NC State, ITT form alliance

Week of November 18, 2002

Institute to move operations, library

RALEIGH, NC — The North Carolina State University College of Textiles and the Institute of Textile Technology (ITT) have agreed to create an alliance to share resources at NC State.

The longtime industry educational institutions jointly made the announcement Tuesday.

With the alliance, physical and intellectual resources will be consolidated on NC State’s Centennial Campus. ITT, based in Charlottesville, VA, will move its operations and its 40,000-volume library here by July.

“This alliance will strengthen the competitiveness of the textile manufacturing industry and truly represents the coming together of leading research and consulting organizations in the industry,” said Allen Gant, chairman of the board of ITT and CEO of Glen Raven of Glen Raven, NC.

The physical consolidation will combine the College of Textiles’ academic research program with ITT’s applied and industry-directed research program, and allow coordination of research and academic programs and facilities.

Students in the ITT program will be taught at the College of Textiles and have full access to the college’s faculty, staff and resources. NC State will provide the faculty for the majority of courses.

Students accepted into College of Textiles graduate program will apply for acceptance into the ITT Fellows Program. ITT will select qualified students and continue to administer its master’s degree program and provide guidance for the special thesis projects. The Fellows Program is not only a required number of classes, but also has complementary educational activities such as team-building experiences, group studies at textile facilities, problem-solving exercises, internships and public presentations.

Students who graduate from the ITT Fellows Program earning a master’s degree will have management and leadership skills. The job-placement rate for these graduates has historically been 100 percent.

By the two institutions coming together, “we are combining resources that will allow us to have research, facilities, labs and a master’s program competitive with anyone in the world,” said Dr. Blanton Godfrey, dean of the College of Textiles.

Dr. Gilbert O’Neal, president of ITT, added, “The master’s degree offered by ITT is already excellent, but it will become even better due to the facilities that our students will have access to at the College of Textiles.”

ITT’s first graduating class was in 1949 and, to date, 523 MS graduates have completed the program. All students are provided a tuition scholarship, non-service fellowship and a research budget.

The College of Textiles is a leading academic and research institution for textiles. It is dedicated to education, research and extension and engagement. The college provides bachelor’s degree programs in textile technology, textile engineering, textile and apparel management, textile chemistry, and a dual degree (B.A. and B.S.) with NC State’s College of Design in art and design and textile technology.

In addition, the college offers graduate degrees such as master of science and master of textiles and two doctorate degrees in fiber and polymer science and textile technology management. About 700 undergraduate students and 150 graduate students are currently enrolled at the college.

The Institute of Textile Technology was founded in 1944 by textile industry leaders who saw a need for individual companies to join forces in collective support of a private educational and research institution.

Today, ITT enjoys an international reputation for the high quality of its programs and its graduates, many occupying positions of leadership in industry, education and research. The Institute was directed to conduct cooperative research, integrated with graduate research, as a means of helping the textile industry meet the challenges confronting it. The school currently enrolls 10 to 15 graduate students per year who earn a masters of science awarded by ITT.

“The American textile industry is the most modern, state-of-the-art industry in the world,” said Roger Milliken, chairman and CEO of Milliken & Company, Spartanburg, SC, a longtime supporter of ITT. “This alliance will take the competitiveness of the industry to another level by combining resources of both institutions.”

ITT will continue to operate as an independent, non-profit organization. An ITT Fellows program will be established offering a master of science in textile technology awarded by the College of Textiles.

ITT and NC State’s College of Textiles will collaboratively pursue funding for industry-driven research from private, institutional and government sources. Furthermore, the ITT Roger Milliken Textile Library, which is one of the most comprehensive collections of English language textile information in the world, will be combined with the Burlington Textiles Library at the College of Textiles.

The two organizations will also offer a full range of open-enrollment courses.

Apollo gives vote ...

Week of November 18, 2002

... of confidence to domestic textiles

By Devin Steele

CHARLOTTE, NC — Besides bringing information about its new hydrophilic nylon polymer to the American Association of Textile Chemists & Colorists (AATCC) International Conference & Exhibition (IC&E) here last month, Apollo Chemical Corp. came armed with a vote of confidence for the U.S. textile industry.

In fact, the Burlington, NC-based company is using that innovative product, AQUATEK UNO, to prove that it is with domestic textiles for the long haul, according to Apollo representatives.
Visitors talk with Apollo Chemical Corp. representatives during AATCC’s International Conference & Exhibition. (L-R) Tom Norman, Jeff Stines and Glenn Shortt, all of Sara Lee Underwear, Ross Crews of Sara Lee Knit Products and Jimm Barbery and Betty Tilley of Apollo.
Photo by Devin Steele

“A lot of questions have been raised as to whether this industry is going to survive in the U.S. or will have a viable presence,” said Ed Rish, Apollo president and chief operating officer. “We think it is, and that has driven all of our recent decisions, such as this new product and our deal with Vulcan.”

Rish was referring to the company’s announcement earlier this year that it had reached an agreement with Vulcan Performance Chemicals to market Vulcan’s textile specialty chemicals in the U.S. Plus, developing patent-pending AQUATEK UNO sends a message to the industry, he added.

“That is, if we’re willing to spend the money and take the time to develop a new product, it’s for an industry that is here to stay,” Rish said. “It may not be the size it is now. It might continue to shrink a little bit, but it’s still going to be a sizable business and this shows our customers that we are here to stay.”

Betty Tilley, product manager for dyeing and finishing, added that Apollo has stuck with textiles since its inception 34 years ago and will not abandon the industry.

“We’re very dedicated to the textile industry,” she said. “We’re not in paper or leather or other industries that you may think of going into. We’re totally focused on textiles. We have 14 salesmen throughout the United States who focus on textiles.”

Apollo has about 78 employees companywide, with about 63 in its Graham, NC, corporate offices and manufacturing facility and 15 at its Sage Technologies operation in Opelika, AL. The company has a distribution centers in California, Rhode Island and Mexico City.

“Apollo is a force in the industry and will continue to be a force in the industry,” added Dexter Barbee Sr., who founded the company in 1968 and currently serves as chairman of the board. “We’ve been at it a long time.”

Being a “force in the industry” means listening to customers and exploring sales and marketing opportunities wherever they exist, according to Tilley.

“We asked ourselves, ‘where are the markets that are advancing and growing and where are the markets that are staying stable or declining?’ “ she said. “We see technical fabrics, industrial fabrics and nonwovens as growth markets. So our focus is more toward niche markets, which makes Apollo stand out from the rest of the pack. All of our typical auxiliary products have almost become commodity products, so we need something that pushes us ahead and puts money back into our R&D efforts.”

Hence came the development of the AQUATEK UNO, she added. During a typical brainstorming session that accompanies quarterly sales meetings, sales reps about two years ago indicated that customers in nylon markets were interested in a hydrophilic nylon polymer that provides moisture transport, absorbency and vertical wicking, Tilley said. Apollo then took on the research effort from scratch and, after 18 months, began running small plant trials and scale-ups early this year.

By the time the AATCC show rolled around, Apollo was ready to “hit the ground running” with the product, which is ready for shipment from its warehouses, Tilley said.

