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Circular Knitting

Positive year for Mayer & Cie.

Digitisation, sustainability and modernisation will be the main topics for 2022 for the leading circular knitting machine builder.

23rd March 2022

Knitting Industry
 |  Albstadt, Germany

Knitted Outerwear, Sports/​Activewear

Looking back, 2021 was a positive year for the Albstadt-based circular knitting machine and braiding machine manufacturer Mayer & Cie. After two tough years, sales exceeded EUR 100 million again last year, and the outlook for this year is promising, with production working at long-term full capacity in the circular knitting machine sector.

In order to maintain its market edge, Mayer & Cie. continues to rely on digitisation of both its processes and its products. Substantial investment at its headquarters location, especially in machinery, is on the Mayer & Cie. agenda for 2022. The company has also passed an energy upgrade milestone, launching its new CHP cogeneration units.

Sales return to pre-crisis level

“Compared with 2020, our Group sales were up by about 40 per cent in 2021,” said Mayer & Cie. Managing Director Benjamin Mayer. After two difficult years in 2019 and 2020 the circular knitting machine manufacturer was able last year to restore sales to a stable level of about EUR 103 million. And it could have achieved an even better result.

“Supply chain problems hampered production perceptibly,” Benjamin Mayer said. “In view of the order situation up to five per cent more might have been possible.”

The Albstadt textile machinery manufacturer’s order position has stayed at a sound, high level since the fourth quarter of 2020, and orders in hand will already keep the circular knitting machine division busy until the end of the year, with orders coming in from all over the world, but especially, and with no change, from the company’s core markets Turkey, China and India.

 The Mayer & Cie. Management team (from left to right): Marcus Mayer, Sebastian Mayer, Benjamin Mayer. © Ralph Koch for Mayer & Cie.

The Management views with concern, however, the conflict in the Ukraine, which at first glance may not affect the sales market directly but might lead to general purchasing restraint in the capital goods sector that like the trade war between the United States and China, which began in 2018, would also affect Mayer & Cie. In addition, effects of the conflict such as high energy prices and interruptions in material supplies and logistics pose a genuine challenge in the further course of the year.

In the braiding machine division, the order position recovered in 2021. Sales of new machines and, especially, spare parts exceeded the 2020 figures significantly. “In the braider business,” Benjamin Mayer said, “we regained ground to some extent, although our sales are still not where we would like to see them. We aim to expand in this area in the years ahead with further developments to existing machines and plans for new machines.”

Award-winning digitisation

Production and machine data bundled and available to access worldwide in real time is part of the vision of Sebastian Mayer, a member of the Mayer & Cie. management team, and its development supremo. He and his team have in recent years created a digital backbone that connects the entire company. Product Lifecycle Management, or PLM, is part of it and has standardised and streamlined historical processes in production and development. What customers will see are the online spare parts Web shop, the remote maintenance options for machines and the bundling of production and machine data on the knitlink platform.

Assembly lines at Mayer & Cie. in Albstadt-Tailfingen. © Ralph Koch for Mayer & Cie.

Mayer & Cie. has once more won an award for its in-house and external digitisation measures as one of the most innovative German SMEs. The textile machinery manufacturer won a 2022 Top 100 award for its innovative processes in particular. “Even in difficult years,” says Sebastian Mayer, “we have deliberately focussed on optimising core processes in order to be able to hit the ground running when the market recovers. We are naturally pleased to have been able to set a benchmark with this approach.”

Investing in the location

“To operate successfully in the long term, investing in the location is absolutely essential,” Benjamin Mayer says. “That is quite clear in the policy of modernising machinery that we are pursuing.” In the years ahead a range of production machinery – lathes, gear cutting and grinding machines – is to be replaced at a scheduled cost running into low double-digit millions. Last year saw an investment in a robot-controlled laser hardening system for heat-treating machine components.

The company has also completed its on-site energy upgrade. The CHP cogeneration plant that will supply much of the energy consumed by Mayer & Cie.’s main production facility in Albstadt is to be inaugurated shortly.

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