‘Scholler system’ installed

Week of March 26, 2001

Truetzschler CEO succeeds
Whitener as ATMA chairman

By Devin Steele

Aboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship, Tim Whitener handed the official chairman's gavel to Kurt Scholler, who promptly charted the course of the American Textile Machinery Association (ATMA) for the near future.

"Our survival as an association depends on shifting and broadening the textile world in which we operate," said Scholler, during the organization's annual meeting, after he was elected to head the group for two years. "Our traditional textile world is in serious difficulties. ATMA is reacting and we are leading. The survival of many members is at stake."

Scholler, CEO of American Truetzschler, laid out his goals to members during the last business session. He explained ways in which ATMA is reacting and leading.

(Top) Harry W. “Buzz” Buzzerd (R), president of ATMA, addresses the group during its annual business meeting. Chairman Tim Whitener (L) and Clay Tyeryar, executive vice president/assistant treasurer, listen.

One of Scholler's top priorities is to re-create and re-position the American Textile Machinery Exhibition-International (ATME-I), the quadrennial trade show whose future status is in limbo after its April run in Greenville, SC. ATMA co-hosts the event with Textile Hall Corporation and negotiations to consolidate the show and determine its future locale are in the works.

"The goal is to make it an important international show, second only to ITMA," Scholler said. "That requires a consolidation of the show and it requires a show location that will attract an international audience. We want to accomplish this in cooperation with Textile Hall."

Secondly, he added, criteria for ATMA membership will be broadened, which will expand its base.

"As future ATME-I shows will mirror the Western Hemisphere's textile industry shifts and changes in geography and composition, so will ATMA mirror what is occurring in the supplier world," he said. "We do not yet know how far we will go with this membership expansion, but most certainly, substantial, single-company, U.S.-based interests of overseas operations will be part of ATMA in the near future."

Scholler supplied several companies as examples that will qualify under new criteria, firms that have made significant commitments to the U.S. textile industry.

The third pursuit of Scholler's administration will be to maintain and expand alliances, most of which will be customer directed, he said. Obvious partnerships will continue to occur between ATMA and such groups as the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, the American Yarn Spinners Association, state trade groups and other specialized organizations, he added.

Plus, as the world "shrinks," the representation and influence of ITMF, the International Textile Manufacturers Federation, has grown in prominence, he said.

"We actually have a good start in our participation with ITMF and relationships of understanding and appreciation with the leadership. Buzz and I are going to be acquiring many frequent flier miles in cultivating these alliances," Scholler added, referring to Harry W. "Buzz" Buzzerd, ATMA president.

An additional alliance track ATMA will pursue is within its manufacturing sector, capital equipment, he said.

"There is much to learn from basic manufacturing colleagues," he said. "For example, how do they manage the overabundance of standards that commonly apply to our products? And, do they outsource and where? What is their attitude toward the utility and future of agents? How are they coping with product liability? How do they manage the exhibition proliferation?"

Scholler also mentioned an example of an alliance outreach that has been approved by the ATMA board. The group's 2002 annual meeting will take place in conjunction with the Equipment Manufacturers' Association next year in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The two association's share a common executive staff and many of the members know each other through mutual councils, he noted.

"ATMA's support of U.S. textile alliances is going to be a major objective of this administration," Scholler said. "Whatever is the direction of the existing U.S. textile association alliance, we are going to be there, supporting them. It is important to generate alliances with peer companies, as well as customers, with the goal of expanding marketing opportunities.

"I must tell you that Tim and Buzz have done an especially good job for us with respect to this existing alliance. It seems altogether appropriate to me that the results of a successful new ATME-I and a broadened membership base also will bring new and closer ties with our customers."

STN Headliners

Week of March 26, 2001

In this week's edition:

Nonwovens show on tap this week

MIAMI BEACH, FL — Nonwovens, one of today’s “sexiest” textile sectors, takes center stage this week.

IDEA 01, the International Nonwovens Conference & Exposition, is set for Tuesday through Thursday at the Miami Beach Convention Center here.

Sponsored by INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, the event is the largest North American gathering of the industry this year and, as such, will attract more than 300 exhibitors.

Organizers say they are expecting more than 7,000 visitors.

Nonwoven fabrics are broadly defined as sheet or web structures bonded together by entangling fiber or filaments (and by perforating films) mechanically, thermally or chemically. They are flat, porous sheets that are made directly from separate fibers or from molten plastic or plastic film. They are not made by weaving or knitting and do not require converting the fibers to yarn.