“This product was developed to go into those technical markets, particularly technical fabrics that need absorbency — sportswear for hiking and biking, for instance,” she said.

According to product literature, AQUATEK UNO is a durable moisture modifier that imparts hydrophilicity to nylon 6 and nylon 6.6 fabric. Nylon fabrics with the technology have a quicker evaporation rate than typical nylon fabric, the company added.

Other benefits are a soft, luxurious hand and reduction of static build-up, plus enhancement of soil release properties during home laundering, Apollo pointed out. AQUATEK UNO also is durable to multiple launderings when applied by exhaust, the company said.

“A lot of companies have products that provide moisture transport for polyester — polyester can be made very hydrophilic — but no other company has a product that works on nylon that also has excellent durability,” Tilley said. “A lot of the products that are available in our market wash off after two to five launderings. So, not only is this polymer substantive to the nylon, but it provides absorbency, moisture transport, vertical wicking and it gives a very fast rate of evaporation. So while we’re absorbing the moisture, we’re also releasing it back into the atmosphere, helping the body maintain a cool feeling.”

Cognis Corp.

During the IC&E, specialty chemicals provider Cognis Corp. billed its booth as “where cosmetics meet textiles!”

At the show, the company, based here, focused on four lines in the finishing area: Adasil silicone softener for use on a variety of natural and synthetic fabrics; Repellan permanent stain repellent finish for cellulosics, wool and silk and that specifically recommended for synthetic fibers; Skintex microcapsule finishes; and Microban antimicrobial protection, for which Cognis serves as the U.S. licensed seller.

Much of the attention was on Skintex, a new line that comes from its Care Chemicals unit, according to Mike Leamon, technical manager of Wet Processing. Through micro-encapsulation, garments are treated with ingredients that add benefits to the skin, he said.

Among products is the Skintex SA, an anti-cellulite treatment with active ingredients that are lipid reductors and provide elasticity to the skin, Leamon said. When applied to pantyhose, for instance, the treatment can combat cellulite, provide efficacy against wrinkles and stretch marks and moisturize and cool the skin, he added.

Meanwhile, Skintex BR is a reaffirming treatment that “restructures and reaffirms” the skin, making it smoother and more luminous, he said. And Skintex MC provides a moisturizing and cooling sensation to the skin and applies Vitamin E for an antioxidizing effect, he noted.

“These are just some new applications,” Leamon said. “Any ingredient that can be applied in a traditional sense, we think over time can be encompassed in a capsule. Think of it in terms

of contact, time-released drugs for headaches and colds.”

Cognis representatives also provided information on its Caremelt, which also combines the company’s know-how from its bodycare sector with that of its textile technology area. With this technology, diapers are treated with compositions of cosmetic waxes to promote skin wellness and, with healthier skin, babies can better resist diaper rash, according to Jeffrey T. Langley, Ph.D, business director for Wet Processing.

“We’re introducing this technology in the United States at this show,” Langley said.

Industry

Week of November 18, 2002

Unifi, Sara Lee to cut 240 jobs

The continued weak demand for sheer hosiery is leading to more industry layoffs, two companies announced.

Unifi, Inc. said it is closing a nylon-producing plant in Mayodan, NC, eliminating about 65 jobs. Also, the company is transferring machinery and 37 employees to another plant in nearby Madison, NC. About 32 of the 65 positions being cut are currently vacant because of temporary layoffs, the company said.

A day earlier, Sara Lee Corp. said it is cutting about 175 jobs in Winston-Salem, NC, and Rockingham, NC, during the next few weeks.

Greensboro, NC-based Unifi, which produces and processes textured yarn, said it is consolidating its overall fine-denier nylon-covering capacity to improve its efficiency and competitiveness in that business.

“The continued reduction in consumer demand for sheer hosiery, coupled with increases in imported yarn, requires us to take measures to improve the efficiency and cost structure for fine denier covered nylon,” said Unifi Senior Vice President Mike Delaney in a news release.

Last year, Unifi, Inc. announced that it would lay off 12.5 percent of its work force, or 750 people, as part of a cost-cutting plan. The news represents the latest blow to Rockingham County, where Mayodan is located and where 290 of the company’s job cuts occurred last year.

Sara Lee’s reductions will include manufacturing, distribution and finance positions, the company said. About 105 of the job cuts are in Winston-Salem.

“As more women favor casual lifestyle choices, our capacity exceeds our needs, and to remain competitive, adjustments are required,” Howard Upchurch, president of Sara Lee Hosiery, said in a statement.

Last year, Sara Lee Hosiery shut a plant in Yadkinville, NC, and consolidated its finishing and knitting operations into plants in Winston-Salem and Marion, SC. That resulted in about 200 job losses and was part of the a major reorganization by the corporation.

In related Sara Lee news, the company announced that it is moving thermal underwear-manufacturing operations from its plant in Schuylkill County, PA, to offshore facilities. As a result, about 460 U.S. employees will be displaced.

The company bought the plant from J.E. Morgan Knitting Mills three years ago.

New Dow business ...

Week of November 18, 2002

... develops inaugural product

NEW YORK CITY — The Dow Chemical Company has created Dow Fiber Solutions (DFS), a new business dedicated to pioneering the invention and delivery of differentiated fibers for the global textile industry.

The business resides within Dow’s global Polyolefins and Elastomers portfolio.

Dow Fiber Solutions is founded on a new business model, the company said. Drawing upon and leveraging industry expertise around the globe, the business has succeeded in development and commercialization of its first product while maintaining a low-capital approach, Dow said. The inaugural product, DOW XLA™ elastic fiber, is so highly differentiated that the United States Federal Trade Commission has rendered a preliminary decision to grant Dow a new generic classification, according to the manufacturer.

Dow is a world leader in polymer and material science — two drivers of specialty fiber innovations. The company’s expertise, combined with its advanced fabrication capabilities, positions Dow to offer a range of fiber and process innovations that fulfill needs of the world’s textile industry, according to the company.

“We are committed to using science and technology to improve the way we live,” said Romeo Kreinberg, business president for Dow Polyolefins and Elastomers at Dow. “As Dow identified opportunities for growth, the company realized the tremendous potential of using our proprietary technology and global manufacturing discipline to meet higher performance standards demanded by the textile marketplace. As a result, we launched Dow Fiber Solutions.”

With the global fibers market estimated in excess of 125 billion pounds, and the industry’s constant pursuit of new high-performance specialty fibers, Dow said it is well positioned to leverage its world-class research, development, manufacturing and resource infrastructure to capture market share in the rapidly growing sub-segment of “stretch” fibers.

Launching DOW XLA elastic fiber at Premiere Vision 2002 in Paris, Dow is delivering a new technology that enables stretch fabrics and resulting garments to offer unparalleled “soft-stretch” comfort, plus the easiest of care. Yarn spinners, weavers and dye and finishing houses have experienced valued processing efficiencies due to the fiber’s extreme resistance to heat and stringent chemicals, according to Dow.

