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Weavers need to choose the right machine to be competitive
Luc Tack, MD of the Picanol Group shares details of the operation of the group and its strengths and weaknesses as a weaving machine producer in an interview with Fibre2Fashion.com
What would be the size of the market for weaving machines? What is the pie that Picanol would claim for itself?
We cannot give any details on market position or weaving machines sold, as this is competitive information. Moreover, we are a stock-listed company. With our two insertion technologies - rapier and airjet - as well as with our two product ranges (high- and mid- segment), with executions for both mainstream and technical applications, we are playing a leading role in the market for weaving machines. Today, about 2,600 weaving mills around the world use Picanol machinery, totalling some 175,000 weaving machines.
Who are your competitors? What steps do you take to counter the competition?
Competition is there to keep us sharp and innovative - that is all I can say about it - as we rather prefer to talk about the strengths of our people, products and services rather than about competition.
Weavers need to choose the right machine to be competitive in their markets. By choosing Picanol products, the customer should be better-off compared to competition. Picanol is more than just a supplier of weaving machines. We have always been a 'full service' partner for our customers. Picanol weaving machines are a synthesis of technological know-how and experience, built over 80 years. R&D, technology and continuous innovation are core tenets of Picanol's business philosophy. With R&D efforts aimed at creating the best solution to its customers' weaving challenges, the company has been the first to introduce many revolutionary concepts in the weaving industry. The company currently holds more than 800 patents worldwide. We have built over all these years a tradition of developing new products together with our customers, in order to tailor them better to cater exactly to their needs. This is also why we introduced the new baseline 'Let's grow together', emphasising this partnership, where our contribution to the success of our customers is seen as our only reason of being.
Which are the geographies that Picanol sells the most?
Picanol has served for many decades the entire world market, both for rapier and for airjet technology. The high-tech Picanol weaving machines and supplementary products and services are sold through its own branches, and through a network of agents worldwide. There are three main segments for fabric products, namely clothing textiles, household and interior textiles and technical textiles (e.g. airbags, medical textiles, parachutes and tire cord). Due to a continued focus on achieving the maximum production rate and versatility in combination with minimum consumption of raw materials and energy, Picanol has managed to build a solid market share in the apparel segment.
Within the household segment, Picanol was able to strengthen its position, especially with the successful launch of the OptiMax and GTMax-i for weavers of interior textiles. Picanol's growing presence in the technical textiles segment offers attractive growth niches, thanks to significant investments in the development of customised machines. More than 90 per cent of all weaving machines are sold to customers outside of Europe. Picanol is present in all countries with a textiles market, as we are a global player in the market for weaving machines. Important countries for us are China, India, Brazil, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey, etc. As for all textile machinery manufacturers, Asia has become the first market, if one sees volume as the measuring criterion. But the more traditional markets in Europe and Americas are also important. We have seen a revival of investment over the last years in these innovation-driven markets.
What new innovations can one expect in weaving machines?
Innovation, technology and ongoing R&D efforts remain crucial for the international success of Picanol Group. Even during the 2008 crisis, we kept investing in research and development. It is still the ambition of Picanol to continue to strengthen its role as a technological market leader by expanding the product range of its weaving machines and by offering applications for new market segments. In combination with global sales and service network, Picanol strongly focuses on (weaving) performance, quality, energy consumption, robustness, waste reduction, versatility and the ease of use of its weaving machines.
The world changes quickly, and only those who are ready to learn and adapt will survive. That's why Picanol machines are sustainable, future-proof and intelligent machines that can adapt to changing circumstances and connect with each other. And that's why at Picanol, we want to be an intelligent organisation that listens to customers and develops together with them. Growth in the weaving industry doesn't come out of nowhere. It's the result of skilfully managing factors such as speed, versatility, capacity and precision. Improving on any one of these factors will result in progress.
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