This TextileFuture Newsletter is a continued story of Portuguese Textile firms. In the framework of the several features on economic and textile facts as news items, we would like to introduce you to the most clean textile factory of the world: Portuguese Polopique. We could visit the company with the assistance of Italian Itema Group who delivered a certain number of weaving machines to the firm.
In addition, we would like to introduce you to the newest textile figures of Portugal gained at the ITMF 2019 Annual Conference in Porto, Portugal and presented by Isabel Furtado from TMG Automotive.
This is an exclusivity written by Virginia F. Bodmer-Altura, Publisher of TextileFuture.
Additionally, we add a paper by IMF, the International Monetary Fund, with some economic factors on regional disparity, which we think useful to weight some different aspects, it is entitled “Closer together or further apart? Within country regional disparities and adjustment in advanced economies”. It is not focused on Portugal, but we think it is necessary to be presented to you for a more ample view of regions and their development.
Here starts the first feature:
Polopique is fully verticalised and one of the most active and successful Portuguese textile firm
Polopique Tecidos in Moreira de Cónegos (Guimarães, Portugal) is one of the most modern equipped textile mill with their own grown cotton in Uganda, spinning, yarn dyeing, knitting, weaving (95 % of all products), finishing and garment production.
As a result of the initiative of its founders, Luís and Filipa Guimarães, Polopique was established in 1996 to develop the activity of garmenting and commercialisation of clothing articles. The textile industry has always been present in previous generations of the couple’s family, which has consolidated this desire to create the Polopique project and certainly contributed to its success.
From raw cotton to ready-to-wear garments with innovation and creativity
The Group’s growth strategy was adopted through the vertical integration of its production cycle into the industry’s value chain. Today, in its segment, it is one of the few complete vertical units in the world, controlling spinning, weaving, garmenting, R&D, innovation and design.
All the companies in the Polopique universe are equipped with the latest technology, allowing optimising processes, improving the quality of manufactured products, being able to respond quickly to customer requests with the best productive efficiency, as well as the continuous improvement of the working conditions of all Its employees and contributing to the social and environmental responsibility, that are the pillars of its mission.
Environmental and Social Policy
Polopique is a company with environmental, ecological and social concerns. In this sense, it has an ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL POLICY e and is governed by a CONDUCT CODE.
The Polopique Group dedicates its activities to several areas of the textile chain, especially the fabrication of clothing articles, spinning, weaving, dyeing and finishing.
Aware that its industrial activity is not sheltered from impacts, the Polopique Group assumes an active attitude of environmental and social sustainability. It adopts a careful approach preserving the surrounding environment, preventing pollution, and using the necessary resources wisely for the development of its activity. It recognizes the demands of responsibility and retribution towards the surrounding social and cultural environment, contributing to the improvement of the living conditions of its employees and other surrounding communities, moving towards a sustainable
Therefore, considering the challenges that the persistent market demands, the Polopique Group encourages all its employees to achieve excellence in the exercise of their roles and in pursuit of those that are their strategic objectives, with the following commitments:
• Consolidate, in the development of its activity, the use of values and criteria in the environmental and social assessment;
• To audit, in a transparent way, its performance;
• Promote the sensible and efficient use of raw materials, energy and natural resources;
• Increase knowledge of the interactions of the various activities of the company, with the natural and social environment;
• Promote methods of nature conservation, cultural valuation and social accountability;
• Encourage partners and suppliers to take responsible environmental and social behaviour practices;
• Raise responsiveness and train employees, reinforcing their awareness and promoting their environmental and social skills;
• Minimise the production of waste, favouring its recovery, ensuring that the rest is sent to an appropriate final destination;
• Minimize atmospheric emissions and wastewater discharges;
• Adopt the best environmental practices, whenever technically and economically feasible, in the sense of continuous improvement of environmental performance;
• Encourage continuous training, keeping all relevant information updated for the organisation.
Regarding all environmental aspects, the Polopique Group always seeks to maintain an open dialogue with all partakers, whether they are government entities, customers, suppliers, local community or others.
Code of Conduct
Through this Code of Conduct, a set of principles and values – moral and ethical – are included in the management of the companies, especially regarding human rights, working conditions and environmental and health issues; not disregarding the relationship between its employees and third parties.
1. FORCED WORK
It is not allowed to use any type of forced or involuntary work, as well as to demand from its workers any type of deposit or to retain personal identification documents.
2. CHILD LABOUR
Child labour is not allowed. The minimum age of admission is 16 years with the minimum schooling gradation (except for exceptions provided by law).
