The Belgian textile machinery industry counts 33 companies, has a turnover of 1.6 billion euro and a headcount of 6370. Its companies are active in machinery for indoor textiles (carpet, upholstery, velvet, table – bed linen…), garment textiles, technical textiles and textile finishing.
The machinery manufacturers are the fifth biggest manufacturing industry in Belgium measured by added value and eighth measured by employment. To position its customers in the pole, the Belgian machinery industry is strongly R&D driven. The machinery industry is the nation’s third biggest investor in R&D. It invests 8% of its added value on R&D and employs over 11% of the total Belgian manufacturing industry research head count. The industry accelerated its research efforts on energy efficiency in the last decade and achieved an average energy consumption reduction for its products of 18%. The longterm strategy directs the Belgian machinery industry towards continuous strategic and open innovation to accelerate its product development rate and provide its customers with leading edge technology. The Belgian machinery industry is the nation’s fourth biggest exporter.
Belgium produces the fastest air jet weaving machines in the world. The Belgian textile machinery companies pursue technological leadership strategies. That approach is materialized in the continuous presence of textile machinery companies in the top 5 of Belgian patent applications. The Belgian textile machinery industry is heavily involved in the strategic research centre for the manufacturing industry, Flanders Make (www.flandersmake.be). The industry is strongly export driven with a core of high-tech demanding EU customers for fast cross sectorial product development, in addition to our main export markets being the European Union, Turkey, China, India and Pakistan.
The activities of the association are both economic and technological. Symatex is particularly active in the areas of international business development where it organizes road show to inform the textile industry around the world on new technologies developed in Belgium. Symatex is also active is scanning the globe on new technologies that contribute to building better textile machinery. Symatex is hosted by Agoria, the Belgian federation of the technology industry (www.agoria.be). Agoria supports its members via services in the areas of innovation, R&D, regulation, standardization, human resources, education & training, fiscal & legal. Agoria is the largest industry federation in Belgium and represents 1900 companies. Symatex is also member of Cematex (www. cematex.org) and via Cematex acts on behalf of its members to assure price & quality of key industry trade shows. Symatex has special interest in uplifting the R&D contribution of the ITMA textile machinery trade show.