Tough Week doesn't stop show

Week of Oct. 22, 2001

Attacks occur day carpet expo opens


Among distinguished guests at the Carpet Technologies Show are (L-R) Frank Hurd, vice president of The Carpet and Rug Institute; Werner Braun, president of The Carpet and Rug Institute; David L. Kolb, chairman and CEO of Mohawk Industries; and Marilyn Helms, professor of management at Dalton State College. Kolb spoke during the Global Outlook 2001 seminar, sponsored by Dalton State College.
By Ron Copsey

DALTON, GA The Carpet Technologies 2001 Show opened at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11, yep, September 11.

With 164 exhibitors on hand, the aisles filled quickly with visitors interested in the latest machinery, equipment, process innovations, automation, accessories and services for the manufacture of carpet.

By noon, however, the carpet mill representatives were nearly gone, many of them returning to their respective plants. The aisles had virtually emptied. Some exhibitors went out and bought televisions for their booths so the few visitors that remained and exhibitor personnel could keep up with the terrorists’ attacks unfolding in New York City, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania.

All of a sudden, the manufacture of carpet didn’t seem very important.

A good crowd returned to the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center on Wednesday morning but it slowed down in the afternoon. Only a fair number of visitors attended on Thursday morning prior to the showÕs 1 p.m. closure. Final attendance was almost 2,200, far below the 3,000 expected. An individual visitor is counted only once, whether he or she attends one day or multiple days.

“Attendance was severely impacted by the terrorist attacks as we had many flying in on Tuesday to attend the show and, of course, they never made it,” said Wanda Ellis, executive director of the Dalton Floor Covering Market Association, which sponsors the show. “We had people pre-registered from 23 countries including Canada and Mexico, along with others from California, New York and Oklahoma. So if they didn’t come in on Monday, they were part of the attendance shortfall.”

She added: “Although our attendance numbers were down significantly, we had many key, quality people from the 136 carpet manufacturers represented by the visitors. We had CEOs, presidents, general managers, vice presidents of development, product managers, plant managers and engineers,” Ellis said. “Many of the exhibitors, including several tufting machine people, told me they had a good show and, despite the lower attendance, had developed some solid sales opportunities.”

Ellis reported that Crown Packaging of Alpharetta, GA, which offers a full line of industrial packaging and automated machinery, had a good show because, when the visitors thinned out, they developed many sales leads among the other exhibitors.

Outlook forums

In addition to the exhibitors, the show also featured an international forum of six carpet industry speakers who discussed the economic state of the industry, changes and future growth, product mix, importing/exporting and recycling. The seminars, entitled “Global Outlook 2001,” were hosted by Dalton State College, the only academic institution in the northwest Georgia carpet-manufacturing cluster.

The speakers on the first day included: Ralph Boe, CEO and managing director, Carpets International, UK; Hiroyuki Ikezaki, Japan Carpet Company, Japan; and Sota Yoshino, Asahi Trading Company, Japan.

On the second day, the seminar featured Paulo Kauffmann, production/technical director, Textil Tabacow, Brazil; Mark Vervaeke, president, Flanders Carpet International, Belgium; and David Kolb, chairman and managing director, Mohawk Industries, USA. Kolb gave a statistical overview of the U.S. carpet industry. Sales in year 2000 were $12.8 billion at the mill level, with about two-thirds to residential and one-third to commercial. About 75 percent was replacement carpet and 25 percent went into new construction. “There are now less than 100 carpet manufacturers who are continuing to consolidate operations, yet there is a trend toward expanding vertically,” Kolb said.

“Profitability levels have improved and this has been due to improvements in productivity,” Kolb said.

ATMA schedules seminars

Week of Oct. 22, 2001

Coming in November …

A Technology Update seminar sponsored by the Alabama Textile Manufacturers Association (ATMA) is scheduled for November 14-15.

