At Techtextil and Texprocess, the textile and apparel industries displayed their most progressive side and even in challenging times still inspired a positive mood throughout the sector as a result. Record numbers of exhibitors and the highest levels of international participation to date have once again confirmed Frankfurt as the sector’s global marketplace.
With a total of 1,818 exhibitors from 59 countries and, in all, some 47,000 trade visitors from 116 countries, the two biggest editions of Techtextil and Texprocess ever to be held, ended in Frankfurt recently. Accordingly, for four days, the Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre once again became the leading international platform for users of technical textiles from the widest variety of sectors, as well as for manufacturers of apparel, fashionwear, upholstered furniture and leather products.
“Over the last four days, Techtextil and Texprocess have brought together the entire world of textiles and their areas of application in Frankfurt. This doublebarrelled trade fair had, in particular, three major things going for it: A larger number of top decision-makers, higher levels of international participation and a greater degree of satisfaction amongst exhibitors than ever before. Both exhibitors and visitors were extremely well prepared and actively took advantage of what was on offer at the two fairs, in order to drive their business forward in focussed ways,” says Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt.
Techtextil scores highly for visitor quality and variety of users
“We were thoroughly inundated on the very first day, particularly with international visitors. On top of our already high proportion of existing customers, we got lots of new contacts during the course of the trade fair,” says Dr. Günther Gradnig, Managing Director at Sattler Pro-Tex GmbH. The response of exhibitors to the high levels of technical expertise amongst the visitors has been extremely positive. “The nice thing about Techtextil is that the visitors you meet are 100 per cent specialists. The discussions we have had have been exclusively on a technical level – and a very high level at that. At the end of the day, this provides the foundation of good business,” confirms Jörg Perwitzschky, Director of Marketing at Bayern Innovativ, speaking of visitor quality.
Performance, functionality, and smart textiles – in abundance
There was, amongst other things, strong representation at Techtextil for suppliers of fabrics for functional apparel and of smart textiles with integral lighting, heating and sensory functionality, which are used in sportswear, fashionwear, outdoor clothes and workwear. With these products, companies like Schoeller, Freudenberg, RUDOLF and Lenzing attracted designers, product managers and buyers from a host of well-known clothing manufacturers. “We had loads of people at our stand, who were looking for specific things, including many well-known brands such as Alpha Tauri, Mammut, North Face and Tommy Hilfiger,” confirms Hendrikus van Es, Head of Protection Textiles and Member of the Senior Management Team of Schoeller Textil AG. There were, moreover, numerous exhibitors for accessories and components including, for instance, international market leaders for zip fasteners, YKK. “Visitors came from all over the world, from the US, Pakistan, Asia, even Columbia. We are fantastically satisfied with the show,” says, for example, Jan Cees van Baaren, Sales Manager at YKK.
Texprocess a huge boost for the sector
“Texprocess has inspired a very positive mood amongst suppliers. The manufacturers of sewing and apparel technology and of machinery for the processing of technical textiles and leather, have been reporting a certain reluctance to invest amongst their customers, caused by, among other things, current international trade barriers,” says Elgar Straub, General Manager of the Textile Care, Fabric and Leather Technologies (TFL) division of the VDMA (Association of German Machine and Plant Manufacturers). “We look towards the future with a great deal of positivity.”
Texprocess was also all about digital solutions for the sector – from fully networked production lines in the form of micro-factories and machines capable of autonomous learning to cloud-based collaboration between designers, product developers, manufactures and retailers across national boundaries. “Digitalisation and interlinked networks in the sector are gaining traction and have now reached as far as the retail shop,” says Straub. “An effect that we summarise as Impact 4.0, the direct effects of Industry 4.0.” It is something Alexander Behm, Product Manager Technical Textiles at H Stoll AG & Co. KG also confirms, “I think that, in the not too distant future, things will go more and more in that direction and, in partnership with software suppliers and machinery manufacturers for other stages of the work, will eventually include the entire process chain.” These particular knitting machine manufacturers showcased the 3D knitting of shoe uppers in the Digital Textile Micro-Factory at Techtextil and Texprocess.
