Forward as one - Lineapelle and Simac Tanning Tech

14 February 2017

Lineapelle and Simac Tanning Tech come together in Milan on 21–23 February, and reports of a healthy past year among exhibitors suggest it will be the biggest show so far. Leather International looks forward to getting a glimpse of the very latest tanning hardware in between discovering what innovations and trends will shape the next 12 months.

The Milan edition of Lineapelle and Simac Tanning Tech will set a new record for the two fairs since the transfer from Bologna. This confirms the effectiveness of the union between two events, which brings together the tanning, footwear and fashion industries.

This year, Lineapelle emphasises fashion trends, with about 2,000 samples of innovation in tanning, accessories and components, synthetic fabrics and textiles for the 2018 spring/summer season, and early reports are indicating unprecedented exhibition space figures.

Simac Tanning Tech indicates that space grew by about a fifth compared with last year, and anticipates excellent forecasts in terms of buyers’ affluence, thanks to collaboration with ICE-Italian Trade Agency, which has enabled a 200-strong foreign operators’ delegation.

“We are growing, and could not meet the demands of all those who wanted to exhibit at the fair,” says Gabriella Bocca, president of Assomac (the Italian association of machinery manufacturers), which has been a long-term associate of Lineapelle.

Simac Tanning Tech promises important news related to environmental sustainability, industry 4.0 and the reduction of costs and processing times. Europe’s leading manufacturer of machines and technology for tanning reports an 8.76% increase in exports, yielding €126 million in the first ten months of 2016.

This is accompanied by an increase of 3.8% for footwear machinery (€90 million) and a jump of over 70% for leather goods hardware (€33.5 million).

Up and away

Overall, the increase in exports in January–October 2016 was up 11.5% compared with the same period in 2015. “The market situation,” says Bocca, “presents many unknowns, connected with geopolitical changes and the global economy, and is difficult to forecast. Companies are investing in technology and innovation to give customers machines and organisational systems beyond their expectations in terms of production speed, water and energy saving, and automation.”

Business expectations will be influenced by a super repayment plan linked to measures adopted by the Italian Government for industry 4.0, which is pushing tanneries and footwear and leather goods companies to rethink their internal organisation.

“To understand what might happen in the coming months,” Bocca concludes, “we conducted research with our key customers in order to outline trends and expectations. The results will be available by May or June.

In fashion and luxury goods, those who have continued to grow are the innovative players. Today, it is unthinkable to sell machineries to tanneries that have remained on traditional articles or production systems.

“The markets are moving so fast that we have to think not for today or tomorrow, but for the day after tomorrow. We must understand how customers want to move, and act accordingly.”

In general, exhibitors looking forward to Simac Tanning Tech enjoyed a profitable 2016, mainly because of investments in tanneries serving the automotive business. Gemata, a leading provider of finishing machines, closed last year with a revenue of €35 million (including activities related to glass and textiles), which was up by 10% on 2015,

“This year, we would have been pleased to confirm the same figure, but we always expect to get something more”, says Gianni Maitan, general manager of the Italian company. “The difference is always made by innovation, by Gemata’s ability to create new machines that can increase the performance of our customers”.

Although sales have been driven by the automotive sector, a significant increase in revenue in has also been noted in 2016 from the tanning district of Santa Croce sull’Arno, in Tuscany, which specialises in the production of finished leathers for footwear and leather goods. This may be interpreted as a result of innovative machinery enabling new items to be created for the fashion sector.

Great expectations

The forecast for Officine di Cartigliano’s Italian and Mexican divisions is also positive. Total revenues increased by 10% in 2016 compared with the previous year, and the order book is already full until May 2017, “but with even better numbers”, according to Antonio Polato, president of the international machine manufacturer.

Polato’s expectations from Simac Tanning Tech are huge. “For us, the word ‘fair’ means, first of all, ‘meetings with our customers’, and we expect the participation of so many people, who are mostly friends,” he says. “The innovations and opportunities that Cartigliano must communicate are so numerous and different that the duration of a trade fair is not long enough.

