NCTO annual meeting

May 23, 2005

Renewed optimism? Trade group upbeat at DC meeting

By Devin Steele

WASHINGTON, DC —A newfound sense of optimism seemed to pervade the second annual meeting of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), which concluded here May 19.

Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez addresses members of the NCTO, including Andy Warlick, CEO of Parkdale Mills, Inc., Gastonia, NC.
Photo by Devin Steele

About 50 members met with purpose and resolve inside the Beltway, and many were rather upbeat about prospects for a healthier domestic textile manufacturing base.

Less than two weeks after voting to formally support the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), NCTO delegates saw a few positive signs emerge during their annual meeting, particularly as it relates to the Bush Administration’s addressing industry’s concerns:

• NCTO President Cass Johnson, along with representatives of the National Cotton Council and other groups that have endorsed DR-CAFTA, met President Bush at the White House on May 17 to discuss the trade deal;

• Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez spoke to the group during its dinner program that night;

• U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman met privately with NCTO board members early that evening to bring them up to date on three issues of industry concern with the DR-CAFTA; and

• the U.S. government announced earlier that day that it would impose safeguards on four more textile and apparel product categories of China imports, five days after approving three safeguard cases.

“If you think we’re making progress now, just imagine what could happen,” said Allen Gant Jr., outgoing NCTO chairman and president and CEO of Glen Raven, Inc., Glen Raven, NC, telling members at the conclusion of its business session. “What I’m suggesting to you is that if this industry finds a way to get closer together and stand together on strategic issues and we’re prepared to do the heavy lifting, I think the sky’s the limit.

“We’re the only ones who stand in the way of our coming together with Congress and the administration to make this industry much, much, much stronger than it is today. Now, we can choose to walk through that door or we can choose not to.”

On hand for the meeting were representatives of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC) and the National Textile Association (NTA), two groups that oppose the DR-CAFTA and expressed disappointment that NCTO had voted to endorse the pact.

“We asked them to be here because we want everybody to understand what’s at stake by not being on the train with us,” Gant told STN.

But it will take more than just one disagreement to keep the allied organizations at odds, according to Auggie Tantillo, executive director of AMTAC.

“We are continuing to work together on as many issues as possible,” Tantillo said. “China obviously is a significant one, where we see completely eye to eye.

Audience members listen to a presentation during the general business session.

“I believe we’ve accomplished a lot over the last two years,” he added. “We’ll continue to keep that in mind. On CAFTA, we’ll go our separate ways, but it is important for us to try to find a common ground on those other issues.”

Likewise, Karl Spilhaus, president of the NTA, called NCTO members “friends” and said his group plans to continue to work with them, despite differences on the trade deal.

“This is why there are different organizations, because you’re going to have different interests,” he said. “Our position has been consistent on CAFTA since the deal was finished, and we haven’t seen anything to convince us to change it. CAFTA is a back door for a hell of a lot of Chinese fabric and hitting right at our members’ interests.”

Strides the groups have made together cannot be overlooked, he added. “I give Allen Gant and NCTO a lot of credit for what they’ve accomplished on the safeguards,” Spilhaus said. “You can’t take that away from them.”

Noticeably absent from the proceedings was Roger Chastain, CEO of fabric maker Mount Vernon Mills, Greenville, SC, one of the dissenters on the DR-CAFTA vote who resigned from the NCTO board after the decision.

NCTO concluded the meeting with a full day of Congressional lobby appointments on Capitol Hill.

The council also issued a release at the end of the meeting indicating that several other industry organizations have jumped on board with the DR-CAFTA.

NCTO Vice President Missy Branson updates members on various trade issues.

The coalition, said to represent more than $100 billion in annual U.S. textile sector production and sales, includes the NCTO and the NCC, along with the American Fiber Manufacturers Association (AFMA), the American Textile Machinery Association (ATMA), the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) and INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry.

Despite concerns over several “troublesome” provisions in the agreement, the groups said they urge the U.S. Congress to endorse DR-CAFTA without delay, to “make available its broad array of export benefits for the American textile sector as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, AMTAC, NTA and two other groups representing the industry and organized labor issued a release reiterating their opposition to the DR-CAFTA.

Calling the proposed deal, “a job killer just like NAFTA,” AMTAC, NTA, UNITE HERE and the Domestic Manufacturers Committee of The Hosiery Association (DMC-THA) urged Congress to defeat DR-CAFTA and “prevent its loopholes from destroying a substantial portion of the U.S. textile industry’s exports to Central America and the Dominican Republic.”

In his remarks to the group, Gutierrez applauded NCTO for its “courage” and “foresight” in endorsing the DR-CAFTA and said the administration recognizes that support.

“Your support of CAFTA comes at a crucial time,” he said. “As you know the president has expressed his commitment to free and fair trade. This is a difficult time for free trade because it’s something that we know needs to be managed. And we know that long term it’s needed. Opening up markets and promoting free enterprise and competing on the basis of ideas and innovation is the kind of future that we’d like to see.”

The administration is “extremely serious about pursuing your concerns,” he added. “I believe that we’ve built a foundation for trust and cooperation. We don’t take that lightly. We want to continue to build on that.”

