Uni Asia facilitating success stories of world-class Bangladeshi companies
Uni Asia was present at DTG 2016 showcasing the complete range of solutions for entire value chain from diverse companies that it represents, including bullmer, Keum Yong and Navis TubeTex, all exhibiting their respective technologies at the event.
Supplier of circular knitting machines, Korea-based Keum Yong foresees huge growth potential in the Bangladeshi market. “This market has shown unexpected growth in technologies like spinning, weaving and circular knitting… The prices of our machines depend on the quality of our product and what goes into making the product. We assure that by using our machines, one can recover the cost incurred within just 6 to 12 months,” underlined C.W. Son, Office Manager of Keum Yong. The company which has recruited Bangladeshi technicians for providing better and timely after-sales service also has plans to bring in Korean technicians to Bangladesh once the business grows.
The company showcased 3 models in KM series in the fair, namely 3WV, 4WV and 5.5WV, where 3, 4, and 5.5 are representing the feeds. “All these machines are most productive single jersey machines and ensure perfect stitch definition with minimum maintenance costs”, informs Son. According to the MD of Uni Asia, M.A. Sakeque, Keum Yong is amongst the best in circular knitting machines, especially for the open width and single jersey.
At the event representing bullmer was Reinhard Köhler, Area Manager, who strongly advocates that their existing customers are convinced about the quality of machines bullmer offers. bullmer is one amongst the three biggest automatic cutting system suppliers and has reputation akin to that of Mercedes-Benz in the automobile segment. The Germany-based company is famous for advanced technology, reliable services, qualified system and best cost performance. “One of our main advantages is the low running cost of our machines,” says Köhler, adding bullmer comes with assurance of German engineering and equalling to low maintenance requirements.
Combining laying system ‘compact 600’ with steam technology of Veit, bullmer exhibited compact 600D and 600E for spreading and laying. The difference between the two models is that compact 600 D has a cradle available without an extension and without air nozzles especially designed for apparel industry; whereas compact 600 E has a cradle available with extensions for automatic loading & unloading, and is especially designed for upholstery industry. According to Köhler, his company will soon come up with premium cut technology for the leather sector as shoes will be the next big category in Bangladesh.
Besides bullmer, Navis TubeTex, a leading supplier of high-technology finishing machinery, was also present in the same booth with its Sales Director Gary L. Morris representing the firm at DTG ’16. Morris shared that Navis TubeTex’s goal is to continuously work towards improving the technology while also meeting the cost, quality and productivity demands of the end-users. However, limited gas connection being an issue in Bangladesh, Morris attributed the same for a more difficult market. “If Bangladesh can resolve this particular issue, the market will flourish exponentially,” he says, according to whom, quality products and good after-sales service are the factors helping Navis TubeTex deliver customer satisfaction.
Navis TubeTex is a leading supplier of high-technology finishing machinery and dominates the Bangladeshi market by its sought-after TubeTex compactor, which is being used in DBL Group, Knit Concerns, Apparel 21, Square Group and others amongst its clients. Morris, who has been handling the Bangladeshi market from last 16-17 years, says he has witnessed huge growth in the country ever since and is accordingly looking forward to increasing its sales in 2016.
FK Group taking over Bangladesh market with high-capacity cutting technology
Renowned for providing effective cutting room solutions, Italy-based cutting room solution provider FK Group has not only been successfully meeting the high-production demands of the Bangladesh apparel industry, but its overwhelming sales in the country has also outgrown the company’s production capacities by 10-15 per cent too.
With its ability to cut 1,000 to 1,200 pieces per hour, FK Group’s super jeans cutter in particular has been in huge demand, meeting the output requirement in high-production factories, the number of which is significant in Bangladesh. “Although it may seem that our machines are expensive, but sometimes the high-production capability makes them more saleable. To match up, our competitors have to sell two machines against one of ours,” explains Sergio Gori, Commercial Managing Director and Co-owner, FK Group.
