The future of warp knitting – digital, sustainable and technically innovative
KARL MAYER impresses its visitors with an innovative show at ITMA ASIA + CITME
“ITMA ASIA + CITME 2018 was a successful show, with many visitors from China and also from other countries in and around Asia. Our stand was THE meeting-point for the sector, with its modern design, innovative machines and solutions designed to cater for current trends. We have shown that we are also pioneers in the future issues of sustainability and digitisation, and we are opening up new opportunities for our clients,” says Arno Gärtner, KARL MAYER’s CEO.
This innovative global market leader welcomed just under 760 visitors. The stand was particularly busy during the first three days of the fair. Roughly 300 participants also visited the in-house show at KARL MAYER (CHINA), which was held at the same time.
The visitors showed interest in the products on show, however, they are holding off on making new investments. And this had been expected by KARL MAYER. “The current political situation dampens the economic confidence in some of our important buying countries. Our clients seem to be confused,” says Oliver Mathews, the Sales Manager of KARL MAYER’s Warp Knitting Business Unit. The reasons for the stagnation were mainly attributed to the situation in Turkey, the embargo on Iran, the trade dispute between China and the USA, and fluctuations in yarn prices as a result of speculation. However, Oliver Mathews sees the mood of the market as being more one of “wait and see” rather than one of resignation. For the success of its customers, KARL MAYER opens up numerous chances to tap into new markets with novel applications.
Digitisation is now and is going according to plan!
The highlight of KARL MAYER’s presentation was the company’s demonstration of its digitisation strategy: the launch of the company’s own digital brand, KM.ON, and the presentation of the associated digital solutions and the KARL MAYER Digital Factory, the start-up behind KM.ON.
“With the much-viewed brand launch and our first digital solutions, we were clearly showing that we are an expert partner for the digitalisation. Both our customers, as well as other textile machinery manufacturers, welcomed this initiative, which successfully positioned us as a real innovator,” says Arno Gärtner.
Antonia Gottschalk and Maximilian Kürig, the Managing Directors of the KARL MAYER Digital Factory, were able to have many in-depth conversations. “The first well-known customers are extremely interested in our digital solutions and want to test them out,” says Maximilian Kürig.
Production: integrated sustainability
Another focal point of KARL MAYER’s presentation were systems concentrating on greater sustainability during production, under the heading of CLEANER.PRODUCTIONS, and these were also a great success. “We have shown that we are a global market leader in the field of sustainability as well. We have further developed our warp knitting technology in terms of environmental protection and presented it as a beneficial ecological alternative to other technologies,” says Arno Gärtner.
The possibilities of replacing weaving with warp knitting quickly became a magnet for the public. Both weaving and warp knitting companies were also interested in the TERRY.ECO for the environmentally friendly production of terry goods. Warp knitting offers two advantages over weaving for producing these fluffy textiles: the sizing and desizing processes, which consume vast amounts of resources and generate high levels of effluent, can be dispensed with, and terry warp knitting machines like the TM 4 TS-EL require less energy.
For producers of woven terry fabrics KARL MAYER was showing its PROSIZE® – a sizing machine with less size, energy and effluent during production.
Warp knitting machines: high output, flexible and reliable
The highlights for the warp knitting sector were tricot machines with three guide bars. An HKS 3-M, 280″ and a TM 3 were being shown. The extra-wide HKS 3-M was producing a velour fabric in a gauge of E 32 and impressed everyone with its high output and reliable operation. Referring to the TM 3 the guests were particularly interested in the opportunities for market expansion offered by the TM machine. The TM 3 produces warp-knitted fabrics, which can be used to replace the fabrics woven on water-jet looms, thus offering advantages in terms of costs and sustainability.
Specific machines at the well attended in-house show at KARL MAYER (CHINA) in Changzhou also offer additional potential for the Asian market: the TM 4 TS-EL terry warp knitting machine and the new five-bar tricot machine, COP 5 M-EL, 180″.
An RD 7/2-6 EN, 138″ from the RD machine range was premiered at the in-house show at KARL MAYER (CHINA). This new machine was presented as the first prototype, but the visitors already showed a lot of interest in this model. With 6 mm reduced flexibility of the trick plate distance, compared to the established RD 7/2-12 EN machine, it delivers a 30 % increase in speed.
Manufacturers in Asia have a more long-term interest in lace machines now. Nevertheless, KARL MAYER was showing two lace machines at the in-house show, which was exactly the right thing to do. The OJ 83/1 B was producing a fine lace band during the show and everyone was impressed by the productivity, flexibility and operating reliability. The new LEISUREE.FASHION, type LM 41, was also presented as an attractive machine for producing functional, multibar lace in a gauge of E 28.
Warp preparation: economical and with an excellent cost:benefit ratio
KARL MAYER’s Warp Preparation Business Unit was also demonstrating that it has an eye for the market with the new ISODIRECT direct beaming machine and the VSB Size Box.
The technology of the ISODIRECT makes it an efficient direct beamer for the mid-range segment. Two features in particular have set it apart from the rest of the market: the smart reed for automatically adjusting the reed to suit the required yarn number and beam width, and a well-thought-out system to optimise the interfaces between the direct and the PROSIZE® sizing machine.
The key element of the PROSIZE® is the VSB Size Box, whose innovative application system considerably reduces costs and the environmental impact. Up to 10% of the size alone can be saved. The vertical arrangement of the size box in particular is new in China and was well received. Compared to the horizontally arranged HSB, the VSB can be made wider. This enables the PROSIZE® to be operated as a single size box. Having one application unit instead of two produces more uniform beams and reduces stress on the yarns.
The demonstration of warp preparation was complemented by innovations for the denim sector and sectional warping, which were shown at KARL MAYER (CHINA).
Technical textiles: solutions to build on
KARL MAYER’s Technical Textiles Business Unit was exhibiting as an expert, flexible partner for a wide range of applications. At the focal point of its demonstration of applications were textiles for the construction industry, such as concrete reinforcements, plaster carriers and roofing materials. This issue is currently a hot topic. The possibility of using textiles in the building sector is opening up new global markets and is arousing the interest of every textile producer in Asia.
“Traditional warp knitting companies in particular see the opportunities of opening up new business areas. Weaving companies with experience of technical textiles are surprised at the high productivity of warp knitting. Depending on the application, the cost:benefit ratio of warp knitting to weaving may be 1:17,” says Hagen Lotzmann, the Sales Manager of the Technical Textiles Business Unit.