Ensure that all workers are treated with dignity and respect. No discriminatory behavior regarding employment practices, remuneration, access to training and employment based on race, nationality, religion, disability, sex, age, sexual orientation, association or political affiliation, or any other situation, shall be permitted.
3. HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK
Guarantee its workers a safe and healthy work environment, complying with the legal and regulatory principles applicable in this matter. They should promote good health and safety practices to prevent accidents and health risks to workers. Workers should have access to hygienic toilets and drinking water.
4. FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION
Respect the right of workers to associate, organize or bargain collectively, without suffering any kind of sanction.
5. DISCIPLINARY MEASURES, HARASSMENT AND ABUSES
Under no circumstances should corporal punishment, sexual / racial harassment, physical and psychological abuse, and / or any other harassment / intimidation be allowed.
6. HOURS OF WORK
Comply with applicable legislation and the rules of the textile sector regarding working hours.
The national minimum wage must be guaranteed to all workers, as well as the payment of supplementary work under the terms legally defined. It is not allowed to make salary deductions other than those legally allowed. Wages must be paid monthly until the last day of the month, or, exceptionally, until the 3rd day of the following month.
a) In the performance of their duties, employees of the Polopique Group shall act in accordance with the legal principles, good faith, responsibility, transparency, loyalty, professionalism and confidentiality.
b) The employees of the Polopique Group must take a proactive attitude in the search for excellence, search and sharing of knowledge and information, cultivating team spirit, based on relationships of trust, respect for the hierarchical structure existing in the companies that make up the group, guiding its action for integrity and dignity in the relationship between them.
The manufacturers that work directly with the Polopique Group can only produce in factories expressly authorised by Polopique.
All manufacturing activity shall be carried out with respect for the environment, in accordance with applicable legal and regulatory standards and taking the necessary measures to reduce and compensate its impact.
11. HEALTH AND SAFETY OF PRODUCTS
Ensure safety measure in the selection of the chemicals used in manufacturing of the products, complying with REACH, MRSL \ RSL requirements, adopting ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) program, as well as all requirements agreed with customers.
12. COMPLIANCE WITH APPLICABLE LAWS
Ensuring compliance with the applicable legislation in all matters not covered in the previous points is mandatory.
The Art of Spinning
The spinning plant equipped with the latest technology, is able to produce threads in different compositions – carded or combed, single or twisted with different counts, matching the specifics of each client and at the same time guaranteeing the quality of the yarns. The air conditioning, humidity, cleaning and temperature system ensures product quality and compliance.
The finest raw materials
Carefully selected, our fibres undergo a tight control process that guarantees excellent results.
We work with a great variety of natural fibres, artificial, synthetics, and their mixtures, from Cotton, Linen, Lyocell, Tencel, Viscose, Modal, Polyester, Polyamide, Wool, Silk, Cashmere.
Advanced spinning techniques
The know-how of the past decades allows us to create conventional threads, spun colour, high twist, flame and injected, twin high performance (Siro), mouline, multitwist, multicount, special threads, noble blends, mixtures of colour.
The precision winding system favours the dyeing process with a custom bobbin design. The fully automated dyeing system ensures efficient and agile control with excellent color reproduction results.
A video on the Rieter Spinning plant can be had here
From the wire to the fabric, all processes are submitted to the most rigorous tests in our Laboratories equipped with technology qualified and dedicated professionals.
Our verticality allows us to articulate the operations, in order to generate the necessary flexibility to react to changes in the market, adjusting production to orders, managing to develop innovative products in the desired quantities, with a very reduced time-to-market and local production.
In our fabrics the colours count
The fully automated dyeing system ensures efficient and agile control with excellent colour reproduction results. The precision staggered winding system favours the dyeing process with a custom coil design.
A short video on the weaving plant can be had here
The way in which the warp and weft yarns interconnect in the debouching process can assume unlimited combinations, achieving greater productivity and responsiveness, with guarantees of quality in the final product.
The weaving functionalities allow the production of a wide variety of fabrics, such as double fabrics with dobby or Jacquard effects, more complex tissues that require the use of a second warp to obtain dobby or seersucker effects, or fabrics with density variations in weft direction of the same drawing. The insertion of double passages in the looms, allows a greater yield of the same ones.
An exhaustive examination by qualified professionals with rigor and associated control guarantees the degree of compliance.
