KARL MAYER is launching KM.ON – a new brand for delivering digital solutions at a market leader level – and is also showcasing its own software start-up

Conquering the digital world – with KM.ON

On 15 October 2018, KARL MAYER is unveiling its new digital brand at ITMA ASIA + CITME 2018 in Shanghai. KM.ON stands for “digital driven innovation”. This brand brings together the digital solutions portfolio of the KARL MAYER Digital Factory, a new software start-up, and the entire KARL MAYER Group.

KARL MAYER is systematically driving the topic of digitisation forward in order to seize the opportunities offered by the upheavals of our time. “Digitisation is a basic component of our company strategy. With our corporate start-up, the KARL MAYER Digital Factory, we have a software company at our disposal that can act quickly and customer-oriented on the market. Another integral part of KARL MAYER’s digitisation strategy is its participation in ADAMOS, a strategic alliance of German global market leaders in machine construction and the Software AG. On the basis of the ADAMOS technology, and as part of this network for developments, KARL MAYER is living up with the product portfolio of the new KM.ON brand to its claim of being a global market leader also in terms of digital Solutions,“ says KARL MAYER’s Managing Director, Arno Gärtner.

The KARL MAYER Digital Factory is a pioneering company operating alongside this innovative market leader. It employs a team of software specialists and technology experts in a new, creative environment away from the main company headquarters. When speaking about the objectives, Maximilian Kürig who, together with Antonia Gottschalk is one of the managing directors, says, “This new venture should develop efficient digital solutions quickly and flexibly for the benefit of our customers and deliver them under its own, new umbrella brand,” since “Digital solutions are expanding the possibilities of considerably improving the efficiency of our customers’ production processes and giving them unparalleled competitive advantages.”

KM.ON’s digital portfolio of services will support customers in selected areas and is made up of eight solution categories. k.ey – a conventional industry PC together with an appropriate software – provides access to the solutions. The platform of hardware and software can be installed easily and links the machines securely to the protected cloud. This is based on the expertise gained by participating in ADAMOS with regard to the use of an open IIoT environment which is specifically focused on the needs of machinery and plant construction. This enables the benefits of KM.ON to be exploited easily and securely.

At ITMA ASIA + CITME 2018, the system, which is made up of eight KM.ON solution categories, together with the first apps and solutions covering the three areas of Management, Maintenance and Service, are being presented.

  • k.management enables the customer to look at the current production process, regardless of location and in real time. The production data are displayed clearly on a dashboard. This simple way of delivering information improves process transparency and acts as a valid database for decision-making and planning. These advantages are based on KARL MAYER’s own system of machine networking.
  • The solutions in the k.maintenance category are designed to support customers in their own maintenance operations. As the first solution, KARL MAYER is showcasing the CHECK PARTS app for testing the authenticity of the spare parts, with expanded functions. Above all, the scan-to-order feature is new and makes it even easier to order spare parts online. Automatic data transfer improves the customers’ day-to-day operations when ordering on site, as well as for warehousing.
  • k.service’s product world will, in the long term, include all the functions that manage the communication between the customer and KARL MAYER, should the client require assistance. The ability to make contact quickly, together with efficient communication procedures, guarantees a high level of machine availability. In Shanghai, KARL MAYER is showcasing the latest developments in this system, which is based on the tried-and-tested CONNECT app.

Steps will be taken in the near future to expand the offers of KM.ON. Other solutions and the expansion phases for existing products are already being planned, e.g. in the areas of data analysis, condition monitoring and the digital machine logbook.

KARL MAYER impresses its visitors with an innovative show at ITMA ASIA + CITME, 15.–19.10.2018 in Shanghai

