There was a great deal of visitor interest in the innovations show put on by KARL MAYER at ITMA, held 20.–26.06.2019 in Barcelona. Karl Mayer received just under 1,500 visitors from across the world – led by India, followed by Italy, Turkey, the USA, Germany and China.
With its presentation, KARL MAYER had the entire textile value added chain clearly in its sights – from production, through the fabric, to its applications. It was showing innovative machines for warp knitting, warp preparation and technical textiles, solutions for networking machines and the digital world, as well as exciting fabrics and – in an impressive world of experiences – examples of applications with a high market potential. In addition, working responsibly with the environment was an important theme that received a great deal of attention on KARL MAYER’s stand. “We are illustrating the implementation of our key strategic topics of ‘sustainability and the environment’ on various islands at the fair, from energy-efficient machines, through processing yarns with the emphasis on conserving resources, to sustainable warp-knitted textiles and end-use concepts. One of the highlights is undoubtedly our new machine innovation for processing sustainable denim,” the CEO of KARL MAYER, Arno Gärtner, went on to say when speaking at the fair.
Using digitisation systems for warp knitting machines and tapping into new markets
KARL MAYER is combining machine technology with digitisation and this is exactly the right thing to do. “Once again, it became clear from the ITMA fair in Barcelona that the sector is focusing on digital solutions when it comes to process optimisation and customer orientation. That is why we are delighted to receive such excellent feedback on the new systems within our software start-up, KM.ON,” said Arno Gärtner at ITMA.
Two machines with digital features were being premiered in Barcelona. The HKS 3-M-ON can be linked directly to the KM.ON cloud via the k.ey system, which enables the lapping data required to be loaded directly onto the machine.
The RSJ 4/1 ON uses the potential of the KM.ON product group, k.innovation, to optimally support virtual textile development, which is quite usual these days. Therefore, k.innovation delivers much more than just patterning software. “Many of our visitors were particularly impressed by our networked machines and the new possibilities offered by collaborative product development with k.innovation, in conjunction with the RSJ 4/1 ON,” said Oliver Mathews, the Sales Manager of KARL MAYER’s Warp Knitting Business Unit. “The fair went well and we had more than 700 high-quality conversations. We also laid the foundations for many sales contracts and initiated some interesting new projects.” The newly configured RDPJ 6/2 EL also contributed to the excellent feedback, together with its exceptional range of 4D-KNIT products. The textiles produced on this double-bar raschel machine feature a wide range of pronounced, three-dimensional designs on the outer sides, but can also feature openwork patterns, which gives them an advantage over their circular weft-knitted competitors. “News of our new development quickly spread around the fair. Even yarn producers had heard about the 4D-KNIT articles and came to learn more about them on our stand,” says Kay Hilbert. This Head of Product Portfolio Management and his team discussed many promising projects with the visitors. Some of the visitors seemed very keen to invest, and they discussed ideas for new applications.
Ideas and inspiration for using warp-knitted textiles with well-thought-out designs were being demonstrated to the ITMA visitors under the slogan of the “Future of Textiles”. “The applications on show were picking up textile producers, brands and processors from the places where they do business: in the development of new innovations and efficient production,” says Oliver Mathews.
According to Oliver Mathews, the focus was on the possibilities of substituting woven fabrics with warp-knitted fabrics to minimise costs and environmental loads, and the subject of E-textiles. Extensive development work is being carried out at KARL MAYER into the electrical conductivity of warp-knitted textiles. In the project entitled, TEXTILE CIRCUIT, string bar technology is being used to incorporate electrically conductive yarns directly at any location into the fabric.
The display of applications was also showcasing some exceptional product developments, which are both stylish and functional and can be made-up with little outlay. These include well-thought-out systems for comfortable bras with few seams, a sporty body providing shape and support and made from a new type of power lace, and a swimsuit with a lace look.
An innovative new machine for the composites sector and well-thought-out textile solutions for the construction sector
The new machine, SIM.PLY, proved to be a real magnet for the public in the field of technical textiles. This innovation produces thermoplastic, unidirectional tapes (UD tapes) using fibre spreading technology. Its products – premium tapes with precisely aligned, continuous fibres – are suitable for use in highly stressed, fibre-reinforced, lightweight structures, which are a rapid growth area. The thermoplastic matrix is also easy to process, which makes mass production feasible. The SIM.PLY products feature an impressive, high quality and excellent mechanical properties. The grammages of the spread tape, as well as the impregnated tape, are also uniform, and the fibre volume content is high. The production efficiency is also excellent, thanks to the continuous spreading and impregnating sequences. This line has far exceeded the expectations of KARL MAYER in relation to visitor feedback. “Both our existing customers involved in the lightweight construction, automotive and transport fields, as well as new, interested people from the sports sector, for example, were very interested in this new technology. We had many specific enquiries from our customers at the fair, who were interested in carrying out trials in our Applications Centre in Chemnitz,” says Hagen Lotzmann, the Sales Manager of the Technical Textiles Business Unit.
