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The Rupp Report

The Rupp Report: Positive Future For Niche Markets

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

After a short break, the Rupp Report carries on with its information from ITMA 2011, questioning opinion leaders at ITMA 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. Now it's time to ask the manufacturers of weaving machines about their experience. In this story, the Rupp Report looks at Lindauer Dornier GmbH, based in Germany on the wonderful shores of Lake Constance. After a busy week in Barcelona, it was possible to talk to Michael Ebeling, director, weaving machines, as well as to Alois Felder, the well-known sales engineer from Dornier.

Every (Two) Four Years

Again, asking about the rhythm of the ITMAs, both persons mentioned that it would be much better for the mainly European textile machinery industry to have an ITMA in Europe and in Asia each every four years, in alternation with each other every two years. "It would be good enough," Ebeling said. "This would leave some time to breathe and probably show new equipment at the next event.

"However," Felder added, "as a machinery manufacturer, we can't hold back our innovations for next ITMA. Our customers want and must be informed instantly if a new machine or an update is available. So the initial rhythm of four years would be sufficient."

As a supplier by and large of tailor-made weaving machines, Dornier welcomed visitors mostly from Europe and Turkey, but also from Latin America and India. "The quality of the visitors was very good," Felder said. "The discussions were on a very high level. Fortunately, we were able to welcome decision makers mainly, and very few occasional visitors."

Ebeling added that Dornier was very happy with ITMA Europe so far, and the expectations were absolutely fulfilled. "If one thinks about the last two years, we couldn't have expected such big feedback and demand for our products." However, both complained that in the weaving hall, approximately every second booth was occupied with fakes. So they called those booths "fake booths."

Europe Very Important

As mentioned initially, Europe is very important to Dornier due to the fact that the German manufacturer is a major supplier to the technical textile sector. "Yes," Ebeling said, "technical textiles are very important for Lindauer Dornier. A considerable number of our machines are producing technical textiles. Nevertheless, the Asian market comprises one-third of our turnover."

Currently, the most important countries on the customer side are Germany and Italy, thanks to their importance in the high fashion industry. On the other hand, in the technical sector, Jacquard weaving machines play an important part — for example, for automotive upholstery fabrics."

Open Reed Weaving

Felder put special emphasis on one particular exhibit: Dornier's patented SyncroDrive drive concept for rapier and air-jet weaving machines. "An electric control circuit to the separate drive of the Jacquard machine replaces the more or less traditional cardan connection between weaving and Jacquard machines," he said. "The realization of dynamic close of shed adjustment while the machine is running meets the requirements from the global weavers." And the feedback to this was very good, Felder explained. He added that "the mechanical components can be replaced with electronic ones. With this change, we see a lot of new possibilities for further fabric developments." The result of this considerable reduction in mechanical loads means that weaving machines with this drive concept run 6- to 10-percent faster. The system, said Felder, has already been in practical use for two years.

Market Situation

The market situation was considered as follows: Europe will remain under pressure. "This was the first European ITMA with Chinese machines," Ebeling added. On the other side, Dornier sees a positive 2012: "If the financial situation will remain stable, we foresee a good result for 2012," he said. Actual trends show that this prediction was right.

Confirmed ITMA Impressions
Recently, the Rupp Report talked again to Ebeling, to either confirm or correct the particular impressions from ITMA Barcelona. The answers were quite clear: Ebeling mentioned that nothing has changed in terms of the satisfactory results from ITMA: "We are happy with the developments since September 2011 in Barcelona. Nothing has changed since then." And he added that Asia is currently the most important sales region for Dornier, but Europe in general, and particularly Central Europe, is showing a very buoyant demand, too. In terms of the insertion system, rapier of air-jet, Ebeling said that the demand for the moment is at 50:50 for both technologies. And how about his own expectations for 2012, just a few months following ITMA? "Well," he declared, "as mentioned above, we are quite pleased with the development of this year. We expect the same results for this year as 2011."

March 6, 2012