Textile Hall of Fame

Week of Oct. 8, 2001

Charter class: Slater, Milliken, Duke

Ed Stevens (L), chairman of the American Textile History Museum, and Mike Smith (R), the museum’s executive director, flank newly enshrined members of the Textile Hall of Fame. (L-R from Stevens) Samuel Slater, who accepted the nomination on behalf of his great-great-great-great grandfather Samuel Slater; Sandra Meyer, senior vice president of retail services for Duke Power Co., whose company was inducted; and Roger Milliken, chairman and CEO of Milliken & Co.

By Ron Copsey

LOWELL, MA — The American textile industry now has a Hall of Fame. A ceremony at the American Textile History Museum (ATHM) here in September celebrated its establishment and inducted the inaugural class of 2001, which included two individual industry giants and one major corporate developer and supplier of the industry.

In a tribute to America’s spirit of enterprise, Samuel Slater (1768-1835), the “Father of American Industry;” Roger Milliken, chairman and CEO of Milliken & Company; and Duke Power, a major energy supplier to the Southern textile industry since 1904, were selected on the basis of dedication and commitment to the nation’s textile industry.

The Hall of Fame will be housed permanently at the museum. The ATHM is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive textile museum and the Lowell area is considered the cradle of the American textile industry.

Each inductee received a plaque that contains a capsule of key information that raises the honoree to the point where induction into the hall is deserved. A second set of plaques will be mounted in a new Hall of Fame area within the Museum’s permanent exhibition, entitled Textiles in America.

Jim Fitzgibbons, chairman of the American Textile Hall of Fame’s (ATHF) board of governors and CEO of Davidson Cotton Company, Charlotte, NC, in his remarks at the beginning of the induction ceremony said, “the ATHF will be a place for the industry to tell its story to future generations through the biographies and histories of those who have made an important difference. Those inducted today embody the ATHF’s theme, enterprise and the American spirit.”

Created last year by the ATHM’s board of trustees, the ATHF’s mission is to honor past and present individuals, corporations and institutions that have made significant contributions to the textile industry in America, as well as those who have advanced the place, role and appreciation of textiles in American life.

Digging industry’s prospects

Week of Oct. 8, 2001

Day International to add
space for consolidation

MAULDIN, SC — David B. Freimuth, senior vice president and general manager of Day International’s Textile Products Group, prepares to break ground for a 20,000 square foot addition at its manufacturing plant here as employees look on. Day International and J.D. Hollingsworth on Wheels are two textile industry suppliers that have shown confidence in the industry’s prospects recently by making these type of capital investments.

By Ron Copsey

GREENVILLE, SC — Day International, Inc. broke ground last month for the addition of 20,000 square feet of manufacturing space at its plant in Mauldin, South Carolina.

“The $3.5 million dollar expansion of the facility near Greenville is part of the company’s strategy to consolidate its U.S. textile operations within a single location,” said David B. Freimuth , senior vice president and general manager of Day’s Textile Products Group.

The consolidation will provide Day with an integrated sales and production facility better suited to meet the demands of its various North American markets. “The additional space will accommodate new processes and products transferred from our Asheville, North Carolina facility and is scheduled for completion by November, 2001,” Freimuth said. “After the transfer is complete, the Asheville plant will focus exclusively on serving Day’s commercial printing business,” he said.

Headquartered in Dayton, OH, Day International is a manufacturer of precision engineered rubber products, specializing in the design and customization of components used by a broad customer base in the commercial printing and textile industries. Serving the graphic arts, its Image Transfer Group is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and marketers of high-quality printing blankets and sleeves for use in the offset printing industry.

Day’s Textile Products Group manufactures and markets precision engineered rubber cots, aprons and other fabricated rubber components used in the carding, spinning, texturing, weaving and finishing processes by the textile industry worldwide. Other products include tapes and belts, superba rolls, loop pickers, rub aprons, industrial rolls, slasher rolls and roll coverings.

Last year Day International had total worldwide sales of $280 million, with the Textile Products Group accounting for about $57 million.

“The expansion has already resulted in the creation of 18 jobs, with the prospect of 40 more positions by January 2002,” said Mike Robinson, director of manufacturing.

Presently, 88 people work at the facility.

