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Fully digital focus in Frankfurt

Adrian Wilson

Many companies ill-prepared for the big changes that will be necessary in the next few years, expert panel warns.

16th January 2024

Adrian Wilson
 |  Frankfurt, Germany

Clothing/​Footwear, Industrial

Digitalisation will be a major theme of the Techtextil and Texprocess 2024 exhibitions which will be jointly held in Frankfurt, Germany, from April 23-26.

During a press conference and panel discussion arranged by show organiser Messe Frankfurt on January 11th, a study conducted by the German Economic Institute was cited as finding that only 31% of companies in Germany are able to use data efficiently.

It is, however, now essential for companies to improve their digital infrastructure since upcoming legal regulations – such as the EU strategy for sustainable and circular textiles and the associated digital product passport – will require a corresponding level of digitalisation.

At the same time, digitalisation will help to meet the sustainability requirements of customers and partners by, for example, improving supply chain transparency and resource calculation.

“Companies wanting to remain competitive and produce efficiently and flexibly can no longer avoid digital technologies which offer solutions to many of the challenges currently facing the industry,” said Olaf Schmidt, Messe Frankfurt’s vice president of textiles and textile technologies.

“Constantly changing consumer and legislative requirements, as well as labour shortages and more difficult trading conditions due to geopolitical changes, are posing new challenges for garment manufacturers and processors of technical textiles,” added Elgar Straub, managing director of VDMA textile care, fabric and leather technologies. “The manufacturers of machines, systems and processes for processing textile materials offer the necessary solutions.”

Although many companies have already digitalised individual stages in their process chains, it is essential that this is extended to the entire textile value chain and all gaps closed, if the industry is to fully realise its potential.

“There are currently few concrete example of Industry 4.0 operations within the textile industry but resilient and sustainable value chains are vital for the future viability of the textile industry,” said Thomas Gries, director of the Institute of Textile Technology (ITA) at RWTH Aachen University. “The basis for Industry 4.0 is the digitalisation of all process stages and to this end, researchers and the industry must work closely together and new forms of cooperation such as open innovation fully exploited to guarantee speed and efficiency.”

The rapid establishment of textile recycling hubs throughout Europe was also identified as an urgent priority, with digital sorting and preparation high on the agenda.

Over 1,600 exhibitors from around 50 countries will take part in the combined Techtextil and Texprocess events, as a joint platform for dialogue, knowledge transfer and innovation in technology.



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