After the great success of the super jeans cutter, the company unveiled its ambitious plan to launch the “super knit” 10 cm cutter with similar technology as of super jeans cutter. “Most manufacturers in Bangladesh are cutting large volumes and they think that if more suction is given then the problem is solved, which however is not correct. Instead, it is important to cut by revolutions and not by push because if the knife is pushed, the lay is moved, thereby affecting the quality of the cut,” explains Sergio adding, “When it comes to high-ply cutting, maintaining the right pressure and suction is of paramount importance.” The FK Group’s offering is to make use of cutting-edge technology like titanium and carbonium components in cutters to reach 6,000 RPM,” asserts Sergio.
FK Group has not only been successfully meeting the high-production demands of the Bangladesh apparel industry, but its overwhelming sales in the country have also outgrown the company’s production capacities by 10-15 per cent! After the great success of the super jeans cutter, the company unveiled its ambitious plan to launch the super knit cutter with similar capabilities as super jeans cutter. Another big contributor to FK Group’s popularity is its unique ability to offer a single solution to solve multiple issues rather than providing various machines for diverse cutting demands.
Another big contributor to FK Group’s popularity is its unique ability to offer a single solution to solve multiple issues rather than providing various machines for diverse cutting demands, which consequently helps cut carbon emission significantly. “It is because of such measures that our market share in Bangladesh is constantly on the rise,” informs the sole agent for FK Group in Bangladesh Md. Faruk Hossen Sarker, CEO, Wintex Resources Limited, who claims FK Group is leading the market now with a significant market share. The group has sold over 22 cutting machines and about 70 spreaders in Bangladesh in the last two years, informs Faruk further.
To impart in-depth and complete understanding of the system and its nitty-gritty, FK Group is training the mechanics of the concerned factories thoroughly. The company not only sends technicians from the head office in Italy to conduct trainings, but it also invites their agent and customers to the group’s facility in Italy to ensure proper understanding of the system and its technicalities.
FK Group, with its agent for the Bangladeshi market Wintex Resources, displayed their super jeans cutter and spreader successfully at the DTG-2016 Exhibition.
Groz-Beckert sets up Singapore office for better technical support to Asian hubs
“Bangladesh is still at an early stage of product development capabilities, increasing capacities, upgrading technologies and machines, so it is extremely essential for us to be at such a show, to apprise our customers and users of our technology of how we can help them in achieving excellence,” asserts Klaus Hacker, Vice President Sales – Knitting Machine Parts, Groz-Beckert, who believes that the companies participating at DTG were not there to sign orders but talk about ideas and future of the business.
Groz-Beckert is upbeat about its expansion in the country, and it intends to achieve the same by increasing the capacity of its representative office, which till recently was in India and has now been shifted to Singapore to take care of the complete Asian business. A new logistic centre has also been established at the Singapore office to help Groz-Beckert offer complete service support to its Asian customers, from expert technical support to inventory holdings. Although, the R&D will be done only at the company’s headquarters in Germany, the German team will work in tandem with the Singapore arm with several German sales representatives visiting the Asian countries round the year.
Dismissing the competition from Chinese and Taiwanese companies, Klaus said, “From technical facts you can calculate the benefits of using a high-end and quality needle as compared to a second grade one,” Klaus went on to explain that going for a needle that costs 4 to 5 times more than its competitors is practically the correct decision, if it has a longer life, provides better quality and far more kilogram production a day, due to a smoother knitting process and less machine down time.
The company believes in focusing on all the three items considered essential for knitting – needle, sinker and cylinder – rather than on just one, as it is of the opinion that all the three components have not only to be fit and give support each other, but they also need to be equally compatible on the quality front to produce best results.
Santoni ready to cater to the activewear demand of Bangladesh
“Bangladesh entered into knits with the simplest knit garment – underwear. Subsequently it moved into sportswear, and is now gradually moving towards activewear,” informed Gianpiero Valsecchi, Sales Area Manager, Santoni SPA about the country’s development in the knitwear segment and Santoni’s consequent plan to cater to the activewear segment by providing its seamless knit machines.