“This meeting serves as a preview, where our visitors have immediate perception of a company that grows, continually innovates and develops new products tailored to users’ specific needs.”

While China and Brazil are the leading markets for investment in tannery machinery, Polato also points to Vietnam, Bangladesh and Thailand. Developing these opportunities depends on final product quality, as well as process control, supply chain management, cost analysis, and the requirement to save energy and respect the environment.

At Simac Tanning Tech, Cartigliano will be demonstrating its innovations and ‘green’ credentials on a large and welcoming stand.

“Customers choosing Cartigliano must immediately understand how its technology will eliminate paper and documents, and promote a uniform, timely and traceable process,” comments Polato.

“The last year was exceptional year for us” says Giulio Tandura, general manager of Carlessi, a subsidiary of Erretre. Revenue increased by 15%, and is continuing to grow in 2017. “We are cautious about the exhibition,” he continues, “because as far as participation in Tanning Tech is necessary, sometimes the euphoria that we find in Milan is immediately contradicted by subsequent results, and vice versa. We view it as an important situation, but no longer as a turning point.

“In fashion and luxury goods, those who have continued to grow are the innovative players. Today, it is unthinkable to sell machinery to tanneries that have remained on traditional articles or production systems.”

Carlessi devotes special attention to the drying phase, as evidenced by the launch of the innovative cell rotaring conditioning (CR C) system.

Adopting this technology improves quality, efficiency and output volume. “Saving water and energy makes a difference in Europe, and we hope that soon it will be the same everywhere else,” Tandura says.

World of leather

In recent years, tanning machinery orders have been dominated by ‘emerging’ countries, from Brazil to China and South- East Asia. Now, Italian company Feltre is recording a larger, more global distribution of contracts.

Participation at Simac Tanning Tech provides an opportunity to consolidate this worldwide trend.

“The last edition brought us a lot of luck, so we look with optimism to the next one by increasing the exhibition area and renewing the stand, to create an area even more inviting and appealing,” explains Luca Tisato, Feltre’s sales manager for Europe and the US, adding that that the decision to exhibit tanning machinery this year makes the fair even more interesting for attendees.

In recent years, tanning machinery orders have been dominated by ‘emerging’ countries, from Brazil to China and South-East Asia. Now, Italian company Feltre is recording a larger, more global distribution of contracts.

Feltre has had a good 2016, with stable growth in automation systems and strong performance from Emmezeta drying facilities. “It was also a year in which the company invested significant resources in research and the development of new projects, and we are sure that will ensure a continuation this year,” says Tisato. 

Feltre is active in optimising stackers and, with its Tanmac brand, is investing in research to improve conditioning systems, and will announce important developments in automatic systems for sorting lines and folding.

Simac Tanning Tech is also important for Italian and European chemical suppliers, and has received a boost from the participation of some multinational companies, including Stahl, which will exhibit at Lineapelle.

“As the leading company in process chemicals for leather products and performance coatings, Stahl challenges itself every day to create durable fashion and design innovations,” says Xavier Rafols, group director of leather finish. “This is represented in our broad product portfolio that complies with the zero discharge hazardous chemicals (ZDHC) and manufacturing restricted substances List (MRSL).”

The company will use Lineapelle to exhibit its very latest innovations, including Proviera – Probiotics for Leather, Stahl EasyWhite Tan, Stahl Neo, STAHL EVO and Easy Crust.

“These products are fully in line with our striving for zero discharges of restricted substances by 2020,” states Rafols. “Stahl believes that the best way to experience our solutions is by seeing and feeling for yourself, which is why we make sure there are many leather and synthetic articles available.

“Together, with our spring/summer collection for 2018 you will get a great understanding of the future trends and the applications that fit our vision.” 

Guests arrive in Milan for the 2016 event.
Get to grips with future trends at Lineapelle.
Lineapelle reflects a bright overall outlook for leather and textiles.
The fashion and luxury goods sectors thrive on innovation.

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