The Monforts spirit lighted up by August Monforts by a napping machine for textile fabrics in Mönchengladbach on 1884, for about 131 years now, has today ended up with a corporate competence in the finishing machinery field. These napping machines inspired today’s state-of-art finishing machinery of A. Monforts Textilmaschinen. Today, Mönchengladbach has already become a think-tank for Monforts innovations and they keep producing in two manufacturing facilities, St. Stefan, Austria, where they produce stenters, continuous dyeing ranges, sanforizing ranges and coating ranges, and Zhongshan, China, where they produce mainly stenters up to 340cms working width. When it comes to the technological challenges in the textile finishing of the future, it is not sufficient to simply list the associated competitive advantages. For Monforts, thinking further therefore also means developing innovative technologies and concepts, which revolutionise the textile finishing machine market both economically and ecologically. Monforts underlines its leading position as one of the most innovative manufacturers of textile finishing machines with new, highly efficient and resource-conserving technologies and universal ranges – with significantly lower energy consumption. Monforts today not only dedicated itself to traditional textile finishing, but also committed to technical textile finishing some four years ago and continuously strengthening its commitment more and more towards being the innovation leader.
We have conducted an exclusive interview with Mr Klaus A. Heinrichs, Vice President Marketing, & Jürgen Hanel, Business Development Manager, Technical Textiles, A. Monforts Textilmaschinen GmbH & Co. KG, regarding Monforts Montex Allround, their recent success in the technical textiles field, trends in sustainable finishing, impacts of their acquirement by Fong’s and impacts of the volatile markets on Monforts business.
MONTEX ALLROUND PROVED TO BE SUCCESS
Only recently introduced, Monforts Montex Allround modular and interchangeable coating system is already proving popular with technical textile producers. It has recently claimed another success at the recently held Techtextil exhibition in Frankfurt.
“The market responded excellent on our approach with the Monforts Montex Allround. We have succeeded to finalize several projects within this year and managed to deliver our first Allround machines with the new setup. The modularity and the flexibility of the setup of the new Allround machinery gave us a new market approach in that field, which puts us ahead the competition,” says Jürgen Hanel, Business Development Manager of Technical Textiles Department in Monforts. Reminding Monforts’ aim is to become the leader for innovation in textiles, Hanel states that thanks to Allround, Monforts has claimed itself also as a leader for innovation in technical textiles. “The advantages of Montex Allround, a machine which is not comparable to all other machinery, is not only limited to the technical textiles field. Textile manufacturers planning to invest in coating lines even for denim, fashion coatings or flexible materials like jersey, would definitely gain profit by investing in a Monforts Allround machine, by easily changing their centering devices and their setups with the coating,” emphasizes Jürgen Hanel.
MONFORTS TOWARDS ITMA
Monforts, on the one hand is in full preparation for ITMA 2015 to be held in Milano on 12-19 November 2015, which is considered as the Olympics of the textile machinery. Preparing for a splendid show at their booth over 1000 sqm, Monforts have completed their innovations based upon customer interviews and already announced to the public. Regarding innovations that Monforts will present, Eco Booster HRC for retrofitting to existing Montex installations for the first time, new Eco-Applicator version for knitted fabrics, new ‘smartphone’ features for Montex 8500, new horizontal stentering chain as well as state-of-art product ranges for high performance denim will excel in this edition of ITMA.
MONFORTS SETS THE TRENDS IN “SUSTAINABLE” TEXTILE FINISHING
Monforts had no hesitation in participating in the VDMA’s ‘Blue Competence’ Initiative as one of the very first companies in textile machinery area due energy management has been one of their primary goals for many years, driving them to develop energy-efficient and resource-conserving solutions. Today Monforts is setting the trends in textile finishing in not only traditional textiles, but also technical textiles. Briefly the trend in textile finishing is environmentally friendly ecologic finishing emphasizes Klaus Heinrichs.
Suggesting to discuss whether it is necessary to carry out each step involved in the finishing process in the typical way as used to be or not and how the costs could be reduced in these steps, Hanel says, “This could be achieved maybe by changing the application method, maybe by changing the concentration of the chemical. However, the second alternative is not something that we can provide. That comes from the chemical industry providing higher concentrated products. So the chemical industry has reduced the water content of these products. Accordingly, less water to vaporize means less energy consumption. We want to support the chemical producers, because these products are sometimes different to apply.”
Emphasizing that the most important issue they are facing regarding sustainability is the problems of energy saving, cost saving in the end, Hanel adds, “All over the world energy is getting more and more expensive. In other words, the most that we can do to assist our customers is to convince them to have a machinery that consumes much less energy.”
