BY BARBARA T. NELLES
Anyone unable to attend Interzum Cologne last month to look at components and machinery related to mattress manufacturing is in luck, because ISPA EXPO 2018 will be here before you know it. Mark your calendars for March 14-16 at the Charlotte Convention Center in North Carolina. It’s the best place to find out what’s next in bedding manufacturing.
In the meantime, I had the good fortune to cover my fifth consecutive Interzum Colgone for BedTimes magazine, accompanied by Beth English, BedTimes managing editor, who was attending her first show. We visited with as many bedding component and mattress industry equipment exhibitors as possible in four days in Germany. Whew, were we busy.
⇓Roll to the bottom of this post to watch a video slideshow from Interzum⇓
Over in machinery, the adage “the future is now” was true, true, true. Mattress and sleep accessories equipment companies showed us more tools for the smart, networked plant–software that allows you to remotely monitor and control production; equipment that (sort of) maintains itself–orders its own parts, tells you when things go awry; systems that automate or mechanize “nonvalue-added” processes like moving product or plant cleanup; and deskilled machinery that minimizes operator training time.
Everyone talked equipment speed, which makes me wonder how much faster things can possibly get. And if roll-pack equipment was the hot topic at the last Interzum Cologne, this time super-fast, multifunctional quilters were the standouts. Manufacturers appear to have discovered that the secret to making vanilla circular knit panels more interesting is to get quilting on the bed border.
In components, I noted a common emphasis on fabrics, foams and springs that bounce back beautifully after being compressed, rolled and boxed (not surprising, given the popularity of boxed goods). Finding ways to make woven borders more wrinkle-proof makes a lot of sense, as these fabrics just don’t bounce back as quickly as stretchy knit panels.
After a long day of looking at machinery, I was thrilled that Interzum again coincided with Cologne Wine Week at the Heumarkt. The street festival was jammed with locals and visitors sitting at picnic tables drinking delicious Rhein wines sold at an array of vintners’ booths.
I’ll see you in Charlotte next March, for the biggest sleep products components and machinery show of them all, ISPA EXPO 2017.
For now, check out this video slideshow of outtakes from our journey to Interzum Cologne: