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Talking Point | December 2015

Monforts coated spacesuits for Chinese Taikonauts

Company Vice President Klaus A Heinrichs on customer service and new markets Mönchengladbach. The nature and number of the technological challenges which manufacturers of stenter frames for textile finishing are expected to meet are growing constantly. The Mönchengladbach-based company, a member of the Fong‘s Industries Group (Hongkong) since 2013, intends to move forward at the ITMA textile machinery trade fair this autumn.

Vice President Klaus A Heinrichs answered our questions:

Of-the-peg technology will and must continue to exist, but special requirements are becoming noticeably more prevalent…

…absolutely. This applies not only for a constant stream of new coating "recipes" for clothing, but also for the high standards expected of the equipment for technical textiles. Two examples: The largest manufacturer of denim (jeans fabrics) in the world, a Turkish company, has bought five extremely complex special systems from us. And a Chinese firm that supplies the high-tech shells for the spacesuits worn by Chinese Taikonauts, uses Monforts machines to coat the materials.

What wre the expectations at the ITMA, the global showcase for textile machinery, from Monforts, a leading manufacturer of stenter frames and Continuous Dyeing Ranges?

A. Monforts Textilmaschinen GmbH & Co. KG presented several new solutions for coating technical textiles. Since air pollution control is a very important issue in many Asian countries, for example, Monforts exhibited modular equipment for cleaning exhaust air and preventing odour emissions from textile machinery. And since Monforts has very extensive expertise in the field of denim equipment, in Milan we unveiled a combination system for stretching and compressive shrinking fabrics of this kind.

Innovations that the engineers from Mönchengladbach have pioneered?

That has always been the case, although since recently research and development projects are being conducted at our Technology Centre. The equipment available there includes not only laboratory facilities but also dyeing, coating and stenter frame systems for knitted goods with actual working widths up to 2.2 metres. And it is not only our developers who use this equipment. Customers too, such as Dupont and 3M not long ago, or others from Portugal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Colombia of the USA, conduct their own experiments here and can see the results of textile finishing in real time.

And textile researchers from closer to home are also welcome?

Yes. Some coating projects are being run jointly with the Lower Rhine University of Applied Sciences, specifically with the Research Institute for Textiles and Clothing. This cooperation has evolved over a considerable period; we welcome textile engineers while they are studying and after they qualify. One recent graduate completed her work experience semester with us, and we have just hired her as a project engineer. Our employee roster includes a number of graduates from the Lower Rhine University who have secure employment with us.

Your production is carried out in Austria since 33 years. A few years ago we opened a further production site in Zhongshan in China. What was the historical context for this further new production site?

We evolved from a large family enterprise, but in the 1990s, after the fourth generation, the question of succession proved impossible to solve. Since we had already been running a joint venture with the Hong Kong-based Fong‘s Industries Group for many years even then, after an intermediate stage our Chinese partners took the company over in 2013. Monforts still has a German management board. Our Chinese corporate managers visit Mönchengladbach several tim

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