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28 May 2017 01:29AM

U.S. Textiles: Investment Continues

18 Mar 15 ,  Textile World
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The last half of 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 show continued investment in the U.S. textile industry.


The editors of Textile World examined the news found in the past six months of TW magazines and e-newsletters for announcements concerning investment, mergers and acquisitions, expansions, and new plant and equipment in the U.S. textile industry. A partial summary of those investments follows.



(left to right): Mark Ruday, senior vice president, Fibers, DAK Americas; Congressman Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.; and Antonio Garza, Cooper River site manager, DAK Americas. © John D Smoak III


Fibers And Yarns

Charlotte, N.C.-based DAK Americas announced it will increase production capacity by 55 million pounds per year (lbs/year) for polyester staple fiber (PSF) at its Cooper River Site near Charleston, S.C. Phase one of the expansion is expected to be complete sometime in March or April 2015; the timing for phase two of the project will be determined once phase one is complete. Once the total expansion is complete, DAK will have a total capacity of 500 million lbs/year for PSF in the NAFTA region. “We are excited to be increasing the capacity of the facility to meet the needs of our customers,” said Jorge Young, president and CEO, DAK Americas. “The capacity will serve the growing U.S. fibers market.”


McAdenville, N.C.-based Pharr Yarns LLC reports it has purchased space-dyeing technology for its carpet division from Mount Holly, N.C.-based Belmont Textile Machinery. The machinery gives Pharr the ability to offer its customers improved styling, versatility and color clarity. “Pharr’s new technology will allow us to provide a broader range of color and patterns to create distinctive atmospheres for residential and commercial spaces,” said Joe Rankin, vice president, Pharr’s Carpet Yarn division. “Just like a new spice can improve an old recipe in the kitchen, colors and patterns created with space-dye technology enhance carpeting’s aesthetics in ways consumers have never imagined.”


Over the next three years, PolyTech Fibers LLC, a Chatsworth, Ga.-based employee-owned polyester fiber manufacturer, will create 114 jobs and invest more than $12 million into its first manufacturing facility in Murray County, Ga. With this new 80,000-square-foot (ft2) facility, the company plans to manufacture and distribute several kinds of regenerated and recycled polyester staple fibers for the automotive industry, as well as the filter and nonwoven sectors, and commercial/residential and high-end furnishing fillers. PolyTech’s annual production capacity is expected to reach 80 million pounds within three years.


Gastonia-based Parkdale America LLC has signed an agreement with Fruit of the Loom Inc., Bowling Green, Ky., to acquire Fruit of the Loom’s U.S.-based yarn spinning operations. Parkdale will upgrade those plants to operate the latest open-end and ring-spinning technology, and as part of the agreement, will provide Fruit of the Loom with high-quality cotton and cotton-blend yarns to be used in its underwear and casualwear products. The partnership agreement is expected to close sometime in the first quarter of 2015. Fruit of the Loom employees currently working at the spinning plants will be offered jobs as employees of Parkdale. “We are excited to have this opportunity,” said Anderson D. Warlick, vice chairman and CEO, Parkdale. “By working together with Fruit of the Loom, we can take advantage of our combined demand and invest in technology that will yield the highest quality at the lowest cost.” “We are happy to join Parkdale in this strategic partnership,” said Rick Medlin, president and CEO, Fruit of the Loom. “This new model will position us to provide our customers with even more innovative products with the great quality and value that consumers expect from the Fruit of the Loom brand.”


Weaving News

Miami-based Banyan, a private investment firm and majority shareholder of Burlington, N.C.-based Burlington Technologies (BT) has announced its acquisition of Lebanon, Pa.-based Keystone Weaving. The transaction was asset-based and included the purchase of jacquard and dobby looms, related textile weaving equipment, the Keystone Brand, and Keystone’s business for both home fabrics and apparel fabrics markets. Along with the purchase, several key members of the Keystone management team will join BT.


High Point, N.C.-based Culp Inc.’s Culp Home Fashions Division is investing $9.5 million in its mattress fabrics operations. The two-phase project includes a building expansion, and additional finishing and fabric production capacity, with a late fall 2014 phase-one completion target and early spring 2015 phase-two target. The capacity expansion will include operations in the U.S., Canada and China. “Culp Home Fashions has enjoyed solid growth with record annual mattress fabrics sales of over $160 million in fiscal 2014,” said Iv Culp, president, Culp Home Fashions. “These expansion initiatives are an important investment in our future growth and reflect our unwavering commitment to meeting the demands of our customers.”



