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What I learned about the carpet manufacturing industry

This week my friend invited me over to his factory in Ipoh to learn about a whole new business. The business of carpet manufacturing.

This factory I went to has been there for like 40 years or so passed down from his father to him. In a few months time he’ll be moving into a new factory with really nice facilities but I’m glad I managed to visit this one before he moved.

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To see where the business was conducted out of for the past 40 years or so.

This is the raw product that he receives from suppliers. Wool.

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He then has people that takes this wool and then turn it into ball yarns like this.

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Once that’s done it’s all stored.

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All with different colours to cater to different designs.

Now comes the hard part.

A projector is used to guide the skilled worker to design the carpet.

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Each different colour in the heat map above is marked by a different number to indicate a different colour that goes with the design.

Once the initial part is done it’s hung up on the wall like that.

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The workers then use these gun-like equipment to shoot through the yarn to form the patterns of the carpet.

Until it becomes something like this.

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My friend’s company supplies carpets to palaces, hotels, homes or offices all around the country. I always thought that most of these carpets just come off some kind of conveyor belt in a factory but actually they’re all hand-made (with the help of some equipment). It takes a lot of work and about 3 months to train a worker on how to do the job before he or she can actually do it.

This is close to the end product of the carpet..

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The worker in the blue shirt is using some kind of shaver to create the different gradients that we see in a carpet. Looks like a pretty stressful job to me since a mistake or so could really mess up the entire piece that went through the previous process.

The carpet industry in Malaysia is a challenging one though. The challenges faced are competition from the cheap supplies of China to competition from wood floors or vinyl floors that are easier to maintain and repair.

Carpets though have its strengths. It makes a bedroom feel a lot more cosy and it helps to absorb noise of say high heels walking in a public place.

With all the challenges in the business though there must be some reason (apart from money) that motivates my friend to work. So I asked him what is the thing that satisfies him the most about this business and he said that the carpet is normally the last thing that is put into a room after renovation. Once you put in what seems like the last piece of the puzzle, the room looks very very different than what it looked like before… and complete.

Before we left Ipoh, my friend brought me to the site of his new factory.

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A much bigger and nicer place where his carpets of the future will be made.


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