A transatlantic textile family
Bank America’s skyscraper on the road into Atlanta’s city centre is very reminiscent of Frankfurt’s Messeturm. And, if you haven’t already realised this, the drive along Peachtree road is a clear sign that the peach means as much to an inhabitant of Atlanta as the apple and medlar to someone from Frankfurt. But, skylines and a fondness for native fruits aside, both cities have even more in common: every two years, the Techtextil and Texprocess trade fairs take place here in Atlanta.
From 3 to 5 May, Techtextil North America and Texprocess Americas, which took place in parallel with JEC Americas, brought together a total of 519 suppliers of industrial textiles and textile processors from more than 30 countries in the CNN World Congress Center. And many well-known faces could be seen at the US versions of the two trade fairs. In addition to regional exhibitors, a large number of exhibitors who exhibit regularly at the Frankfurt versions of the fairs were there, ranging from A, as in American & Efird, to Gerber and Groz-Beckert, right through to Z, as in Zwickauer Kammgarn.
Lenzing from Austria showcased applications for their cellulose fibres (FR) und lyocell fibres (Tencel), including shoes from the latest H&M Conscious collection. Litex Textile and Technology from Taiwan made an impression with its e-textiles. Sandler AG from Schwarzenbach in Bavaria presented nonwoven absorbers for the automotive, building and filtration industries. As Gerhard Klier, sales director for technical products at Sandler, explains: “Our products offer a real alternative for customers who do not want to use glass fibres.”
At the end of last year Sandler opened a production site in the USA. Dr. Karl Wetekam & Co. from Melsungen has expanded into the USA as well. Its subsidiary company, Wetekam Monofilaments USA, is expanding with a range of technical textiles processed in its own extrusion plant. The success of the US subsidiary companies is stimulated by the trend in the US textile industry towards ‘reshoring’ and ‘nearshoring’. The American sector association, SPESA (Sewn Products Equipment & Suppliers of the Americas), co-organisers of Texprocess Americas, is witnessing an expansion, particularly in the north American and middle American fashion and clothing sector, according to Managing Director Dave Gardner, who spoke at the joint opening press conference.
Things were just as busy a few metres away at Texprocess Americas: those who dared to be put into the 3D body scanner by the company, Human Solutions, were able to use their own bodies for scientific purposes. The IT specialists from Kaiserslautern are taking body measurements of the average American in their project ‘Size NorthAmerica’. Their aim is to make best use of materials in garment manufacturing and to reduce customer complaints from online sales.
From time to time, clusters of people gathered in front of the stand of the Spanish company, Jeanologia. This was the first time that the finishing specialist had exhibited at Texprocess Americas and they gave live demonstrations showing a laser giving the finishing touches to a pair of jeans. In addition, those with smartphones were attracted by two-armed 3D sewing robots on the Henderson Sewing Machine Inc. stand and Brother’s Vision Sewing System. This is a system integrated into a programmable sewing machine, which automatically recognises and sews the outlines for textile applications.
Sewing and garment technologies, mainly from China, Japan, Taiwan and Germany, are the latest to move into the US market. According to the VDMA (German Engineering Federation) Garment and Leather Technology Association, German manufacturers exported machines to the value of 40 million euros to the USA last year.
The next opportunity to find out about international trends and innovations in the textile industry will be at the next Techtextil and Texprocess fairs, which will be taking place in Frankfurt and Main from 9 to 12 May 2017.