New ventures

News (gasp) good for SC textile industry

November 22, 2004

All news isn’t bad news these days for the textile industry in general and South Carolina in particular.

Floor covering manufacturer Mohawk Industries on Nov. 15 announced plans to build a yarn manufacturing facility near Bennettsville, SC, expanding its presence there and creating about 300 more jobs in the area.

Meanwhile, linens maker Standard Textile Co. of Reading, OH, has bought the former Pillowtex finishing plant in Union, SC, and plans to reopen it early next year. The company will hire 40 people initially, with employment expected to grow, company officials said.

Mohawk’s new facility will be built on property adjacent to its existing Oak River plant, where more than 600 people are employed.

“Our Oak River plant is one of our largest yarn operations and the history of success that the company has enjoyed here in Bennettsville makes us eager to grow this operation,” said Steve Powers, vice president of Yarn Manufacturing.

The facility is expected to operational by the end of next year, Powers added. The Oak River site presently produces more than 50 million pounds of spun and filament fiber annually.

Standard Textile’s purchase is its third such textile mill buy in the South as it continues to expand its global institutional linens business. The company acquired two closed plants in Georgia in 2001 and 2002.

Standard bought the 21-acre Union, SC, facility from GGST LLC, an investment firm that bought Pillowtex assets in a bankruptcy sale.

In related news about the state’s textile industry, Delta Apparel, Inc. announced Nov. 18 that it has signed an agreement with Parkdale America, LLC to sell its yarn manufacturing plant in Edgefield, SC.

In conjunction with the transaction, Delta will enter into a five-year agreement with Parkdale to supply the apparel maker’s yarn requirements.

Parkdale plans to include the Edgefield plant in its plans to modernize their production equipment dedicated to open end yarns.

“The supply agreement ... allows us to acquire yarn that has been manufactured from the most modern equipment available,” said Robert W. Humphreys, Delta’s president and CEO.

Textile News Index

Textile school

NCCATT’s Lemons to retire

November 22, 2004

By Devin Steele

BELMONT, NC — Dr. James Lemons, embattled president of the North Carolina Center for Applied Textile Technology (NCCATT) here, has decided to retire, with the future of the institution hanging in limbo.

Dr. James Lemons

The textile center’s board of trustees has accepted Lemons’ decision to step down at the end of this month after 20 years on the job.

The 62-year-old center fell under scrutiny last year, at the behest of NC House Rep. Debbie Clary. Several studies by state agencies followed, before a study by an independent research firm was conducted to determine the NCCATT’s viability and to recommend its future direction, one possibility being that it could become part of Gaston College. That study was recently concluded.

Lemons indicated that much of the scrutiny has been personal in nature, so he thought it was in the best interest of the school to “remove myself from the equation.”

“The focus needs to be on the textile center and what’s best for the textile center and not on me,” he said. “What’s somewhat disheartening is that, throughout this whole process, the focus seemed to be concentrated on an individual instead of where it should be.”

Board chairman Max Huntley, retired executive with Parkdale Mills, said board members were “devastated” to receive Lemons’ letter of retirement because he has done an “outstanding job.”

“But when you think about all the personal criticism and the personal accusations that have been cast upon Jim in the past 18 months, I certainly understand why he did it,” Huntley said. “We accepted his resignation with great regret, but we recognized and honored his wishes. He will be sorely missed.”

Board member Steve Dobbins, CEO of Maiden, NC-based Carolina Mills, added that he also hates to see Lemons leave, particularly after all he has helped the school accomplish over the last two decades.

“When (Lemons) took over the school more than 20 years ago, he inherited a rundown building with inadequate classrooms and obsolete equipment,” Dobbins said in a statement. “Under his leadership the old building has been renovated, a new building has been added and classrooms are now state of the art.

“Thanks to the business education partnerships he has developed, the center now houses some of the most modern textile processing and testing equipment in the world,” the statement continued.

Throughout its history, the center has transformed itself to meet the changing needs of the U.S. textile industry, particularly in the last five years. Under Lemons, the school evolved from a degree-granting institution to a continuing education institution. And most recently, the NCCATT has been in the process of transitioning from an educational institution to an economic development entity that provides a number of services (product development, testing and analysis, technical assistance) to the industry.

None of that may matter, however, when the state makes its decision on the center, Huntley said.

“We’ve been rapidly trying to change the center’s focus,“ he said. “But you just can’t go from an instructional mode to an industry-assist mode overnight. It takes time to get the equipment in, the machinery in, the focus set up. But obviously some people think you can snap your fingers and this can be accomplished.

“All the business education partnerships that have been formed over the last few months with companies like Wellman, Uster and others may not make a difference,” he added.

The NCCATT has emerged from every recent audit and study with a “clean bill of health in every regard,” Huntley said, making Lemons departure even more difficult to swallow, he added.

“It’s very, very unfortunate what’s happened, particularly to Dr. Lemons and furthermore what could happen to the textile center, when it is right now positioned to assist the industry better than it has been in years,” Huntley said. “All that is attributable to the leadership of Dr. Lemons.”

