12/23/2010 - Interview with Mr Sigi Foehn by China Textile News

On the occasion of Ground-breaking Ceremony for the new plant of Rieter in Changzhou, the reporter from China Textile News had an interview with Mr Sigi Foehn. Through the channel of local media, Mr Sigi Foehn introduced Rieter’s further development in China and expressed confidence in Chinese market.

Sigi Foehn, President Rieter Textile Systems China

Sigi Foehn, President Rieter Textile Systems China

1. The world economy is now on upswing with no exception in the Chinese market. At present, a lot of investment projects in China’s textile industry are related to cotton spinning machinery. How will Rieter seize this opportunity?
Sigi: We have paid close attention to this trend and also noticed that a considerable proportion of new projects are complete lines of machines, which conforms to Rieter’s concept of "system supplier". Rieter offers complete spinning systems from fiber to yarn and has more than 200 years of experience in the production of short staple yarn. Rieter has always insisted on providing the most advanced technology to the Chinese market. I am convinced that Rieter’s concept of "system supplier" will bring great benefits to customers in China with the development of Chinese market.

2. CNTAC (China National Textile and Apparel Council) has just released 175 pilot areas of textile industry clusters. Many local governments attach importance to local textile development and treat the textile industry as a pillar industry, such as Zhengzhou, Shihezi and Aksu in Xinjiang, where large-scale textile industry parks have been planned. What is Rieter’s view on the development mode of industry clusters for China’s textile industry?
Sigi: Cluster development mode is undoubtedly the way to go because this kind of mode is conducive to rational and effective use of resources, including human resources and raw material resources. There is no doubt that China is becoming or may have become the most important textile market worldwide. The latest draft “Twelfth Five-Year Plan for the Textile Industry” clearly accelerates the pace of change from a big textile country to a powerful textile country for China. I am very proud that Rieter can participate in and contribute to this process.

3. The cotton price has become a hot topic recently. What is Rieter’s view on this issue as a machinery manufacturer?
Sigi: The cost of raw material is the major cost factor of yarn. Therefore, how to improve the utilization of raw materials is a particularly important focus for machinery manufacturers, especially today with such a high cotton price. More and more customers use it as an important reference in the selection of machines. Whether in China or abroad, many machinery manufacturers focus more on how to improve production capacity with the sole pursuit of increasing production speed. In contrast, Rieter has been trying to find a way of more efficient use of raw material at high speed.
Compared to local combers Rieter combers E 66 achieve, with 1 - 2% lower noil extraction, the same yarn quality at a maximum production of 72 kg/h with 500 nips/min. This gives our customers great benefits.

4. With the rising of the raw material price, energy price and labor cost, as well as expected appreciation of RMB, there is a clear trend in the domestic market for textile machinery, that is, increasing purchases of high-end machinery by textile enterprises. Products of high efficiency, energy saving and with a lower labor requirement will become the main stream of demand on the future market
What are Rieter’s new developments in regard to technology progress and innovation?

Sigi: Innovation is an eternal theme and also the fundamental basis for Rieter to extend its two hundred years of glory.
In the field of ring spinning, G 35 and K 45 stand once again on the forefront of the development trend for ring spinning machines and compact spinning machines with the longest machine, maximum speed and the most advanced and reliable automatic doffing system.
In the field of rotor spinning, the R 40 automatic rotor spinning machine has a length of up to 500 rotors, a maximum rotor speed of up to 160 000 rpm, simple and convenient process settings, user-friendly operation and expert systems with huge data, which reduce the dependence on skilled workers.
In China, more and more customers are beginning to pay attention to information management systems for the spinning mill. SPIDERweb, the mill-monitoring system of Rieter, can collect and monitor all the production and quality data online and display process information in a graph, which improves the efficiency of customer management.

5. From January to August of this year, market demand for textile machinery grew remarkably with the recovery - leading to a booming situation in production and sales. China's textile machinery industry achieved recorded revenue of 56.99 billion Yuan, an increase of 50% year on year. Compared with the previous 3-year average revenue of about 36.49 billion Yuan in the same period, it is an increase of 56%. The whole industry realized a total profit of 3.418 billion Yuan, an increase of 172% compared to last year. From January to September, China's total import and export volume of textile machinery amounted to US$ 4.315 billion, an increase of 59% year-on-year, in which import accounted for US$ 3.074 billion, an increase of 65% compared to last year.
How long do you think this trend will continue?

Sigi: The growth of the textile machinery industry is an investment-driven growth that stands for a cycle business. I agree with your view that the prosperity of the textile machinery industry this year is more of a recovery growth. But we also see that China's overall economy is still expanding and domestic demand has much room for growth. Therefore, the textile machinery industry will maintain a positive growth trend in the long term. But there might be a slowdown phase next year.

6. After 12 years of development in Changzhou, Rieter is now beginning the construction of a new plant, which shows the importance of the Chinese market in Rieter’s overall strategy. What is the status and role of the Chinese market in the global strategy of Rieter Textile Systems?

Sigi: The Chinese market is developing rapidly. The development of Rieter in China is the same without any delay. Since the establishment of the Changzhou plant in 1998, Rieter has expanded its plant in 2006. Just four years later, the current scale of production cannot meet our customer's needs. In 2008, we had already completed the planning stage for this new plant. However, due to the global financial crisis, the plan was postponed to this year. I hope it is not too late! We will not only manufacture more products originating from Europe in the new plant, but also expand our training center, spinning center and parts warehouse so as to provide better services to the Chinese customers.
China plays a very important role in our overall strategy. It is not only because China has the world's largest scale of cotton spinning, but also because the Changzhou plant will play an important part in the global supply chain to manufacture for export all over the world.

7. China’s textile machinery industry is also gradually improving, especially in the field of cotton spinning machinery. How will Rieter share the world's largest market with local competitors?
Sigi: In recent years, China's domestic textile machinery manufacturing industry has developed rapidly and has made remarkable achievements in many fields. However, Rieter always insists on introducing the best machinery and the most advanced technology to customers around the world, including China. We are confident that we can continue to maintain our leading position in the Chinese market and achieve even greater success in new areas.

8. What is the role of the new plant in Changzhou in Rieter’s global strategy? Does Rieter have other measures for localization?

Sigi: The Changzhou plant is a corner stone in the Rieter strategy to supply latest technology to China. Beside that, Changzhou is part of the global Rieter manufacturing network and provides parts, components and entire machines for export to other countries. This will lead to further localization of manufacturing as well as built-up of all associated services.

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Selma Wobben
Marketing Rieter Machines & Systems
Rieter Machine Works Ltd.
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