Regarding his meeting with Bush, Johnson said he was struck by his passion on the DR-CAFTA issue.

“He talked about security concerns,” he said. “He talked about the importance of nurturing these emerging democracies. It was clearly heartfelt. In fact, he said, ‘I know I say that a lot of things are important, but this one is very, very important to me.’ ”

Textile News Index


Trade matter

May 23, 2005

Government OKs China safeguards on seven products

WASHINGTON, DC — In rulings five days apart, the U.S. government approved a total of seven safeguard cases against China-made textile and apparel products.

On May 18, the Bush Administration imposed safeguards on four categories — manmade fiber trousers, manmade fiber knit shirts, woven shirts and combed cotton yarn. Those threat-based cases were filed by industry groups in October.

Less than a week earlier, safeguard measures were announced on three apparel categories — cotton trousers, cotton knit shirts and underwear — that represent more jobs in the domestic textile industry than any other.

A self-initiated review was begun in April by the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA), an interagency panel chaired by the Commerce Department.

“For the second time in a week, this administration has acted to save thousands of textile jobs that are at immediate risk from subsidized Chinese imports,” said Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO). “As a result, thousands of our workers will rest easier tonight knowing their jobs are no longer at risk from China’s unfair trade practices. This industry again expresses its sincere grateful for the unprecedented speed with which the government has acted.”

According to the U.S. Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA), through April, the volume of U.S. imports from China had surged:

• 287 percent in manmade fiber trousers;

• 364 percent in manmade fiber shirts;

• 293 percent in non-knit shirts;

• 78 percent in combed cotton yarn;

• 1,505 percent in cotton trousers;

• 1,346 percent in cotton shirts; and

• 347 percent in cotton and manmade fiber underwear.

“The unprecedented surge of Chinese imports imperiled tens of thousands of jobs, leaving the U.S. government no choice but to act,” Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC). “Anticipating China’s surge, the U.S. textile industry began pursuing threat-based safeguards on these categories in the summer of 2004. These safeguard approvals validates that work.”

With approval of the safeguards, the growth of Chinese exports to the United States will be limited to 7.5 percent when the U.S. government sends China an official diplomatic cable requesting consultation on this matter.

The United States and China then have 90 days to consult and try to reach an agreement on limiting the growth of Chinese exports to the United States in these categories. If no agreement is reached, the U.S. can maintain the 7.5 percent growth limit through the end of calendar year 2005.

“This fast action by the government saves U.S. jobs,” Johnson said. “Given the enormous surge from China — more than 1,500 percent in cotton trousers — China would have caused enormous U.S. job losses if the government had not made a quick decision. Based on current Chinese export trends, Chinese quotas could have been as much as 19 times their 2004 trade levels if the government had not moved quickly.”

“Unfair trade practices like export tax rebates, non-performing loans, currency manipulation and other subsidies fuels China’s export surge,” Tantillo added. “Failure by the U.S. government to discourage these practices would make a mockery of America’s free markets.

The U.S. textile industry six other additional safeguard cases pending on other critical categories, Tantillo said.

“We urge the U.S. government to approve them under the fastest timetable allowed by the safeguard procedures,” he said.

“The U.S. textile industry has been reviewing the data of U.S. imports from China in other categories,” he added. “Several of them are ripe for safeguard filings and the U.S. textile industry will act soon.”

The National Cotton Council also applauded the ruling.

“The decision to utilize safeguards is authorized by the agreement, appropriate under the circumstances, and should enable the U.S. textile industry to better adjust to this competition,” NCC President and CEO Mark Lange said. “While the safeguard authority is temporary and is based on current levels of trade, it is an important tool the administration can use to help improve the trade imbalance that currently exists in textiles and apparel.”

Textile News Index


Equipment supplier

May 23, 2005

GTP/Picanol Open House: ‘Quite a show’

By Mac Isaacs

GREENVILLE, SC — As the GTP/Picanol Open House drew to a close here on May 12, a textile executive was overheard telling another: “This was quite a show.”

More than 200 people attended an open house at GTP/Picanol on May 12 in Greenville, SC. Presenters at the event included (L-R) Phillip Gilliland, manager of quality, GTP Greenville Accessories Div.; Jan Laga, vice president, weaving machines & services, Picanol Group; Jim Thomas, president, GTP Greenville; Patrick Steverlynck, chairman, Picanol Group; and Jan Maes, international sales manager, Picanol Group.
Photo by Mac Isaacs

Attendees gathered in a large room at GTP Greenville, and learned from Jim Thomas, president, GTP Greenville, that they were sitting in a room where Steel Heddle once turned out 45,000 quills and 4,000 shuttles each day.

How times have changed. While Steel Heddle now operates as part of GTP Accessories, it concentrates its manufacturing efforts on heddles, drop wires, dents and reeds.

It has been the constant change in the industry that has demanded innovative strategies, according to Patrick Steverlynk, chairman of the Picanol Group. The grandson of the company’s founder said, “We must be open to collaboration, and we must consider alliances that span from machine manufacturer to weaver. It was in this respect that we founded GTP (Global Textile Partner) and acquired Steel Heddle. Today we employ 300 people in Greenville.”

The Picanol Group consists of two divisions: Technologies; and Weaving Machines & Services.

Jan Laga, vice president of Weaving Machines & Services, said his division includes the entire sales process, using the CRT system — Customer Relations Teams. The division also handles after market sales and support. The Weaving Machines & Services Division markets six weaving machines in two insertion types — air jet and rapier.

The company manufactures machines in three locations:

• in Ieper, Belgium (also company headquarters), Picanol manufactures the GamMax rapier machine, introduced at ITMA 2003, and the new OMNIplus 800 air jet launched at the May 12 event;

• at the Gunne, Germany, facility, the company manufactures the OMNIplus TC air jet for tirecord and the TERRYplus air jet for terry toweling; and

• in China, the company produces what Laga calls mid-level machines — the GTXplus rapier and the Olympica air jet.

That more than 200 people attended this event is indicative of a number of factors:

• the industry in the U.S. is not dead;

• those who have survived crave new technology; and

• the U.S. textile industry has a deep respect for Picanol machines.

And it was clear that the main drawing card for the crowd of textile men and women was the OMNIplus 800 air-jet weaving machine. Jan Maes, longtime international sales manager for the Picanol Group, provided the details.

The machine, based on the past, is clearly built for the future. The past, according to Maes, capitalizes on Picanol’s 25 years of air-jet technology experience and expertise and capturing the major features of the OMNIplus — introduced in 2000. The future, Maes said, is the machine was built with three goals — speed, quality and flexibility.

Visitors watch the wide OMNIplus 800 air-jet weaving machine producing a sheeting fabric during the GTP Greenville/Picanol open house.
Photo by Mac Isaacs

And the three roads toward these goals are — performance, quality and modularity.

“We have designed this machine to serve all segments from the mass producer to the high-end players, from the small to the big-sized plant,” Maes said.

The robust machine is blue and gray instead of the traditional Picanol green. You can weave up to 160 in. in width, a 15 percent increase over previous models.

“We have paid real attention to tubing and cabling,” Maes said.

The machine comes with Picanol’s SUMO motor, of which 60,000 are operating in the market.

Flexibility is a key to the new machine. It has a harness-driven modular design. The cambox, dobby and jacquard are all interchangeable, should future requirements change. It can operate with single- or double-loom beams. A top beam can be added if needed for styles containing ground warps. The selvage device is independently driven. Mechanical or air tuckers can be added.

Picanol was the first company to include a microprocessor on its weaving machines. And its experience and expertise clearly show on this machine. The electronic and pneumatic controls are ergonomically placed on the insertion side of the machine.

Picanol does not introduce new technology to the market frivolously. And its experience with the launch of the OMNIplus 800 was no exception. The company ran trials for one year at four plants on 14 machines in eight executions. And in most cased, data could be compared to older OMNIplus machines.

Maes shared some of the results:

• a German plant achieved 21 percent better performance on air consumption on similar styles;

• a plant producing filament fabrics obtained 15 percent more performance on comparable styles;

• in France, a plant producing sheeting-like fabrics in 2- and 4-color versions achieved 16 percent more performance; and

• in Belgium, a plant weaving jacquard mattress ticking obtained 14 percent better performance in air consumption and speed.

Steve Brown, sales manager, GTP Greenville, also discussed the new GamMax rapier machine. It is available in 190-380 cm widths. New rapier widths include 210, 230, 320 and 360 cm. It uses the same SUMO motor as the OMNIplus 800 and can now operate with up to 12 colors.

Attendees were also treated to demonstrations of the machines:

• the 75-inch GamMax produced an 8-color filament style with various fillings ranging from Ne 80 cotton to 1,000-den polypropylene chenille. Speed changed from 570 to 630 rpm on the fly depending on the filling being inserted.

• an OMNIplus 800 340 machine with air tuckers produced a satin stripe sheeting at 700 rpm or 2,800 mpm weft insertion. The machine was weaving an Ne 50 cotton warp and Ne 80 cotton filling, inserting four picks at one time; and

• another OMNIplus 800, 220-cm wide, demonstrated production of denim at 1,200 rpm. Yarns were Ne 8 cotton warp and Ne 10 cotton filling. Even though the machine was not bolted down, there was no vibration.

Quite a show.

Textile News Index


Nonwovens Innovations

May 23, 2005

Texas Tech research: New nonwoven fabric provides protection

LUBBOCK, TX — Scientists from The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) at Texas Tech University on April 4 unveiled a newly developed fabric used to protect against biological and chemical agents.

Congressman Randy Neugebauer (R) discusses the importance of the new fabric with fabric developer Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar of Texas Tech during the news conference.

The nonwovens fabric was developed by scientists with the Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr. National Program for Countermeasures to Biological and Chemical Threats, a research program within TIEHH.

Although research and development began in 1999, this innovative product will be an asset to homeland security efforts in a post-September 11 environment, according to product developers.

“Once again Texas Tech has proven itself to be a leading research institution by developing this innovative and necessary product,” said U.S. Congressman Randy Neugebauer, who was on hand for a press conference announcing the development. “This new fabric will protect our troops on the battlefield, as well as Americans here at home against biological and chemical warfare.”