The future of warp knitting – digital, sustainable and technically innovative

The five-day-long ITMA ASIA + CITME trade fair ended on 19. October, and for many exhibitors it was a good opportunity to present their companies and their innovations to a broad specialist audience, and this was also valid for KARL MAYER. “ITMA ASIA + CITME 2018 was a successful show, with many visitors from China and also from other countries in and around Asia. Our stand was THE meeting-point for the sector, with its modern design, innovative machines and solutions designed to cater for current trends. We have shown that we are also pioneers in the future issues of sustainability and digitisation, and we are opening up new opportunities for our clients,” says Arno Gärtner, KARL MAYER’s CEO. This innovative global market leader welcomed just under 760 visitors. The stand was particularly busy during the first three days of the fair. Roughly 300 participants also visited the in-house show at KARL MAYER (CHINA), which was held at the same time. The visitors showed interest in the products on show, however, they are holding off on making new investments. And this had been expected by KARL MAYER. “The current political situation dampens the economic confidence in some of our important buying countries. Our clients seem to be confused,” says Oliver Mathews, the Sales Manager of KARL MAYER’s Warp Knitting Business Unit. The reasons for the stagnation were mainly attributed to the situation in Turkey, the embargo on Iran, the trade dispute between China and the USA, and fluctuations in yarn prices as a result of speculation. However, Oliver Mathews sees the mood of the market as being more one of “wait and see” rather than one of resignation. For the success of its customers, KARL MAYER opens up numerous chances to tap into new markets with novel applications.

Digitisation is now and is going according to plan!

The highlight of KARL MAYER’s presentation was the company’s demonstration of its digitisation strategy: the launch of the company’s own digital brand, KM.ON, and the presentation of the associated digital solutions and the KARL MAYER Digital Factory, the start-up behind KM.ON. “With the much-viewed brand launch and our first digital solutions, we were clearly showing that we are an expert partner for the digitalisation. Both our customers, as well as other textile machinery manufacturers, welcomed this initiative, which successfully positioned us as a real innovator,” says Arno Gärtner. Antonia Gottschalk and Maximilian Kürig, the Managing Directors of the KARL MAYER Digital Factory, were able to have many in-depth conversations. “The first well-known customers are extremely interested in our digital solutions and want to test them out,” says Maximilian Kürig.

Production: integrated sustainability

Another focal point of KARL MAYER’s presentation were systems concentrating on greater sustainability during production, under the heading of CLEANER.PRODUCTIONS, and these were also a great success. “We have shown that we are a global market leader in the field of sustainability as well. We have further developed our warp knitting technology in terms of environmental protection and presented it as a beneficial ecological alternative to other technologies,” says Arno Gärtner. The possibilities of replacing weaving with warp knitting quickly became a magnet for the public. Both weaving and warp knitting companies were also interested in the TERRY.ECO for the environmentally friendly production of terry goods. Warp knitting offers two advantages over weaving for producing these fluffy textiles: the sizing and desizing processes, which consume vast amounts of resources and generate high levels of effluent, can be dispensed with, and terry warp knitting machines like the TM 4 TS-EL require less energy.

For producers of woven terry fabrics KARL MAYER was showing its PROSIZE® – a sizing machine with less size, energy and effluent during production.

Warp knitting machines: high output, flexible and reliable

The highlights for the warp knitting sector were tricot machines with three guide bars. An HKS 3-M, 280″ and a TM 3 were being shown. The extra-wide HKS 3-M was producing a velour fabric in a gauge of E 32 and impressed everyone with its high output and reliable operation. Referring to the TM 3 the guests were particularly interested in the opportunities for market expansion offered by the TM machine. The TM 3 produces warp-knitted fabrics, which can be used to replace the fabrics woven on water-jet looms, thus offering advantages in terms of costs and sustainability. Specific machines at the well attended in-house show at KARL MAYER (CHINA) in Changzhou also offer additional potential for the Asian market: the TM 4 TS-EL terry warp knitting machine and the new five-bar tricot machine, COP 5 M-EL, 180″.

An RD 7/2-6 EN, 138″ from the RD machine range was premiered at the in-house show at KARL MAYER (CHINA). This new machine was presented as the first prototype, but the visitors already showed a lot of interest in this model. With 6 mm reduced flexibility of the trick plate distance, compared to the established RD 7/2-12 EN machine, it delivers a 30 % increase in speed.

Manufacturers in Asia have a more long-term interest in lace machines now. Nevertheless, KARL MAYER was showing two lace machines at the in-house show, which was exactly the right thing to do. The OJ 83/1 B was producing a fine lace band during the show and everyone was impressed by the productivity, flexibility and operating reliability. The new LEISUREE.FASHION, type LM 41, was also presented as an attractive machine for producing functional, multibar lace in a gauge of E 28.