Resources in dyeing
With a totally new unit equipped with a technologically advanced machine plant, we have the versatility to dye items from the most delicate to the most robust, being them knitted, fabric or garment. We can also make numerous types of garment washes. The control and efficiency of the whole process of dyeing makes possible the flexibility of the production, allowing a fast and high quality customer response even in the most delicate articles. The advanced automatic dosing system of products and the constant monitoring ensure the highest efficiency and reproducibility in the process, always having the guarantee of quality control.
The equipment of the finishing section, through physical or chemical processes, allows to ennoble the meshes and fabrics, giving them different characteristics, touches and visual aspects according to the needs of each client. Our articles can receive various types of finishing processes that offer them the strength, dimensional stability, density, appearance and touch.
Strict Quality Control
We control all phases of production, from the selection of raw materials to achieve a unique product with the guaranteed quality standards. We are constantly concerned with accompanying sophisticated state of the art technology with our elevated know how form decades of experience in the textile industry.
Our team of qualified and experienced technicians undertake daily quality control tests, including; twist, resistance, friction, hairiness, regularity, in a climatised environment, with the use of advanced technological equipment in order to comply with national and international regulations.
Our physical and chemical laboratories undertake a crucial role in guaranteeing the quality of our products, and the capacity in developing new options for our clients, both in terms of colours and finishes. The rigorous quality control is undertaken through the use of fundamental tests essential in the textile industry, in order to comply with national and international regulations, including, but not limited to; ISO e AATCC e ASTM, all of which include the following tests as a standard; shrinking, pilling, stability, stretch, light fastness and sweat wash.
Knitwear: products of excellence
Imagine… We created
We develop threads that combined with weaving techniques and special finishes lead us to the discovery of high quality and distinctive knitwear. Jersey, interlock, rib, piquet jacquard combinations, three thread fleece and more.
We offer our customers the bold design, comfort, touch and colour.
Our product creation dynamics aim to meet the needs of the consumer by developing innovative products with a very short time-to-market.
The versatility and operational flexibility of the production processes allow us to anticipate new trends and satisfy increasing levels of sophistication in the permanent search for novelty. Our decades-long experience in knitwear and fabrics makes us unique by the variety of products.
Thousands of combinations
The selection of the best raw materials transformed into unique fabrics: Jacquard, oxford, dobby, seersuckers, stretch, fil coupé, twill, taffeta, flannel.
High fashions fabrics
Our products are developed by our own design department in partnership with the most prestigious Italian trend consultants. But what makes our fabrics so extraordinary, it is our strong heritage that is reflected in the reinterpretation of some of our most successful designs from the past, our vintage best-sellers, that are privileged and unique heritage.
Main target is essentially Sportswear for Men, and in this sector we renowned for being one of the main markets trend setters.
We also offer Innovative design and high quality fabrics for high fashion. For classic or casual style, Outdoor or kids garment we offer a wide variety of fabrics always made with the best that our design and mill offer together.
We privilege production in Portugal, a country with a tradition of technology and quality.
The status of Polopique of today
The firm employs 1100 workers, including the subcontractors results a total between 2200 to 2400 persons.
The woven carpet sector produces around 800000 metres per month, the sheeting capacity amounts to 50000 per week and the covered realty surface entails around 63000 square metres.
Over a period of the last five years the owner invested EUR 80 million in the spinning, weaving, knitting, as well as confection (garments, sheeting).
Polopique Group has established in 2017 a new spinning unit from scratch, primarily conceived to produce fine yarns, blends and dyed yarn. According to the Chairman of the Group, Luís Guimarães, the production unit is an answer to latent needs, increasing production capacity to 360 tons per month. Polopique’s investment in the spinning ascends to EUR 30 million, an amount that includes the acquisition in 2010 of Fiateviz, and, its further renewal plus the building of this new unit that integrates 13 carding frames, 6 roving frames, 10 drawing machines, 10 combers, 20 winding machines and 20 ring spun machines which are the equivalent to 23.040 spindles, including two systems for core spun yarn and another two for compact yarn.
The two spin units that employ 103 people are complementary, where the new spinning unit is dedicated to fine yarns, heathers and dyed yarns, namely for shirting, whereas the existing unit produces essentially yarns for the knitwear sector – reaching a monthly production of 360 tons that can potentially increase. “Half of our new facilities are vacant precisely to decide in the course of this year whether to move the existing spinning unit there, everything being already set up for this purpose, or we buy more equipment and we increase our yarn production”, revealed the Chairman of Polopique Group.
In total, the group has an output of 25 to 30 million garments annually for men, ladies and kids.
For design are 20 designers responsible for the group, the A highly qualified and creative design team creates develops on a daily basis, new yarns, fabrics, knits and clothing. All the team’s creations provide the customer with a wide variety of options among numerous high quality models.
In addition to internal development, the design team is available to assist and work with the client in the process of developing new models to ensure that the desired result is achieved.
Polopique offers quick service, meaning that from zero to delivery are only four to five weeks necessary, sometimes only three weeks.
Sales are made B2B through agents and local customers and offers from Italian fashion agencies.
The company is climate and sustainable conscious with large installations of solar panels and hydro power using water from the river. A development project provides water from the river and full recycling after use.
Sustainability is also guaranteed through the reuse the leftovers from spinning, cutting, fabric and garment production. Since 2014-15 all pure cotton yarns are organic and all polyester used is recycled. The past two years the company was forcing sustainable products, fabrics and garments to finally position the company in organic cotton. Polyester is recycled. It is also a company policy to reduce returns.
Quality, Environment and Safety are the pillars of the company’s strategy which is committed to minimising the environmental impact of its productive activity, preventing professional risks and eliminating the safety and health perils of the workplace and assuring the compliance with the current legislation.
Polopique uses all the necessary resources to the industrial process in a sustainable manner, which means using the necessary minimum, generating the minimal residue possible, which will be processed in a way that lessens its environmental impact. This purpose is accomplished not only through the recycling of water and paper but also through the growing investment in the usage of renewable energies.
With a process, as eco-friendly as possible, the substances to process as residue in the end of the process and CO2 emissions suffer drastic reductions when compared with a conventional productive process.
Polopique is a member of the Better Cotton initiative (www.bettercotton.org).
We support a global approach to sustainable cotton production, which covers the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social and economic.
The Better Cotton Initiative is produced by farmers who minimize the harmful impact that its practices have in surrounding cultures, using efficiently water and taking care of its availability. They are concerned with the preservation of soil health and the conservation of natural habitats.
BCI is produced by farmers who promote Decent Work and who care for and preserve fiber quality.
GOTS certification – Global Organic Textile Standard
The use of organic cotton contributes to a lower impact on the environment, being governed by the standards of certification that presuppose the non-use of toxic pesticides or any other type of chemical considered harmful. Establish a diversified and balanced agricultural ecosystem that ideally includes all types of crops and agricultural activities
From the competitive angle, Portugal has a tax scheme that is somewhat “anti-entrepreneurship”, meaning that 70 % additional costs to salaries, including health costs), the tax rates are high in general, a fact that is shared by the Greek industry. The successful firms are 85 to 90 % family owned.
The backbone of Polopique is modern technology for the perfection of the final product, punctuality, flexibility and high quality in all of the processes.
TextileFuture had a possibility to see the production and we were impressed by the cleanness of all the operations: One can eat on the floor, because there are no flaw or dust. The reason: all the machines are cleaned, every time an article change takes place. The responsible engineer of production wants to be simply the best! All machines are running with zero default at highest speed. We went also to the weaving department, where the installed Itema machinery was working at 100 % and at top speed. The representative of Itema in Portugal told us, “that Polopique is the cleanest factory he has ever witnessed the world over!”
The textile industry is an industry of passion, of family heritage and of knowledge that passes from father to son, from generation to generation. In 2011, we incorporated Teviz in the Polopique Group, a company of the founders’ family that, thanks to its history, charisma, renowned fabric quality and extensive experience in the textile industry, has become our Teviz by Polopique brand. The history of Teviz began in 1935, the year of its foundation. It was born of a dream of a man, a dream made of knowledge and tradition that continues to pass from generation to generation.
With more than 80 years, our brand Teviz by Polopique translates the experience in the textile industry and is today a brand of world reference. It was a pioneer in organic cotton articles, distinguishing itself by its articles 100 % cotton, namely, in the production of flannels. Today we stand out for the versatility of fabrics in the most varied compositions and constructions, and we are proud to be present in the collections of prestigious brands recognised worldwide.
Isabel Furtado from TMG Automotive – Portugal as a case study and inspiration
LAMEIRINHO is a family owned company, in activity since 1948
Founded by Joaquim Martins Coelho Lima, father of the current Chairman of the Board, the company has counted upon the strong dedication and commitment of one of the most traditional families in the Portuguese textiles – Coelho Lima family.
Resulting from these strong family ties and dedication to their project, LAMEIRINHO has grown steadily and has attained an outstanding level of excellence as a recognized player both in the national and international textile scenarios.
LAMEIRINHO started its business activity by weaving, and the first two mechanical looms purchased in the 40’s, were joined by the current 140 that have been acquired over the years.
At this moment, LAMEIRINHO as an industry is able to ensure the entire manufacturing process from weaving to the shipping stage. Along this process, fabric can be printed or dyed; the finishing process uses an extensive choice of modern techniques, before going to the making-up stage, where attention to detail is never considered excessive. This translates in terms of production capacity, in approximately 5 million pieces per year.
LAMEIRINHO’s assortment of fabrics is very wide, from flannelettes, sateen and percale to exquisite yarn dyed dobbies and jacquards .This entire range can be produced not only in 100% cotton, but also blended with other fibres, such as polyester, bamboo, cashmere, silk, linen, tencel and modal. The finishing of the fabric is considered of extreme importance. The soft and delicate handle of LAMEIRINHO products makes all the difference…
As a company of international visibility, the effort that has been made in Design and Innovation is mandatory and constant. Under the motto of Ecology, Sustainability and Environmental Protection, LAMEIRINHO has invested in a certification that ensures these premises to the consumer.
Nowadays LAMEIRINHO has a team of approximately 800 people, who work in a dedicated way aiming to preserve its signature of quality, confidence and differentiation. Through its fabric LAMERINHO seeks to convey … the best emotions and well-being!
LAMEIRINHO provides several sorts of specialized services to other companies. The services provided can be “finishings” in different technical supports, weaving, printing, dyeing and making-up, managing all or part of the process, as requested by the customer.
The production for international well-known brands is the most important strategic business for the company. Nowadays each market, each brand and each client has its specifications, that is why LAMEIRINHO is constantly investing in Design and Innovation, in order to keep on adding value to the business. At an early stage LAMEIRINHO simply reproduced the designs of our customers and industrially produced their collection.
At this moment with the information and knowhow that LAMEIRINHO has of the various markets and trends, it creates concepts and design proposals for the customers’ brands … this added value and its constant monitoring has been the key to success!
With great experience in this area, LAMEIRINHO has come to surprise with the enlargement of the range of products and the level of flexibility in MOQ’s, as well as delivery times. The home textile products for the Contract area have very specific requirements, and the company is able, through its laboratory, which is part of the Quality Department, to test and guarantee the customer the degree of resistance to washing of fabrics for Hotels, Restaurants and Hospitals. Our offer range goes from bedding, tableware, bath and spa articles.
Lameirinho is one of the leading European Home Textile companies, owing to the perseverance of the Coelho Lima family, in creating and managing a customer oriented team, for over 68 years.
An unmatched interpretation of contemporary elegance, the continuous research for the ultimate product innovation and the highest level of quality are the key factors of the strong relationship we have with our customers.
Lameirinho’s capacity is nearly 5 million pieces per year, with a very large variety of fabrics: percales, flannels, yarn dyes, jacquards and high quality shiny and soft sateen’s. This range of products can be produced in 100 % cotton, but also in other fibres and blends.
The finishing of the fabric has always been of extreme importance for the company…the softness of the fabric makes all the difference! Our highly prepared technicians guarantee a first class product at all times.
As an international company with its high prestige based on quality, design and product concept, the work of Lameirinho’s creative staff (Design, Marketing and R&D) is based on research and trends evaluation. Nowadays each market is very specific and so are all the new ideas and concepts resulting from our daily quest to satisfy each and every customer. Dialogue is crucial but in order to achieve it, we must start by being good listeners. In such a tough and competitive environment, we consider each market an objective instead of a compromise, each customer an individual instead of a figure. This is our idea of Partnership.
Based on the experience in producing private label products for recognised customers worldwide, LAMEIRINHO also dedicates the business not only to its own brands such as LAMEIRINHO, ASA, HIERBA, HIERBA BARCELONA and HOME ATTITUDE, but also to the well-known licenses, such as PURIFICACION GARCIA (PG), ANTONIO MIRO and KARIM RASHID.
Closer Together or Further Apart? Within-Country Regional Disparities and Adjustment in Advanced Economies
By guest authors John Bluedorn, Zsoka Koczan, Weicheng Lian, Natalija Novta, and Yannick Timmer, with support from Christopher Johns, Evgenia Pugacheva, Adrian Robles Villamil, and Yuan Zeng from IMF International Monetary Fund
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