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From sailmaking to concrete mattresses – meet Tecomatic’s sewing specialist Pelle Petersson

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Pelle Petersson works as Supervisor for the sewing department at Tecomatic. He began his career as a toolmaker after high school, but his great interest in sailing took him on to sailmaking where he gained his long and solid experience in sewing large textiles.

In 1987, Pelle started working at a large sailmaker in Smögen and later also ran his own sailmaker at home in Kalmar. After a long time abroad, Pelle returned to Sweden where he came into contact with Tecomatic through his old sailing buddies who had all been part of Tecomatic since its inception in the early 80s.

“I had plans to start up my sailmaker in Kalmar again when I came back from New Zealand. That’s what I had done there too. But when Tecomatic’s business grew and they contacted me about work management, I found that challenge more interesting.”

Tecomatic was in an expansive phase and needed to expand its resources specifically in sewing. There have been more and more orders and today Tecomatic has expanded its production premises to double, 1,800 square meters in two separate ships, which gives the opportunity to run double projects.

What attracted you to Tecomatic? “Torbjörn and Kristoffer, the founders of Tecomatic, they are my old sailing buddies. And Jonas, who is the production manager, previously worked at my old sail factory. He came to me as a 14-year-old PRAO student. Eva, who also works at Tecomatic, is an old elite windsurfer, so many of us have common interests that have helped us create such strong bonds. Me, Torbjörn and Kristoffer also owned a successful racing boat together a long time ago. And on that way it is.”

Over the years, Pelle has continued to alternate his sailmaking with racing and long-distance sailing in different parts of the world. He has also continued with his sailmaking on the weekends when there is time.

How is sailmaking different from sewing concrete mattresses? “Sailing is above all more detailed. But working with large pieces of fabric is the same and so is the equipment. Above all, how to work together, there I recognize a lot from the large sailmaker, to plan their time and personnel in the right way. You might start working on a project on Monday, which should then be ready already on Friday. The way there requires cooperation, and we are very well-connected here at Tecomatic. That is what makes us ultimately have such satisfied customers.”

The transition from sailmaking to concrete mattresses has challenged him technically and creatively. Being part of Tecomatic and leading their fleet has given him the opportunity to apply his skills and experience from the sailmaking profession to a whole new level. Pelle shares the challenges of the rapid growth at Tecomatic. Creating routines, adapting the workforce and developing a harmonious work environment has been part of the journey. He emphasizes the importance of working as a team and feeling satisfied when successfully completing a project on schedule, no matter how complex the projects may be.

“We are really working in the right direction and it is fun and satisfying to contribute to a company that is growing so much. If you’re a bit of a competitive person, like myself, it’s always fun to go through the week and see that you can do it. It can be quite tough at times and difficult to keep up with, but then you feel extra satisfied on Friday when everything is completed and the textiles can be transported out to our various projects over the weekend.”

The sewing is part of a longer production chain and it is therefore particularly important to stick to the schedule. When a concrete mattress is ready-made, it is sent on to the project where it is to be filled with climate-compensated green concrete, which is carried out by experienced divers on site. And only when a concrete mattress is in place can the next piece of fabric be measured, which is then drawn in CAD before it goes to the sewing machine.

“It would be a dream if you could plan production more. Imagine if you knew what to do next month. We know roughly, but it can be a challenge to plan for a longer period of time. When sewing comes into the picture, there is often an idea of ​​how you want it. But nothing is certain. That’s what makes it fun too, and you feel very satisfied when you’ve done something complex and you feel like you’ve succeeded. It’s very rare that you hear that we don’t succeed, and that’s thanks to an experienced teamwork that took a long time to develop.”

How do you think the industry will develop? “What we do is so unique, that we make custom-made concrete mattresses and environmental curtains that we complete in our own premises. Right now there is a lot to do and we have a good customer base with large construction companies, state and municipality, as well as the consultants who know that our solution will be cost-effective and good for the environment.”

Read more about how Tecomatic manufactures concrete mattresses and environmental curtains here: Sewing & manufacturing

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