From a 40-ton spreader to a tiny embroidery thread
Have you heard of spreaders? Neither had we before we first met Beatrice Björk. She is the CEO at the Swedish scaleup-company sfPORTEQ, whose spreaders are affecting our lives more than we know. And it’s done by the sustainability-book, being the main focus in every detail of their business. From the largest spreader to the tiniest embroidery thread in their workwear.
The container handling industry is the heart of global trade. Containers around the globe bring us all we need; food to our stores, Covid-19 vaccines as well as delivering emergency supplies to crisis areas. All items you can think of need transportation. It’s like invisible machinery, it just happens. sfPORTEQ is part of that big machinery. Their spreaders are used for lifting containers, placed between the container and the cranes. Making it possible to lift and safely move the containers. How cool is that?
– Did you know that if you take all the containers being used for transportation during one year, and place them in a row, you’d go around the world nine times! It’s amazing, says Beatrice Björk, CEO at sfPORTEQ,
Being a small company in a global market brings the pressure up.
– We can’t do what others have already done. We have to invent and improve all the time. One mistake can be a disaster for our reputation, we have to think about all the details, she says.
High demands on functional and durable Workwear
One prioritized task on Beatrice Björk’s daily to-do-list is sustainability. Every minute of her day. When she talks about sustainability, her voice speeds up and her enthusiasm shines through.
– When the UN announced the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, I felt so excited. To make sustainability efficient, and to have a chance to reach the Agenda 2030 goal, we need to take action, now!
The spreaders are designed with the environment in mind. They are as light as possible, reducing energy consumption during container handling operations. The industrial environment conditions in a container terminal are rough and, challenging. The spreaders have to function in every imaginable weather condition; from + 40 degrees in heavy rains, tropical storms, sandstorms to -40 degrees snowstorms all over the world. And so does the workwear when staff is on-site.
– The demands on our workwear are high. They are being used in a harsh environment. Such as when we work with a bulk terminal in Riga, transporting coal. The air is thick and heavy with coal dust and grease. You can’t even look through your glasses. Our workwear and all logotypes need to be in washable and durable fabric, to get all that off, says Beatrice.
sfPORTEQ searched the world for sustainable embroideries
Just as when sfPORTEQ searched the world for the best supplier to weld their spreaders, they did the same when looking for a sustainable producer with the best embroidery technique for their workwear and giveaways. And they found it. Close to home! In a town just a few hours away from their headquarters in Sweden.
– I was so happy when we found Coloreel and their technology for modern and sustainable embroidery. I was intrigued how they managed to keep the complete production- and garment life cycle in mind, says Beatrice Björk.
– Many producers offer the use of recycled polyester thread in embroideries, that’s nothing new. You need to look deeper into the full cycle of embroidery production if you want a sustainable solution.
She refers to how the Coloreel technology has no colored wastewater, and only produce what you use. That not only limits the polyester thread waste but also eliminates water pollution. Another win is that Coloreel offers a closed system for recycling color cartridges. Beatrice Björk also has high demands on safety.
– You can’t get stuck to things when working, that would be a danger for your life, she continues and refers to the many casualties happening every year in the industry.
To enhance safety, the Coloreel technique, unlike traditional embroidery production, has no redundant lock stitches or thread stumps on the backside of the embroidery.
Coloreel makes the impossible possible
The new possibilities brought by the Coloreel technology are endless, Beatrice thinks.
– It enables unique designs, we are all used to adapt and adjust our logos and prints to work in traditional embroidery production, now we have the opportunity and technology to do what we want!
Her embroidery dream would be to capture a beautiful moment from the container terminal on the back of a jacket.
– Just think about it. The skyline of a container terminal in the sunset, palm trees drifting in the wind, and there it is. A spreader in operation connected to a crane. It would be awesome! Like a high fashion Prada-vibe, says Beatrice with a smile.
To companies that are out looking for a sustainable embroidery partner, Beatrice highly recommends Coloreel.
– Be unique! Finally, we have a solution that enables us to bring all colors and patterns we want to personalize and customize our workwear and giveaways. For example, my name is embroidered as the color of the ocean. It’s all in the details, and Coloreel makes it happens, she says.
Japanese Illustrator Hitomi Morita was challenged to create a collection of t-shirt designs that showcased the strengths of today's leading embellishment technology with Coloreel’s instant thread coloring technology and Ricoh’s Ri-2000 DTG printer system.
Coloreel visited customer Shirtful at their main production facility in Castrop-Rauxel, Germany where they currently have Coloreel in operation.
We checked in with Joakim Staberg, the founder, and inventor behind the groundbreaking technology that is now elevating the textile industry to the next level. The journey of Coloreel started many years ago when Joakim had a revelation.