On Thursday 21st April, the Rotary Club of Hawick was welcomed at Scott & Charters Knitwear mill in Hawick by David Chapman, Sales Director, who gave the members a tour of the new purpose – built factory. This was a follow-on from David’s talk to the club in December 2019.
Today, combining the latest computer- controlled, fully-fashioned knitting machines (Shima) and 50- year- old conventional knitting machines (frames) with skilled hand-work, the company is thriving,. relying heavily on its skilled work force.
Having been run by the Charters family for three generations, the company was acquired in 2020 by Alex Begg of Ayr, another small Scottish manufacturer, which brought investment in services, equipment and employment.
In his tour David described all of the processes in great detail, starting with the types of yarn used, mainly cashmere, but also Merino lambswool and mixes such as cashmere/silk. At the heart of the factory is the knitting department with electronic machines from 3-needle to 18-needle, providing a varied range of gauges to meet customer requirements. Technicians handle the sophisticated computer programming and we were able to witness a simulation of a garment being knitted prior to the actual knitting process. As we moved through the factory we were introduced to the range of differing processes that make the garment from the actual knitting right through body linking, collar linking, hand sewing and finishing to the stockroom where the garments where folded, bagged and boxed ready to deliver to the customers.
Rotarians took the opportunity to ask questions of the various operators during the tour.
The firm has a really dedicated workforce and that is attributed to the culture of management and employees working together in a family atmosphere.
Today the company’s superb knitwear range is appreciated across the world with the US, France, Germany, Italy, South Korea, and Japan all important markets for its excellent garments.
President Scott Elliot gave a hearty vote of thanks having been duly impressed by the spaciousness of the new building and the dedicated workforce. The day concluded with an enjoyable lunch at Adam’s Kitchen. Iain Smith
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