Longtime NCCATT deans Gwen Perkins and Deborah Hudson will oversee the center beginning next month.

Lemons said he will leave the school with a great deal of pride in the strides the school has made, but he added that he wishes his departure had come under a different set of circumstances.

“It’s not the ending that I necessarily would’ve envisioned,” he said. “But now may be the best time to move on. It’s in the best interest of the school and the best interest of my family.”

Textile News Index

China safeguards

Coalition files more petitions

November 22, 2004

WASHINGTON, DC — Two more threat-based special textile China safeguard petitions have been filed this month with the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA).

Petitions were filed on Category 620 (Other Synthetic Filament Fabric) and Category 447 (Wool Trousers) by the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, the National Council of Textile Organizations, the National Textile Association and the labor union UNITEHERE!.

Nine of the 10 threat-based petitions announced on Oct. 12 have been filed. In addition, the re-applications for safeguards on brassieres, dressing gowns and knit fabric also are expected to be filed soon.

Textile News Index

Fibers, Chemicals & Dyestuffs Edition

Hyosung (Americas) poised for growth

November 22, 2004

Contraction. Consolidation. Confusion. Three of many words to describe the constantly shifting North American textile market.

Hyosung’s senior management team has more than 160 years collective experience in the fiber and textile marketplace. They are (seated, L-R) Jack Smothers, Austin Cho and Dave Darwin; and (standing, L-R) Greg Hearn and Jay Hong. The company is strategically aligned for growth in the North American market.

Flexible. Nimble. Committed. Three more words to describe the handful of companies positioning themselves to take advantage of opportunities in a marketplace now defined by uncertainty and change.

Among them is Korean fiber producer Hyosung. Relatively new on the North American textile scene, the company has quietly put the pieces in place to build a strong foundation for growth in textile and apparel markets here.

Yet, Hyosung is no stranger on the global fiber scene. It is one of the world’s major fiber producers, ranking second in spandex, fifth in nylon and seventh in polyester production globally. A leading Korean multinational conglomerate, 25 percent of Hyosung’s $3.5 billion in revenues come from its textile fibers business.

“Based on our many years of global fibers experience, we’ve brought a careful, reasoned approach to building our business in this market,” said Austin Cho, general manager, Hyosung (America). “We’re constantly assessing how the political, trade and business situations around the world affect our business here and we respond accordingly.”

The game plan is a good one. Hyosung is perfectly positioned to take advantage of current and future opportunities created as major chemical companies exit the fiber production business and other fiber companies restructure.

Today, Hyosung finds itself one of only two companies offering the full range of fibers — spandex, nylon and polyester — in North America. Spandex currently makes up 60 percent of the company’s business here, with the remainder divided evenly between nylon and polyester.

Its diverse line of quality fibers is complemented by a seasoned team of industry veterans. Hyosung’s senior managers in North America — Dave Darwin, Greg Hearn, Jack Smothers and Cho — have more than 160 years combined experience in the business. That’s important in overcoming a major hurdle for Hyosung in North America — its lack of fiber production capacity here.

Customer driven

“Our mission is to service our customers so that they view us as a domestic producer,” said Darwin, Hyosung’s senior marketing manager for North America. “If we do a good job and plan, we can be just as effective as any domestic supplier. That’s where our collective experience and fiber backgrounds really pay off.”

Customer service includes technical support. For that, the Hyosung team has the company’s Korean-based Central Research facility at its disposal. Four hundred and thirty researchers strong, it provides both world-class technical knowledge and accelerated development of new products.

The research staff includes more than 200 with advanced degrees, including 60 who hold doctorates. Given modern communications technology, Hyosung Central Research can function as a “North American facility,” even through it is continents away.

Hyosung’s continuing commitment to technical support and research, with an annual budget of $35 million, stands in contrast to competitors who have reduced or eliminated their research funding, according to Hyosung.

To source its customers efficiently and effectively, the company has warehouse facilities in Los Angeles for West Coast markets, and Rock Hill, SC, to serve East Coast customers. Sales offices are in New York, Los Angeles and Rock Hill.

The company is aggressively pursuing business in apparel, industrial, hygiene, auto and home furnishings segments. In apparel, the focus is on swimwear, performance wear, intimate apparel, hosiery and socks.

Creora recognition

Today, the most recognized of Hyosung’s fiber products is Creora®, the company’s branded spandex. Known for its exceptional uniformity, particularly in fine-denier products, it has excellent modulus, stretch and recovery, which result in apparel that is extremely comfortable and functional, Hyosung said.

Jack Smothers, who wears both marketing and technical hats for Hyosung, said he believes there are numerous ways Creora outperforms competitive products. Socks and sheer hosiery are cases in point.

“Creora is becoming increasingly popular in socks because it is 85 percent polyether-based, giving it superior whiteness, and it performs better than rubber,” he said. “And Creora brings a greater degree of softness to sheer hosiery than other spandex products, which is helping us build a presence in that market.”

