One of the first things that hit me when at Texprocess is the people and the air of positivity that is palpable… None of the companies that I talked to have any doubts about the future, they all were looking forward to high growth.
Exhibitors were confident of their products and the frequency with which they bring out the innovations. However small the innovations, it was celebrated with a lot of fanfare, not only by the organizers Messe Frankfurt and the supporting association VDMA, but also by the companies, who felicitated the innovators.
It is not that the Japanese stalwarts in sewing machines were far behind, the European offices and the agents of all the four Japanese majors were present with their old and new technologies, with a focus to cater to European markets. The 22,000-odd visitors to Texprocess came from Germany, France, Turkey, Great Britain, Switzerland and East European countries, including Russian Federation, Poland, Czech Republic and Romania; there were also a few visitors from Israel and the Asian continent, who substantiated the same.
And why not, most exhibiting companies had “Made in Europe for Europeans” agenda while showcasing automats meant for advanced markets where the entire thrust is to reduce manpower to speed up the ROI. Unconfirmed news is also that PFAFF last year sold more machines in Munich than in India, clearly indicating that the ‘small quantity high fashion manufacturing’ focus may be shifting back to Europe.
The other major technology provider, China, was insignificantly present at the exhibition with only a few players displaying their technologies since the focus of most companies from the country is only on Asian or its own internal market.
Yet there is no doubt that the Chinese companies will eventually takeover the entire German sewing machine manufacturing industry. Now that the Duerkopp Adler and PFAFF have a common Chinese owner, the grapevine is ripe with news that another German sewing machine manufacturing company is being taken over by the same company. Not to be forgotten is the takeover of Kaiser, Germany by Zoje, China and establishment of an R&D centre by Xi’an Typical to produce sewing and bonding machines under brand name Vetron. Post-takeover of a Japanese company by Yin China, many other Chinese companies are also eyeing the big Japanese sewing machine manufacturers. Watch out!
Whereas technology shows happen every few months in one region or the other in Asia, the European shows happen once every two years; a few of the award winning innovations and other new developments presented at the exhibition had already been shown in India. So many of the innovations were new for the European market, but not so for the industry in Asia…
Fusion Fashion has been given a new meaning now with all those fabric bonding technologies on display. Thermal bonding, laser bonding, and glue bonding are some of the prominent technologies used in joining fabric. While laser and thermal bonding is possible only with polyester, the glue bonding can also join together cotton, but it requires long time to dry up. PFAFF, Duerkopp Adler, Typical Vetron, Brother and Macpi, besides some others could be seen displaying such technologies. Macpi even had drying technology on offer.
Even when all companies are vigorously making effort to offer an alternate to sewing technology, thread manufacturers are still in the denial mode. Eventually they will also have to work around it… maybe they do not have an alternate at present.
Why is no one talking about 3D printing right now… maybe it’s still not seen as a threat, but then, few of the institutes and the associations are vigorously pursuing it. Some of the product categories such as bra, which can be produced by 3D printing, will majorly benefit from the technology. Another segment that will benefit is the spare part industry. One will only need a 3D printer and the blue print of the spare part required, to print it in no time and in turn save downtime and money both.
[bleft]“We received very good response for our state-of-the-art technologies such as the automatic serging machine V800AS and automatic loop-setter 4650EV9R.” – Enrico Guerreschi, Global Sales Director, Vibemac. [/bleft]
What brought me personal happiness is the aerodynamic and contoured look and feel of the sewing machines, far removed from the drab old uninspiring machines that we all are used to. They are more like cars with rounded or tapered edges having been coloured metallic grey (going colour of today). The first example of it was seen at the last issue of Texprocess at ‘Vetron’ by Typical and this time around PFAFF and even Veit joined the bandwagon. The award winning fusing machine, model Fx Diamond by Veit, which comes with pressure roller system to ensure an even pressure distribution over complete working width was quite appealing.
However, the operator will now not be able to use its top to place things. Is it by design or judgmental error I do not know… But one thing is for sure that the remodelled machines will certainly up the mood of the operator and might motivate him or her to work more efficiently and with the right mood to go with it.
IT linking of the entire pre-production processes has reduced substantially the time to market and up the debate whether pattern making is an art form or science. Now with fast computers and compatible applications, pattern making has been translated into just pure science delivering the same cut, taking advantage of a database that provides the fall, drape and stretch of the material with a complete understanding of the human body parts and its movements.
The approach to create 2D pattern can also be processed either by directly developing a 2D pattern on the computer and then draping it on the 3D model for checking proper fit and then, if required, making iterations on the computer itself; or the process can be expedited by draping the pattern on 3D model first, fine tuning it by nip and snip and then generating a 2D pattern for final cutting and then sampling it. The subsequent steps of grading and cutting are just pure science.
Human solution has gone further ahead to dress Avatars or virtual models with free flowing dresses as an alternate to ramp shows. Consider a fashion week without live models… maybe not as exciting, but certainly keeping check on huge costs.
Why would all embroidery manufacturers go back to showcasing single head multi thread embroidery machines more than the multi-head ones… could be to address the European manufacturers’ small quantities with high fashion thrust? ZSK, SWF, Tajima, Brother, were among the companies which showcased single head multi thread embroidery machines. ZSK’s 4-head machine, capable to do two different jobs simultaneously, shows how fast fashion has rooted in the industry. Not only that, one of the companies had a single head machine attached with a laser cutting system. The different make machines were also available with sequences and the beads and tapes attachments with an eye on future.
My take on Texprocess will not be complete without the mention of my visit to Techtextil, the show which happens concurrently to Texprocess at the same venue, but in different Halls. An inspirational fair in which Groz-Beckert, the needle experts, also had a booth presenting a deconstructed and then reconstructed latest Mercedes car to show where all technical textiles are being used in automobiles and which all of its needles are used to create non woven, woven and knitting products that go into the car.
Without doubt, one visit to Techtextil will update you on the advancement in the field of technical textile and the industry segment which is expecting to scale to US $ 160 billion in 2018 from US $ 133 billion today.
The theme seems to be better living with safety, comfort and health as the prime objective, through various applications of thermo forming, 3D weaving and knitting, nanotechnology and various finishing treatments.