The event takes place at the Best Inn & Suites in Auburn, AL. Among topics and speakers:

• “Survival Tools for the Next Decade,” Bob Jones, Rieter Corp.;

• “Asset Management Software,” Michael Green, DataStream;

• “Jacquard Loom,” Don Hunt, Staubli Corp.;

• “Cyclops Automatic On-Loom Inspection,” Joe Essick, BARCO;

• “Productivity and Energy Efficiency in the Textile Industry,” Dan Welch, Advanced Energy;

• “Energy and Water Savings,” Carleton Butch Foster, Aquadyn;

• “Improving The Knowledge and Effectiveness of a Dynamic, Multilingual Work Force,” Tony Demers, TekniQuest Systems; and

• “Survival Strategies,” Neil Cahill, Institute of Textile Technology. Cost for ATMA members is $125 for the full program and $70 for one day; and $180 for the full program and $125 for one day for non-members.

Other events

ATMA also is sponsoring a Human Resources Seminar on November 6 at the Birmingham Marriott in Birmingham, AL.

Topics and speakers include:

• “Workplace Violence,” Tom Oliver of Carr, Alison, Pugh, Howard, Oliver & Sisson;

• “Ensuring Equal Employment Opportunity in the Workplace in Today's Litigious Society,” Bobby Gist, University of South Carolina; and

• “Cultural Differences,” Hernan Prado, University of Alabama. On November 13, ATMA has scheduled the OSHA 300 Workshop at the Richard Scrushy Conference Center in Birmingham.

Neil Wasser of Constangy, Brooks & Smith will present the workshop. For information or to register for either of these events, call (334) 279-1250.

Fiscal Notes

Week of Oct. 22, 2001

Quaker Fabrics reports strong sales, expansion

FALL RIVER, MA – Quaker Fabric Corporation managed a profit of $331,000, or 2 cents per share, in the third quarter after taking an $800,000 charge related to the termination of an acquisition effort in July.

The company, which makes upholstery fabric, reported sales of $76.4 million, up from $68.8 million for the same period a year ago. The company made $1.9 million, or 12 cents per share in the corresponding 2000 quarter.

“Quaker continued to strengthen its industry leadership position during the third quarter, as evidenced by a 30 percent increase in our incoming order rate compared to the same period of last year,” said Larry Liebenow, Quaker president and CEO. “The fact that this extraordinary gain occurred in an industry which has been struggling with the effects of a weak economy and reduced demand since well before the terrorist attacks on September 11 is particularly noteworthy.”

To keep up with production demands, the company has acquired more manufacturing space here and bought additional equipment.

Polymer sees loss, possible job cuts

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC – Polymer Group, Inc. (PGI) said it expects to report a loss in the third quarter and may cut jobs to reduce costs. The company, which makes nonwovens, anticipates a loss of between $11.5 million and $11.8 million, or 36 cents to 37 cents per share.

Mohawk hits record net earnings mark

CALHOUN, GA – Mohawk Industries, Inc. Monday announced record net earnings and diluted earnings per share for the third quarter.

The carpet maker earned $1.05 per share, an increase of 21 percent above last year’s third-quarter level, or $55.7 million.

This earnings improvement resulted from increased sales, reduced interest costs and an adjustment to reduce the effective income tax rate for tax credits, Mohawk said.

Net sales increased 4 percent to a record $870 million, compared to $839 million for the same period last year.

Dixie Group expects earnings shortfall

CHATTANOOGA, TN – The Dixie Group on Monday said it expects to earn 2 cents a share in the third quarter, below analysts’ expectations, due to weakening sales.

The carpet and rug manufacturer has reduced its debt by $7 million in the quarter and its senior lenders have extended its credit agreement waiver until Nov. 30, the company said. “The uncertain and lagging economy has lowered sales across most product categories, delaying our ability to take full advantage of cost improvements from consolidating operations,” said Daniel K. Frierson, chairman and CEO.

