By guest author Dr. Thomas Waldmann, Managing Director of VDMA Textile Machinery
A review of 2019 and outlook of 2020 and beyond
The general conditions for the textile machinery industry and for mechanical engineering as a whole are characterised by great uncertainty. Internationally, protectionism continues to increase and a final settlement of the US-Chinese trade conflict is not expected in the near future.
The economic decline has continued up to the third quarter. A drastic market revival is not yet foreseeable. At the same time, digitalisation continues to progress. It is a challenge for existing processes and traditional structures, but at the same time opens up opportunities for new services and business models.
The VDMA accompanies digitalisation efforts of its members with numerous strategic and practical initiatives, studies and guidelines. Recent examples include a whitepaper that provides assistance in getting started with Big Data projects and highlights the challenges and opportunities of the necessary corporate change. And, the VDMA Start-up-Machine, which is now very well used, helps members in a practical way to transfer a new and often different innovation culture into their companies: Start-up Radar screens global start-up trends and identifies suitable cooperation partners from the international start-up scene.
Representation of interests
The representation of interests in the VDMA must pierce thick boards because of exaggerated bureaucracy. Well-meant is often unfortunately not well done. This starts with the Posted Workers Directive and does not stop even for medium-sized companies with the possible accompanying symptoms of the National Action Plan on Human Rights.
Climate policy, 5G network
The VDMA takes up definite position on climate policy. The current conglomeration of levies, taxes and levies on energy sources does not meet the challenges of climate policy. VDMA President Carl Martin Welcker advocates CO2 pricing for all energy sources within a market economy system. In the medium to long term, the market must be controlled by the CO2 price. And, not only in Germany, but worldwide, the VDMA President’s message to politicians is “in a nutshell”.
In close cooperation with particularly five other associations the VDMA has enabled the 3.7 – 3.8 GHz band in the 5G spectrum from 3.4 to 3.8 GHz for private companies. Now the allocation of the local frequencies for the industry begins. A newly formed 5G User Group within the VDMA will develop a guideline “5G in Mechanical Engineering” in cooperation with Fraunhofer IIS.
ITMA Barcelona and CEMATEX
The ITMA in Barcelona was undoubtedly the industry highlight in 2019. The exhibition grounds were not only fully booked, but also overbooked. Never before have so many exhibitors from all over the world (1,717 exhibitors and over 105,000 trade visitors from 137 countries) demonstrated the reputation of ITMA as the leading trade fair.
By decision of the board of the Walter Reiners Foundation student excursions to the ITMA were organized and supported by the VDMA with about 100,000 euros. More than 300 students from eight universities took the opportunity to experience high-tech live and hands-on in Barcelona under the guidance of their lecturers.
The delegation of the VDMA in the European Committee of Textile Machinery Manufacturers Cematex hosted a General Assembly of the committee in Hamburg in September. Cematex President Fritz P. Mayer reported on the negotiations with the Chinese partners on the continuation of the ITMA ASIA from 2022. With a view to the medium- and long-term positioning of the leading trade fair ITMA, a strategy group was formed comprising company representatives from Belgium, Italy and Switzerland as well as Ms. Regina Brückner, chairperson of the VDMA Textile Machinery Association.
Walter Reiners-Stiftung (Foundation)
Promotion and Creativity Awards of the Walter Reiners-Stiftung (Foundation) for German textile machinery industry 2019 were presented by the chairman of the foundation, Peter D. Dornier, in Dresden to six young talents at the International Textile Conference of the institutes from Aachen, Dresden and Denkendorf. Next year the conference will take place in Stuttgart. The VDMA supports the aims of further increasing the proportion of participants from the industry. It has therefore officially applied for sponsored (buyer) trips for the partner countries Spain and Portugal. The VDMA initiative will offer participants from the Iberian Peninsula a B2B programme with member companies and a visit to the conference.
The German textile industry is looking to the future with its “Perspectives 2035” study. Experts from the textile and clothing industry and research as well as member companies of the association and the office discussed possible future paths for the industry development in five workshops of the Textile Research Board. The results will be published as a future study “Perspectives 2035” in March 2020. The Association offers an exclusive presentation and deepening of the perspectives 2035 on May 6, 2020.