Romatex is a leading manufacturer of stitch-bonded non-woven materials (also called stitchbond) in South Africa. Our facility in Cape Town has the capacity to produce two million square metres of this plastic-based sustainable textile every month – enough to keep 54 million plastic bottles out of South African landfills every year.
Although stitchbond is just one of the textiles that we manufacture, it’s a core pillar of the business. The stitchbond department is overseen by Helmut Hock, the general manager of operations at Romatex. He has been in the industry since 1980 and joined Romatex in 2004, so his wealth of experience and knowledge is invaluable to the business. Below, Hock shares some of his insights into the company and the industry at large.
Recent changes at Romatex
Hock’s daily responsibilities include oversight and management of the operations at Romatex. These include managing the output, quality and cost of production – a role that requires precise juggling of various factors. Under his supervision, Romatex produces world-class textiles for various end-uses.
There are two divisions within the company; the stitchbond division and homeware, which includes linen, pillows and other materials. The homeware division used to be the major source of income for Romatex, but in recent years, stitchbond has become accountable for around 60% of sales.
“Romatex has always been changing and reinventing itself. It’s part of the reason we still exist,” explains Hock. “In around 2009, the group restructured and we were ‘given’ four other companies to integrate into Romatex. That was huge. Our investments since 2017 – in retrospect, a lifesaver for a company with ageing capital equipment, was also a positive change,” he says.
These shifts were also spurred on by changes in consumer trends. “Moving away from single-use plastic, as the world is currently doing, has been a seismic shift in the right direction,” says Hock. The push for sustainability across all sectors has led to the recent demand for stitchbond and other sustainable textiles.
Why the investment in stitchbond?
The company’s recent focus has been on the manufacturing of stitchbond and growing this division as much as possible. “There is an overdue need to improve the physical environment. Our stitchbond, made from rPET, is part of the solution – one plastic bottle at a time,” explains Hock.
“Still, the single-use plastic replacement revolution operates in a tough space commercially, as the benchmark for the longest time had been extruded plastic, which is cheap. It required well-aimed investment to enable us to compete, even with Asia, which we now do,” he adds. Romatex is part of a growing number of businesses that proudly fly the ‘Made in SA’ flag.
Romatex has a family culture
What started as a small business in the 1960s has now expanded to a national supplier of textiles and homeware. However, Romatex still retains some of its core family values. “I have been, and still am, working with some amazing people. They continue to make a tremendous contribution (to the company),” says Hock.
The close-knit team really takes pride in their efforts and the success of the business. Hock makes specific mention of three areas that he takes pride in over the span of his career. “Firstly, getting the go-ahead for meaningful investments and making it work – great fun and not stressful at all,” he jokes.
“Secondly, seeing people develop; getting an opportunity and using it; and having played a small part in that is a good thought,” he says. “Thirdly, having been able to rack up over 40 years in the industry, being third-generation in textiles, has immense meaning for me,” he concludes. Hock is a core pillar at Romatex and his guidance has been key to the company’s recent growth and success. For more information on our various products and textiles, please contact us today.
Romatex has been a leading manufacturer and supplier of stitch-bonded non-woven materials and homeware for over 50 years. Romatex is a Level 2 B-BBEE company that is owned by Deneb Investments Limited, a subsidiary of Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI), which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).
Our head office is based in Cape Town but we have branches in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Free State. For more information about our products, please contact email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram for our latest news and industry insights.