ITEMA Wowed Visitors With The Latest Weaving Technologies At ITMA 2019

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Christian Straubhaar, Sales & Marketing Director, Itema Group

Tell us about your latest technologies showcased during ITMA.
At ITMA 2019, Itema rolled out a series of brand new weaving innovations including absolute new market launches that took centre stage during the exhibition.

We exhibited the second generation of the Itema Airjet machines, the A9500-2, designed to provide further increased speed, reliability and textile efficiency. Moreover, a brand new airjet machine version – exclusively dedicated to bed sheeting weavers, the A9500-2bedsheeting – made its debut at ITMA.

On the rapier side, we showcased the R9500-2, second generation of the most successful rapier weaving machine in recent history. Certainly, the rapier R9500-2denim, the loom that recently revolutionised denim weaving could not be missing on show. The Itema denim dedicated rapier machine was equipped with the one-of-a-kind iSAVER™ – that represents the unique real sustainable weaving tool in the weaving industry -and with a further enhanced weft transfer system featuring innovative IOT solutions. In fact, the brand-new iBOOSTER package and iCARE system equipped on the machine implement the most modern principles to provide unparalleled performances and predictive maintenance solutions to weavers who want to run extremely fast in complete safety.

Last but not least, the high-end terry market leader – the R9500terry was exhibited with all the unique technological highlights that make – since longtime – this machine the most reliable and versatile rapier terry machine on the market.

But that’s not all, special exhibit was iMANAGER, the latest Itema plant management software that enables Itema weaving machines performance data collection providing a valuable source of information to enhance productivity and work optimisation.

Real gem of whole exhibition was the Loom of the Future-birth name Discovery – that we showcased for the first time in a move to demonstrate our full dedication to innovate the weaving industry. Discovery-developed by Itemalab™-was the real star of the show. It was amazing to see the crowd around the machine during demo times! Discovery has been introduced at ITMA as a concept and it gathered the attention of worldwide weavers thanks to its completely new operations based on mechatronic principles and not anymore, as it happens on current weaving machines, on mechanical drives.

Itema airjet A9500-2bedsheeting and A9500-2, Itema rapier R9500-2denim and R9500-2 – can you tell us how these second generation machines are much better than the earlier versions, specifically in terms of speed, ease of operations and resource savings?
Working on the already well-known and appreciated R9500 and A9500 platforms, we further improved key machine parts and functionalities with the ultimate target to provide unparalleled cost savings and performances, superior fabric quality, outstanding user-experience. Focusing on the rapier R9500-2 and R9500-2denim, significant energy consumption reduction (up to -15%) is guaranteed by the optimized lubrication system and main mechanical components, whilst the main motor with oil cooling – available as standard configuration –  ensures a double valuable advantage: reduced maintenance and energy saving.

On the airjet side, the A9500-2 and A9500-2bedsheeting feature a new and optimized pneumatic platform including air tanks and distributors enabling significantly improved weft insertion cycle that leads to a quicker system response when handling air load and pressure guaranteeing minimized vibrations, higher structural reliability and optimized air consumption. The whole machines’ structure has been revised to increase the air tank capacity ensuring superior textile performances even at the highest speeds.

Speed is limitless on the Itema airjet and rapier Second Generation weaving machines since it is now possible to push as much as desired machines’ performances without compromising reliability thanks to key and future-oriented developments. As an example, A9500-2 and A9500-2bedsheeting feature the brand-new heald frames SKYFRAME – Itema exclusive proprietary technology – made of aluminium and carbon and designed by Itemalab™ in cooperation with Lamiflex. The Itema SKYFRAME, thanks to its superior lightness and sturdiness, allows to run at the highest speeds without compromising reliability and resistance.

As already mentioned, the iBOOSTER package on the R9500-2denim provides unique control of key weft transfer components thus leading to the highest production speeds with maximum reliability.

Fabric quality is historically recognized as a seal of excellence of the Itema weaving machines. On the A9500-2 and A9500-2bedsheeting, key weft transfer components – such as main and tandem nozzles – have been redesigned along with the whole pneumatic platform to ensure superior performances in terms of speed coupled with superior fabric quality and textile efficiency.

Last but not least, specific devices have been developed by Itema to ensure not only the maximum cost saving for the weaver but to meet the increasing demand of sustainable production as required by the most famous fashion brands as well as by our own conscience of manufacturer.

The iREED® featured on the airjet A9500-2, thanks to the special reed tunnel shape in combination with the single hole relay nozzle, optimizes the air flow in the reed channel leading to a lower air consumption up to -23%. Another Itema patented device which is worth to mention is the one-of-a-kind iSAVER™ that represents the unique real sustainable weaving tool in the weaving industry.

In fact, iSAVER™ is the only one in the sector able to completely eliminate the waste selvedge on the left side of the fabric, thus leading to substantially reducing the waste of raw materials, with tangible benefits in terms of loom efficiency, cost reduction and energy saving.

Suffice it to think that the weaver will save at least €2.000 per year on each loom, and our planet will gain even more. Indeed, for the first time in the history of weaving industry, a sustainable approach when choosing the machinery to be installed is possible. Thanks to iSAVER™, one thousand kilos of cotton per loom a year will be saved  – i.e. 3% of total raw materials – which will prevent wasting 20 million litres of water.

On the user-experience side, besides an optimized machine ergonomy to facilitate daily textile operations, the most reliable electronic platform on the market – the Itema NCP-comes on the Itema Second Generation weaving machines on a latest-generation, high performance touch-screen console ensuring maximum responsiveness and ease of use. All these features together represent the main advantage of choosing the Itema weaving machines: the lowest cost of ownership and the highest innovation rate in the market.

How important is Industry 4.0 for Itema customers, especially in South Asia?
Weaving mills are more and more concentrated in monitoring production processes efficiency to minimise raw materials waste and maximise cost savings and workforce. In one concrete example, machinery management softwares are increasingly requested to allow the remote control of the whole mill. Itema developed a brand new plant management system, named iMANAGER that brings on a pc desktop, tablet and smartphone all the relevant production data of the Itema weaving machines installed in the weaving room. iMANAGER provides easy control and access to machines data and statistics to see in real-time the current status of the machines, including textile data and settings, as well as to view and download machine statistics on an Excel spreadsheet, giving the weavers essential information about the operation of the looms. Moreover, with iMANAGER the weaver can monitor plant efficiency and access machines’ styles archive to quickly replicate designs on different looms.

How was the response at ITMA?
We had seven days of maximum attendance to our booths. ITMA 2019 confirmed ITMA Europe as the most relevant platform for the textile machinery industry. ITMA is, no doubt, the main stage for worldwide textile industry companies to showcase their product portfolio, to meet Customers and to build relations.

Can you tell us about the visitor trends at your booth – countries they came from, the technologies they were interested in?
Visitors of all nationalities crowded the Itema booth, just consider that we registered guests from more than 60 countries. Top five countries for number of visitors have been India, Turkey, Italy, China and Pakistan but also Bangladesh, Egypt, Japan, Brazil, Portugal, Germany and USA performed very well. What I want to underline is the quality of the trade visitors: most of the worldwide textile manufacturing companies didn’t miss the ITMA appointment and their delegates were led by decision makers of the highest levels. We had the chance to enter interesting and inspiring discussions with our visitors, investigating their weaving needs and deepening their future investments. The Itema team – present in full force – initiated important negotiations and we also finalized relevant leads. The machine line-up, that we carefully prepared taking into account woven textiles main market trends, has proven to be successful and appreciated by the visitors. Both rapier and airjet weft insertion technologies gathered in general significant attention, but remarkable was the interest demonstrated towards the Itema latest weaving innovations with regard to energy consumption reduction, preventive maintenance and sustainability proving that the future of weaving lies in these principles.

Any deals that were sealed at the show? For which machines and with which companies?
Just to give a significant example Itema has been chosen as the weaving partner of the Egyptian Cotton & Textile Industries Holding Company for the supply of more than 700 best-in-class rapier weaving machines R9500-2 and R9500terry. We are very proud to be part of this valuable project, that represents a major milestone for Egypt economy and industrial capacity.

How was response to Itematech?
At ITMA, we exhibited 4 machines in the Itematech booth – the rapiers R9500-2, Hercules and UniRap, including one absolute new machine version – the Hercules 4.5 – dedicated to weave the coarsest technical fabrics thanks to its key reinforcements.

ITMA was the proving ground for Itematech, the perfect situation to gather Customers and technical fabrics stakeholders feedback. And I have to report that the feelings we collected were extremely positive. Visitors of the Itematech booth were more than excited with the opportunity to find in a unique partner the widest range of technological solutions to weave technical fabrics. And it is exactly the main mission of the recently established Itematech. In fact, thanks to the strong know-how resulting from the merger of Itema – technical textiles weaving machines – and PTMT (formerly Panter) expertise and competences, Itematech will offer the most comprehensive weaving portfolio available in the market to weave technical fabrics and the most skilled and experienced technical textiles team in the industry. Technical fabrics manufacturers will now on find in Itematech a unique partner and technological reference point to meet and exceed all their needs when it comes to weaving the full range of technical applications.

In India, the decentralised power loom sector is upgrading its technology. What are your offerings for this price conscious segment?
We are following the weaving technology renewal process on-going in India with passion and interest. Itema is offering a global package to mills facing this major shift including but not limited to best-in-class weaving technology.

Actually, all customers are price sensitive. As Itema we always ensure to investors the best possible cost-benefit ratio that results from the establishment of a win-win relationship. Acting as a real and reliable partner, we provide a complete range of services, starting from in-depth consulting based on the mill’s textile requirements, passing through an overall economic investment evaluation and focusing on training, which represent a key factor to train operators and technicians in getting the most out of the most modern Itema weaving technology. In fact, we provide extensive mechanical, electronics and textile courses both in our ItemaCampus training center in Coimbatore and at customer’s premises.

What impact have you felt from the US-China trade tensions?
It is an undeniable fact that the trade war between US and China is affecting the weaving machinery market, slowing down investments in China mainland and, generally, in Asia Pacific countries. Nevertheless, we are experiencing an increasing request for new weaving machinery from India and Pakistan, as an example, testifying that most probably Western markets fabric supply has moved from China to other places. In any case, despite the negative market trend due to particular financial and commercial critical situations, Itema manages to maintain stable and positive results thanks to a healthy and solid structure.

We benefit from a unique competitive advantage in the market: the ability to provide the ideal machines portfolio to meet the requirements of mills that need to maximize their investment by choosing advanced equipment guaranteeing money saving and maximum return of investment.

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