A pleasant surprise is the best description I can think for the Techtextil North America 2019 (TTNA19) show held last week in Raleigh, N.C., USA. I don’t believe too many exhibitors or visitors anticipated such a high attendance over the last TTNA “off-year” Atlanta show that was held in Chicago in 2017 especially since the show was held 2-3 months earlier in the year than any previous TTNA events.
While final attendance figures still hadn’t been released at the time of this report, it’s clear it was a much larger event than in 2017. Pre-registration numbers were already way over the final total numbers for 2017.
Most visitors who stopped by my booth said they were disappointed by the size of the exhibition floor. There were only about 170 exhibitors, around the same as in Chicago when the show was co-located with the JEC Americas composite show. It wasn’t like last year’s show in Atlanta that boasted +500 exhibits. Most booths in Raleigh were also smaller versions of what a company might have in Atlanta; so, you had fewer exhibitors and less space taken by those who did exhibit. However, almost everyone who stopped by said they were also very impressed with the activity on the show floor. Not only was traffic good in quantity; it was also good in quality.
Takeaways from TTNA19
The industry continues to demonstrate it is evolutionary, not revolutionary. I could not find a “wow” new product or process on the show flow this year. The last great leap forward for technical textiles was in the 1960s with the changeover to synthetic fibers; particularly with new materials like the aramid fibers which opened our industry to many extreme condition applications such as ballistic and temperature protection. Nonwovens became of age in the 60s. Even applications for geosynthetics have their roots in the 1960s. The most interesting display I found was my next-door neighbor’s booth FujiFilm. The company was demonstrating a machine which could inkjet silver right on to fabric to make printed circuit boards.
Locating the show in Raleigh was very smart for two reasons: First, North Carolina is home to more than 700 textile manufacturers, an easy location that allowed companies to bring a lot more employees than they normally would; and second, the location allowed TTNA to work with North Carolina State University (NCSU). The school provided many of the conference session speakers as well as students participating on the floor in the Tech Talks area. It was also a host to a reception which showcased NCSU’s textile education and research capabilities.
There were no Chinese companies exhibiting. I’ve become used to going to the shows like TTNA and the IFAI Expo and seeing pavilions housing Chinese companies. Even in 2017, TTNA had 15 Chinese exhibitors. My feeling is that the trade dispute between China and the US is finally starting to have an effect. China is also having a down year domestically and there is less money available for overseas exhibitions. The Techtextil show in Frankfurt is only a few months away and this will be the big show for the Chinese in 2019.
There was a dearth of end-product manufacturers on the show floor. TTNA19 was a show where fiber producers talked with yarn makers who talked with material producers. And mixed in were the textile and specialty machine suppliers. What was cool was the talk was all focused on technical textiles. I did meet some interesting floor walkers including representatives from Nike and Osram Sylvania. I also had two different private equity investment managers stop by my booth looking to get an understanding of our industry.
Change in Show Leadership
While it was not officially announced at the show, word is that Messe Frankfurt Inc. CEO Dennis Smith is leaving the organization with a couple of weeks. A new manager for the US subsidiary of Messe Frankfurt GmbH will taking over. Mr. Smith had been with the company since 2012 and has overseen the good rise in attendance and visitor participation during his tenure.
Location in 2021
Next year TTNA20 will be home again in Atlanta where it will be co-located with the Texprocess North America fabrication equipment show. Floor space will probably be more than doubled and attendance should be at least in the 8000-9000 range. What’s intriguing will be where Messe Frankfurt Inc. places the 2021 “off-year” show. I am betting it will be again in Raleigh where they can build upon the success of this year’s event.
Final Thoughts: Buzz or No Buzz?
I talked a few months ago about the lack of “buzz” at an industry event I attended. Buzz is best described as the excitement factor. To me, to have “buzz”, a show must be almost a can’t miss event.
When I think of shows with buzz, I'm talking about Techtextil in Frankfurt, the IDEA show in Miami, JEC in Paris and ITMA in Barcelona. Last year, the co-located TTNA18 and Texprocess North America 2018 had the buzz. Sometimes it happens, too, with small events, if they are tightly focused, such as the 2016 Smart Textiles Summit in Washington co-hosted by the Industrial Fabrics Association International and the US Department of Commerce.
TTNA19 in Raleigh still didn’t quite achieve the buzz factor I seek but it made significant positive movement. Those who attended were glad they went… and I think those who didn’t participate, particularly some exhibitors, will regret they were not there.
