Over the past few years, the Andrew Industries Group has invested millions of pounds in computerised, state of the art carding and needling equipment. This is now installed in its three main manufacturing plants based in north-west England, South Carolina, USA and Ontario, Canada.

An example, is the carding machinery which now incorporates micro-weighing systems, to control the weight of carded webs to very fine tolerances. For the group, operating in the filtration market as well as the laundry market also has many benefits. It has been found on numerous occasions that a development on one side of the business can be transferred over to the other to provide a direct benefit to the customer.

Here in the UK, Bristol-based Severnside Fabrics’s managing director David Neary explains: “Ironers with 500 to 800mm diameter rollers have been round for many years. New technology fuelled by laundries demands for greater efficiency and production has resulted in the ironer manufacturers such as BMM Weston, Kannegiesser, Jensen and Lapauw developing ironers with larger and larger rollers up to 1600mm.” These new generation ironers require stronger and in some case denser needlefelts. To make matters even more complicated, there have been several different types of springing come onto the market. This again alters the calender clothing specification. It has been suggested, says Mr Neary, that the only way to achieve more strength in needlefelts is to incorporate a heavier scrim. This is simply not true; a needlefelt has to be resilient. To achieve this, not only does the manufacturing technology have to be world class (that is carding and needling) but the base raw materials namely fibre and yarn, have to be of the very best quality. Heat stability, strength, denier, staple length and crimp are all attributes that have to be monitored constantly.

The company has an on-going needling research and development program. Mr Barry McCool, a technical sales representative for Severnside Fabrics, states: “We have been working to achieve a correlation between needlefelt weight, density of scrim and improved needling processes, thereby giving optimum strength and uniform fibre coverage coupled with the minimum amount of needle damage.” Severnside Fabrics is a well-established and respected company, operating in the laundry industry for many years. It prides itself on the expertise of its technical sales team, headed by the UK sales director Gary White. As of January 2002, David Hartley joined the existing sales team of Barry McWilliam and Barry McCool, further increasing the already 100-years-plus experience Severnside Fabrics possesses in this department. All the representatives are highly trained in ironer problem detection and can offer ironer survey reports when laundries face quality and drying efficiency shortfalls on their calenders.

Another major service that Severnside Fabrics offers is a supply and fit service on needlefelts, in both multi-turn and very specialised mono-turn for Lapauw ironers. The company also offers a similar service for the feeder and folder banding or can supply made-up bands to customer specification.

The company also manufactures laundry bags whose range incorporate tailor-made bags with logos to a standard range of off-the-shelf bags in many colours, quantities and closures. General press clothing and unit press covers are also manufactured in the Sewing Department at Bristol as well as other stock items such as ironer waxes, conditioning cloths, scour pads and a full range of ironer guide tapes.

A proportion of Severnside’s sales are to other companies in the Andrew’s Group such as European Laundry Products based in France, American Laundry Products, Andrew Medical & Laundry in Ireland, Filterfab in Australia, Triple M Andrew in South Africa and internationally through a network of agents. As much as this demonstrates the truly global nature of the Andrew’s Group, Mr Neary emphasises Severnside Fabrics commitment to the UK laundry industry by stating: “we aim for a next day delivery on all orders with the exception of made-up bespoke items.”