‘Transshipment Buster’ speaks

Week of November 25, 2002

Customs’ Labuda addresses STA

Janet Labuda, director of the Textile Enforcement and Operations Division within the U.S. Customs Service, makes a point to Jim Booterbaugh, vice president of manufacturing for Harriet & Henderson Yarns, Henderson, NC, prior to the STA meeting.

By Devin Steele

BELMONT, NC — Janet Labuda started her 22-year career with U.S. Customs on the drug enforcement side — and stopping illegal drugs from entering the U.S. was much easier than her current responsibilities, she said.

As director of the Textile Enforcement and Operations Division within the U.S. Customs Service, she is charged with stopping illegal textile and apparel products from entering America’s 301 ports.

“This is the most complex area I have ever worked in,” Labuda told members of the Southern Textile Association (STA) during their Piedmont Division meeting here last month. “When you get a load of white powder and put it in a test tube and see that it’s heroin, that’s pretty easy. Now I can look at a shirt and, if the label says ‘Made in Hong Kong,’ I have to ask myself, was it really made there? I know it’s a shirt, but I don’t know what the fiber content is. I really don’t know what the country of origin is. And that sets into place a whole series of activities.”

Labuda is carrying out her responsibilities admirably, according to U.S. House Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC), who was on hand to present a certificate to Labuda. The certificate praised Labuda for her “tireless and relentless protection” of the U.S. textile industry, and proclaimed that she “has stopped more illegal transshipments in the past 10 months than the previous administration stopped in the previous eight years. And for this service, the people of Gaston County, NC, offer their thanks and bestow on you the official title of ‘Transshipment Buster.’ ”

Labuda spent more than an hour informing 100-plus textile executives of many of the activities with which her department is involved. She came armed with a plethora of numbers that seem to indicate that the government is stepping up its efforts to abate textile and apparel transshipment.

Those efforts are an indication that the Bush Administration is living up to promises given textile-state House representatives last year during the trade promotion authority vote, according to Myrick.

“The jury is still out, of course, but (Secretary of Commerce) Donald Evans said, ‘my word is my bond, so let me prove that we really mean business and we’re going to do what we said we would do,’ ” Myrick said.

Early in her remarks, Labuda thanked Myrick for “gently holding my feet to the fire,” before moving into specific areas pertinent to the audience. The top priority in the Textile Enforcement area is illegal textile transshipment, she said, which she defined as an act that occurs when a false declaration or information is given in order to circumvent existing trade laws for the purpose of avoiding quotas, embargoes or prohibitions or to obtain preferential duty treatment.

Other priorities are enforcement of free trade agreements and uniformity of enforcement response, the latter being that whatever goods are stopped at one port should also be stopped at another, she said.

According to Labuda, 90 percent of all transshipment originates in China, and that areas of closest geographic proximity — Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Cambodia, et al — are most suspect. Therefore, U.S. Customs has been focusing much of its attention on the Far East, although it is beginning to shift to southwest Asian countries such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India due to illegal trade activity beginning to surface in those areas as a result of the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA), she said. That agreement allows duty-free, quota-free treatment of certain textile products from certain sub-Sahara Africa countries.

Customs representatives recently returned from a 16-country tour of Africa, where they took a “very, very strong enforcement message,” to trading partners, Labuda said. “I can assure you that Africans are taking their responsibilities very seriously and they are working very closely with us,” she said.

Because the U.S. is putting pressure on companies and countries that transship goods, smuggling has become a major concern, she added, citing off-the-record a couple of incidents that are currently being investigated.

In further explaining Customs activities, Labuda pointed out that three branches fall under her division. The first, Textile Operations, handles field policy and interaction with ports related to detention and exclusion of goods.

“These folks are the first line to stop illegal goods from entering the country,” Labuda said. “Years ago, we never detained goods and we didn’t exclude goods. The violating goods would come in and we’d find out that there was a violation and then we’d try to get them back. Now, if we believe that we have illegal goods, they are stopped at the port.”

