13/03/2015 — auf Deutsch lesen
Alge Elastic: Room for new developments
'Collections change. What stays is the fascination.' This is the slogan with which Alge Elastic, from Lustenau in Austria, advertises itself and its products. With the construction of the new production hall in 2012 began a new era in the company's 90+ year history: new machines, new technologies, new product lines. The subject of this edition is elastic tapes and lace.
The company history of Alge Elastic begins in 1923 when the founder, Albert Alge, initially started making embroidery, for which this region was soon to become internationally renowned. In 1932 he recognised the enormous market potential for elastic tapes and braid. His son Kurt Alge had (or continued) the same entrepreneurial spirit and set the company on a course of steady expansion up until his death in 1999. Hanno Alge, Kurt Alge's son, is successfully continuing the tradition today as Managing Director. High quality, flexibility and a fascination with innovative product solutions are what set Alge Elastic apart. On a visit to the production facility in Lustenau, the visitor can sense the creative spirit and expertise in ribbon weaving.
International designers commissioned by Alge Elastic use the creative potential of this family business and are delighting customers all over the world with their innovative productions. As the market leader in elasticated tape, Alge Elastic supplies goods to 33 countries around the world. Current annual production?
The company says that "The elastic tapes that we produce in a year would circle the earth three times." In a fully integrated operation, this includes everything from production of the yarn to the final product. In Lustenau, all of the production stages are covered: warping, weaving with the latest, digitally controlled Jacquard machines, knitting, crocheting, dyeing and finishing, as well as post-treatment. This, says Hanno Alge, "makes us especially flexible, and we can also handle small quantities and customised products for our clients."
True to its slogan of offering an 'affordable luxury', the lingerie sector remains, as in the past, the most important aspect of the company's portfolio. Alge Elastic can therefore be found at all the important international trade fairs and on all the key markets with its trimmings for lingerie and underwear. Having its own dyeing works and its own recipes (all dyes are certificated to Öko-Tex Standard 100) means that it can provide any colour the customers want.
And having its own test laboratories protects the guaranteed high quality standard of the products. The ultra-modern and fully automated high bay warehouse ensures rapid and reliable delivery. That is how 85 percent of all headbands for ski goggles in the world are delivered on time to customers all over the world from this family business in Lustenau, in the Vorarlberg region of Austria. As a global player, it fulfils all the different performance requirements expected of it in its core lingerie and underwear business. Its many complete collections contain countless examples of crocheted tapes and lacework in natural or synthetic yarns – some matte, some lustrous but all with a special appearance and available in any colour one could possibly want. Used as hold-up bands (for hold-up stockings), for example, they ensure a perfect grip. Textile-makers, technicians, designers, buyers and quality control managers, not to mention the directors and owners, at leading companies around the world value the products of this major Vorarlberg tape manufacturer. Alge Elastic is among the most modern companies of its kind in Europe.
Its customers come not only from the underwear, lingerie, hosiery and sportswear sectors but nowadays also from the medical and motor industries. And why does all of this take place in Lustenau rather than in the Far East or even Mexico? Hanno Alge replies: "Here in the Vorarlberg, we have good employees and the right environment for our production operation. We are very keen to retain Lustenau as our manufacturing site and would like to continue to grow here. Our aim is for 50% of our production to be in lingerie/underwear and 50% other textiles." What these 50% other textiles from Alge Elastic might be, and what has already been achieved in the technical textiles sector will be revealed in our next issue.
The story of Alge Elastic begins in 1923. The founder, Albert Alge, initially started making embroidery, for which this region was soon to become internationally renowned. In 1932 he recognised the enormous market potential for elastic tapes and braid. Strength in innovation and a willingness to invest characterise the growth years of the 1940s and 50s. The operation was first extended in 1947, whilst in 1950 the company acquired the licence for the "Gold Zack" brand.
The purchase in 1954 of Austria's first power needle loom caused a sensation in the industry. In 1982, the company acquired the 'Vereinigte Bandfabriken' company in Hornstein, in the eastern Austrian state of Burgenland. In 1993, the Gold Zack licence passed into history. The new brand was called KURT's. In 1988, a major fire destroyed the entire factory and warehouse in Lustenau. In less than two years, a new and even larger factory was ready for operation, with all production under one roof for the first time. 2012 saw a further important milestone in the company's history, with the move into the new 4,000 m² production hall.