Culp Home Fashions — which has six finishing lines in Stokesdale, NC. — announced a $9.5 million investment in its mattress fabric operations.


Brawer Bros. Inc., Hawthorne, N.J., is establishing a new warping, warehousing and distribution facility in Whiteville, N.C., where it is converting an existing building and installing eight to nine conventional warpers to prepare warps for knitters and weavers. Operations at the facility are already underway. In addition to the Whiteville facility, which is operating under the name Brawer Bros. Inc., the company has two independent affiliated businesses in North Carolina — Warp Technologies Inc. in Holly Springs and New Generation Yarn Corp. in Gibsonville — as well as two affiliates in Pennsylvania — Warp Processing Co. Inc. in Exeter and Middleburg Yarn Processing Co. Inc. in Selinsgrove. Altogether, Brawer Bros. and its affiliates employ some 400 workers. Customers include domestic and overseas knitters and weavers serving both conventional and technical textile sectors.


Greensboro, N.C.-based Cone Denim LLC recently formed partnerships with two companies to develop new performance denim products. Cone Denim was named a “Premium Manufacturing Partner for Denim” by The Netherlands-based DSM Dyneema. The research and development (R&D) collaboration — led by Cone’s Cone® 3D R&D group — will work to produce a line of performance denims. Cone 3D is focused on products that offer performance, comfort, uniqueness and sustainability. “The partnership between DSM Dyneema and Cone ties in directly with our global growth strategy in performance apparel and allows two leaders of innovation to collaborate and explore new possibilities within cotton applications using our Dyneema fiber,” said Noud Steffens, global segment director, performance apparel, DSM Dyneema. Cone Denim also partnered with Spartanburg, S.C.-based Westex by Milliken to provide flame resistant denim apparel fabrics. The partnership will allow Westex by Milliken to offer customers denim apparel in a variety of performance attributes and colors with added safety features. “Cone Denim has over 100 years of experience in denim innovation and manufacturing and we are excited to be partnering with Westex by Milliken with their expertise and long-standing excellence in flame resistant fabrics,” said Steve Maggard, vice president, product development, Cone 3D.


Valdese Weavers, Valdese, N.C., has purchased the assets of Dicey Mills Inc., Shelby, N.C. Assets acquired include intellectual property, as well as selected equipment including a needle loom, sectional warper and certain yarn manufacturing machinery including Dicey’s extrusion capability. Valdese did not acquire the Dicey plant in Shelby. According to Valdese President and CEO Michael Shelton, the purchase included a transition services agreement giving Valdese the right to manufacture as needed in the Dicey facility until the end of the year. “This will help ensure a seamless integration and high level of service to all Dicey customers during the transition,” said Shelton. He also reports that Valdese intends to hire as many Dicey personnel as possible. “The addition of the Dicey fabric line complements the existing Valdese Weavers’ brands unique style very well,” said Michael Shelton, president and CEO, Valdese. “Dicey is excited about becoming a part of an outstanding company like Valdese Weavers,” said Parks Neisler, representative for the Neisler family, owner and operator of Dicey Mills. “Like us, they are a family business with deep roots in the textile industry and we look forward to growing the Dicey Fabrics brand with them in the years ahead.”


Okolona, Miss.–based United Furniture Industries NC LLC, manufacturer of upholstery products, is expanding operations in Forsyth County, N.C. The company plans to create 200 new jobs and invest $5.2 million over the next three years in Winston-Salem. United Furniture Industries employs 940 people at four North Carolina facilities in Randolph, Davidson and Forsyth counties. As part of the expansion, the company is combining its manufacturing and distribution hub at a new, larger location in Winston-Salem at the renovated historic Weeks plant.



The Dixie Group, Dalton, Ga., acquired the assets of Dalton-based Burtco Enterprises Inc. Burtco, doing business as B Carpet, serves the hospitality carpet market. The company specializes in Tapistron® CYP tufted products made using wool or solution-dyed nylon. The Dixie Group will continue to operate Burtco’s Chickamauga, Ga., tufting plant, and will hire substantially all of Burtco’s employees across the company from operations to sales and marketing. Elizabeth Moore, Burtco CEO, will continue to lead the operation.


Chemical Consolidation

To grow its portfolio and strengthen its position in high-growth markets, Switzerland-based Archroma has entered into an agreement to acquire the global textile chemistry business of Germany-based BASF. In addition to BASF’s Singapore-based textile chemicals business, the purchase includes the legal entity BASF Pakistan (Pvt.) Ltd. Approximately 290 global jobs are within the scope of the transaction, of which 230 are located in Asia. Archroma, a portfolio company of New York City-based SK Capital Partners, reports the closing should occur by the end of the first quarter 2015. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. “With this agreement, we are bringing together the century-old history of BASF textile chemistry products, technologies and people with Archroma’s already strong heritage from Hoechst, Sandoz and Clariant,” said Alexander Wessels, CEO, Archroma. “Archroma already acquired 49 percent of textile manufacturer M. Dohmen in May 2014, illustrating our company’s determination to become the preferred supplier in our industries.”


Apparel News

Gildan Activewear Inc., Montreal, has announced it will build a new manufacturing facility in its Rio Nance complex in Honduras. The new plant will help it meet its production capacity needs until its planned facility in Costa Rica goes on-line in fiscal year (FY) 2017. The Rio Nance addition also will help Gildan meet its sales growth target for higher-end products, planned for FY 2016, and optimize production efficiencies at its other textile plants. Gildan expects the Rio Nance addition and the planned Costa Rica plant will increase the company’s overall production capacity by 40 percent compared with the capacity exit rate at the end of FY 2014.


Gildan also has signed a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Northfield, Vt.-based Comfort Colors, a supplier of garment-dyed undecorated basic T-shirts and sweatshirts for the North American printwear market, for a total purchase price of approximately U.S. $100 million. The acquisition of Comfort Colors reinforces Gildan’s strategy to increase its penetration of the growing fashion basics segment of the North American printwear market.


North Charleston, S.C.-based Vapor Apparel has announced it will open a 300,000-ft2 cut-and-sew facility in Union, S.C. The company manufactures performance apparel and offers sublimation print-on-demand services; and has twice been named one of the 25 fastest-growing companies in South Carolina over the past five years. Vapor Apparel reports its $1.3 million investment will complement its existing production plant in North Charleston, and will create 114 jobs over the next five years. “It is an honor to bring sewing jobs back to South Carolina,” said Jackson Burnett, co-founder and president, Vapor Apparel. “Union is textile country. It has a history in the industry. These jobs are connected to technology through Print-On-Demand markets, which we will continue to invest in moving forward.”


Narrow Specialties

Asheboro, N.C.-based AEC Narrow Fabrics (AEC) reports it has finalized the purchase of Greensboro, N.C.-based International Textile Group’s Narricot Industries business unit. Included in the sale are the Narricot plants in Boykins, Va., and Murfreesboro, N.C.; equipment and inventories at those locations; and all Narricot products and certain intellectual properties. The Narricot plants will continue to manufacture Narricot products, and Narricot employees now are employees of AEC. “We are pleased to have Narricot join with AEC Narrow Fabrics and welcome its employees into the AEC family,” said Larry Himes, CEO, AEC Narrow Fabrics. “Narricot’s strengths in the military, automotive, fire and safety, fall protection, and industrial markets complement AEC’s work in these markets and our products for the apparel, medical, bedding and home furnishings industry. We believe the combination of these companies will serve to strengthen both as we leverage our technologies, product expertise and production capabilities across a more diverse range of markets and end uses.”


St. Paul, Minn.-based Safe Reflections — a provider of reflective apparel solutions to the occupational safety, consumer activewear and military training markets — has completed the construction of a new facility in Oakdale, Minn. The 39,000-ft2 expansion increased production capacity by nearly 50 percent and added 13 new jobs. The company added office, production and research and development space, anchored by an indoor night demonstration facility that allows naked-eye observations of reflective materials at a variety of distances and angles. According to the company, the facility lets customers see how their clothing designs perform in different light conditions and highlights the performance of Safe Reflections’ exclusive glass bead reflective technology.


Technical Textiles

France-based Chomarat recently celebrated the opening of a new plant in Anderson, S.C. The 58,500-ft2 facility will manufacture Chomarat’s advanced composite textiles — including carbon, spread-tow, multiaxial reinforcements and carbon looms — using Liba Max5 100-inch machines. “Our aim is to promote our latest innovations and to develop new partnerships in order to provide the North American market with advanced reinforcements, thanks to our highly skilled staff and state-of-the-art machinery,” said Florent Troubat, president, Chomarat. According to the company, its C-PLY™ advanced textiles offer significant advantages to the aerospace and automotive industries. “The C-PLY offerings are touted as completely gap-free, a feat normal aerospace woven fabrics cannot yet claim,” said Michel Cognet, general manager, Chomarat.


Woonsocket, R.I.-based T.E.A.M. Inc. recently broke ground on an expansion project at its Woonsocket facility. The expansion is expected to be complete by March 2015. “This expansion will effectively double the size of our Woonsocket facility allowing us to better meet the growing needs of current programs while also giving us the added space to pursue additional opportunities,” said Steve Clarke, president and co-founder, T.E.A.M. “We’re in the process of evaluating and acquiring new equipment, which will increase our 2-D and 3-D weaving capacity and expand our product capabilities,” added Jerry Moore, vice president and co-founder, T.E.A.M. The announcement follows a relocation and expansion project completed earlier this year at the company’s West Coast Division in Vacaville, Calif., which specializes in 2-D woven roll goods. “We relocated the company to a larger manufacturing space which allowed us to add additional equipment and improve upon current capabilities,” Moore said.


Germany-based technical textiles producer Heytex Group has acquired BondCote Corp., Pulaski, Va. BondCote will form the center of Heytex’s North American operations including sales, technical and logistics for all Heytex products. Heytex has retained existing BondCote employees including management personnel. The combined group has four production sites on three continents. Two are located in Germany,  one in Pulaski, and a fourth is in China. “We pursue a long-term strategy and set standards with our innovative products,” said Dr. Heribert Decher, CEO, Heytex. “With BondCote as a new member of the Heytex family, we have made the next, very important step.”



Charleston, S.C.-based AstenJohnson — a supplier of paper machine clothing, filaments, specialty and filtration fabrics, and equipment for the paper industry — completed the acquisition of St. Louis, Mo.-based Eagle Nonwovens Inc., a company known for producing and developing innovative needlepunch solutions for the aerospace, automotive, healthcare, filtration, and home furnishings industries. It has a 170,000 ft2 facility in St. Louis that utilizes state-of-the-art DiloGroup production equipment with in-line calendering, heat-setting, singeing, and glazing, among other equipment. The facility can process more than 30 million pounds of man-made fiber annually. The Eagle Nonwovens business unit reports to Steve Polston, senior vice president and CFO of AstenJohnson. Gregg Badami, founder of Eagle Nonwovens, will continue with the company through the transition period.


East Walpole, Mass.-based Hollingsworth & Vose (H&V) — a global supplier of advanced materials for filtration, battery separators, and industrial applications —announced plans to purchase the Floyd Flex Building from the Floyd County Economic Development Authority in Virginia to house its new Technostat® production line. The Floyd Flex Building is located two miles from its current Floyd County plant, and will be leased with intent to purchase to support the expansion underway at H&V’s Floyd, Va., operation. The Technostat filter media production line is expected to be operational by mid-2015.


Standard’s Expansion

Cincinnati-based Standard Textile Co. Inc. announced a $5 million capital investment to expand its Union, S.C., facility by 39,000 ft2. The expansion will add additional terry towel finishing capacity, as well as bring opportunities and allow new partnerships for the company’s yarn spinning, yarn preparation and weaving processes. Thirty-five new jobs will result from the expansion. “We’re excited to announce the expansion of operations in Union, S.C., for it means adding quality jobs in America,” said Gary Heiman, president and CEO, Standard Textile. “This significant expansion to our state-of-the-art finishing facility, which we refer to as a ‘smart plant,’ utilizes technology in its incorporation of automation, robotics and visual control systems.”



The editors of Textile World examined the news found in the past six months of TW magazines and e-newsletters for announcements concerning investment, mergers and acquisitions, expansions, and new plant and equipment in the U.S. textile industry. A partial summary of those investments follows.