The company added that designers and retailers will appreciate the fiber’s ability to virtually disappear into the base fabric, so stretch cottons will maintain that desirable cotton hand. Consumers will appreciate the hassle-free care label of clothing that includes DOW XLA fiber, Dow said. No special care attention is needed to maintain the garment’s just-purchased stretch performance, the firm added.

“Development and commercial scale-up trials have demonstrated that the processing efficiencies of DOW XLA are greatly valued by spinners and mills,” said Antonio Torres, global business director for Dow Fiber Solutions. “And this is just the beginning. Dow Fiber Solutions’ goal is to break conventional wisdom about what can and cannot be done in terms of new fiber development.”

According to the company, DOW XLA fiber has two inherent strengths unparalleled in today’s elastic fibers: Heat resistance to greater than 220°C, and chemical resistance to the most stringent of chemicals, such as permanganate and hypochlorite. These features, Dow added, contribute several benefits to yarn and textile manufacturers because DOW XLA can be efficiently cone dyed; withstand severe dyeing, bleaching, mercerizing and garment washing conditions; and tolerate the thermosol dyeing process using standard conditions.

Additionally, processors will appreciate that DOW XLA fiber behaves like the base “rigid fiber” and can be chemically finished as the base “rigid fiber.” All this results in a new level of comfort stretch in new, differentiated fabrics, Dow added.

Geared to work with a variety of natural and synthetic fibers, DOW XLA fiber complements the drape and hand of the base fabric — such as “vintage denim” — without a synthetic feel, the company said. Because of the fiber’s heat and chemical resistance, designers and retail buyers can offer new stretch apparel designs where fashion, comfort and no-hassle care are demanded, Dow added.

Hyosung celebrates ...

Week of November 18, 2002

... first-year success in U.S.

ROCK HILL, SC — Rusty Ford has spent the last year unlocking what had been a well-kept secret in U.S. apparel markets. His job? Raise awareness of Hyosung, the Korean company that is one of the world’s largest fiber producers, and begin developing markets for its creora® spandex brand in the U.S. and Canada.

“The opportunity to build something from the ground up is really invigorating,” said Ford, a 29-year veteran of the apparel industry who is vice president of Hyosung (America). “We started with virtually zero recognition of creora or Hyosung in this marketplace and I think we have made excellent progress in building our business, although we have much more to do. creora is well-known and widely accepted in other regions, with revenues growing 40 percent annually. We expect it will have the same success in the U.S. and Canada, once customers learn about our product and our company.”

Hyosung, with fiber revenues of $2 billion last year, has been making nylon and polyester since 1957. It began producing spandex in 1992 and registered its creora brand in 1999. It is the world’s second largest spandex producer and ranks fifth in nylon production and 10th in polyester production.

“The biggest challenge we face is getting the market to test our products,” Ford said. “Let’s be honest. We need to establish a comfort level among our customers about doing business with a foreign fiber producer, particularly one from Asia. Once we get our foot in the door, people really like what they see.”

What they learn, he said, is that creora offers unique stretch and recovery properties because it is based on different polymers than competitive products. Some creora products also offer a different feel in fabric, because it has less compression and higher stretch. Pricing is “competitive” with other brands, he added.

Consistency is another area that Hyosung believes differentiates creora, Ford said. Special emphasis has been placed on spandex fiber uniformity.

Better uniformity equals better fabric quality and fewer seconds — a must in this cost-conscious apparel market.

Hyosung’s marketing team includes Greg Hearn, who brings seven years of experience in the hosiery and diaper markets at Globe Manufacturing, and Jack Smothers, who spent 22 years at Unifi before joining Hyosung.

Ford and his team are focusing on hosiery, intimate apparel, swimwear, outerwear and activewear. The hosiery market, an early priority because creora was primarily designed with hosiery in mind and because Ford has experience in the category, has paid dividends.

Warp knits are receiving greater attention now that the company has opened its warping facility here. The facility has capacity for nine metric tons per week of both fine and heavy denier creora on beams. In addition to the warping facilities, Hyosung has offices in nearby Charlotte, NC, and warehouses here and in Los Angeles.

The diaper market is seen as an important growth area for creora, according to Hyosung. Ford and his diaper team, led by Hearn, have made it a priority.

“Preliminary tests of our product with suppliers to the diaper market have been extremely successful,” Hearn said. “For example, it has been tested with glue manufacturers and found to work as well or better than any other spandex. And tests show that skin irritation with creora is not an issue.

“We’re putting things in place to aggressively compete for business in this market.

We already have several small to mid-size diaper customers, and some of the larger players are considering us, too.”

Now that creora is beginning to take a foothold in the U.S. and Canada, the role of Ford and his team has been expanded to include marketing Hyosung’s nylon and polyester products. Over the past year, their approach was reactive — accommodating spandex customers who needed nylon and polyester. The game plan is proactive today, they said.

“It just makes good sense to market all three products,” Ford said. “If we can help our customers by providing one-stop shopping, that’s what we’ll do.”

Hyosung offers an array of commodity and branded nylon and polyester fibers, including super microdeniers. Commodity fibers are marketed under the Toplon brand.

Specialty nylon fibers marketed under Hyosung’s Mipan® brand include:

• Mipan Lumax®, a luminent yarn that absorbs and stores the energy of natural or artificial lights;

• Mipan Glurex®, a performance fiber with an ultra-low melting point, that can be used as an add-on yarn for high-quality sewing threads and chenille yarns;

• Mipan Magic Silver®, an antibacterial yarn that kills various germs, with applications that include hospital gowns, laboratory coats and sports shoes; and

• Mipan aquafresh®, a highly absorbent, quick-drying fiber for sportswear and leisurewear.

On the polyester side, Hyosung’s brands include:

• M2®, a super micro-fiber that combines a natural tecture with the high performance of polyester;

• Aerocool®, a performance-enhancing fiber for athleticwear;

• Firex®, a flame-retardant yarn; and

• Imitation Leather, which gives fabrics the look and feel of leather for apparel and upholstery.

If timing is everything, as they say, why would Hyosung choose now to enter the tenuous U.S. apparel market?

“Our chairman, Jung-Rae Cho, has built an enormously successful global fiber business based on the quality of his products,” Ford said. “He knows that the U.S. apparel market is the most difficult and competitive in the world. He waited until he had the best quality and the right infrastructure to compete here. That formula has been highly successful in other regions and he expects it to be successful here too.”

Foss ...

Week of November 18, 2002

... develops flame-retardant fiber

HAMPTON, NH — Foss Manufacturing announced it has developed a versatile and durable flame-retardant fiber that provides a more effective alternative to topically coated fabrics, according to the company.

The new fiber, called Fossfibre® FRF, is an inherently flame-retardant polyester fiber, with the flame-retardant polymer permanently imbedded into the fiber itself. With this construction, Fossfibre FRF maintains its flame-retardant capabilities for the life of the fiber and therefore does not lose its effectiveness over time due to washing, dry cleaning or excessive humidity as can occur with topically coated materials, Foss said.

Foss added that it is able to solution dye the fiber in virtually any color and can customize it to meet customers specifications.