Gemini CAD Systems were manifestly delighted with their own micro-factory: “With our ‘Pixel to Product’ concept, we were able to clearly show our many visitors the benefits of made to measure garments and the end-to-end workflow to produce them. The connection to the clothing and fashion industry plays a very important role for us. That is why we will a show micro factory in July with several partners at the world‘s largest trade show for sustainable fashion, Neonyt, during Berlin Fashion Week,” says Luca Traian, CEO Gemini CAD Systems.
Textile industry and textile processers increasingly committed to sustainability
With ‘Sustainability at Techtextil and Texprocess’ both trade fairs concentrated the focus on the approaches that its exhibitors are adopting to sustainability issues. A dedicated exhibition guide took visitors straight to the relevant exhibitors. Marc W Lorch, CEO of Zwissler Holding AG: “For us, the sustainability focus at this year’s Techtextil was extremely important. We have our own Sustainability Manager, who consistently takes care of this matter and its ramifications in all areas. We not only talk about sustainability – we live it. We have been preparing ourselves for this appearance for a long time in the run up to the show and have also involved our customers and suppliers.” And, for the first time, there were, in 2019, two winners of the Techtextil Innovation Award in the sustainability category. The next Techtextil and Texprocess will take place from 4 to 7 May 2021.
Texprocess Forum: Expertise for the textile-processing industry and trade
Digitalisation and sustainability were the dominant subjects at Texprocess Forum. Accordingly, Messe Frankfurt brought part of its Fashionsustain conference from Berlin to Frankfurt for the first time. Sustainability was the driving force for innovation, inter-connected textile processing, e-commerce and the next steps in the direction of Industry 4.0.
Focus on sustainability and conference première in Frankfurt
Within the framework of the Texprocess Forum, Messe Frankfurt brought an offshoot of its Fashionsustain conference to Frankfurt on 14 May. Fashionsustain is part of Neonyt, an event hub specialising in sustainable fashion during the Berliner Fashion Week. The innovative conference format adds pioneering, sustainable textile innovations to the dialogue and uses synergistic effects in the sector to revolutionise processes and production flows. The superordinate question, ‘Is Sustainability the Key to Textile Innovations?,” were discussed in round table sessions with key players, such as Lenzing, Perpetual Global and Procalçado S.A. A keynote lecture by Micke Magnusson, Co-founder of the Swedish “We are Spindye’ start-up, addressed the economic need for sustainable business models and give action impulses.
Subsequently, fibre manufacturer Lenzing, embroidery-machine manufacturer Santoni and shoe-component manufacturer Procalçado S.A. presented an innovation roadshow entitled ‘The Future of Eco-Conscious Footwear Manufacturing’. The road show was supported by the Texpertise Network of Messe Frankfurt. It illustrates sustainable shoe manufacturing and shows how a sustainability revolution in the fashion and textile industry can become reality today. The panel discussion was chained by Marte Hentschel, Founder of Sourcebook, the B2B network for the fashion industry.
Additional contributions about sustainability at Texprocess Forum were given, inter alia, by GSM Global Sustainable Management GmbH on the recycling economy and its integration in the product-development process, textile manufacturer Vossen GmbH on vegan textiles and investment company Triple Tree on sustainable CSR management and audit solutions for complete transparency.
Impact 4.0: What comes after Industry 4.0?
Which changes triggered by Industry 4.0 are already part of the value chain? This was the main question of the thematic block organised by the VDMA Textile Care, Fabric and Leather Technologies association on the afternoon of 14 May and discussed in two round-table sessions by Andreas Faath, VDMA Forum Industry 4.0, Dr Yves-Simon Gloy, Sächsisches Textilforschungsinstitute.V., Dr Klaus Hecker, VDMA Organic and Printed Electronics Association and spokespeople from DESMA Shoe Machinery, Efka, Frankl und Kirchner and Expert Systemtechnik.