Though the domestic textile market for its products is shrinking, the company is expanding its present export position. “About 20 percent of our sales come from exports as we’ve made good progress in the Latin American market as spinning operations move to Mexico and beyond that,” Freimuth said. “Modern equipment is becoming a necessity and up-to-date products will have to be used on that equipment,” he said.

Hollingsworth expands …

Week of Oct. 8, 2001

To meet market demands

Carl Martin (L), Hollingsworth president, and J.B. Goering, general manager of the wire division, stand in front of the five new trucks the firm recently bought. They are parked next to the company’s 192,000 square foot addition.

By Ron Copsey

GREENVILLE, SC — With an expanding marketing strategy in place, John D. Hollingsworth On Wheels, Inc. recently announced the completion of 192,000 square feet of additional manufacturing and warehouse space at its Greenville facility on Laurens Road.

In a companion move, the company has also enlarged its transportation fleet with the purchase of five new tractors.

Hollingsworth is a leading worldwide supplier of card wire clothing, ancillary equipment and services to the fabric-forming and nonwoven textile businesses. Founded in 1894, the company has a strong technological reputation for its state-of-the-art card wire, including standard wires, as well as specialty wires for custom applications.

Hollingsworth’s research contributions to the continuing development of efficient, high-speed carding is widely known and respected on a worldwide basis.

“This expansion reflects a strong confidence in the growing worldwide textile industry, primarily in the Asian market,” said Carl Martin, Hollingsworth president. “This new space will allow additional capacity for raw material storage and for new wire lines designed primarily to supply the huge Asian market, where we see a strong desire to improve quality levels,” Martin said.

“This additional space will also allow us to consolidate warehouse space here at the plant, eliminating the need for the outlying warehouses in Greenville County that we have been using,” Martin added.

“The five new tractors will strengthen our capability to provide more and better specialized pickup and delivery service anywhere in the United States, Canada or Mexico,” Martin said.

In looking ahead, Martin said, “we anticipate that the U.S. textile industry, in the long run, will be stronger, but a smaller customer base for us, so we have been, for some time, expanding our international presence by serving the textile industry wherever it may be throughout the world.”

“The company early on recognized the globalization trend of textile manufacturing, so we are increasing our marketing efforts on a worldwide basis, emphasizing our leadership and technological advantage in metallic card clothing as well as our deep commitment to continuous improvement through ongoing research and development. And when you add our passion for service and customer satisfaction to the total mix, Hollingsworth is the preferred card room supplier in many of the world’s textile mills.”

Mayfair finds buyer for plant

Week of Oct. 8, 2001

ARCADIA, SC — Mayfair Mills, which in August filed for bankruptcy protection and announced it would close its remaining three plants, said it has found a buyer for one of those facilities.

Central Textiles said it will pay just more than $2 million for Mayfair’s Pickens, SC, plant, pending approval from a creditor committee and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. F.W. McKinnon, co-owner of Central, told The Spartanburg Herald-Journal, that he plans to rehire at least 150 of the plant’s 190 employees.

“We know this seems contrary to what’s happening in the industry with all the closings, but we’re in a number of markets — industrial, pocketing and military — and our customers are doing OK,” McKinnon told The Herald-Journal.

Mayfair closed six plants this year, but none of the others have been sold. More than 1,200 people were left jobless through the closings.

Central Textiles was bought by McKinnon, his brother Jim and a group of managers from Cannon Mills in 1994. The company currently employs about 220 people.

Mayfair’s Pickens plant and Central Textiles make greige fabric. The company is thriving because it markets its “fabrics to niches that are less affected by imported fabrics,” McKinnon told The Herald-Journal.

Central makes fabric primarily for pockets, in addition to apparel and material used in the manufacture of ammunition for the military.

Sonoco, industry answer call

Week of Oct. 8, 2001

HARTSVILLE, SC — Sonoco, a global packaging company and major supplier to the textile industry, will contribute $100,000 to the September 11th Fund established to help the victims of terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, DC, and elsewhere in the United States.

The announcement was made by Harris E. DeLoach Jr., Sonoco president and chief executive officer.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to join our fellow South Carolina businesses and citizens in responding to Govenor Jim Hodges’ call for assistance to the victims of the September 11 attacks,” DeLoach said.

“The 18,000 members of the global Sonoco family in 33 countries are also expressing their heartfelt sorrow to those victims by sending their signatures and well wishes of support to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and to the Mayor of New York City, Rudolph Giuliani.”

DeLoach added: “Sonoco continues to be headquartered in the community of Hartsville, SC, where the company was founded in 1899. We are pleased that our culture reflects our hometown’s values of caring for one’s neighbors. Our Sonoco family has been touched by seeing those same values in the faces, hearts and actions of our fellow Americans in New York City, Washington, DC, and elsewhere. They have made us proud to be Americans and helped us to realize that we are indeed one family.”

Milliken extols virtues…

Week of Oct. 8, 2001

Of U.S manufacturing

Editor’s note: Following is the acceptance speech Roger Milliken gave during his induction into the Textile Hall of Fame. Milliken is chairman and CEO of Milliken & Co., Spartanburg, SC.

Thank you for this great honor, which I will always cherish because I love the textile industry in which I have spent my whole life.

It has been an exciting voyage, and I have a great feeling of pride in this industry, whose accomplishments have woven themselves indelibly in all the many threads of the fabric that is the U.S.A.

Today almost all of the manufacturing industries in the United States are in serious trouble.

I would like to take this time and this place to light a fire of debate on the serious consequences of that statement on the future of our country.

To anyone who has visited the home of the industrial revolution, which started with textile manufacturing in the environs of Manchester and Bradford, England, the achievements of the U.S. textile industry in Lawrence and Lowell at their prime were nothing short of miraculous in leading our country’s economic development.

When I first visited Lowell and saw the magnificently engineered waterpower projects that ran the mills, I was overwhelmed by the technology. It is indeed fitting that our national textile museum should be located where we celebrate today.

Thank you, Ed Stevens, for your passion to preserve our history. The accomplishments of the Stevens’ family rank at the summit of that history.

Thanks to Thomas Edison’s invention of the electric light, our industry learned in World War I that textile machinery could run at night as well as during 12-hour, daytime-only shifts.

At the end of that war, we found ourselves with 18 million spindles in place north of the Mason-Dixon line and 18 million spindles south of the Mason-Dixon line, all of which could be run around the clock. Our production capacity had been doubled!

Seventy years later, 1990, after a long period of fair competition, we found ourselves with 18 million modernized, surviving spindles in the South and 800,000 in the North, producing more products and higher quality than the 36-million spindles after World War I.

Today we are told that during that period the U.S. went from an agrarian economy to an industrial economy, and that we are now similarly transitioning to an information-based economy.

As I see it, the main thing wrong with that comparison is that in the first transition, our country did not lose either the farms or the products of those farms. In fact, agricultural production increased as new technologies were introduced. Today, our country continues to produce a surplus of agricultural goods.

During the current transition, the U.S. is losing both its manufacturing plants and the products manufactured in them, as well as the jobs they provide — thus putting at risk our leadership position as the strongest manufacturing economy in the world.

Our founding fathers, specifically Alexander Hamilton, understood the importance of manufacturing. The second act of the 1st Congress imposed tariffs on manufactured goods from abroad. This encouraged our new nation, and its people, to develop our own manufacturing base rather than merely exporting low-value raw materials to our former colonial masters and importing back from them the high value-added finished goods.

Our U.S. textile industry, which this Hall of Fame celebrates, has played a vital role in the industrial growth of our nation. Our industry alone has provided stability to hundreds of communities and livelihoods for millions of workers and their families. Today, because of massive investment in new plants and new equipment, we remain the most efficient textile industry in the world — unit of output per unit of labor input.

Now as our country stands alone as the world’s last remaining super power, we in textiles and almost all of U.S. manufacturing find ourselves at risk of losing what our forefathers fought so hard to create. This is neither necessary nor wise!

At the end of World War II, with much of the world in ruins, “Made in the U.S.A.” accounted for over half the world’s industrial production. Certainly this was a unique moment in our history. However, at the current rate, we may end this decade with as few as seven economically viable manufacturing industries remaining in America.

A recent survey of manufacturing revealed that 36 of our 44 existing manufacturing industries had an adverse balance of trade and had cut substantial numbers of jobs this year. The hemorrhage continues. All U.S. manufacturing employment is shrinking at a pace which will eliminate 1,000,000 high-paying, middle-class jobs this year alone. This is four times what we lost in the year 2000. Actual employment levels in our vitally important manufacturing sector have already fallen to levels last seen in 1963.

We are in an era of so-called “globalization” and everyone talks about the “new economy.” We have been lured into thinking that the negative aspect of these trends are both unstoppable and inexorable. Isn’t it our leaders’ responsibility to ensure that this country and its people survive this period strong and prosperous? A fatal flaw of the current idea of “globalization” is the lack of recognition that subsidized global production creates a strong incentive to create overproduction that outstrips global demand.

A further flaw is the lack of recognition that in emerging economies the people and manufacturing production workers are not paid enough to buy what they make. Instead, the fruits of their labor are subsidized and shipped to the United States, which serves as the market of first and last resort. In the process, our standard of living is undermined and both political and economic instability is increased.

Economic stability is an over-riding responsibility of a sound government!

Mounting consumer debt helped fuel the boom of the 1990s. Despite strong productivity growth, the 80 percent of our country’s wage earners and their families who work for others have not seen an increase in their real income over the past 20 years. As increase in purchasing power stagnated because of the massive shift of good, well-paying jobs to low-cost emerging economies, we continued our growth of consumer spending, but we did it on credit.

Consequently, American consumers have been spending more than their earnings at the expense of savings. The result is that we are consuming a billion dollars more in manufactured goods each day than we produce. These facts are a prescription for social, political and economic unrest.

Our manufacturing base is being eroded as dollars are diverted from wealth creation to wealth consumption. If economic history has any lesson for us, it is that a nation’s well-being is determined by what it produces, not by how much it consumes.

While technologies always present new opportunities and challenges, globalism is not a new idea. It was born around the time of Columbus, and most of world politics has been about how to control it ever since. Past and present administrations in Washington seem to think “globalization” is something new for which the lessons of history are irrelevant.

George Santayana is quoted as saying, “Those who can’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

A Spanish leader in 1675 bragged about Spain’s trade deficit, asserting “all the world’s manufacturing serves her and she serves nobody.” However, when its gold and silver ran out, Spain found that its industrial development had withered; it had only debts to show for its orgy of manufactured imports and consumption. That Spanish empire collapsed and those countries that had expanded their manufacturing capabilities by selling to Spain were the new world powers. Thus it also was with the later demise of the Dutch empire and subsequently the great British Empire “upon which the sun never set.” Beguiled by the siren songs of banking, insurance, shipping, and services, they ultimately surrendered their world pre-eminence as nations. The Spanish, Dutch, and British had all neglected their nations’ manufacturing bases.

Could this happen to the U.S.A.? Or more to the point, is it happening? I believe the process is already under way, and if we continue sacrificing our manufacturing base on the altar of free and unfettered trade, we will go the way of others. I believe it is happening because our leaders in Washington remain unconcerned about our near $3 trillion of accumulated debt flowing from the dramatic growth of our adverse balance of trade. In the span of the last dozen years, we have gone from being the world’s largest creditor nation to being its largest debtor nation. And, no end and no limits are in sight.

This adverse balance of trade, of which textiles is a significant part, has grown to over $1 billion a day ($450 billion dollars last year).

Lester Thurow, of MIT fame, in his book, The Future of Capitalism (1996) said, “If there is one rule of international economics, it is that no country can run a large trade deficit forever. Trade deficits need to be financed, and it is simply impossible to borrow enough to keep up with the compound interest. Yet all the world trade, especially that on the Pacific Rim, depends upon most of this world being able to run trade surpluses with the United States that will allow them to pay for their trade deficits with Japan. When the lending to America stops, and it will stop, what happens to current world trade flows?”

I believe that in a world where the American standard of living, as well as power, is being daily challenged, our political leaders in Washington must defend the economic base upon which Americans depend for their security and their livelihoods.

Our leaders cannot expect to keep the public trust if they abdicate their responsibilities to the electorate by making decisions to placate bankers and Wall Street-pressured corporate managers who exhibit diminishing national concerns.

Batson, affiliates …

Week of Oct. 8, 2001

Announce sales, etc.