Warp preparation: economical and with an excellent cost:benefit ratio

KARL MAYER’s Warp Preparation Business Unit was also demonstrating that it has an eye for the market with the new ISODIRECT direct beaming machine and the VSB Size Box. The technology of the ISODIRECT makes it an efficient direct beamer for the mid-range segment. Two features in particular have set it apart from the rest of the market: the smart reed for automatically adjusting the reed to suit the required yarn number and beam width, and a well-thought-out system to optimise the interfaces between the direct and the PROSIZE® sizing machine. The key element of the PROSIZE® is the VSB Size Box, whose innovative application system considerably reduces costs and the environmental impact. Up to 10% of the size alone can be saved. The vertical arrangement of the size box in particular is new in China and was well received. Compared to the horizontally arranged HSB, the VSB can be made wider. This enables the PROSIZE® to be operated as a single size box. Having one application unit instead of two produces more uniform beams and reduces stress on the yarns. The demonstration of warp preparation was complemented by innovations for the denim sector and sectional warping, which were shown at KARL MAYER (CHINA).

Technical textiles: solutions to build on

KARL MAYER’s Technical Textiles Business Unit was exhibiting as an expert, flexible partner for a wide range of applications. At the focal point of its demonstration of applications were textiles for the construction industry, such as concrete reinforcements, plaster carriers and roofing materials. This issue is currently a hot topic. The possibility of using textiles in the building sector is opening up new global markets and is arousing the interest of every textile producer in Asia. “Traditional warp knitting companies in particular see the opportunities of opening up new business areas. Weaving companies with experience of technical textiles are surprised at the high productivity of warp knitting. Depending on the application, the cost:benefit ratio of warp knitting to weaving may be 1:17,” says Hagen Lotzmann, the Sales Manager of the Technical Textiles Business Unit.

Lace for everything and everyone – KARL MAYER

As the world shifts, so does lace – but where are they going to? The fashion expert, Christel Aarts, provides some of the answers

Since its early beginnings in the 15th century, lace has been used to embellish, seduce and beguile. At that time, the fabric between the embroidered areas was removed, leaving behind only the white embroidery. Over the years, these delicate fabrics have changed many times. Now more than ever, it is worth taking a new look at lace.

Modern yarns, high-tech machines and optimised finishing processes are offering completely new design possibilities, thus opening up the potential for new applications and business fields. This sector is on the move – from lingerie to sportswear, from the shelves in women’s boutiques to the collections in menswear shops, from creating traditional decorative effects to making a functional fashion statement. Something that was once just an idea has now become a reality. KWP’s editor, Ulrike Schlenker, spoke recently to the innovations consultant, Christel Aarts, when they discussed where this journey is leading.

US: Digitisation is bringing about change in all areas of our social life, for example, communication via social media. Are there any mega trends that are having an influence on both our clothing but particularly on lace?

CA: In the past, fashion trends were set by designers and industry gatekeepers, such as buyers in the large retail chains and magazine editors. Digitisation and social media have re-distributed power in the industry towards the average consumer and social media influencers. The average consumer has instant access to every trend, can view catwalks in real-time from their couch, and purchase an outfit that a blogger posts directly from their phone. The industry is aware of this re-distribution of power, and access to the end consumer has become vital. As end consumers, we like to think that accessing all this information allows us to express ourselves in a more individualistic manner. However, I believe the reverse is true. Social media steer us towards the same imagery, fashion trends are more global rather than local, and we see more and more hypes. Digitisation has allowed for visualisation of the product. For clothing to be noticed, there are aspects such as colour/contrast and prints that have more visual impact on a screen. Lace, with its patterns, colours and textures, also has a strong visual impact, and is therefore perfectly suited to visualisation on the Internet. Reducing the cost of lace, thanks to new technology, has allowed customers with different budgets to embrace lace products, and continuous innovation will allow for lace to become a more mainstream product, which can be adapted to different product categories.

US: Speaking of product categories: athleisure, swimtimates, the pyjama dress… everyone talks of a genre mix. Nevertheless, lace details only appeared sporadically in the pure sportswear collections presented at this year’s OutDoor exhibition in Friedrichshafen and ISPO in Munich. What level of performance does lace need to have in order to find its way into sportswear?

