Thursday, September 3, 2015

[ Technical Textiles - French Textile Machinery Association's President Interview 2015.]

COURBEVOIE, France — August 28, 2015
UCMTF groups 30 specialty textile machinery manufacturers, often world leaders
on their specific markets. Their total annual consolidated turnover of
1 billion Euros ($1.1 billion) They are particularly strong in long fiber
spinning,yarn twisting, heat setting, jacquard and dobbies, carpet systems, dyeing
and finishing, felts and belts for finishing processes, nonwovens, air and
recycling processes.
Interview of Bruno Ameline, President, and Evelyne Cholet,
Secretary General,UCMTF.
M. Ameline, can you tell us about your experience with the textile industry?
Ameline: I graduated with a master degree from a renowned engineering school in
France, Ecole Centrale and started my professional career in aeronautics.
I had no prior connections with the textile industry when I joined the NSC group,
a family controlled company listed on the Paris stock exchange in 1999 to become
its Chairman and CEO
In 2004, I was elected President of UCMTF.
During these years, I have discovered the fascinating world of textiles. Textile
is a technology almost as old as mankind, but still today, it reinvents regularly
itself and stands at the spearhead of many high-tech developments. When I think of
apparel, I am fascinated by the creativity of designers, by the high quality
standards requested by the end-markets, by the fast and flexible logistics
achieved by producers and distributors. When I think of home textiles or carpet
manufacturing, I am fascinated by the inventiveness of some carpet clusters.
Technical textiles which pave the way to so many new applications and growing at
a fast rate are also an impressive sector.
Needless to say, I am fascinated by
the textile machinery sector, by the ever-increasing productivity of the machines,
their reliability, the level of safety now achieved for their users, the automation
devices (which can be equally compared to those in aeronautics, I can tell!), and
more recently the energy consumption concerns which trigger the latest innovations.
I am also fascinated by key industry events like the ITMAs, which attract the whole
textile planet for 8 days on the same spot!
I really look forward to a great future for this industry.
Yes, but in Europe the textile industry has shrunk. Has this industry any future
in this continent?
It all started with apparel manufacturing, which is labor intensive and which grew
a large textile industry in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Textile production then moved to lower labor cost areas and closer to the mass
user markets — meaning Asia — although it had become more capital intensive with
automation. But many innovations and creativity still originate from Europe. Look
at the most prestigious brands in apparel, the designers are based in such places
as Paris, London or Milano. Look at technical textiles. In this sector European and
American firms are still the most innovative ones and the production is still mostly
on their shores. Look at the textile machinery, the most innovative companies — and
many of the largest — are from Europe and ITMA Europe the largest textile equipment
event worldwide.
Some companies do relocate in Europe or America to improve their customer’s service
and take advantage there of some cost differentials like the low cost of energy and
the quality of manpower. I do not think that relocation will be a major trend but
I believe that the downsizing of the textile industry in Europe has come to an end
and that the European textile machinery will continue to play the leading role.
How are the French textile machinery manufacturers doing in this context?
In 2015, in most application sectors we are back to the best levels achieved before
the 2008-2010 crisis, many of our companies have achieved record sales and order
intakes but there is a lack of visibility in some major markets.
The economic uncertainty and financial turmoil which we are currently observing in
China may lead to a real slowdown. It is hard to tell whether the slowdown will
accelerate,if it will be a soft landing or whether growth and investments will
I am more positive about India, the modernization of the textile industry is
crucial for its future but investments decisions are slower than we did imagine.
Other Asian markets stay active and the investment mood is still positive in
many markets like Indonesia, Thailand, or South Korea. However, the competitive
devaluation of the Yuan, if amplified, may create a big challenge to these
The Turkish market has been very active so far thanks to the long term managerial
strategies of our Turkish customers but the 2015 economic slowdown, the current
political uncertainty with the upcoming elections in November and the sharp decrease
of the Turkish currency create some clear signs of attention.
Iran is the real short term opportunity for the European textile equipment.
Modernization is urgent, the entrepreneurs are in the starting blocks, the
projects are well advanced, since the Geneva agreement on the upcoming raising
of international sanctions. But financial circuits will take time to regularize.
Soon, we will probably have more visibility on this promising market.
The US economy is clearly growing, the shale gas and oil resources have created a
real gain on American production costs, financing is abundant hence USA should be
a positive market for our machines. It is actually the case for some of our members
active in specific applications like technical textiles, carpet manufacturing or
recycling but, as I already said, I do not think relocation will be a major trend
in apparel textiles.
Key markets in South America like Brazil or Argentina are globally severely hurt
by their lingering economies and political instability. We are particularly
disappointed by the Brazilian market.
Markets like Western Europe, Eastern Europe or Central Asia are doing quite well
but are not large enough to compensate for a sluggish China, should the market
there decline significantly