GREENVILLE, SC — Louis P. Batson Company and its affiliates, Batson Yarn and Fabrics Machinery Group, Inc. and Louis P. Batson, Inc., have announced a number of sales, new products and agreements.

L.P. Batson Co.

L.P. Batson Company entered a sales agreement with H.H. Arnold to market its Intronics 2000 Tensioning System.

The Intronics Tensioning System provides consistent, reliable tension and has the built-in capability to electronically adjust individual ends or a complete zone of ends, according to Dreugh Batson, group manager. This allows for true linear control of tension forces and eliminates spikes, he said. Tension variation can be controlled within 1/2 gram at any speed. Accurate and precise tensioning improves quality, efficiency and productivity, he added. Other attributes of the system include simplicity of design, easy installation, low maintenance and competitive pricing, Batson said. The system is suitable for twisting, winding, knitting, weaving, braiding, tufting and warping.

The parent company said it is also now offering Alexco Perma-Coat™ rolls and Alexco coalescer/filters.

The Perma-Coat™ is a “spray and fuse” alloy material. It is unique because of its high resistance to chipping and peeling and can be used in a variety of textile applications with a number of different fabrics, Batson said. Once installed, there are no more regular replacements of spiral-wrap coverings, no more inconveniences of downtime due to roll coverings being replaced and the hazards associated with adhesives and cleaning solvents, the company said.

Batson has also entered into an agreement with Alpha Technology, Inc., to provide marketing and sales support for its electronic assembly operations.

Headquartered in Anderson, SC, Alpha Technology, Inc., designs and manufactures assemblies using surface mount and through-hole technology. Alpha also does box-built assemblies, including cable harness assembly, sheet metal and plastic enclosures, potting and conformal coating.

To ensure product quality and reliability, the latest in testing capabilities is available for functional and in-circuit testing, including GenRad and Checksum. Alpha Technology is ISO-9002 certified, FDA registered and UL/CSA listed.

L.P. Batson also has joined forces with Converter Accessory Corporation (CAC®). CAC has chosen Batson to market its web-handling equipment in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Mexico.

Founded in 1974, Converter Accessory Corporation designs, engineers and manufactures web-handling equipment for converters of paper, film, foil, nonwovens and textiles.

Batson Yarn & Fabrics

Batson Yarn and Fabrics Machinery Group, Inc. recently sold trial Delta T Moisture Control Systems to PPG Industries Fiber Glass Products, Inc. of Shelby, NC, and to Lenzing Corporation of Lowland, TN.

Drying Technology, Inc. has patented the Delta T Moisture Control Technology that incorporates an inside-the-dryer moisture sensor that reduces product moisture content distribution.

The company also sold a Jossi Metal Detector to Clark-Cutler-McDermott Company of Franklin, MA.

Severe damage to machinery can be caused by metal particles present in cotton bales. The Jossi Metal Detector is highly sensitive to metal particles as small as a stapler clip, ferrous and non-ferrous, Batson said. The metal detector is lightweight and can be installed on the duct without suspension.

Batson Yarn and Fabrics Machinery Group also sold warp-tying equipment to Willacoochee Industrial Fabrics of Willacoochee, GA, and a Temafa Baltromix Blending System to Carpenter Company of Fogelsville, PA.

The Temafa Baltronix Blending System is dependent on the number of components (specific batches) used. The composition of the batch is pre-selected from a central control unit.

In addition, Batson sold an Industrial Microwave Systems (IMS) pre-dryer to Environmental Textiles, LLC-USA of Claremore, OK, for installation at its plant in Mexico. IMS, of Morrisville, NC, has patented a system that uses microwave technology to uniformly dry material.

The “Planer Drying System” overcomes the uneven heating that results in “hot spots” and provides an even distribution of energy, according to Batson.

This technology is applicable to narrow, wide or multi-strand and multi-weight materials, including knits, carpet, towels and nonwovens. It can accommodate materials up to 30 feet wide and 2 inches thick.

Russell Corp. …

Week of Oct. 8, 2001

Expects lower earnings in 3Q

ATLANTA — Athletic apparel maker Russell Corp. warned Tuesday it expects third-quarter earnings to fall well below analysts’ expectations.