The fabric possesses several qualities that make it a unique product, according to TIEHH researchers. Soft and non-corrosive, the fabric can be used as a wipe to remove dangerous contaminants from surfaces ranging from human skin to fighter planes.

The fabric can absorb toxic chemicals and pesticides, according to developers. The product could also be used as a lining in a protective suit.

The wipe is constructed using nonwoven technology, which is much more cost effective than the more conventional, woven alternative, they added.

By developing this product, TIEHH is meeting the specific needs of today’s military, as expressed in a 2004 report published by the Department of Defense. In this report, DoD called for products such as the one developed by TIEHH to be a part of its Decontamination Science and Technology Strategy.

TIEHH has tapped into a local resource in developing the fabric as cotton is one of the primary components.

This innovative use of cotton carries the added benefit of creating a new market for West Texas cotton growers, according to Seshadri Ramkumar, the researcher at the institute who developed the fabric.

Texas Tech recently licensed Hobbs Bonded Fibers, a Waco, TX-based company, to market the fabric. Negotiations with government officials could begin within a couple of months, according to Carey Hobbs, the company’s CEO.

Neugebauer worked to secure $3.75 million through the Defense Appropriations Bills for FY 2004 and 2005 in order to fund the Zumwalt Program.

The project was made also possible through funding by the U.S. Dept. of Defense, Cotton Incorporated, Texas Food and Fibers Commission and the Cotton Foundation.

News of the technology also gained notice during the recent INDEX05, the world’s largest congress on nonwovens. The trienniel event, organized by the European Disposable and Nonwovens Association (EDANA), attracted more than 12,000 visitors to Geneva.

Though Texas Tech did not participate in the show, a news article about the TTU-TIEHH nonwovens wipe was published in the INDEX05 Daily News in conjunction with the event.

Textile News Index


Nonwovens roundup

May 23, 2005

Saurer acquires Fehrer, Kortec

WINTERTHUR, SWITZERLAND — Saurer has stepped up its presence in the nonwovens market with this month’s 100 percent purchase of Austria-based Fehrer Group, a deal that came on the heels of its April acquisition of Kortec GmbH of Germany.

Fehrer ranks among the top worldwide suppliers of needlepunching machines for the nonwovens and textile industry. Fehrer, which employs about 180 people, also manufactures carding lines with the aerodynamic web-forming principle and DREF friction spinning machines.

In 2005, sales of about 30 million euro is expected to be achieved. Besides machine production, a considerable portion of sales turnover stems from the worldwide services and spare parts business.

Saurer became a supplier to the nonwovens industry with the development of spinning components through its Neumag business unit. With the acquisition of U.S.-based Ason, Neumag began to supply turnkey machines in the spunbond segment.

Through Danish company M&J Fibretech, its competence in nonwoven manufacturing with airlaid processes — i.e. the manufacturing of nonwovens out of short fibers such as pulp — was further developed.

With their majority participation in Autefa, Saurer then covered the field of cross-laying. Together with the acquisition of Fehrer, the portfolio now includes the main elements for producing carded nonwovens from long fibers.

Saurer’s acquisition of Fehrer gives the company access to new market segments such as automotive, carpets and geotextiles.

Kortec is a leading supplier in festooning technology, which is a laying method for bulky and/or elastic strip materials. It enables space-saving plaiting-down, particularly for bulky nonwoven strips.

The buyout of Dr. Ernst Fehrer AG of Linz, Austria still has to be approved by certain regulatory commissions.

INDA adds co-chairs to board of directors

CARY, NC — INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, announced new leadership of its International Trade Advisory Board (ITAB).

Serving as co-chairs for the ITAB will be Gonzalo Castro of Cardinal Health and David Ford of BBA Fiberweb.

In announcing this change, INDA President Rory Holmes noted, “International trade is a critical issue for the global nonwovens industry and we are confident that Gonzalo and David will lead the ITAB in its efforts to ensure that trade is conducted in a fair and transparent manner.”

By selecting one chair from the segment of INDA members who produce nonwoven roll goods and a co-chair from the segment of INDA members who convert nonwoven roll goods into finished products, ITAB leadership will represent a broader spectrum of the nonwovens industry.

Now that Castro and Ford have agreed to serve as co-chairs, ITAB members will be asked to develop a formal set of operating procedures spelling out the group’s mission, policies regarding meetings, leadership succession, consensus building and other areas of industry interest.

Visionary Award process to open

CARY, NC — Nonwovens and consumer products companies from around the world will once again be competing for the industry’s most prestigious recognition as the nomination process for the 2006 Visionary Award opens on June 1.

INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, which sponsors the annual award, will be accepting nominations through Sept. 1. The award recognizes consumer end products that utilize nonwoven fabrics or employ nonwoven technology during their manufacturing process.

For more information, call 201-612-6601 or visit www.inda.org.

Textile News Index


Briefs

May 23, 2005

STR acquires UK-based textile testing business

ENFIELD, CT — Specialized Technology Resources, Inc. (STR), based here, one of the leading quality-assurance testing and compliance monitoring companies in the world, announced that its UK operation, STR Ltd. (UK), acquired the textiles testing business of the British company Precision Processes (Textiles) Ltd. (PPT).

