FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Germany – Texcare International 2008, the World Market for Modern Textile Care, promises to be the best in years, the show’s organizers say. Set for May 31-June 4, Texcare has more than 215 exhibitors booked and more exhibit space than ever before.
With many leading manufacturers based in Europe, Texcare International offers an opportunity to see much of the largest and most sophisticated equipment available to the laundry and drycleaning industries in a single place.
Exhibitors include many of the biggest names in equipment worldwide, including Kannegiesser, Jensen, Chicago Dryer Co., Lavatec, Pellerin Milnor, Alliance Laundry Systems, Renzacci, Girbau, Ilsa and Miele.
About half of the exhibitors are based in Germany, with drycleaning equipment powerhouse Italy not far behind with 54 companies. Substantial numbers of exhibitors will travel to Texcare from Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United States, exhibiting alongside companies from emerging economic powers such as Turkey and China.
Many larger exhibitors actually reserved more space than they occupied at the last show four years ago, show planner Messe Frankfurt says.
Texcare’s floor space has grown 10% since 2004 to 19,500 m2 (210,000 square feet) – nearly matching the United States’ biennial Clean Show in exhibit space.
As a result, Festival Hall 8 of the exposition center will be reserved for heavy machinery this year, while smaller booths will be located in the adjoining Galleria.
“We expect 2008 to be a year of growth for exhibitors,” says Elgar Straub, principal of the German allied trades association VDMA. “Texcare International is the most important marketplace in the world for technology used by the laundry and textile-cleaning industries.”
Messe Frankfurt expects about 13,000 people to visit during the show’s five-day run – most of them owners or managers. According to a poll conducted after Texcare International 2004, 65% of attendees held upper-level positions with their companies.
“The importance of the fair is confirmed by the high degree of quality on the visitor side,” says Detlef Braun, a member of Messe Frankfurt’s board. “Texcare is a fair for decision-makers.”
Increasing globalization benefits international shows such as Texcare, says Straub. “Countries previously regarded only as subcontractors to the world’s industrialized nations are now seen as potential customers of washing and textile-cleaning technology.”
Companies will use Texcare International to debut their latest innovations to that international audience, revealing new ideas in machine technology, logistics, finishing and value-added services.
Texcare International will address the many challenges facing the industry in Europe, which parallel the issues faced by operators in the U.S. and many other parts of the world.
“Far-reaching regulations, international agreements and changes in consumer behavior have not been without effect,” says Friedrich Eberhard, vice president of the German textile care membership association Deutscher Textilreinigungsverband (DTV). “Standing still is the same as going backwards.”
While widespread prosperity and cheaper goods are pushing consumers to buy more clothing, demand for textile care hasn’t kept pace, he says. The answer? To improve the industry’s reputation and deliver consistent quality. “There is no doubt that we have failed to exploit the full potential offered by the market.”
While the laundry industry is experiencing a wave of consolidation, the E.U.’s stringent regulations and open markets are actually helping sales grow for textile leasing and rental workwear companies.
The German textile service association Intex expects 5% growth annually as industries demand more fashionable and durable uniforms. “This trend is supported by higher European requirements for health and safety at work,” Eberhard adds.
Overcapacity and the use of disposable textiles in hospitals are big threats to this growth market, and strong competition among laundries means most are reluctant to raise prices. Even so, commercial and industrial laundry services grew 12% in 2006 in Germany, while sales for drycleaning were flat or down slightly throughout the E.U. in 2006.
Klaus Jahn, general secretary of Intex, attributes growth to increases in productivity resulting from process optimization and equipment modernization. Increasing supply and energy prices are putting “a spectacular burden on company profits,” he says. “As a percentage, they are sometimes in double digits. It is, therefore, important for bosses to run their businesses with up-to-date, future-proofed technical standards.”
Part of that standard is the worldwide call for environmental protection in textile service, show sponsors say.
“The key task on which we’re focused is that of caring for textiles in an environmentally friendly way while raising efficiency,” says VDMA’s Straub. “High efficiency, low energy use, and low pollution and effluents – these are the requirements that good cleaning materials must fulfill.”
Texcare International is the place to find new equipment and strategies for environmental protection, productivity, quality control, logistics and more, Jahn says.
The Texcare Forum will round out the show’s offerings and help operators determine the next steps their businesses should take. The extensive lecture program will target the drycleaning and laundry sectors, respectively, for two afternoons each.
“With the exceptional breadth [and] concentration of its international exhibitors and a comprehensive lecture program featuring top experts,” Straub says, “once again Texcare International will be the world’s most important marketplace for laundry and textile-cleaning technology.”