Santoni, the first Italian sock knitting machine manufacturer which is in business since 1919, has mastered the seamless sector by providing advanced seamless knits machines for SEAMLESS GARMENT and is all set to take the Bangladesh apparel industry by storm!
R&D is a continuous effort by Santoni; Gianpiero informed that the company works very closely with its customers, and especially with brands which have helped them to build machines by sharing their specific needs and demands efficiently.
At the fair, Santoni along with its Bangladeshi agent SS-Bangla Textile displayed the MEC-MOR range of circular sweater jacquard machines, which offers a diameter of 33″ in its CMP model and of 44″ in its HP model, and gauges ranging from E7 to E20 with 12 feeds and 24 feeds, respectively. The machine features, a double jersey garment length with jacquard selection on cylinder and dial, with transfer and variatex technology, which is designed to perform successfully, even with the most difficult yarns. The company also claims that the production capacities of these machines are four to ten times more than flat knitting machines.
Also displayed at the fair was the SM8-TOP2V single jersey electronic circular machine with 8 feeds, two points of needle selection by needle per feed. The machine can also be used in production of single seamless garments like underwear, outerwear, beachwear and sportswear.
So far SS-Bangla Textile has supplied Santoni machines to some of the biggest knitwear manufacturers of Bangladesh, including Group Reedisha, AKH Group, Metro Group.
Shima Seiki rules the market with design solutions and flexible technology…
Pacific Associates, the sole distributors of Shima Seiki in Bangladesh, displayed some of the best flat knitting machines by the brand. On display was the SSR112 flat knitting machine, which comes with Shima Seiki’s patented DSCS (Digital Stitch Control System) technology, which treats each loop as digital data and hence is able to control the length and shape of every loop. Once a specific loop length is programmed, it continuously adjusts yarn feed and tension to yield consistency in every loop of each course, within ±1%. This results in production of knitwear with uniform dimensions and shaping, reducing the quality rejections due to size variations and deformed shape. The knitting machine, which comes in 7, 12, 14, and 16-gauge, also features Rapid Response Carriage System, allowing lower movement of inertia and quicker carriage returns.
Apart from the range of flat knitting machines, Shima Seiki also displayed its SDS design system, which can increasingly benefit the apparel exporters of Bangladesh. “Exporters prepare samples based on the drawings sent by the buyers and then redesign it according to the buyers’ inputs. However, what they do not realize is that making a sample is more difficult than manufacturing 1,000 sweaters,” reasons Tadanori Ueno, General Manager, Bangladesh Liaison Office – Shima Seiki Mfg. Ltd. By using the SDS design system, the manufacturers can make virtual samples and also adjust the size of each part immediately, using the grading system, which helps them save a lot of time and money, spent on making the samples.
Also on display was the ShimaKnitPLM, which is also the first PLM solution in flat knitting. The ShimaKnitPLM helps in connecting the Shima Seiki products with the customer’s ERP and SCM core systems to provide high level of traceability and eventually higher productivity through every stage of the value chain. “Manufacturers need to focus on these kinds of interventions as buyers have the advantage most of the time… It is very easy to squeeze the supplier,” explains Tadanori. The company plans to make it loud and clear that it is not in Bangladesh to just sell machines, rather it is in the country to help the garment manufacturers add value to their produce and production capabilities.
Explaining the training programmes for Shima Seiki machinery, the proud supplier of Shima Seiki solutions in Bangladesh, M. Shahabuddin, Managing Director of Pacific Associates maintained, “We are providing basic training, intermediate training and higher training to our customers. We are even sending technicians of our customers to Shima Seiki, Japan for further training.”