All together, I am positive for 2015 as we currently enjoy buoyant order backlogs,
but I feel concerned about a possibly stagnant 2016.
What do you expect from ITMA in Milano?
ITMA 2015 is clearly a must-attend event, particularly in the context of slowing
markets. Technical innovation — a genetic attribute of ITMAs in Europe — is a
strong lever to activate sales.
Up to now, nearly 104 000 square meters of exhibiting space have been booked; this
is already 20 percent more than for the last ITMA in Barcelona. During the last
4 years, the number of equipment manufacturers may have shrunk because of
consolidation, but they are all stronger and willing to exhibit their knowhow with
increasing presence and larger booths... There will certainly be many innovations
unveiled and an emphasis on energy, water and raw materials savings. ITMA’s 2015
motto is “master the art of sustainable innovation”, sustainability is certainly a
major decision parameter for investing. The French machinery manufacturers have already
made inventive inroads into sustainability and we include this ingredient into all our
new projects and R&D programs.
In Milano, a record number of visitors are expected from all over the world, they
will represent an astonishing number of companies with investments projects.
I believe that the choice of the city where ITMA takes place is of essence for the
success of the show. The venue is chosen among European cities which offer the best
expo center,travelling and hosting facilities and, it is very important, the greatest
attraction.power. Milano certainly meets all these qualifications.
Why should ITMA visitors come to the French manufacturers’ booths?
Primarily to discover each individual company’s innovations. Innovation is in our DNA.
Remember Joseph Marie Jacquard, the most well-known textile machinery inventor, he was
French! Frenchmen also invented the steam-powered automobile, vaccines, the high-speed
train, the supersonic commercial airplane, computer chips on payment cards and much more!
France sometimes has a reputation of great new ideas, poorly marketed. This has largely
changed, as our textile equipment companies are SME’s run by entrepreneurs not by
engineers. Innovation is now derived mainly from down-to-earth partnerships with our
Even if SME’s, the French equipment manufacturers have set up very effective networks
to offer the best service to most remote customers’ locations. We support our clients
wherever they operate. We do it through our own local service teams, warehouses, agents
or distributors.
For the spare parts, our members have been pro-active in opening local warehouses in
important markets to deliver the much awaited parts without transportation or customs
delays, hence offering a high level of service.
We work with our clients to help them to introduce new products on their markets,
to have reliable and cost efficient production processes. This gives us a real
competitive advantage.
Copycats are a danger to European manufacturers, how do you deal with this issue?
We absolutely need to protect our intellectual property; it may be our most important
asset. Within our association, we have established an active working group on this
strategic topic. We will sue the counterfeiters very aggressively. We have strong
arguments: our patents, our brands. Most of our customers understand that the “real
machine” and original parts is in their long term best interest. We have become very
strict concerning the use of counterfeited parts as we cannot guarantee a machine which
uses counterfeited parts.
Each company, national associations, the Cematex and the machinery show organizers
have to work together on this sensitive issue. In this war against copycats we receive
more and more support from the governments, the international bodies and the judiciary
How does your association help its company members?
We meet very regularly and speak very openly about our strategies, projects and
concerns. As we offer equipment for complementary processes, we can team up to offer
complete lines when our customers want to have one company responsible for its
UCMTF Promotion Committee under the chairmanship of our Vice-President International,
Christian Guinet, is very active to promote our offer worldwide. Every year UCMTF
organizes customer seminars in two countries.
In April 2015, we were invited by Ilkhoom Khaydarov, the Uzbek Minister in charge
of the textile industry and Chairman of the Board of the state joint-stock company
for the light industry, to organize conferences in Tashkent and Bukhara. These were
very well attended by the Uzbek textile companies.
In June 2015, we organized 4 conferences in Iran, in Tehran, Kashan, Ispahan and Yazd.
In order to describe and present more precisely our offer, and for us to understand
better the Iranian customers’ needs and, to really have direct contacts with them,
we decided not to make a big event in one place but four regional ones.
Our Promotion Committee also initiated in 2014, during one of such seminars,
cooperation with the Russian textile industry. Serguei Rasbrodin, President of
Soyuzlegprom, M. Christian Guinet and Mrs. Evelyne Cholet, Vice-President International
and Secretary General of UCMTF, signed a Memorandum Of Understanding on April 21, 2015
in Moscow.
How would you wish to conclude?
Worldwide, textiles manufacturers face an array of challenges: open new markets,
design new products, produce them in a reliable, cost effective and sustainable way.
In order to sail in today’s fast changing environment, they need reliable partners
such as providers of innovative industrial solutions and cutting-edge technologies.
The French equipment manufacturers are well positioned to be such partners, they have
a recognized expertise in finding solutions for critical projects, whatever their scope,
whatever their geographic localization. The quality of our client relationships stems
also from the high stability of our teams, allowing them to go well beyond the purely
We will welcome all interested parties on our booths at ITMA in Milano.
Posted September 1, 2015.
Source: UCMTF

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