IKME Finishing & Knitting
Milan expo draws 8,500 visitors to see latest knitting and finishing technologies.
By Jim Borneman, Editor In Chief
“We received orders directly at the fair and established contacts that can be expected to turn into contracts,” said Paolo Banfi, president and CEO of Italy-based Comez S.p.A. and newly elected president of ACIMIT. “The manufacturers’ commitment, aimed at improving the performance of their equipment, was rewarded. Europe, and Italy in particular, confirmed their leadership on the world textile scene. IKME Finishing & Knitting is one more reason to look optimistically [to] the future, where technological leadership always wins.”
The IKME Finishing & Knitting and Italy-based Istituto per il Commercio Estero collaboration attracted approximately 60 buyers from Brazil, Russia, Syria, Iran, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey, along with representatives of the academic world from Iran, Russia and Turkey.
The show featured an Excellence Area, which displayed innovative products and techniques all accomplished with exhibitors’ technology. According to organizers, the area was “designed to satisfy two objectives: to provide a ‘live’ display of the innovative products that can be obtained using the existing machines and to experiment with a new kind of partnership between equipment manufacturers and users — seen as a true and innovative market driver.”
According to Banfi: “[The Excellence Area] introduced two strong messages. The first is we are studying niches in more detail because, like a laboratory, within each of these niches we can find some winning products, and some ideas for other products. The second is talking and working together. This is a true revolution that is much stronger than it would first seem. In fact, customers are increasingly asking for solutions rather than products, and this renewed relationship with the customer promises to redraw the textile industry.”
The Excellence Area provided a look at advanced manufacturing techniques.
Flat-bed knitting stalwarts Shima Seiki Manufacturing Ltd., Japan; Protti Fashiontronix S.p.A., Italy; and H. Stoll GmbH & Co. KG, Germany; among others, attracted high visitor traffic during the show with their latest innovations.
With a focus on productivity, ergonomics and quality output, IKME gave visitors a first look at several Stoll products. Stoll continues to concentrate on flexibility with multigauge machinery and software developments. Gerhard Berger, communications manager, Stoll, said this was the first time the new CMS flat knitting machine generation was on display.
“The apparel industry is very strong for knitwear,” said Berger. “I am confident it will continue to grow. The market continues to shift, but with more consolidation and stability. The knitter needs to offer a quality product with speed, and flexibility is the key issue. Machine productivity within these parameters offers a return.”
Circular knitting technology also was on display. Companies such as Lonati S.p.A., Sangiacomo S.p.A. and Santoni S.p.A. — all based in Italy — presented their latest innovations. Marco Braga, sales area manager, Santoni, pointed to a trend in sportswear and performancewear markets beyond the intimate apparel so strongly associated with seamless knitting technology. According to Braga, the goal is to raise the value of the garment and reduce the number of sewing operations necessary for completion.
Among several new developments he mentioned was the SM4-TR2 knitting machine, which offers true transfer capability and utilizes a patented needle from Germany-based Groz-Beckert KG that enables transfer on single jersey.
Warp knitting and crochet technologies also were on view from the likes of Italy-based Jakob Müller Italiana S.p.A., Spain-based Valentin Rius Clapers S.A. and Comez. This was an area of great interest, as was apparent in the Excellence Area where the flexibility of these technologies beyond traditional end-use applications caught the interest of visitors exploring industrial, medical and automotive sectors.
Marco Cortiana, managing director, Cibitex S.r.l., with the company's new "Ready" machine
The addition of dyeing and finishing technology in 2005 added depth to the exhibition for visitors. Leading dyeing technology companies including Loris Bellini S.p.A, Master S.a.s., Tonello S.r.l., Tecnorama S.r.l. and Cimi S.p.A. — all based in Italy — exhibited equipment at IKME. MCS S.p.A., Italy, offered a glimpse at its new Universal rope-dyeing machine featuring horizontal fabric positioning. The fabric basket is introduced into the lower end of the dyeing chamber.
Nicola Canziani, president of Italy-based Brazzoli S.p.A. said, “When we discussed [this show] three years ago, I was pessimistic. Now I realize I was wrong. Customers have visited from Central and South America, Turkey, India, Iran — almost more than from Italy. I am happy to be wrong.”
Marco Cortiana, managing director of Italy-based Cibitex S.r.l., introduced customers to the new “Ready” machine — a shrinkage plant for knits for an in-line process of fabric. Tecnorama offered the Dose & Dye® system, which focuses on small batch quality. On display was a dyeing unit with a capacity of 10 to 100 grams in sampling and 1 to 10 kilograms in small production.
Dyeing and finishing machinery were new additions to IKME in 2005.
Rossano Biancalani with Italy-based Biancalani Textile Machinery spoke of a “very good response” at the exhibition. “We have had visitors from all over and a good response from South America,” he said. The company introduced the new ONDA washing machine for very light and delicate fabrics developed for customers interested in small batch sizes.
Italy-based Avantec De Franceschi introduced the Turbo Pintora garment-dyeing machine with “ super-high spin.” According to the company, the new design reduces dyeing times by 25 to 30 percent while increasing load capacity.
Overall, IKME Finishing & Knitting 2005 was a different experience than IKME 2003, held just prior to ITMA 2003. The knit area was as strong as expected and the addition of dyeing and finishing equipment, along with the ability to draw 35 percent of show attendees from outside of Italy, makes the show a strong contender for future success.
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