Blog: Leonie BarrieIMB’s new mantra

Leonie Barrie | 13 March 2006

I’ve finally booked myself a visit to the IMB technology show in Cologne, Germany which takes place in May. It’s usually a nightmare trying to co-ordinate flights and accommodation to the event, which happens once every three years, but by arranging things a couple of months in advance it seems I’ve managed to avoid at least some of the stress that comes with a trip like this.

Gone are the days, though, when manufacturers like Desmonds in Northern Ireland would send over teams of 100-plus technicians to evaluate the latest production machinery launches. In fact, it’s a measure of how much the sewn products industry has changed, at least in the West, that the organisers of IMB have now widened the net from clothing to ‘textile processing’ (which apparently includes technical textiles and flexible materials used in cars, airplanes, furniture and medicine) in an attempt to swell exhibitor and visitor numbers.

I met up with the team from Kolnmesse earlier this year, and they were keen to talk about other changes being lined up to tempt visitors, including new, easy-access trade halls; a new IMB Innovation Award; and the IMB Forum, which this time will focus on information technology. Not surprisingly, they also wanted to emphasise that many of the exhibitors will continue to use the show as a launchpad for new developments and technologies – using this as a unique selling point of IMB compared with shows such as CISMA in China where copies and low-technology seem to be the name of the game.

And they’re also under pressure to trounce the blip in visitor numbers at the last event in 2003 which was marred by the SARS epidemic and the Iraq conflict. But of course one of the main reasons for attending any event like this is networking: where else can you find the majority of your colleagues, customers, competitors and other contacts in one place at one time. Yes, the social factor is probably the real unsung reason for attending a trade show.

World of Textile Processing


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