OEM Business markets its products under the brands Proferro, PsiControl Mechatronics, Melotte, GTP Accessories, Steel Heddle, Burcklé and Te Strake Textile. The Weaving Machines division is active in development, production, and sales of high-tech weaving machines and complementary services and products for the aftermarket. It focuses on weaving machines based on air (airjet weaving machines) or rapier technology (rapier weaving machines). Picanol is the brand name of these weaving machines.
The Picanol Group is a world player with headquarters in Belgium and major production plants in Asia, Europe and the USA. The group is active worldwide and employs 2,336 people (figure on 31 December 2006). In 2006, the Picanol Group made a consolidated turnover of 410.26 million euros. The Picanol Group has been listed on Euronext Brussels since 1966 (ticker: PIC) and is included in the NextPrime Index.
In 1940 Picanol produced one Omnium automatic flying shuttle machine per day. In 1966 the company is for the first time quoted on the Brussels Stock Exchange. At the ITMA exhibition in Paris in 1971, Picañol surprised the textile industry with the MDC, the world’s first electronically controlled flying shuttle machine. In 1989 the foundry division was split off from the other activities and made into a separate company, Proferro NV. Also in 1989 Picanol took a stake in what was then Protronic (now PsiControl Mechatronics). In 1993 Picanol achieved ISO 9001 certification, as a guarantee of the quality of its products and services. In the following year the group expanded further with the setting up of the joint venture Suzhou Picanol Textile Machinery Works (STP). Assembly of weaving machines began in China in 1995 with the GA733, the Chinese version of the GTM-A. After the downturn of the late 1990s there followed a period of national and international expansion, with a number of takeovers as part of the strategic expansion of Picanol’s OEM activities. This diversification built on the group’s existing competencies, including knowledge of and access to the textile markets, and development and production know-how. Verbrugge NV in Belgium and Steel Heddle Inc. in the USA were acquired in 2001. They were followed in 2002 by Te Strake Textile in the Netherlands and Lhenry in France. In 2003 among others Burcklé in France joined the group, while GTP Bandung was set up in Indonesia, GTP São Paulo in Brazil and GTP in Mexico. In 2004 a controversy arose concerning the remuneration of the former President & CEO. After a turbulent period Chris Dewulf was chosen as the new President & CEO of the Picanol Group in 2005, and a new Board of Directors was appointed. In 2007, the company launched the new OptiMax and GT-Max rapier weaving machines.