French Textile Machinery Target Markets in Mena Region

Interview with Christian Guinet, UCMTF Secretary-General
By:  Kohan Journal, Middle East and Africa Textile Journal

Technological partnership with the French textile equipment manufacturers

Could you please let us know more about UCMTF, members and services, goals and success story?

With about 30 companies, members of our association, France is the sixth textile equipment exporter worldwide.
We are particularly strong in long fibre spinning (wool, acrylic …), yarn twisting and control (including technical yarns), space-dyeing, heat setting for carpet yarns, carpet systems, dyeing and finishing, felts and belts for finishing processes, nonwovens, air conditioning of textile plants, and recycling processes of textile materials.

Just a few examples:
– N. SCHLUMBERGER is the world leader in long fibre spinning,
– FIL CONTROL offers a state-of-the-art range of yarn cutters, yarn break sensors and quality control equipment,
– SUPERBA is the world leader in space dyeing and heat setting for carpet yarn,
– ALLIANCE TEXTILE MACHINES is offering round-shape and long-shape, rotating beam dyeing machines,
– for the dyeing and finishing industrialists, DOLLFUS & MULLER supplies textile dryer belts and endless special felts. Its sanforizing palmer felts are ideal for denim producers,
– in air conditioning, AESA Air Engineering supplies, worldwide, complete textile air engineering systems in order to maintain the required temperature and humidity adapted to each type of fiber (cotton, rayon, polyester, blends, wool, acrylic),
– in the recycling processes, LAROCHE is a world leader in many applications fields
– SPOOLEX offers slitting, rewinding and spooling solutions and continuous ultrasonic cutting and welding,
– PETIT offers a unique permanent storage capacity of original spare parts for many equipments.

petit spareparts_G307
petit spareparts_G307

As a global leader in textile machinery sector, what do you think about the textile machinery industry situation globally in this hard time and what is your prediction for post Corona Period?

Following ITMA 2019, our companies started 2020 with very good order backlogs and many new projects were being studied with our customers. Then came the Corona virus. In many countries, our customers’ factories have been closed or partially closed for around two months. Ours too were partially closed. During this global turmoil, demand for services and sales of spare parts, for example, came nearly to a halt and many projects were postponed. Our priorities were, of course, to protect our own employees and to give our customers the few but often urgent services they needed.

Let me give you the example of SPOOLEX group: during this critical period Roll Concept continued to manufacture and to deliver its technical rollers to major face mask machine manufacturers. With production capacities up to 600 masks/min, machines need high technical rollers with very low inertia in rotation. Roll Concept was able to react quickly to provide tailored made and easy to install low inertia rolls. Decoup+ successfully adapted a manual sealing machine to produce face masks and Calemard has provided the needed resources to support specific requests either for spooling machine or for wide slitter and was even able to deliver machines to cover the urgent need for wide slitting textiles, non-woven and of course, the very much needed meltblown products.

I think that, in the long run, market changes are what our industry is about, it is quicker and quicker whatever the day-to-day issues. Then our customers need, more and more, to introduce new products, to modernize their production processes, to be more flexible and offer high-quality products with zero defects. Then I think that after the turmoil, investments will be more and more necessary.

Spoolex-Ph6-Découpe ultrasons
Spoolex-Ph6-Découpe ultrasons

Which kind of innovations and progress is expected in the upcoming years in the French textile machinery sector?
I see four major trends:

1- Eco-responsibility
The first trend is the demand for eco-responsibility. It comes from the final consumer. A study published in September 2019, by the French Fashion Institute, including a survey of 5000 European (France, Germany and Italy) and American consumers has shown high demands and expectations for an eco-responsible fashion. Raw materials have to be natural or eco-friendly, recycled products are welcome, the production process at least partly local.

What is really missing, the study shows, is enough supply of these products even though, due to their understanding of their responsibilities and the pressure from customers, many producers and retailers have make a point of doing more than is required by law, and acknowledge a commitment to all stakeholders and to the future of our planet.

One of the most efficient way to save energy is adapting servomotors which can be used in a closed-loop control system to correct any speed deficiency and save energy while, at the same time, enhance the quality of the production process. NSC SCHLUMBERGER the global specialists in textile machines for processing long staple fibres such as wool and wool-like fibres has introduced the ERA combing machine in a multi-servomotor drive design.