With absolutely no fear of competition from the Chinese or even the German competitors, Shahabuddin seemed extremely confident about Shima Seiki’s R&D, and also about its low ROI period of less than a year. The supplier has already installed around 8,000 Shima Seiki machines in Bangladesh and has successfully negotiated to sell another 2,000. “The challenge however is not in selling the machines, it is in establishing an equilibrium between the knowledge base of skilled technical staff and programmers to operate the machines and the number of machines sold,” shares Ueno. To put the situation in perspective, Ueno details, “Shima Seiki has sold 8,000 machines till today. In an extremely optimistic scenario, suppose in Bangladesh one operator can handle 10 machines today. That means the industry needs a pool of at least 800 programmers and that is a huge number.” What further complicates the situation is that the programmers keep moving from one factory to another for better salary which means new operators need to be trained, triggering off the imbalance. With its 60 technicians undergoing training currently, Pacific Associates is however strongly prepared to take care of the several Shima Seiki installations across Bangladesh.
Macpi’s automation for pressing helping in conformance to quality
Apparel manufacturing in Bangladesh has undergone a massive transformation. Known for knitwear till a decade ago, the country has since added a range of product categories like suits, trousers, jackets and shirts to its manufacturing list. And these upfront companies are the ones investing big in augmenting their infrastructure and efficiency, shares Stefano Bordogna, MD – South Asia, Macpi, who recently assisted Inter Fabric – a manufacturer of formal shirts for Hugo Boss, in reducing its manpower requirement in the pressing area, with an inline pressing solution.
“Being a garment engineer myself I know all about jacket and trouser manufacturing. So before giving any solution, I go through their work process thoroughly and only then suggest changes and solutions that would help them to be competitive in the market,” shares the company’s MD for South Asia, which also designs the layout of machinery and suggest customers the piping installation for steam and vacuum, which according to Stefano, gives them a definite edge over the competitors.
At DTG 2016, Macpi attracted visitors with its technological solutions for pressing. One of the company’s most popular machines in the country is 555.00.4016, designed for sleeve elbow pressing. It ensures drastic increase of production without affecting the finishing quality. The vertical pressing unit can be adjusted electronically. Easy positioning unit and suction hoods to remove excess steam can also be counted among the additional benefits. The other highlights of Macpi’s machines are 555.04.8022 for armhole pressing and 555.04.0806 for sleeve blocking. These are electro-pneumatic pressing machines with steam-heated shape, fitted on movable arm. The machines are automated but can also be operated manually. The top shape is fitted with head safety device while the wide selection of shapes allows armhole finishing and sleeve blocking.
With its factory in China, Macpi has been able to supply its customers, economically-priced machines. “In Asia, people want a combination of quality and price; I can supply certain machines from Italy and some others from China to ensure both,” maintains Stefano adding, “My prices are also far more competitive than my European competitors.”
Having its own offices in China and India, Stefano is confident about the after-sales service provided by Macpi in the Asian countries, including Bangladesh, which is attended and catered by the company’s India office based out of Bangalore. In Bangladesh, Macpi is present through Pacific Associates.
Avantec hallmarks Italian washing technology
Washing, dyeing and drying machines are key to quality denim production and which all companies realize, yet few spend on R&D to deliver the quality. Avantec is one such Italian company present in Bangladesh, marketed by Prime Asia, which constantly brings out innovation. “Our machines have low liquor ratio and controlled cycle time with higher repeatability,” says Gian Pasquale Bollo from Avantec. He adds, “Bangladesh is a big market and for the next 5-6 years it is a thrust market for us.”
The main customers of the Italian brand are G Star, Hugo Boss, Levi’s and Zara. “Even a brand like Zara which has the main facility in Spain, produces most of its garments in countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam, and who use our machines, to produce their exclusive products.”
Quality comes at a price and Gian is concerned about the quality perception of Bangladesh customer who seeks cheap technology. “Being ‘Made in Italy’ our prices are higher as compared to Chinese, Indian or Turkish brands; but with the given quality, systems, technology, and ability, the machines are worth the cost,” he explains.
Thor is a washer-extractor from Avantec for washing and dyeing treatments of garments. Available in a wide range of volumes, varying from 549 litres to 4,558 litres, the machines of this range can wash garments weighing from 2,000 kg to 8,000 kg. CLR-S on the other hand is a washing machine dedicated to stone wash and chemical wash of garments. Available in three variants, of volume 3600L, 4200L, and 5500L, the machines can accommodate a load of at least 4,800 kg and up to 6,800 kg depending on the variant.