Louis P. Batson Co. …

Week of Oct. 22, 2001

Exhibits variety of systems

DALTON, GA - Louis P. Batson Company of Greenville, SC, featured several product lines at the Carpet Technologies Show. Among them:

• HH Arnold Tension Systems - electronically controlled tension systems that provide tension control variation within 1/2 gram at any speed and the ability to adjust individual ends or an entire zone;

• Flenco Central Lubrication Systems - large, multi-machine lubrication systems designed with stronger pumps to move lubricants further distances; lubrication excreted in exact amounts of .03 cc to 1,200 cc, with the option of continuous lubrication, misty lubrication or blobs of lubrication;

• Lube USA Central Lubrication Systems - small to medium-sized indoor applications; exact lubrication in amounts of .1 cc to 1 cc at predetermined intervals from 1 minute to 120 minutes;

• Industrial Microwave Systems - patented technologies that for the first time have made the use of microwave energy for drying successful, Batson said. Features include uniform energy distribution for more even drying, increased production speeds and improved product quality due to the elimination of burned or over exposed materials.

• Drying Technology’s “Delta T” - patented moisture control technology that incorporates an “inside-the-dryer” moisture sensor that reduces product moisture content distribution.

• RF Systems - high-powered radio frequency dryers for loose fibers, bobbins, hanks, cones and nonwovens.

Also included in the Batson exhibit was a variety of accessories, including Greased Lightning industrial-strength degreaser and cleaner; Batson roll covering, adhesives, felt pads and plastic take-up sleeves; Saf-T-Stop remote control devices; and Cutrite industrial scissors and shears.

Obituary

Week of Oct. 22, 2001

Barnwell left Bifco

CAMDEN, SC - Robert E. Barnwell Jr., founder of Bifco Company and a former Fieldcrest Mills executive and board member, died Oct. 9. He was 86.

Born in Atlanta, he was a son of the late Robert Elliott and Katherine Moore Barnwell. Barnwell left corporate life at Fieldcrest to start the Bifco Co.

A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Barnwell served with distinction in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He graduated from Wofford College. He was a member of Grace Episcopal Church. Surviving are his wife, Harriet Porcher Barnwell; two daughters, Acton B. Beard of Bluffton and Katherine Moore Barnwell of Charleston, SC; a son, Robert Elliott Barnwell III of Boston, MA; a sister, Mary Barnwell Holt of Beaufort, SC; four grandchildren, David Thomas, James Alexander and Charlotte Freiberg Beard and Harriet Poerchet Menocal; and a great-grandchild. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 411, Camden, SC 29020 or to Hospice of Kershaw County, 2001 W. Decalb St., Camden, SC 29020.

Private memorial services were held.

Sara Lee to eliminate 350

Week of Oct. 22, 2001

Company restructures Liberty Fabrics

CHICAGO - Sara Lee Corporation announced Monday that it will restructure its Liberty Fabrics business, including the divestiture of some assets and the closure of two facilities.

The moves will eliminate about 350 positions from Liberty’s staff of 840. Liberty Fabrics, which generated about $130 million in sales last year, is a fabric and lace manufacturing business that Sara Lee acquired with its purchase of Courtaulds Textiles in June 2000.

Sara Lee has signed a letter of intent to sell its wide elastic manufacturing plant in Jamesville, NC, to McMurray Fabrics, based in Aberdeen, NC. Liberty Fabrics’ wide elastic customer base, not including other Sara Lee companies, will transfer with the facility, the company said.

In addition, Sara Lee will exit the lace manufacturing business and transfer non-Sara Lee business to Metritek Ltd., headquartered in Boca Raton, FL, and Noyon USA, based in New York, resulting in the closure of two manufacturing facilities near Charlottesville, VA. These agreements were made to ensure an uninterrupted fabric supply for Liberty’s customers, the company said. Sara Lee did not disclose the terms of any of these agreements.

