Virginia’s personal ITMA impressions
Yes, it is true, Barcelona is an attractive location for ITMA and many visitors and exhibitors enjoy this vivacious Catalonian atmosphere. At the very beginning there were some obstacles to clear away because the organisers of ITMA did not test out that there are two Fira locations. Therefore on the opening days and using public transportation visitors and exhibitors went to the wrong location and MPI as organiser had to send shuttle buses to fetch the stranded people. If you were using a taxi things were easier because you could state the one near the airport or Gran Via. I feel that all documents should have made evident the true location. Under the circumstances many visitors and exhibitors made it belated to the opening of the exhibition.
Once arriving at the fairgrounds there were long lines to get the electronically reserved badge with even clearly marked counters for the individual reason to participate. Entering the Hall No. 1 was rather confusing because no personnel of MPI were directing people and the signs were not clear. However on the way there was a plan to orient one self. Only two connecting bridges do exist to connect halls all the others were to reach in going outside the hall over the delivery roads to enter the not directly adjacent halls. That’s fine when the weather is sunny, but what about when it was raining such a last Saturday.
Within the halls the sign post were hanging high up from the ceiling and contained too much or unclear information as where to go. The only problem was that the avenues for passing were to narrow and you could not stop in the middle of the road to really read the sign posts. On top of that the numbers of the booth were embedded on the floor but with no hint what the next row would bring, nor which way to go. Even some of the big stands could not be viewed immediately because they were covered by other stands. Therefore I can understand that some exhibitors were rather unhappy with their booth location.
Also not all of the visitors made it to ITMA because those from some critical country were denied a visa, once more. This problem has to be seriously addressed by Cematex and MPI for the future ITMA’s and I think there should be visa-allotments especially for ITMA taking place every four years and bringing about 100’000 visitors to the show. The actual ITMA will have probably less visitors for the reason indicated and that some large delegations from China were missing because they prefer to go to exhibitions in their own geographical area or they were already introduced to textile machinery novelties at Shanghaitex shortly before ITMA Barcelona.
Another critical aspect was the missing coordination of information regarding official events and the ones privately organised by companies. Neither the information desks nor the web page catered to the need of these visitors. Also MPI did not feature a list of exhibitors’ press conferences as it is customary at other large exhibitions. These points have to be taken care of in the future. ACIMIT the Italian umbrella organisation of machinery manufacturers created a new standard to measure the eco-footprint of textile machinery made in Italy and proposed this also a unifying standard for the members of Cematex the European umbrella organisation. But there was no consent reached for the green label. VDMA the German umbrella organisation created also such a blue competence label for its own members. There is no international standard available so far. Acimit will be the co-host at the next ITMA in 2015 (Nov. 12 -19th) in Milan (I) and I feel it is a kind of obligation that their initiative should become a standard in some other ways: a greener ITMA in 2015 especially as already the Barcelona shows motto was innovation and sustainablility, that should not only be a marketing argument but a future indicator in which direction innovation of textile machinery should be taken.
I know of the discussions within Cematex to create a new concept of ITMA and the green topic should be another line of guidance and at the same time the existing rules and regulations for exhibitors should be reviewed and adapted to the state-of-the-art of these developments. The factor less rules but more distinct ones are the criterion of exhibitors. Innovation and sustainability were the topics also at the World Textile Summit organised by ITMF the International Textile Manufacturers Association. Listening to the major speeches one could witness that the interpretation of these two qualities is wide and not yet defined in detail.
The lapse of time between the next ITMA (four years) should be used by Cematex also to address this problem and to issue some new specifications as an international guideline to the textile machinery manufacturers and the textile industry. Therefore I propose that Cematex should become a more powerful organisation with the possibility to create and decree standards and rules in respect of global acceptance by various bodies of importance and influence also government regulations around the globe before such decisions are taken by these bodies without specific consultation of the two branches of industries.
The listed 1350 exhibitors showed their interpretation of what they call innovation and sustainability and I am convinced that in the textile machinery sector there were many further developments witnessed but a rather low number of true revolutionary innovations shown. It should be made clear that the two topics are not only marketing messages but they have to be filled with a state of mind in the daily life of the two industries and being pushed ahead until new and defined standards are available. Influencing the standards by creating own defined values by the two industries will allow authorities and standardisation organisations to find practical solutions for the two industries and will then become a global standard all have and can live with it, no matter if they are in Europe or elsewhere. But there is a long way to go but four years could pave the way!
Virginia F. Bodmer-Altura