Founded in 1944, Specialized Technology Resources, Inc. has grown into a full-service, privately owned consumer product quality assurance testing and compliance monitoring company, with fully accredited laboratories and inspection offices in more than 30 countries.

Established in 1953, PPT is a provider of textile QA services, principally in the United Kingdom, but with an increasing international profile.

Rhodia, Snia sign deal with RadiciGroup

PARIS — Rhodia and Snia, each holding a 50 percent interest in their Nylstar joint venture, signed a letter of intent with RadiciGroup to establish an alliance between their respective businesses — Nylstar for Rhodia and Snia, RadiciFibres for RadiciGroup — in the textile fibers area.

That area includes polyamide, polyester, elastane and acrylic.

The new venture will mostly be owned by RadiciGroup. Rhodia and Snia will share the remaining capital.

With more than 4,000 employees, the new company is expected to general annual sales of 800 million euro, according to company officials.

The alliance will put Nylstar and RadiciFibres in a stronger position to face the growing impact of imported goods from Asia, officials added.

Asia-Pacific nonwovens report to be published

CARY, NC — Continuing its role as an information resource for the global nonwovens industry, INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, is publishing a comprehensive report, “Analysis of the Nonwovens Industry — Asia-Pacific: 2004-2009.”

Scheduled to be available in a CD format in June, the report provides one of the most in-depth reviews ever published of the growing Asia-Pacific market for nonwovens and engineered fabrics, according to INDA.

The 81-page report includes technology updates, production capacity reports and projections for consumption and production in the region through the end of the decade.

Cost for INDA members is $2,200. To order, go to the INDA eBookstore at www.inda.org or call INDA at 919-233-1210.

J. Jill, Cotton Inc. launch campaign

NEW YORK CITY — J. Jill and Cotton Incorporated have launched their “Compassion in Fashion” campaign to celebrate women who give of themselves to help the poor and homeless women.

As such, J. Jill has renamed its best-selling item the Compassion Tee, a cotton T-shirt. For each shirt sold, J. Jill will donate $1 from each sale to the J. Jill Compassion Fund, which provides financial support to community-based organizations and/or programs whose mission is that of aiding women and children in need.

DuPont P&IP to up price of Elvanol

WILMINGTON, DE — DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers (P&IP) announced a price increase of 7 cents per pound on off-list prices for all grades of DuPont™ Elvanol® polyvinyl alcohol (PVA/PVOH), effective June 1 or as contracts permit.

[TC]2 releases 3-D body scan software

CARY, NC — [TC]2 has released a 3-D body scanning software application for automatically extracting human body measurements from seated pose body scans.

The application has been developed under contract to QinetiQ, a United Kingdom-based defense contractor. QinetiQ acquired [TC]2’s model 2T4 full body scanner and standing pose automatic measurement software in 2002.

“The development of the new seated posture software is an exciting acquisition for QinetiQ,” said Simon Green, 3D body scanning anthropometric specialist in the Centre for Human Sciences Division of QinetiQ.

“Combined with the standing posture software, it will allow us to offer our customers a more flexible anthropometric approach to aid in the ergonomics of cockpit workspaces and future air crew clothing design,” he added.

Textile News Index


GTMA annual meeting

May 23, 2005

Syntec's Watters tapped chairman of Georgia group

AMELIA ISLAND, FL — J. Tom Watters, Jr., chief operating officer of Syntec Industries in Rome, GA, was elected chairman of GTMA: The Association of Georgia’s Textile, Carpet and Consumer Products Manufacturers (GTMA) at the 105th Annual Meeting of the association here.

Watters succeeds Don Henderson, vice president of Mount Vernon Mills in Trion, as chairman.

David C. Clarke, president of Royal Ten Cate USA in Pendergrass, was elected vice chairman, and Larry L. Galbraith, president and chief executive officer of Denim North America in Columbus, was elected treasurer.

Watters founded Syntec Industries in 1989 with three of his brothers, marking yet another milestone in a career that has been closely linked with Rome’s textile industry. After graduating from Georgia Tech with a bachelor of science degree in textiles, he joined his family’s business, Integrated Products, where he worked in several positions throughout the company.

In 1983, he succeeded his father as president. Upon the sale of that company, he moved on to found Syntec in 1989.

He is active in many community organizations and is a past president of the Greater Rome Existing Industries Association and of the American Yarn Spinners Association’s Carpet Yarn Group. Watters has also served as treasurer, vice president and president of The Textile Education Foundation and as a member of the GTMA board.

Clarke earned his bachelor of administration in marketing degree from Notre Dame University in 1980. He began his textile career shortly thereafter with the American Thread Company in Charlotte, NC, where he progressed through several sales and marketing positions.

He became director of sales at Threads USA, a division of Dixie Yarns, and was elevated to president in 1994. Upon the sale of Threads in 1996, Clarke joined the Mirafi Division of Nicolon Corporation as president. Two years later he was named group director of Industrial Fabrics Worldwide of Royal Ten Cate, the parent company of Nicolon. He was promoted to president of Royal Ten Cate USA in 2004.

