STOLL, the leading manufacturer of flat knitting machines, based in Germany, has been working with the African market for over 40 years. The company’s textile machinery has been a hit in Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, and Zimbabwe. The STOLL product portfolio comprises 3D knitting machines and knitting pattern software, for fashion and technical textiles.
Garment and leather shoe-manufacturing, along with cultivation of agricultural products (mainly coffee), are the main industries in Ethiopia. These industries are mainly driven by foreign investment. Stoll has been the first manufacturer of electronic flat knitting machines to supply two state-of-the-art CMS machines, along with two design software M1plus to the Textile Institute of Bahir Dar University. Education and training are the base for a positive future of the flat knitting industry in Ethiopia, according to Stoll.
The yarn trade between Kenya and Uganda made Stoll discover potential customers. Like in all East-African countries, school uniforms are a must for children and students. As such, flat knitted sweaters and cardigans are part of the equipment. Customers calculated quickly how much money they could save per year and, conclusively, the investment in computerised machines became cost effective. This is not limited to school students but also churches, hospitals, military and police sectors, and all government related industries that are in need of knitted sweaters.
Since 2018, Stoll has installed the first two CMS 530 HP machines in Ghana. A Catholic Diocese was able to realise this project with the support of a well-known German company. The diocese today is doing garment manufacturing as well as knitting sweaters. Getting the local technicians trained was a big challenge as they had no knowledge about knitting but, within a few weeks, they were ready to programme and knit.
Stoll has customers in Zimbabwe equipped with the latest CMS technology. These customers are moving on steadily, but it always takes time to get the money released. But they are confident that, with the new government, things will become easier in the future. (GK)