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The Rupp Report

The Rupp Report: Positive Present And Future For The DiloGroup

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

As the Rupp Report has reported during the last 12 months, many companies in the nonwovens sector have merged with other companies or have been acquired. Today, not many companies remain in private ownership. One of them is the Germany-based DiloGroup, owned by Johann-Philipp Dilo, an esteemed personality in the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) Textile Machinery Association — where he served as a former association president and head of the ITMA Munich organizing committee — as well as the wonder of the DiloGroup.

As durable nonwovens have become more and more evident on the international markets, the DiloGroup has played an important part as a supplier of turnkey production lines. For this important sector of the textile industry, the Rupp Report talked with Dilo in Barcelona, as well as a few days ago, to get a second statement or confirmation of the positive results of ITMA 2011.

How About ITMA?
As Dilo is a former president of the VDMA Textile Machinery Association, it was very interesting to get his answer to the question about the current concept of ITMA. He said: "The concept for the European ITMA every four years is still okay. The frequency in Asia with the emphasis on China is, of course, very high and serves the purpose of establishing ITMA Asia as a leading event. However, it is doubtful that only one year's offset from the European ITMA is the best solution." For Dilo, it is obvious "that so far, the difference between ITMA Asia and ITMA Europe is visible in that ITMA Europe sets the focus on innovations, whereas ITMA Asia focuses more on general customer relations issues in one of the most important markets. The further development of Chinese textile machinery will be influential to the final importance and organizational form for ITMA Asia."

The Far East with China at the top, the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Western Europe are the most important markets at the moment for the company. Most ITMA visitors to the Dilo booth came from Europe, Turkey and India. Brazil also was present with some hundreds of visitors. According to Dilo, visitor frequency was overwhelming, with more than 3,500 people during the eight days, and the quality of the visitors was "highly professional."

Evolution, Not Revolution
For Dilo, the expectations were more than fulfilled at ITMA Barcelona last September, but did he see any real novelty at ITMA? "Well, the modern development process — with a high level of performance, quality and efficiency of machinery and plants — doesn't tend to allow revolutionary inventions at a high frequency," he explained. "The focus is more on an evolutionary development process for increased quality, efficiency, reduced consumption of energy, the consideration of ecology and environmental protection issues. At the same time, the number of many small improvements also gives considerable progress over the years and the motivation to invest in new machinery in order to stay competitive."

For most of the "traditional exhibitors" at ITMA, the setup of the new chapters with 18 different segments is not that important. Dilo has a different view: "The general direction to adapt more different segments for ITMA strengthens and stabilizes ITMA as the most attractive textile machinery platform. I therefore consider this a positive move."

Positive Feelings
The European market for nonwovens is large and promising, Dilo commented. It is active and growing and requires high-technology solutions for production lines from his group. On the other hand, the Asian market is very important. "Also in China, there is a trend to invest in high-quality textile machinery, giving excellent chances for our range of machinery and our complete program," he said.

Also, the actual economic situation is not distorting Dilo's business that much. "Yes, surprisingly, not so far. It seems that the economy in our segment is not affected by the financial crisis of some countries in Europe," he said. "Currently, there is much arguing about the level of interest rates for commercial paper despite the fact that not too long ago, the Eurozone had much higher interest rates.

New Products

As one could see at the booth, DiloGroup — including DiloTemafa, DiloSpinnbau and DiloMachines — exhibited standard universal equipment including recent developments. At ITMA, the group was the only company that showed a complete line, the so-called "Line made in Germany." Measuring 1,000 square meters, the company's booth was the largest in the nonwovens machinery segment. The line demonstrated was fully operational and processed fiber up to a needled product. A remarkable comment by Dilo was that his technical and technological staff erected and started up the full line within a very short time period of 2.5 weeks.

The line featured a new AlphaMix bale opener to complete a Baltromix blending line — which was said to demonstrate an excellent performance-to-cost ratio — followed by the new MultiFeed card feeder equipped with the Twinflow fiber infeed section for a more regular card feeding. The MultiCard was exhibited for the first time and attracted many visitors. The DLSC high-performance crosslapper featured the Webguide, which is an example of a reliable device to keep the web free from wrinkles at very high throughput speeds. The CV1-A batt weight control system, said to be a most successful item to reduce fiber consumption and performing reliably in industry for many years, has been perfected thanks to many detailed improvements. The feedback was said to be excellent.

According to Dilo, reasons for this positive feedback were throughput capacity, batt quality, line efficiency, ease of operation and maintenance, reliability and cost-effectiveness.

Market Situation
"The current global economic conditions are strongly influenced by emerging markets and traditionally strong industrial countries in Asia," Dilo said. However, the market doesn't seem to be influenced by current financially critical conditions in some countries in Europe. "On the other hand, there is a slight recovery in the United States, stability in Brazil and so on," he added. He thinks that the global conditions shouldn't just be compared to the general conditions in Europe, where Germany continues to show positive signals. For his own products, the forecast is quite promising: "The nonwovens consumption and markets are growing further, which is creating stable demand for nonwovens machinery and, over the years, continued solid market potential."

For 2012, Dilo is optimistic: "I can say that based on our considerable backlog of machine orders and due to the rather stable general conditions, we expect an excellent sales volume in 2012. And the same holds true for the foreseeable future and over the next four years."

February 1, 2012