Textile Production Verification Teams, who fall under the Textile Operations umbrella, visit foreign factories to examine production capacity and verify through documentation that goods already shipped to the U.S. were in fact made at that facility.

Another branch, Textile Policy/Trade Initiatives, handles trade agreement negotiations as they relate to enforcement.

“I personally am working with David Spooner (U.S. Special Textile Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative) and we are negotiating the Singapore Free Trade Agreement,” Labuda said. “One of the biggest areas of concerns for the Singaporeans is that we are asking them to do so much with regard to textiles and wearing apparel. They must register all factories, they must report to U.S. Customs on a regular basis and they must allow us complete access to their factories. I can assure you that we are taking a very, very strong line with regard to this because they are so close to China.”

The Quota Enforcement and Administration branch, meanwhile, covers such areas as quota pre-processing, steel industry quotas, WTO integration, etc.

Labuda also outlined a number of strategic goals of Textile Enforcement, including making maximum use of legal and regulatory authorities and ensuring that inadmissible goods do not enter the commerce of the U.S. The latter point presents a challenge, she said, because many in the textile industry have urged Customs to impose more penalties.

“It’s very difficult to impose penalties because, if you don’t allow the goods in, you cannot penalize somebody,” she said. “The goods have to enter the U.S. and be in the commerce for a penalty to be imposed. I would rather keep the goods out, though. I’ve worked regularly with ATMI (the American Textile Manufacturers Institute) and they have told me, ‘please don’t let illegal goods in’ and that’s what we are trying not to do, let in illegal goods.”

Other strategic goals are initiating major investigations and establishing partnerships with other countries for cooperation and enforcement. Last year, Customs brought up 45 cases for prosecution and initiated 65 cases, Labuda reported.

On establishing partnerships with other countries, Labuda said that “you might think that Hong Kong, Taiwan or Korea, from a government perspective, condone this type of illegal activity, but they really don’t because it has such a terrible impact on their own industries. If all their people are doing is sewing labels in the backs of shirts, that is really not very value added, from an economic perspective. So we have received a tremendous amount of cooperation from some of these other governments and we’re trying to pursue an increased expansion of that cooperation.”

Customs has established what Labuda termed “Four Pillars of Cooperation” — Customs, foreign governments, other U.S. government agencies and the importing community. In this arrangement, Customs publishes the names of trade violators and is responsible for factory visits, port actions and investigations and penalties.

“That list now has close to 700 names,” she said. “We publish this for the importing community and we tell them to make judicious business decisions and not to do business with these factories, and I can tell you they do not. The number of activities or transactions with those factories has dropped precipitously. Once an importer finds out that this factory is high risk or is on this list, they drop them like a hot potato.”

Foreign governments, meanwhile, cooperate by denying export licenses to violating companies, along with seizing goods and prosecuting or levying penalties against violators. “Hong Kong seized more illegal goods last year than we did, so now we’re in a contest,” Labuda said. “And Hong Kong has criminally prosecuted more than 500 factory owners over the last few years and they’re issuing penalties, as well.”

Other U.S. government agencies are applying pressure on foreign governments and are involved in consultations and negotiations, she added. Meanwhile, importers have canceled substantial contracts with some of the violators, she noted.

Among actions taken to curtail textile transshipment is the establishment of a “clearinghouse” of information related to industry trends, violations, enforcement actions, etc.

From 1998 to 2001, Labuda pointed out that Customs conducted 50 Textile Production Verifications Team visits to 32 countries; performed on-site verifications at 1,783 foreign factories; detained $171.6 million worth of goods; excluded $52.3 million worth of goods; and issued $15 million in penalties.

After her detailed presentation, Myrick drew a round of applause when she said, “I hope you see a little bit in Janet of what we see. She uses a lot of common sense and that’s missing in most of what goes on in government today. She is able to say, ‘hey, this doesn’t look right, let’s figure it out.’ ”

Footnotes

The STA meeting was the first official function at the North Carolina Center for Applied Textile Technology’s new $3.2 million, 26,000-square-foot Lab/Administration Building. Two people who NCCATT officials credited with helping procure state funds to build the facility — state Sen. David Hoyle and state Rep. John Rayfield, both of Gaston County — attended the function. ...