Some of the more familiar products made with nonwovens are disposable diapers, sterile wraps, dryer sheets, personal wipes, insulation and envelopes.

Show hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday.

During the conference portion of the program, which runs each morning, attendees will learn about markets and trends for these end-uses: automotive, products for the home, filtration, medical, protective apparel, hygiene, wipes and construction/geotextiles.

Number of U.S. yarn spinners will continue to shrink: Loftis

By Devin Steele

CHARLOTTE, NC — Expect the number of yarn spinners in the United States to continue to dwindle, perhaps by as much as 25 percent over the next five years, according to Dan Loftis, president and CEO of spinning and winding machinery maker Schlafhorst, Inc., based here.

He made that prediction as guest speaker of the Carolinas Textile Club during its March meeting here recently.

“We believe that the number of spinners in the U.S. will continue to shrink and that the ones which remain will be modernized to the fullest extent possible,” said Loftis, who spoke on short-staple spinning trends in the U.S. and Canada. “This applies to all spinning technologies.”

The slow growth trend in ring spinning will continue, while rotor and air-jet spinning will likely “hold steady or possibly give way to each other from case to case, depending on whether the customer needs greater flexibility, ie. rotor, or high speed, ie. air vortex,” Loftis said.

“There will be fewer spinning plants than today simply because state-of-the-art spinning machines today are so much faster than traditional machines or even machines as young as 15 years,” he added.

That conclusion was based, in part, on various statistical data related to domestic spindles in use, he said. He pointed out that, from the end of 1997 to the present, the industry has seen a more or less steady number of ring spindles in the market, at between 4.7 and 4.8 million spindles. He admitted that, of the three technologies, ring is the most difficult to track, however. “We know where the new machines are going and what they are intended to spin, but we don’t have any good way to monitor older machines,” Loftis said.

Meanwhile, the number of rotor spindles has dropped sharply from 1997 to the present, he added. He attributed the reduction in part to the elimination of some old manual machines and some early-generation automated machines.

In the second half of last year alone, Loftis said, some 60,000 spindles were stopped. “We know this because most of them were our early generation Autocoro machines,” he said. “In a sense, this ‘correction’ was expected and probably overdue.”

Union ponders employee buyout of Pillowtex Corp.

KANNAPOLIS, NC — The Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE) is pondering the idea of an employee buyout of bankrupt Pillowtex Corporation.

The union in 1999 won an election of 5,000 employees in the Fieldcrest Cannon division of Cabarrus and Rowan counties of NC. A UNITE official said the union, fearful that more plant closings will occur as the company tries to emerge from Chapter 11 reorganization, has met with employees about the possibility.

The union has yet to meet with the company on the matter, according to Mark Pitt, co-director of UNITE’s Southern region.

Achievement Awards to be given

MIAMI BEACH, FL — Eighteen of the top suppliers and producers of nonwovens in the world were recently named as finalists in the inaugural IDEA 01 Achievement Awards.

The competition, co-sponsored by INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, and Nonwovens Industry, recognizes outstanding innovation that has helped advance the nonwovens industry since the last IDEA Show in 1998.

The winners of these prestigious awards will be announced during the opening keynote session of IDEA 01 on Tuesday at the Miami Beach Convention Center here.

Finalists were selected from dozens of nominations across six categories. The nominations were then submitted to a selection committee of industry experts from all aspects of the business, which narrowed the field to three finalists in each category. A seventh award — the IDEA 01 Lifetime Achievement Award — also will be presented.

Textrade.com introduces Net solution

NEW YORK CITY — Textrade.com Inc., an Internet-based global textile network, is introducing a new document management solution that enables companies to work in concert with their trading partners via the Internet, the company said.

Called TextradeOffice, the system allows trading partners to communicate more efficiently about the status of inbound and outbound shipments and share all documents relevant to the procurement process. The system also integrates different businesses’ existing information technology systems to create a private data network.

“What this means is that TextradeOffice eliminates the paper chase associated with international trade,” said Patrick Tan, Textrade’s Chief Technology Officer. “All import/export documentation from a company’s suppliers and customers is organized in a virtual folder that is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week from anywhere in the world. There’s no more calling customers for missing documentation. No more lost faxes.”