“With Fossfibre FRF we have developed a flame-retardant fiber with permanent flame-retardant protection that meets today’s tough flame-retardant standards. And, we can customize the fiber based on our customer’s specific needs, such as colors and denier lengths,” said Robert Sawvell, director of sales and marketing for Foss Manufacturing’s fiber business unit.

In addition to providing permanent protection, FRF is produced through a halogen-free chemistry process, eliminating compounds such as Antimony and Decabrom, chemicals used to coat traditional flame-retardant fabrics, which can harm the environment during manufacturing.

“Creating safe, effective and durable flame-retardant materials is one of the most important responsibilities for the textile industry,” Sawvell said. “We believe FRF’s unique qualities will be beneficial for a variety of product applications.”

Fossfibre FRF meets strict fire-retardant standards, passing both the test for flame-retardant textiles and films (NFPA 701), and the flammability of interior materials test for automotive use (FMVSS 302), according to the manufacturer. If a fabric made with FRF is exposed to fire, it will not propagate flames or develop flame drippings, Foss added. Rather, FRF’s technology causes the fire to burn at a slow crawl, eventually causing the fire to burn out, the company noted.

FRF can be woven into virtually any fabric, making it appropriate for products across a broad range of industries, Foss pointed out. Sample applications include automotive interior fabrics, furniture upholstery, theater curtains, trade show booth fabrics, wall coverings and drapery. In addition, FRF can be solution dyed virtually any color, and can incorporate other properties such as antimicrobial protection and UV stability.

Established in 1954 and headquartered here, Foss Manufacturing Company said it is a leader in the research and innovation of specialty synthetic fibers and nonwoven fabrics. With facilities in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, Foss is a major supplier to the automotive, technical, decorative and retail industries worldwide.

Ge-Ray, Nylstar ...

Week of November 18, 2002

... form yarn pact

NEW YORK CITY — Anticipating the increased market opportunity for multipurpose fabrics in intimate apparel, Ge-Ray and Nylstar have combined to bring innovation and ingenuity to the intimate apparel category, they said.

Together, these industry leaders are combining luxurious fabrics with performance qualities, creating a buzz in the industry with innovation, design and fashion, according to the two firms.

Fabrics made by Ge-Ray with Nylstar’s Meryl® yarns answer consumer demands for exceptional style, comfort and quality, the companies said. They added that Ge-Ray fabrics are soft and delicate to the touch, offering consumers comfort and freedom of movement — a must have among intimate consumers. In addition they are extremely breathable and easy to care for, the companies said.

“We are very excited about the new fabrics we have developed with Meryl yarns,” said Debra Cobb, merchandising director for Ge-Ray Fabrics. “Each of our developments brings a new level of innovation to the market. This innovation, combined with the key comfort features demanded by today’s intimate apparel consumers, are sure to please the most discerning of consumers.”

Among Nylstar’s family of Meryl nylon yarns, Ge-Ray has developed fabrics with Meryl Skinlife. Meryl Skinlife provides enhanced comfort by inhibiting the growth of bacteria in garments, regardless of activity level, therefore reducing the risk of unpleasant odors, according to Nylstar.

And, unlike topical treatments, Meryl Skinlife is a permanent feature inherent in the fiber, so it will not transfer to the skin or wash out of the fabric, the maker added. Intimate apparel developed with the addition of Meryl Skinlife will deliver enhanced comfort and exceptional quality, Nylstar said.
Also being introduced by Ge-Ray are fabrics created with Meryl Nateo.

Fabrics developed with this unique fiber create garments with a natural touch and look. Fabrics with Nateo also provide excellent moisture management to keep consumers cool and dry.

“These fabrics are phenomenal — they were developed specifically for intimate apparel and provide a newness the category has required and needed,” said Dina Dunn, vice president of marketing for Nylstar North America.

Nilit ...

Week of November 18, 2002

... launches new yarn

Nilit, Ltd. announced the launch of Sensil™ Cupelle yarn, the latest development in the Sensil™ product line that achieves two distinct colors in one regular dyeing process.

The name “Sensil Cupelle” was given to indicate a couple of contrasting colors, according to Nilit.
“Sensil Cupelle was developed to meet customer demand for high-fashion, bi-color products following the success of the ‘tone-to-tone’ dye effect from Sensil Colorwise,” said Molly Kremidas, merchandising manager for Nilit fibers.

Sensil Cupelle is the latest addition to the Sensil line of specialty multi-purpose polyamide yarns, intended for a wide variety of markets, from intimate apparel to activewear.

Nilit operates a fully integrated facility, and its production line includes polymerization, spinning, drawing and texturing of nylon yarns. With more than 25 years of experience, Nilit manufactures a broad spectrum of yarns, including the finest and most delicate yarns on the market, it said.
Nilit nylon 6.6 yarns are offered in a broad variety of yarn counts.

AF&Y helping ...

Week of November 18, 2002

... U.S. soldiers battle elements of nature

CHAPEL HILL, NC — While American military personnel are fighting the war against terrorism, American Fibers and Yarns Company (AF&Y) is fighting the elements of nature on their behalf.

AF&Y’s Innova high-performance fiber is a leading polyolefin yarn in the apparel industry, particularly useful for skin-contact applications where protection from the elements is essential, the company said. Because Innova fibers stay dry and retain body heat better than any other synthetic or natural fiber, according to AF&Y, it has been specified by the United States military for its Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS), a five-layer clothing system for use in extreme environments such as Afghanistan, Alaska and Bosnia.

“American Fibers and Yarns Company is proud to be able to support our troops in Afghanistan and around the world,” said Mike Apperson, president and CEO of AF&Y. “Our soldiers have enough to think about as they are protecting our country without having to fight the elements as well. Thermalwear made using Innova yarn is an ideal solution to keep our service personnel warm and dry as they face harsh climates and unknown terrain every day.”

“Innova yarn is used in the base layer of the ECWCS because of its moisture-management, insulative and quick-drying properties, all essential elements of a protective clothing system’s skin contact layer,” Apperson said. “If that base layer doesn’t perform, the other four layers are less effective in protecting the soldiers to keep them dry and warm.”

The five layers of the ECWCS system were engineered by the U.S. Army to perform together. The other layers are absorbent, insulative and water-repellent layers. The skin contact layer must perform or the subsequent layers cannot properly perform their specialized functions.

Several unique properties set Innova fibers apart from other natural and synthetic fibers, according to AF&Y. First, thermalwear using Innova yarn stays dry because polypropylene fiber is “hydrophobic.” This means that not only does the high-performance fiber not absorb moisture, it actually repels water and perspiration and pushes it to the outside of the garment, facilitating the movement of moisture away from the skin.

Since polypropylenes are breathable, moisture moves away from the skin in the vapor stage, before it has condensed on the skin to create a feeling of clamminess, according to the manufacturer. With this moisture movement process and the fiber’s negligible moisture regain, clothing made with Innova dries much faster than garments made from natural or other synthetic yarns, the firm added. In fact, clothing will dry while service personnel are wearing it, if necessary.

