Beginning her day at Leeds textile mill AW Hainsworth, the company that bought her own great-great grandfather’s textile firm in 1958, Her Royal Highness then came to Standfast & Barracks, touring the printer’s production facilities and offices.
Ben Naylor, group operations director of Sanderson Design Group, Standfast & Barracks’ parent company, told Printweek that the day had been hotly anticipated among staff.
“It was incredible. Everyone at Standfast & Barracks was really excited, and the visit itself went exceptionally well.
“She was engaged with everyone she spoke to, and was very keen to talk to everyone involved in the print process, so spent time in the design studio and operations areas alike.”
The princess, Naylor said, took an active interest in the factory’s printing tech, including traditional flat screen presses and a Durst Alpha 190 multi-pass printer, which Standfast & Barrack uses in conjunction with Dow’s Ecofast cationic cotton chemistry.
Ecofast-treated material, printed with pigment inks, has allowed the firm to cut water usage by 40 litres less water per metre compared to its digital reactive ink output.
This amounts to a saving of up to 80 litres per metre when compared to conventional fabrics.
Naylor said: “That’s really where we see very strong growth, and very much part of the sustainability efforts that we discussed with the princess.”
The majority of Standfast & Barrack’s production is now digital, and the company has a target of achieving Net Zero by 2030.
Naylor did not rule out additional investment with Durst to support these ambitions: “I anticipate us investing, but it is going to be driven by the market.”
The Princess of Wales’ visit also included a meet-and-greet with many of the firm’s younger staff, who are undergoing training with Apprenticeship Levy funds.
The firm has managed to put 25 graduates through its grad scheme, and has tens of staff undergoing Apprenticeship Levy-funded training, including nine on management training programmes.
Standfast & Barracks was founded in 1924.