The Fong’s group, with more than 4,700 employees and serving over 7,000 customers worldwide, is known as one of the biggest players in the textile machinery industry. Having had a reshape of the organization in the past years, the Hong Kong based company now covers profound knowledge and experience of the continuous as well as the discontinuous finishing processes with the well-known brands Fong’s, Goller, Then and Xorella in their portfolio.
Covering the leading companies of both the continuous as well as the discontinuous processing Fong’s uniquely offers a “one stop”- strategy to their customers: with only one supplier, one agent and one contact customers now can gain a wide knowledge and vast information of the entire production chain in the field of wet processing.
It goes without saying that the focus of all the group members is set on “green innovations”: Products, which are not only saving our precious resources like water and energy, they also provide a huge potential to save money with short setup times and improved washing techniques, in other words serving a sustainable future.
As Sustainnovation Journal we have discussed the contributions of Fong’s Group to sustainability with Mr. Stephan Kehry, Director, Sales and Marketing, Fong’s Europe GmbH.
As a dyer in the third generation, Mr. Kehry first studied textile engineering in Moenchengladbach, Germany, before he also made his degree in engineering economy some years afterwards. Already during his studies he started with a well-known consultancy to assist German textile manufacturers on their point of sales. In the course of this activity for more than 5 years he did not only assist textile companies, but also cosmetics and other branches. However, to gain more experience in the core of the textile wet finishing he worked as a production manager in South Africa for several years. In 1998 it was Küsters who brought Mr. Kehry back to Europe. Ever since, he has worked for textile machinery suppliers in the field of sales and marketing. Since 2011 he is part of the management as Director Sales and Marketing of FONG’S EUROPE GMBH.
Full text of the interview follows:
Sustainability has become a management topic which has been intensively discussed recently ever more than before. What made the topic this intriguing?
At FONG’S, ecological issues have been a major task for many years already. Only recently, it became a popular intersectional task. Consequently, our achievements over the past years, like the AIRFLOW technology, became a major issue worldwide.
Today an increasing value is placed on energy and raw material efficiency in the whole textile production and distribution chain. How does Fong’s Group handle this challenge?
In the discontinuous wet finishing, the THEN-AIRFLOW SYNERGY is still providing the lowest water consumption available in the market. A liquor ratio of 1:2.5 cannot be achieved by any hydraulic system. But even in this discipline, FONG’S is setting standards with the new TEC SERIES. In the field of continuous GOLLER ranges, we focus on the optimization of the different process steps and make possible to save a substantial amount of both energy and water by providing the right mix of Temperature, time, mechanics and chemistry.
Today’s definition of sustainability involves permanently sustainable development in both the economic and the ecological and social realms. How would you define sustainability in textile finishing?
Sustainability is much more than just some green or blue colour in the corporate design. It means to look ahead and to look for the best available technology. And this means, not to compromise on factors like quality and service irrespective of the acquisition costs.
How does Fong’s Group view its obligation to the environment?
We don’t possess this planet- we’ve just borrowed it from the next generation. Accordingly, every single production in the field of textile finishing has to follow very stringent rules and regulations in terms of ecology. No matter, whether in China or in Germany: environmental responsibility these days is a key factor for survival. It’s the obligation of the FONG’S Group to provide the right technology to every customer to assume this responsibility.
Can you brief Fong’s Group’s products with 4 main sustainability aspects which could be summarized as energy, environment, efficiency and ergonomics?
With the superior design of our machinery in all the different disciplines we enable our customers to make substantial savings in water and energy. Besides the already mentioned AIRFLOW technology this also can be seen with our SINTENSA concept. This unique washing drum for continuous open width fabric is the only model worldwide with an active penetrating mechanism, resulting in better washing and fabric guiding results.
Have you encountered resistance from textile manufacturers, or have you found that they’re eager to work with you to reduce the energy and water consumption?
The reaction of our more than 7’000 customers worldwide were overwhelming: They were looking for a partner who could provide this technology already for a long time and they were very cooperative in finding solutions for individual challenges, where we didn’t provide standard systems in the first place.
Can you brief us the economic advantages of the Fong’s Group products? In which period these investment costs can be amortized by the manufacturers?
It always depends on the different disciplines. But using the advanced AIRFLOW technology or the superior SINTENSA washing drums a payback period of 0.5 to 2 years can be achieved.
Will Fong’s Group try to ramp up communications and PR around environmental issues?
Already now we are a part of the “Blue Competence” initiative of the VDMA (German Engineering Federation). Comprehensive responsibility for the economy, ecology and society are the key points of this campaign. On top of that, our slogan also implements our responsibility towards the environment: “One stop- Green innovation” focuses on the wide product portfolio in the same way as on the high level of our environmental obligation.
What are your final remarks to the world markets regarding on sustainable innovation and production?
The shutdowns of the first dye houses in places like India, Bangladesh and Pakistan due to environmental reasons mark a very serious turning point in this regard. Ever since environmental issues are no longer exclusively for so called “advanced” countries. Every single unit in the field of wet finishing these days has understood the importance of this subject. Consequently words like sustainability and ecology are no longer only cost drivers. They are the basis for a long lasting and healthy business in every single aspect.