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Rapier maintenance training at Milliken supported by UKFT’s Young Textile Technician Fund


Liam Booth, aged 23 and an engineering apprentice, and Josh Robinson, aged 29 and a loom technician (pictured below), have both received in-depth training on Dornier rapier weaving machines at Milliken & Company in Bury, with support from UKFT’s Young Textile Technician Fund.

Josh Robinson at Milliken: UKFT's Young Textile Technician Fund

The two young textile technicians completed the training with Allertex at Milliken’s factory to provide a full overview of the machines including shed settings, rapier maintenance, rack wheel settings, dialogue panel II menu navigation, back-up of dialogue panel II and testing of colour selectors on dialogue panel II.

Liam Booth at Milliken: UKFT's Young Textile Technician Fund

Liam Booth (pictured above) has been with Milliken for four years and his role is focused on the electrical and electronic operations of looms. He predominantly works on other types of looms but this training means he can now work across the rapier machines, alongside the two other electricians on site.

He said: “The training was really helpful to look at the mechanical side of what the rapiers do. Since that training, Milliken has also sent me on a three-day training course to Dornier in Germany to get a full understanding of what the rapier does. We stripped it back down and rebuilt one which is really useful experience in my day-to-day role.”

Josh Robinson has been with Milliken for almost eight years, starting in a multi-operative role and moving into weaving before becoming a loom technician last year.

“This training gave me a good overview of the Dornier looms we use and the various shed settings, rapier maintenance and lubrication,” said Josh. “Our loom technicians work across three different loom types but this gives us much more flexibility across the various options. Now I am much more comfortable with preventative maintenance which is essential in the types of textiles we produce.

“We are very particular about quality as we are producing life saving devices – the tolerances are very strict and 100% is required of the fabric.”

Paul Blomfield, senior process engineer at Milliken & Company, said: “This type of training has become even more important for us, as recruitment for the right calibre of people with the right skills externally is a challenge. We have had to accelerate our training plans and promote internally so by using courses by experts like these, we’re ensuring our technicians understand the right processes and have that essential knowledge.”

The Young Textile Technician Fund will cover 50% of the costs of in-depth training for young textile technicians, thanks to the generous support of The Worshipful Company of WeaversThe Worshipful Company of Clothworkers and The Worshipful Company of Drapers.

The Young Textile Technician Fund is now open to businesses applying to train textile technicians under the age of 30. To find out more, email paula.mcilwraith@ukft.org