Sustainability is the focus for worsted wool fabric producer Jiangsu Danmao. Recycling wastewater, developing fabrics that efficiently decompose and plant based natural dyestuffs are a few of the recent projects. Charlotte Rogers finds out more.
Chinese worsted wool fabric producer Jiangsu Danmao has made sustainability a priority for 2012. “Our major attention will be paid to eco fabrics in 2012. We call it Zero-concept fabric, which can be decomposed in nature after it has been discarded. The product is designed to have minimal environment impact,” states Peter Wu, Danmao vice president.
The company is also in the process of developing a pure wool fabric, dyed with natural dyestuffs extracted from plants, to ensure there is no skin irritation.
In 2005, Danmao installed its first wastewater recycling system at its site in Danyang, Jiangsu Province, boasting a 1,000 tonne capacity, which increased to a total of 2,000 tonnes in 2007.
“We can now recycle 40% of our water after the end use. It’s very important to Danamo to implement wastewater recycling and other energy saving behaviours. Now we are recycling the heat from the wastewater,” explains Wu.
Over the next five years, Danmao plans to reduce its environmental impact still further. “Our eyes will be set on eco-fabrics and the combination between the traditional industries and the electronic industry. Our target is to reduce our impact on the environment gradually through the energy saving and our new product development,” Wu explains.
Established in 1981, Danmao employs 1,100 staff at Danmao Fabric, with a further 600 at its Danmao Apparel site.
A vibrant and forward thinking company, wool constitutes the basis of all Danmao’s fabrics, either in its pure form or blended with functional and eco-friendly fibres. “All our wool material comes from Australia. We also buy other fibres from all over the world,” explains Wu. “We have a very close relationship with fibre material suppliers like DuPont and Invista.”
The company focuses on two lines – a functional fabric for menswear and a ladieswear collection featuring textured yarns, special weaves and trend specific colours.
A fully vertical operation, production at Danmao begins with carding, spinning and weaving, before moving on to dyeing and finishing, also carried out in house. Wu explains: “Our production system is very complete, which is helpful to the quality and colour control. The system also gives us flexible space to carry out new technological developments.
“Our spinning and weaving machines are all imported from the EU. The major brands are Zinser and Schmidt.”
Danmao has developed a variety of finishes to help improve the versatility and performance of its worsted fabric. These finishes include cool touch, warm feeling, anti-bacterial, anti-static, waterproof, UV resistant, moisture control and odour control.
Each season the company employs three designers to help identify the colours and textures for the collection. The designers spend time researching with Danmao’s target customers. “The other main sources of design inspiration come from the conversation with the customers and the research of the market around us,” Wu adds.
The EU, US and Japan are Danmao’s three main markets. Whilst exports represent approximately 75% of total sales, this percentage is the lowest in recent years due to the burgeoning domestic market.
Peter Wu explains: “The local market will be the next destination for us, as the economic situation of China may be the best one all over the world. Also we will pay attention to Africa and some EU countries.”
Danmao is hoping to improve on its 2011 results, which weakened towards the end of last year. “Just so so is the suitable sentence to describe the situation of 2011. We experienced certain growth last year, but we are not satisfied with the results. In the fact, during the latter half last year, we have felt the hard situation coming from the market.”
Jiangsu Danmao plans to overcome the rising price of wool and labour costs, as well as the downturn in worldwide consumption to push the company forward in 2012, whilst all the time maintaining its longstanding commitment to sustainability.
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