Gian further shares about an upcoming technology by Avantec. “We’re coming up with a machine with even low liquor ratio, more controlled cycle time and even higher repeatability which is usually very poor.”
Gerber Technology upbeat about Bangladesh market
“Till now, woven and knit garment manufacturers formed our clientele in Bangladesh, but a lot of lingerie manufacturing units have started coming up now, with more and more Sri Lankan expats joining the Bangladesh garment industry; that’s the technological geography we’re observing,” underlined Bill Ramsey, Regional Sales & General Manager – South West Asia, Gerber, talking about Bangladesh.
As the sector gears up to reach an export turnover of US $ 50 billion by 2021, the garment manufacturers are strengthening compliance and getting ready for big production and expansions, informs Ramsey, adding significant number of garment manufacturers are approaching the company to get a hand of investment requirements to give shape to their expansion plans and set up new facilities. “With the kind of expansion that the company has been observing in Bangladesh, Gerber has stationed about 15 engineering personnel in the country, who have been trained by us and have more than 10 years of experience to meet the clients’ requirements,” states the company’s Regional Sales & General Manager, which is represented by Prime Asia in Bangladesh as its agent.
As the sector gears up to reach an export turnover of US $ 50 billion by 2021, the garment manufacturers are strengthening compliance and getting ready for big production and expansions. With the kind of expansion that the company has been observing in Bangladesh, Gerber has stationed about 15 engineering personnel in the country, who have been trained by Gerber and have more than 10 years of experience to meet the clients’ requirements.
One of the pioneers in providing innovative technology solutions for the cutting room, Gerber proved its mettle long back when it introduced knife intelligence on the Gerber S91. According to the company, the knife intelligence technology guarantees top and bottom ply of a 72-ply bundle of 14-ounce denim match perfectly due to its ability to control the knife. In addition to the knife intelligence, Gerber also provides automatic vacuum maintenance in their cutting solutions, thereby providing just the right amount of pressure on the fabric, which is very important as different fabrics with different porosity need various pressure levels to arrest slipping.
Featuring KERI (Knowledge Experience and Reference Interface) that guides users through the cutting process so that they could learn to operate Paragon in a matter of hours and rely on its built-in intelligence to guide them through any cutting task, Gerber displayed its Paragon Cutter. The cutter also features Gerber’s patent-pending Ever SharpTM technology, with which users can replace the knife sharpening stone in seconds and get up to three times more usable life than traditional stones. Besides, the Paragon cutter can also be integrated with Gerber’s AccuMark CAD and automated spreading systems for lesser errors, improved throughputs while also tracking the work in progress.
Also on display was the I-Table by Gerber, which has a 1 mm laminate on its table top to minimize deep scratches and chipping that are usually associated with manual spreading and cutting. Further, a completely integrated airbox under the table allows consistent airflow across the whole table enabling easy movement of heavy spreads, critical to ensure proper alignment to an automatic cutter.
Taking care of the smart needs in cutting room solutions apart, Gerber has also set up separate assembly plants in America and China to cater to diverse needs of both these areas. The facility in America caters to manufacturers who supply smaller quantities and accordingly need low-ply cutting solutions, whereas the one in China is for the large-quantity suppliers in countries like Bangladesh, India, Vietnam and China, who need high-ply cutting solutions. China was strategically chosen by the company for its facility as the country is almost equidistant to all the Asian apparel manufacturing destinations, helping Gerber to offer faster and cheaper shipping, and shorter lead time.
Eton Systems enabling professional and top-notch manufacturing
“Eton is not a product, it is a concept which is designed to reduce the non-productive time of the factories and in turn make them more dynamic and successful,” averred Gary Freedman from Eton Systems.