Galbraith brings an engineer’s perspective to the association, having trained and worked as a construction engineer prior to joining the textile industry. From building a textile plant in Columbus he moved to plant engineering and facilities management before joining management ranks, being named president and chief executive officer of Southern Phenix Textiles in 1988.

He retired in 1996 but was enticed back into the textile industry when the Marubeni plant in Columbus was facing shutdown. His engineer’s eye told him the plant was state of the art, his optimism made him believe that the management and marketing problems could be fixed, and he was among the purchasers of the plant in 2002, according to GTMA.

Advanced training and product upgrades, combined with an emphasis on quick response and short, small production runs have proved him right, and made Denim North America a model of efficiency and productivity, the association added.

In addition, Galbraith has served on the GTMA board of directors, was president of the Alabama Textile Manufacturers Association, chaired the Phenix Regional Hospital Board, co-chaired the Troy State University Campaign for Excellence, and participated in many other community initiatives.

Four textile executives were elected by the association’s membership to serve three-year terms on the board of directors:

Audie McDearis, vice president of supply chain, Coats & Clark, Albany; Heard Smith, president for Ten Cate Nicolon USA and Europe, Pendergrass Doug Hettinger, new business integrations director, Ethicon, Cornelia; and Allen Rice, president, Savannah Luggage Works, Vidalia.

In addition, Sam McEntrye, vice president and general manager for Royal Cord in Thomaston, was elected to fill an unexpired term on the board.

The association also re-elected Roy Bowen as president and Elizabeth Hopkins as secretary.

The Georgia textile industry is the state’s largest manufacturing employer with nearly 90,000 employees.

Tingle elected TEF chairman

AMELIA ISLAND, FL — Douglas R. Tingle, chief executive officer of 1888 Mills LLC in Griffin, Georgia was elected president of The Textile Education Foundation, Inc. (TEF) at its 62nd annual meeting here this month.

Tingle succeeds John P. Cahill, vice president of human resources of Ten Cate Nicolon USA in Pendergrass.

Also elected were Jim Prater, group director of the Natural Yarn and Carpet Division of Shaw Industries in Dalton as vice president, and Stephen Felker Jr, manager of corporate development for Avondale Mills in Monroe, as treasurer.

Tingle is completing his 32nd year in the textile industry, having joined Dundee Mills as an industrial engineer upon his graduation from Georgia Tech in 1973. While employed by Dundee, he attended and graduated from the Woodrow Wilson College of Law and was admitted to the Georgia and American Bar Associations.

Shortly thereafter he was named chief financial officer, corporate secretary and in-house legal counsel for Dundee Mills.

In 1996, Tingle co-founded 1888 Mills and currently serves as chief executive officer.

Three textile executives were elected by the Foundation’s membership to serve three-year terms on the board of directors: Joe Glovier, Southern Mills, Union City; Jule Smith, SI Corporation, Chickamauga; and Mike Bowers, Mount Vernon Mills, Trion.

The Foundation also re-elected Roy Bowen as executive vice president and Elizabeth Hopkins as secretary.

Textile News Index


Home textiles manufacturer

May 23, 2005

Springs sells Eureka Plant to Spartan Fiber

FORT MILL, SC —Springs Industries, Inc., announced May 10 that it has sold Eureka Plant to Spartan Fiber, which plans to use the former textile weaving facility in Chester, SC, for yarn storage and distribution.

Gary Mahaffey, president and owner of Spartan Fiber, said the facility will initially employ a small number of Spartan employees and employment could grow as the business expands.

Because there is more space at Eureka than Spartan currently needs, the company agreed to lease office space to the Good Samaritan Clinic to better provide care to the medically underserved in the community. Health professionals volunteer at various times, including one evening a week.

The Springs Close Foundation has provided financial support to the clinic to buy medical and office supplies.

Springs unit to partner with Scene Weaver, LLC

ROCK HILL, SC — Springs Creative Products Group and Scene Weaver, LLC, have joined forces to enhance each unit’s product line and customer base.

Springs Creative Products, a division of Springs Industries and based here, markets craft fabrics and novelty products through national and regional retailers. Scene Weaver, based in Columbia, SC, markets fabric throws and decorative textiles to gift and home décor channels.

The two companies are now partners in a venture that will promote finished textile related products, including licensed items, in a variety of retail outlets.

“This is a great partnership because the products and accounts of both companies complement each other, and our focus going forward will be to leverage those synergies to grow sales and market share,” said Louie Harrison, Scene Weaver chief executive officer.

Scene Weaver entered the throw and decorative textiles market in 1997 and established a reputation for detailed licensed designs and products.

Scene Weaver’s stable of artists and properties include Al Agnew, Paul Brent, Bob Timberlake, Spode™, Betty Boop, Teresa Kogut, Jim Killen and John Deere. Springs Creative Products offers many licenses with broad consumer appeal, including Disney, NASCAR, Universal, Warner Bros., and Donna Dewberry, among others.

Textile News Index


Raw materials suppliers

May 23, 2005

Unifi finds new China partner

GREENSBORO, NC — Unifi, Inc. announced May 12 that it try again to manufacture in China, this time with a new partner.

The boards of directors of Unifi and Sinopec Yizheng Chemical Fiber Co., Ltd. have authorized their managements to sign the agreements regarding the previously announced joint venture between the two companies.

