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Business / New technology boosts Shetland knitwear firm

Garry and Peter Jamieson. Photo: Ben Mullay

A PROJECT to increase capacity and productivity by using innovate technology at a commercial woollen mill on Shetland’s Westside is now up and running.

Family-owned business Jamieson’s operates from Sandness and has invested in the latest Shima Seiki knitting machine that uses Computer Numerical Control (CNC) technology – a process that uses computerised machines for creating knitwear.

The firm has been awarded £33,600 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) for the project, which enables ‘whole garment’ products to be knitted to speed up the production process.

The new machine will be used to produce plain knitted garments, meaning linkers can be diverted to work exclusively on the more skilled task of finishing Fair Isle garments.

Jamieson’s Spinning buys Shetland wool and completes all stages of production at the mill before turning it into Shetland yarn in five different weights and more than 400 colours.

The in-house production employs over 30 staff in the spinning mill with further staff employed at its retail outlet in Lerwick.

The new knitting machine will enable the company to increase production by approximately 3,000 units per year, equating to around £126,000 of sales.

Manager Garry Jamieson said: “Sales of both our knitwear and hand knitting yarns have been growing steadily for the past 20 years.

“With HIE’s support we have been able to invest in newer technology like this Whole Garment machine, adding to the eight older CNC machines we current use to produce knitwear.”

Katrina Wiseman, HIE’s area manager, said: “We are very pleased to support this project as we recognise the importance of increasing productivity to allow business growth, particularly in international markets. This will also support the retention of jobs, and also families in Shetland’s Westside.”

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