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Germany: Textile Machinery Manufacturing Leader

Germany is the undisputed number one, when it comes to size, among the members of the European Committee of Textile Machinery Manufacturers (CEMATEX).

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

There are not many countries that can provide as big a range of textile machinery and peripheral equipment as Germany. The more than 120 member companies of German Engineering Federation (VDMA) Textile Machinery Association — led by Managing Director Thomas Waldmann together with a capable staff of people — form a strong body that is second to none.

Powerful Branch
The Textile Machinery Association represents one of the most powerful branches of German engineering. In 2012, its members exported textile machinery and accessories worth 3.1 billion euros. The 120 member companies — coming from all sectors of the industry, and having some global market leaders among them — are mainly small and medium-sized companies, which represent about 90 percent of the industry's total volume.

The main activities of the association are to represent the economic and technical interests of the industry; provide opportunities to exchange experiences; offer services such as generating statistics, monitoring key markets and reporting on the situation in textile industries around the world; actively support fair political decisions with regards to exhibitions; and publish regular newsletters to provide important information for its members.

Key committees are the Executive Board, the Exhibition and Marketing Committee and the Advisory Board for technology and research. The board consists of 15 people, and each specialized branch is represented. Chairman of the Board is Fritz P. Mayer, managing director and owner of Karl Mayer Textilmaschinenfabrik GmbH in Obertshausen. Vice presidents are Heinrich Trützschler, managing partner of Trützschler GmbH & Co. KG, Monchengladbach; and Karlheinz Liebrandt, CEO of Liba Maschinenfabrik GmbH.

Figure 1

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After Switzerland and Italy, Germany is the third, but biggest, CEMATEX member country to be covered in Textile World's survey of textile machinery suppliers. Twenty-six VDMA Textile Machinery Association member companies responded to the survey questionnaire with their comments. Most of the members reported a good year in 2012, and some even mentioned it was excellent. It is no surprise that China is the most important export country, followed by the United States, India, Turkey, Indonesia, Brazil, Bangladesh and, in some cases, Pakistan. However, Europe is still a very important market, especially for technical textiles and nonwovens.


Outlook: Promising But Vulnerable
The German producers expect 2013 to be a year with the same good results as in 2012, or even better. But in spite of good results and a promising start in 2013, the market situation remains vulnerable, some companies mentioned.

However, for nonwovens machinery, the market is said to be good. It seems that there are some plans from producers to invest in new capacities.

Regarding future and promising markets, China will further play a major role because buying power in China is growing very fast. On top of that, China has potential and is fast-growing in its consciousness regarding quality and sustainability for export markets and — of course — the increasing domestic market. But it's not only China — Turkey, Brazil, Bangladesh and Indonesia are also promising markets for the VDMA members. Some production will move away from China to other Asian markets. Already a lot of Chinese companies are investing in foreign countries like Vietnam and Bangladesh, which have lower labor costs. Some experts see a shift in the domestic textile industry from East China to West China.

Figure 2

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It was also mentioned that the United States, Mexico and some parts of India will invest more in new machinery than they did last year.

As ever, the machinery industry is facing the same problems: labor costs, energy prices or lack of power, low prices, and a lot of competition. Frankly speaking, this is nothing new to people from this industry. On the other hand, some emerging countries are showing promise because traditional textile producers are investing more money in technical textiles production. Another positive factor — at least for countries in the Eurozone — is the weak currency, along with higher labor costs and energy costs in the Far East and demands for high-efficiency machinery. The technical textile market in China is growing — and, therefore, the Chinese producers need highly sophisticated solutions.

June 25, 2013