The Innova yarn also has the lowest thermal conductivity rating of all natural and synthetic fibers, making it warmer than wool and enabling it to retain heat for a longer length of time, according to AF&Y. In addition, the knit fabric has been heavily brushed on the inside to create a fleece, which traps even more body heat. In fact, the ECWCS has been approved by the U.S. Army for use in temperatures as low 60 degrees below zero.

AF&Y added that Innova’s combined characteristics make it the ideal fiber for all-season comfort and moisture management in skin-contact fabrics. The fiber’s additional benefits, the company noted, include:

• lightweight — Innova fiber is 30 percent lighter than polyester and 20 percent lighter than nylon, making it the lightest-weight yarn available, AF&Y claimed. Regardless of the activity, weight saved means more energy for improved performance. This also creates more bulk and warmth with less weight;

• ultraviolet protection — Innova fibers have an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50, the highest rating possible. This rating is achieved without applying topical treatments that can wear off after repeated use. Instead, Innova yarns offer UPF protection for the life of a garment, the company said;

• odor resistant — this is especially important for members of the military who may not have regular access to laundry facilities. In addition, Innova fiber resists damage and staining resulting from perspiration;

• abrasion resistant — Innova yarn is abrasion resistant, even in pressure points where clothing tends to wear out first, the manufacturer said. Innova meets all industry standards for durability;

• chemical resistant — most chemicals will not harm Innova fiber, including chlorine bleach, the company added;

• mold and mildew resistant — bacteria will not damage Innova fiber and Innova yarn naturally repels molds and mildew, AF&Y said;

• colorfast — AF&Y builds color into the fiber, making it colorfast. Unlike conventionally dyed fabrics, it will never fade, even after multiple washings, the firm reported; and

• easy care — garments made using Innova yarn are machine washable in warm or hot water. They can be dried on a low setting or will line dry in minutes.

Innova thermalwear garments are American-made. They are sewn in workshops operated by NISH, the National Industries for the Severely Handicapped, a nonprofit agency that provides jobs for people with disabilities. The same thermalwear produced for the U.S. Army using Innova yarn is also sold in commercial retail markets. The product is found in catalogs and sporting goods stores for outdoor enthusiasts, including Cabella’s, Bass Pro Shops and G.I. Joe’s. Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Target also carry the product.

Duofold brands its high-quality products for sale in specialty sporting goods stores. Innova yarns are also used in knitted and woven active wear, dive and surfwear and running and cycling apparel.

American Fibers & Yarns Company supplies synthetic filament yarn to the home furnishings, contract, hospitality, apparel, automotive and industrial markets. AF&Y began as Phillips Fibers Corporation, a subsidiary of Phillips Petroleum Company.

In 1993, Amoco Fabrics and Fibers Corporation, a subsidiary of Amoco Oil Corporation, bought Phillips Fibers Corporation. The combined companies became the largest U.S. supplier of polypropylene filament yarns, staple fiber, needle punch nonwovens and carpet backing. In 1999, Amoco Fabrics and Fibers Corporation sold the fibers division to a private equity firm, Monitor Clipper Partners of Cambridge, MA. The company is now headquartered here.

Bayer trend consultant ...

Week of November 18, 2002

... offers forecast

NEW YORK CITY — “The bottom will be more important than décolleté,” said Marian de Ruyter, the trend consultant for Bayer Dorlastan‚ spandex fiber.

de Ruyter, who is based in Europe, was here recently to present her 2004 fashion forecasts to Bayer Dorlastan customers.

Dorlastan spandex, manufactured by the Fibers Group of Bayer Corporation’s Fibers, Additives and Rubber Division, is best known for its applications in intimate apparel and swimwear.

de Ruyter’s trends forecast is based on her foresight of what the market will expect in terms of style, comfort and color. Monika Maiwald, customer service manager for Dorlastan, said that de Ruyter brings “added value that is unsurpassed in the industry. Marian has a special gift that she has honed through considerable study and experience, and it’s something unique that no other company is able to offer its customers.”

As an expert who has been working in the fashion industry for almost two decades, de Ruyter said she views Dorlastan as the fiber for our time. “The stretch and recovery of Dorlastan allows fashion to be flexible in texture for everyone, regardless of body type, and it handles the new design ideas for seamless fashions beautifully” she said.

An abridged version of de Ruyter’s 2004 forecast follows:

The spirit of fashion

de Ruyter said she believes that fashion will become even more of an outlet for escapism than it has in the past. With the new millennium’s expectations of peace thrown off balance, she forecasts that consumers will create their individual freedom, excitement, happiness and joy.

Consumers will escape to their own fantasies, she said. “Emotion overcomes rational thinking, and this will be the driving force behind the styles of 2004,” said de Ruyter. She predicted that this thinking with the gut instead of the head will be reflected in many ways — such as with big, outsized patterns, ovals and circles placed on the fronts of garments.”

According to de Ruyter, “in hard times, we see the world from a different perspective, a retrospective. We glance back, live for the moment and dream of the future — all at the same time while creating our own fantastical escapes.”

Styling

Sensuality and nature are two key concepts for the 2004 fashions.

The definition of sensual has expanded beyond the look and touch of the garment. Now, it must feel sensual to the wearer, as well, according to Bayer.

In addition, the bottom and hips have become more important eye-catchers than women’s décolleté. “Instead of the Baywatch babes decade, it is now Jennifer Lopez who helps set a new trend, giving her bottom full, plastic-surgery shape,” said de Ruyter.

And once again, the theme of nature plays an important role in fashion — helping consumers escape to their fantasies. An important trend — especially for seamless designs — is the new wave of “basic” underwear and lingerie. The new natural underwear should never appear dull or cheap, anymore — but express a natural, pure beauty. “With the new basics, there is always a special, visibly sophisticated look and a subtle element — making the underwear refined and smooth-looking,” said de Ruyter.

Color

Because emotion is such a driving force in fashion, color choices will be freer and trends less predictable, de Ruyter said. For 2004, she said there is a continuum — from non-color to very colorful. “These extremes create an endless range of unexpected harmonies that can give a very delicate, nostalgic softness, as well as a chaotic boldness.”

According to de Ruyter, there are no limits on combining colors.

The streets of the world will provide the main source of inspiration for color. By offering what de Ruyter refers to as “a global rainbow,” the international arena of different cultures is the catalyst for the ongoing exchange of ideas.

“They provide a fusion between trash and chic, handmade and industrial perfection, color and non-color,” she explained.

Non-color moods, said de Ruyter, are expressed not just with pure white — but with a hint of a tint like egg white, chalk and cream. Mother Earth also inspires non-colors such as mud, clay and rock.

In 2004, black will have many faces and density of shadows.

In addition, de Ruyter forecasts an association with the colorful ’60s — creating a combination of “cyber babe meets Barbie.” Tie-dye, trickling colors and spontaneous abstract painting will all be part of the 2004 palate, along with broken prints, stripes and a natural surrealism that de Ruyter calls, “go-with-the-flow-blues,” that highlight cool, ice-like blue colors.

What does it all mean?

What is not always possible in life, is possible in fashion.

“Fashion today is a mix of fantasy, expression, atmosphere, identity and connecting all sorts of differing perspectives,” de Ruyter said. “There is an anything-goes attitude in fashion as it follows the whims of fantasy.”

de Ruyter cautioned that because of this, industry marketers must be especially vigilant.