The remaining wide elastic and lace dyeing and finishing operations, which serve only Sara Lee companies, will be consolidated into Liberty’s Woolwine, VA, facility. Nat Weisler, president of Liberty Fabrics, will continue to lead the restructured business.

“The restructuring of Liberty Fabrics is consistent with our ongoing reshaping program to divest non-core businesses and to streamline our company’s organizational structure,” said C. Steven McMillan, chairman, president and CEO.

Liberty Fabrics has extensive fabric development and design capabilities, and Sara Lee will be leveraging that expertise across many of its businesses, the company said. “Sara Lee’s intimate apparel brands, including Bali, Playtex, Hanes Her Way, Wonderbra, Dim, Barely There, Lovable and Just My Size, have long been known for product innovation,” McMillan said. “With the integration of Liberty Fabrics’ significant creative capabilities, Sara Lee’s intimate apparel retail customers will reap the greatest benefit as we continue to leverage leading edge fabric and lace developments in designing exciting products and building our brands.”

Graduate success serves …

Week of Oct. 22, 2001

As testament to So. Poly. program

By Bea Quirk

There is only one place in the U.S. where students can earn a B.S. in apparel/textile engineering technology - Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) in Marietta, GA.

“We are unique in that our program is a hybrid of engineering, technology and management,” said Dr. Walter Thomas Jr., who chairs SPSU’s Apparel/Textile Engineering Technology (ATET) Department. “It’s a lab-oriented program where we teach applications. About 98 percent of our students work in the production side of the industry.”

Graduates are prepared to enter any segment of the textile industry - fiber producers and chemical suppliers; carpet, fabric and nonwoven manufacturers; and equipment manufacturers. They not only learn major engineering principles, such as costing, production rating, facility design and global sourcing, but also learn the entire sequence of textile manufacturing - selection of fibers for engineered products; yarn and fabric formation; dyeing and finishing processes; testing, quality control and regulations; fiber-reinforced composites; carpet manufacturing; ethics and safety; and international warehousing and distribution.

Although no one denies the textile industry is in a downturn right now, there are good-paying jobs to be had for those with the right kind of training. Of the 11 students who graduated with the ATET degree in 2001, 10 had a job in the industry by July, Thomas said. The 11th grad had a job offer, but was waiting for something more suited to her needs. And with an average annual starting salary of $41,000, they enjoyed some of the highest salaries among recent graduates.

“When things get tough, companies may cut down on R&D, but their need for well-trained professionals who understand the manufacturing process and who know how to run a plant are in even greater need,” Thomas said. “I was still getting calls late this summer about the availability of our 2001 graduates.”

One of those graduates is Alison Dempsey, who is now an associate industrial engineer at Shaw Industries in Dalton, GA. “The school has a good name,” she said. “The companies know your education was not just theory-based, but included lots of hands-on lab work. You are educated about the processes.”

Several of Dempsey’s family members work in textiles, but she is the first engineer. She attended SPSU as a co-op student, alternating a semester of schooling with a semester of working in the field.

“The co-op program made it possible for me to go to school, and it gave me lots of experience that helped me get my job,” she said.

WestPoint Stevens …

Week of Oct. 22, 2001

Develops ‘Wireless’ electric blanket

WEST POINT, GA - WestPoint Stevens announced that the company will enter the electric blanket business poised for success with a version adapted from the company's best-selling Vellux blanket.

“We’ve developed a new product that is the ultimate in consumer safety and comfort,” said Art Birkins, president of the Basic Bedding Division. “This blanket is a winner two ways: it’s made of the same exclusive Vellux fabric which is the No. 1-selling blanket in the U.S. and it is ‘wireless’ - utilizing Thermosoft® conductive wireless fibers instead of the old-style round wiring.”

The Vellux electric blanket is fabricated, according to Birkins, by sewing together two layers of Vellux and thereby creating “channels” through which a flat shape containing the conductive fibers is inserted.