Posted March 7, 2019
"Awesome Show." Floor traffic was very heavy on the first day of Techtextil North America. At a press briefing for the trade press, Messe Frankfurt USA president Dennis Smith reported pre-registration had exceeded the total visitor registration for the 2017 event in Chicago. He estimated the show visitor final visitor attendance would be more than 3,000 at this year's event. Exhibitors were pleased. First-time exhibitor Shawn Minehart, sales director North America at Novexx Solutions, commented "This show has been awesome so far. I'm really glad we made the decision to be here."
Other exhibitors seemed to agree, a number adding that Raleigh was a smart choice of locations. I know that at the BeaverLake6 Report booth, there was busy traffic from the start in the morning until late into the afternoon.
At the morning press conference, President Smith also talked about the upcoming Techtextil / Texprocess events taking place May 14-17, 2019 in Frankfurt, Germany. He noted the pre-registration for the combined events had already exceeded pre-registration for the 2017 show in which the final total registration was 47,500 visitors from 114 countries. Posted February 26, 2019
Click here to view the complete technical textiles events calendar that includes show information links.
Despite the increasingly complex industry demands, the Chinese technical textiles market was relatively stable. Nonwovens output increased over last year. Key specific markets such as tire cord also increased in 2018 over 2017. Overall operating income for industrial textiles used in China reached $34 billion. Click here to read the complete summary provided to BeaverLake6 Report by China Textile magazine through our exclusive relationship. Posted February 15, 2019
BeaverLake6 Report is pleased to provide an exclusive interview with Li Lingshen, Ph.D., Vice President of the China National Textile and Apparel Council, and President of the China Nonwovens & Industrial Textiles Association, the overseeing organization for the technical textiles industry in China. Click here to read the interview.
IFAI Expo 2018 was the first show under IFAI's new CEO/President Steve Schiffman. In a quick conversation on the first day, Mr. Schiffman thought event attendance was on target with the expectation of a 500 increase over the 4500 total participants (counting both exhibitors and visitors) they had in 2017 in New Orleans. Similarly, a conversation with one of the managers of ACMA, a partner in CAMX, said their pre-registration had already topped the 6500 they had last year in Orlando. (Keep in mind, though, the 2017 CAMX show had to be rescheduled from September to December because of Hurricane Irma.) Click here to read more about the shows. Posted October 19, 2018
Positive Reviews but Still Uncertainty. On November 16, 2018, two of the US textile industry associations testified before the US International Trade Commission (ITC) in a special hearing to determine the economic impact of the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The leaders of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) provided statements on how they feel the new agreement will affect their member companies.
The two organizations clearly have different biases; however, in looking over the AAFA and NCTO statements, it appears to me that while the organizations both clearly said they were not offering an endorsement yet of the agreement, they gave general overall approval for USMCA, acknowledging the 1992 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) needed updating. Both organizations are taking a wait-and-see attitude to more fully look at how the agreement impacts the complex supply chain of textiles and apparel. [Click here to continue.]
Posted November 21, 2018
NAFTA Replacement Agreement Negotiated. On October 1, President Donald Trump announced the US, Mexico and Canada had reached an agreement whichreplaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that went into effect in 1994. The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) contains provisions and language that has an impact on the technical textiles industry; the most important are 1) a special section covering textiles and apparel and 2) rules of origin that will require 75% of automotive content (under NAFTA 62.5%) be made in North America. Mexico and Canada are the two largest importers of US made technical textiles and the automotive industry is the largest intended end market of these technical textiles. Click here to go to the United States Trade Representative's website and read the "Textiles and Apparel Goods" chapter. Posted October 3, 2018
Are you looking for a quick understanding of the China technical textiles industry? Through our special relationship with China Nonwovens & Industrial Textiles Association (CNITA) and their China Textile publication, BeaverLake6 Report is pleased to post the English-translation of the recently issued "Status Quo of China's Nonwovens and Industrial Textiles Industry, 2017." The report covers the different levels of the industry, geographic export demographics, and forecast the needs in the major end market applications. Click here to read the report in our China Textile website section. Posted June 18, 2018
I am pleased to announce the second part of my report 2018 State of the U.S.Technical Textiles Industry has been published by Textile World magazine.
This first part features a general industry overview, plus an evaluation of the status and impact of US trade positions.
The second part, featured in the April/May issue will cover major end markets for technical textiles such as automotive and military.
Click here to go to the Textile World website to download a copy.
Steve Warner, Publisher
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