Today, the producers of machines and components and service providers in Swiss Textlie Machinery sustain that heritage by a commitment to on going innovation that will influence the textile industry worldwide in future. Swissmem is the leading association for SMEs and large companies in Switzerland’s mechanical and electrical engineering industries (MEM industries) and related technology-oriented sectors. Swissmem enhances the competitiveness of its 1,050 or so member companies both at home and abroad by providing needs-based services. These services include professional advice on employment, commercial, contract and environmental law, energy efficiency, and knowledge and technology transfer. In addition, Swissmem offers market-oriented training packages for employees working in the sector.
We made an interview with the Swissmem Secretary General Cornelia Buchwalder for ‘Swiss Special Edition’ . Buchwald said that Turkey is the second most important market position for Swiss Textile Machinery Industry. “I am confident that Swiss Textile Machinery members will continue to introduce innovations which will influence the worldwide textile industry in future.” she says.
Can you evaluate 2018 for the Swiss machinery manufacturers? What was the position of the Turkish market and how important is the Turkish market for the Swiss manufacturers?
2018 was a very positive year for our members. Some of the markets developed very well, namely the US, Italy, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. Most of the other export markets showed a stable sideways movement. Turkey is and has been for many years one of the top three export markets for the Swiss textile machinery industry. In 2018 Turkey was the second most important market behind China, showing a slow development.
Can you tell us about the fields dominated by the Swiss Textile Industry? Which fields do you have more intense relations with Turkey?
Historically the Swiss textile machinery companies are very strong in the field of spinning. But our 44 member companies can offer solutions in all the segments of the textile value chain, from spinning to weaving, knitting, embroidery, finishing, printing and quality testing. Turkey being such an important textile market, all segments enjoy strong business relations with Turkey.
How does Swissmem support its members? What are the major planned activities for the upcoming period?
Swissmem enhances the competitiveness of its 1100 member companies both at home and abroad by providing needs-based services. These services include professional advice on employment, commercial, contract and environmental law, energy efficiency, and knowledge and technology transfer. The Swiss Textile Machinery Association is the oldest division within Swissmem and was founded in 1940. Among other things, we organise symposia in important customer markets, Swiss pavilions at trade fairs, innovation workshops and basic textile training courses. In the upcoming period, ITMA will for sure be the major activity, with 63 Swiss exhibitors.
Industry 4.0 and Sustainability are Our Most Important Agenda
Industry 4.0 and sustainability are major terms in the agenda? Can you evaluate the Swiss companies through these terms?
Digitalisation and sustainability are an integral part of every development process. Industry 4.0 offers various possibilities, be it in product or process optimization or in the development of completely new business models. Our member companies use these possibilities to generate maximum customer benefit. With regards to sustainability, the optimized utilisation of resources is again one of the major topics. Raw materials are scarce and energy is expensive, therefore making our machines more efficient in both aspects is the main topic. Therefore we started an initiative which offers to each of our members to analyse their innovation process and portfolio with an external consultant. This allows them to strengthen their respective capabilities and maybe to even find an additional innovation field outside the traditional textile market. Important is the ability to transform these concepts into marketable products and services. In addition we have just launched Industry 4.0 workshops. We aim to provide to our members support in their Industry 4.0 journey, so they are enabled to develop their products and processes in accordance with the latest needs and with their business strategy.
How flexible are the Swiss companies to adapt to changes in the textile industry?
To answer this question I would like to go back in time… Many of the companies in our association of textile machinery manufacturers were founded in the second half of the 19th century, have gone through many ups and downs and have gained outstanding reputation over time. Having such a long history, the Swiss companies have constantly managed to anticipate changes, developed their business strategy and have continuously evolved. With this history, I am very sure that Swiss companies will also play an eminent role in the (textile) world of tomorrow.
What are your expectations from 2019?
Our member companies are cautiously optimistic for 2019. Order intake is expected to remain stable or decline slightly. However, ITMA in the middle of the year, with many innovations shown, will most probably trigger an additional stimulation of orders.
Pre-ITMA Conference from Swissmem
Swissmem organized a conference before the ITMA 2019 Fair, which will be held in Barcelona from 20-26 June. International textile publishers and journalists were invited to the conference which held on March 28-30 in Lucerne, Switzerland. Around 20 member companies gave a first insight into their innovation to the guests, they will launch at ITMA 2019 in Barcelona. 30 textile publishers from all over the world attended the conference. Representing the Tekstil Teknoloji and Nonwoven Teknoloji Magazine Necip Güney, the Chairman of Teknik Fuarcılık, and Enes Güney, Area Sales Manager of Teknik Fuarcılık attended the conference and had the opportunity to see the latest technological innovations of Swiss companies before ITMA 2019 Fair.