WestPoint said it expects the market for the Vellux electric version to generate as much consumer interest as the conventional Vellux blanket. “Vellux is a well-established brand - absolutely No. 1 in the blanket business,” Birkins said. “So, we’re not only providing the consumer with a totally new type electric blanket, we're able to do it with a brand name she trusts and seeks out.”

Before entering the marketplace, the new electric blanket had to be submitted for testing purposes to Underwriters Laboratories Inc.

“We’re thrilled with this blanket,” Birkins said. “It offers the attraction of a product that has exciting new features and design, it carries a brand name that’s already a winner and - remembering the heating bills of recent winners - it allows the consumer to create a sleep environment that’s warm, safe and very comfortable, for pennies a night.”

Stretch fitted sheet unveiled

NEW YORK - At the New York Home Textiles Market this month, WestPoint Stevens introduced the Natural Stretch fitted sheet under its Martex brand. Made of 100 percent cotton, the stretch technology used in the sheeting was originally developed by Cotton Incorporated for the apparel market.

Natural Stretch is the only fitted sheet in which no synthetic or elastomeric yarns are used, WestPoint said. The cotton fabric is first woven with stretch properties and then processed to lock in the stretch memory. In other words, stretch is inherent to the product and is maintained even after numerous washings, according to tests conducted by WestPoint.

The sheets stretch about 11 percent when covering a mattress and have a recovery rate of 97 percent, the company added. The stretch properties ensure a smooth, taut fit that won’t slip away from the mattress. The Natural Stretch sheet from Martex fits a variety of mattress sizes and depths.

Trade Notes

Week of Oct. 22, 2001

Andean Act expansion approved by committee

Despite objections by many in the U.S. textile industry, an expansion of the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) was approved earlier this month by a voice vote in the House Ways & Means Committee.

The expansion would provide duty-free benefits for apparel made from U.S. and regional fabric. Specifically, the provision would allow duty-free access for apparel made from Andean-region fabric and yarn up to 3 percent of total annual U.S. apparel imports. Apparel items made from U.S. fabrics and yarns would receive unlimited duty-free access. Expanding ATPA to include apparel made from Andean-region fabric and yarn is opposed by many domestic textile manufacturers. They also object to expanding the measure to include apparel made from U.S. yarn and fabric because, they contend, this makes way for a benefits expansion that would include regional fabric.

The bill’s language, at the request of yarn spinners and cotton producers, includes penalties for transshipment violations, according to reports.

Argument continues on fast track measure

Political lobbying over trade promotion authority, or “fast track,” has continued over the past couple of weeks, with various interests on both sides weighing in.

The trade bill, which allows the administration to work out the details of agreements that the Congress can pass either up or down without argument, passed through the Ways and Means Committee and is awaiting action in the House. U.S. steel industry supporters in the House, including Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-MO), have requested a delay in a vote on the measure until they have an indication of how President Bush will help the industry under a section 201 safeguard case. The president has met with House lawmakers, who expressed their views on the matter.

Republicans and Democrats with agricultural interests have said they are undecided or leaning against the bill until they are reassured that the president will support the agriculture sector. Meanwhile, union leaders have maintained that the Bush administration is using the terrorists attacks to gain support for fast track, which the labor movement has opposed in recent years.

Apparel volume increase from Africa proposed

A House committee has adopted a bill to double the volume of garments that South Africa, Botswana and Namibia can ship to the U.S. duty free under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Currently, the amount of African apparel allowed to enter the U.S. duty free is capped at just over 1.5 percent of total U.S. import, rising by 3 percent each year. The new bill would double the ceiling and create greater incentives for investment in those countries, proponents say.

EU develops package to benefit Pakistan

The European Union (EU) proposed a trade package with Pakistan Tuesday that would remove all tariffs on clothing and increase quotas for Pakistani textiles and clothing by 15 percent.

The proposed pact, negotiated over several months, would make Pakistan eligible for the EUÕs new special trade preferences program for countries combating drugs.

