When we lived in Hoi An Vietnam, we started to discover workshops and small factories “off the beaten path”, dedicated to local crafts, dried fish and boat repair.
The rustic, visually interesting workshops were teaming with activity, and always delivered a memorable dimension to our discovery of our host country. (I call this “industrial tourism”, even though these are not set up or organized this way, but rather are the result of our curiosity and local hospitality. As I have worked in manufacturing in the aerospace and defense field in the past, I am always fascinated by industrial process and the making of stuff.)
Today, I am taking Peta on an “industrial date”. Let’s see what we discover…
We’ve driven our motor scooter past these gates many times before, near where I buy newspapers, at a little street side store. The large sign “Haileys” tells us this factory is part of the Haileys group, one of the largest conglomerates in Sri Lanka. Amongst other many industrial achievements, Haileys has become one of the world’s largest producers of coconut shell activated carbon, at a different location, which has a large range of applications (http://www.haycarb.com/).
This coconut shell carbon company accounts for over 16% of the global market share. The company has an annual capacity of over 42,000 metric tons of activated carbon. They manufacture a complete range of coconut shell derived, activated carbon for a full spectrum of applications in water treatment, air quality filters, food and beverage Industry, and energy storage. So basically a very eco friendly product.
However, the coconut shells are covered with a husk or fibre. What to do with all this husk and fibre, so as not to waste this material, but rather find productive uses for it?
Haileys have developed an entire market using the coconut fibers (http://www.hayleysfibre.com/). We are interested to find out what range of applications there are for this “coir fibre”. Will they give us an impromptu “tour”, or will we just be able to take a peek?
Let’s go in and find out…
We are warmly welcomed to look around, and the general manager is called to give us a look/see.
Rope making with coconut coir is of course nothing new in Sri Lanka. It has been a traditional craft for centuries. Everyone uses coconut husk string and rope for everything. It is sold in all the little hardware shops and the small mom and pop veggie stands.
Here is a short video to see what a traditional rural set up and processing looks like:
“Haileys Fibre” business takes this traditional craft to a whole new level. This is what the intersection of traditional craft and industrialization looks like, on the coast of Southern Sri Lanka.
Once the ropes are strung out, tied, they then get folded into individual bundles. Looking like giant size textured yarn skeins.
Here is an example of one of the “off the beaten track” visits to a factory fish drying factory: