From tufting to turf Leigh Spinners are still manufacturing 100 years on
10:00am Thursday 19th September 2013 in NW
This week the Journal’s Sophie Arnold goes behind the scenes at Leigh Spinners, which is celebrating 100 years in the town
LEIGH Spinners' mill is still alive with the hustle and bustle of manufacturing – but now it makes a very modern product.
Artificial grass is an emerging market that is going from strength to strength, and the company has jumped in head first.
By adapting the tufting machines it used to make carpets, it is now one of five UK companies that make all weather sports pitches, multi-use play areas for schools and synthetic grass for domestic gardens.
Managing director John Morrison said: “Five years ago grass was in its infancy, it was rough and ready and only really suitable for sports purposes because it was quite abrasive and prickly.
“Since then it has gone through a massive change and it is a lot softer now, you can work in your bare feet on it.”
Huge machines sit in the echoing brick halls of the listed building, all dedicated to making the various plastic-based products that has allowed the factory to survive. John said: “It is tough competition at the moment.
“That is what hit us hardest in the carpet industry and that is what will happen with this because anyone that can tuft a carpet can make this with a little bit of common sense. It gets more difficult as the years go on to think of things, there is only so much you can do with tufting and unwoven machines.”
Even so, the company has made tennis courts that have been shipped to Iran and boules pitches that end up in Portugal but the domestic grass business has also taken off.
John said: “Artificial grass does look very real now.
“The younger generation are always too busy to cut the grass and if you’ve got kids they can’t play football on grass after it has rained but they can 10 minutes after it has rained on this.
“They can play all day on this and not come back covered in mud. Even chickens can’t scratch through it.”
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