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Camouflage fabric producer banks on Monfort sanforizer
Jan '13
A  Monforts Toptex shrinking range has recently been installed at the UK’s Pincroft Dyers and Printers facility in Chorley, Lancashire to ensure precise control of compressive shrinkage for the company’s range of camouflaged military uniforms and industrial contract workwear

Pincroft dyes and prints over 40 different camouflage designs for military forces around the world as part of its extensive programme which also includes fabrics for contract workwear, upholstery and canvas tarpaulins. Flame retardancy is regarded as one of the company’s key strengths – an essential requirement extending beyond the military to first responders and industrial workers in all sorts of challenging situations.

On average – over just 4.5 day shifts, Monday to Friday lunchtime – Pincroft produces some 600,000 metres of finished fabric every week. And for accuracy and reproducibility, the company relies on the advanced technology of companies like Monforts.

Consequently, it took delivery of a new Toptex sanforizer – through local Monforts representative Colplan - for the precise control of compressive shrinkage in fabrics, after a long evaluation period of potential options.

“Over 80% of production is for our subsidiary company, Carrington Workwear’s internal sales team, with the remaining 20% commission finished for commercial customers,” explains Pincroft Managing Director, Neil Dowds. “So if there are any problems, we probably get to hear about them sooner than the companies whose customers are not directly on their doorstep.”

While 30% of the company’s business is with UK customers, Mr Dowds estimates that at least 90% of its production is then exported to be made up into garments.

Customer demands

Tighter specifications, driven by both European Standards and demands from customers, motivate Pincroft to offer increased assurances in respect of shade consistency and the physical performance of its products such as strength and durability, and increasingly, of shrinkage.

“We are a long-standing customer of Monforts, employing their stenters, and we were aware we needed more control over shrinkage than our existing sanforizer provided,” Mr Dowds explained.

The machine was installed earlier this year and after a subsequent six-month evaluation period, it is now being fine-tuned and ‘tweaked’, based on the exacting internal findings of Pincroft’s operators.

Operating at speeds of between 20-100 m/min and processing fabrics with weights of up to 550 gsm, the sanforiser has been the subject of a number of improvements in recent years to provide increased residual shrinkage at higher production speeds.

These include precise and automatic grinding of the rubber belt to increase its efficiency and life, along with greatly reduced water consumption for cooling.

Simplified belt removal – possible in just a single shift compared to the industry standard two days – is accomplished by an integral lifting device to lift up the rollers, rather than having to completely remove them.

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