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Feltex Carpets Limited - Manager, Bell Road plant

Robert Larsen
Manager, Bell Road plant
Feltex Carpets Limited

Speech Notes
Bell Road Expansion
12 November 2003

Thank you Sam, and good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I would also like to welcome you all here, on behalf of the staff of the Bell Road plant.

I don’t want to take up a lot of your time, especially as you will be getting the opportunity to tour the plant and see for yourselves first-hand what we do here, and the additional production lines we have just installed.

But in an expansion such as this – as in any large project – what you see as the end result might not convey the magnitude of the task undertaken.

Certainly, it has been a very challenging 18 months. Three production lines have been added, making the Bell Road plant, with seven production lines, the biggest spinning operation within the Feltex group and indeed one of the largest in the country.

The project was undertaken in two stages. Last year, two production lines were added, with the equipment for this stage coming from our Australian operation. The third line was put in this year with equipment from Europe. In total, the investment in new equipment has absorbed around $3 million, so this is a significant commitment by the company to this operation. As the Manager of this plant, I am very excited by the opportunities this presents.

To expedite such a project takes considerable tolerance from staff. I would like to take the opportunity here to thank them for their perseverance, diligence and hard work during what has been a very disruptive period. Thank you.

The net result of introducing the three additional production lines has been to increase the capacity of the plant from 45 tonnes a week to around 80 tonnes a week. Over 80 new jobs have been created as a result of the increased capacity, so obviously this project has been a benefit not only to us, but also to the community.

As part of this project, the company has also invested a further $1 million in expanding the dyeing operation at our Dannevirke plant, to cater for the increased capacity. An additional 10 jobs have been created there as well.

So as Ian said in his introductory comments, it has been a win all around.

You will be getting a tour of the plant, but for those of you who are not familiar with what we do here I might just take a moment to explain. We receive dyed fibre, mainly wool, from our Dannevirke plant. At Bell Road we put it through various processes, including blending, carding, spinning, twisting, wet finishing and winding. The yarn is then sent to Foxton for manufacture into tufted carpet. Some yarn is also sent to the company’s Melbourne plant for tufting.

Once again, thank you all for coming here and sharing this special occasion with us. I would now like to hand you over to our Mayor, John Terris.

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