Barcelona was the world capital of the textile industry for the second time with the celebration of ITMA, the largest fair for textile machinery in the world. After the success of 2011, the Gran Via site hosted the 2019 edition between 20 and 26 June.
It is an itinerant fair that is held every four years in Europe and every two years in China. Its importance in terms of exhibitors, visitors and surface area is only comparable with the Mobile World Congress. This is backed up by the numbers for this year: seven days of activity, 1,700 exhibitor companies, 127,000 planned visits, complete occupation of the Gran Via site and a powerful financial impact on the city.
Towards industry 4.0
ITMA 2019 revealed the latest innovations from a sector that is in full digital transformation (industry 4.0) and which is increasingly reliant on initiatives to increase sustainability, through energy saving and the efficient use of water and other resources, reducing waste, etc.
European companies made up 60% of those exhibiting (Spain is the third EU country in terms of representation, following Italy and Germany) with the other 40% coming mainly from China, Turkey and India. They cover every part of the textile industry production chain: machinery and products for making clothes and for the home, digital printing and inks, logistics, technical textiles…
Meet the best of
the ITMA 2019 fair
in this video
There are 70 companies in Spain that make textile machinery, with a turnover of 600 million euros and employing over 2,000 people. They are concentrated in Catalonia (70%) and the Community of Valencia (25%), and ten of these companies are world leaders, exporting over half of their production, mainly to the United States, Portugal, France, Italy, Mexico and Pakistan.
More than clothes
Can you remember how much you spent on clothes and shoes last year? According to the report by EAE Business School, every Spanish person spent an average of 429 euros in 2018. This figure would be much higher if we include other sectors of the textile industry beyond that of clothes: medical bandages and materials, orthopaedic and hygiene products (sanitary towels and diapers) or home furnishings.
The sector covers a truly wide range of applications. For example, there are the so-called technical textiles, which account for 30% of all textile sales, and which have great potential for development as a form of innovation. This type of materials can be applied almost anywhere, such as in aeronautics, construction and civil engineering, goods transport, cars, packaging and packing for industrial, agricultural and food products, as well as medicines.
According to the Ministry of Industry, the textile and clothes industries employ some 4.3% of all persons working in the secondary sector. Catalonia has one out of three employees in the Spanish textile sector, providing work for nearly 30,000 people. The European Union is also the world’s largest importer of textiles: it imports 24.5% of all textiles made and 38.5% of all clothing.