The IMB – World of Textile Processing – in Cologne, Germany is undoubtedly the leading international exhibition for all technologies and services for the processing of flexible materials. All of the relevant suppliers and purchasers from around the world come to IMB in Cologne. The organizers and supporters expect a buoyant exhibition with as many visitors and exhibitors as in 2006.
There are some good reasons to travel the long way to Germany. The IMB, held from April 21 to 24, 2009 in Cologne, is the most important international meeting point for advanced technologies in the textile processing business. Many companies launch their latest cutting edge developments and new systems or machines at IMB. In just four days, the visitors can get a full market view to what is offered by the leading suppliers. Experts will give a first-hand input to the topics of the sector at the comprehensive supporting programme, conference, discussion and speakers’ corner.
The expectations are quite high for IMB – especially at a time of economic crisis. StitchWorld’s European Special Correspondent Claudia Ollenhauer-Ries interviewed the leading organizers of IMB: Udo Traeger, Vice-President, Furniture, Interior Design and Textiles of Koelnmesse; Bettina Glamsch, Product Manager of two specialist trade fairs organized by Koelnmesse: IMB – World of Textile Processing and IMB-Forum – Information Technology for the Textile Processing and Apparel Industry; and Elgar Straub, Managing Director, Bavaria of VDMA (German Engineering Federation) and Managing Director of VDMA-sector, Garment and Leather Technology. The VDMA Garment and Leather Machinery Association is conceptual sponsor of IMB.
SW: Why would visitors travel all the way from Asia to Cologne in April 2009?
Bettina Glamsch: IMB 2009 – World of Processing is a must, especially for those countries with high apparel production capacities. In Cologne, they can contact the suppliers directly, get information, discuss matters and decide about investments. The who-is-who of the sector will be present in Cologne. The exhibitors present their innovations, offer comprehensive information and give the unique opportunity to see the products live. At the congress “IMB Forum”, the visitor will get free entry to lectures and discussions by experts – for experts. The whole supporting programme is headlined “Technology as the backbone of the future – Chances through progress”. The great success of the “Speakers’ Corner” in 2006 will be repeated in 2009. There, the Lecturers will present products and innovations. The multiple and attractive supporting programme find a lot of interest already now.
Human resources and young professionals is another topic for visitors as well as for exhibitors. IMB will implement a “Career Day” on the last day of the trade fair as well as a new category of the Innovation Award for “Students & Young Professionals”. There, the young professionals will find an adequate platform for contacts and information about their professional future. These are all valuable reasons to visit IMB!
SW: The topic of IMB will be ecology and sustainability. What can the visitors expect?
Bettina Glamsch: IMB stresses the topic sustainability in production and logistics. The congress opens on the first day of the trade fair with the “Future Talk”. Dr. Andreas Stockert, Senior Vice-President, Lifestyle Logistics, Kühne & Nagel House, will moderate a talk with top experts on the topic “Chances for the Future: Ecology and Sustainability”. Other topics of the congress “IMB Forum” will be CAD/CAM & Management Solutions, Material Flow/ Logistics/ Supply Chain Management; Processing of Technical Materials; Product Development/Apparel Technology.
The results of the research programme of the European Union, LEAPFROG (Leadership for European Apparel Production From Research along Original Guidelines), will be presented as well.
Elgar Straub: Our sector is changing and on top of it we have the recent financial crisis. On one hand this is a topic about logistics, because the transportation around the globe is considered more as a problem by suppliers, trade and consumers. This also concerns the flow of goods within the whole lifecycle of garments, especially at the stage of production.
Companies will use more often RFID to realise intelligent logistic concepts. On the other hand, it’s a topic for machine manufacturers. We will see changes in construction and reduced consumption, especially at finishing and washing. Intelligent machine controls in combination with energy-efficient drives will play an important role.
SW: How useful is an IMB in Central Europe, where the apparel industries have left decades ago?
Udo Traeger: Europe is the home of IMB and even after 35 years, the exhibition is still of highest importance for the whole worldwide sector. About 70 per cent of the visitors in 2006 had decision-making competence; they came from more than 110 different countries. By the way, more than 1,200 visitors came from India. Cologne is a “not-to-be-missed” event for all international suppliers of apparel technologies as well as for their customers. Contrary to many regional exhibitions, where you find traders and importers of machines, you will meet in Cologne in most cases the globally operating suppliers themselves.
