Phil Millar with his new machine at Creative Apparel

Stockport-based screen printing company Creative Apparel has landed a £10,000 grant from the Stockport Sustainable Business Challenge for the installation of an automated screen-cleaning and de-coating machine.

The machine is forecast to save £6,800 a year, as well as 378 cubic metres of water, 600 litres of solvents and chemicals, and four tonnes of carbon.
“The new machine is a great addition to our production facility and one that we would not have been able to invest in without funding from the Stockport Sustainable Business Challenge,” says managing director Phil Millar. “By introducing an automated system we have cut the manual labour needed for cleaning and de-coating by 95%, reduced health and safety risks, and improved our resource efficiency.

Creative Apparel has also been awarded another grant, this time for £56,000, from the Business Growth Hub’s Textiles Growth Programme. “Thanks to the Business Growth Hub’s support we expect to create an additional 15 jobs and increase our turnover significantly over the next four years,” said Phil. “We are looking forward to receiving more support in future to help identify other ways we can improve our efficiency.”

Andy Wood, textiles adviser at Greater Manchester Business Growth Hub, comments: “Firms such as Creative Apparel are not only a huge boost to the regional economy, but play a key role in the UK supply chain as a whole. The journey from fibre to finished product is often a lengthy one, more notably so than in other sectors. It is therefore crucial that we are able to support businesses that form part of this process, maintaining the momentum of a chain of events that often last for several months or years.”

Creative Apparel currently employs 31 staff at its 24-hour operation, and has recently launched a rhinestoning operation.