ITMA 2019: Textile and garment technology exhibition

Addressing digital transformation and sustainability concerns

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Shown at ITMA 2019, Neenah Coldenhove’s trailblazing new Texcol product, a digital pigment transfer paper, which prints on both Cotton and Linen Fabrics, to the Technijet’s new Swift-Jet machine, which, using a novel spray-coating system, claims to save 50% of the water volume and energy used in pre-coating fabric for Digital Textile Printing. Photo courtesy: FESPA
Shown at ITMA 2019, Neenah Coldenhove’s trailblazing new Texcol product, a digital pigment transfer paper, which prints on both Cotton and Linen Fabrics, to the Technijet’s new Swift-Jet machine, which, using a novel spray-coating system, claims to save 50% of the water volume and energy used in pre-coating fabric for Digital Textile Printing. Photo courtesy: FESPA

The 18th edition of ITMA, one of the world’s largest international textile and garment technology exhibition, took place at Fira de Barcelona exhibition center, Barcelona, Spain, from 20 to 26 June 2019. Themed ‘Innovating the world of textiles,’ ITMA 2019 brought together the global textile and garment manufacturing industry under one roof. Being held every four years since 1951, this year’s show featured new product launches and innovative technologies and products, including those that leverage the Internet of Things, by 1717 exhibitors from 45 countries.

CEMATEX, the European committee of textile machinery manufacturers, and owner of ITMA and ITMA Asia, reported that the industry support from visitors and exhibitors was tremendous, resulting in record-breaking number of exhibitors since its inception. Fritz P Mayer, president of CEMATEX said, “The digital transformation of the textile and garment manufacturing value chain and sustainability concerns of the industry have driven up visitor interests in ITMA 2019. We had a strong turnout, despite trade tensions and poor business sentiments. Many of our exhibitors were pleasantly surprised with the large number of serious buyers attending the exhibition.”

Konica Minolta stand at ITMA 2019.
Konica Minolta stand at ITMA 2019.

“They were also impressed with the presence of new visitor segments, such as bigger numbers of fashion and sports brands. Considering that for this ITMA edition, the exhibition duration has been shortened from 8 to 7 days, we still enjoyed good visitorship,” Mayer added.

ITMA 2019 attracted visitorship of over 105,000 from 137 countries. The top five countries where visitors came from were Spain (11%), Italy (10%), India (8%), Turkey and Germany (7%). They were followed by France, United States, Portugal, Brazil, Pakistan, China and the UK.

Faisal Shakeel, product executive – Textile, Colorjet said, “ITMA 2019 was a very successful show for us. The amount of inquiries and feedback that we received were the most as compared to any other show that we have participated earlier. The stage at which ITMA is held has helped catapult Colorjet into the world stage standing shoulder to shoulder with brands like Epson, EFI Reggiani, HP, etc.”

Paolo Milini, president and chief executive officer of MS Printing Solutions said, “We are very satisfied with the show. The success of ITMA 2019 was possible due to a large number of visitors who came to our stand. We had over 600 contacts a day, and they come from over 90 countries!”

Launched as a dedicated sector at ITMA 2019, the printing and inks chapter had grown by 40% since ITMA 2015, and featured many new exhibitors who were keen to represent the upcoming digital printing sector. The show also provided the platform for the announcement of a comprehensive modernization program for Egypt’s textile industry valued at around EUR 1 billion from exhibitors such as Benninger, Brückner, EFI Reggiani, Itema, Karl Mayer, Rieter, Savio and Thies.

Durst also showcased their Advanced Pigment Ink system (where the binder is in the Pigment Ink) at ITMA 2019, which gives a one-step print process with exemplary wash and light fastness with no requirement for pre-coating. Credit: FESPA.
Durst also showcased their Advanced Pigment Ink system (where the binder is in the Pigment Ink) at ITMA 2019, which gives a one-step print process with exemplary wash and light fastness with no requirement for pre-coating. Credit: FESPA.

New technologies such as 3D weaving and knitting to hi-tech nonwovens processes, sustainable chemicals and state-of-the-art garment-making technologies, and wide range of software-powered automation solutions were launched at the event.

“I missed the last ITMA in Milan. After eight years, I observed that there is a big jump in technology. There are many interesting new developments, such as digitalization and automation, as well as more eco-friendly products. I came here to buy equipment for my factories, so this has been a fruitful trip for me,” said Kihak Sung, founder of Youngone Corporation and president of International Textile Manufacturers Federation.

An industry player from Sri Lanka, RakhiI Hirdaramani, director of Hirdaramani and the Manufacturers Committee Chair of the World Federation of Sporting Goods International, said, “ITMA is a meeting of the minds. As much as it is a machinery fair, it’s also about understanding new technologies; meeting with your peers and colleagues from various sectors of the industry to understand the challenges and how to address them. One of the key trends we’ve seen this year, is about sustainability and Industry 4.0.”

Hirdaramani participated in a panel discussion held at the Speakers Platform, one of the aspects of the ITMA Innovation Lab launched this year. The platform featured about 60 presentations, and was attended by over 900 participants.

ITMA collaborated with supporting organizations, many of which sent visiting delegations from Central Asia, South Asia, Turkey and the Mediterranean countries. Among the high-level government delegations ITMA included Catalan, minister of Business and Knowledge, Ángels Chacon i Feixás; governor of West Flanders, Carl Decaluwé led a press delegation from Flanders, Belgium; and the Uzbekistan vice minister of Silk, Jumaev Olimjon and vice minister of Textile, Jumaniyazov Fahriddin who led a delegation of 40 people.

The next ITMA will be held in Fiera Milano, Milan, Italy, from 8 to 14 June 2023. Some exhibitors have already started making plans for the next show.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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