Global leaders in manufacturing of Hanger Systems, Gary was full of optimism while dwelling on Eton’s strategy to establish itself in the Bangladesh apparel industry. Sharing his roadmap on the same, Gary maintained, “In the last two years, I’ve seen a tremendous change in the Bangladesh apparel industry. The manufacturers are increasingly focusing on improving productivity rather than just augmenting manpower and equipment. The export-oriented manufacturers have now realized that if they are to continue with their garment export business successfully, they need to be professional and world-class.” Aligned to these requirements, the company averred that its hanger system would bring about a further increase of about 30-50 per cent in productivity and decrease in cost of poor quality equivalent to 50 per cent, which would not only add value to the traditionally good apparel manufacturing setups but also allow them to be even more productive and have fastest ROI, between 1 to 3 years, which is one of its major attractions, according to him.
The Eton System has clamps on which all the components of a garment are loaded. Subsequently, it moves from one operator to the other keeping with the inputs fed into the system, automatically. This helps in reducing the SAM of the garment as the handling time of the operator reduces significantly.
“We call them sewing machine operators but practically they devote only around 15-20 per cent of their total time in sewing while the rest is consumed by handling. If one looks at it from the business perspective, if the needle is not going up and down, the manufacturers are not making any money. This is one of the aspects that this machine calculates as each clamp has an RFID tag,” elaborates Gary. The RFID tags help in retrieving real time information of each and every garment operation operator-wise. The data obtained from Eton System can thus be used to pre-empt and sort out bottlenecks in the sewing lines in just matter of hours.
“The entire process makes the production personnel more proactive during handling operations, and also allows abundant scopes for dynamic planning,” says Gary. He adds, “It further helps in reducing the WIP in the lines besides standardizing the cost of quality.”
To provide complete customer satisfaction, the company has also laid its main focus on training and servicing of Eton Systems in the country. “Rather than just shipping the system, we design it with inputs and feedbacks from the clients and generate an ROI for them,” explained Gary. While shipping, the company also sends its mechanic along, who not only installs the system at the factory but also imparts necessary knowledge to two of its mechanics so that they could understand the system entirely. As follow up, Eton keeps sending its trainers to keep a check on the systems and fix any problem that the users may face from time to time.
Eton is currently operating through its agent Prime Asia Limited in Bangladesh, where the company has stationed its local employees to serve the clients better.
Kern Liebers Textile collaborating with machine makers at R&D stage
A global player in textiles and technology solutions, Germany-based Kern Liebers, has steadily evolved in the field of knitted fabric technology through its rapid expansion and its broad range of products, including parts and components for knitting machines. The company also has a robust global service network to provide seamless servicing.
“We enjoy a great acceptance in the Bangladeshi market, especially in the circular knit segment,” shares Josef Hetzel, Area Sales Manager, Kern Liebers Textile, adding further, “We are also involved in the R&D with machine manufacturers. It goes without saying that what is good for the machine maker is also recommendable for the end users.” Josef underlines that the first step in developing machine parts is to have cooperation with the machine makers. “They check for problems at development stage of the machine and try to resolve it. We develop best possible solutions for these problems. Moreover, OEM co-operation means we meet the toughest requirements and provide optimum consulting service,” states Josef, adding that being manufactured in Germany, the quality of Kern Liebers’ products is guaranteed.
Josef is pleased to be in Bangladesh because of the projected growth potential of the country’s market. The statistics show that Bangladesh imports same or even higher number of machines than that of India. He foresees a big growth for Kern Liebers every year for the coming 2-3 years as Bangladesh is the largest market, after China.
For weft knitting, the company has a wide product range of components like sinkers, needles and assemblies for circular and flatbed knitting machines. The catalogue also features needles, sinkers, transfer jacks, selectors and miscellaneous machine parts for fine gauge hosiery. Kern Liebers products come with G-rounding, perfect edge rounding right into the finest sinker throat, extreme rigidity & hardness, and partial hardening for areas or sinkers particularly prone to wear. Besides, textile’s processes and technologies, Kern Liebers offers custom benefits in engineering, stamping and forming, heat and surface treatment, special processing and storage.