“Today’s market-dominating, graying baby boomers are active and longing for more colors and fantasy in order to feel free and young forever,” she said.

However, she added that their sense of aesthetics is different from today’s younger generation — and even more different from the new influences created by young designers from Asia, Africa and Eastern European countries.

“These designers are coming along like a whirlwind, bringing the world a totally new perspective on clothing design,” said de Ruyter.

In the past, the fashion industry has adhered to the principle that form follows function. The new attitude is fashion follows fantasy.

Ciba establishes ...

Week of November 18, 2002

... Textile Services area

BASEL, SWITZERLAND — Ciba Specialty Chemicals has established a new service offer within its Textile Effects Segment — Ciba® Textile Services.

The services available include color matching, effects development, color interpretation, fabric testing, on-line fashion shade management and virtual color communication and training.

Ciba Textile Services includes two state-of-the-art sample dyeing facilities — one in High Point, NC, and the other in Macclesfield, UK — staffed by teams of experts who are available to provide advice and support all over the world.

With Ciba Textile Services, Ciba Specialty Chemicals extends the availability and the scope of its offerings to the textile industry. Not only can its traditional customers, the textile mills, benefit from these services, but also those parties involved further down the textile chain, such as garment producers and retailers. The services support designers and garment manufacturers in achieving consistent colors and effects that allow them to differentiate their products and to meet consumers’ requirements, according to Ciba.

“Today’s consumers want their clothes to be fashionable, comfortable and easy to care for,” said Dave Simmonds, global head of Ciba Textile Services. “The new unit aims to provide retailers and brand houses with added-value services, helping them to make their own value chain more transparent and more accountable by linking them with garment manufacturers and mills, and ultimately providing consumers with the articles they want.

“The key criteria for mills and retailers alike are the same: quality, speed and cost effectiveness. With Ciba Textile Services we offer our expertise to the entire textile value chain, helping to balance requirements, such as lightfastness, washfastness and metamerism, with fast, practical solutions that work in the textile mill. We know the whole process from pretreatment to garment finishing and can provide consistent standards, as well as the means to check compliance with those standards. We can save not only textile mills but also garment producers and retailers time, money and worry.”

The services include:

• color matching based on engineered color standards, i.e. dyeings produced with technically sound dye formulations, matching the original with tight tolerances. These comprise not only recipe formulation, but also fastness testing and sample and swatch production;

• effects development, which refers to the application of finishing effects on the fabric and the development of new effects that meet consumers’ demands;

• color interpretation, which entails the application of the standard recipe on the actual fabric as well as optimization of standard single fiber recipes for the sophisticated blends required by today’s consumer, such as polyester microfiber with elastane;

• fabric testing, which can be used to ascertain fastness and physical properties in bulk production;

• on-line fashion shade management — an Internet platform for shade management available to registered users. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, this service is designed to benefit all participants — retailers/garment producers, textile mills and Ciba Specialty Chemicals — by ensuring fast and efficient communication throughout the value chain; and • training courses, which can be tailored to fit the needs of customers.

New dye range

Ciba Specialty Chemicals also announced the launch of a dye range for polyamide that it says gives brilliant shades combined with high fastness performance. Outstanding wetfastness properties, including fastness to washing and perspiration, and high lightfastness make the dyes especially suitable for sportswear and leisurewear.

The ERIOFAST dyes launched so far cover a selection of shades. The dyes are fully compatible with one another and can be combined as required, providing the flexibility needed to meet rapidly changing market requirements and fashion trends, Ciba said.

The dyes are metal-free, in line with growing market demand.

Suitable for all exhaust application methods and equipment, ERIOFAST dyes are applied by a simple, robust process. This, together with good laboratory-to-bulk transfer and excellent reproducibility, ensures dependable results and cost-effective production, the company added.

New additive

Ciba’s IRGASURF™ HL 560 is a new, durable hydrophilic internal additive for polyolefin fibers and nonwovens. Added to the polymer during the extrusion step in the fiber spinning, spunbond or melt-blown process, IRGASURF HL 560 is a real alternative to topical finishes.

Typical applications are hygiene and medical nonwovens, wipes and absorbent fabrics, as well technical items such as filters and battery separators.

“IRGASURF HL 560 is the first internal surface modifier for polypropylene fibers,” said Jean-Roch Pauquet, head of industry segment Textiles & Carpets in Ciba Specialty Chemicals’ Plastic Additives Segment. “Its durability makes it an attractive solution for numerous applications.”

IRGASURF HL 560 gives polyolefin fibers and fabrics a durable, wettable surface effect. Treatment with IRGASURF HL 560 ensures that polypropylene nonwovens absorb up to eight times their own weight of water, Pauquet said. Strike-through times on treated fabrics are below three seconds, he added.

IRGASURF HL 560 not only makes polypropylene fabric absorbent but also gives it antistatic properties and reduces friction, according to the company. The resulting softness and pleasant feel of the fabric increases the comfort of items such as diapers, adult incontinence pads and feminine care products, Ciba reported.

Site visit

A new Internet site, www.cibasc.com/r&d, provides insight into Ciba Specialty Chemicals’ Research & Development (R&D).

The company currently invests up to CHF 300 million per year in R&D, the equivalent of about 4 percent of sales. About 1,400 R&D people are active at 21 sites around the world.

Ciba said its R&D facility is a major asset to both the company and its customers.

Martin Riediker, Chief Technology Officer at Ciba Specialty Chemicals, provided some insight into the strong role R&D plays within Ciba: “Ciba is fully committed to innovation. We carefully foster creativity, find solutions for customers’ needs and anticipate new market opportunities. Our core competencies enable us to offer added value to our customers’ industries through practical solutions with highly leveraged economical and ecological benefit. Our new R&D Internet site reflects our will to communicate openly about our competencies, to explain how we handle new ideas.”

A special highlights page presents the latest developments and activities in Ciba Specialty Chemicals’ research facility. Ciba’s expertise in light management and in particular a new and revolutionary technology for plastic greenhouse films are a current focal point. A red fluorescence additive enables the film to absorb light from the ultraviolet spectrum and re-emit it in the visible part of the spectrum. In trials conducted on roses, the film enabled the growers to produce high quality roses faster — increasing growth by up to 50 percent.

An overview of technologies that have been developed in Ciba Specialty Chemicals’ R&D and which have product applications across a wide range of business and industry areas can be found at “Our competencies.”

Information on Ciba’s broad spectrum of scientific research activities is also provided, with details on activities including organic synthesis, solid-state chemistry and physics (nanoparticles), catalysis and biocatalysis, as well as application research.

Another key focus is the way innovative products provide solutions to meet specific industry customer needs. The R&D site gives details of Ciba Specialty Chemicals’ solution oriented approach, including case studies, across all areas of business.

The human story behind the chemical innovations is illustrated at “Meet our people,” including information about some of the key researchers and their teams, what work in R&D at Ciba Specialty Chemicals is like and how Ciba’s academic network is made up.

Textile school ...

