IMB 2006: An Upbeat Affair
Triennial fair in Cologne added technical textiles solutions to apparel textile processing offerings.
Textile World Asia Special Report
IMB 2006 was held at Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany.
I MB – World of Textile Processing, a triennial event held at Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany, organized by Koelnmesse GmbH and sponsored by the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) Garment and Leather Technology Association, recently concluded its 2006 edition amid expressions of optimism from exhibitors and visitors alike. Six hundred thirty-one companies from 40 countries, including 423 companies from abroad presented apparel and technical textile production technologies and services at the four-day event. Organizers reported some 25,000 visitors from 115 countries attended IMB 2006 — 3 percent more than attended the five-day-long 2003 fair. Of those visitors, 64 percent came from abroad, with greater numbers particularly from Bulgaria, Romania, Russia and Ukraine; in addition to other eastern European countries, the Middle East, Latin America, South Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Turkey.
A visitor examines fabric samples at the IMB Innovation Award pavilion (bottom); IMB showcased the latest in textile processing innovations.
The 2006 event was the first IMB fair
to include technical textile solutions, and Koelnmesse reported nearly half of the respondents to a
representative visitor survey came from sectors that have some involvement in technical textile
“Many of our customers in the technical textiles industry who were visiting IMB for the first time were pleasantly surprised to find such an extensive selection of solutions for their specific needs,” said Henrik Mölleken, head of central marketing, Dürkopp-Adler AG, Germany. “This shows how strong the IMB concept is and that the efforts to attract new target groups were very successful.” Mölleken said Europe’s majority representation among visitors in the technical textiles sector is evidence of the continent’s importance as a center of activity in that sector.
“Many heads of development in the technical textiles processing industry are here, and they are looking for new joining techniques such as laser and ultrasound fusing processes,” said Martin Schmidt, marketing/sales promotion, Pfaff Industrie Maschinen AG, Germany. “This makes IMB a great fair and generates new business for us, although not necessarily immediately.”
A sample of the sights on the show floor at the recent IMB show
Overall, communication and sharing of expertise, establishing new business contacts and
maintaining customer relations were more significant than writing new orders, although customers
placed a substantial number of orders, according to many exhibitors.
“We concluded many business deals at the fair, and it has given us optimism and strong momentum for an upturn in our everyday business,” said Günter Veit, head of the Germany-based Veit Group.
Beyond the activities on the exhibit floor, the IMB Forum provided opportunities for learning. The forum attracted some 500 participants and focused on information technology and logistics, including presentations on such trade-specific subjects as product life-cycle management. In addition, a Speakers’ Corner offered exhibitors the opportunity to make in-depth presentations of new developments.
At IMB 2006, Koelnmesse and VDMA
presented the first IMB Innovation Awards for the best marketable innovations in flexible materials
processing. In the International Research Establishments category, the Institute of Textile and
Clothing Technology at the Technical University of Dresden, Germany, received an award for
developing a machine that automates car-cover production. The IMB exhibitor prize was awarded to
Pfaff Industrie Maschinen for its programmable welding system, which features full parameter
control using a touch screen. Janez Potocnik, European Union commissioner for science and research,
was the awards patron.
Future IMB events include Textile Processing China – Powered by IMB, to be held Oct. 19-21, 2006, in Shanghai; and the IMB-Forum – IT for the Textile and Apparel Industry, to be held Nov. 21-22, 2007, in Cologne. The next IMB Cologne – World of Textile Processing will take place in spring 2009.
A Vision Of The System
At IMB 2006, an interview was conducted with Daniel Harari, CEO of the Paris-based Lectra Group.
Harari began the interview by saying
that the group — managed by his brother André Harari, chairman of the Board of Directors — operates
at a highly sophisticated level, according to a “genetic” setup that has been the basis of the
philosophy of corporate management ever since the company’s inception in 1973.
“In the sectors where we are every day striving to remain [the] market leader, the winning factors are indisputably the product superiority, the process efficiency, the modern and complete service — in other words, a quality integrated offer,” Harari said. “It is on this front that we therefore commit ourselves to a competitive challenge that others face by relying on the uncertain concept of lower prices. For our part, we thus endeavor to take part in a contest on the ground we have chosen, bringing to bear tools that our competitors don’t have to the same degree. And such instruments are called also culture, tradition, experience, creativity, expertise and synergy with partners of the highest technical-commercial profile.
“Sure, prices also are important, but on this subject, the example of the automotive sector can be given, where the offer is extremely broad and distinct, but where the premium products of the best companies continue to win general approval all over the world. Very briefly said, this is our basic policy which — to our considerable satisfaction — lately has been adopted as a strategy of trend reversal by many distinguished customers and companies, which perhaps in consequence of negative experiences start again convincingly to invest in Europe, especially Spain and Italy. We also invest a lot and particularly in the human factor, training in-house a category of really competent, motivated and modern technologists and managers. Therefore, we shall not go to produce in China — we examined this project for two years, but in the end we rejected the plan — because, after all, the opportunities to be seized are here at home.”
Harari highlighted a recent customer — Spain-based Mango — that has adopted Lectra’s new product lifestyle management (PLM) system. That installation involves more than 800 operators, among in-house personnel and suppliers, which really represents a step towards the future with regard to the creative interest in design and development of fashion collections.
Lectra presented PLM at IMB 2006 as its star product, compounding the fruits of several years of research and development work performed by a team of more than 100 highly skilled engineers and technicians.
Lectra has operated for 30 years, employing 1,500 people all over the world to supply 17,000 international customers. Turnover in 2005 was US$260 million, 90 percent of which was obtained from international customers.
By Piergiuseppe Bullio, European Correspondent
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