The numbers support Smothers’ claims. In the past 24 months, Hyosung’s hosiery business has increased 200 percent and the company is anticipating strong, continued growth.

Breakthrough spandex

A new breakthrough product is an antimicrobial spandex, C 100-B. Hyosung positions it as the first spandex with inherent antimicrobial properties, giving it a competitive edge on products with topically applied odor control agents.

The product is currently being sampled in circular knits with good success and Hyosung expects that it will become a strong player in intimate apparel, swimwear, socks and performance wear, such as garments for running and biking.

Opportunities for C 100-B in markets other than apparel are also being explored. One with potential is as a marine fabric for boat covers.

In addition to its antimicrobial spandex, Hyosung offers antimicrobial nylon and polyester products marketed under its Magic Silver® brand. They are silver ion-based products and, like C 100-B, have inherent antimicrobial properties.

Hygiene market

One of the most important growth markets for Hyosung and Creora is the hygiene market, where diapers are a key component. Greg Hearn has increased Hyosung’s hygiene business about 60 percent in 18 months and sees continued growth on the horizon. He won’t, however, call this an overnight success.

“We’ve worked hard for five years engineering our fiber to run at the high elongation rates this market demands, as well as making a product that will be compatible with production needs of the future. We’ve also used the time to build solid relationships with allied suppliers, like machinery and adhesives producers, who are critical in the hygiene market.”

So how does Hyosung now stack up against the competition?

Invista has set high standards, which has forced Hyosung to raise the level of its game. Hearn and the Hyosung team said they have embraced the challenge and believe they have the products and the long-term commitment to more than hold their own in the hygiene market.

Polyester, nylon efforts

Xanadu 55® is the company’s newest entry into the polyester market, a stretchable fiber that is 50 percent polyester and 50 percent PTT. It combines stretch with a soft hand, has excellent moisture management and dyeing properties and is chlorine-resistant, the company said. Sampling programs currently under way are showing good results in areas such as shape retention and snag resistance.

“We’re excited about the potential for Xanadu in stretch markets where a combination of characteristics for textured and elastane products are desired,” Darwin said. “We also think it has great potential in markets like swimwear.”

In addition to these specialty products, a major focus for Hyosung continues to be microfibers. The company, according to Darwin, is “taking microdeniers to the next level.”

“We can direct spin polyester to 0.2 deniers per filament and produce polyester conjugate fibers ranging from 0.04 to 0.07 denier per filament,” he said. “For nylon, we can direct spin in a range of 0.5 denier per filament, with conjugate fibers down to 0.2 denier per filament. Our goal is to have nylon microdenier technology that mirrors polyester technology.”

In nylon, the company is changing its mix to make more nylon 6,6 for high tenacity yarns and other high value products. Nylon 6 capacity will be devoted to full-dull products, microdeniers and specialty products.

Building for future

Clearly, Hyosung is on a mission to strengthen its global position in manmade fibers. A major spandex capacity expansion is under way in both Asia and Europe.

By the end of 2007, the company will have 68,000 metric tons of spandex capacity annually — drastically narrowing the gap with No. 1 spandex producer Invista, Hyosung said. Hyosung is also increasing polyester capacity in Asia.

So what about Hyosung (America)? Where does it fit in Hyosung’s global scheme? Cho smiled as he answered.

“We expect to continue to grow in North America using the same, conservative approach that has worked for us over the past few years,” he said.

What does that mean in terms of growth?

“Given the solid foundation we’re building, I expect that we’ll increase our fiber business 100 percent per year for the next four years,” he said.

That’s good news for Hyosung and speaks volumes about its strategy to capitalize on opportunities in the North American marketplace. And it sends an important message to customers in North America looking for a stable, reliable fiber supplier, according to the company.

Textile News Index

DOW says XLA fiber gives fabrics freedom

November 22, 2004

NEW YORK — Dow Fiber Solutions (DFS) announced that its DOW XLA stretch fiber can now be used in wool, swimwear, intimates and no-wrinkle stretch cotton.

Dow Fiber Solutions’ DOW XLA stretch fiber can now be used in wool, swimwear, intimates and no-wrinkle stretch cotton.

The announcement came on the heels of this specialty fiber’s successful entrance into men’s and women’s cotton shirting.

“We’ve been listening to our customers since we first entered this market,” said Juan-Carlos Cuadrado, global business director for Dow Fiber Solutions. “Our customers in Asia and around the world who produce fabrics want to use DOW XLA fiber in wool, knits and no-wrinkle stretch cottons, areas where they tell us the product delivers exceptional differentiated performance.”

In the U.S., DOW XLA fiber has succeeded in launching stretch into men’s dress shirts through leading brands and retailers Perry Ellis, Tommy Hilfiger, and Calvin Klein.

Four new fabric categories with DOW XLA elastic fiber is now available:

• Wool: Men’s and women’s suits, suit separates, tailored sportswear, formal wear and careerwear made from pure worsted wool and worsted wool blends now can be enhanced with DOW XLA fiber — without compromising the fabric’s desired drape and hand, Dow said.

These stretch wools and wool blends offer improved recovery over natural stretch and improved drape and hand over spandex alternatives, the company said. For added ease, “permanent crease” is possible, and tailored clothing made with DOW XLA fiber maintains stretch performance through multiple dry cleanings.

• Swimwear: For fashion and performance swimwear, DOW XLA fiber offers stretch that stays — continuous exposure to chlorine and UV light won’t compromise the lasting stretch performance of DOW XLA fiber. Stringent fabric dyeing processes won’t appreciably affect the stretch either, so colors and prints can be boldly bright or deeply dark.

• Intimates: DOW XLA fiber for intimates offers a new standard in fit, color matching, comfort and drape. Lighter constructions are especially successful using DOW XLA fiber, as it endures the stresses of multiple consumer launderings better than other elastic alternatives.

• No-Wrinkle Stretch Cotton: Now, real “easy care” can be achieved through performance and functional finishes such as stain and wrinkle resistance — and “permanent crease” — without loss of elasticity. DOW XLA fiber withstands temperatures and process chemicals required for application of performance finishes. No-wrinkle stretch cotton containing DOW XLA fiber combines the comfort of cotton with the performance of stretch and simplicity of easy care, Dow said.

“DOW XLA fiber virtually disappears into the base fiber,” said Jean Aukerman, brand and merchandising manager for Dow Fiber Solutions. “Yet its effect on the garment is anything but invisible — a move-with-you comfort and easy reach that doesn’t bind or cling.”

DOW XLA fiber is a soft stretch fiber that offers consumers a comfort fit, enhanced styling and easy care, the company pointed out. It can survive rigorous heat and chemical processes to offer fresh fabric designs with sought-after new freedom of movement for the consumer, Dow added.

Textile News Index

RadiciSpandex fiber ‘expands’ potential in jeans market

November 22, 2004

The denim pool is overflowing with no end in sight to the ever-growing list of new brands and styling options. As the competition for consumers’ dollars grows stiffer, fabric suppliers are pressed to develop innovative denim that helps jeans makers stand out from the pack.

RadiciSpandex has seen increased demand for its S85 spandex from denim mills because it strengthens their fabrics and takes dye well, according to RadiciSpandex.

Enter RadiciSpandex S85, a resilient stretch fiber that enhances core spun denim fabrics.

Denim has become a land of opportunity for inventive entrepreneurs who pioneered the premium market. Today’s jeans consumer has an insatiable appetite for denim in all forms and has graduated to niche brands sold at specialty boutiques at upwards of $200 a pair. Premium denim is favored by trend-seeking celebrities and hipster men and women making the scene in their trendy jeans paired with sport jackets and sexy tops, respectively.

Since fit is most often the decisive factor in consumers’ denim choices, stretch can give brands a strong competitive advantage.

“Stretch denim is not new, but it’s something that smart retailers can rely on for steady sales regardless of changes in fashion trends,” said Bill Girrier, vice president of Sales & Marketing at RadiciSpandex Corp. “We’re seeing increased demand for our S85 spandex from denim mills because it strengthens their fabrics and takes dye very well. S85 yields a strong, but flexible fabric that moves with the wearer. It helps fabrics withstand the processes needed to achieve the trendy distressed and faded looks.”

Even as the premium denim market gets saturated, there are signs that a more egalitarian approach to styling may be in the offing. Premium brands are known for catering to slim, low rise-loving fashionistas, but the bulk of denim sales is generated at mass-market retailers that offer a wide range of sizes to accommodate consumers of all body types. Specialty retailers recognize this and are requesting their premium vendors to expand their style options to address this untapped market at the high end.

Pricey denim brands hoping to expand their customer base by introducing more generous sizing would be wise to use stretch fabrics to achieve a more flexible fit without drastically compromising the look of their styling.

RadiciSpandex Corp. is a U.S. subsidiary of The Radici Group, a multi-billion dollar entity based in Italy that employs 9,000 employees in 68 factories worldwide.

Textile News Index

DAK releases latest staple fiber product

November 22, 2004

CHARLOTTE, NC — DAK Americas has released its latest staple fiber innovation, Delcron® HydroPur Fiber.

The new fiber product combines the technology of DAK Americas’ SteriPur®AM antimicrobial product with its moisture management product, Delcron® Hydrotec Fiber, thus creating the new Delcron® HydroPur Fiber, a dual function fiber possessing antimicr- obial and moisture management characteristics.

The new product features Antimicrobial AlphaSan® from Milliken. AlphaSan® is a zirconium phosphate based ceramic ion exchange resin that contains silver. Silver, a naturally occurring element, is safe for human contact and inhibits growth of a broad spectrum of micro-organisms.

Laboratory tests have shown that these fibers exhibit significant efficacy against odor causing and unsightly micro-organisms with high reductions having been achieved under normal test conditions, DAK said. Moisture management properties keep moisture on the move and provide increased comfort through faster drying.