With this new drive, most of the settings will be possible via the main control screen. The GC chain gill also benefits from additional axes driven by servomotors which allow more settings on the main control screen. All these new servomotor drives will allow more precise settings than using standard gearboxes which will enhance textile quality. Furthermore, these new drives and technology allow recipes to be saved on each machine, data exchange between machines will be possible through a Manufacturing Execution System (MES – Industry 4.0).

superba carpet
superba carpet

2- Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 is becoming a reality in the textile industry. In fact, it is already a reality in some factories and it will expand much quicker than most people envision. In today’s global competition, the gap between the fast moving and the low moving competitors is widening at an incredible speed but great ideas are useless without the right execution.

Let’s try to propose a definition of the factory 4.0. It is a factory in which data are collected through sensors or radio frequency identification tags (RFID) at each step of the production process, analyzed online and automated decisions are made instantly to improve the process inside a factory or between two factories whether inside the same company or with clients or suppliers’ factories.

We, as technology partners, have to offer not only innovative (each year we introduce some improvements in our machines) but disruptive solutions. The internet of things is certainly the main way not only to improve the process of each machine but the whole line production process.

Industry 4.0 requires more and more sensors which FIL CONTROL provides thanks to 30 years of experience in the yarn sensors and yarn cutter industry. After 5 years of development from Fil Control R&D team, the ring-spinning market is now ready to welcome the Motion Reflective Sensor. At ITMA the company was very pleased to see the high demand in their MRS-P speed sensors for ring spinning machinery that allows monitoring, controlling and optimizing the yarn manufacturer productivity for better quality at lower cost.

The new Motion Yarn Tension sensor developed for tyre and carpet yarn twisting attracted many yarn manufacturers that were looking for many years for a reliable product with homogenous output signal sensors. This proven quality allowed Fil control to sign multiple contracts.

Also, at last ITMA, SUPERBA expanded its area of application. The new SUPERBA B403 automatic winder marked a real technological breakthrough. With its individual spindle motorization drive, combined with a single tension sensor per position. It enables a constant tension winding process, a very accurate bobbin length measuring as well as unique quality control for each yarn position. It opens up new opportunities in terms of winding quality. Connected through cloud computing to the new VANDEWIELE TEXCONNECT supervision system, the B403 is part of the Factory 4.0 concept.

It provides readily-available data on yarn tension to supply predictive maintenance and reduce yarn waste, allowing manufacturers to make the highest quality carpets at the most economic prices. The new multi-layer hot-air heat-setting line DHS3 provides an unequalled level of evenness and a highly homogenous fixation characteristic to the yarn. This new line, introduced as a complementary process to the well known pressurized saturated steam heat-setting line TVP3, enables the carpet manufacturer to explore new properties for different types of fibers (such as stain resistance, enhanced bulk…) with energy savings and a reduced floor space.

3- Recycling
Recycling of textile wastes and post consumer goods is expected from the consumers. It is a major trend. LAROCHE offers an Airlay type “Flexiloft 2600” with improved web uniformity and weight range. which can run all types of fibers (synthetics, natural, recycled…), blends of fibers and solid particles (foam chips, plastics, wood chips). This allows to make smart products from renewable resources and from wastes that are otherwise discarded.

laroche recycled fibers from Jeans-Denims
laroche recycled fibers from Jeans-Denims

A tearing machine type “JUMBO 2000” for high capacity recycling of all types of textile wastes including post-consumer clothing and carpet wastes is also available. As a major player in textile wastes recycling technologies, Laroche sees a strong trend to recycle more and more post-consumer wastes (from clothing, mattresses, carpets…) whilst industrial waste recycling remains a hot topic. With a long experience in recycling technologies and a technical center equipped not only with recycling machines but also with Airlay nonwoven lines to make innovative products, they are up to the challenge.

4- Precise cost analysis
A software to estimate very precisely their own annual savings (water, energy, chemicals) was offered to its customers by ALLIANCE MACHINES. The dyeing and finishing machinery manufacturer, thanks to its various high technology dyeing and finishing equipment, and particularly to an integrated drying device installed on the ROTORA beam rotating dyeing machine, has shown its creativity to develop new processes and to propose innovative solutions. The customers also duly appreciated the possibility to explore deep inside the range of machines thanks to virtual reality system with 3D lenses.

