ATME-I 2001 REVIEW

Week of June 18, 2001

Companies show diversity of products

Draper-Texmaco
features loom

During ATME-I, Draper-Texmaco introduced to the U.S. its DTX 2000-A air-jet weaving machine, which company officials described as rugged, reliable and efficient — and less expensive than most looms.

“We’ve had at least five companies interested in buying this loom,” said Ron Brown, vice president of the Spartanburg, SC, company. “This is the best response we’ve ever had for this loom. Visitors have sent people back to the show to see this.”

Touting the machine’s attributes, Brown added, “This machine does everything other looms do, but it does it reliably and dependably. This loom is also an economical — not less quality, but lower cost.”

Included in the printed ATME-I 2001 wrap-up edition are the four special daily editions produced Tuesday-Friday of the event and distributed on the show floor. ATME-I took place April 23-27 at the Palmetto Expo Center in Greenville, SC.

SSI serves international industry

Sourcing Services International (SSI), a five-year old Greer, SC-based company founded by Philip J. Riddle, had a strong presence at ATME-I through a number of representatives of global companies it represents.

SSI was formed to offer services to the textile industry on an outsource basis, Riddle said. The company is able to assist clients in all phases of operation, he added. SSI is broad in that respect, but can narrow its focus for each assignment by selecting individuals with the best experience and insight to assist a client on any particular assignment, he noted.

In 1997 Riddle formed a partnership with Willi Armbruster, founder of GTV in Bodelshausen, Germany. GTV is a leading supplier of wastewater treatment and recovery plants to textile plants worldwide.

Riddle expanded SSI the next year by adding two longtime acquaintances as partners. Bob Brownlee and Stan Vinson joined SSI with diverse backgrounds of domestic and international textile experience.

They have brought strong experience in all phases of textiles and business to the operation, Riddle said. Their strengths have allowed SSI to provide more assistance to clients and diversify its customer base, he added.

In 1999, SSI formed partnerships with leading European textile machinery technology providers. The company is providing business management, marketing/sales, service and spare parts for the partners on an exclusive basis. This year, SSI added experienced technical employees to further its service and response capabilities, Riddle noted.

During ATME-I, Riddle offered STN the opportunity to speak with a representatives of several clients, including Sohler Airtex, Knotex, Jametti, GTV, Siscodata, Loomdata and Genkinger.

BTSR exhibits yarn controls

BTSR International, represented by Greensboro, NC-based PAF Sales in the United States, exhibited programmable electronic yarn control systems.

Among them were the:

• SMART KTF System for knitting and weaving. This electronic feeder system uses a programmable feeder unit to deliver yarn at a consistent tension from yarn package to yarn package.

In conjunction with the programmable controller, the system is also able to monitor the length and consumption of any given yarn. Tension ranges are from 0-25 grams, 0-50 grams and 0-200 grams.

• SMART248 and 2000TW System for warping and weaving. The electronic sequential learning system utilizes a small, programmable, infrared sensor with a programmable controller to detect yarn breaks, yarn package run-outs and mis-selected yarns. Range of yarns capable of monitoring: 0-2000 positions.

Küsters demonstrates range of products

On hand in the Küsters’ booth at ATME-I were representatives of Eduard Küsters Maschinefabrik, Küsters Textile Machinery Corporation, Küsters Colorsystems and Küsters Campen.

Among products shown were the:

Model S-Roll

The Model S-Roll demonstrates the swimming roll technology, which has been the basis for Küsters padders and calendars for the textile industry, as well as being used in the nonwoven, plastic and paper industries. This technology allows even application of chemicals and dyes across the width of the fabric by controlled even and uneven linear pressure.

Both single and double S-roll units are manufactured to meet the customer’s critical needs, according to the company.

Küsters Two-Roll Thermo-bonding Calendar

This calendar features Hot-S-Roll 250 and Küsters Swimming Roll technology. Suitable for the thermobonding of spunbonded nonwovens, PP, PET, LLDPE, HDPE, Nylon 6/66.

