Techtextil 2024 saw more sustainable offerings than ever before

Techtextil 2024 saw more sustainable offerings than ever before


In this interview with Rakesh Rao, Olaf Schmidt, Vice President Textiles & Textile Technologies, Messe Frankfurt, highlighted the trends and new opportunities in the technical textile industry.

With 1,700 exhibitors from 53 countries, Techtextil and Texprocess 2024 witnessed footfall of 38,000 visitors – a jump of 29 per cent compared to previous edition – from 102 countries. These two trade fairs – hosted by Messe Frankfurt from 23-26 April 2024 – are seen as enabler for the textile industry to drive cross-industry transformations and sustainability globally. In this interview with Rakesh Rao, Olaf Schmidt, Vice President Textiles & Textile Technologies, Messe Frankfurt, highlighted the trends and new opportunities in the technical textile industry.

What were the key highlights of the recently concluded Techtextil & Texprocess 2024, Frankfurt?

The atmosphere at Techtextil and Texprocess 2024 was overwhelming and the trade fairs have grown in terms of size, exhibitors and visitors. Only here in Frankfurt can textile innovation for a wide range of industries be found in this global breadth and strength. Thanks to both leading trade fairs, the textile industry is becoming a driving force and enabler for cross-industry transformations and a globally sustainable economy.

Techtextil and Texprocess recorded 1,700 exhibitors from 53 countries, 38,000 visitors from 102 countries and a 29 per cent increase in visitor numbers. The top visitor nations were Germany, Italy, France, Turkey and the Netherlands. The top exhibitor nations were Germany, Italy, China, France and Turkey. In its anniversary edition, Techtextil set a record in terms of size and emphasised the dynamic growth and innovative strength of the textile industry. As the only platform worldwide to showcase the entire range of high-tech textiles across 12 application areas, Texprocess presented decisive solutions using the latest technologies: from design systems and visualisation to more efficient cutting and state-of-the-art sewing machines. In the areas of cutting solutions and sewing technology, Texprocess offered the world’s most comprehensive range of suppliers presenting pioneering solutions for efficient and advanced manufacturing processes – including through AI.

Techtextil and Texprocess offer a wealth of opportunities to discover solutions, obtain information and forge new partnerships. One of the highlights was the high-calibre forums offering in-depth expert knowledge on various topics, including digitalisation, AI and production technology, smart textiles, digital textile printing and supply chains. Another special feature were the winners of the Techtextil and Texprocess Innovation Awards, who presented ground-breaking solutions that will drive sectors such as aviation, automotive, medicine and construction forward. These innovations emphasise the central role that textile solutions play in future developments.

With a clear focus on sustainability, ‘Econogy’ presented an overview of sustainable offers through various formats. The Econogy Finder enabled visitors to find certified suppliers with sustainable solutions at a glance. The number of exhibitors in this area increased significantly compared to previous years. In addition to this offering, the Econogy Talks and Tours provided in-depth insights into the topic of sustainability, and in the Nature Performance area, exhibitors presented modern alternatives that were both functional and close to nature. In addition, exhibitors at both trade fairs presented their latest recycling technologies, which make an important contribution to conserving resources.

What are some of the emerging trends in the technical textile space? How were these trends reflected in Techtextil 2024?

We see sustainability and digitalisation as major trends that are currently driving the industry and bringing massive developments with them. Companies need to address these issues in order to remain competitive. At Techtextil and Texprocess 2024, we saw more sustainable offerings from our exhibitors than ever before and supported this with corresponding areas and programmes. Techtextil, for example, placed a clear focus on sustainable action and production. More than 15 per cent of exhibitors presented natural fibres and materials. More and more new opportunities and innovations are also emerging with regard to digitalisation and AI. At Techtextil and Texprocess, they find an attractive platform with worldwide attention.

At present, how is the global market for textiles, in general, and technical textiles, in particular?

Studies confirm enormous future prospects for technical textiles: Fortune Business Insights estimates the global market at $ 225.99 billion in 2023 and forecasts an increase to $ 346.67 billion by 2030. Similar forecasts by Allied Market Research expect an increase to $ 331.8 billion by 2032. Within the EU textile industry, technical textiles are the most dynamic drivers of demand in areas such as medicine, agriculture, construction, outdoor clothing and automotive. We want to help the industry to exploit this immense business potential. Techtextil offers the ideal platform for these developments.

How are two key trends – automation and sustainability – shaping the future of the textiles industry?

The transition to a sustainable future will be significantly shaped by digitalization, automation and artificial intelligence. Regulations such as the EU strategy for sustainable and circular textiles and the digital product passport require a high degree of digitalization. In addition, these technologies support the fulfillment of the sustainability requirements of customers and partners, for example by ensuring greater transparency in the supply chain and more efficient use of resources.

The latest developments in technologies and machines were presented at Techtextil and Texprocess. Highlights included intelligent systems that use AI to analyse fashion trends, detect errors through image analysis, sort used clothing and network production steps. Interest was high, both among exhibitors, who are increasingly showing AI-integrated digital solutions, and among visitors, who are looking for such innovations to achieve their sustainability goals.

What are key challenges and new opportunities in the industry?

Sustainability was a strong theme in the exhibition halls and is much more present than it was two years ago. Textile companies around the world are working hard to reduce CO2 emissions and comply with CSR regulations. The tightening European regulations are a big part of this. Another challenge is to make your own company digitally fit in order to remain competitive in the long term. The exhibitors at Techtextil and Texprocess will be presenting relevant developments in the fields of digitalization, automation and AI – from error detection in production and processing to smart textiles with integrated technological functions. At the same time, our content program at Techtextil and Texprocess provided for exchange and information on these topics.

How is Messe Frankfurt, through its bouquet of events, provides an ideal platform for the growth of the global textile industry?

With its Texpertise network, Messe Frankfurt is the global leader in the field of textile events. Over 50 international textile trade fairs in 13 countries and more than 22,000 exhibiting companies are part of this network. It covers the entire textile value chain, from research and development, yarns, fabrics and clothing to technical textiles and processing technologies. In cooperation with the United Nations Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network, the Texpertise network informs and mobilises the textile sector to implement solutions to social, economic and environmental challenges. A growing market for technical textiles emphasises the importance of these industry events and the strong innovative power of the sector is driving this positive development. With upcoming events such as Gartex Texprocess India in August, Techtextil and Texprocess North America in the same month and Cinte Techtextil China in September, we aim to connect numerous markets and create a platform for global dialogue.

What are your views on the Indian textile industry?

The Indian textile industry is of great importance and is regarded as one of the most important markets. We are very grateful to the exhibitors and visitors who stand faithfully by our side and utilise Techtextil and Texprocess to further strengthen the market. Their support contributes significantly to the growth and development of the industry.