Digitalisation, product development, quality and environmental management
The subjects selected by DTB – Dialogue Textile Apparel – for the Texprocess Forum on 15 and 16 May spotlight those parts of the textile process chain most affected by digitalisation. With Holger Knapp, CEO of the Deutscher Fachverlag publishing company in the chair, Hans-Peter Hiemer of B4B Solutions opened proceedings with a keynote address on the digital transformation of the fashion business. This was followed by a panel discussion entitled ‘Old hands, reckless young people – how to get the best from your team with 3D!’ with Professor Michael Ernst of Germany’s Niederrhein University, Dr Andreas Seidl of Human Solutions and other experts.
Thereafter, digital solutions for the fashion trade, e.g., digital showrooms and sales tools, were the focal point of contributions by MobiMedia and Assyst GmbH. Lectra discussed ways to fashion on demand, Sys-Pro looked at omni-channel solutions and Avalution GmbH at avatars in the digital development of apparel. In its contribution, the Hohenstein Testing Institute considered whether virtual prototypes are also suitable for resale products while WKS Textilveredlungs GmbH asked how quality assurance can go together with shorter lead times. Trade visitors also looked forward to contributions by PTC on product lifecycle management, by S.HE Business on e-commerce, by Spedition Barth & Co on automatic flat-goods stores, by EFIT e.V. on care labelling as a sign of quality and by zExur on qualitative colour measurement with multi-coloured textiles.
Individualisation and networked production
In the panel discussion organised by the World Textile Information Network (WTiN) on 17 May, Coloreel, the winner of the 2017 Texprocess Innovation Award, introduced its revolutionary thread colouring technology, the German Institute for Textile and Fibre Research, Denkendorf, spoke about micro-factories in the textile industry, KSL discussed sewing robots and WTiN looked at the influence of Amazon on investment, patents and the future.
Winners of the Texprocess Innovation Awards 2019
The Texprocess Innovation Award 2019 for new and further technological developments in the field of textile processing was presented to four winners recently. At official opening ceremony, four winners were presented with the Texprocess Innovation Award 2019 for new and further technological developments in the field of textile processing. All award-winning projects were displayed in a special exhibition at Texprocess until 17 May, 2019.
Award winners in the ‘New Technology’ category
In the ‘New Technology’ category, the jury was particularly impressed by the new M-TYPE DELTA sewing system made by Dürkopp Adler AG. The award-winning industrial-sewing concept can be integrated into a fully digitalised sewing production line for automotive interiors, home upholstery, leather goods and technical textiles. Using digital solutions to the maximum extent, the machine guides the operator and continuously augments its functions and ‘knowledge’.
The second award in the ‘New Technology’ category went to Vetron Typical Europe GmbH for the Vetron Viper, an ultra-lightweight sewing system made using carbon components. The system weighs a total of six kg, including yarn corps and drive motor, which means a smaller and more cost-effective industrial robot can be used in the sewing process. Thus, the solution is compact, flexible and easy to install and remove.
Award winners in the ‘New Process’ category
The award winners in the ‘New Process’ category include Assyst GmbH for a 3D innovation process. For the first time, the company showcased at Texprocess how a digital process innovation can revolutionise the textile value chain, from design to development and sales. Assyst has developed a virtual decision-making aid for everyone involved in the process, from Designers in the creative phase, via Product Developers in the virtual fitting stage, to sales staff with a 3D in-store presentation. Moreover, the technology provides a completely new product experience for both B2B and B2C customers.
The second award in this category went to Lectra for its fashion-on-demand technology, the first end-to-end solution for personalising fashions. The turnkey solution automates on-demand production so that companies can now process several individual orders at the same time, including individualised apparel. In other words, individualized products can be delivered just as fast as standard articles.
The jury of the 5th Texprocess Innovation Award comprised Alexander Artschwager, German Institutes for Textile and Fibre Research Denkendorf, Centre for Management Research (DITF-MR); Claudia van Bonn, Deutscher Fachverlag GmbH; Prof Ives-Simon Gloy, Sächsisches Textilforschungsinstitute.V.; Iris Schlomski, textile network; Walter Wählt (Chairman of the jury), adidas AG; Prof Kerstin Zöll, Hochschule Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, Textile and Clothing Technology Faculty.
The Texprocess Innovation Award has been honouring outstanding achievements and new developments for processing textile and flexible materials since 2011. The winning products were selected on the basis of criteria such as innovativeness, choice of materials and ecological quality.