Expect growth rate of about 20% per year for digital printing
With production sites in Klagenfurt and Kufstein, Zimmer Austria is a worldwide leader among the producers of machines for textile and carpet finishing (digital printing systems, flat screen and rotary screen printing, coating systems, steaming, washing, drying). In a chat with Fibre2fashion, Tony Naschberger, General Manager of Zimmer Kufstein, Austria discusses about the growth potential of digital printing in next few years, the steps being taken by the company to mitigate the current Covid challenge and the new products it is coming up with.
How has the corona pandemic impacted the machinery industry?
It is a big impact. Main problem for us is travel restrictions for our sales staff and also engineers.
The virus is here to stay. What steps have you taken to mitigate its impact - be it at the supply chain level or sourcing of raw material etc?
We are working hard to support local engineers to be able to install digital and conventional print lines. Here we use all kind of communication channels. Especially in India, China and Turkey we have local teams which can support the customer.
Based on consumer preferences, how has your business altered? Kindly elaborate.
We are using video conferences for sales. Now we are also checking out how to compensate international exhibitions. Local sales conferences or special video seminars might be an alternative.
What is the size of the global machinery market that caters to textile and carpet finishing?
In digital carpet printing we might have a market share of about 70 to 80 per cent. On digital textile printing, we have a good share in specialties like printing lines for terry towels, blankets, needlepunch products - in principle voluminous products.
On digital flat textile printing, we play a role when it comes also to specialties like VAT printing and pigment prints.
On conventional rotary printing we have good share on high end installations in countries like India, Bangladesh, US.
Where is the manufacturing/ production done?
We do all of our machines in Austria right from engineering, production, electronics, software and hardware. This enables us to keep the quality customers expect from an European high end supplier.
What is the annual production capacity at your units?
We produce about 20 units of digital print lines in the width between 2.2 m up to 5.2 m for all type of applications - mainly flooring.
In addition we produce about 30 screen print lines and a number of textile coating lines - mainly for technical textiles.
Which are your major markets? Which new markets you would be exploring in future?
India, China, US, Europe, Turkey, Bangladesh are our major markets. We see that some new installations might come back to Europe and US.
How much are you investing on your screen printing and digital printing machines annually?
In screen printing investment is mainly for optimisations. There is not much to invent anymore. In digital printing we invest heavily - several million euros per year. This investment goes mainly in process technology but also in software and functional inks which we develop with partners from the chemical industry.
What are the costs associated with buying a printer in terms of ink purchases and other factors?
We have an open ink system and we work with a number of ink providers. This enables our customers to select from best performing ink with best fastness properties for the best price.
As manufacturing costs gain more importance to manufacturers, what are Zimmer's economical solutions to the market?
The future lies in good performance of a printer; a low ecologic impact and reasonably priced inks. Process optimisation will play a major role in future.
How much is digital printing supposed to grow in the next 5 years?
Finally digital printing will be the way to go when it comes to flexibility and environment. We expect a growth rate of about 20 per cent per year - depending very much of the region.
The Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 - all machinery is being increasingly geared towards that. How is Zimmer keeping pace with that?
Industry 4.0 is a slogan without too much meaning. Digital printing is part of it. And Zimmer is part of it too.
What is your R&D team like? How much do you spend on R&D on a yearly basis? Where do they source information on trends and consumer insights from?
On the digital side we spend about 10 per cent of the digital turnover which is about 30 million euros. Trends we get from talking to our customers
What new products are you coming up with?
In carpet printing we will work on new inks in combination with new fibres - resulting in brighter colours, lower ink consumption and minimised environmental impact. In textile printing we have a focus on digital camouflage printing with all its special aspects.
With most of the tradeshows getting cancelled for the current year, how are you going to showcase your new products? What new ways you would be adopting?
Travelling will be a challenge for buyers and manufacturers. Missing conventional tradeshows is a challenge when looking for new customers. Digital tradeshows are still in a virgin stage, it will take its own time till the right channels will crystallise. Networking, local partners and social media channels are definitely a must for the future.
What are your future plans?
Zimmer is an almost 150 year old company with high reputation, permanent innovation and an excellent service. These characteristics are our assets on which we continue to build our future potential. (PC)
Published on: 02/09/2020
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.
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