Cutler Heights Lane
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Founded in 1992, nonwovens manufacturer Texfelt was taken over by the Taylor family in 1995. At the time, £200,000 was invested into the business to refurbish equipment and the premises, which were originally housed in an old textile mill in Elland, U.K., near Halifax.
In 2018, Texfelt received an investment for its new 60,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility in Bradford, U.K., from the Textiles Growth Programme via the Business Growth Hub and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The LEP funding was delivered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal—a £1 billion package of government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across the Leeds City Region.
The Taylor family knew the nonwovens industry well through its other business, James Robinson Fibres, an independent manufacturer, stockholder and supplier of polyester staple fibers and textile waste. Since JR Fibres was supplying the nonwovens industry, entering the market was allied to what the family was already doing as a recycling business. “This gave Texfelt the opportunity to manufacture nonwovens from its own, in-house produced fibers and allow the group of companies to become more vertically integrated,” says James Taylor, managing director of Texfelt.
Texfelt manufactures nonwovens using its own Kytech process. The process, while very flexible, has allowed the business to develop a range of products destined for multiple markets with vastly differing requirements. Included in this are several carpet underlay brands, including SpringBond, into which Texfelt engineers structures. It is made up of more than 85% recycled PET plastic bottles and other single use plastics. “SpringBond is an environmentally friendly and innovative luxury carpet underlay,” says Taylor. “It is green, clean and durable and offers industry-leading sound insulation, uses sustainable fibers containing no harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and is fully recyclable at the end of its life.”
Using the Kytech technology, Texfelt blends four different grades of fibers before engineering a unique spring-like structure into the final product. Over 180 PET plastic bottles are sourced per roll of underlay manufactured and, since the average household requires five rolls, SpringBond prevents 900 plastic bottles from entering the ocean for every single home it supplies, Taylor says. “SpringBond is the only carpet underlay to be made out of recycled plastics. It is designed to replace PU foam and requires no chemical treatment,” he adds.
Texfelt’s key markets include flooring, upholstery, automotive, bedding, hospitality, special effects and acoustics. According to Taylor, the domestic flooring and furnishing industries are showing signs of consumer confidence returning, following a lack of consumer spending due to political uncertainty before Brexit.
“The general feeling is that things will improve this year, and we’ll see more buoyancy in the market. Even before Brexit, the hospitality sector seemed to be bucking the trend with healthy hotel occupancy rates due to an increase in overseas visitors in the major cities in the U.K., so this is a great market to operate within.”
Texfelt is putting a lot of effort into the hospitality and Middle Eastern markets at the moment. It is building up to Expo 2020 in Dubai and sees this year as being a busy one. Texfelt already supplies products to a lot of hotels in the Middle East and is looking to grow its marketshare there by bolstering the sustainability commitments within the hospitality and leisure sector.
Taylor believes it is absolutely the right time to be in the nonwovens industry. “The textiles industry has been in decline for the last 40-50 years, with more and more production going abroad,” he explains. “But there’s an increased reliance on nonwovens for high performance fabrics in the medical and automotive sectors in particular. But it isn’t just those two markets—Texfelt is expanding into mattresses, specialist horticultural insulation and all sorts of fascinating areas. There are some really cutting-edge developments coming into the industry too—from nanofibers to carbon fibers, which are highlighting that nonwovens really is the beacon for the textiles industry as we enter a new decade.”