The company said it also expects sales to dip 3 to 4 percent from third-quarter sales of $356.9 million a year ago.

Russell blamed those expectations on continued softness in demand in the department store and artwear channels and inventory reductions in all channels.

The company said it anticipates earnings to fall in the 52 to 56 cents range.

Although pricing has stabilized recently in the wholesale (artwear) channel, pricing is down significantly versus prior year, Russell noted. These negatives have been partially offset by increased business with mass merchandisers versus last year, due to the strong performance of the redesigned fleece program at Wal-Mart and the national expansion of ladies’ fleece at Kmart, the firm added.

“Russell continues to increase its market shares in all major categories despite a challenging retail environment,” said Jack Ward, chairman and chief executive officer. “In the artwear channel for the latest three months (June-August), the company increased its fleece share six points versus year ago, to 40 percent. Market shares in both T-shirts and sport shirts increased to over 12 percent and 26 percent, respectively. JERZEES® continues to be the leading brand of men’s fleece.”

The company expects to report actual results for the third quarter on Oct 25.

Springs, Serta …

Week of Oct. 8, 2001

Sign licensing agreement

FORT MILL, SC — Serta has signed a license agreement with Springs Industries, Inc. to manufacture and market Serta-brand mattress pads, bed pillows and sheets.

Springs will launch the Serta program to the trade October 14-18 at Home Fashions Market Week in New York.

“We see tremendous growth potential with Springs in both the expansion and the promotion of the Serta brand in related product categories throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico,” said Susan Ebaugh, Serta’s vice president of advertising.


Week of Oct. 8, 2001

The timing is right ...

TIMING IS everything, right? Yet in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorists attacks on America, when is the appropriate time to resume normalcy? Is it too soon to smile again? To laugh? To enjoy life? And will “normalcy,” as we know it in the United States, ever be the same again?

We at STN have been faced with timing issues since that fateful morning nearly a month ago. When those planes were hijacked and crashed, we were heavily involved in putting together our annual “Textile South” edition. In a break from tradition, we used the issue, themed “U.S. Textiles: Hanging By A Thread?,” to closely examine the plight of the domestic textile industry. Our aim was to use the edition to better inform members of Congress, the Senate and the Bush administration — those who have the authority to take action on the matter — of the terrible difficulties this industry is encountering.

Then the world changed forever.

The edition, which seemed so important at the time, was immediately put in its proper perspective. Our initial thought: Who would care about the U.S. textile industry with a national — nay, an international — crisis suddenly on our hands? The edition seemed to lose its relevance in the scheme of things.

Or has it?

AS SOON AS we caught our breath, we began to realize that the attacks, tragically, will serve only to reinforce our message: That textiles, and all of manufacturing, is an important piece of America and very much worth protecting.

Did we say “protecting?” Yes, we did. Though that word has taken on a life of its own among members of this industry, that is what we mean. The industry needs protection, but not in the manner some would think. We don’t mean wholesale closing of our borders; we mean wholesale enforcement at our borders. Fair trade is all we want. But we think we made that argument loud and clear in “Textile South.”

Back to the point: The terrorist acts brought into keen focus the fact that manufacturing is so vital to our national interests, particularly our national defense.

Bad timing/good timing? You decide.

WE WERE ALSO faced with another timing issue in the wake of the atrocities: When would be the proper time to send the edition to Washington? With the attention of Washington lawmakers diverted, we certainly didn’t want to contribute to their already overloaded “in” boxes. So we waited ...

... until now, that is. We have decided to send the issues in personally addressed envelopes marked “URGENT” to every national lawmaker, along with President Bush and his cabinet, this week. We only hope that we can contribute to their awareness of this industry quandary and the pains it is enduring. We hope they get the message and, more importantly, respond favorably.

Already, we are hearing praise from industry representatives for the effort — and lament, in hindsight, from others who had chosen not to participate. And, yep, we’re hearing criticism, too, from those who like to call this industry a pouty-lipped lot that whines and moans when it doesn’t get its way. To which we say, “oh, well.” They have their show to run, we have ours.

By the way, that’s a similar response we gave to those uppity lone wolves in the industry that chose not to use that edition to send their message, instead opting to continue to go it alone. But unity isn’t everything.

Timing is.

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