“Successful differentiation for denim” Interview with Hans Wroblowski, Head of Denim, Monforts Textilmaschinen GmbH & Co. KG

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Monforts, the German Textile Finishing Machinery producer is the Leader in Innovation since 1884. Monforts is one of the Co-founders of German textile machinery’s worldwide reputation.  

Figure: Hans Wroblowski, Head of Denim and Monforts specialist in advanced finishing technology.

Recently Team Denim Focus had an interview with Hans Wroblowski, Head of Denim and Monforts specialist in advanced finishing technology. For our readers, the interview is drafted below.  

Denim Focus: What is the specialty of Monforts Machineries?

Hans Wroblowski: Monforts specialises in advanced technology for fabric finishing based on successive industry developments over many decades. We were founded in 1884 in Mönchengladbach in Germany, where we are still headquartered and where our Advanced Technology Centre (ATC) is also situated.

We have moved over the many decades through mechanical, steam and water-powered technologies to the first mass production lines, electronic drives and highly modular machines. Now we are truly in the digital age, and we are committed to investing in the digitization of our technology, with concepts which assure an overall quality control.

Fig: A full Monforts Eco Line denim finishing range.

Monforts Montex stenters – for processes such as drying, stretching, heat-setting and coating – are the industry standard for the denim fabric finishing industry, providing a number of advantages in terms of production throughput and especially in energy efficiency and savings.

We have also enjoyed particular success with our well proven Thermex continuous dyeing systems and the Eco Line concept for denim, which is based on two key technology advances – the Eco Applicator and the Thermo Stretch.

I have personally gained invaluable insights working closely with customers on many major dyeing and finishing plants which have been installed in the key manufacturing countries of Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Turkey, and of course Bangladesh, in recent years.

Denim Focus: Could you please elaborate “More with Less” theory in terms of your products?

Hans Wroblowski: With the latest Montex stenters, overall energy savings of up to 40% can now be achieved compared to a conventional stenter with no heat recovery or energy optimisation measures.

Exhaust air treatment on stenter frames has posed particular challenges over the years, since the air can contain significant amounts of oil, fibre and even wax particles that may see emissions limits being reached in the processing of certain fabrics. In addressing this issue, we are now incorporating the MonforClean module directly into the stenter frame. The waste heat from the drying process is used to pre-heat the drying air, resulting in a radical reduction in the conventional heat supply required compared to gas and thermal oil heating.

Central to the Montex stenter is the TwinAir system which allows the top and bottom airflows to be independently optimised via Optiscan auto-balancing software, with variable-frequency fan motors and CCD chip evaluation of the distance between the fabric and the nozzles ensuring optimum energy utilisation.

In many denim mills globally, the cost of energy for running integrated manufacturing lines – especially those for denim fabric finishing that can involve numerous sequences of heating and subsequent drying – is now eclipsing the cost of paying people to operate them. The ability of our Eco Applicator to significantly reduce overall manufacturing costs has seen it rapidly accepted on the market.

As an alternative to conventional padding – where the denim fabrics are immersed in a bath of the required finishing chemicals – the Monforts Eco Applicator can significantly reduce the energy and water required for achieving perfect finished denim via a precise direct application system.

Finishes can be applied on just one side of the fabric, or both, and even separately on each side, or to specific areas of a fabric, and sealed in place via different heating zones in the stenter. This allows endless differentiation possibilities.

The ThermoStretch unit then handles the skewing (the weft-direction straightening necessary to ensure jeans do not twist out of shape when you put them on), the bow correction and the stretching (to ensure they don’t shrink after washing), and the drying or light heat-setting, in a continuous one-step process.

Denim Focus: How are you observing denim machineries market in the post pandemic situation?

Hans Wroblowski: We are not quite in a post pandemic situation yet and travel is still very restricted, but there is a tremendous appetite for now making progress. Many investment decisions that were put on hold as a result of the uncertainty in 2020 are now being made and we have a healthy order situation which we are responding to despite the restrictions, with the assistance of our local representatives. For Bangladesh, this is BTE (Bengal Technology and Engineering), whose support has been very appreciated.

Denim Focus: How do you see Bangladesh Market?

Hans Wroblowski: Apparel exports are extremely important to the country and Bangladesh is one of the fastest growing markets for denim production, for obvious reasons. The country is still importing 50% of the denim fabrics it then cuts and sews into finished pairs of jeans before exporting again, yet 90% of the value addition is retained where the fabric is made, so there is a real need for expansion.

Bangladesh can still capture much more of the value of what it makes, and there are many smart companies fully aware of this, and intent on making it happen. We can help!

Denim Focus: How can we focus more on sustainability?

Hans Wroblowski: For Monforts, sustainability is all about maximising the use of all resources, reducing waste and ultimately about reducing CO2 within the atmosphere. The reduction of CO2 content within the air, combined with the reduction of pollution in the exhaust air, will be the key considerations going forward in denim processing.

Our latest development is the CYD yarn dyeing system, based on the proven Econtrol dyeing system for fabrics*.

CYD integrates new functions and processes into the weaving preparatory processes – spinning, direct beaming, warping and assembly beaming, followed by sizing and dyeing – in order to increase quality, flexibility, economic viability and productivity.

The multi-colour yarn dyeing system introduces a number of new concepts, including the unique Eco Bleach process. This is the first bleaching system for yarn treatment available on the market and is combined with the washing units, after which the fabric is then dyed immediately, resulting in considerable savings in wastewater and chemicals.

It is also possible to process short batches of yarn in order to produce minimum runs of finished fabrics in a single continuous process. By comparing the usual processing sequences within the denim industry with the new CYD system, the advantages become immediately clear. The system has been developed in response to a very strong market demand and I look forward to discussions with our Bangladesh customers on the possibilities it opens up.

Fig: Thermex continuous dyeing system available for trials at the Monforts Advanced Technology Centre (ATC) in Mönchengladbach, Germany.

Denim Focus: Any special message you want to convey to our readers and industry stakeholders?

Hans Wroblowski: Differentiation is always the key in the highly-competitive denim fabrics industry, whether that is through the successful incorporation of new fibres, accommodating new fabric constructions or the many options for how to treat them at the finishing stage, to gain a market advantage. We always work closely with our many denim partners to develop advanced solutions with this in mind.

* Econtrol is a registered trademark of Dystar Colours Distribution GmbH.

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