Cashing in at Interzum Cologne

There are two ways for mattress manufacturers to make more money — sell more beds or reduce costs.

That thought was at the back of my mind for four days in May, as I checked out exhibitors’ booths at Interzum Cologne. What new components, machinery or technology could help you increase sales and cut costs?

Interzum eingang sudAs it turns out, there was plenty that filled the bill. Read the Interzum wrap-up report and let me know if you agree.

Textile news plays a big role in the report because fabrics play a major role on the bed and, also, because suppliers brought out so many noteworthy constructions and finishes. They have given mattress manufacturers plenty of talking points for their sales pitches. It seemed as though each new collection had a unique story — and beauty. In innersprings, which tend to evolve more slowly, there was big — and award-winning — news, too. 

A central theme in components and machinery at Interzum revolved around sustainability — and the subtheme of doing more with less. Certainly, consuming fewer nonrenewable resources and using components with recyclable or recycled content is both reputation-building and important in itself. But another major advantage of operating more sustainably is the cost savings. There were new machines designed solely to recycle or repurpose post-industrial scrap, and there was programmable equipment that helps automate manual processes, increasing productivity while reducing waste. New equipment and updates included roll-pack machines that use less plastic film, lamination machines that need less adhesive to create a bond, quilters with smaller material splices, and the list goes on.

Many of these updates involve the use of digital technologies — sensors, robotics, artificial intelligence, web-based software platforms, you name it — and they all fall under the umbrella of Industry 4.0.

Don’t know what that is? Read this month’s feature from Knowledge@Wharton, “Why Manufacturers Should Embrace Digitalization.” It dovetails nicely with much of what we saw at Interzum in the machinery halls. Although the story cites research conducted with global manufacturing entities, there are plenty of takeaways for even the smallest mattress maker.

And finally, it’s a given that you have to spend money to make money but advancing your Industry 4.0 playbook extends far beyond machinery and software purchases. You need to invest in advanced training, strategic hiring and a networked company culture. These are all things that adjustable base supplier Logicdata — this month’s company profile written by Gary James — appears to have fully embraced, with its closely knit team of 330 employees and its proven ability to conquer new markets.

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