Chairman VDMA Textile Machinery Association
Down times or the lack of energy efficiency of old machines prove the German proverb "Buy cheap, buy twice".
Fritz Mayer, Chairman of VDMA Textile Machinery Association tells the fact about used machinery while being interviewed by Fibre2Fashion Correspondent Manushi Gandhi.
VDMA stands for Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau e.V. Formed in 1890, VDMA is a German engineering association. It is Europe’s largest industrial association representing 90% of all German machinery and plant makers as well as a number of members from other EU countries. It represents the interests of some 3,000 manufacturers in more than 30 different machinery and plant sections. Key areas of the association are market situations, statistics, economy, law, taxes, wages, Management and information systems etc.
Fritz P Mayer was re-elected as the as Chairman of the VDMA Textile Machinery Association in Frankfurt on 6 May 2011. He retired as operational head of Karl Mayer in June 2013.Before becoming the managing director in 1981, he held managerial positions in various departments at KARL MAYER Textilmaschinenfabrik GmbH. He is qualified as an industrial engineer in 1974.
What are the major issues faced by the textile machinery manufacturing companies in the developing regions? Do you think that the shortage in power supply is the real problem in several countries?
Major issue in the last few years have been volatile material prices - may I remind at the all-time-high of the cotton price in 2011 in this context. Other issues are staffing (the lack of qualified employees) as well as the sometimes insecure political framework. Infrastructural problems and energy shortages are also affecting textile producers in developing regions – and everything that does affect textile producers has also consequences for machinery manufacturers. But I see encouraging signs, for example in the field of electricity. Look at the textile units from Tirupur that have come together to set up a solar power plant or those that already invested in wind energy. These are ways to become independent from other electricity providers or to cut back on more expensive diesel power.
What is the expected growth rate of global textile machinery industry in the near future?
Textile machinery manufacturers are used to the ups and downs of the economy. It becomes more and more complicated to do a well-funded prognosis. The production of textile machinery in Germany reached 3.4 billion Euros last year. We expect business in 2013 to remain on a good level. Production figures and revenues will be slightly above the results of 2012.
Making textile machines is an expensive business. What is your advice to the emerging players in the industry? What kind of risks should be taken by them and what risks should be avoided?
To reach technology leadership, high research and development efforts are necessary. In that way making textile machines is indeed a costly business. Emerging players, for instance those who are active in future markets for technical textiles or composite technology suppliers followed this path and their innovations resulted in the development of entirely new materials. Becoming technology leader is one thing but it is another matter to remain it in the longer-term perspective, because markets can change very fast. I see no alternative to continuously high research and development expenditures.
Batteries of tests are needed before the machines, components, sensor system and the electronic controller are perfectly synchronized so that the desired product quality is achieved all the time, even at maximum working speed. It’s the knowledge portfolio that preserves technological leadership of German suppliers.
Our efforts are appreciated by the markets. Textile manufacturers already relying on German technology are aware of the long-term advantages: Due to low maintenance charges and reliability in production, the initial investment for a German textile machine pays off after a few years.
Recently, which is that technology in textile machines, that you feel has a bright future and will experience a boom?
The product portfolio of the German textile machinery sector covers the whole textile chain: Spinning machinery, chemical fibre plants, knitting, warp knitting, weaving and nonwoven machinery as well as finishing machinery. It is hard to pick out one single technology from this range. In all sub sectors there are innovations and new technologies that are launch pads for intelligent applications and products.
Frankly speaking, since volatile prices for commodities and for energy are obviously worrisome signs for textile manufacturers in almost all countries, technologies that enable substantial material, energy and water savings are the ones that have a bright future. I’m optimistic in this context, because German companies have developed pioneering technologies to increase efficiency in the textile production process and so to help textile producers to maintain competitive.
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