ITMA 2019 – Carbon has the glamour, glass has the lion’s share

In this industry blog, you will find out how the global textile and garment industry has evolved and what’s ahead of us while we await the 18th edition of ITMA.

As I noted in my last post, carbon fibre composites are increasingly being employed in the aerospace sector, having grown from representing 10% of the weight of an aircraft body 20 years ago to more than 50% in the latest models, such as the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

It has been estimated, in fact, that for the production of around 1,000 aircraft a year, the total amount of carbon fibre required is 50,000 tons, based on an average of 50 tons being used in each aircraft.

However, if even just 100kg of carbon fibre composites were to be employed in all of the projected 100 million cars soon to be built each year, the demand would be 10 million tons – just a little bit more than the global production of 78,500 tons of carbon fibres calculated to have been produced in 2018.

Carbon-bodied vehicles

So when BMW launched its fully-carbon composite-bodied i3 and i8 electric vehicles in 2013 – having put in place the largest single site carbon fibre production plant in the world to service its supply chain – there was a boom in excitable projections and the automotive suppliers scrambled to align themselves with carbon fibre manufacturers.

Six years later, however, the excitement has subsided somewhat. In later vehicles, BMW has employed much less carbon fibre in its designs, and the current industry philosophy is based on hybrids of materials to suit each individual application at the best possible cost/performance ratio.

Eltex EyE

Eltex of Sweden is experiencing significant success in the composites processing sector with its EyE sensor-based yarn fault detection systems.

“For most composite applications for sectors such as automotive, glass fibre has all the necessary performance properties required,” observes Anoop K. Sharma, global marketing and sales manager for ITMA 2019 exhibitor Eltex of Sweden, which is experiencing significant success in the composites sector with its EYE sensor-based yarn fault detection systems, especially on multiaxial knitting machines. “Carbon fibre is really only required for very high end applications – although you wouldn’t think so from visiting dedicated trade shows where everyone displays carbon parts.”

Formula 1

In addition to aerospace, carbon fibre benefits, of course, from the glamour that surrounds the Formula 1 racing industry, having first been used as the monocoque in the McLaren MP4/1 during the 1970s. Carbon’s unbeatable combination of strength and lightness had an immediate and dynamic impact in the sport.

McLaren MP4-12C

The McLaren MP4-12C – the first carbon-based road car from the brand to feature a one-piece moulded carbon chassis structure.

McLaren brought carbon fibre technology to road cars with the 1993 F1 supercar and built on this experience with a carbon fibre chassis and body on the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, produced between 2003 and 2009.


Whether processing carbon fibre or glass, multiaxial knitting technology is now widely employed in the manufacturing of composite reinforcements for automotive parts, and market growth has led to significant investments in new machines in recent years by leading European companies in this field such as Hexcel, Saertex and Sigmatex who are all regular visitors to ITMA shows.

Multiaxial reinforcements are fabrics made up of multiple plies of parallel fibres, each laying in a different orientation or axis – hence the term ‘multiaxial’. These layers are typically stitchbonded, usually with polyester yarns, to form the fabric.

As such, they effectively allow the composite manufacturer to process multiple layers of unidirectional fibres in their optimum form in a single fabric.

Multiple applications

Saertex, based in Saerbeck, Germany, reports that its multiaxial products have been incorporated into the outer skins of vehicles as ‘Class A’ surfaces and are widely used for making structural components in their bodywork, doors, rear bulkheads and B-pillars. They have also been used in wheel rims, wind deflectors and bodywork.

Another development is the company’s Ultra Fatigue UD, developed specifically for the manufacture of leaf springs in both trucks and passenger vehicles. This unidirectional fibreglass non-crimp fabric is 50% lighter than steel and offers longer operational life and improved fatigue properties.


Leaders in the development of multiaxial knitting machinery include Germany’s Karl Mayer, with its Biaxtronic and Cop Biax 2 weft insertion systems and Maxtronic machine for the basic production of glass-fibre composites. The company’s Cop Max 4 is engineered for the production of multi-layered, multiaxial structures with ply angles of +20° to -20°, to meet the most stringent requirements. 


Karl Mayer’s Cop Max 4 multiaxial system at the company’s development centre
in Obertshausen, Germany.

The Cop Max 5 is specifically designed for processing carbon fibres. The key feature of this machine is that it can produce very lightweight textiles with the weft yarns fed in using two different methods, either involving dry and pre-spread unidirectional pre-spread UD fibre tapes or individual rovings that are spread during their delivery into the unit.

At ITMA 2019 it will be evident that both carbon and glass fibres are expected to continue enjoying solid growth in the automotive industry – reflected in the many technologies displayed for their processing – if not perhaps at the meteoric rate that was anticipated just a few years ago.

Adrian Wilson is an experienced analyst and writer specialising in textiles, nonwovens and composites, and current editor of Sustainable Nonwovens, Smart Textiles and Nanotechnology.




A myriad of exciting knowledge and networking events will be held at ITMA 2019. Some of the events will be organised by ITMA in partnership with leading industry organisations. Events you can look forward to at ITMA 2019 include:

21 June 22 June 23 June 24 June 25 June
ITMA-EDANA Nonwovens Forum Planet Textiles Textile Colourant & Chemical Leaders Forum Digital Textile Conference Better Cotton Initiative Seminar
SAC & ZDHC Manufacturer Forum Texmeeting by TEXFOR

Date: 21 June 2019 | Time: 9.45 am – 5.30 pm  | Venue: Gran Via Convention Centre 5

Theme: Nonwovens Manufacturing Processes for the 21st Century: More Flexible, More Efficient, More Sustainable

ITMA will jointly organise the Nonwovens Forum @ ITMA 2019 with the International Association for the Nonwovens and Related Industries (EDANA). The event will feature discussions on the latest innovations in nonwovens.

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Date: 21 June 2019 | Time: 9.45 am – 5.30 pm  | Venue: Gran Via Convention Centre 5

Theme: Nonwovens Manufacturing Processes for the 21st Century: More Flexible, More Efficient, More Sustainable

ITMA will jointly organise the Nonwovens Forum @ ITMA 2019 with the International Association for the Nonwovens and Related Industries (EDANA). The event will feature discussions on the latest innovations in nonwovens.

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Date: 21 June 2019 | Time: 9.45 am – 5.30 pm | Venue: Gran Via Convention Centre 4

Theme: Value of Chemical and Environmental Management

The SAC & ZDHC Manufacturer Forum will focus on the value of chemical and environmental management, the Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM), the ZDHC tools and implementation, and ways of continuous improvements at facility level. The Manufacturer Forum promises to be informative and highly practical. The morning session will provide the most recent overview of SAC and ZDHC, and demonstrate the related approaches and tools. Afternoon discussions will focus on the practicalities of implementation and provide teaser trainings on best practices. The day will close with an evening reception as an enjoyable opportunity for further discussion and for networking amongst industry peers.

For enquiries, email Jennifer Kwong at

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Date: 22 June 2019 | Time: 8.30 am – 6 pm | Venue: Gran Via Convention Centre 5

Theme: Sustainable Innovation & Technology

For a decade, Planet Textiles has been the leading international event on textile sustainability has been a springboard for retail and brand executives to implement practical, real, tangible change within their supply chains. 

A truly global event which has taken place in regions such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, Copenhagen, Bangalore, and Vancouver, the 10th edition will see an unrivalled gathering of industry experts from the entire fashion value chain. Delegates in Barcelona will detail disruptive new textile technology, expert insight from leading industry CEO’s, retail and apparel brands and NGO’s involved in the environmental space.

Supported by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, special sessions at Planet Textiles will feature the ZDHC Foundation and Fashion for Good, along with breakout sessions on what denim and textile production will look like in the second half of the 21st Century.

Planet Textiles is organised by MCL News & Media with support from the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Fashion for Good and media partner Ecotextile News. 

For enquiries and sponsorship opportunities, email Paula Jones at

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Date: 23 June 2019 | Time: 9.45 am – 5.45 pm  | Venue: Gran Via Convention Centre 5

Theme: Meeting Resource Challenges in the Circular Economy

The 3rd Textile Colourant and Chemical Leaders Forum @ ITMA 2019 will centre on the circular economy and resource sustainability strategy. It explores how textile chemicals and innovative and cleaner technologies can support the strategy under the influence of Industry 4.0 emerging strategic concept.

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Date: 24 June 2019 | Time: 10.30 am – 5.45 pm | Venue: Gran Via Convention Centre 5

Theme: Right Speed, Right Price

As digital textile printing matures, it is clear that chasing speed for its own sake is not always the best strategy. What matters is spotting the applications where digital textile can be a commercial winner by delivering the right quality, productivity and price. While ITMA 2015 saw the super-fast single-pass machines meet head-on, ITMA 2019 is likely to have a focus on ink innovation, and perhaps for the development of inkjet in other areas of textile finishing. The WTiN Digital Textile Conference at ITMA will also explore the trend for integration of on-demand print with downstream manufacturing processes.

For enquiries, email Daniel Green at

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Date: 25 June 2019 | Time: 10.15 am – 12.30 pm | Venue: Gran Via Convention Centre 5

Theme: Scaling More Sustainable Cotton through Collaboration

An introduction to the largest cotton sustainability standard in the world, with a multi-stakeholder approach to scaling more sustainable cotton farming practices. The event will feature an introduction to the Better Cotton Standard System, highlights from farming activities, and perspectives from guest speakers demonstrating value from field to store.

Who Should Attend?
Anyone working with cotton, including:

  • Retailers and brands
  • Textile and garment manufacturers
  • Civil society organisations
  • Raw material processing companies

Note: Subject to change without prior notice.

For enquiries, email Daren Abney at

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Date: 25 June 2019 | Time: 10 am – 2 pm | Venue: Gran Via Convention Centre 5

Texmeeting by TEXFOR was launched in 2013 in order to provide a forum for the textile industry to discuss solutions for different aspects related to the sector, as well as to create an appropriate framework to expand the network of professional contacts of the participants. This edition of the Texmeeting will be held alongside ITMA 2019 and with the support of the 080 Barcelona Fashion.








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Your official app for ITMA 2019. Plan early and make the most of your trip to the Olympics of textile and garment technology exhibition. Download the free ITMA 2019 app now.


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Key Features

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About ITMA 2019 – view key information about the show.


Exhibitors – search more than 1,600 exhibitors by name and locate them on the floorplan. Use the filter function to shortlist exhibitors by exhibit chapter and country.

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Floor Plan – navigate your way around the exhibition. Choose where you are at, your destination and the app will show you the route.

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Buy Badge – cut onsite queue by purchasing your visitor badge and conference tickets.

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My Visit – favourite exhibitors and events, take notes, and plan your route.

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Appointment Scheduler – line up meetings with exhibitors before you arrive at the show (available May 2019).

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Events – check out all conferences, forums and other happenings.

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News – read the latest event press releases.

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Social – catch up on the latest ITMA 2019 social media posts.

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Selfie – share your selfie and let others know you’ll be at ITMA 2019. Remember to #itma2019.



ITMA 2019 forums draw strong industry support – Nonwovens, and chemical and colourant forums unveil key speakers

La imagen puede contener: una o varias personas y personas sentadas

7 February 2019 – The world’s leading textile and garment technology exhibition, ITMA 2019, will be complemented by several key forums when it is held in Barcelona in June, two of which are the ITMA-EDANA Nonwovens Forum and Textile Colourant and Chemical Leaders Forum.

Mr Fritz Mayer, President of CEMATEX, said: “As technological developments are happening at breakneck speed, and collaboration is becoming increasingly necessary in a globalised economy, the industry has to stay abreast of the latest developments and trends. Hence, ITMA will be staging several forums to help participants be ahead of the competition curve.

“The forums also offer a valuable platform for various associations and professionals to connect and network with the right players. This is especially important as collaboration and partnerships from research institutions to technology, chemical and raw material providers and users are increasingly more critical to business success.”  

ITMA-EDANA Nonwovens Forum

The Nonwovens Forum is jointly organised by ITMA and EDANA. To be held on 21 June 2019, it will highlight the latest innovations in nonwovens. The theme of the forum is ‘Nonwovens Manufacturing Processes for the 21st Century: More Flexible, More Efficient, More Sustainable’.

Mr Pierre Wiertz, EDANA’s General Manager said: “The nonwovens industry is a bright spark in the textile world. We are glad to be able to collaborate with ITMA to bring these exciting opportunities to visitors who are involved in or have the intention to move into nonwovens manufacturing.”

Providing the latest industry insights will be keynote speaker Mr David Allan, Editor, Nonwovens, RISI (United States). His presentation is titled ‘Global Trends in Nonwoven Processes under Economic and Sustainability Constraints’.

The forum will feature three sessions:

  • Circular economy/challenges & opportunities for processing bio-based & recycled materials on nonwovens machinery
  • Latest trends and innovation in nonwoven processes – including hybrids and composites
  • Innovations in nonwovens technology

In addition, there will be a panel discussion with experts from leading centres of excellence in nonwovens who will exchange their views on the nonwoven processes of the 2030s.

Textile Colourant and Chemical Leaders Forum

The 3rd Textile Colourant and Chemical Leaders Forum @ ITMA 2019 on 23 June will focus on the circular economy and resource sustainability strategy and how innovation will drive future industry success. Launched at ITMA 2011, the forum, is an industry initiative that draws lively participation from dyestuff, colour and chemical professionals from around the world.