Küsters Vacuum Washer

Küsters Corporation and EVAC have long been proponents of the use of vacuum for extraction in washing ranges. Previously, the vacuum was positioned outside the washing compartments before the nip or pulling device.

Küsters has now taken the concept of using vacuum as a washing assistant a step further and incorporated a vacuum system into a washer.

The Vacu-Washer removes up to 85 percent of active chemistry in the fabric after a bleach steamer, the company said.

Micro Services reps tout control systems

Micro Services Group, Inc. representatives were on hand during ATME-I 2001 to explain their variety of systems.

The company uses high-quality, Allen Bradley Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) for its opening room control systems. In addition, it uses Human Machine Interface (HMI) terminals to provide animated, color graphical status displays for the control system.

Older opening room controls often have high maintenance cost, little flexibility, high component obsolescence and long maintenance downtimes, according to a Micro Services representative. They are usually hard to troubleshoot and the shortage of trained maintenance personnel is an increasing problem, he added.

Older controls also lack alarm reporting with remote monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities to assist maintenance and management personnel.

Readily available Allen Bradley PLCs allow Micro Services Group to program opening room controls for optimized efficiency and to minimize downtime. Its control system uses one-button startup. It turns the opening machines on in an orderly sequence for improved startup.

The HMI terminal, on the front of the control cabinet, displays easy-to-interpret color-coded graphical machine status. A prominent Alarm Banner quickly indicates any alarm conditions.

This allows maintenance personnel to easily troubleshoot the system and go directly to the problem, according to the company. This reduces production losses and lowers maintenance cost.

Titan premieres drawing-in system

Titan Textile Machines A/S premiered its model PM-6 drawing-in system at the ATME-I 2001.

Response was overwhelmingly positive during the show, according to company officials. Titan said it has addressed the requirements of today’s drawing-in department, providing a flexible yet efficient system.

The PM-6 incorporates advanced electronic mechanical and pneumatic components of the highest quality. It is remarkably reliable, yet simple in design with functions programmed and monitored by a PCL-controller, Titan noted.

Legler: Diverse technologies pay off

Editor’s note: Fritz Legler, president of weaving machine manufacturer SulzerTextil, based in Spartanburg, SC, volunteered to write an exclusive, first-person report about his company’s appearance at ATME-I 2001 and its products. Sulzer provided many highlights during the show by placing orders for nearly 100 machines, including 40 P7150 projectile weaving machines to Artistic Milliner of Pakistan and 20 G6300 rapier weaving machines to Textilera Santa Emilia of Guatemala.

By Fritz Legler

A few weeks after closing its gates in Greenville, the textile machinery exhibition ATME-I is very much at the forefront of press coverage, albeit for different reasons. It started out fairly subdued, with machine manufacturers being uncertain about the outcome of the exhibition and even about the future of the industry. But a couple of days into the show, visitor attendance started picking up.

With the benefit of hindsight, the nearly 100 weaving machines sold at the show and the introduction of new machines to this market — e.g. rapier G6300, air-jet L5300 with e-shed, custom-built projectile with a beat-up force of more than 1.5 per meter — made it a promising event for SulzerTextil. The long and intensive preparatory work at our headquarters in Switzerland and the local facility in Spartanburg paid off and led to new opportunities in the Americas.

The four-year cycle of ATME-I exhibitions lends itself quite adequately to reflect upon any major changes affecting our machinery and cloth manufacturing industries. I think we would all agree that the prevailing business environment for most organizations is characterized by increasing uncertainty, complexity and volatility. Markets and the economy are forever dynamic and we all need to move with relentless speed and adaptation in order to successfully lead change.

Business re-engineering is gathering momentum and all of us have to discard some of the accumulated wisdom of the last decades. Change is definitely the law of life and probably the only “constant” of our time.

A lot of thought is presently given to global competitiveness, which means that American manufacturers suffer even more under the strain of the influx of goods from various economies, which in turn do not open up their markets to American textiles. Regarding globalization and worldwide competitiveness, I have recently come across a statement made by a minister of a developing nation, which is more than a bit thought-provoking. He said, “If you do not want to take our products today, then tomorrow you will have to take our people.”

However stressful this scenario may appear, it presents all the more a wide window of opportunity for skillful and innovative leaders in our industries.

Neuenhauser exhibits latest cleaning system

f its popular TopDuct 2 traveling cleaning system, as well as two new lines of off-loom take-up products.

Sharing booth space with its U.S. sales and service partner Hubtex of North America, Neuenhauser unveiled dramatic refinements to the well-known TopDuct cleaner. These include a new integrated track/channel system with almost twice the air volume of the previous TopDuct model and significantly increased performance, according to the company.

The TopDuct 2 system continuously moves collected dust into a central collector, rather than storing it in the traveling unit, as conventional systems do.

The newest member of the Neuenhauser center winder family is the CENTER-WINDER TF, designed especially for complicated technical fibers that cannot be adequately taken up on conventional winders. It features Neuenhauser’s exclusive integrated automatic MIN MAX control, which allows fully automated operation with linear as well as degressive tension characteristics.

Activity pleases Hubtex officials

Company officials of Hubtex of North America, Inc., expressed satisfaction at the activity generated by the company’s appearance at ATME-I 2001.

“We weren’t overwhelmed, but we stayed busy the whole time,” said Markus Heinis, Hubtex N.A. president. “Not only that, but the visitors we attracted were quality prospects, people who were seriously interested in talking business.”

Heinis noted that several pieces of Hubtex material-handling equipment that were on display were delivered from the show to prospective customers, either as outright purchases or on trial. Hubtex salespeople noted particular interest in the company’s compact new warp handling truck, the KHW-TSEF-III-K.

Sectional warper among McCoy-Ellison offerings

McCoy-Ellison, Inc. exhibited for the first time three new major products, as well as improvements to existing products.

Among new products is the Model UI-505S Sectional Warper, a strongly made warper with technical features that ensure maximum quality with minimum operator input.

The fully computerized control system has an automatic measuring system to control feed rate without manual calculating of parameters. All normal optional features are available.

McCoy-Ellison also unveiled its Model UDD-Accent Tricot Warper, which is available for single 21, single 42 or dual 21 plus 42 width. When combined with the driven S roll system, warp beam circumference can be controlled to generate a matched beam set.

The Model DD-1 Powerdisk™ Tension System also was introduced at ATME-I. The Powerdisk Tension System is a proven electronic system for producing accurate and centrally controllable tension on filament yarns.

Uster shows system for denim

Building on its worldwide success, Zellweger Uster announced the release of Uster® Fabriscan D-3000, which it calls the most technologically advanced automatic fabric inspection system available.

After the successful introduction of Uster Fabriscan in the greige and pieced-dyed sectors of the industry, Uster is taking its development program further with this release. The company has now introduced Fabriscan units in the specialized denim weaving industry in the United States and Europe to automatically inspect the demanding quality requirements of this particular fabric.

Sonoco Crellin unveils tubes, announces licensing deal

Carpet yarn producers looking for reusable yarn tubes now have a new resource, Sonoco Crellin, the molded plastics business of global packaging producer Sonoco.

Sonoco Crellin introduced at ATME-I 2001 a line of reusable and recyclable plastic carpet yarn tubes for use on most carpet yarn production machines. The plastic carriers were displayed as part of Sonoco’s full range of fiber and plastic engineered carriers for the textile industry.

The line of plastic carpet yarns tubes was developed to meet changing market needs, said Pete Papajohn, Sonoco Crellin’s textile market manager.

“More and more carpet producers have vertically integrated their operations,” Papajohn said. “It is far more economical and desirable for them to purchase yarn tubes that can be used multiple times and transferred between their own mills. When the tubes reach the end of their life cycle, they can be recycled, which eliminates landfill costs and fulfills important environmental needs.”

Available in multiple sizes to fit automated and manual winding equipment, Sonoco Crellin’s plastic carpet yarn tubes deliver important performance benefits, the company said. Precision molding ensures dimensional consistency, ensuring optimum winding and doffing.

W&J spotlights chain, rail system

Winsor & Jerauld, a division of New Direction Industries, Inc., featured its NILUBE™ self-lubricating roller chain and rail assembly.

According to company officials, the system can improve tenter performance without the high cost of a new tenter.

Developed to meet the market need for cost-effective upgrading of existing tenters, NILUBE features a newly designed roller chain with a proprietary, wear-resistant, low-friction polyimide material that rides on ground and polished, hardened steel surfaces.

Texkimp showcases yarn tension device

Texkimp Ltd., a Cheshire, England-based company, used the ATME-I show to introduce its latest developments in creels, in addition to showcasing a new tension device.

The patent-pending TK-Tension Model 106 device, developed by independent engineering consultant Kurt Niederer, provides constant output yarn tension despite input tension, according to Matthew Kimpton-Smith, company director.

“The beauty of it is it gives constant output and it will run from 15 to 500 denier, which is a huge range,” said Kimpton-Smith.

Texkimp currently has a prototype out and will soon have a production model that will incorporate quick stopping, end-break detection and an over-tension monitor, he said.

Erhardt+Leimer shows web control systems

Erhardt+Leimer, GmbH and its Duncan, SC-based subsidiaries Erhardt+Leimer, Inc. and Duncan Technologies presented their newest generation of systems for measuring, inspecting, guiding, con- trolling and spreading moving webs.

The system was displayed in a fully assembled machine line.

One of the highlights was the OptoGrid LDI 250, a non-contact length and speeds measurement device. The sensor system is based on the latest laser technology and its accuracy of the measured lengths and speeds meets the requirements of the Federal German Physical and Technical Institute, said David Merritt Sr., president of E+L, Inc.

Also featured was the Elmark XMS 20, which marks defects such as holes, stains, inclusions, variations in the web width or web structure by automatically applying labels to the web edge.

In the news ...

Week of June 18, 2001

Hayes, McLendon address caucus

WASHINGTON, DC — Members of Congressional Textile Caucus, chaired by Rep. Coble (R-NC), recently heard presentations by Chuck Hayes, president of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, and Bob McLendon, chairman of the National Cotton Council’s Executive Committee.

Hayes, chairman of Guilford Mills, Greensboro, NC, told members, staff and industry representatives that textile industry and related sectors, accounting for $100 billion in sales and 600,000 jobs, are in crisis. As such, those representatives are asking Congress and the Administration to enforce U.S. trade agreements, laws and regulations and to take action so that fair trade is achieved, he said.

He explained that 100 mills have closed in last 18 months and that U.S. textile industry lost $369 million last year — the first annual loss since data has been collected.

Hayes also acknowledged financial stress in the cotton industry and McLendon outlined the importance of a healthy U.S. textile industry to U.S. cotton farmers, merchants, co-ops and processors.

He noted that the annual rate of consumption by U.S. mills has declined by 3 million bales in three years and that cotton prices are about half the ’95 level. He noted that the U.S. accounts for 22.5 percent of the world’s cotton textile and apparel market — up from 14 percent 10 years ago.

Delta Apparel closing last U.S. sewing plant

GREENVILLE, SC — Delta Apparel, Inc. is closing its last domestic sewing plant, located in Washington, GA, and laying off 106 employees.

Delta Apparel, a spin-off of Greenville-based Delta Woodside, said the decision was made as a result of increasing competition.

“We regret having to make such a difficult decision that affects our associates in this manner,” said Bob Humphreys, president and CEO. “However, with the increasing competitive nature of our business, we could no longer justify the additional cost associated with running a domestic sewing facility.”

The closure will save the company more than $1 million of operating expenses annually, Humphreys added.

Of the affected employees, several have been offered positions in another Delta Apparel facility, the company added.

Production operations at the plant are expected to end by the late August, Delta Apparel said.

Fiber buyers to convene this week

Cotton and manmade fibers, future fabrics and a look at China are among highlights of the Fiber Buyers Division Joint Meeting, scheduled for Wednesday through Saturday in Ponte Vedre, FL.

The event is sponsored by the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, the Alabama Textile Manufacturers Association, GTMA: The Association of Georgia’s Textile, Carpet and Consumer Products Manufacturers, the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance and the North Carolina Manufacturers Association.

Two speakers will address the group during breakfast Friday. Mark Lange of the National Cotton Council will present review cotton economics and other issues, while Alasdair Carmichael of PCI Fibers & Raw Materials will offer a review of synthetic fiber.

NCMA Chairman Vern Tyson of National Textiles will preside.

Warnaco files Chapter 11

NEW YORK — The Warnaco Group, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but said it has received $600 million in debtor-in-possession financing to keep afloat.

The company makes such brands as Calvin Klein jeans and underwear, Chaps by Ralph Lauren sportswear and Speedo swimwear.

Warnaco, headed by CEO Linda J. Wachner, blamed its woes on the economic downturn, heavy competition and the company’s debt load.

National Textiles to shut SC facility, consolidate

National Textiles LLC said last week that it will close its Gaffney, SC, facility and consolidation operations into other facilities.

About 480 employees work at the plant and some will be relocated to other company locations, a National spokesperson said.

“Moving the production of the Gaffney facility will allow us to maximize processes and reduce our costs,” said Jerry Rowland, the company’s president and chief executive officer.

The consolidation comes as a result of National’s ability to increase capacity in some of its larger facilities, Rowland added. The Gaffney plant is the company’s smallest.

Editorial

Week of June 18, 2001

Don’t call Dr. Kervorkian just yet

IT’S MID-JUNE 2001 ... do you know where your U.S. textile industry is?

Seems to us it’s in an immobile state, languishing on life support and, every day, somebody comes in to remove another tube or two and watch more of its lifeblood be choked off. Hardly any medication touches the pain anymore and, frankly, the patient is probably numb by this point anyway.

The recent two-leg cycle of the American Textile Machinery Exhibition-International (ATME-I) trade show in Greenville, SC, was supposed to bring hope in the form of a virtual Florence Nightingale armed with an order book a mile long.

But most of the invoices were left blank, at least as far as American signatures go. Sure, some exhibitors reported sales during the show, but hardly enough to create much more than a ripple in the floundering domestic industry. Mills just aren’t making many investments these days as inventories mount, production wanes and creditors converge.

Nearly two months have passed since ATME-I 2001 and, since then, the pace of the manufacturing erosion in this country has accelerated. The textile and related industry alone has lost about 7,000 people in that time span. The overall economic decline has hardly offered much hope of a quick turnaround.

AS FOR THE ATME-I 2001 show itself, attendance and activity offered an accurate reflection of the general despair of the industry. Visitor numbers, along with business transactions, were down considerably from four years ago.

Some exhibitors called the show a success, opting to judge its merits on quality visitors rather than placed orders. But others were left disappointed.

We have spoken with parties from each camp, one who calls himself an optimist and one who refers to himself a realist — not a pessimist.

The optimist said, “People have to accept that things are slow right now. I’ve gone through that several times in different markets. There will be changes and more suffering. But we want to help this industry weather this storm with as little pain as possible.”

The realist countered: “If you look at our customer base, it’s a third of what it was at the last show (in ’96). People can put their own spin on it, but I don’t know how they can call it a success. I don’t know anybody who sold much of anything. And most of those who did, the sales were pre-arranged. You’re not going to get an order on the show floor for capital equipment if the decision had not already been made.”

DURING THE LAST two or three years, we have stayed in the optimist’s corner, in spite of the growing turbulence. We have tried to offer hope in the face of horror, but a fine line often exists between truth-telling and sugar-coating.

Still, we would like to think that this industry will someday re-emerge in this country as strong as ever. Sure, it may not resemble its former self in size, but from an efficiency, productivity and competitive standpoint, it may once again hold its own in a global environment.

The industry, perhaps by necessity rather than choice, is re-evaluating, retooling and arming itself with survival skills, much like the domestic automotive industry a decade ago.

As long as U.S. textiles has a pulse, it has a chance.