Utilizing this new offering in product lines will allow for the construction of products that: resist deterioration from microbes; provide mildew and odor resistant functionality; prevent discoloration and odors caused by fungal growth; inhibit the growth of bacterial odors; dry faster providing added comfort; and provide secure performance.

Both antimicrobial and moisture management technologies are incorporated during the polymer stage of fiber manufacturing providing durable and safe performance throughout the life of the garment or product.

Textile News Index

Nilit Ltd. introduces versatile yarn, fiber

November 22, 2004

GREENSBORO, NC — Nilit Ltd. has launched Sensil® Duelle yarn, which the maker says offers the possibility of dyeing fabric in a deep contrasting tonal heather effect in one dye bath or the possibility of two different colors in a cationic dye bath, resulting in a heather with diverse colors.

The fiber gives a cotton-like feel and appearance, Nilit said. It is suitable for multiple applications, including circular knitting, seamless underwear, outerwear, activewear and legwear.

“We are constantly looking to create products that intrigue and inspire our customers with the versatility of new yarns that present new fashion opportunities, particularly in the rapidly expanding seamless niche,” said Oded Breier, marketing manager for Nilit fibers.

Nilit also featured another new fiber, Sensil® BodyFresh, at Lyon Mode City in France. The fiber provides athletes and outdoor enthusiasts maximum performance through odor control, durability and smooth comfort, Nilit said.

While the fine microfiber yarn delivers a smooth, comfortable feeling, it is also durable and is designed to stand up to tough treatment, the maker said.

The antibacterial additive is present in the polymer, and not added to the finished fabric, so the garment can be washed more than 20 times and retain its antibacterial properties, the manufacturer claimed.

Textile News Index

Luftex unveils solution-dyed yarn system

November 22, 2004

TOCCOA, GA — Luftex, Inc. has introduced its stocked line of Dacron® Vibrance® UV stable solution-dyed polyester yarns.

These yarns are engineered for contract upholstery fabrics, but with their 1,000-hour UV stability, custom color matching, speedy delivery and competitive pricing are well suited for a variety of other fabric markets, the company said. Additionally, Vibrance yarns are available with a stretch core for fabrics that need more stretch and recovery.

The ability of Vibrance to create highly styled, fade resistant and durable fabrics make it the perfect yarn for designing outdoor, marine and automotive fabric industries where speedy delivery is a must and a more sophisticated look is in demand, Luftex said.

Each color can be ordered in lots down to a minimum of 150 pounds so that fabric manufacturers can have the yarn they need as early as two weeks without the burden unnecessary yarn inventories.

Vibrance exceeds washability standards for woven career apparel or outerwear apparel fabrics, the manufacturer said. Its wide variety of color will keep up with color trends as they shift from season to season. Additionally, Vibrance Dacron yarns with a stretch core could be used to follow that trend in activewear designs.

Vibrance polyester is made from a stocked selection of Dacron. These yarns are colorfast to a minimum of 1,000 hours and strong without sacrificing on styling, Luftex said.

More than 2,500 colors are available, but custom colors can be created, according to Luftex. Customers can send in samples for color matching.

Textile News Index

NC State researchers create super-strong nylon fibers

November 22, 2004

RALEIGH, NC — Researchers at North Carolina State University’s College of Textiles, who are trying to improve nylon, have created the strongest aliphatic nylon fibers ever reported, according to developers.

Dr. Alan Tonelli, KoSa Professor of Polymer Science, and Dr. Richard Kotek, assistant professor of textile engineering, chemistry and science, are investigating methods of creating stronger nylon fibers without the expense of current, sometimes complicated, processes. They are working with aliphatic nylon, or nylon whose carbon atoms are joined together in straight or branched open chains rather than in rings.

Stronger aliphatic nylon could be used in ropes, loading straps, parachutes and automotive tires, or to create composite materials suitable for high-temperature applications.

The findings were recently presented at the American Chemical Society annual meeting in Philadelphia and published in the journal Polymer.

Fibers are made up of polymers, or long chain molecules containing many repeating units. When those chains are arranged in a neat, orderly manner, the polymer is said to be crystalline — like a box of uncooked spaghetti. Other times, there is no order and the polymer chains are randomly coiled up — think of a bowl of cooked spaghetti — and referred to as amorphous.

The coiled-up polymers need to be stretched out and have their elasticity removed if they are to be made into strong fibers. Hydrogen bonds between nylon chains prohibit their stretching and alignment, so overcoming these bonds may be the key to creating stronger nylon fibers.

Super-strong fibers, such as Kevlar®, for example, are created from so-called aromatic nylon polymers — very stiff, long chains containing rings. Unfortunately, aromatic nylon is very difficult to work with and, as a result, very expensive.
So Tonelli and Kotek have been using polyamide 66, also known as nylon 66, a commercial thermoplastic that is easier to work with, but difficult to stretch and align. It’s also difficult to remove the elasticity from nylon 66, the researchers say.

They discovered that by dissolving the nylon 66 in a solution of a chemical agent called gallium trichloride, they could effectively break up the hydrogen bonds. That allows the polymer chains to be stretched out. “Once the fiber is created, it is soaked in water to wash away the gallium trichloride, allowing the hydrogen bonds to re-establish,” Tonelli said.