Week of November 18, 2002

... honors Horne

RALEIGH, NC — Chuck Horne, a 1973 textile technology graduate of the North Carolina State University’s College of Textiles, has been awarded the 2002 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Horne is president of Hornwood Inc., a Lilesville, NC, company that specializes in knit specialty fabrics.

Horne’s contributions to the College of Textiles are numerous. He is a member of the board of directors for the North Carolina Textile Foundation, which annually aids and supports education and research at the College of Textiles. In 2001, the NCTF contributed in excess of $1.3 million to the College of Textiles for various programs.

He is also a member of the Centennial Scholarship Committee that awards about 10 incoming students per year with a $12,500 scholarship and a $7,500 enrichment fund. He also hosts training and development each year for the new Centennial Scholars.

“Chuck Horne has been one of the strongest supporters for the College of Textiles for many years,” said Dr. A. Blanton Godfrey, dean of the College of Textiles. “He has been an outstanding leader for the North Carolina Textile Foundation and has made significant contributions to the college scholarship committee. In addition, for the past several years Chuck has opened his company doors and allowed our Centennial Scholars to participate in exciting and stimulating leadership training at his facilities.”

Apex unveils ...

Week of November 18, 2002

... UV absorber for polyester

SPARTANBURG, SC — Apex Chemical Corporation, which manufactures and supplies textile auxiliary products and flame retardants, recently announced the development of a sublimation-fast UV absorber, Uvapex CFW, for polyester.

The company, founded in 1900 in Elizabeth, NJ, and now based here, said that Uvapex CFW is formulated in a way that allows it to inhibit spotting on jet-dyed polyester while offering great lightfastness. Because of the product’s high sublimation point, it is also ideal for pad/thermosol applications for polyester, Apex added. The product also does not promote yellowing, the maker said.

Apex said it also has available several innovations in the flame retardant area. The first is in response to some of the proposed regulations coming out of California and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The company has developed Flameproof 1725 and Flameproof 1726. These two products, when exposed to an open flame, develop a thermal barrier that significantly reduces the amount of heat transferred through the fabric so the underlying substrates do not ignite, according to company officials.

Additionally Apex has developed several products that can reduce and even eliminate antimony and/or bromine in many conventional flame-retardant applications, the company claimed. These products have been significant in allowing some of its customers to maintain regulatory compliance and reduce the amount of money spent on pollution control, Apex added.

BASF ...

Week of November 18, 2002

... continues to emphasize growth in nylon

CHARLOTTE, NC — BASF’s Textile Products unit continues to emphasize growth in its specialty nylon fibers business and add value to its customers’ products, according to Bill Scott, director, Nylon Textile and Automotive Products for BASF.

“This approach is paying off for both BASF and our customers as we continually evaluate and improve specialty nylon warp knit products for intimate apparel, upholstery fabrics, as well as automotive applications,” Scott said. “For example, our high-filament and microfiber branded nylon yarns give the softness and comfort consumers desire for intimate apparel.”

Tristine Berry, merchandising manager, added that “we pride ourselves in producing specialized products, such as our Ultra Micro Touch® nylon that can be paired with spandex in seamless and circular knits for swimwear, intimate apparel and activewear.”

In addition to comfort, what are consumers looking for? According to Berry, new fabrics also are driving the market.

“Personalized fabrics are really important to the consumer, ranging from highly decorated fabrics to the basic fabrics we all know and love, Berry said. “These new fabrics may combine two mesh fabrics for a layering effect, or a satin fabric with lace on top, or a sheer fabric with a mesh under it. These specialty fabrics are enticing consumers to part with their money and buy something not in their wardrobes.”

Pursuing additional specialty markets, BASF recently introduced a family of nylon yarns for activewear for export to customers in countries covered by Caribbean Basin trade legislation (commonly known as “CBI”). “We see growth opportunities in this area during the next 12 months and expect to expand our business in this region,” Scott said.

All BASF textile nylon yarns are CBI compliant and are manufactured at the company’s ISO-9001-registered plant in Anderson, SC, Scott said.

Carpet synergies

BASF said it is the only fiber producer that manufactures both solution-dyed nylon carpet and upholstery yarns made form virtually identical pigments and polymers. By pairing upholstery fabrics and carpet made from Zeftron 2000® solution-dyed nylon yarns, designers can achieve excellent color matches and coordination for seating fabrics and carpets, the company said.

Building on the synergy with carpet yarns, BASF earlier this year announced the expansion of its industry-leading carpet 6ix Again® carpet-recycling program to include Zeftron® 200 nylon upholstery yarns, thus making it possible to recycle old nylon upholstery fabrics back into virgin grade nylon.

“Adding Zeftron 200 nylon to the 6ix Again recycling program demonstrates BASF’s leadership and continuing commitment to sustainability,” said Walter Pinsdorf, BASF’s senior marketing representative. “Now, upholstery fabrics made with our Zeftron 200 nylon can be recycled in a similar manner as carpets returned through the 6ix Again program, now in its eighth year of evolution.”

“In addition to recycling attributes, designers can achieve all the elements of good design with Zeftron 200 nylon,” Pinsdorf said. “Our expanded color line and the introduction of finer denier yarns have fueled a wave of fabric development leading to newly defined patterns. This has resulted in exciting new product launches. Because all certified Zeftron 200 nylon fabrics must pass a demanding series of industry performance standards, specifiers can be confident in the durability, ease of care and lasting beauty of our yarns, even in the most demanding applications.

“BASF Zeftron 200 solution-dyed nylon continues to set standards for performance in the corporate, healthcare, hospitality and assisted living markets.”

Automotive connection

As major automotive interior components, BASF nylon yarns continue to meet the stringent quality standards demanded by the industry, according to the company. BASF’s nylon is the primary yarn choice in headliner cloth for American cars, a position it has held for more than two decades, BASF added.

In addition, BASF specializes in high-performance, solution-dyed nylon for automotive carpets and is the industry leader in their production. Recognized for superior colorfastness, carpets made with BASF’s solution-dyed nylon outperform the competition, according to BASF. For 2003 models, BASF nylon is the choice for automotive carpets in selected Daimler-Chrysler, Ford and General Motors vehicles, as well as some models for Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Mazda.

For home or office

In addition to automotive carpet yarns, BASF supplies both solution-dyed and natural BCF nylon yarns to the commercial and residential markets.

“The color palette for carpets has exploded,” said Tim Blount, manager of marketing programs. “Both designers for the commercial carpet market and homeowners can select nylon carpet in a variety of shades and hues that complement the furniture and other room accessories. In addition, sophisticated patterns and textures are available, thanks to breakthroughs in carpet manufacturing technology. With all the latest carpet color and styling options available today, it is a great time to replace that old carpet and install a new carpet made with BASF nylon.”

Nylon 6 ...

Week of November 18, 2002

... can create value, promotional group says

Over more than 60 years, nylon 6 has maintained a track record as a versatile, competitive material with a wide — and increasing — range of applications.

As the main nylon type with a 60 percent market share, nylon 6 is today as active and energetic as it has ever been, according to the Nylon-6 Promotional Group (NPG-6), an international assemblage of small and large companies involved in nylon 6-related activities.