Unifi said that it expected the signing of the agreements and the required notices to occur this month.

The signing of the joint venture contract and issuance of certain required notices are anticipated to take place sometime next month, Unifi said.

Based on this timeline, the establishment of the joint venture will probably occur sometime in the company’s first quarter fiscal 2006.

The companies are forming a joint venture to manufacture, process, and market polyester filament yarn through YCFC’s Plant 5 facilities in Yizheng, Jiangsu Province, P.R. China.

The joint venture will be owned 50 percent by each company. Unifi said its investment in the proposed joint venture is estimated to be $30 million.

The proposed joint venture will focus on the production of higher margin specialty yarns for use within China and Asia.

Two years ago, Unifi tried to set up a joint venture with two China-based manufacturers, but the deal fell apart last year as its partners were unable to meet certain obligations.

Sales, profit increase at A&E

CHARLOTTE, NC — Sales at thread maker American & Efird, based in Mt. Holly, NC, increased 17.3 percent to $80.1 million in the second quarter, parent company Ruddick Corp. said.

A&E’s operating profit was $2.7 million from $2.2 million in the same quarter last year.

“Acquiring Ludlow Textiles Co., Inc. and Synthetic Thread Co., Inc. enhances our industrial thread business, establishes an entry into the specialty engineered yarn market and provides further opportunities to optimize our domestic operating costs,” said Thomas Dickson, Ruddick president and CEO.

Textile News Index


Cotton trade mission

May 23, 2005

Pakistani customers to visit U.S.

MEMPHIS, TN — Executives from nine Pakistani textile mills, which collectively spin more than half a million cotton bales, will see U.S. cotton operations and meet with U.S. cotton exporters and other industry leaders during a coast-to-coast tour May 16-25.

These important U.S. raw cotton customers are participants in a COTTON USA Special Trade Mission sponsored by Cotton Council International (CCI), the Memphis-based National Cotton Council’s (NCC) export promotions arm.

Pakistan imported 375,000 bales of U.S. upland cotton and 185,000 bales of U.S. pima cotton in 2004-05. One of the world’s largest cotton consumers, Pakistan had total domestic consumption of 10.22 million bales in 2004-05 — with 1 million of that imported.

CCI President Gary W. Taylor, a Memphis merchant, said this trade mission is significant because “Pakistan has emerged as one of the larger markets for U.S. raw cotton in recent years. Hopefully, this event will spur additional U.S. cotton exports into a country that is increasing their presence in the world textile marketplace.”

The Pakistani textile executives will begin their U.S. tour May 16 in New York, where they will participate in a seminar and tour at the New York Board of Trade and visit Cotton Incorporated’s offices. On the 17th in Washington, DC, they will meet with CCI and USDA staffs and the Pakistani American Business Association.

On May 18 in Memphis, the group will meet with NCC and American Cotton Shippers Association staffs and cotton exporters and tour the USDA cotton classing office. The next day they will meet with the Texas Cotton Association in Lubbock, TX.

While in California May 23-25, they will visit with Western Cotton Shippers Association leaders in Fresno, tour the San Joaquin Valley ranch of American Cotton Producers Chairman John Pucheu and attend seminars with the Supima and San Joaquin Valley Quality Cotton Growers associations and with AMCOT in Bakersfield.

The participating textile mills include: Al Karam Textile Mills Ltd., Siddiqsons Denim Mills, Ltd., and Tata Textile Mills Ltd., all in Karachi; the Hussain Mills Ltd. and Mahmood Group, both in Multan; and Nishat Group-Nishat Chunian Ltd., Pak Kuwait Textiles Ltd., Suraj Cotton Mills Ltd. and The Crescent Boards Limited, all in Lahore.

Textile News Index


Cotton association

May 23, 2005

NCC supports DR-CAFTA, too

MEMPHIS — The National Cotton Council of America’s board of directors announced May 9, following a special session, that the organization's support for the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA).

The NCC board adopted a resolution that urges Congress to endorse the current DR-CAFTA and recognizes that the “agreement should provide the United States the best opportunity for supplying apparel manufacturers and other end-use manufacturing industries in the western hemisphere” with U.S. cotton fiber and U.S.-produced cotton textile products.

In addition, the resolution urges the administration to continue to address the trade priorities of the U.S. cotton industry, including taking appropriate action regarding increased competition for U.S.-produced textiles.

Earlier this year, during its annual meeting, the NCC reaffirmed its conviction that a good CAFTA is beneficial to the U.S. cotton and textile industries.

The NCC stated its intent to recommend passage of the current agreement “if benefits to all segments of the cotton and textile industries are achieved by effectively reducing the adverse effects of third-country participation and the administration continues to address other Council trade priorities.”

Textile News Index


Pickin' Cotton

May 23, 2005

USA: May report presents bullish ’05-’06 projections

By Odyll Santos

USDA went beyond optimistic expectations with its May supply/demand report, giving cotton market observers a bullish view of the new crop year. Some market observers even said that if USDA’s 2005-06 projections come true, they could give new-crop prices a significant boost. A move to the upper 60-cent-per-pound level, perhaps even above 70.00 cents, could be possible.

