Interview with Mr Stephen Combes

Mr Stephen Combes
Mr Stephen Combes

.. the global market for textile machinery is forecasted to reach US$20.75 billion by 2015.
CEMATEX (Comité Européen des Constructeurs de Machines Textiles) based in Zurich, Switzerland comprises 9 national European textile machinery associations in the free market economy. It plays active role in promoting and strengthening the textile machinery industry and positioning of its member associations. Exhibition policy is the core business of CEMATEX, and as the owner of the ITMA shows in Europe and Asia it aims at a reasonable exhibition cycle and concentration on a very limited number of exhibitions in the interest of its members and to the benefit of their customers. Mr Stephen Combes, a British national, is President of CEMATEX since Sep, 2010. He worked 13 years as an MD of SDL Atlas Ltd. He had joined the original Shirley Developments as Finance Director in 1985, and was promoted to MD in 1995. Prior to SDL, he was on key positions in range of diversified sectors- from shipbuilding to retailing. Mr Combes has also been former member of British Standards Institute Steering Committee; several ISO committees, and chairman of British Textile Machinery Association (BTMA). He, jointly with CTIC organisation in Beijing, was instrumental for the first Fabrics China laboratory for the development of new Chinese Standards compatible with ISO, and has headed various government-sponsored R & D projects in UK and European universities/research associations which have resulted in a number of patents. Mr Combes studied Mechanical Engineering at Sheffield University, UK, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Management Accountants. In an interview with Ms Madhu Soni, Sr Editor & Correspondent – Face2Face, annotating on current state of textile machinery world market, as ITMA celebrates its 60th anniversary this year; Mr Stephen Combes also delves about the mechanism of ITMA conduction changed over the years in tune with sea changes in industry.

We are glad to have another opportunity of this talk in Face2Face, Mr Combes! To begin, shall we request a review from you on present state of textile machinery world over?

The global textile machinery market was affected by the world economic crisis, and suffered a significant downturn between 2007 and 2010. This impacted the overall growth rate, and led to considerable market erosion and a decline of both imports and exports in the years 2008-09.

However in the longer term, driven by the demand for nonwoven disposable textile products, especially from the growing economies of India and China, the global market for textile machinery is forecasted to reach US$20.75 billion by 2015. Added to increasing demand for environmentally-friendly fibres, this is very positive news for textile machines which employ eco-friendly processes.

ITMA celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, what are the new initiatives you are introducing for this year?

With the textile and garment making industry undergoing tremendous change in the light of globalisation and economic challenges, CEMATEX is taking a lead to help the industry stay focused and competitive. The 2011 edition will feature an expanded product index, special events to complement the exhibition, and a number of new commemorative anniversary initiatives.

The expanded product index of ITMA 2011 will include a dedicated chapter on garment making technologies and machinery, and a new fibre and yarn chapter, which will cover natural, man-made and technical fibres, and natural, synthetic and technical yarns.

Industry professionals that have pledged their support for the fibre and yarn chapter include the Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council of India (TEXPROCIL), International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO), Korea Chemical Fibers Association (KCFA) and Synthetic Yarn and Fibre Association (SYFA). MP International has also signed a working agreement with IWTO to explore a possible natural fibre pavilion at ITMA.

With the enhanced product offerings, ITMA 2011 exhibits will now be classified into 18 chapters of the latest technologies, products and services. This will be a boon to textile and garment makers and manufacturers and related professionals, who can expect to source the entire value chain, spread over 100,000 square metres net of exhibit space.

The Research & Education (R&E) Pavilion will focus on sustainable development of the textile and garment industry, with strong support from the Association of Universities for Textiles (AUTEX), European Apparel and Textile Confederation (EURATEX) and European Network of Textile Research Organizations (TEXTRANET).

A convergence of top minds in textile innovation, it will be an excellent platform to explore strategic partnerships and exchange ideas. A special CEMATEX anniversary grant will also be awarded to research and education institutes participating in the R&E Pavilion.

Recognising the importance of the dyestuff and chemical industry, the Textile Dyestuff and Chemical Industry Leaders’ Forum will take place on 25 and 26 September 2011. The China Dyestuff Industry Association (CDIA), Dyestuffs Manufacturers Association of India (DMAI), Indian Speciality Chemical Manufacturers Association (ISCMA), Latin American Federation of Textile Chemists (FLAQT) and Society of Dyers and Colourists (SDC) have all formed the technical committee, which will chart the direction of the forum.

Published on: 21/03/2011

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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