What do you think about Middle East and Africa textile market? Which countries in the Middle East and Africa are your main destinations? 

Let me give you four examples of our commitment in this region that we know particularly well; Iran, Turkey, Egypt and Ethiopia

Iran: our seminars in Tehran, Kashan, Isphahan and Yazd

The Iranian textile industry which includes a very important carpet manufacturing industry is a significant part of the Iranian economy. It is positioned on the high-end market, focused on quality. To make up for the lack of recent investments, the Iranian textile industry, which has a well-educated workforce, needs strategic partners such as us We are well-positioned to be such partners.

Considering the needs of the Iranian textile companies, the idea to organize seminars on the production spots appeared necessary to describe more precisely our offer, and for us to understand better the Iranian customers’ needs. To really have direct contacts we developed the idea not to make a big event in one place but four regional ones in Tehran, Kashan, Isphahan and Yazd. They were a great success thanks to the collaboration of the Iranian textile industry including the Ministry of Industry, Petroleum and Mines’ General Manager of the textile and garment Department, the Association of IRAN Textile industries which groups 400 companies and the Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran.

Turkey: long time partnerships

Turkey is our second or third most important market. There are ups and downs but what is really important is that our relationships with the Turkish textile producers are very easy because our strategy is exactly the same as our Turkish customers’ strategies. It is to be a reliable long-term solution partners for our customers. Both, we are not looking for short term profits but to make our companies stronger and stronger, to seize the markets opportunities and be able to absorb the difficult years. We are mainly family-owned, leaders or co-leaders in their markets, same as our Turkish customers who are long-term minded entrepreneurs.

The stability of our teams (owners, sales managers, technicians, agents and local representatives) allows our companies to go well beyond the purely technical and address the objectives of our customers. As we are equipment and technology solution partners, our Turkish customers are very interested to work with us to implement innovative, “couture” solutions; they know that we deliver and erect the machines on time, give an excellent after sale service and deliver spare parts very efficiently.
As an association, UCMTF is very active on the Turkish market. We promote the French exhibitors at ITM in Istanbul. In Gaziantep, we have been the first association to organize a national pavilion; it was back in 1995, 25 years ago!
In Gaziantep and in Izmir, we have regularly, about every 3 years, organized seminars to meet our Turkish customers and show them our latest developments.


Egypt: long time partnerships

We had a booth at the STITCH-TEX in Le Caire from March 5th to 8th. Unfortunately, we were at the beginning of the pandemic so several companies and customers couldn’t attend the exhibition but we had a chance to meet our main Egyptian customers.

Ethiopia: a future strategic partner

Eight of our companies exhibited at AFRICA SOURCING AND FASHION WEEK (ASFW) last November 2019 at the Millennium Hall, Addis Ababa Ethiopia. Africa Sourcing and Fashion Week is known for having Africa ́s biggest textile conference. At ASFW 2019 the conference theme was “Sustainable Fashion for World Market”.

We met many companies with strong interest in our equipments and services and quite precise investments. The ILO SIRAYE program on Advancing Decent Work and Inclusive Industrialization in Ethiopia facilitated a series of panel discussion and experiential experiments during this event.
Of course, these projects have been postponed due to the global pandemic but I think our discussions will resume soon.
In February 14th to 16th 2020, we went to the first ITME AFRICA in Addis Abeba too.

Could you conclude?
Yes, we are offering hardware, software and services. We work in close partnership with our customers. We offer them our state-of-the-art technologies but not off the shelves equipments only. We often design special equipment to offer our customers what they need to introduce new products on their markets. Our objective is to let the customers get the best return from their investments. R&D and service are embedded in the French Textile Equipment Manufacturers’ DNA. It has always been.

Remember that Jacquard, the star of the textile machinery invention was French! We are SME’s in which the information flows very rapidly between the commercial, technical and research departments. This is how it should work and it does. It allows to go much further than purely commercial relationships with the customers.
More information on each of our companies can be found on our website


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