Themed ‘Meeting Resource Challenges in the Circular Economy’, the 2019 forum explores how textile chemicals and innovative and cleaner technologies can help create a more sustainable future for the textile and garment industry.

Presentations at the forum are clustered into three sessions:

  • Resource management and Industry 4.0
  • Responding to sustainability challenges with innovation
  • Envisioning the future of the colourant and chemical industry

Chairing the forum is Mr Andrew Filarowski, Technical Director of Society of Dyers and Colourists. He said: “The forum has been an eagerly-awaited event at each ITMA edition as it is an inclusive industry platform that takes in perspectives from all stakeholders of the textile and garment supply chain. Organised by the industry, it allows like-minded industry players to exchange knowledge on the latest innovations and solutions, understand current issues and trends in a global context.”

Speakers confirmed for the forum include Ms Christina Raab, Global Implementation Director of The ZDHC Foundation. She will speak on the role of chemistry for circularity in textile, leather and fibre production. She will also elaborate on ZDHC’s approach and tools to drive the transition and uptake of safer and more circular chemistry, as well as the current state and findings of circular implementation projects from the sector.

Another speaker is Ms Dunja Drmač, Sustainability Officer of the European Apparel and Textile Confederation (EURATEX). Her presentation will enlighten participants on resource sustainability and relevant strategies in the journey towards a circular economy.

In addition to the forums, other knowledge sharing activities include the ITMA Innovation Lab. An important element of the lab is the ITMA Speakers Platform where all ITMA exhibitors have been invited to participate. The Platform will be complemented by a video showcase. A new highlight, the ITMA Innovation Video Showcase will provide a new channel for visitors to learn more about innovative exhibits at ITMA 2019.

Registration for both forums is open at Details of other co-located events at ITMA 2019 can also be found on the website.

ITMA 2019 will be held from 20 to 26 June at Fira de Barcelona, Gran Via venue. The exhibition will feature over 1,600 exhibitors who will be showcasing their latest technologies and sustainable solutions for the entire textile and garment manufacturing value chain, as well as fibres, yarns and fabrics.


The European Committee of Textile Machinery Manufacturers (CEMATEX) comprises national textile machinery associations from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It is the owner of ITMA and ITMA ASIA. Considered the ‘Olympics’ of textile machinery exhibitions, ITMA has a 65-year history of displaying the latest in machinery and software for every single work process of textile and garment making. It is held every four years in Europe.

About ITMA Services
Headquartered in Brussels with a subsidiary in Singapore, ITMA Services is the appointed organiser of ITMA 2019 and future ITMA branded exhibitions. It is managed by professionals with extensive experience in organising ITMA and other major trade exhibitions around the world. It aims to maintain and expand ITMA’s unique selling proposition and relevance to a global audience.

Issued by CEMATEX and ITMA Services


Ms Maria Avery 
Tel: +44 7967 477305 
Ms Daphne Poon 
ITMA Services Pte Ltd 
Tel: +65 94789543 



Visit us at ITMA 2019


ITMA is the trendsetting textile and garment technology showcase where the industry converges every four years to explore fresh ideas, effective solutions and collaborative partnerships for business growth. It is a one-stop international sourcing platform for end-to-end solutions across the entire textile and garment manufacturing value chain, from raw materials to machinery and fabrics.

Featuring a wide array of sustainable technologies and solutions, the upcoming ITMA will be held from 20 to 26 June 2019 in Barcelona at Fira De Barcelona, Gran Via, Spain.

ITMA 2019 provides an unrivalled marketplace and knowledge platform. It is expected to feature:

  • 200,000 square metres of gross exhibition space
  • Over 1,500 exhibitors from some 45 countries
  • Visitorship of over 100,000 from about 140 countries

Our stand location: Hall 4, stand A206

ITMA 2019 – NEWS


Discover “Fabrics Unexpected” – the new ITMA 2019 webisode on “Innovating the World of Textiles”. Have you come across other unexpected applications of fabrics? Share with us with the hashtag #fabricsunexpectedand tag us in your post. If you have innovative fibres, yarns and fabrics, join the textile and garment revolution at ITMA 2019 :

ITMA 2019

Trends keep changing but prints are always in! Digital inkjet printing technology is enabling greater creative expression and shorter production lead time. Inks are now under #ITMA2019 printing chapter. Check out our Index of Products ( featuring the entire textile and garment manufacturing value chain, and submit your space application here: