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Interview with Horst Ros

Horst Ros
Horst Ros
Managing Director
J. Zimmer Maschinenbau GmbH
J. Zimmer Maschinenbau GmbH

We are known for customising machines
J. Zimmer Maschinenbau GmbH, operating under the brand ZIMMER, is a global leader in manufacturing advanced machinery for textile and carpet finishing. With over 150 years of pioneering innovations, the company offers comprehensive solutions including digital and screen printing systems, coating, and processing technologies, driven by a commitment to quality and service. In an interview with Fibre2Fashion, Managing Director Horst Ros speaks about sustainability and advancements in textile machinery.

With over 150 years in the textile and carpet machinery industry, how do you ensure that Zimmer stays at the forefront of innovation while maintaining its legacy?

At Zimmer, the main focus is on R&D and the training of young mechanical and electronic engineers. Therefore, we are constantly updating and testing new technology in one of the largest R&D centres in Europe, situated in Klagenfurt. Zimmer is also proud to have been teaching and training apprentices onsite for over 60 years.

What sets Zimmer apart in terms of meeting specific customer requirements in the textile machinery industry?

For decades, Zimmer has been best known for customising machines and lines to meet the specific needs of customers. Therefore, it is common practice to adapt machines for particular purposes.

In the era of Industry 4.0 and digitalisation, what do you believe will be the biggest changes in textile machinery design and functionality?

There are a wide range of possibilities for integrating the philosophy of Industry 4.0 into technical textile coating and printing technology. Weight measuring systems can be interconnected with the coating machine, and various types of visual detection systems can be integrated into the control system. Additionally, sensor data storage systems for maintenance purposes can be integrated according to customer needs.

Could you discuss any recent technological advancements in Zimmer’s machinery lineup and how they cater to the evolving demands of the textile and carpet industries?

We have introduced many new inventions recently. We launched a rotary screen stripping machine that utilises ecological water jet technology, a combined coating machine that features both a magnet roller and a high-precision roller for knife-over-roll paste coating in a single machine, and a printing head design that can be considered revolutionary in terms of repeat accuracy.

With the development of new materials such as smart textiles and biodegradable fabrics, what challenges and opportunities do these present for machinery manufacturers like you?

Our engineers have had to adapt the standard equipment and sometimes modify existing machine units to accommodate smart and biodegradable fabrics effectively.

How has Zimmer integrated sustainability into its production processes, particularly in relation to energy efficiency?

Zimmer has always focused on sustainability. This has been especially evident with our high-capacity dryers. We are well-known as the company that offers the best ratio of water evaporation capacity per kW of heating power.

In today’s world, sustainability is crucial. Can you share any sustainability initiatives or environmentally friendly technologies Zimmer is currently pursuing or planning to integrate into its machinery and processes?

There are two key aspects when it comes to sustainability. One is energy consumption where we have a leading product with our High-Capacity dryers. And the other aspect is environmental pollution of water. With Zimmer´s ECO-Cleaning system of colour squeegee systems, we guarantee recovery of printing paste and reducing the amount of cleaning water by 70 per cent compared to conventional methods.

How important are strategic partnerships and collaborations to Zimmer, and can you provide examples of how these have shaped your business?

Strategic partnerships are very important, as they help secure a consistent quality level. These partnerships, primarily found in the parts supply chain, include long-standing collaborations with companies such as Lenze and Erhardt+Leimer in Germany, and Habasit in Switzerland.

Zimmer serves customers worldwide. How do you adapt your products and services to meet the diverse needs of your global customer base, especially in emerging markets?

In the textile printing segment, there is hardly any quality difference to be seen anymore, regardless of the continent we are supplying. This enables us to proudly sell and deliver machines worldwide, each incorporating the same advanced technology.

Facing the COVID-19 pandemic and other global challenges, what were the most significant adaptations Zimmer had to make to ensure business continuity and support for your clients?

The COVID-19 pandemic was certainly a significant challenge for all machine manufacturers. At Zimmer, we experienced a dramatic increase in virtual meetings, both to conclude business deals and to provide technical support. Having strong local sales and service teams proved invaluable in helping customers with their inquiries.

‘First in Quality’ and ‘First in Service’ are Zimmer’s mottos. How does the company ensure these standards are met, particularly in terms of after-sales service and customer support?

Indeed, Zimmer has always focused on after-sales service. Over the years, we have installed local service teams in most of the major textile hubs, including India, Bangladesh, China, South America, and the US. All duties are well-coordinated by the service team from our home base in Austria.

With a significant emphasis on research and development, what are the current priorities for Zimmer’s R&D efforts, and how do you decide on these areas of focus?

The current priorities definitely lie in the steady improvement and adaptation of the coating machines. Zimmer has a strong presence in market areas such as textiles, technical textiles, nonwovens, glass fibre, paper, foils, and more.

In your opinion, what are the key factors that will ensure resilience in the textile industry’s supply chain?

Following the philosophy of manufacturing according to our own design gives us the ability to provide spare parts for machines that are 40 years old or even older.

Looking towards the future, what trends do you foresee in the textile and carpet manufacturing industries, and how is Zimmer preparing to meet these future demands?

The future will lead us into a very interesting time, with conventional and digital printing technologies co-existing so that our customers can choose the right technology for their specific needs. Additionally, multipurpose coating machines will continue to be a stronghold for years to come.
Published on: 03/06/2024

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 Fibre2Fashion.com.

This interview was first published in the Jun 2024 edition of the print magazine