The proposal may put pressure on the U.S. to strike a similar deal. A Pakistani delegation recently visited trade leaders in the U.S. to urge an easing or removal of duties of Pakistani textiles and apparel in the U.S. in exchange for the country’s support of the United States’ war effort.

In related developments, the U.S. will probably revoke a safeguard against imports of combed cotton yarn from Pakistan, after the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body this month ruled against the protection. Such a move would particularly hurt U.S. yarn spinners, who have requested via a letter a meeting with Administration officials to discuss their objections to the proposal.

November WTO talks in Boha in limbo

The threat of terrorism has left the first global trade summit in two years in limbo, a Bush administration official said.

World Trade Organization meetings have been scheduled for Nov. 9-13 in Doha, Qatar, a Persian Gulf state, for more than a year. Alternative sites are currently being bandied about.

New owner reopens Mayfair Mills

Springs to consolidate facilities, close dept.

Texfi closings to cost 600 people their jobs

Aalfs Mfg. to shut four denim plants

Regal to consolidate Indiana operations

Milliken & Co. earns award for recycling

Martex set to restart Jimtex operations

Honeywell expands fiber manufacturing

ITMA 2003 now open for business

Briefs

Week of Oct. 22, 2001

New owner reopens Mayfair Mills

PICKENS, SC - A good number of former Mayfair Mills employees here have returned to work at their plant, now under new ownership.

Central Textiles bought the facility for slightly more than $2 million and reopened it on Oct. 11. About 120 to 130 people have been hired so far, which is 90 to 95 percent of the plant’s most recent work force. The new owner hopes to reach 160 to 180 employees, including subcontractors, according to officials.

Mayfair Mills, based in Arcadia, SC, filed for bankruptcy protection in August and announced it would close its remaining three plants in Pickens and Spartanburg counties. But Central earlier this month came to the table with an offer for the Pickens plant. The bid was approved by a creditor committee and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Oct. 10.

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

The plant produces industrial fabrics, the same product line as Central’s flagship plant, where about 220 people are employed. Central makes fabric primarily for pockets, in addition to apparel and material used in the manufacture of ammunition for the military.

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Springs to consolidate facilities, close dept.

FORT MILL, SC - In its first major move since going private last month, Springs Industries said Wednesday it is consolidating two facilities into one and closing part of a third operation.

The home furnishings manufacturer said that as many as 190 people in South Carolina could be laid off as a result of the moves, which the company said it is making to remain competitive. Affected employees will have first priority to fill positions that become available over the next several months at facilities in Chester, Lancaster and York counties of South Carolina, the company added.

Springs will merge the Eureka Plant, built in 1892, into the Katherine Plant, built in 1968. Both facilities weave fabric for bedding and are located in Chester, SC. Looms from Eureka will replace older, narrow looms at the Katherine Plant, the firm said.

In addition, the carding and yarn departments will be closed at the Leroy Plant in Fort Lawn, SC. The weaving operation, which employs about 160 people, will continue.

The consolidation will begin at Leroy and Eureka on December 17, Springs said. Leroy will close its yarn manufacturing departments by the end of the year. Eureka will be permanently closed by July 2002 after looms and associated jobs are transferred to the Katherine Plant. The Katherine Plant will add about 90 jobs and eventually employ more than 700 as equipment and employees transfer during several months, the company said.

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Texfi closings to cost 600 people their jobs

NEW YORK - Texfi Industries, Inc. is closing its manufacturing plants in Rocky Mount, NC, and Jefferson, GA, putting more than 600 people out work.

The bankrupt company, which makes greige goods for apparel, has struck a deal to sell its marketing and merchandising rights to Titan Textile Company, a polyester yarn maker.

As the marketing division of Titan, Texfi would source and market fabric, according to reports.

The Georgia plant, which employs 160 people, makes a polyester/rayon blended fabric for clothing.