The visit wasn’t Labuda’s first to the center. In July, she and nearly a dozen Customs agents underwent training related to fibers, fabrics and processes in order to better identify violations and violators.

Yes, Virginia ...

Week of November 25, 2002

... There is a new textile company

MARTINSVILLE, VA — In a departure from the recent trend, a new textile manufacturer is opening — and hiring 400 plus people.

Officials of the new company, along with Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner, announced on Nov. 13 the startup of Activewear Inc., to be located here, in a county that has been bitten particularly hard by the layoff bug in recent years.

In fact , the news was part of a broader announcement by Warner, who revealed that $50 million in investments and more than 1,200 new jobs would be coming to Southside and Southwest Virginia.

The news was especially welcomed in Henry County, which has lost thousands of manufacturing jobs via numerous plant closings. The unemployment rate is currently 13.8 percent in the county, which last November was stung by VF Imagewear’s announcement that it would close its manufacturing operations there and lay off 2,300 people.

Activewear will make knitted fabric that will be used in sweatshirts, for assembly in Mexico. The company is hiring more than 200 employees immediately and officials said they hope to have about 405 on the payroll by mid-2003.

Production is expected to begin any day now, with wages averaging $11.68 an hour plus benefits, according to reports.

Ken Schrang, Dudley Walker and another former VF executive formed Activewear after devising a business plan during the summer. Walker, a former president of Bassett-Walker Knitting, a predecessor to VF, had bought VF Imagewear’s corporate headquarters, manufacturing facilities and surrounding buildings in April.

The company, which will be housed in VF’s old knitting facility, will provide fabric that will be made into shirts for Major League, Inc., a Georgia-based textile company with two sewing plants in Mexico. Schrang is a partner in Major League.

Activewear can knit higher-quality fabric faster and provide quicker delivery than offshore companies, Schrang told the local media. And unlike VF and now-defunct T-shirt maker Tultex Corp., his company won’t assemble the shirts, he said.

During a press conference at the textile plant, Gov. Warner said, “I believe that Martinsville and Henry County, and for that matter all of Southside Virginia, is on its way back.”

During his 24-hour swing of several Virginia counties, Warner indicated that a $200,000 grant was provided for the Activewear deal by the Governor’s Opportunity Fund, which was matched by $200,000 from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. The company is expected to invest $5 million in the project.

Warner also announced that Norcraft Companies LLC, a cabinetmaker, will create 250 jobs at a new plant in Lynchburg; Klockner Pentaplast of America, a plastics manufacturer, will expand with a $34 million investment that will create 108 jobs in Rural Retreat; Sherwood Brands will create 275 jobs and invest $2.7 million as it expands its confection operation in Chase City; Creative Playthings, a maker of wooden swing sets, will expand its Emporia operation with a $2.7 million investment that will save 160 jobs and create 30 more; and American Plastics will relocate from Franklin to a new plant in Greensville County, creating 135 jobs and saving another 20.

Equipment suppliers

Week of November 25, 2002

Rieter introduces rotor core yarn system

WINTERTHUR, SWITZERLAND — Rieter Spun Yarn Systems is presenting a new and innovative rotor core yarn system.

Rotona is the brand name of this new type of yarn. Rotona rotor core yarn is a novelty on the yarn market and combines the advantages of a rotor yarn with the numerous possibilities of a core yarn, according to Rieter.

Rotona core yarns have a stable structure with the rotor yarn wrapped around the core, a low-yarn unevenness and a reduced hairiness, the company said. Various raw materials can be processed with a high productivity and fewer process steps than ring yarns, the firm added.

A wide variety of new rotor core yarns can be produced on the Rieter BT rotor spinning machine. Either elastic or hard-core filaments can be used for Rotona yarns.

