Digital solutions and innovation carry conviction in a difficult market situation
For the circular knitting machine manufacturer Mayer & Cie. (MCT) this year’s ITMA ended with a satisfactory result. From 20 to 26 June 2019 the company had five machines on show at the leading industry trade fair in Barcelona. The industry leader’s focus was on sporting uses, with one exhibit dedicated to Mayer & Cie.’s innovative ideas. Digital offerings that Mayer & Cie. put together under the name knitlink rounded off the presentation. The platform includes a web shop, remote maintenance options and recording and evaluation of machine data for the customer and is to be further expanded in the future.
“In view of the current situation of the textile machinery market the 2019 ITMA was, by and large, satisfactory,” said Benjamin Mayer, one of Mayer & Cie.’s two managing partners and the director in charge of sales. “Very positive trade fair experiences included the response to our digital offerings and the feedback about our Weftnit machine study. We were evidently already able to demonstrate at the development stage the advantages of the knitting method convincingly.”
Trade fair performance “long-term average”
Since the middle of last year the international textile machinery market has sustained a marked drop in demand for a variety of reasons of which international trade policy is but one of many. That is why many exhibitors were eagerly awaiting the ITMA trade fair. “Such a major trade fair is definitely capable of ushering in a turnaround,” Benjamin Mayer agreed. “But it doesn’t seem to have done so yet. Even so, our trade fair result is in line with the long-term average.”
In Barcelona Mayer & Cie. exhibited five machines four of which focussed on sport. The new MJ 3.2 E is an electronic single jersey machine that specialises in the production of mesh and body mapping structures, both of which are very much in demand for sports- and athleisure fashion wear. The OVJA 1.1 EETT’s sports focus is on the manufacture of shoe upper fabrics and sports outerwear. It combines double electronics and bidirectional transfer selection and can knit an almost infinite variety of patterns, including hole structures. It can also knit multi-coloured spacer fabrics.
The OVJA 2.4 EM makes a special contribution toward optimal post-sport regeneration. This new member of the OVJA family is the most productive machine in the market for the manufacture of mattress cover fabrics.
“As expected, interest in our new machines was keen,” Benjamin Mayer said. “The machines on show in Barcelona all found buyers. For the MJ 3.2 E we even received reservations for our entire scheduled output for 2019.” An established machine with new features is the Spinit 3.0 E, which Mayer & Cie. exhibited at its third ITMA in Barcelona. The fact that the Spinit 3.0 E now also processes polyester, is capable of a higher working speed and is linked to the knitlink digital platform makes the spinning and knitting machine an even more attractive proposition.
Weftnit – an innovation with a bright future
Mayer & Cie.’s Weftnit machine study demonstrated how a long-established knitting method can be taken forward successfully into the 21st century. In contrast to a conventional circular knitting machine that uses latch needles, the Weftnit, inspired by weft knitting, uses bearded needles. That has advantages in stitch formation, which for one is much more gentle than when latch needles are used. For another, the stitch structure is finer than that of a conventional circular knitting machine with the same gauge. In addition, Mayer & Cie. expects the bearded needle technology to increase the machine’s production speed. “Our ITMA machine was initially equipped with 1.6 rather than the planned 3.2 systems and reached a speed of 20 rpm,” said Marcus Mayer, Mayer & Cie.’s technical director. “Yet the advantages of the Weftnit were plain to see – so much so that we were repeatedly asked when the machine would be available.” The answer to this question will have been less to the potential customers’ liking: “Sound development takes time. We will probably not be presenting a production-ready Weftnit 3.2 until the 2023 ITMA.”
knitlink makes good use of digital opportunities
The long-established German firm aims to stay ahead of the competition not only by maintaining its technical lead and its innovative approach but also by putting digital opportunities to good use. The knitlink platform is tailor made to suit the needs of Mayer & Cie. customers. It allows the recording and evaluation of machine data. New service offers such as remote service and a more efficient collaboration via mixed reality glasses are also part of the package just like a web shop. Further aspects will soon be added.
“At times it seemed as if that was just what customers and business partners had been waiting for,” said Benjamin Mayer. “Interest in knitlink was really enormous.”