IKU stands in German for Climate and Environment Innovation Prize. In the Environment-Friendly Technologies category it is awarded in recognition of “process innovations the environmental effect of which may not primarily relate to climate protection although it may do so as a side-effect.” If this description were spontaneously to make you think of Mayer & Cie.’s spinitsystems spinning and technology, you would be quite right – or at least thinking along the same lines as the Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB) and the Federation of German Industries (BDI), who jointly sponsor the IKU awards. They consider spinitsystems to be just such a process innovation because it combines in one machine the previously separate steps of spinning and knitting, saving ample amounts of space, time, energy, resources and cotton in the process.
State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth presented the award in a ceremony held at the Environment Ministry in Berlin on February 2018. Sebastian Mayer of the Mayer & Cie. (MCT) management and Michael A Tuschak, in charge of spinitsystems marketing and sales, received the award. “We are the first manufacturer that has dared to merge the two processes, which were previously always separate, and ideologically separate too,” Tuschak says. “We are delighted that the staying power required to see an innovation of this kind through has been rewarded with this prize.”
For Sebastian Mayer, the Mayer & Cie. Director in charge of corporate development, the IKU is an award for the Swabian SME’s corporate philosophy as practised on a daily basis. “We have always seen the company as a technology leader, and to keep a step ahead of the competition you need to repeatedly launch trail-blazing innovations. We are convinced that we have succeeded in doing so with the spinitsystems spinning and knitting technology. It is a wonderful confirmation when other, more competent, independent authorities are of the same opinion.”
With 105 mn euro, sales numbers of the Mayer Group for 2017 are almost identical to those of the previous year. It was due to an extensive and complicated system changeover that this figure fell short of the company’s expectations. In summer 2017, a new ERP-system went into operation after several years of preparation. That led to problems in the production flow, with almost completed machines could not be delivered to the customer because parts were not available at the required time. That is why the company is dozens of machines behindhand, which definitely led to results that could have been much better. Yet, Benjamin Mayer, Managing Director of Mayer & Cie. is convinced that they have now largely put the initial difficulties behind them. “We expect to be back in calmer waters after our system changeover and to be able to slowly but surely work off our backlog of machines. Capacities are available and we are convinced that we can work more efficiently with our new system than before.” Thanks to the fact that both market situation and order numbers continue to be positive, Mayer & Cie. expects to reach its goals again in 2018.
Apart from bustling business as usual in circular knitting, another round but new machine will keep the Mayer team busy in 2018. This is talking about braiding machines for the manufacture of hose tubing. So far, they have been produced by a sister company, Mayer Industries in South Carolina. As Mayer Industries is to be wound up in the medium term, these machines’ production will move to Albstadt in 2019. There, preparations are in full swing. Space, personnel capacities and production line have to be available and in place in the year to come. Benjamin Mayer explains the decision, “For us the integration of this technically related product is a good opportunity to develop an additional mainstay that is independent of our core business. We have repeatedly opted for diversification in past decades and had good experiences with it.”