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Bekaert Textiles expands R&D as business grows

Bekaert Textiles, a market leader in mattress and bedcover fabrics, is planning a number of expansions in several of its global locations. In addition to the future design and technology centre at the head office site in Waregem, Belgium, structural changes are also being made to the international establishments as a result of growth in the company’s business. Additional machinery is being installed in North Carolina, Mexico, Australia and Turkey and at the same t

22nd March 2010

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Waregem

Interiors, Industrial

Bekaert HQBekaert Textiles, a market leader in mattress and bedcover fabrics, is planning a number of expansions in several of its global locations. In addition to the future design and technology centre at the head office site in Waregem, Belgium, structural changes are also being made to the international establishments as a result of growth in the company’s business.

Additional machinery is being installed in North Carolina, Mexico, Australia and Turkey and at the same time, the Argentinean production of woven and knitted mattress fabrics is being moved to a larger site.

High Tech Innovation Centre

The Belgian Bekaert Textiles infrastructure is being tailored to the innovative course the company has been pursuing since 2006 and extra investments will be made worldwide in the field of Research & Development.

The international R&D team already successfully develops new product and process innovations, based on results provided by the Bekaert Academy, a competence centre performing scientific sleep research in cooperation with different universities. As of 2011, R&D achievements will continue in a specially adapted high tech location at the Waregem headquarters, featuring the most recent equipment.

Paul De Meulemeester“We are placing all our bets on the R&D card because of earlier achievements, including the awards we have won for innovations such as Purotex, Cambric and Meditiss.

By providing a specially adapted location for our R&D Department at headquarters, we want to stay ahead of the latest trends and evolutions in the field of sleep innovations, sharing them with our local R&D teams worldwide so each can implement the knowhow in its own market,” says Paul De Meulemeester, CEO and President of the Bekaert Textiles Group.

Worldwide growth

Bekaert Textiles was founded as a family business in 1892 by the West Flanders entrepreneur, Ivo Bekaert. After subsequent take-overs by the US-based W.R. Grace in 1970 and the Dutch Gamma Holding in 1992, the company developed into a global market leader with production units in 7 countries: Turkey, the Czech Republic, the United States, Mexico, Argentina, China and Australia, allowing Bekaert Textiles to quickly and adequately meet local market demand. The group’s headquarters are still located in Waregem, Belgium.

Almost 120 years after its creation, the Belgian textile company supplies woven and knitted mattress fabrics to mattress producers across the globe, with Europe as its key market and the main growth markets being the Americas, where it owns facilities in North Carolina, Mexico and Argentina. In 2004, the Argentinean Textiles & Diseños, a new and growing company located near Buenos Aires, was taken over and converted into a production and distribution centre of woven and knitted mattress covers for the South-American market.

There is now a pressing need to enlarge the Argentinean factory. Business is booming, making it necessary to enhance the current organisation. As a result, the Argentinean plant will move to a larger site, allowing a significant expansion in capacity.

Bekaert Textiles is also doing well in other market and extra machinery is being added to the plants in the US, Mexico and Australia. The recently established Turkish factory is also being expanded.

Bekaert offers a complete range of innovative products with new functionalities on all targeted markets, using the latest technology and creative designs. The company says all of these innovations are the result of the worldwide blend of technologies and ideas from the Bekaert Textiles innovation network, enabling Bekaert to offer the same quality and service throughout the world, fully tuned to local preferences and expectations. The Bekaert Group currently employs almost 1000 people.

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