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New Montex stenter installed at Vaz da Costa

The new Monforts eight chamber machine is one of the largest in Europe, operating continuously at speeds of above 100 metres a minute.

16th May 2018

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Mönchengladbach


Portugal’s leading commission finisher Vaz da Costa has recently installed a new Montex stenter, despite some limitations on space for expansion at its Guimeraes plant. The town centre of Guimaraes has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2001, yet its suburbs have expanded significantly in the past half century and now the Vaz da Costa plant is surrounded by residential buildings, making further outward expansion near-to impossible.

The site is currently dyeing and finishing around 100,000 metres of fabric daily and has expanded its commissioning services to customers in France, Spain, Belgium and Germany in recent years. These exports now account for around 20% of total commission finishing business. A second business involving the making-up, embroidery and packaging of high-end bed and table linen under the well-known Bovi brand also operates from the site, with a total combined workforce of around 180 people. Around 80% of these products are for export markets.

Vaz da Costa’s plant is on the outskirts of Guimaraes in Northern Portugal. The town’s centre has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2001. © A. Monforts Textilmaschinen GmbH & Co. KG

The new Monforts eight chamber machine, which has a working width of 3.6 metres and as such is one of the largest in Europe, operates continuously at speeds of above 100 metres a minute. It is equipped with a Mahlo weft straightening unit and a Benninger padder, in addition to a Monforts Ecobooster hear recovery system.


“We are currently in the middle of what is our biggest ever investment programme, although it’s pretty much an ongoing process,” said Amélia Marques, who joined the company, which was founded by her father, in the late 1970s. This was at a time when the company was struggling, as Portugal adjusted to democracy in the years following its Carnation Revolution of 1974.

With eight chambers machine and a working width of 3.6 metres, Vaz da Costa’s new Montex stenter is one of the largest in Europe. © A. Monforts Textilmaschinen GmbH & Co. KG

“You can imagine, it was not easy for a young woman to be introduced to the management of such a traditional company in Portugal back then, and my father had his own way of doing things, so there was some resistance to my ideas,” she added. Amelia was soon joined by her brother Francisco and her sister Isabel, however, and together the trio have successfully steered Vaz da Costa’s progression ever since. Today, Amelia’s son and daughter are also part of the management team as it moves to third generation family ownership.

Fine tuning

“There are always many adjustments to be made in fine-tuning such a machine,” said Fernando Araújo, of Maquicontrolo, the Monforts representative for Portugal. “It’s not just like buying a new car. There are so many challenges arising on a day-to-day basis.”

“The automation features on the latest Monforts machine certainly help to eliminate any chance of human error,” added Amélia Marques. “But there are so many parameters involved. The heating distribution, for example, is always challenging. Maintaining a consistent level can be difficult for so many reasons. It can be a question of the temperature in the plant changing rapidly, or the difference between how the machine has been cleaned from one shift to the next. There are lots of things you can’t see immediately and sometimes you only detect things after a problem has occurred. For this reason, I don’t think you’ll ever be able to fully automate a finishing line.”

The latest Monforts Qualitex 800 control system ensures automatic and continuous control of all parameters. © A. Monforts Textilmaschinen GmbH & Co. KG

The company is primarily finishing 100% cotton fabrics in wide widths, in the weight range of 130-200gsm, with very even conditions required for the squeezing.

Quality control

“Because we are in constant production, the emphasis is increasingly on quality control at the laboratory stage and we now have two fully equipped labs, where personnel has increased from a single person to eight people,” said Mrs Marques.

The ‘disc-o-clean’ unit on the new stenter carries out the automatic sieving and collection of dust from production. © A. Monforts Textilmaschinen GmbH & Co. KG

Following the installation of the new Montex stenter, Vaz da Costa is this year planning a further EUR 5 million investment programme, which will see a new warehouse building, away from the main site, but closer to the main motorway link. New bleaching and singeing units and a drum dryer are also to be installed and these will be built up at the former warehouse in order to minimise the time required for installation and commissioning.

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