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Aalfs Mfg. to shut four denim plants

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Aalfs Manufacturing, a denim maker, is eliminating 856 jobs in the closing of four Arkansas factories.

The company, headquartered in Sioux City, IA, blamed poor economic conditions. “It is with sadness and disappointment that we have had to make this decision. We have tried to hold out as long as possible in these locations, hoping we would be able to make it through these tough times without having to take these measures,” Chairman John W. Aalfs said in a release.

About 500 of the job cuts are in Mena, with 120 in Arkadelphia, 106 in Malvern and 98 in Greenwood.

Operations at the plants will cease within 60 days, Aalfs said. The company said it will continue to operate facilities in Dallas, Mexico, Texarkana, AK, and Sioux City.

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Regal to consolidate Indiana operations

NORTH VERNON, IN - Regal Rugs, Inc., a subsidiary of Springs Industries, said it will cease manufacturing here and consolidate operations into its plant in Ellijay, GA.

About 180 employees will be affected by the move. The company, acquired by Springs in 1999, makes high-end and accent rugs.

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Milliken & Co. earns award for recycling

SPARTANBURG, SC - Milliken & Company has received the 2001 Best Paper Recycling Award from the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&AP).

The award honors the best paper recycling programs in America. The award is based on recycled paper quality, public education, partnerships, innovation and cost effectiveness.

“We adopted an environmental policy 12 years ago that began our paper recycling program,” said John Bandy, corporate environmental director of Milliken & Co. “Today, we recycle 100 percent of our paper products.”

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Martex set to restart Jimtex operations

SPARTANBURG, SC - Martex Fiber Southern Corp. is poised to restart its Jimtex Yarns manufacturing operations after a fire destroyed its plant in Woodruff, SC in March.

Its new plant in Lincolnton, GA, is more than twice the size of the previous facility. The 200,000 square foot facility is the site of he former yarn spinning division of a vertical fabric mill that had employed 100 people. Production is set to begin in November.

“We remain committed to rebuilding a larger and more broad-based yarn manufacturing plant, offering in-stock service on a wide variety of bleached and pre-colored recycled cotton/acrylic and cotton/polyester yarns,” said a spokesperson.

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Honeywell expands fiber manufacturing

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VA - The Specialty Materials business of Honeywell announced it is expanding production of its Spectra® high modulus polyehtylene fiber (HMPE).

The expansion will provide additional capacity to support increased demand for Spectra® fiber and Spectra Shield® composites.

Phase 1 of the expansion includes a $20 million investment in a new gel-spinning line and additional drawing capacity at the company’s facility here. The second phase includes a new HMPE plant designed with state-of-the-art processing technology. The company is looking at sites in Europe, Asia and the United States for the new facility.

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ITMA 2003 now open for business

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Companies are able to book stand space for the next International Textile Machinery Exhibition-International (ITMA) show, which will take place at The NEC here October 22-29 2003.

The Exhibitor Manual and Application Form for Space have been mailed to potential exhibitors worldwide.

Companies interested in exhibiting can also download the appropriate forms at www.itma.com. Exhibitors must complete their Application Forms and return them, together with a 20 percent deposit, before January 21 2002 in order to be guaranteed space at the show.

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Guest Editorial

Week of Oct. 22, 2001

Would you like fries with that?

By Michael A. Murray

IT IS A pity to witness the destruction of the United States’ manufacturing base. Companies producing primarily commodity products are leaving the United States market for less expensive labor and fewer environmental pressures. They are displacing the American work force in droves.

This is all well and good when you consider the reason why companies are in business - to increase their profits.

However, when will the United States manufacturer and retailer realize if they do not support the domestic labor force, their customers - the labor force they are displacing - will not have the means to purchase the T-shirts, lawn mowers, telephones and a host of other goods formerly produced here? (Let alone our ability to arm our military with hardware in a time of need.)

