The World Textile Industry gathers in Italy

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Charles Beauduin

Charles BeauduinPresident Beauduin, what will be, in your opinion, the main developments for the textile industry by 2020?

Rising costs, and transparency and traceability in the production chain will continue to be top concerns of industry players. As such, supply chain management and vertical integration of production chains will likely grow in importance for the industry. We may also see a consolidation of the industry, as smaller players who are unable to keep up with rising costs, environmental regulations and workplace safety standards will not survive the competition.

As production costs continue to increase in Asia, buyers will turn to less costly alternatives, such as Africa. Coupled with the calls for socially sustainable sourcing and production, and companies wanting to reduce their exposure to China, we may see a gradual shift in sourcing patterns.

On the technology front, the digital textile printing, advanced nonwovens and technical textiles sectors look set to grow rapidly over the next few years.

How do you see the fibre market in 10 years’ time?

The synthetic fibre market is likely to continue growing at a much faster rate than the natural fibre market. As world population rises and resources such as land and water become scarcer, the land available for the cultivation of cotton will diminish. With decreased production, cotton prices will rise, driving more textile manufacturers to seek out alternatives such as synthetic, cellulosic and recycled fibres.

At the same time, the increasing focus on sustainability may propel growth of the cellulosic and recycled fibres market above expectations. Cellulosic fibres are significantly more sustainable as compared to cotton – which requires arable land and large amounts of water for cultivation – and synthetic fibres – which rely on finite oil resources and are non-biodegradable.

What do you think about sustainability?

Growing consumer awareness, coupled with regulatory requirements, has helped to push the industry as a whole towards more sustainable manufacturing. While it may seem that adopting sustainable practices is about projecting a certain corporate image or marketing hype, enlightened companies have come to recognise that integrating sustainability throughout the production chain is a necessity for business survival.

Businesses are also starting to see that the successful companies of the future are those which have sustainability integrated in every aspect of their business. In the long run, investing in sustainable practices and technologies will pay dividends, both in terms of consumer acceptance and saving the planet, as well as reducing costs of production, thus ensuring a healthier bottomline.

What are (or should be) the priorities for the future of Cematex and the textile industry in general?

CEMATEX serves to promote and strengthen the textile machinery industry of its member associations and will continue to do so through its key platform ITMA. The industry as a whole would benefit from continual innovation and commitment to sustainability. This goes beyond just embracing new technologies that promote environmental sustainability (as many key players are already doing), but a fundamental shift in mindset to integrate sustainability in the company’s core values.

As the owner of ITMA, one of CEMATEX’s priorities is hence to ensure that the show not only continues to be a global marketplace of innovations for the entire supply chain, but that it also provides opportunities for industry stakeholders to collaborate, provide thought leadership and collectively help push the industry to a more sustainable model in the long term.

Do you think machinery for technical textiles will play a key role in this edition? Do you have any idea of which will be the main technologies?

Technical textiles will continue to be a growth market. At ITMA 2015, major manufacturers of weaving machines will be demonstrating looms that have been specially engineered to deal with yarns of glass, aramid, carbon and other extremely high performing fibres.

At the same time, digital textile printing technologies are an exciting area to look out for at the new dedicated printing chapter at ITMA 2015. New digital inkjet printing solutions are driving the transformation of the industry, with advantages such as on-demand manufacturing and customisation.

Sustainable technologies will be a key trend seen at ITMA 2015. Many of the exhibitors will be displaying machinery with green features, as well as eco-friendly processes and products. This includes, for example, machinery for conversion of alternative natural fibres and waste products, and those which hugely reduce the usage of energy and water, and waste products produced.