ITMA 2019: Trends and Takeways from the Textile Machinery Industry’s Flagship Event

By Charlotte Wille, Senior Marketing Manager EMEA

After seven busy days of presentations and color conversations at ITMA in Barcelona, we’re back to reality. The ITMA show is one of the most important events for Datacolor.


First preparations started four years ago. And over the past year, we have been working intensively on the show, together with an amazing team.


We arrived in Barcelona days before ITMA officially started to begin building up our booth. Then, after a motivating team briefing, we were ready to welcome visitors. The seven exciting days that followed were filled with many great discussions, awesome teamwork, nice team dinners and relaxing strolls at the beach to prepare ourselves for the following day. In short, hard working days and fun evenings, perfect for connecting with our global team members.


Before we talk about highlights and takeaways, a big “thank you” to:


  • Everyone who stopped by our booth throughout the event. We loved telling you about Datacolor and answering your questions.
  • Our great booth assembly team (including our booth builder Jahplan). Set-up is no easy task, but you made everything look great.
  • The Adobe team for enriching presentations about Adobe Textile Designer and Datacolor. What a great start to our collaboration!
  • Last but not least, the amazing team at our booth. The hours were long, the booth was always busy, and you did an incredible job no matter what. See you in four years at ITMA 2023 in Milano.


Now for the highlights:


Datacolor at ITMA 2019

A central theme of ITMA 2019: Textile 4.0


The 18th ITMA edition was inspired by Industry 4.0 and what it is enabling. This includes the hot topics of sustainability and fast fashion.


What is Industry 4.0 and how does it connect to the textile industry? Supply and demand dynamics are changing, companies are facing production limitations, technology is constantly evolving, and sustainability is front-and-center. Across industries—including textiles—this has lead to manufacturing advancements throughout the supply chain. In short, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, robotics, 3D printing, wearables and more are all making their way into the textile industry.


We have certainly come a long way since the late 1700s:


Image credit:


I think its important to mention that the Textile 4.0 transformation is still in a very early stage. Innovative technologies are turning up more often than ever before, and business models are changing entirely. Leading apparel innovators, such as Amazon, are already game changers in the industry with published patents for on-demand manufacturing; an entire apparel supply chain transformed into one facility!


And here is what caught my eye when walking through the ITMA halls, reading the ITMA daily news and talking to peers.


A global audience and no shortage of innovative ideas


ITMA, the flagship show in the textile machinery industry, is the place to set new standards (what the Olympics means to an athlete, ITMA means to a textile machinery company). As much as ITMA is a machinery fair, it’s also about understanding new technologies; meeting with peers and colleagues from various sectors of the industry to understand the challenges and how to address them.


ITMA 2019 attracted over 105,000 visitors from 137 countries. The top 5 visitor countries were Spain (11%), Italy (10%), India (8%), Turkey and Germany (7%). They were followed by France, United States, Portugal, Brazil, Pakistan, China and the United Kingdom.


Advancements showcased at the show included high-speed weaving and knitting machines, salt-free dyestuffs, machines aimed at decreasing pollusion, and digital printing companies displaying the first results of printing on PES with good textile fastness.


Are digital micro-factories the future of production?


Will consumers soon be able to send a design by app to a manufacturer and receive the garment within days?

At Texprocess in Frankfurt this May, as well as at ITMA in Barcelona, there was a lot of noise about distinction, personalization and environmental friendliness of everyday products such as clothes and accessories. This is being driven by consumer demand. Achievements in technology and automation of production and logistics processes, together with ecommerce advancements, should soon allow manufacturing of single products based on consumer demand—and without the need for traditional production and logistics chains.


Our Textile Market Manager, Dustin Bowersox, weighs in:



The latest news in the digital printing space


Since last ITMA, the digitally printed fabric volumes have subsequently increased from 1.2 billion sqm to 2.57 billion sqm in 2018. China, India, Italy, Turkey and the US continue to dominate, with steady growth rates in Italy and Turkey and increasing growth rates in China, India and the US.


The market is still dynamic and digital printing technology has been rapidly evolving. Each year we see new countries switching to digital technology. Apart from the key countries, Pakistan, Bangladesh and South Korea are becoming high growth markets, while Vietnam and Central American countries – including Colombia, El Salvador and Guatemala – have more potential in the long term.