According to Kotek, the resulting fibers are very strong. “It looks promising; we’ve had good results and this looks like a more straightforward approach. Just on the first try we’re getting strong fibers,” he said.

Tonelli said these new fibers are perhaps as much as 10 times stronger than typical aliphatic nylons.

“We did a literature search and these are the strongest aliphatic nylon fibers reported. All kinds of techniques have been used to improve them — all by trying to modify the hydrogen bonds,” he said.

Using aliphatic nylon might even be more economical to produce. “High-strength fibers like Kevlar® must be made in specialized factories due to the concentrated sulfuric acid used in its production. This product could be made in an ordinary fiber-spinning operation that currently exists. There’s nothing peculiar about the process,” he said.

Tonelli and Kotek are continuing with their research. They’re currently looking at what the results would be if all the hydrogen bonds were not broken and how that affects the strength of the resulting nylon 66 fibers.

Textile News Index

CMAI completes world nylon, feedstocks study

November 22, 2004

HOUSTON — In the Chemical Market Associates, Inc.’s recently completed 2004/05 World Nylon Fibers and Feedstocks Analysis, CMAI found that nylon is still growing strongly in Engineering Thermoplastics but near the peak in its life cycle in most fiber market segments.

Record high raw material prices, competition from polyester, and tremendous growth in Asia have all taken their toll on the global nylon fiber market and stretched margins thin throughout the nylon chain, according to CMAI.

This annual market study provides a comprehensive review for global nylon intermediates, cyclohexane, caprolactam and adipic acid, and fibers including nylon textile, carpet (BCF) and industrial filaments, as well as engineering thermoplastics for the period 1999-2009.

Nylon fibers still represent 68 percent of global demand for nylon. Asia, primarily China, will be where most of the growth in fibers occurs, said CMAI.

Other regions, such as North America and West Europe, are going through a period of major consolidations and rationalizations looking for profitable opportunities for existing assets.

Nylon intermediates investment and expansions will follow the movement of nylon fibers production to Asia. As such, near-term investments in caprolactam are occurring primarily in China and Taiwan.

Although there is currently low interest in further investment for cyclohexane in all regions, the next opportunity for investment will also occur primarily in Asia.

CMAI forecasts that total nylon demand growth will be about 1.8 percent per year over the forecast period with demand being stronger in nylon 6 than nylon 6,6.

For more information on the world nylon and feedstocks analysis, visit CMAI’s website at

Textile News Index

Dyneon, SpecialChem provide TechCenter

November 22, 2004

OAKDALE, MN — Dyneon, one of the world’s leading fluoropolymer producers, and SpecialChem S.A., a web-based service company, have entered into an e-marketing agreement focusing on promoting the use of innovative Dynamar Polymer Processing Additives (PPAs).

The use of Dynamar PPAs can significantly reduce or eliminate die build-up, melt fracture and gel formation when processing a multitude of polyolefins and thermoplastics, Dyneon said.

Through SpecialChem’s platform dedicated to polymer additives and colors services,, resin producers, compounders, masterbatch producers and processors can access a free-of-charge online TechCenter, which provides leading-edge Dynamar PPA technical information.

The TechCenter, in combination with an online expert advice service and online training sessions on Dynamar PPA technology, will help increase adoption of Dynamar PPA technology both in growth regions and new applications.

Separately, Dyneon LLC announced that it and Meilan Group, a Jiangsu, China-based company and one of China’s leading fluorochemical producers, have reached an agreement to establish a Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) manufacturing relationship in China to provide PTFE products for both Meilan and Dyneon.

Textile News Index

Syscom ready to produce metalized polymer fiber

November 22, 2004

COLUMBUS, OH — Syscom Technology announced that it has successfully completed demonstration runs and independent analysis and is now ready to commercially produce its AmberStrand™ metalized polymer fiber.

While polymer fibers have been around for awhile, Syscom’s patented process for metal coating Toyobo’s Zylon® Poly (p-phenylene benzobisoxazole) PGO fibers makes an extremely strong and lightweight fiber with conductive properties, Syscom said. AmberStrand metal-clad polymer fibers have advantages over conventional conductive metal wires in flexibility, weight savings, mechanical strength, durability and tailored electrical conductivity, the company said.

The PBO core or base of AmberStrand affords the mechanical flexibility, durability and strength of such fibers, Syscom added. By adding a metal coating, unique engineering properties of AmberStrand fiber will promote numerous electronic textile (electrotextile) applications — applications previously not feasible because of limitations in textiles’ ability to conduct current, the company noted.

Although the electrotextile or smart textile is still in its infancy, it has been clearly demonstrated that in the future, cloth or fabrics will not only protect the wearer and the environment, but also will have intelligent built-in features, such as multifunctional sensors or computing devices.

In contrast to rigid electronic components, the electrotextile will be truly flexible, soft and comfortable to wear and touch.

