Knitting & Hosiery


Precotex group visits circular knitting machine manufacturer Mayer & Cie.: “We elaborate the complex and sophisticated.”

Delegbation from Precotex at Mayer & Cie. (from right): Horst Maier, Dante Villalva Munive, his son Peter, colleague and Carlo Horny Sebastiani © 2023 Mayer&Cie
In autumn, a delegation from the Peruvian Precotex group visited Mayer & Cie. at its Albstadt-Tailfingen headquarters. Mayer & Cie. took the opportunity to talk with CEO Dante Villalva Munive about Precotex which has been active in the market since 1996 and is now a fully integrated company with various business units, serving customers in the Americas, Europe and Asia for private labels in full package mode, exporting fabrics to LATAM, providing industrial textile services, and also handles the knitting process in a large in-house knitting mill. Some 55 percent of the machines running there come from Mayer & Cie with plans to increase capacity in the next six months.

Can you briefly introduce us to the Precotex company?

Mr Dante Villalva Munive: "Precotex has been around for 28 years. We founded the company when my son was born; he is now sitting here next to me. We were four partners, with a secretariat in the garage. Today we employ nearly 2,200 people, plus about 800 to 1,000 people who work directly with us. This large number of externals is because the textile industry requires so many manual operations.

That’s quite a success story, from a garage to over 2,000 employees in just under 30 years. How did you manage that?

We differentiate ourselves through the quality of our ready-made garments, which is what we base all our process steps on. We offer them to brand manufacturers at an attractive price. We don’t do anything simple, but the complex and sophisticated. We have often told customers: We will do it – without knowing how at the beginning. We have grown from that. The impossible does not exist."

Can you outline the expansion of your company?

Mr Dante Villalva Munive: "We started out as a garment printer. From there, we worked our way up the process chain. At a very early stage, we partnered with and later took over a customer in the manufacturing sector. The goal was to better understand their requirements and incorporate them into our products so that we could in turn offer them to brand manufacturers. This turned into more and more challenging projects.

In 2011, we decided to create our own dyeing factory and directly involved a knitting and laundry plant. We also print, finish and refine; this includes embroidery and the application of decorative elements. Today we are a fully integrated textile company."

Since when you have been working with Mayer & Cie.?

Mr Dante Villalva Munive: "We ordered our first machines from Mayer & Cie. in 2009. This acquisition was an important growth step.

We knew right from the start that Mayer & Cie. machines were the optimum solution for us. They offer us production reliability and quality. Today, we have 19 circular knitting machines from Mayer & Cie. in our knitting mill. These are the Relanit 3.2 II, S4, MV4 and the D4 2.2 models."

What is the specialty of Precotex?

Mr Dante Villalva Munive: "Our specialty? We are the partner of choice when it comes to wedding cakes; we are not responsible for the bread.

Joking aside: we do not work on quantity, i.e. x tons of knitted fabric per day, but on quality and flexibility. The minimum quantity we can offer is 1,000 pieces. 72 pieces is the smallest batch size we have had lately, but then the customer only orders textile printing. There are also orders that are split: 100 pieces go to Europe, 300 to USA and so on. We exist because we are so flexible."

What’s next? What are your goals for the next few years?

Mr Dante Villalva Munive: "Our flexibility has made us what we are today. To make our success sustainable, we now need to structure our processes, to automate them. This will enable us to leverage our strengths even more efficiently.

Another goal of our current company development is to further train our technicians. Peter, my son, is head of the knitting mill; he knows the technology like the back of his hand. However, only those who understand what makes the people behind these machines tick can assess what is and is not a profitable business in the end."

How can Mayer & Cie. support Precotex on this path?

Mr Dante Villalva Munive: "Firstly, with their versatile machines, and secondly in the training and improvement of our technicians. They are very familiar with the mechanics of the machines, but the range of their possibilities, the combinations of different structures they can knit, has yet to be exploited. Often, we only produce what our customers order from us; in doing so, we should take into account what we can offer. We have to get as much out of the machine as possible. We have to squeeze it with skill, as goes a typical phrase in Peruvian cuisine: sacarle el jugo. By the way, we do not have to squeeze too much, there’s always the right balance."

What goals are you pursuing beyond economic development?

Mr Dante Villalva Munive: "As a group of companies, we take responsibility, for the environment as well as for society. We are currently investing in a water recycling plant to be able to recycle 70 percent of the water we use. This is a major investment.

Our employees include people with disabilities, employees beyond the retirement age, single mothers. We are currently working on a program to offer our employees’ children a career path in our company; this includes scholarships related to the textile industry."

How do you approach the issue of sustainability?

Mr Dante Villalva Munive: "We have long since met international standards in terms of water and energy consumption. I’ve already mentioned water treatment. We obtain our energy from a supplier who relies on hydropower. We try to leave fossil fuels out of the equation; only in emergencies do we have generators.

The dyes we use in the dyeing plant are certified, and the majority of the cotton we process is organically grown. 

Most of our machines come from Europe. This is an efficiency issue: Sure, they are more expensive than the Asian supplier, but they are more reliable, a safe investment. They help us achieve what we want."

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