World 2005-06 projections show sharply lower production and higher consumption and trade, leading to lower ending stocks. But key among all the numbers is data on Chinese trade, which contributed to a decrease in world, as well as U.S., ending stocks. The bullish sentiment among observers stemmed from increased imports by China, at 15 million 480-pound bales, driving a sharp increase in world trade in 2005-06. USDA noted that Chinese cotton imports in the new season would nearly double the estimated 2004-05 level. That would help to cut world ending stocks by about 8 percent from 49 million bales in 2004-05 to 45.2 million bales in 2005-06.

Also contributing to lower carryover in the new season is a world production forecast of 107 million bales and a consumption estimate of 111.5 million bales.

USDA noted particularly that China’s planted area is likely to fall about 15 percent from the 2004-05 season due to low prices at harvest. “Reduced production in China and the United States accounts for about 60 percent of the 12.3-million-bale decline anticipated for the world,” USDA said.

The consumption figure “assumes above-average growth for the second consecutive year, based on continued expansion in textile demand and favorable cotton prices relative to polyester,” according to USDA.

Projections for the U.S. also were influenced by China. U.S. production is estimated at 19.5 million bales, 16 percent below the level seen in the last season. Much of the crop is expected to be shipped off to foreign destinations. USDA projected that U.S. exports in 2005-06 would reach a record 14.5 million bales, supported by strong growth in China’s import demand. The export estimate is above the current season’s 13.4 million bales.

Meanwhile, domestic mill use is projected to fall 8 percent to 5.8 million bales as domestic mills’ market share continues to decline amid growth in textile imports. USDA noted that the estimate does not include the impact of safeguards on China textile imports.

With total offtake, exports and mill use combined, at 20.3 million bales, USDA expects U.S. ending stocks to fall 11 percent from 2004-05 levels to 6.3 million bales, or 31 percent of total use.

For the current season, USDA estimated slightly higher global production and higher ending stocks. USDA raised world 2004-05 production by 100,000 bales from its April forecast to 119.32 million bales. The agency also increased world consumption by about 900,000 bales to 107.98 million bales, which includes increases for China, Thailand and Pakistan. But it raised world ending stocks to 49.07 million bales, 1.2 million bales above last month’s estimate.

In its final estimate of the 2004-05 U.S. cotton crop, USDA increased total production to 23.25 million bales, up from the previous estimate of 23.01 million. That was offset by higher U.S. exports, increased by 200,000 bales to 13.4 million bales. With mill use remaining at 6.30 million bales, total U.S. offtake is 19.7 million bales, which results in ending stocks of 7.1 million bales for 2004-05.

The May report presents USDA’s initial assessment of U.S. and world crop supply and demand prospects and U.S. prices for the 2005-06 season. Naturally, USDA cautions that the projections could change, as spring planting is currently occurring in the Northern Hemisphere, while in the Southern Hemisphere, planting is several months away.

Textile News Index


Editorial

May 23, 2005

As the worm turns ...

RELATED TO THE textile industry’s getting some of its concerns addressed by the U.S. government, is the proverbial worm beginning to turn? Sure seems that way. Consider:

• in the last two weeks, the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) announced it would institute safeguard relief on seven categories of textile/apparel products coming from China;

• industry trade groups and lawmakers from textile/apparel-producing states received assurances from Bush Administration officials that several industry concerns would be addressed in the proposed Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA); and

• administration members, including President Bush himself, gave industry leaders even more than just the time of day during the annual meeting of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) in D.C. this month.

But what gave rise to these developments? And are they interrelated?

THE WORM’S TURNING sunny-side up — offering a glint of hope for the beleaguered domestic textile industry — is no coincidence, not as the DR-CAFTA gets closer to a vote in Congress. So say some opponents of the trade pact, who see the White House as bending over backward, forward and sideways to drum up enough votes to pass the deal. Hence, the China safeguard initiation, they say. But, they add, they’ll take what they can get while they can get it.

Certainly, Bush wants the deal passed badly, as it will serve as a bellwether for his free-trade agenda. As such, the administration has been on a nationwide P.R. blitzkrieg to pull in proponents of the DR-CAFTA. And the NCTO finally went from fence-sitter to supporter of the deal, but only after receiving assurances that “problematic” areas would be addressed in the free trade agreement — although none of those “fixes” is written in stone.

Which makes the NCTO’s vote to support the deal a bit unsettling for other textile and manufacturing trade organizations. With so many trouble spots in the DR-CAFTA, which could give China another avenue into the U.S. market, its opponents see DR-CAFTA as buying the gun with which to shoot yourself.

WHO CAN SAY for sure? But one thing is certain: By splintering from its brethren on the DR-CAFTA issue, the industry is back to its old ways of sending mixed messages to Congress. NCTO board members have said that supporting DR-CAFTA is the only way that its issues will be addressed in this or any other free trade agreement. And they may have a point. Anti-DR-CAFTA groups have taken a strong stand against — on principle in large part — because of those flaws in the deal that could lead to more U.S. job losses. And they may have a point, too.

These are interesting, important times for the industry. Whoever’s right, our only hope is that the industry isn’t one day in the company of worms, dead and buried.

Textile News Index