A French solution for a Belgian dyehouse success story

PARIS, 01-12-2011

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Escotex dyeing machines

Escotex is a family owned commission dyehouse located in Deinze in the center of the important Belgian carpet industry cluster. Specialized in the dyeing of loose stock fibers, the company has developed over the years a close partnership with French machinery manufacturers to offer their customers the best efficient service.

Escotex was established in 1958 by Pascal van Brabandt, the father of today’s owner and CEO, Philippe. The name, Escotex, mixes the initial location, which is near Gand along the Escaut river (Esco) and its industry, textile (tex).
In 1972, they moved to Deinze in the valley of “la Lys” river in order to be in the middle of the Belgian carpet industry cluster. In 1979 Philippe, who was only 19 years old, joined the company and has been helped since 1983 by his wife Luce.

This short reminder of the company history explains how the company and its owner-manager personal life are completely linked together. Philippe Van Brabandt, even though he spends most of his working time solving technical problems to give a personalized service to his customers, has a long term approach in the definition of his company strategy.
He is not looking only for short term profits but to give the best possible service to its customers and behave in a responsible way for its community and environment.

The only way for the Belgian carpet industry to survive in the global competition is to be creative, to offer quality goods and services at competitive prices. Escotex has been designed and redesigned to offer their customers the possibility to adapt themselves to the market permanent new requests. The success of Escotex can be measured by their growth in the good years and their resilience during two past years when local business and activity were really in a deep crisis. It can also be measured by the fact that if about 60% of the activity is within the local cluster, about 40% is exported outside Belgium.

The carpet industry needs to offer many designs, requiring by consequence many different colours, sometime in very small quantities. To manage and finance the raw material need a very fast and reliable network of suppliers. Escotex strategy is to respond to these customers’ needs.

Escotex main activity is to dye loose stock fibers in a very short time, only a couple of days, with complete colour reproducibility and at a competitive price level.
In order to reach these goals, Philippe van Brabandt has developed a long-term partnership with two French textile machinery manufacturers, which have been working together to propose a complete solution for his dyeing process, Callebaut de Blicquy and Rousselet-Robatel.

The first step is to find the best recipe for each new colour. Callebaut de Blicquy have designed a unique laboratory dyeing machine with a hydraulic dyeing circuit equivalent to the one of production machines. Once a recipe is defined in laboratory, it can be fully reproduced in the production process, again and again.

The second step is to have a cost competitive, reliable, production process for fast response, with minimum labour intensity. Escotex dyeing house has been designed to reach this goal.
When receiving the raw material, the bails are opened by a machine also manufactured by a French machinery manufacturer, Laroche.

Then by pneumatic transportation, raw materials are fed into a press manufactured by Callebaut de Blicquy in order to prepare the “cake”. Callebaut de Blicquy have developed a unique technique of high density cakes which gives a better color uniformity with very low liquor ratio and by consequence low consumptions of water, energy and auxiliaries products. The cake is prepared in a specially designed carrier suitable for high cake density. The carrier is then handled to the dyeing vessel. When the dyeing process is achieved, the cake is removed from its carrier, then it is broken and fibers sent through a continuous centrifuge to be hydro extracted prior being sent to the dryer. The unique continuous centrifuge has been specially designed for the textile industry by Rousselet-Robatel, a world leader of centrifuges for many different industries. Over 10,000 of their centrifuges are in use worldwide. Rousselet-Robatel is the only manufacturer offering such technique for textile products, the main advantage being to deliver fibers with very regular moisture content to the next step, the dryer, in a fluffy shape which authorizes a better yield to the dryer compared to traditional process. After drying, fibers are sent to a bailing press which prepares new bails of dyed fibers ready to be shipped to the customers’ carpet mills.

All this process is highly automated and although Escotex are able to dye between 20 to 25 tons per day, only 9 workers are employed in this complete process. Concerning a night shift to increase production volumes without investing in any additional machinery, Philippe Van Brabandt does not intend to go into such strategy because he thinks it could deteriorate the quality his customers have been used to. Even more, he always wants that production process stops on Friday around noon to completely clean the workshop and to fine tune all the machines in order to get the factory ready to start the following week in perfect condition.

Philippe van Brabandt is always thinking about other strategies, including a very similar new production line for the finishing of technical textiles. Of course, he is working on these new projects with his long-term partners.
These partners are both working with him for the success of his long-term strategy and his daily problems.


French Textile Machinery Manufacturers'Association
58, avenue de Wagram
75017 PARIS
Tél.: +33(0) 4 69 31 02 82