News >> Itema’s innovation-driven vision, weaving the road to excellence

Itema’s innovation-driven vision, weaving the road to excellence

Mr. Christian Straubhaar, Itema Group’s Sales & Marketing Director

Itema is one of the companies that have maintained their name in the textile industry through a commitment to quality and clients. It is a company that has excelled in the market by infusing its rich culture and modern technology to create the most efficient machinery that has been praised by customers and competitors alike. Itema’s firm roots kept it growing without much slow down even when the economic structure of the Indian market saw major changes in 2017.  In fact the company registered a double digit growth rate in sales of their advanced weaving machines, spare parts and services, thus, continuing the remarkable growth that it has been experiencing since 2012.

Besides the excellent results in the weaving business, 2017 was the year for Itema to launch its diversification strategy. With the target to ultimately accelerate the continued expansion and secure the long-term profitability of the company, Itema invested into complementary, high-growth markets through stakes in innovation-driven companies which offer significant economies of scale to fuel the joint development of each others’ core businesses.

In fact, Itema is now ready to strengthen its leadership, to quicken the pace of its expansion and to accelerate its global reach through targeted acquisitions, such as the ones carried out in 2017 with Lamiflex – specialized in composites materials, such as carbon, glass and Kevlar offering innovative solutions for textile, medical and aerospace industries, among others, and NoeCha a quickly-scaling-up young company which offers high-tech digital printing solutions. Due to their forward-thinking missions and innovative approaches, they perfectly match Itema’s dedication to supply top-performing, advanced machinery.

Mr. Carlo Rogora, CEO, ITEMA Group, and Mr. Christian Straubhaar

Apart from the acquisitions, Itema’s success in the Turkish market has been remarkable. Turkey is the company’s traditional and historic stronghold, where loyal and committed customers, as well as the new ones have invested heavily in weaving machinery despite initial worries of a potential political and economic slowdown, and have confirmed Itema as the supplier of choice for high-tech, innovative rapier and air jet looms. China also, has been the gift to the company’s growth. It has registered record-level orders, and to fulfill them, it had to respond quickly by boosting the production, to cope with the resulting increase in demand both from Chinese and Japanese mills and Asia-Pacific basin in general.

Itema has experienced sky rocketing sale in the Indian market, especially in the air jet sector, which has been very encouraging for the company, and has consolidated the market for Itema as a fertile ground for the fast-pace adoption of innovative air jet technology. Itema has risen to become the No.1 choice for the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese mills when it comes to supplying the right machine for the highly-demanding markets, and is quickly gaining ground in other European countries also.

Iran, as a surprise to many, has been another very strong performer for Itema the past year and is set to continuously grow in the coming future as well.

To keep pace with the growing industry 4.0 trend, Itema has already internalized and implemented the standards and criteria throughout its units.Here many players just have this concept in theory, Itema has implemented the practices to enable and expedite the transition to a smart factory. Company’s mixed-model assembly line, that required the development of an adequate and robust IT system to manage the high variability of activities and operations at various work stations, the workstations which encounter highest variability in the processes of the assembly line, operators equipped with latest generation of smart tablets to enable real time access, are but a few of the implementations that maximize efficiency, quality and precision.

As for energy saving, in 2016 Itema took an important step towards Building Automation, introducing on all the technology platforms the so-called KNX Bus (world-class standard compliant with all the main European and international standards that allows the automated and decentralized management of the buildings’ technological systems) and Installing a state-of-the-art control and management interface. The system currently controls and manages the heating system, monitoring and recording all the related technical alarms and providing for their notification ensuring timely assessment and intervention.

The system architecture is managed by a centralized virtual server that allows concentrating and integrating of all the subsystems of the plant, even from different networks and devices. The data recorded on the database is made available automatically through the graphic objects, in order to improve energy efficiency and cut operating costs, thus significantly reducing CO2 emissions and energy consumption. The philosophy at Itema has always been to be the change that one desires in the future, as Mr. Christian Straubhaar, Itema Group’s Sales & Marketing Director, rightly quoted, “in order to maintain and grow our weaving machinery’s market competitiveness, we have to start, first and foremost, on improving our own way of working”.

Itema adheres to the “Sustainable Technologies Providers” program of ACIMIT, the Italian textile machinery association. The association was the very first in the world to establish such a program to encourage textile machinery makers to promote their most sustainable technology offerings, adhering to very strict standards of certification related to emission of machines. The program and the Green Label are managed by a third-party independent auditor and verifier, DNV, which conducts specific tests and evaluate companies in terms of different parameters, including power consumption. The Green Label certification is provided only if a company is able to meet these stringent parameters. The company’s air jet machine A9500p, for instance, is equipped with patented, highly innovative devices which significantly reduce the air consumption, such as the Itema iREED and the Double Tandem Nozzles.

Since 2003, Itema India has progressed by leaps and bounds. It has managed to capture a large market share not only due to the excellent performance of its looms, but the innovation that the company has invested in. The latest air jet machine model A9500p that conquered the expert Indian weavers, not only demonstrated huge satisfaction among the customers but generated multiple repeat orders, is a worthy example of the company’s expertise and technical know-how. Itema has built up a team of strong, skilled and talented sales managers and after-sales service engineers which today represent their strength in the market.

Although 2017 began with a setback due to demonetization and GST, Itema’s grip on the industry was back to normal in no time as they found the best possible solutions to bounce back. The company, not only closed the year with positive sales, but registered a significant growth compared to the past years. Not only the customers confirmed their confidence in the Itema machines, but Itema has been appointed as weaving machine supplier partner in important new investments from leading companies such as Welspun and Shahi, to name a few.

The Government focus on textile industry, which includes funds allocation and subsidy policy for the sector, is already generating a positive interest around weaving on different levels, which has been a benefit to Itema’s progress. Many spinning companies are now evaluating to integrate weaving. Moreover, there are multiple textile parks projects, especially in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, where the foundation of integrated weaving and textile facilities will further boost the regional economy and generate modern and advanced manufacturing sites.

The Itema weaving machines are designed, developed and produced to be a tool in the hands of weavers. The machines feature the most user-friendly electronic platform in the market, which through a full color touch-screen console provides all the machine parameters at ones fingertips. Besides this, the company believes that a well-trained employee is the key for a company success.  Itema has established and invested in ItemaCampus concept, which is not only a fully functional training center but a professional learning environment where tailored and accurate courses are provided. A team of skilled Itema engineers is dedicated to train the technical staff on how to maximize the performance of the weaving machines. Itema has 6 Campus locations worldwide, including Coimbatore.

Itema proved, through technical knowledge and expert team of leaders and engineers, and marketing officers, to be the key that gives the company an edge over the uncertainties of the market. Mr. Christian Straubhaar mentioned that he foresees stable investments in all the main textile countries. In India, the company is involved in big, important investment projects. He believes that growth will be driven by modernization of actual machinery and expansion into new, innovative and high added value fabric segments.

The Itema attitude is rightly reflected by its belief that the future will be influenced by a manufacturer’s ability to provide investors, a reliable and trustable partner that will act as consultant and not just as a dealer. This is the reason why the company has been able to create long-lasting win-win relationships with its clients worldwide and has been able to reach the heights it stands at.

Source : Indian Textile Magazine - May 2, 2018