Our Turkey sales manager, Evrīm Can, weighs in:


Evrim Can Circular Fashion Quote - ITMA 2019


Adobe introduced a new textile offering—in collaboration with Datacolor


Adobe Textile Designer for Photoshop helps streamline the process of designing prints for fabrics. It pairs with Datacolor’s ColorReaderPro to help simplify the process of capturing inspiration color for designers.

Following the continued evolution of the textile printing ma

rket, Adobe decided the time is right to unveil its new Photoshop plug-in that makes textile design easier for designers working within Adobe Creative Suite/Creative Cloud. The solution enables designers to easily edit their patterns until they are ready to send them to the printer. This includes previewing patterns, defining separations and working with colorways.

Adobe textile Designer also has some powerful options to help the user identify the most significant colors in the design. Designers can use the built-in tools to make suggestions, pick colors, or use a combination of both. In order to allow designers to measure color inspiration in the real world and transfer the data to Photoshop, Datacolor’s ColorReaderPro can be connected to Adobe Textile Designer via Bluetooth. It works like an eyedropper tool: the user simply places the device on the sample, presses the button, and the color is identified for them within Textile Designer.


Additionally, no matter how many colors the designer use in their print, they will be able to see how the design is reproduced with the number of colors that their printing process and budget affords.


Sustainability and circular fashion



Currently, 73% of the world’s clothing eventually ends up in a landfill, and the global fashion industry is projected to grow 81% by 2030, exerting a huge strain on the planet, according to the Global Fashion Agenda

. The linear model of “take, make, dispose” will soon reach its physical limits and so circularity is a necessary solution to minimize the use of finite resources.

To drive change, five EU apparel organizations (EURATEX, FESI, GFA, IAF and SAC) released a new policy manifesto ahead of the 2019 Copenhagen Fashion Summit to deliver a circular economy in textiles.


The organizations behind the manifesto have committed to developing a European vision for textiles in a circular economy, and they will be expanding on the points outlined in the manifesto over the coming months. Ultimately, the loop is global, not just regional. To establish a circular economy, a joint global approach to circular fashion is needed.


Our Textile Market Manager, Dustin Bowersox, weighs in:

Dustin bowersox circular fashion quote - ITMA 2019


New funding to incentivize textile recycling


Meanwhile, the UK Government has launched a £4.7m grant scheme to help boost recycling of textiles and plastic packaging. “We are committed to going further and faster to reduce, reuse, recycle and cut waste,” Thérèse Coffey, environment minister, told the ITMA show paper. “Valuable waste ending up in landfills makes no sense environmentally or economically.”


For textiles, this could include machinery for recycling, technology for assembling or sorting textiles, automated processes for removing items from textiles such as zips, and technology to sort textiles by fiber type and color.


Our UK service manager, Daniel Aitken, weighs in:


Daniel Aitken Quote ITMA 2019


Insights from the European dyeing, finishing and coating market


While the dyeing and finishing market is still dominant in Asian countries such as China and India, the European dyeing, finishing and coating market is growing. However, the EU finishing market is facing a number of challenges:


  • REACH (a European Union regulation that came into force in June 2007) aims to provide a high level of protection of human health and environment from the use of chemicals. Companies who manufacture or import a chemical substance in the EU are responsible for registering it under REACH and this has proved especially problematic for smaller companies.
  • Sustainability: Governments, brands and consumers are demanding that textile manufacturers streamline their processes, reducing the use of water and hazardous chemicals and energy as well as decreasing their emissions and wastewater. The textile dyeing and finishing industry is the most pollutant and energy intensive process in the textile supply chain. To overcome these problems and meet the new informed expectations of global actors, new innovative technologies are being developed across textile finishing. Especially in technical textiles, sports, outdoor wear and workwear, end users demand materials with a broad range of functionalities and extended durability. The European market excels in functional coatings like these. However, in the manufacturing of these coated textiles, the industry must be sustainable to be able to manufacture within Europe, which is an expensive manufacturing hub.


It is obvious that there is a lot of movement in the textile industry, and that a lot can change in four years. If you missed the chance to meet our team and see our solutions at ITMA, you don’t have to wait until ITMA 2023! Explore our latest products, keep an eye on our events page, and contact our team at any time with questions or to learn more about our solutions.




ITMA Daily News – Newspaper