A big advantage of the Rotona process is that bobbins up to 3 kg weight can be produced on the BT rotor spinning machine, Rieter added. Compared to ring spun core yarn, which is produced onto cops, the Rotona process guarantees a much longer running length without knots or splices, the manufacturer added. This advantage will be highly appreciated in downstream processing.

The BT 904 machine for Rotona production will be released by the end of this year.

Newest features

The latest features of BT rotor spinning machines show the innovative force is constantly exploited in a way the customer can use the machines with an unprecedented flexibility in production and productivity, according to Rieter.

The machine length has been increased up to 320 rotors and the rotor speed up to 100,000 rpm. The rotor speeds are mainly limited by the bearing technology.

The direct rotor bearings on the BT-machines are equipped with the latest technology of special ball bearings, exclusively owned by Rieter. The new bearing properties benefit in an increase in lifetime and an extension of the re-lubrication interval.

The spinning units can now be equipped with a new type of rotors in conjunction with an enhanced external suction device. The air system of this spin box modification decreases the temperature of the rotor bearing, which further increases the lifetime of the bearing.

The classic spin box system having rotors with ventilating holes is still available. Its advantage lies in production of yarns out of raw materials with high trash content and yarns with special characteristics, Rieter said.

All BT machine types can be delivered with independently driven machine sides. On each machine side different rotor yarns can be produced with individual machine settings. This enables mills to be efficient and flexible in their production planning, especially when small lots are required, the company said.

The potential of the fully automated BT 905 has been enhanced with the option of four robots per machine. The effect is maximized while spinning medium and coarse yarns counts with machines in their longest version of 320 spin boxes.

High-yarn quality is guaranteed with the proven features of the electronically controlled piecing device AMIspin on BT 903, the Qtop system that improves the piecer by eliminating damaged fibers before piecing and the Rieter yarn clearer IQclean, the company added.

Briefs

Week of November 25, 2002

Richloom to move into old CMI plant

CLINTON, SC — Richloom Fabrics, which makes home furnishing fabrics and home products, said it will open a plant that was closed here by CMI Industries last year.

The company plans to employ about 275 people at the plant, according to reports, with some transferring from other Richloom facilities. Between 50 and 100 people are expected to be hired for remaining jobs, Marvin Moss, president of the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce, told The Greenville (SC) News.

When financially troubled CMI closed the Bailey Plant, about 200 people lost their jobs.

Richloom also operates South Carolina plants in Lancaster and Ware Shoals. The company said distribution functions should begin at the plant by late February, with manufacturing set to begin by late spring.

Cone Mills partners with Turkish firm

GREENSBORO, NC — Cone Mills has partnered with Turkey-based Isko to supply denim to Levi Strauss’s European division, according to reports.

Under terms of the deal, Isko will manufacture the fabric at a plant in Turkey and will receive technical support from Cone, which also will market and develop the denim.

Cone will be able to save money through the deal, as Turkish goods imported into Europe don’t face tariffs. U.S. denim, however, is hit with an 8 percent tariff when imported into Europe, and the European Union has threatened to increase that rate.

Cone, the exclusive supplier of denim for Levi’s 501 brand jeans, will own a 52 percent stake in the venture, “IsKone Denim.”

Gessner Company relocates operations

CHARLTON, MA — Gessner Company, a manufacturer of fabric finishing and printing equipment for the textile industry, has relocated its operations to a new facility here, from its former headquarters in Worcester, MA. The move to the newly completed, state-of-the-art facility is Gessner’s latest step toward improving customer service and increasing company productivity, the company said.

“We see significant benefits as a result of this relocation, including better operational efficiency and customer service, improved logistics and reduced fixed costs,” said Paul Jankovic, company president. “This will allow us to be more competitive in every aspect of the business,” he said.

Gessner has provided finishing equipment including raising, shearing, sueding, and transfer printing machinery to the fabric industry internationally since 1894.

Wardwell manuals available on-line

CENTRAL FALLS, RI — The Wardwell Braiding Machine Company has announced the availability of parts manuals on-line for many of its braiding machine models.

Manuals may be viewed and downloaded from the site at www.wardwell.com by clicking on the “Parts Locator” link.

