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The Rupp Report

The Rupp Report: Successful Two Product Lines Strategy For Karl Mayer

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

The producers of knitting and warp knitting machines play an important part in the textile world. Knitted and warp knitted fabrics are applied around the world in a wide variety of products, particularly for sportswear and industrial applications. So there is no question that in the string of interviews with ITMA 2011 exhibitors, it's time to present the producers of knitting and warp knitting machines. In this week's testimony, the Rupp Report takes a look at Karl Mayer Textilmaschinen GmbH, Germany. Karl Mayer is the undisputed global leader for warp knitting and raschel machines. The portfolio has been completed in the last few years with the addition of equipment and machinery for warp preparation. The Rupp Report talked to Ulrike Schlenker, responsible for media and public relations.

Both ITMAs Are Important Events

Asked about the "rhythm" of the two ITMAs, Schlenker answered in a different way than other exhibitors, saying that "ITMA Europe is still the most important innovation show for Europe, the Americas in general, and Latin America in particular as well as India. On the other hand, ITMA Asia is an important business platform for Asian markets with China as the main focus."

Karl Mayer welcomed mostly visitors from India, followed by the United States, Italy, Brazil, Spain, Germany and Turkey. The high number of U.S. visitors is based on the strong interest in technical textiles. Guests from Turkey were mostly interested in warp knitting machines. For the Warp Preparation business unit, most visitors who came to see the products were from Italy, followed by Latin American countries.

Exceeded Expectations

Schlenker confirmed that the visitor frequency, as well as the quality of the guests, was very high. "The visits were of very high quality. Many experts' discussions were made with decision makers, and very detailed and focused meetings happened during ITMA 2011," she added.

"Yes," she said, "having the actual development (by the time of ITMA 2011) of the textile industry in Europe and America in mind, our cautious expectations to this ITMA were fulfilled, even exceeded. We could underscore our position as the market and innovation leader." She sees a combination of processes in the near future, and furthermore, an accentuation of issues such as environmental protection and sustainability. "And a more cautious handling with the presentation of true novelties," she mentioned with a smile.

New Products
The company presented innovations such as the warp knitting machine HKS 2-3 E, producing in a gauge of E 50, and the DJ 6/2 EL, which was operating with an integrated positive pattern beam drive. Furthermore, the Jacquardtronic® Lace machine was producing plain panels without the traditional weft/pillar-stitch combination. In the raschel segment, the TL 59/1/24 demonstrated its high speed in the manufacture of delicate lace bands.

For warp preparation equipment, the company showed the size box Pro Size. The use of this size box is said to enable a yarn gauge processing with sizes not achieved yet using the single-bath process. The Multi-Matic® was also presented. This warping machine produces sample and production warps with medium run lengths at a warping speed of up to 800 meters per minute and processes a maximum of 128 yarn ends - five times more than the Gir-O-Matic (GOM) 24.

And what were the highlights at ITMA for Karl Mayer? Schlenker says clearly that the HKS 2-3 E with its 50 gauge fabric and the new Multi-Matic were the top runners at the booth. The reasons for this are the trends toward much more delicate fabrics for underwear and toward higher flexibility. "This means that shorter warp lengths and sample warps as well as production warps can be manufactured much more efficiently," she said.

Market Situation

"The markets today are volatile, dynamic and not easy to predict," Schlenker said. The European market is mainly the top segment of Karl Mayer's customer base and is still very important for Karl Mayer also as a stimulus trigger for new developments. To underscore this comment, Schlenker added: "Our loyal customers of many years are based in Europe. However, the Asian market, and particularly China, is the growth market with many new customers and the biggest market segments in terms of turnover. This is reflected in that China is the strongest market for us. Nevertheless, Karl Mayer expects great potential in Latin America and Turkey. The European markets are important specifically thanks to their know-how and the long-term partnership.

"With our products and innovations, we aim to satisfy market needs and we expect to defend our position as the market leader in our business segments," she continued. "On top of that, we will further strengthen sustainability in our company — however, without forgetting the importance of a well-balanced price/performance ratio. In addition, we will continue our two-product-lines strategy and further strengthen our locations policy. We produce where our markets are."

March 20, 2012

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