Thomas Waldmann of VDMA Textile Machines talks about 2014 from his point of view and explains why energy generation and saving will be an important subject at Techtextil.
Question 1: How do you assess the current situation facing the members of your association with regard to the economy and the strength of innovation?
For the sector of the German textile machinery manufacture 2014 was not a bad year, although you also cannot say that it was a good year. Business in China stagnated in the spring and this was already felt in June. In addition, the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine has been weighing heavily on companies represented in these markets since the last summer. Nevertheless, we are confident that on average the industry can maintain a small increase in production. VDMA member companies are as strongly innovative as ever, thanks to the well trained engineers in Germany and the fact that companies continue to invest heavily in research and development.
Question 2: In your assessment can you be more specific in terms of individual segments or groupings?
The VDMA Textile Machinery Association represents a wide range of plant and machinery manufacturers, from spinning machinery to textile fabric forming and finishing, so it does not seem the right time to single out one or certain segments in particular. What I said above applies generally across the board with regard to these companies’ innovative strength and innovation leadership around the world.
Question 3: Techtextil is the industry’s leading event, so what do you expect to find in terms of innovation and product development in the year to come? Please give examples, if possible.
The further development of textile products will facilitate new technical applications in many areas, from medical technology to lightweight construction. Recently, the low oil price and the shale gas boom in the USA have blurred our view to some extent, when energy in many regions outside Europe and North America continues to be a bottleneck factor, restricting the development and growth of whole countries. In this regard it will be interesting to see at Techtextil how textile products can contribute to energy generation, storage and saving.