Thanks to innovation Italian textile machinery is increasingly green
At the ACIMIT annual Italian textile machinery manufacturer’s meeting, the focus was on sustainability as an added value for the whole of the textile industry. Italian advanced technologies also contribute to sustainable and innovative production processes, thanks to the staunch commitment of machinery manufacturers
Innovation is front and foremost in relaunching Italy’s textile machinery sector. Raffaella Carabelli, President of ACIMIT, said as much at the industry association’s annual meeting, presenting the latest data relating to Italian textile machinery. In 2015, production increased by 13 %, equivalent to EUR 2.6 billion, with exports rising 15 % (EUR 2.2 billion). This sort of progress has not been seen in the industry since 2011, attributable to signs of a recovery on the domestic market, as well as a recovery in the world’s most important market for textile machinery: China. Playing an essential role was without a doubt the Italian edition of ITMA, the industry’s foremost global trade fair, held last November in Milan, and recording a major success both for the many technology innovations on show and strong visitor turnout.
Italian machinery manufacturers have played an essential role in the new technology trends seen at ITMA. “Innovation is a discriminating element between those who have managed to overcome the long period of recession in production, and those who on the other hand struggled on the sidelines,” explains Carabelli. “And in the future, innovation will play an even larger part in making a difference in our sector.” The grounds on which the textile industry is staking its competitive edge is environmental, economic and social sustainability. Under the pressure of increasingly stringent regulatory standards, and urged by the environmental movement and precautionary policies on chemical safety adopted by various major brands, the textile industry must face up to new issues: these include eliminating hazardous substances from production processes, ensuring water and energy savings, providing supply chain traceability, and recycling materials at the end of their life cycle.
Within this context, research and innovation become a core issue, and Italy’s textile machinery sector is definitely at the forefront. “Thanks to our Sustainable Technologies project,” states ACIMIT’s president, “over 1000 Green Labels have been assigned to a innovative and sustainable machinery. This is a crucial result that promotes the project’s scientific commitment and the efforts displayed by over 40 manufacturers taking part in the initiative, yielding important objective goals.” Indeed, thanks to the new sustainable technologies developed by Italian manufacturers, 221000 less tons of CO2 eq. were emitted into the environment in 2014, the equivalent of reducing CO2 eq. emissions generated by 38000 cars.
Sustainable innovation is therefore among the primary goals promoted by ACIMIT; a goal that can be achieved only through a strict collaboration with the recipients of innovative research, the textile producers. To help promote awareness on its projects and come to grips with the expectations of the textile industry in terms of sustainability, ACIMIT in partnership with the Blumine/sustainability-lab, has backed a study aimed at thirty or so textile manufacturers already committed to rendering their own products and processes greener. The study highlights the important role played by technology in the sustainability programs of the businesses interviewed (one in two entrepreneurs claims their role is essential).
The round table discussion which followed the research study’s presentation included input by Graziano Brenna, CEO at Tintoria Filati Portichetto; Andrea Cavicchi, President of Confindustria Toscana Nord; Alan Garosi, marketing manager at Fulgar; and textile machinery entrepreneurs Flavio Tonello, owner of Tonello. For textile industry insiders, sustainable technologies must provide reduced energy consumption as well as versatility, allowing for savings in chemicals during production processes, while guaranteeing the safety of operators. A common underlying thread in the discussions was the importance of proceeding hand in hand on the road to innovation, intensifying partnerships between textile manufacturers and textile machinery manufacturers. The day’s proceedings were concluded by Domenico Sturabotti, General Manager of the Fondazione Symbola.
ACIMIT represents an industrial sector comprising around 300 manufacturers (employing close to 12000 people) and producing machinery for an overall value of about 2.6 billion euros, with exports amounting to 86 % of total sales.
Creativity, sustainable technology, reliability and quality are the characteristics which have made Italy a global leader in the manufacturing of textile machinery.