Setting The Standard in Process Control
for Colour and Chemical Using Industries
Peter Lennox-Kerr visited Roe Acre Dyeing & Finishing and found a company determined to build its reputation. He explains how and why the company is investing in order to meet the demands made by the modern textile industry.
The extinction of British textile manufacturing has possibly reached its limit with now just a skeletal remnant of a once massive industry. The skylines of Lancashire and Yorkshire are dotted with the derelict remains of this huge empire that once served to supply the world, at least while the British Empire existed.
Those times have long since passed but today there remains a transformed and compact industry. Today British textiles rest largely on imported grey fabrics processed in British dyeing, printing and finishing plants. This is a fact of life for such is the fashion trade that to process abroad and then slowly ship by sea is not acceptable; deliveries arriving after yet another lurch in fashion preferences.
Many textiles in British stores are standard constructions such as woven and knitted, cotton, polycottons and polyviscose. So, for retailers to capture a share of the market, it is vital they offer the right designs, the demanded shade and, as far as possible, easy care. These exigences demand of the dyers, printers and finishers a number of requirements.
The first and most obvious is an almost instantaneous turnround. Just as demanding is the need to produce exactly what has been specified and do this to imposed performance standards. It is upon this sector of the textile trade that, to a considerable extent, a retailer's guarantee of satisfaction and performance depends.
Right: The Ozark CD200 colour and chemical dispensing system is the latest in a series of investments made by Roe Acre totalling more than £2 million in the last three years
British company now building its reputation throughout the industry and
dedicated to meeting these exacting demands being made of it is Roe
Much of the change required has been very much a matter of building from the ground up and introducing new working procedures that will sustain the company's revitalization and future growth. It has not been a simple matter as much of what Roe Acre had was old infractructure and outdated plant. The solution has been up upgrade dyeing step-by-step.
Roe Acre is effectively a family-owned company which realised, three years ago, that unless dramatic action was initiated its future as a dyehouse would be in jeopardy. Nonetheless, it was far from being a simple matter of injecting new life into the organisation by spending money. In any case, resources were limited. Of greater importance was the need to inaugurate a new work ethic, a new philosophy, at the same time as making the best possible use of the equipment already installed.
The need was clearly for a new management structure that would be capable of causing the company to change direction and enter a new phase of development that would allow it to meet the demands of the coming century: a major and somewhat daunting task. It was at this point, almost three years ago, that the decision was taken to bring in professional management to tackle the problems of the ailing company. The appointment of David Procter as Chairman and Chief Executive was to herald a turning point in the company's fortunes. Today the company has an annual turnover of around £5 million, a growth of 51% in just two years.
To achieve this, the first step was to analyse just what the company could offer as a service to the trade. The answer which emerged was the ability to handle short runs with rapid turn-round, combined with the appeal of being able to handle even very wide fabrics as demanded by the domestic textiles trade.
However, all this had to be supported by quality control of a high order and precision in colour matching. This did require investment to transform the organisation and put it on a competitive footing with other dyers and finishers. Further, versatility, adaptability, quality and delivery have now become part of the company's thinking.
installation of the CD200 rapid colour & chemical dispense system,
announced at the end of April, is the latest in a series of investments
by Roe Acre. Over the last 3 years these investments in dyeing and finishing
facilities have reached a total of more than £2 million.
The 32-valve system is controlled by a PC which can operate as part of a network with up to 64 terminals. All dispensing can be controlled from any one of the computers.
Operating in one-shot mode, the unit can start a dye run where one mix is made at a quantity between 50 and 200Kg. The mix is held in the make-up tank until the user issues further instrucions.
In continuous mode, the system automatically makes repeat mixes as the stenter calls for colour or chemical.
On completion, each mix is pumped to the side tank which feeds the dye pad. These tanks are fitted with detectors so that, when the product falls below a pre-set level, the system begins to make and dispense a new mixture.