Manufacturers in the United States are told, by the primary retailers, they need to offer products at or below prices coming in from countries such as the Seychelles Islands, Surinam, Sri Lanka and China, to name a few. Just go into any store owned by the Gap Group and look at the tags where the goods are made. It will be a lesson in geography and world politics. You will learn what groups of countries our government has surrendered our domestic labor force to in lieu of who knows what. My guess is the U.S. government has received landing rights or docking privileges for our military in exchange for those countries to sell their wares into the United States.

THE UNITED STATES is seen as the Mecca for most Third World manufacturers to market their goods to. Companies in Mauritius, Pakistan or other developing countries believe they have made it once they have a foothold in the United States market - the developing countries all want their products sold in the U.S.A. And they will be once our government gives them approval, via the World Trade Organization, the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, NAFTA - all instruments to displace our hands-on labor force.

The idea of free trade or greatly reduced tariffs is a boost to many developing countries, but it better be equal trade. If a country can sell a widget into the United States at X percent or zero duty, we better be able to sell them our widget at the same negotiated tariff.

Free trade is not such a bad thing if we are all on a level playing field. The idea of a U.S. manufacturer competing with goods from the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia or Japan is fine. Those developed countries and ours play by the same rules when if comes down to wage rates, working conditions and environmental practices. But go to El Salvador and look at the environmental safeguards placed on “environmental unfriendly” plants. You will not find many water filter treatment plants running from a textile dye facility. Instead you will see a simple pipe from the dye facility discharge running directly to the local creek or river.

I SUPPOSE the textile industry that surrounds us in the Southeast must look to other manufacturing sectors to view what will probably come to textile companies producing goods here in the States. A good example of this is the United States shoe industry - the production has been shifted to Asian sources. Shoe companies that target a specified niche are still producing goods in the United States. Five years from now the textile companies that have helped to build our economy will be marketing companies - not manufacturing based. It is agreed our labor force is transforming into new and different areas that touch the computer industry. But can the United States be a nation of computer programmers and Internet companies? If the computer industry cannot fulfill the needs of our displaced labor force, perhaps McDonalds or Wendy’s can.

The writer is a principal of DeSales Trading Company, Inc., a Burlington, NC, company that buys and sells commodity textile yarns.

STN Mailbox

Week of Oct. 22, 2001

We must improve situation ourselves

Your crisis coverage (Textile South - “U.S. Textiles: Hanging By A Thread?,” Sept. 17) with fortified views of industry titans surely begets helplessness from all except me. Yes, I am in l00 percent agreement: we should get better traction - not better treatment.

What leaves one stupefied at this point is that nobody recognizes these points:

• our leaders have never proposed creating, building or implementing a total construction ratio in unused land, among an unemployed and employed work force willing and unwilling to be trained;

• being prepared for the government of our great country to devaluate our dollar, even though billions and trillions will be given up by all of us;

• being prepared for an upswing and upsurge of smuggling, the likes of which make current levels seem like the frosting on the cake;

• the realization that prices now are getting closer and closer to our own production prices and that what's shipped from overseas’ markets equals style similitude of the early ’50s. Might of cheaper products has never before become proven myths, but for sure the sales are real - not entirely because of cheaper labor but because we have failed entirely to meet head on matching cheap labor prowess; and

• governments and major corporations could surely coexist on a project to provide housing, room and board and training for millions of the unemployed. Why isn’t this in legislation now? An onslaught such as reflected in your Sept. 17 edition show titans begging and using pity for attention -- against people that are no match for our selling, marketing, innovation and inventive skills?

There is no excuse whatsoever for our failing to sell ourselves into a total sold-out, sold-up predicament instead of predicting ourselves in a fulcrum of more layoffs, more unemployment, more desertions, more bankruptcies, more closeouts. As the song in The Producers show goes, “we can do it” - we must not wait to match prowess! It's too easy to leverage.

Howard Kaplan
Howard Kaplan Associates Las Vegas