Swiss Review

Swiss machinery manufacturers lead in global innovation and technology
by Prof. Dr. Noor Ahmed Memon, Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education /
Associate Editor, Pakistan Textile Journal.

The Swiss are known for innovation, quality and precision in this ever-changing fast-paced world of manufacturing technology. Over the years, Swiss companies have introduced innovative ideas and developments that have forever changed the industrial environment in the country.

At present Switzerland is the largest producer of textile machinery in the world and the competitors themselves consider its outstanding quality and innovative potential. With an estimated global market share of 33%, the Swiss play a leading role in the textile machinery world.

Textile machines are the machines which mainly used in the fabrication and processing of fabrics, textiles, and other woven and nonwoven material. These machines used in processes such as spinning, weaving and dyeing. Textile equipment also used to manufacture dye and finish materials such as fiber, yarn, and thread. It also used for the extrusion of non-woven synthetic fibre and various plastics.

Swiss mechanical and electrical industry originated in textile machinery industry, now, textile machinery industry is still the mechanical and electrical industry is an important part of Switzerland.

Although Switzerland is a small landlocked country, it is the world-famous textile machinery production power.

Swiss production of textile machinery products and textile testing instrument to sophisticated technology, excellent quality and innovative potential is famous all over the world.

Swiss textile machinery sector is founded on a strong innovative power and unmatched quality, as well as the creativity to solve customer challenges and focus on mutual success.

The Swiss are known for innovation, quality and precision in this ever-changing fast-paced world of manufacturing technology. Over the years, Swiss companies have introduced ideas and developments that have changed the industrial environment in the country.

Of late, Swiss-based industries like mechanical and electrical have flourished worldwide, making Swiss-made products a well-known brand.

As the country’s economy grew, so did the need for a strong system to cater to the needs of various sectors. This saw the emergence of two associations – the Swiss Association of Machinery Manufacturers (VSM) and the Association of Swiss Engineering Employees (ASM). Both of them are over 100 years old. Since 1999, the two were merged under one name, which saw the inception of Swissmem.

Today, Swissmem comprises 26 sub-associations, each catering to mechanical, electrical and metal industries. The textile division of Swissmem is one such association representing the entire spectrum of the textile industry of Switzerland.

The rapid pace of technological innovations taking place in the textile machinery market resulted in the production of more efficient machines at lower prices.

Demand for sophisticated machines that produce high quality cloth with fewer defects is increasing. Swiss textile machinery holdings employ well over 28,000 people in over 100 companies and branch units around the world. In recent years, Swiss entrepreneurs have been able to extend their financial and technological share of the textile machinery industry. The 80th anniversary of the Swissmem textile machinery division was celebrated on December 9, 2020 . The Swissmem textile machinery division will celebrate its next future milestone in 2030.

Openness to global trade and investment has enabled Switzerland to become one the world’s most competitive and innovative economies. Subsidiaries in India, China and other Asian countries became very important for Swiss textile machine manufacturers, taking them inside the world’s leading textile-producing regions.

World textile machinery manufacturers face challenges in the days ahead, including fluctuations in demand and increased competitive pressure.  The growing demand for environmentally friendly fibres is expected to push demand for textile machinery and equipment that employ eco-friendly textile processes.

Exports of Swiss Textile Machinery
Million CHF


The Swiss textile machinery industry is strongly export-oriented and has a presence with its own companies, sales and service organizations in all the world's key markets.

The Swiss textile machinery industry is comprised of suppliers of machinery manufacturers for spinning, weaving, knitting, dyers, printers, finishing, packaging and special machines for technical textile applications.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused considerable damage to various industries worldwide. Availability and supply of a wide range of raw materials, intermediate goods, and finished products have been seriously disrupted.

According to Swissmem, total exports of Swiss textile machinery have decreased by 26.4% to CHF 510.6 million in 2020 as compared to CHF 694.0 million in 2019.  Exports of Swiss textile machinery are given in Table 1.

Table 1: Exports of Swiss Textile Machinery


(CHF million)

±(CHF %)


1,064.3 -20.6%


909.8 -14.5%
2017 880.7 -3.2%
2018 821.7 -6.7%
2019 694.0 -15.5%



- 26.4%

           Source: Swissmem.

Some 87% of all textile machinery exported from Switzerland went to customers in those regions.  At present, over one-third of Swiss textile machinery is exported to Asian markets. Bangladesh remained a major market for Swiss machinery, especially in the post-spinning machinery range.

Top export markets during 2020 for the Swiss textile manufacturers are China, Germany, Turkey, USA, India, and Pakistan. Country-wise exports of Swiss textile machinery are given in Table 2.

Table 2: Exports of Swiss Textile Machinery 
(Jan-Dec 2019 vs Jan-Dec 2018)



Exports Mio. CHF

Exports ± EUR%

Exports Share EUR


  510.6 -26.4% 100.0%


1 76.9 -22.1% 15.1%
 Germany 2 54.7 -10.6% 10.7%
 Turkey 3 53.1 +11.6% 10.4%
 USA 4 39.9 -36.5% 7.8%
 India 5 28.9 -38.3% 5.7%
 Pakistan 6 22.4 -41.9% 4.4%
 Italy 7 18.0 -41.3% 3.5%
 Czech Republic 8 17.6 +12.3% 3.4%
 Japan 9 16.2 -9.5% 3.2%
 Bangladesh 10 16.1 -49.0% 3.2%
 Uzbekistan 11 15.9 -49.0% 3.1%
 Vietnam 12 12.5 -52.4% 2.5%
 Thailand 13 11.6 -27.1% 2.3%

 Source: Swissmem.

The most important market for Swiss textile machinery in 2020 was China with an export volume of CHF 76.9 million with a share of 15.1% of the whole export volume. While China continues to be the most important market Swiss textile machines, it is emerging as an increasingly strong competitor as well.

Future Prospects

Swiss Textile machine manufacturers are masters of their speciality and supply the machines themselves as well as the measuring, regulating and process software. Swiss companies are at their best in making the equipment that could meet meticulous requirements of their customers. Today, the producers of machines and components and service providers in Swiss Textile Machinery sustain that heritage by a commitment to ongoing innovation that will influence the textile industry worldwide in the future.

The textile machinery specialist group brings together manufacturers of machines and components and service providers to the textile industry. These companies offer solutions across the entire textile value chain from spinning to weaving, knitting, finishing, embroidery and quality control.

After quite a few years with “best-ever” order volume and results, Switzerland, as many other industrial countries, encounters a heavy slowdown of textile industry. It has become apparent that 2020 was very difficult year for all market players due to the global corona pandemic.

Switzerland not imposed lockdown for the industry, so most of the companies continued production on a lower level, due to postponement of orders and projects, supply chain difficulties and the insecure situation in general. But as long as consumers don’t start shopping again, the business will not recover, therefore, the prospects for 2021 are globally not very favourable in the near future.


  1. Swissmem.
  2. Swiss Federal Customs Administration.


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