Dupont Among Stars

Week of November 25, 2002

By Devin Steele

CHARLOTTE, NC — One of the stars of the American Association of Textile Chemists & Colorists (AATCC) International Conference & Exhibition (IC&E) here last month was DuPont’s Artistri™ printing system.

The company showed an expansion of the system, which now includes the new DuPont Ink Jet 2020 printer, a fully integrated, production-capable, digital textile printing solution, according to Ronald Beard, business development manager of the DuPont unit.

The system will create new business opportunities by making samples, strike-offs and short-run production possible for textile printing companies, he said. It will also improve productivity by reducing the design-to-production cycle from weeks to days compared to existing screen-printing methods, he added.

The offering also includes the DuPont Artistri Color Control and Management System (CCMS) and DuPont Artistri Ink.

“It’s been a great show for us,” Beard said. “A lot of good customers have come through with a lot of good questions. I think almost everyone walking through is interested in digital printing and how it’s going to affect the textile industry here in the U.S., so we’re hoping by introducing our newest product here that we can give our customers a firsthand look and give them some ideas about how they can use digital printing in their production.”

Digital printing is unique and is an invaluable tool for U.S. companies trying to compete on a worldwide basis, Beard added.

“We think we’ll have a good market for it in Europe and in Asia,” he said. “But for particularly the U.S. textile industry, if we can find new and innovative ways to use digital printing and reach our customers, it can be a real positive benefit to the industry here.”
The new name of the portion of Clarke Hall that houses Tri-County Community College’s textile department is unveiled during a ceremony. The home of the Textile Management Technology department is now known as The Ellison S. McKissick, Jr., South Carolina Textile Training Center, in honor of one of the college’s founders and longtime supporters.

TCTC honors McKissick

Week of November 25, 2002

... One of college’s founders

PENDLETON, SC — Tri-County Technical College honored the late Ellison S. “Bubby” McKissick Jr., former chairman and president of Alice Manufacturing Company and one of the college’s founders and longtime supporters, by naming a building in his memory. The current home of the Textile Management Technology department is now known as The Ellison S. McKissick, Jr., South Carolina Textile Training Center.

E. Smyth McKissick III, his son and a representative from Alice Manufacturing Company, unveiled the dedication plaque at a naming ceremony recently. Tri-County President Don Garrison, along with College Board Chairman Mendel Stewart, presented a resolution recognizing Ellison McKissick’s service as charter member of the college’s governing board, his commitment to textile education and his generous financial support.

Following the presentation, state senators Larry Martin and Marshall Parker, along with Ben Childress, retired Alice Manufacturing vice president, made testimonial tributes to one of the state’s most respected businessmen.

“I knew Ellison McKissick for 35 to 40 years, and I was always impressed with his ability to combine his vision with reality to accomplish things never before done,” said former Sen. Parker of Seneca. “An example is the way he was able to export textiles successfully and become a leader in the field. You always knew where he stood, and he was a true leader. “His vision was that training is the key to success of South Carolina’s industrial development. He took care of the industry, and he loved his employees and was beloved by them.

“He gave over and over to this great institution. He was always a believer in the technical college mission and in helping to make Tri-County Technical College the people’s college,” added Parker, who also serves on Tri-County’s Foundation Board. “Ellison McKissick was a great man whom we were fortunate to have among us.”

Sen. Martin remembered his first conversation with McKissick — during one of the college’s textile scholarship banquets held at the Clemson House in the late ‘70s. “I had the good fortune to be seated next to Bubby. He was in his prime in his business and his life. I knew him by reputation as the owner of Pickens County’s largest business. He struck me as genuine, and he could talk about any subject.”

One year later, Martin was serving in his first year as a House member and was assessing his career options. He sought McKissick’s counsel about employment. “He offered me a job on the spot, and I accepted. It is one of the best decisions I have ever made,” said Sen. Martin, who serves as safety director at Alice Manufacturing.