Manufacturers of electronic equipment and wiring will find AmberStrand to fit their needs when low weight and durability are critical, the company said. Either alone or combined into electrotextiles, AmberStrand applications will include aerospace, space, military, miniature electronic applications, sports and healthcare instrumentation.

Specifically, a sample of three twisted 12-inch strands of AmberStrand was tested to be 26.6 percent lighter than beryllium copper wire, the company said. Breaking strength was double of beryllium copper wire.

AmberStrand requires 4-10x dynamic cut-through force. Shielding effectiveness is comparable to beryllium copper wire at all tested frequencies.

Textile News Index


Ex-ATMI head Shockley dies

November 22, 2004

ATLANTA, GA — Walter Ray Shockley, who served as executive vice president of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute from 1976-85, died Nov. 3, 2004. He was 80.

Ray Shockley

Shockley spent nearly 30 years at ATMI and its predecessor organization, the American Cotton Manufacturers Institute, joining the association in 1956. At the time, he worked on the public relations staff in the association’s Charlotte, NC, office.

He was subsequently named assistant to the secretary-treasurer in 1958 and, in 1960, was elected assistant secretary-treasurer.

In 1974, he moved to Washington, DC, to become ATMI’s deputy executive vice president, and in March 1976 was elected executive vice president.

He previously was a former Sunday editor of The Atlanta Journal & Constitution.

Shockley was a combat veteran of WWII, serving in the U.S. Navy stationed aboard the USS St. Louis in the Pacific Theatre. He was an anti-aircraft gunner. The St. Louis was the first ship to sustain Kamikaze attacks.

After retiring from ATMI, he later became president of the American Society of Travel Agents, retiring in 1990.

He and his wife Virginia moved back to Georgia and settled in Winterville, GA, in 1990. Following an illness, the Shockleys moved to Atlanta.

He graduated from the University of Georgia Journalism School.

Surviving are his wife of 58 years, Virginia Davis Shockley; their three children, Lisa Shockley Moery of Atlanta, David Wray Shockley of Scottsdale, AZ, and Jenifer Wray Shockley of New York City; two grandchildren; five brothers and three sisters.

Textile News Index


Celanese to exit textiles

November 22, 2004

ROCK HILL, SC — Celanese Acetate LLC said it plans to exit textile operations by ceasing production of acetate filament, coming at the cost of about 1,000 jobs.

The company plans to close its Rock Hill, SC, acetate flake operation and its tow production unit in Edmonton, Alberta next year. Celanese also plans to close acetate filament operations in Ocotland, Mexico, and Narrows, VA, next year.

The steps are being taken “to become more efficient, reduce overcapacities in ... manufacturing areas and focus on products and markets that provide long-term value, Celanese said.

Textile News Index


November 22, 2004

Sonoco acquires tube operation in China

HARTSVILLE, SC — Sonoco, a global packaging company, has acquired a Chinese paper tube operation from Yatai in the city of Pinghu, province of Zhejiang, in the greater Shanghai area.

Yatai, with current annual sales of about $4.5 million, is one of the larger tube producers in China, principally serving the manmade fiber segment of the Chinese textile market.

Suppliers announce price increases

Several suppliers have announced price increases.

Wellman, Inc. said that, effective with Nov. 28 shipments, it will increase the price of all polyester staple fiber products by 3 cents per pound and, effective with Jan. 2 shipments, will increase the price of all polyester staple products by an additional 3 cents per pound.

Eastman Chemical Co. said it is increasing global prices on Estron and Chromspun acetate yarn products effective Jan. 1. Price increases will range from 10 to 20 percent depending on the specific product involved.

Vinamul Polymers, a business unit of National Starch and Chemical Co., has increased the price of its vinyl acetate homopolymer and ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer emulsions sold in the U.S. by 3 cents per wet pound.

Textile News Index

Supplier notes

November 22, 2004

Hooper promoted at Tandematic

SPARTANBURG, SC — Bill Young, president of textile machinery manufacturer Tandematic Inc., announced the promotion of daughter Lucy Hooper to the position of vice president of marketing.

Lucy Hooper

As a member of the senior management team, Hooper’s responsibilities include direction of the company’s advertising program, website, trade show exhibits and sales agent network. With a background in art education and the hospitality industry, she started at Tandematic in 1999 and became its first marketing coordinator in 2002.

Hooper attended the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, and graduated from the University of Georgia. Active in the United Way and other civic organizations, she was recently named her Rotary club’s Rotarian of the Year and a Paul Harris Fellow for her work with the Rotary Youth Exchange program.

DuPont Ink Jet appoints Gessner marketing ally

GREENVILLE, SC — DuPont Ink Jet announced the appointment of Gessner Company of Charlton, MA, as a DuPont™ Artistri™ marketing partner for the DuPont™ Artistri™ 2020 printer.

Gessner’s fuser has provided excellent results when used on cotton fabrics printed on the Artistri™ 2020 printer with DuPont™ Artistri™ pigment inks.

