The world's largest textile and garment technology exhibition, ITMA 2019, is to focus on smart garment technologies in a bid to help manufacturers accelerate productivity and efficiency.

Automation, especially in an integrated textile and garment manufacturing chain, will help address the fashion and clothing industry's current concerns of short production cycles and sustainable business practices, according to Cematex, the Committee of European Textile Machinery Associations.

"The garment making industry is labour intensive and associated with low productivity," explains Fritz Mayer, president of Cematex, which owns the ITMA exhibition. "Things are set to change. Recently, there has been much publicity about 'sewbots', considered as a major breakthrough in garment automation. Manufacturers fast enough to ride the digital wave will find new opportunities and gain an edge over their competitors."

To help garment manufacturers exploit technologies that optimise the manufacturing process for productivity gains, ITMA 2019 is expected to feature a "wide array" of innovative solutions, including garment making machinery and other textile processing machinery, auxiliary machinery. Similarly the event will host a number of accessories, such as software and systems for product planning, design and related automation technology for garment making; auxiliary machinery for the garment making industry; machinery and equipment for product finishing and development; sewing supplies and consumables and machinery for shrinking, fusing, cutting preparation, cutting and related automation technology.

"The digitisation of the fashion industry means that their suppliers will need to seamlessly integrate their design, material supply and production of the finished products," adds A.E. Roberts, managing director of ITMA Services, organiser of ITMA 2019. "With integrated solutions, garment manufacturers will be able to respond well to fast and flexible production turnarounds, and cut costs by increasing productivity and reducing wastes."

Besides a big display of technologies, fibres, yarns and fabrics, ITMA 2019 will be complemented by conferences and meetings.

"The global textile and apparel supply chain is expected to see more integration and collaboration, both vertically and horizontally," adds Roberts. "There is a lot of ongoing dialogues among stakeholders in the fashion, textile and garment industry. ITMA can be a useful focal point for discussions on the entire manufacturing value chain so that concerns can be addressed in an integrated and meaningful way."

ITMA 2019 will be held from 20-26 June at Fira de Barcelona, Gran Via venue.