Magazine June 2020

New ideas and new perspectives

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The Santoni Materials Experience Center (MEC)

Have you ever had a promising idea that you haven’t taken any further because you didn’t know how to turn it into reality? It’s a pity when that happens, who knows what would have come of it.

There are various strategies for succeeding in the current highly competitive markets. There is just one way to set yourself apart: Be different. Be better.

Some things you just have to try out to know whether they will be a success. Sometimes, we reach our limits and can’t move forward on our own. In situations like these, you can either give up or find a partner to help you overcome the challenge. The rest is often child’s play.

What if there were a place where you could find a suitable partner, where various areas of expertise are bundled together and things that appear to be impossible are tried out to see if they work?

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The place

At the same time as the Shanghaitex 2019 trade fair was being held, Santoni Shanghai presented just such a space for creative working with the "Materials Experience Center" (MEC).

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Here, the machine builder not only offers a place for carrying out tests and developments, but primarily a meeting point where specialists from different areas of industry can push an idea forward together by viewing a topic from different perspectives. The key goals of the MEC are therefore: Inspiration, ideation, implementation and knowledge sharing with the paramount objective of helping to create a better networked and smarter textile industry.

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The application fields of the MEC are so varied that it is almost impossible to name a typical example of its use: Whether manufacturing and yarn recommendations or design and development, each project started in cooperation with the MEC is unique.

Even in the design of the rooms, the concept is focused on optimally promoting cooperation and innovative product development. Instead of a laboratory character, the rooms in the center are tasteful and both friendly and ultra-modern. They are intended to invite people to spend time, promote communication and lively exchanges, thus offering the best conditions for developing new ideas together.

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The latest products and projects created in the MEC not only make a fitting decoration for this special environment, but are also intended to provide inspiration.

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To ensure that the ideas can also be turned into results, the relevant technical facilities are also in place: As to be expected from a machine builder, knitting machines from Santoni and Lonati enable prototypes to be produced directly on-site. Digital displays provide information and enable simulations.

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A sample archive with over 2000 samples offers a tangible example for practically any application. Anyone who wants to can access it online. But the highlight on-site is the connected robot. With its help, it is easy to navigate between the numerous models so that you’re holding the desired sample in your hands before you know it.

If you prefer testing in your own company, the samples are also available to borrow. An additional yarn and material database for internal and external use is currently being set up. And the in-house yarn store contains a large number of different yarns.

The place

At the start of a project, telephone contact and meetings usually take place to identify the direction and goal of the journey. The test phase then follows: from the problem to the solution, starting with a rough concept, which is gradually refined. As early as the initial concept phase, aspects such as the supply chain, subsequent marketing of the end product and market acceptance are included to ensure that the right partners are brought on board from the beginning. The relevant contacts are provided by the MEC.

The potential here can be seen in the following examples of projects that have already been realized in the MEC:

The service is used by Santoni customers interested in machine technology and its application, brand owners and companies working on technological innovations, outfitters, training institutes, designers and, of course, also by us – Groz-Beckert.

With our own Technology and Development Center (TEZ), we also aim to make our own contribution to new solutions on needle, system part and cylinder level, whether in the form of joint new developments or by providing machines and specialist knowledge. In the internal TEZ laboratory, textiles can also be tested and analyzed both in the preliminary analysis and post assessment. Would you like to find out more? Find out about your options and the added values that the TEZ can offer you.

For more information about the Materials Experience Center, you can contact the Creative Director of the MEC, Ms. Eva de Laat, at

  • Did you know?

    1852: Needle manufacturer Theodor Groz, at age 24, starts his own factory in Ebingen. He produces what the hosiery workers of his hometown need: handmade springbeard needles made of iron. When he succeeds in making high quality steel needles for Fouquet's circular machines, the first step towards a partnership with machine builders has been made. There has hardly been a knitting challenge to the solution of which we have not contributed — as pacemakers of needle technology!