In addition to talking to partners on the subject of composites, he and his team welcomed all the big clients of KARL MAYER’s established product portfolio. “We had conversations on a wide range of topics, covering our entire technical textiles portfolio – from aviation, through wind power, to geotextiles,” says Hagen Lotzmann. However, he said that there was also a huge interest in building textiles. He and his team had the benefit of the extensive range of products being showcased when talking to the visitors. Examples of their use in textile-reinforced concrete, cheap, flexible and stable roofing materials and bitumen roofing membranes, as well as special plaster grids that increase cracking resistance in the plaster, were all on show. A lightweight, multiaxial construction made from aramid yarns on a COP MAX 5 multiaxial warp knitting machine with an online spreading process for the production of personal protection equipment was also being presented.
Innovative warp preparation technology for a wide range of applications
KARL MAYER’s Warp Preparation Business Unit was presenting new, innovative systems for a wide range of market segments, which appealed to many visitors. Dieter Gager, the Sales Manager of this business unit, and his team recorded just under 430 high-calibre conversations on this subject. After the third day of the fair his conclusion was: “So far, there has been a marked interest in the PROSIZE® and MULTI-MATIC® ranges. Most of our customers came from Turkey and Portugal. The first specific enquiries relating to orders have already been received. The MULTI-MATIC® 32 also attracted many interested people from Italy in particular.”
Italian manufacturers are involved in the high-end fashion market in particular, and know how to appreciate a highly efficient warping machine for producing sample and short production warps. The versatile MULTI-MATIC® 32 requires less time and effort for yarn management and has an impressive cost:benefit ratio.
Other highlights were the new PRODIRECT direct warper, which also has an excellent cost:benefit ratio, and the new LINK-MATIC® system. This innovative system allows for the automatic knotting of the beams within a batch on the PRODYE-S indigo dyeing machine and the PROSIZE® sizing machine when changing the beams within a batch. This enables changeover times to be reduced, productivity to be increased and operator time to be minimised. Also, less yarn waste is produced.
The performance show of the PROWARP® sectional warping machine was being transmitted via a live link from KARL MAYER’s site in Hausen to Barcelona, and was viewed with great interest. This machine operates with the new PROACTIVE Warping system and was demonstrating how this self-learning system can optimise the warp beam quality and consequently weaving efficiency.
KARL MAYER was showing its new GREENDYE technology under the slogan of SUSTAINABLE DENIM. This innovative technical system uses the advantages of indigo dyeing in a nitrogen atmosphere to achieve greater efficiency and sustainability in denim production. This presentation was a real magnet for the visitors. “Our large global key clients from India, Spain and Turkey saw a great deal of promising potential in this new dyeing technology,” said Dieter Gager, the Sales Manager of the Warp Preparation Business Unit. The benefits of the GREENDYE technology soon spread around the fair. Dieter Gager said that, for the first time, customers of our customers – well-known retailers and jeans manufacturers – came to visit KARL MAYER’s stand to gather information on the possibilities of saving resources.
Digital innovations for textile machines
The new KARL MAYER Business Unit, KM.ON, was presenting for the first time at an ITMA in Barcelona, and received extremely positive feedback. “It was a very successful fair for KM.ON. We spoke about many specific projects with a large number of potential and existing customers active in all of KARL MAYER’s business areas,” explained Antonia Gottschalk, the Managing Director of KM.ON GmbH. The visitors were particularly impressed by k.ey, the company’s high-tech connectivity system. In addition to the possibility of networking additional machines, the first bidirectional networking solutions are now available, which permit the seamless transfer of pattern data to the new HKS-3M-ON and RSJ 4/1 ON machines. This enables customers to reduce their time-to-market considerably.
Antonia Gottschalk said that another highlight of the exhibition was the software developed for k.innovation. This game changer in the textile industry combines patterning with collaboration. Design projects involving several participants can be carried out between companies and across different time zones, without changing the system. Any interfaces and disruptions in the system are eliminated by combining the k.innovation and k.ey systems. With k.innovation, projects can be implemented, from the design idea to pattern data transfer, in a continuous workflow. “This system was well received by our own customers, as well as by the big brands, who described it as ‘amazing’,” says Antonia Gottschalk.
Other product categories within the KM.ON brand were also well received by customers in all of KARL MAYER’s business areas, as well as by other players involved in the entire textile value added chain.