Posts tagged ‘textiles’
The U.S. industry’s rebound from the lows of the last decade is expected to continue into another year.
Robert S. Reichard, Economics Editor
To be sure, the increases have been rather modest. Nevertheless, they mark a major change from the steady tattoo of declines and retrenchments that marked most of the past decade.
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Thomas C. Robinson, a 27 year veteran of the textiles industry, as our Chief Operating Officer. Robinson joins us from International Textile Group (ITG), where he was most recently Vice President of Cotton Operations Planning and Technical Support in the company’s apparel division. Robinson’s appointment coincides with our imminent plan to establish a permanent production facility in Kingstree, S.C. that will replace our testing facility established there in August 2010. Jason Finnis, co-founder and immediate past COO, will become Chief Innovation Officer, responsible for innovation of sustainable bast fibers, cellulose pulp, and their resulting by-products.
“Tom is an excellent organizational fit for NAT whose appointment comes at a strategic time for the company,” said Ken Barker, CEO of NAT. “He will assume leadership of our manufacturing facility currently in development, and brings with him experience launching four international manufacturing platforms. Tom’s presence will allow us to advance current and future development and purchasing agreements with global partners.”
Robinson began his textiles career in 1984 with Burlington Industries, the leading full service apparel solutions organization for apparel manufacturers and retailers. From 1984 to 2004 he held a number of leadership roles for the company, culminating in Executive Vice President of Manufacturing and Operations Planning. His experience included greenfield startup manufacturing facilities, as well as oversight of multi-plant operations throughout the U.S., China, Mexico, India, Vietnam and Nicaragua. ITG later purchased Burlington Industries to become one of its six current companies, and positioned it alongside Cone Mills, one of the premier denim manufacturers and wholesalers in the world. In 2004, Robinson became Vice President of Operations Planning and Customer Support at Cone, where he was responsible for global denim operations planning, customer service, technical product development and quality control. He played a key operations role in the integration of Burlington Industries and Cone Mills as they each became part of ITG.
Robinson brings with him deep textile experience with a focus on understanding the performance and customer impact of natural fibers in the spinning, weaving and knitting process. He will be our senior-most executive permanently located in the Eastern U.S., where we plan to install a fully integrated flax fiber decortication and CRAiLAR enzymatic processing facility with the capacity to produce 650,000 pounds of CRAiLAR Flax fiber per week. We expect to be ready to commence production in Q1 of 2012, ramping up to full-scale capacity by Q2.
Robinson is a 3rd generation textile industry veteran with a BA in economics and business from North Carolina State University, and an Executive Program Certificate from University of North Carolina.
Finnis, co-founder and now CIO, will increase his focus upon our deep relationships with research partners, including Canada’s National Research Council, United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA – ARS), and partners like HanesBrands. This newly created role will focus on ways to improve NAT’s processing techniques, throughput efficiencies, and yield.
Fabric is one of the oldest materials humans have used for shelter; it remains an important material with diverse applications in design and construction today, and it will play an even more important role in the constructed environment in the future.
Predictions of energy scarcity and resource depletion, exacerbated by the burgeoning middle class in developing countries like China and India, point to ensuing decades of high commodity prices and fuel shortages. In these circumstances, existing resources and structures will be valued more highly, and traditional, energy-intensive practices like “raze and rebuild”—in which buildings are demolished to make way for others—will be less attractive. Instead, architects and builders will have to be more resourceful in their treatment of existing contexts and materials.
With so much talk about the soaring costs of cotton these days, we thought we’d offer a fresh perspective from the other side.
Due to undesirable weather conditions including flooding, cold snaps and hailstorms, cotton crops are coming up short this year and with the world’s demand of cotton so high, prices have been skyrocketing – rising almost 80% since July. With global apparel prices stagnant for some time now, apparel manufacturers and exporters are being hit hard. Companies like Jockey, Liz Claiborne, Levi’s and Hanes are in search of a solution so as not to have to pass this price hike onto consumers.
While some are in search of cheaper cotton sources in Banglasdesh and Vietnam, others are attempting to find alterntive cost effective yarns to blend into their cotton garments. You’d be surprised at the increase of emails we’ve received lately from spinners, knitters and manufacturers from around the world, enquiring about the availability and pricing of our CRAiLAR® fibres.
Both Levi’s and Hanes have stated that they will be integrating new materials into their products in order to lower costs, Bon-Ton chain is switching from 100 percent cotton in items like sweaters to more acrylic blends. Liz Claiborne, which makes brands like Juicy Couture and Kate Spade, is also playing with some of the materials it uses. One example, said spokeswoman Jane Randel, would be shifting from some imported Italian fabrics to “suppliers who produce their own raw materials or yarns”.
Ms. Johnson, an analyst with First Capital Group, stated that “We may be training a new generation to be far more accepting of synthetic fibers, which is likely to hurt cotton’s market share in the long run.”
We believe that companies can blend their way out of the cotton dilemma. However, with the higher demand from manufacturers switching away from cotton mixed with the anticipated rise in oil costs, the price of polyester and other synthetic fibres continue to rise – nearly 25% this past year. So, are synthetic fibres the solution?
We believe that CRAiLAR® Organic Fibres are the foundation of the first truly sustainable yarn in the apparel industry, and are poised to become the revolutionary next step in sustainable fibres, providing an economically sustainable complement to cotton.
Created using bast fibres such as flax, hemp, jute and kenaf, the yarns made from CRAiLAR® Organic Fibres can be used in knit, woven or nonwoven fabrics, alone, or blended with other natural fibers. CRAiLAR® can be used in both mainstream and alternative apparel and fashion fabrics, as well as industrial textiles. Through spinning trials, CRAiLAR® Flax was found to be of very high quality and ideally suited for fine knit items such as T-shirts.
With cotton prices currently well over a dollar per pound, flax is a cost-effective raw material for fibre production. We estimate that we will be able to provide CRAiLAR® Flax at approximately $0.90 per pound making it an econimically viable complement to cotton.