Furthermore, the portfolio of IMB is enlarged with every session, that’s why we subtitle IMB to “World of Textile Processing”. This includes cutting edge technologies for the processing of flexible materials like technical textiles. IMB evolves step by step, offers, innovation and inspiration for the globally operating sector at the charming town of Cologne. Contrary to many other exhibition organizers, we offer a highly attractive supporting programme, which by itself invites many visitors to buy a ticket.
Bettina Glamsch: IMB is considered as a platform for communication and business for all process chains in the textile and apparel industries and is positioned as the leading trade fair for cutting edge technology in this sector. Regional trade fair tend to be focussed at regional needs and will be supported by the regional traders or representatives. They will concentrate on apparel, but will not cover leather, shoes, technical textiles and so on. The IMB – World of Textile Processing, demonstrates impressively the overwhelming width and depth of all the textile processes. IMB has a workshop character and offers manifold opportunities to inter-exchange between producers, suppliers, researchers and developers. This will allow a lot of input to find solutions for the problems of the sector.
SW: Are there any considerations to launch IMB – May be with regional partners – in the Mediterranean or in India? Could the concept “exhibition + conference” be transferred, and which modifications would be necessary?
Udo Traeger: Trade fairs gain more and more importance within the portfolio of Koelnmesse. We accompany our customers at exploring new markets wherever possible and useful. It is a matter to give the local market positive impulses with the know-how of IMB, not to create one more competing exhibition there. Such a trade fair cannot and should not be a copy of the IMB in Cologne. We must analyse the market conditions there and design the concept in the way to take care of the local and cultural conditions. Most probably, the congress programme will be completely different as in Cologne. Also, the exhibitors could show other products.
SW: How do exhibitors and visitors react to the initiative, “No Copy – Pro Original” of Koelnmesse?
Udo Traeger: We will present “No Copy – Pro Original” at IMB and will enlarge the activity even further. Experts of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) will be present at the assistance and consulting centres on the trade fairs. They will help exhibitors in case of fraud. Right now, the exhibitors will meet multi-language consulters, who will bring them in contact with lawyers, if needed. Mobile controllers (MKG) of the German custom work on all trade fairs in Cologne and will confiscate the goods or machines exposed in case of fraud. The “No Copy – Pro Original” stands are just one part of the Koelnmesse’s strategy against counterfeiting.
The measures represent the second stage of Koelnmesse’s “No Copy – Pro Original” initiative. In the first phase, Koelnmesse CEO Herbert Marner met with Chinese business partners in Beijing in the fall of 2007 to sign an “Intellectual Property Memorandum”. All of these measures aim to significantly limit violations of Intellectual Property Rights at Cologne trade fairs, provide assistance to the exhibitors, and publicize these activities. In this way, Koelnmesse is playing a pioneering role as an active opponent of illegal copying, which is one of the urgent problems confronting the international trade fair business today. This is also true for IMB 2009.
SW: How many number of exhibitors and visitors do you expect?
Elgar Straub: We registered up to November 20,098 visitors, the same number of exhibitor’s applications as three years ago. That’s why we expect to get the same number, somewhat more than 600 exhibitors, as in 2006. We promote IMB internationally and get a good feedback from the potential visitors. Right now in these difficult times, IMB is recognized as the worldwide leading exhibition and the meeting point of the international sector. Important decisions will be taken in Cologne. We expect to again have approximately 25,000 visitors as in 2006.
Bettina Glamsch: IMB – the leading trade fair of the sector – will be attended not only by traders but also by buyers like technical managers, purchasing managers, technical people, engineers and mechanics. Also students from universities will come to see IMB. For the time being, we hope for the comeback of production capacities to Eastern Europe and Northern Africa. The production processes will undergo severe controlling.
Manufacturing equipment, to enhance quality in production as well in processes, will be necessary to cope with the permanent changes of this industry. That makes IMB so important for all visitors from all over the world. This is the reason why we expect again some 25,000 visitors in 2009 coming from 120 countries to get information from more than 600 companies from 40 countries and to discuss with experts.