Textile Finishing: Italian Machines Are The Leaders In This Sector

The Italian industry of textile machines has a world leadership, among other reasons, for its constant co-operation with the Italian textile and fashion industry. This relationship plays a particular role in the sector of finishing machines.

The difficulty in attaining continuous and significant new developments in the finishing sector stimulated there, more than in other sectors, the pursuit of synergies between machine manufacturers and textile operators, this being the basic element for the success of both parties. For years the Italian machine manufacturers have succeeded in realizing machinery typologies characterized by definitely distinctive and qualifying features in terms of uniqueness, versatility and multifunctionality, thus permitting the whole Italian textile machinery industry to rank in top position worldwide.

The Italian sector of finishing machines has a turnover of about Euro 560 million (that is 21% of the total turnover of the Italian textile machinery industry). Over 78% of the total turnover is directed abroad (Euro 440 million in 2006). The main export countries of Italian finishing machinery are India (Euro 39 million), China (Euro 31 million), Turkey (Euro 31 million), Germany (Euro 22 million) and United States (Euro 22 million).

Starting from these strongpoints, the Italian companies of this sector are now preparing to participate at next ITMA exhibition in Munich (from 13 to 20 September 2007), where they will propose innovative solutions, to confirm the top position of the Italian finishing machinery.

Within the dyeing sector, i.e. the first stage of the finishing process, the updating of the existing technology and the innovation are the outstanding scopes of the offer of the Italian manufacturers. This applies already to the production of the instruments for the chemical laboratory and for the dye kitchen. The chemical laboratory is today the heart of the production process, as well as the starting and checking point, on whose correct operation depends to a large extent the final outcome of the process. The relevance of these service instruments developed in line with the need to overcome the difficulties existing in the management of machines and processes, but also with the increasing requirements of the customers. New developments in this field are the innovative automatic systems for colour testing in the dyebath and the last generation of laboratory equipment, aimed at automatizing all stages for the preparation, metering and transfer of dyestuffs, auxiliaries and chemical solutions.

The range of dyeing apparatus �made in Italy� is definitely comprehensive and includes machines and plants for the processing of all fibers in pure and blends, with processing cycles carried out at every stage of the processing chain, from staple to tow and/or to tops, to yarns (on cones, hanks, cheeses), to knitted and woven fabrics, up to the ready-made garments.

The wide range of specific equipment regards:

� Hank dyeing cabinet or arm machines;
� Yarn dyeing technologies for cones on vertical or horizontal spindles;
� Piece dyeing with alternative equipment for rope dyeing through jet or flow technology, depending on the different application of the �dyeing points�; jigger or beam dyeing equipment, depending on needs, for open-width dyeing.

This approximate classification does not consider the manifold innovations brought to some machines, which registered a worldwide success through their offer of innovative solutions. The main innovations are focused on a machine equipment which ensures extremely low liquor ratio, high speed dyeing and a low cycle time.

Even if a smaller number than the manufacturers of dyeing machines, the Italian manufacturers of printing machines brought their production range to very high levels. Among several new developments, we would like to mention: i) a system comprising printing machines of last generation with annexed integrated equipment for unwinding, transporting and winding of the finished material, and ii) a small-sized machine for sublimation printing, which can work both continuously and with the positioned single sheet, with high versatility and precision.

At similar high level ranks the Italian production of finishing machines. Within the sector of machines for processing semi-finished materials, we wish to point out the open width lines manufactured in Italy in the last decade for the continuous washing of woollen fabrics; these lines established themselves worldwide, and their manufacturers attained the leadership in the field of solvent washing thanks to their sophisticated technologies.

Another speciality which met great success and which the Italian textile machine industry brought recently on the market is a machine designed for special �handle� treatments, imparting a soft and bulky handle to the fabrics, which consequently modify radically not only handle but also appearance. Whereas the machines of this type worked until recently batchwise on fabrics in rope form, these last innovations permitted to offer machines which grant the same quality results, however through continuous and open width processing.

As far as the treatments for �permanent setting� are concerned, excellent results are obtained also on discontinuous machines with autoclave equipment and continuous decating lines. Treatments which produce quite similar results in terms of dimensional stability are applied also on woven and knitted fabrics in cotton and blends. In this field, the machinery �made in Italy� offers solutions of highest technical value, in particular for the classical sanforizing and compacting processes. Interesting novelties are offered by the setting process obtained on knitted fabrics through the compressive shrinkage system. Improvements are under way also in the treatment of warp/weft fabrics.

Concerning the treatments which are commonly called �surface finishing treatments�, the Italian machines for brushing, calendering, polishing, embossing, suede finishing, raising and shearing permit the specialists of high quality textile finishing to give wide expression to their expertise, creativity and skill.

A wide scope within the Italian supply for this sector is reserved also to inspecting, controlling and measuring machines, which a handful of companies developed for an application field, where these final inspection systems are unrivalled in the whole world.

Finally a mention is for the equipments for the cutting and packaging of the fabrics ready for being delivery to the customers. These plants are quite sophisticated and equipped with modern electronic and computerized systems for the monitoring and management of the above-mentioned operations.

This article on finishing machinery concludes the series of articles which ACIMIT proposed in order to introduce the state of the art of the Italian technology. Obviously this survey cannot be considered exhaustive. The Italian textile machinery manufacturers will therefore be glad to welcome you at ITMA Munich, Place of Innovation, from 13 to 20 September 2007.

Mauro Badanelli � ACIMIT Economics and Press Office
via Tevere 1, 20123 Milan - Italy
Tel.+39 02 4693611 � e-mail: info@acimit.it

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