By Yelena Kopylova
Belarus’ largest knitwear manufacturing company has begun technical modernisation. It’s good news for customers, since domestically produced knitwear is likely to become even more fashionable, following the latest trends.
Despite Belarus having many specialised factories, Pinsk’s Polesie is the most famous for Belarusian knitwear, being the largest in the CIS. Only four such firms operated in Soviet times: two based in Russia, and Latvia and Belarus having one each. However, after the USSR’s collapse, only Polesie, in Belarusian Pinsk, survived, thanks to state support.
In recent years, the Polesie firm has been losing female customers, although knitwear for men and children has remained popular. Using equipment from the 1960s, it was difficult to produce garments to suit the latest fashions, inspiring women to shop elsewhere. Now, twelve new German flat-knitting machines have been installed, allowing the factory to update its designs.
“Our customers will be able to enjoy absolutely new designs, weaves and patterns of knitwear,” stresses Polesie JSC’s Director, Maria Dubrovskaya. The new equipment is already used by many European manufacturers. “We’ve purchased Italian yarn for the new machines, which differs from ours in composition, softness and surface characteristics. Our new products will boast not only modern designs but will be of an absolutely different appearance.”
The difference between the equipment of the past and present is huge. For example, the 1960s machines require manual adjustment for each model, which can take up to ten days. Modern, computerised equipment takes only a few seconds to ‘read’ all the information from an e-carrier and adjust its programme. One and the same machine can knit simple and complicated patterns using different techniques, combining various colours and thicknesses of yarn; previously, this was impossible.
New knitwear is already being appreciated at Russian fairs, with the factory establishing contacts with about fifty new partners, who are keen to sell its manufactures in Russian shops. Polesie plans to further update its equipment; by 2012, a new batch of ‘smart’ machines should be in place, including unique tools produced by a German firm especially for Polesie.