CA: In recent years, we have seen a huge shift in the acceptance of lace in outerwear. While in the past, lace was mainly limited to couture, lingerie, bridal and nightwear, we have seen a revolution in the way lace is accepted as the main material in outerwear, as well as the acceptance of lingerie/nightwear style garments as outerwear garments. No doubt, this is influencing its acceptance in sportswear. However, for lace to become a breakthrough product in performance sportswear we would have to re-think the concept of lace. That would mean looking at how lace products could add additional value comparatively to the current materials available for sportswear, what properties the material should have, and finally how it should look. In particular, functional properties, which optimise the thermal physiology and comfort against the skin, should be considered. The freedom you have in lace design could be used, for example, to support movement through an optimal combination of stretch and compressive structures, allow for breathability and, in the near future, incorporate wearable electronics that monitor performance. From a design perspective, you might want to consider moving away from the typical floral execution towards a more graphic, logo-inspired execution.

US: Is there a way to make lace attractive for men’s clothing, for example by using graphic designs?

CA: Lace is generally associated with fragile, refined, seductive and sensual characteristics, words that do not evoke a typical masculine association. However, if we look at long-term trends, we see that gender roles are becoming less defined and more overlapping. This will have an impact on how we dress and what we find acceptable. For women in the West, a more masculine, tougher dress code has long been accepted. For men, we have seen in the last 20 years a huge change in the acceptance of skincare and beauty products, as well as a general focus on appearance and the way men style themselves. As a result, a more feminine dress code for men is slowly becoming more acceptable. Formal dressing, such as wedding suits and shirts, might be a first thought, but the biggest opportunity could potentially lie in sportswear, if we can really re-think the concept of lace and change the way lace performs, feels on the skin, and looks visually.

US: About the topic “re-think the concept of lace”: what would you as an innovations consultant want from a machine manufacturer?

CA: From a design perspective I would like maximum flexibility and adaptability to different yarns, textures and patterning techniques, whilst of course maintaining technical standards and cost targets. From an innovation perspective, I would love to see machinery that is flexible, can deal with small quantities or even allow for custom-made designs, where the focus is on sustainability and quality rather than cost.


KARL MAYER’s WEBSHOP SPARE PARTS has some new features

Buying with a smartphone

KARL MAYER’s WEBSHOP SPARE PARTS is not a static buying system but a tool that is constantly being upgraded and improved. One of the latest new developments is the scan-to-order function – a feature for the quick and easy ordering of spare parts via a smartphone. This is available initially for needle units but will later be extended to other components. For this function, KARL MAYER has combined its CHECK PARTS app with the WEBSHOP SPARE PARTS facility. An order is placed simply by scanning the data matrix code on the check slip of the needle units, without having to input any additional data. The scanned products are added automatically to the webshop’s shopping basket and the ordering process runs automatically.

This online process is even more advanced in China. The ordered item can be paid for directly using the popular Alipay payment platform. “China is ahead of us when it comes to modern payment methods. This is why we have adapted our process for our Chinese users,” explains Axel Wintermeyer, the Head of KARL MAYER’s Spares Department.

This new function makes it even easier for the company’s clients to order spare parts during their day-to-day operations – for ordering on site, as well as for warehousing. If a part runs out, it can be reordered using automatic data transfer via the scan-to-order function, without incurring any additional internal administrative costs. Maintaining internal authorisation guidelines also enables user hierarchies to be established easily.

In addition to the selected products, the WEBSHOP SPARE PARTS will also allow supplementary technical products to be ordered in future. This useful cross-selling function is new and will support customers when ordering spare parts.

The number of available languages for the webshop at the company’s headquarters has now been increased to 12, and Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai, Portuguese, Italian and French have also been added.

In June 2018, Japan started its own webshop, which generated a great deal of interest. “Many of our key customers have already registered,” says Tetsuji Yasumura, the Head of Product Management, Spare Parts. In the run-up to the launch, many companies on the Japanese market were already making enquiries about this easy-to-use online tool.

With the setting-up of the Japanese version, the WEBSHOP SPARE PARTS facility is now available at every location in the KARL MAYER Group. The next changes are already being planned. “The feedback on our webshop is motivation enough for us to continue with it and expand the ordering system. Our aim is to be the ‘Best in Class’ in the online procurement of spare parts,” says Axel Wintermeyer when speaking about his objectives.