Textiles group explores eco-innovation
The Bolton Textiles Group comprises four companies, Rufflette, Cliq Designs, Sinclaire and JH Cunliffe & Co, covering textiles manufacturing, weaving, yarn processing and cut measure and trim services.
The group has a long history in the British textiles industry, with the internationally-recognised Rufflette product dating back to 1882.
The companies share two factory sites in historic converted mills in Bolton and Rochdale, producing curtains and curtain tapes, quilted and bedding products and fabric designs.
With grant funding secured from the Business Growth Hub’s Textiles Growth service, the group is looking to make significant improvements to its two sites, which still include many original and outdated features.
To advise on its growth plans, the Business Growth Hub is providing specialist support to help identify opportunities for environmental innovation and eco-design of existing products and processes.
For example, an initial on-site review revealed the potential to reuse waste material in new products.
Material and quilting offcuts from production are currently stored in large quantities on-site for long periods until they can be picked up by a secondary user. Instead, Laura Bramley, environmental business advisor at the Hub, believes that the waste can be reused to create new low impact secondary materials, such as carpet underlay.
“The first step is to improve the monitoring of waste production to get better data on the volumes and types of materials available for reuse”, she said.
“Once this is in place we can look at how Bolton Textiles can develop new materials to capture this potential revenue.”
Following the Hub’s advice, Bolton Textiles is also investigating the potential to replace the old single-glazed windows in its mills with innovative transparent solar photovoltaic glass panels.
As well as reducing heat loss, the Building Integrated PV (BIPV) would generate electricity whilst still allowing light into the building.
Other identified improvements include: upgrading lighting to more efficient technologies, such as LEDs; upgrading radiators with thermostatic radiator valves and improving heating controls; undertaking a compressed air leak detection survey to identify and fix any leaks; and monitoring electricity use on key equipment to investigate the potential for variable speed drives, power factor correction and reducing base load electricity consumption.
In total, these improvements could save Bolton Textiles several thousand pounds a year at its Rochdale site alone.
The Hub also helped to review quotes and verify the feasibility of installing four biomass boilers, with further work underway to quantify savings.
Phil Dawson, managing director at Bolton Textiles, said:
“We’re passionate about supporting British manufacturing in the region and the Business Growth Hub’s support is helping to put us in a strong position to continue doing so for many years”.
Laura Bramley added:
“This is just the start – we’re hoping to work with Bolton Textiles a lot more over the coming months to develop some really innovative textile technology.”
To find out more about the Business Growth Hub’s environmental business support for SMEs, or to read other success stories, click here.
Contributed by Samantha Nicholson
Contributed by Samantha Nicholson
Sam specialises in turning low carbon policy into successful business support programmes that deliver both economic rewards and environmental benefits, helping thousands of companies to convert environmental risks into competitive advantages and to seize the opportunities presented by the transition to a low carbon economy.
During her 17 years working in environmental business support, Sam has played a key role in building services into internationally recognised exemplars of best practice.