Stressing that they see a growing awareness of exhaust air cleaning issues as well, Klaus Heinrichs states that they also see a rising demand for air filtration issues in the South East Asian Markets as well as China, which in the past was mainly in the Central European Markets like Germany, Austria, Switzerland. Heinrichs says, “customers are asking us about exhaust air cleaning, question of energy consumption. Accordingly we always assist our customers with our solutions in this field. For instance, we are manufacturing the Eco Applicator for finishing processes avoiding excess use of water for applying chemicals and thus assisting to reduce drying energy as well.”
NEW VERSION OF ECO APPLICATOR FOR KNITTED FABRICS
Monforts with the Eco-Applicator is already nominated amongst the three finalists for ITMA Sustainable Innovation Award 2015 – Industry Excellence Award. The Eco-Applicator liquor application process offers significant energy savings with reduced drying capacity required for a wide range of applications such as felt finishes, coated materials and medical textiles including Nano coating, water repellancy, softeners, flame retardency and insect repellancy. A new version for knitted fabrics will be introduced at ITMA. It has been designed to apply a liquor to one side of the fabric; to apply a liquor to both sides of the fabric; to apply different liquors to either side of the fabric; or to apply two different liquors consecutively to a single side of the fabric.
MONFORTS IS EVEN MORE STRONGER WITH FONGS
June 2012 has become a remarkable milestone in Monforts history, when Hong Kong based Fong’s Industries acquired 100% stake of the company from German based company L. Possehl Co & GmbH. Having already completed their second manufacturing plant in Zhongshan, China within the same year, this acquirement did not gear down Monforts innovations, it made them even more stronger in some markets thanks to continuous support of their new owners and by having the sales network together with Fong’s. “On the contrary this acquirement had positive effects for Monforts. Above all we can now offer complete textile lines through one source. Besides, thanks to our new owners we could open a brand-new technology center equipped with the latest IT systems here in Monchengladbach, Germany with an investment of 2,5 million EURO, which has been fully supported by Fong’s. So, Monforts on the one hand kept its autonomy being responsible for our own things and on the other hand we are having the full support from the Fong’s Group, particularly for our R&D activities” points out Klaus Heinrichs. Always been fully dedicated towards textiles, Monforts clearly sees this as a positive step for future developments and pleased to have such a sound background for further growth.
TURKISH MARKET VERSUS THE FLUCTUATING MARKETS
During the last two years, the manufacturing industries that also include textile production in several markets like Syria and Russia took a major blow due to ongoing domestic conflicts, which also dealt a big blow on the textile machinery investments in these countries. Although Monforts deeply regrets the situation of Syrian market, which used to be one of the major textile markets, they are relatively relieved that the business lost in Syria has been covered by Egypt to a certain extent as the textile manufacturers have been shifting their operations from Syria to Egypt. On the other hand since they do not consider Russian market as a typical textile market like Turkey or other South East markets, it did not have any negative impact on the Monforts business.
“Eventually we have managed to keep our traditional markets. For instance, Turkey, which is one of our major markets, is consistently picking up and improving,” claims Klaus Heinrinchs. Heinrichs points out that they are having a strong local national competition in Turkey and draws attention to the local manufacturers emerging in the Turkish textile market those did not exist in the market ten years ago. “We have to compete with all these companies by technology, energy efficiency and advanced technology. So far, Monforts is very competitive in Turkey despite of the strong competition in the market, since we see ourselves as a leader in technology and innovation. Although some textile companies producing textiles for the national markets sometimes go for the national machine manufacturers, when it comes to export quality, first class brands, quality control and economic use of energy then Monforts becomes definitely the key player. That is all over the world, not only in Turkey,” says Klaus Heinrichs.
Pointing out that Monforts has worldwide reputation for it’s quality, durability, long lasting machinery, Heinrichs indicates that Monforts also has an excellent position for the future with the growing awareness of ecological use of machinery and chemicals. “For instance, Monforts had become the first company to offer the heat recovery module as a standard. About ten years ago the Turkish customers had been unwilling to invest in these heat recovery modules, by asserting that these modules do not process textiles. Thanks to progressively growing awareness of the younger generations whom started to consider that the resources are not endless, a sea-change has started in the industry. Energy saving is also a part of this as everybody might know textile finishing is a very energy consuming process. This is why we can readily claim that for Monforts there is a very good outlook for the future. These also will reflect our innovations for ITMA as well. More for economy, more for ecology, exhaust air cleaning, heat recovery, energy efficient machines, latest finishing innovations and of course the quality aspects for Monforts,” adds Klaus Heinrichs.