy- and resource-efficient solutions around the entire world. Representing them globally is the VDMA Textile Machinery Association. India is traditionally one of the top markets of the VDMA member companies. India is not just an export market, but also a production and sourcing hub for German firms. In this interview, Thomas Waldmann, Managing Director, VDMA Textile Machinery Association, tracks changes taking place in textile engineering space and explains the importance of India for German textile machinery companies.

Kindly tell us about the main activities of VDMA Textile Machinery Association?
The VDMA Textile Machinery Association represents a powerful branch of the German mechanical engineering. About 120 member companies, ranging from spinning to finishing, many of them world market leaders, are mostly medium-sized firms and represent around 90 percent of the total volume of the industry. Our goals are to increase the competitiveness of our members and to secure the future viability of the textile machinery industry. For this reason, the economic and technical representation of the industry's interests, networking, and exchange of experience as well as professional services are the focus of our work. Topics include competition studies, ITMA and ITMA ASIA, market access restrictions and machine safety regulations, research, young engineers, standardization, digitization, support with trade fair policy decisions, symposia/B2B events in customer markets, marketing conferences, the entrepreneurs' meeting "Textile Machinery Forum”, media relations, statistics, manufacturer sourcing service and much more.

How is the German textile and textile machinery market currently performing? In which segments are German companies particularly strong?
With its market leading technologies and machinery, German textile machinery manufacturers are very successfully offering energy- and resource-efficient solutions around the entire world. An expert team of member companies of the VDMA Textile Machinery Association has studied the energy saving effects across the entire production chain of five textile products: a cotton T-shirt, a functional T-shirt, a textile billboard, an architectural fabric and a hygienic nonwoven. The result of this analysis is impressive: In the manufacture of these products, today's German technology can save up to 30 percent of energy compared to what was available some years ago. Frankly speaking: Today it is nearly impossible to sell machines that are not resource efficient, because costs for commodities and energy are among the major ones in textile production.

Which markets were developing and declining for the German textile machinery industry?
In the beginning of the crisis last spring time, German textile machinery builders witnessed a decrease in orders. But from last summer on, the business situation improved.

What trends have you noticed in the textile market recently?
Textile producers from India and from other Asian countries are increasingly interested to automate things. There is no textile sector that does not benefit from automation and process control. The effect is improved quality and consistency, cost control, improved work environments and employment opportunities. The R&D efforts of VDMA member companies paid off. They can offer textile manufacturers customized solutions.

What industrial and economic challenges are currently impacting VDMA’s member companies, and how are they responding to them?
Of course, Covid-19 is currently the major obstacle, impacting our member companies. But even in the years before, we have seen increasing protectionist tendencies in many countries and regions. What need to be done? Let us stand together what made our business globally successful: for free trade and against protectionism.

What are your expectations for 2020/2021?
The economic outlook for the textile machinery sector brightened considerably at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021. The sales forecast 2021/2020 is plus 14% for the textile machinery sector.

Is there growing interest in the Indian market from your members?
India is traditionally one of the top markets of the VDMA member companies. Many VDMA companies can proudly point back to decades of close customer relationships which are based on mutual trust. During the last five years, German exports to India have always been well above Euro 200 million per year. But India is not just an export market, it is also a production and sourcing hub. Well-known VDMA members are producing directly in India, feeding the demand of the Indian domestic market as well as of other Asian countries.

We are living in difficult times. Nevertheless, the companies of the VDMA Textile Machinery Association are looking forward to continuing and deepening the close customer relationships with the Indian textile industry.

Are VDMA members increasingly exporting machinery to India? Do you have any figures/statistics on this?
India is one of the top markets for our member companies. Looking at the long term most important markets India ranks among the top 3.

How do you view the current condition in the Indian textile industry with the pandemic?
India is closely integrated into international supply chains. Therefore, India's manufacturing industry felt the effects of the corona crisis at a very early stage. The textile industry must fight on two fronts at once. Firstly, the supply chains from China were disrupted. On the other hand, the Indian manufacturers of textiles and clothing are losing their main sales markets in the aftermath of the Corona crisis with the USA and the European Union. We are hoping for a rapid recovery in India and all other countries, too.

Technical textile being integral to Medical textiles, how do you perceive the changing landscape for the Technical textile industry in India and globally.
Due to Covid-19, masks and protective gowns etc. are in high demand. Whether masks, surgical gowns or disinfecting wipes, the production of the textile starting material is the first step in a multi-stage production process. The VDMA members are at the beginning of this technological chain. VDMA provides an overview of the range of services offered by textile machinery manufacturers at the beginning of the technological chain. The Covid-19 crisis has hit both – the textile industry as well as the machinery manufacturers. There are travel restrictions around the globe. Most trade fairs had to be cancelled. As an answer to these challenges, VDMA started a series of Textile Machinery Webtalks – powered by VDMA.

In April, VDMA took a further step and moved these Webtalks to a new platform: the new customer portal “Textile Machinery Newsroom” is online on the IndustryArena platform. It provides visitors with technical and marketing relevant information in English for textile and nonwovens manufacturers.

IndustryArena as the umbrella platform of Textile Machinery Newsroom is the leading specialist portal for the manufacturing industry with more than 500,000 registered members and 3,000 providers.

The most prominent sections of “Textile Machinery Newsroom” include supplier news, a sourcing service and the webtalks section. From now on, VDMA’s successful “Textile Machinery Webtalks” series that started in summer 2020 will be published and advertised via this portal.

Companies can now participate and book future-oriented technology webinars either alone, in pairs or in the tried and tested three-part format. All VDMA members (not only companies supported by the Textile Machinery Association), textile research institutes in the EU and EFTA as well as textile and nonwovens manufacturers (customers) with whom VDMA member companies realised a joint project, for example, are entitled to participate.