Textile News Index

Pickin' Cotton

November 22, 2004

Major increases seen in crops, ending stocks

By Odyll Santos

The latest USDA data appear bearish for U.S. cotton futures, with the March, May and July futures contracts in New York likely to experience price pressure for the remainder of the current marketing season. USDA’s Nov. 12 supply/demand report showed sharply higher 2004-05 U.S. and world cotton production and consequently, higher domestic ending stocks.

Production was raised 1 million 480-pound bales from the October estimate to 22.5 million bales due to higher forecast yields in most cotton-growing states such as Texas, which accounted for 400,000 bales of that increase. In 2003-04, U.S. production was 18.3 million bales. Exports were raised 200,000 bales from the October figure to 12.5 million bales, but remain below the 13.8 million bales seen in 2003-04. Domestic mill use was unchanged from October at 6.1 million bales, though it is below the 6.5 million bales in 2003-04. USDA projected ending stocks at 7.5 million bales, up from 6.7 million the previous month and 3.5 million in the previous season.

In addition, data on foreign cotton producers did not appear encouraging. “The record foreign crop has enhanced price competition in the world export market, and U.S. growths remain priced out of many markets,” said Mississippi cotton marketing specialist O.A. Cleveland in market comments the day of USDA’s report. “Currently, the U.S. is competitive only at both extremes of the quality spectrum. The U.S. is able to sell very high quality and very low quality cottons, but very little in between.”

USDA increased estimates for production in 16 countries, resulting in a global crop projection of 111.7 million bales, up from 109.7 million bales in October and 94.7 million in 2003-04. Apart from the U.S., notable increases were seen in Pakistan, Argentina, Uzbekistan and the African Franc Zone region. Reductions were projected in Brazil, Turkey and Paraguay.

USDA also revised world beginning stocks, raising the projection by 2 million bales, including a 1.6-million-bale increase in China’s stocks. The agency revised China’s ending stocks beginning in 1991-92 due to recent evidence suggesting that historical stocks were larger than previously estimated.

World consumption was raised about 1.5 million bales from October to 102.9 million bales due mainly to higher cotton use in China, India and Turkey. In 2003-04, world cotton use was 98.5 million bales. USDA said world trade is expected to be slightly higher, with increased imports by China and Turkey partially offset by reductions in other countries. However, world ending stocks were raised 2.6 million bales from last month to 44.6 million bales, including 1.3 million bales in China. Last season, world ending stocks were 35.5 million bales.

“It is the record level of foreign production that will gain an increased share of the world export market at the expense of the historical share of the U.S.,” Cleveland said. “The necessity of foreign countries, lacking storage facilities, to move their crop in the face of a record U.S. crop, will keep pressure on prices for the remainder of the year.”

Cleveland said growers who have put cotton in the government loan program should protect themselves from lower prices by buying May or July put options. He said he believes the Mar cotton futures contract will trade below 40.00 cents per pound.

Textile News Index


November 22, 2004

Lemons stands tall in departure

AS A FAMOUS country crooner once said, “you’ve got to know when to fold ’em.” Dr. James Lemons, president of the North Carolina Center for Applied Textile Technology (NCCATT) in Belmont, NC, took that advice this month after looking long and hard at the hand he was dealt. Apparently, he didn’t see many winning possibilities, so he did the honorable thing by turning in his chips.

After 20 years on the job, Lemons submitted his letter of retirement to the center’s board of trustees, who could only hope he was bluffing. After examining the textile center’s value for more than a year, the state is in the process of determining whether the center will remain a textile-focused school or become something of a general-education entity. Somewhere during the scrutiny — which Lemons said he welcomed — the focus turned more on him rather than the center, however, he said. So, with the best interest of the textile center at heart, he saw no other option but to somewhat reluctantly “remove myself from the equation,” he said. Board Chairman Max Huntley put it best: “Dr. Lemons, to his credit, put the center above himself when he chose to retire. He felt like if he couldn’t be part of the solution, he wasn’t going to be part of the problem.”

Sadly, it had to come to that. In overseeing the transformation of the NCCATT from a degree-granting institution to a continuing education institution and, most recently, transitioning to an economic development entity for the industry, Lemons has become synonymous with the textile center. The business education partnerships Lemons has developed has enabled the center to house some of the most modern textile processing and testing equipment in the world. The board honored his impact on the 62-year-old center two years ago when it named the auditorium in the new $3.2 million NCCATT Lab/Administration Building in his honor.

With Lemons’ departure at the end of the month, the industry will lose one of its Everyman — someone who has a deep-seated kinship with the person on the manufacturing floor, despite advanced educational diplomas and opportunities. The son of a textile employee, he grew up in a mill house, managed to get into college, earn masters and doctorate degrees and worked in a textile company, parlaying all of those credentials and experience into a noble career.

During his 20 years as head of the NCCATT, Lemons has come to know just about everyone in the industry, it seems, and, more importantly, has earned their friendship, trust and respect.

We sure hate to see him leave. But you’ve got to credit Lemons, who knew when to walk away.

With his head held high.

Textile News Index