“He also believed in education and reinvested in people. And he was generous. He believed in education and the difference it makes in our quality of life. He knew a well-trained work force is essential to grow and to prosper and to remain competitive.”

Since 1973, Alice Manufacturing has sponsored scholarships for Textile Management students and demonstrated a commitment to the training of textile technicians for Upstate South Carolina in numerous ways.

“Alice Manufacturing Company scholarships have financed the education of deserving students who otherwise might have been unable to attend college,” Garrison said.

Childress, of Easley, a member of the Area Commission, remembered during the 1950s and ‘60s when few supervisors had a college education.

“Twenty-five years later, 75 percent of Alice associates have gone to college, and many attended Tri-County,” he said. “Many couldn’t afford college but wanted to go. Alice funded the first five scholarships for the program. These first-time recipients now have children who are teachers, lawyers and doctors. These scholarships represent more than money. Opportunity changes the lives of these men, women and their families.”

McKissick was a member of the Steering Committee that recommended the founding and selection of the site for the college, and he served as chairman of the college’s first Building Committee.

“From its inception in 1961, Ellison McKissick was a driving force in the founding and nurturing of the State Tech System that has become a model for the United States,” said Garrison.

“With the leadership of then-Governor Fritz Hollings, chambers of commerce executives joined leaders such as Mr. McKissick in the manufacturing arena across the state and urged the General Assembly to act expeditiously on the measure to create the Tech System. As a result, the landmark legislation breezed through the General Assembly in record time, and Mr. McKissick was at the forefront of making this happen,” he added.

“When I arrived at Tri-County back in 1971, knowing the importance of establishing and building a close partnership with industrial executives, I soon called on Mr. McKissick,” Garrison remembered. “I made this call early in 1972 when we initiated the planning to establish the associate degree program in textile management. That first meeting with him began a wonderful personal friendship and partnership that continued to grow until his passing. This partnership also fostered a great partnership between Alice Manufacturing Company and Tri-County that continues to grow even stronger to this day. No doubt Alice Manufacturing is one of the very strongest of the many manufacturing corporation partnerships we enjoy today.”

Smyth McKissick expressed his thanks and appreciation to the audience for attending the naming ceremony.

“If my father were here, he would be the first to congratulate you on your 40-year history as an outstanding technical college,” McKissick said. “Tri-County has contributed more than you will ever know to the success of Alice and our associates in being the best they can be. We are blessed with leaders who understand that to be a strong state and nation, we must have a strong manufacturing base.”

Pickin' Cotton

Week of November 25, 2002

Demand, falling supplies keep export target high

By Odyll Santos

The U.S. cotton crop may have shrunk due to weather problems in the Delta and Southeast, but expectations for large exports haven’t dwindled. Earlier in November, USDA slashed 2002-03 domestic cotton production to 17.8 million 480-pound bales, down about 250,000 from October’s forecast and from the 2001-02 figure. USDA pegged exports at 10.8 million bales, 200,000 less than last month’s and last season’s levels. The cuts represent a 12.3 percent drop in crop size and a 1.8 percent decrease in exports from 2001-02.

Even with the cut, the export forecast remains sizable, and the U.S. will have to maintain a respectable sales pace to reach that target. Sales to foreign buyers however, were off to a slow start this marketing year, which began Aug. 1. Through the end of October, U.S. 2002-03 export commitments, which combines accumulated exports and outstanding sales, were 25 percent below commitments at the same time last year, according to USDA in its “Cotton: World Markets and Trade” report released Nov. 13.

USDA cited several reasons for the slow pace of U.S. export sales. It noted that countries expected to be major importers for the season, especially India and Turkey, have been buying cotton at low prices from local farmers. In addition, USDA said it believes that some U.S. farmers may have decided to hold off selling their crop as they wait for a higher rate under Step 2 of the cotton competitiveness program, a rate that would “be passed on (to farmers) in the form of higher farm-gate prices.” USDA observed that farmers have seen small market premiums for their crops, and Step 2 payments to merchants and mills have been tiny but are growing.

The quality of the U.S. crop following damaging storms this autumn also has raised some concern. But industry watchers believe cotton below premium quality, particularly growths from the Southeast normally used domestically, will attract interest from foreign buyers. “Since most of this season’s Southeastern crop is below the premium grades, it must find a home in the export market,” said cotton marketing specialist O.A. Cleveland in his newsletter for the week ended Nov. 15. “U.S. merchants are having excellent success in moving this traditional U.S. domestic use cotton to overseas markets. Currently, it is priced lower than most foreign growths with which it competes.”

USDA believes U.S. sales have time to grow significantly, possibly even come close to the 2001-02 export target of 11 million bales. “It’s easy to look at current sales and shipments, and take this (export) figure all the way down to around 8.5 (million bales), assuming this year will be on a normal path,” said brokerage Varner Bros. of Cleveland, MS, in its Nov. 12 daily commentary. But brokers there believe USDA is right to stick to a high projection.

USDA said it expects U.S. sales to grow mainly because of a slight rise in world cotton demand and declining global supplies of exportable growths. “World import demand is forecast at 29.9 million bales this year, up marginally from 29.6 million in 2001-02,” USDA said. “The U.S. is expected to have an exportable supply of raw cotton in 2002-03 of 17.5 million bales, 1 million less than in 2001-02. At the same time, however, the foreign exportable supply is forecast to fall more than 6 million bales, due mainly to rapidly expanding consumption in China and poor weather in Australia.”

Though China is expected to produce 1 million bales more cotton this season, a total crop of 21.5 million, other key producers will see smaller crops. USDA estimated Pakistan’s crop at 7.8 million bales, down 400,000. It cut production in Uzbekistan by 200,000 bales to 4.7 million, and in Turkmenistan, by 150,000 bales to 700,000. USDA also cut crops in Greece, Brazil and Cote d’Ivoire.

“Smaller crops in Pakistan, Central Asia and the Franc Zone suggest that U.S. export sales should replace some of the sales that those countries would have captured,” Cleveland said. “Thus, the optimism is that current season U.S. exports can climb to 10.8 million bales.”

Meanwhile, China is helping bolster foreign mill use. While usage in countries such as Uzbekistan, Indonesia and Egypt fell, Chinese mill use rose 500,000 bales to 26.75 million because of strong growth in yarn production. So total usage by foreign countries is steady at 88.5 million bales. Varner Bros. noted that China has been a consistent buyer so far this season, with purchases of 25,000 to 60,000 bales, and its orders could jump after Christmas. That should keep U.S. export hopes alive.

Equipment Suppliers

Week of November 25, 2002

Hubtex unveils storage system

SPARTANBURG, SC — Hubtex of North America, Inc, based here, announced a new development in storage systems designed specifically for the
cut-and-sew industry.

A mobile carousel storage truck is situated directly behind a cutting table to feed the fabric onto the table, without any manual handling required.

The standard unit can handle rolls up to 163 inches in length, 24 inches in diameter and
having a maximum weight of 880 pounds per roll.

With these specifications, the truck can store six rolls. The roll supports are adjustable in 2-inch increments so that for smaller diameter rolls, the capacity can be increased. The rolls are easily loaded onto the carousel using various types of roll-handling equipment, which Hubtex can
also supply.

Many advantages are seen using the carousel concept, according to the company:


• savings in material cost — normally, the fabric manufacturer will discount sales of full rolls as opposed to small cuts;
• space savings — use of vertical space for roll storage rather than on pallets;
• avoiding manual handling of heavy roll, which presents a safety issue (weight, repetitive motion);
• with several units, to have the advantage of staging many styles or colors of fabric ready
for the cutting table since the unit is mobile and is easily moved from point to point; and
• fabric is moved directly from the carousel onto the cutting table without removing the roll.

Stationary units, which are permanently mounted behind the cutting table, are also available, with capacities from eight to 25 rolls as standard and with unlimited capacity as special designed units.

Editorial

Week of November 25, 2002

Carving out a heaping helping of thanks ...

OK, all you doom and gloomers. Just when you thought the glass of blessings was half empty this holiday season, consider some of the things we’re thankful for:

American textiles’ “sticktuitivness.” The Royal Velvet color palette. AATCC’s Jack Daniels’ openness to new ideas, which are keeping his association for chemists and colorists viable and primed for the future. Russell Corporation’s “R” logo on sports uniforms. “Textile company ABC reported record sales and earnings in the quarter.”

Bob Ragan, who made it his mission many years ago to keep Gaston County’s rich textile history alive. GORE-TEX® fabrics during a cold, rainy football game. The professionalism and friendliness of Carol Smith and Karen Carlton of the North Carolina Manufacturers Association. The fact that you can’t spell “enthusiasm” without I-T-M-A — short, of course, for the International Textile Machinery Exhibition-International. Spending a moment — any moment — with Mac Cates.

Socks that stay up without constricting — and, occasionally, loafers with no socks. The phrase, “We’re running wide open.” “Gentle Giant” Fred Moorhead Jr. A leaner, meaner Burlington Industries, back in the black. The Swiss, who have made a home in Upstate South Carolina and have culturally enriched the area.

The American Textile History Museum’s board of governors, who had a good idea — a Textile Hall of Fame — and made it a reality. Trailblazer “Buzz” Buzzerd, future-focused and clear-visioned. The spirit of competition — fair competition. Digital printing technology. “Clackity clack, clackity clack, clackity clack ...” — music to our ears.

Having crossed paths with one-of-a-kind Chuck Hayes, if only for a short time. Doug Galyon, Hayes’s right-hand man, for sharing a video of his funeral — a service/celebration befitting someone seemingly bigger than life who touched the lives of many ... and continues to do so. The fact that fibers can be made from corn — or from the gene of a spider that has been inserted into the mammary gland of a goat. Mike Hubbard, who, without flinching, has jumped right into those big shoes of Jim Conner. NC State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Auburn, the Institute of Textile Technology, Philadelphia University, et al — for providing much of the research that will keep the domestic textile industry alive and for molding its future leaders.

Spicy words such as “doffer,” “greige,” “warp,” “douppioni,” “mercerize” and “tuft” — words that roll off the tongue and belong to us alone. Oversized coffee cups. Pillowtex, back from the living dead. Dr. Jim Lemons, who always puts the NC Center for Applied Textile Technology’s best interests first. Greenville, SC, where textiles is woven deep into the texture of the community.

People, such as Ken Schrang and Dudley Walker, who have the guts to start a textile company in this day and time. A favorite barbecue joint on the way to an industry function. Not-so-ordinary Joe Okey Jr. — good people. Industrial fabrics, nonwovens, technical textiles — all of which represent hope for many of you. Van May’s Texas-sized convictions.

Butler Mullins, working overtime to make sure that ATME-I 2004 isn’t an afterthought. The cotton-fresh smell in opening and carding. Steve Dobbins, Gaylon Booker, Dan Nation, Clyde Parker — who says nice guys finish last? The apparent sincerity and genuine concern for the industry by government officials Don Evans, Grant Aldonas, Jim Leonard, David Spooner, Janet Labuda and Bill Lash — if it were an act, it sure would be hard to keep up for this long. Technology that allows clothing to deliver anticellulite treatment while being worn.

Martex natural stretch sheets. The big heart behind Tom Novinc’s gruff facade. Calling America home. Vigilant — and diligent — Jock Nash, always fighting for the industry. The Hosiery Association’s Sally Kay, a true professional whose knowledge of her sector will knock your socks off. Springs Industries’ seven core values.

Hearing “I’ll try” instead of “I can’t.” Andy Warlick’s acumen. Todd Atwater and his able, expert staff at the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance. Companies reinvesting in themselves, and thus their futures. A good debate over trade policy.

And, finally, the fact that Wal-Mart isn’t quite greedy enough (yet) to be open on Thanksgiving Day.

Just think, it could be worse: you could be a gobbler, living a hobbly, wobbly existence these days.

Textile News Index