NPG-6 aims to stimulate cooperation and innovation in the nylon 6 business chain and to provide information, both to members and the business community in general, that acknowledges the value and performance of nylon 6, the group said.

NPG-6 has 14 member companies: Aquafil, Chema Anlagenbau, Clariant, DSM, EMS Inventa-Fischer, Honeywell, Mitsubishi Chemical, Modipon Fibers, Sifas, SRF, Thai Baroda, Thai Taffeta, Ube and Zimmer Engineering. Membership is open to all companies involved in the nylon 6 business chain.

The German chemist Paul Schlack (1897–1987) first polymerized caprolactam to nylon 6 on January 29, 1938 in a laboratory of IG Farben, where he worked as a researcher. Women’s stockings were one of the first applications. Today, the polymer is used principally as a textile fiber, as well as for engineering plastics and films.

In the textile sector, nylon 6 is used in apparel, carpets, sporting goods and articles for leisure, such as parachutes, kites and backpacks. Examples of its application in the industrial fiber sector include tire cord, ropes and conveyor belts. Meanwhile, the resin version of nylon 6 has found its way into many applications in the automotive, electrical and electronics, power tool and film industries.

Compared with other synthetic polymers, nylon 6 has unique intrinsic properties and superior processing behavior, according to NPG-6. It benefits from a good availability of raw material — caprolactam, which is readily obtainable from many suppliers worldwide — together with well-proven, relatively simple and economical processing and recycling technologies.

Special tailored additives are available for improving the performance of nylon 6 in all applications. For example, multi-functional additives, such as S-EED from Clariant, give textile fibers a smooth surface and provide carpet fibers with improved lightfastness and heat stability.

Floorcoverings

In the floorcoverings sector, nylon 6 carpets and rugs have been shown to last longer than comparable polypropylene and polyester products, NPG-6 said. Nylon 6 is easily dyed, which allows the production of aesthetically pleasing and comfortable carpets that have high tenacity and abrasion resistance, excellent elastic recovery and superior appearance retention, the group added. Floorcoverings made from nylon 6 are 100 percent recyclable.

As a woven dress material, nylon 6 provides a lightweight but strong fabric that is easy to dye in small lengths and can be used directly in warp without the need for sizing, NPG-6 added. Nylon 6 fibers can, for example, be woven into “silk-like” saris with the opportunity for multiple colors and designs using tie-dye processes, allowing deep and bright shades, light and elegant texture and “see-through” appeal.

Nylon 6 copolymer is widely used for fishing lines, such as those required for long-line tuna fishing. The material is easily processed into large-size, round monofilament with excellent tensile and knot strength, and is easily handled on board commercial fishing vessels, NPG-6 added.

‘Hooligan-proof’ seats

As cheaper polypropylene products are easily damaged, nylon 6 is being used to good effect by Omsi of Italy to produce “hooligan-proof” seats for sports stadiums. According to NPG-6, the increased durability of these seats is due to the higher mechanical resistance of nylon 6, which is based on a resin grade from Aquafil.

Further, the seats can be made in brighter colors and attract less dirt. And unlike polypropylene, nylon 6 products do not emit toxic fumes in the case of fire, the organization said.

When used in dentists’ chairs, nylon 6 elastomer copolymer offers excellent toughness and resistance, an optimal balance between stiffness and flexibility, a large wall thickness range and cost-efficient tooling of large parts with complex geometry, NPG-6 said.

Alternative to metals

In the automotive industry, nylon 6 offers excellent potential for the manufacture of air-intake manifolds, NPG-6 noted. Nylon 6 has better strength, heat stability, oil/gas resistance and processability than polypropylene or polystyrene, and its mechanical properties are superior to nylon 66, the group pointed out.

It offers improved air-intake performance and increased engine horsepower because the inside surface of the manifold is smoother, it added. And as nylon 6 is 50 percent lighter and up to 50 percent cheaper than aluminum, it offers significant weight and cost advantages.

When used as automotive covers, nylon 6 is again an ideal alternative to heavy and expensive metals and also to nylon 66. Nylon 6 provides high temperature resistance, better processability, better weldability, good surface appearance, low warpage and lower overall production costs for such items as engine and pulley covers.

Nylon 6 also offers solutions for demanding electrical and electronics applications, such as relay boxes. The material provides high stiffness and toughness, excellent weld-line strength and superior flow characteristics, NPG-6 said.

Editorial

Week of November 18, 2002

Good advice being heeded

INNOVATE, innovate, innovate.

Differentiate, differentiate, differentiate.

If we've heard that advice once, we've heard it 1,000 times - especially during these transitional times for the U.S. textile industry. Whether you're a manufacturer or supplier, the so-called experts and industry watchers have told you that, in order to stand out from the crowd, in order to survive, you're going to have to do new things and do them differently. That the globalization train, like it or not, is here and you can either hop aboard or get crushed. Now, we don't want to debate that oft-argued point here, but we do want to take a moment to say we're glad to see some of you are taking that advice to heart. You may or may not be hitching a ride on the "free trade" train, but at least you're not standing around and watching the competition pass you by.

The played-out phrase "think outside the box" was healthy advice in its day, in the mid-to-late '90s and, come to think of it, still is today. Perhaps the above guidance - innovate and differentiate, spoken in triplicate - is the modern, more-hip way of saying the same thing.

LOOK NO FURTHER than this, STN's annual Fibers, Chemicals & Dyestuffs edition, to find a few suppliers who are heeding that recommendation - being innovative and trying to differentiate themselves. In this issue, we asked those companies involved in these processes to tell us, and you, about some of the exciting things going on within their organizations. Response was good, if not resounding. But we are quite impressed with what we've seen.

From Dow's new fiber solution business and inaugural XLA™ elastic fiber to BASF's emphasis on growth in its specialty nylon fibers business; from Apex Chemical Corp.'s new sublimation-fast UV absorber for polyester to Ciba Specialty Chemicals new service area within its Textile Effects Segment - all should turn heads in their respective sectors.

Not only do these cutting-edge products and services say something positive about the strength of these companies' assurance in themselves, but also their strong belief in this down-but-not-out U.S. market. And even a non-U.S. company has faith that this market will recover. Korea-based Hyosung, as you can read in these pages, has built a facility in Rock Hill, SC, to manufacture its creora® brand of spandex and has begun to market is nylon and polyester products, here, as well. In doing so, the company has created good jobs for hard-working Americans.

Quick aside: Other offshore companies itching to get their products into the U.S. should be required to follow the lead of Hyosung. That is: If you sell here, you should manufacture here. Seems like simple advice, but we doubt the Pakistanis or Chinese will be playing with bricks and mortar here anytime soon.

ANYWAY, WE hope this edition represents at least a sprinkling of good news for this industry. Gosh knows, we've had our share of bad tidings in recent months and years. To those companies that chose to be included in this year's Fibers, Chemicals & Dyestuffs edition, we thank you. We appreciate your sharing your engaging stories with the industry and wish you continued success in all of your endeavors.

So continue to innovate and differentiate - and you're bound to have victories to celebrate.

Textile News Index