ITMA Asia 2021 show heralds investment revival

ITMA Asia 2021 show heralds investment revival

Swiss Textile Machinery companies welcome return to in-person customer contact.

Zurich, Switzerland


The recent ITMA Asia + CITME exhibition was marked by
a strong showing from Swiss Textile Machinery members, in what was the sector’s
first major face-to-face showcase since the pandemic restrictions.


With an attendance comprised of 99% Chinese visitors,
the show still proved a satisfactory venture, the Swiss companies reported.
There was real product innovation, and meaningful customer interest, prompting
a genuine mood of optimism among exhibitors. The event was held from June 12-16
in Shanghai, with 18 Swiss exhibitors, of whom 13 were Swiss Textile Machinery
member companies.


“Our members were first of all delighted to be able
to meet their customers in person again,” said Cornelia Buchwalder, Secretary
General of Swiss Textile Machinery. “And the feedback was extremely positive
regarding the post-pandemic future market situation. From an admittedly low
base in recent times, we see a real revival in investment.


“Despite the lack of many show visitors from other
countries, it is still the case that China itself is a pre-eminent market for
textile machinery – so it is the ideal place to restart our exhibition


Catch-up effect

Rieter Group, including the Graf, SSM and Bräcker
businesses, described the event as “a success despite the restrictions.” Lower
visitor attendance overall was outweighed by the response to the company’s
‘virtual booth’.


Said Rieter CEO Norbert Klapper: “At the moment, the
textile machinery market is booming due to a catch-up effect.” Orders for the
first half of this year are already expected to be more than triple the level
in the corresponding period of 2020, and customer feedback at the event was
also positive.


Rieter also sees changes in the Chinese market for
spinning equipment, driven by cost development in the country. “On the one
hand, Chinese customers will foster investments outside China, in particular
for their export business. At the same time, they will invest in their
operations in China in order to stay competitive,” he said.


Biggest customer base

The importance of the China market was also
emphasized by Loepfe Brothers Ltd., whose CEO Dr. Ralph Mennicke commented:
“ITMA Asia means meeting our biggest customer base in the world – physically by
our local partners, and virtually via our virtual meeting point at the Loepfe
booth. While we expect to see a major transformation of exhibitions, we are
determined to shape this transformation our way.”


Both new and existing Loepfe customers visited the
company’s booth, with two new products attracting great interest. “We have seen
a great pick-up of investments into spinning mills in 2021…the starting point
for a new era of sensor solutions for fibres and filaments,” Dr Mennicke said.


Boom period

Stäubli is also looking ahead to a boom period after
Covid-19, and the Chinese market is viewed as “still very stable,” with
potential for growth in the denim industry in the Guangdong region, although
companies from here were unable to attend in Shanghai because of travel


The chance to meet customers face-to-face was an
important factor for Stäubli, for this event and for those scheduled during
2022. “Real customer contact is very important to us,” said Fritz Legler,
Vice-President Marketing, Sales & Service. “Digital trade fairs will not
replace the feeling to ‘experience’ the machines, when all five senses are
activated, and the performance of the product can be presented directly.”


Stäubli was able present a broad range of machinery
at its booth, with a number of new launches, and special interest reported in
weaving preparation solutions, dobby and Jacquard machines.


Innovations interest

Despite the pandemic, Uster Technologies was able to
launch three significant innovations during 2021, all of which attracted
serious interest – both technical and commercial – when presented at ITMA Asia


Sivakumar Narayanan, the company’s Executive
Vice-President, said: “We closed quite a few contracts, and we were generally
very satisfied with the response at the show. It was handled 100% by our
Chinese team, who did a fantastic job in setting up the exhibits and handling
Chinese and international visitors. It was predominantly visited by Chinese
companies but there were a few from other countries, such as Pakistan and
Turkey. We were also pleased to return to ‘live’ exhibitions, but our virtual
showroom was a valuable extra channel to stay in contact with customers and


Like other companies in the industry, Uster is in a
high demand phase, striving to meet delivery times, despite an ongoing
semiconductor supply chain challenge. While the company hopes demand will
sustain, its aim is to maintain flexibility and adapt to the needs of the
market situation.


The Swiss Textile Machinery member firms exhibiting
at ITMA Asia + CITME 2020 were Bräcker, Graf, Hunziker, Loepfe, Luwa, Polytex,
Rieter, Santex Rimar, Sedo Engineering, SSM, Stäubli, Uster, and Willy Grob.

Image Source: Press release of “Swiss Textile


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