Dyeing, Drying, Finishing
Montex texCoat debut for Italian luxury goods supplier
The flexible texCoat unit is allowing the company to carry out both knife over air and knife over roller coating based on simple and user-friendly PLC techniques, with on-screen visualisation for all operating modes and recipe management for many different coating processes all integrated in to the proven Qualitex 800 control system of the Montex stenter.
Founded in 1937, Mariani is now run by Andrea and Gaia Mariani and their cousin Edoardo Mariai– as third generation members of the founder’s family.
Today it specialises in high-end linings for luxury handbags and shoes, as well as continuing to also make the umbrella fabrics which for many years were the company’s sole stock-in-trade, until imports from Asia made this business less tenable.
The company’s response was to diversify, initially into sun umbrellas and garden furniture, but eventually its fabrics for luxury leather goods came more in demand, built on firm relationships with the brands, and today represents 85% of business, with the remaining 15% being umbrella fabrics.
“This change in response to the market was something of a revolution for the company,” says Gaia Mariani, “because until then we had been making standard fabrics based mainly on nylon and producing bulk orders.
“In moving successfully into the luxury brands market we had to review our entire operation and focus on many different types of fabric construction and designs, while at the same time shortening our production cycles and enhancing our packaging and distribution operations.
“We now work with many of the famous luxury brands and 90% of our manufacturing is personalised for them, based on discussions with their designers about how best to adapt the fabrics in our regular collections for their specific leather goods.”
Mariani’s latest finishing line certainly further strengthens the company’s position.
It is some 43 metres long and at its heart is the six-chamber Montex stenter and texCoat coating unit.
The Montex 8500 stenter is distinguished by several new features, including a newly designed operator’s platform with improved access, a new and improved visualisation with modern ‘slider effect’on bigger 24 inch screen monitors and the Eco Booster heat recovery module.
With the Qualitex 800 visualisation software, ‘finger tip’ control features offer smart phone-type techniques for the machine operators and ensure smarter operating procedures. Additional benefits allow the operator to compose and pre-programme the ‘dashboard’ of the monitor to personal requirements and preferences.
Construction of the line for Mariani started late last year. It has been operational for some months, but as Andrea Mariana explains, the company is still working to further exploit the maximum benefits from it.
“In many ways, it’s a lot simpler for the operators because everything is electronically controlled. One major benefit with the new stenter, for example, is complete electronic control of the tension at all times, and the same applies to temperature.
“We use a range of temperatures for our different finishing steps and each chamber of the stenter can be individually optimised.
“In a way, it’s a little like changing from an old-fashioned desk phone to an iPhone for us – although relatively easy, it takes time to familiarise yourself with everything that’s actually possible.
“The machine is longer than our other working four-chamber stenter, and the older one it has replaced, and by comparison, operating speeds are 30-40% higher.
“On average, we are running each fabric four times through the stenter, to thermo-fix before dyeing, for drying after dyeing, for waterproofing and then for coating. With the texCoat, the application of coating chemicals is very precisely measured and applied.”
“Because the new Monforts technology is completely electronic, the adjustments for differing weights and fabric constructions are immediate and instantly compensated for, in terms of tension control, humidity, machine speed and all other parameters,” he concludes. “We are learning to totally trust this technology.”