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Switzerland demonstrates spirit of innovation at ITMA Asia

Over the centuries, the innovative spirit of the Swiss has been demonstrated many times through inventions spanning various fields of human experience.

17th October 2018

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Zurich

Clothing/​Footwear, Sports/​Outdoor, Industrial, Interiors

Over the centuries, the innovative spirit of the Swiss has been demonstrated many times through inventions spanning various fields of human experience. Their impact on the global textiles industry has been among the most notable, with continuous and significant developments. Swiss textile machinery companies have been at the core of this naturally-evolving tradition of inventiveness.

Today, the producers of machines and components and service providers – members of the Swiss Textile Machinery Association – sustain that heritage by a commitment to ongoing innovation. Inventing is still a way of life today, and the fruits of this philosophy will be demonstrated at ITMA Asia + CITME 2018 this week, where 30 members are exhibiting.

Ernesto Maurer, President. © Swiss Textile Machinery Association

“Looking back in history, Swiss inventions have repeatedly energised the global textiles industry,” says the association. “The list includes: Caspar Honegger’s weaving loom (1842), Georges Audemars’s rayon artificial silk (1855), Isaak Groebli’s shuttle embroidery machine (1863), Karl Friedrich Gegauf’s hemstitch sewing machine and later inventions such as Othmar Winterhalter’s zip (1923) and George de Mestral’s Velcro fastener (1951). From the more recent past, there’s no need to elaborate on the successful advances of Swiss Textile Machinery members.”

The inventing tradition

Years ago, most enterprises were family businesses, often built on the founders’ invention of a technology or machine which was then further developed and improved over generations. Many Swiss textile machinery companies have a history dating back more than a century – and some are still family-owned.

The sheer power of Swiss innovation in textile technology is founded on a combined total of 3,968 years of experience by these companies. It’s a continuous commitment to in-depth R&D over those years, equating to the time-span between the world’s first multi-coloured fabrics in Ancient Egypt around 2000 BC and the modern age of advanced technical textiles.

Building customer trust

Across the generations of Swiss textile machinery firms, expertise has been handed down – along with the inventor gene. Driving it all, however, has been a recognition that customer requirements are the priority. Meeting those needs through innovative solutions is the real goal.

“The years of experience and heritage of innovation definitely bring added value for our customers, who trust Swiss Textile Machinery members to help them build their own business success,” said Cornelia Buchwalder, Secretary General of the association.

Some of the standards set by the Swiss textile machinery companies have been established for decades. As Industry 4.0 progresses, even more new technologies and standards can be expected. “I am confident that Swiss Textile Machinery members will continue to introduce innovations, which will influence the worldwide textiles industry in future – and I look forward with great anticipation to ITMA 2019 in Barcelona,” said Buchwalder.

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