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Which countries/regions are likely to prosper in the textile machinery industry in the coming years? Give reasons.
I expect India can further strengthen its position during the next years. Nearly 80% of the new machines in spinning mills are being equipped with automation this year, such as auto doffing.
In China, the times have gone where big capacities were built up which consumed manpower. Because of higher wages, the industry must raise its productiveness in order to remain competitive. This means a further reduction in manpower and increased investments in automation. Smaller companies who do not invest will likely become unprofitable and eventually close. Nevertheless, China remains one of the most important markets. On the Filament side there is no alternative to China's dominance, as 75% of the worldwide capacities are installed there.
Pakistan and Bangladesh will recover and invest forcefully again, as soon as the right basic conditions return. Low wages and energy costs are among the main advantages of these countries.
In general South-East Asia, especially Indonesia and Vietnam will push ahead, also due to the drift of Chinese companies to this region. Besides this, we also pursue the development in potential new markets.
Do you think that the staple yarn processing method still exists, in spite of the growth in the use of the processing and spinning machines?
There has been and always will be a certain competition between different yarn production processes. Once upon a time, the ring spinning was said to lose market share to rotor spinning due to the lower productivity of ring spinning. Then air jet spinning came along and was supposed to succeed both ring spinning and rotor spinning. Today filament is growing faster than the staple yarn business. Still most of the things we wear closest to our body are staple ring spun cotton or cotton-mix. The touch and feel of the ring spun yarn is the benchmark for all the other processes. As long as there is a demand for such products, there will be traditional spinning mills. One day we might consider pure cotton a luxury product.
What are the problems faced by the start-ups or the textile machinery companies of the developing countries?
Textile activity in the western world has a long tradition, which accumulates experience. These countries can draw on their traditional handcraft; know how; qualified and experienced people. A good and innovative idea must be proprietary, namely through a patent. In term of a patent, there is always the question of costs and whether they are sustainable. Most of the textile companies in the developing countries are fighting such problems, which is of course an obstacle to establish oneself in the market.
Another big advantage of the western countries is the good customer connections, which result out of many years of networking. An International network is a must. Many companies in developing countries are still at disadvantage when it comes to necessary resources to create a worldwide customer network that will ensure sustainable demand. A strong local customer base means a lower cost for customer relationship management however; it also concentrates the risk in case of a regional financial crisis.
What is the role of sustainability in the textile machinery industry? What steps should be taken by the textile machinery manufacturers for sustainable development?
Sustainability becomes more and more important because of rising energy costs. A high level of automation will become a must and no more an option! With both points, the European machine producers have a strategic advantage compared with the competitors from Asia: We have launched such automated products with lower energy consumption already more than 20 years ago in the market and, therefore, can fall back on a long experience, which cannot be copied.
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