In the dynamic and global textile fiber industry with its various manufacturing processes and end-uses, news and information is breaking on a daily basis. International Fiber Journal is tracking stories relevant to our industry from manmade to natural to bio-based fibers, innovations in nonwoven, woven, braided and technical textiles, technologies for additives, bonding, coatings and polymers, and applications from apparel to hygiene to transportation, and more. Here we will post news stories relevant to textile fibers and their downstream applications on an ongoing basis. Please check back for regular updates. If you have news that you feel should be added to this summary report, please email it to Ken Norberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most recent update: May 30, 2023
Suominen Appoints New Management
Suominen appointed Mr. Janne Silonsaari as the new CFO on March 6, 2023. Silonsaari will start in his role on June 1, 2023. Janne Silonsaari (born 1980) holds a Master’s degree in Economics and Business Administration. Prior to joining Suominen he worked for 16 years at Kemira Oyj in various business controlling and leadership roles.
Jonni Friman M.Sc. (Industrial Engineering and Management) has been appointed senior vice president, Transformation Management Office at Suominen. He will be a member of Suominen’s Executive Team and report to president and CEO Tommi Björnman. Friman will start in his new position on June 1, 2023.
Trevira Announces Name Change
Trevira GmbH has been renamed Indorama Ventures Fibers Germany GmbH. Trevira has been an affiliate of Indorama Ventures, Thailand, which acquired the German company in 2011, initially as a joint venture partner, and then completely in 2017.
After numerous other international company acquisitions, Indorama Ventures now has 147 locations in 35 countries and employs more than 26,000 people in three business segments.
To strengthen the corporate brand “Indorama Ventures” and provide a consistent brand experience for all stakeholders, Indorama Ventures is now consolidating the names of all its associated companies under the corporate umbrella brand.
The Trevira product brands, e.g., Trevira CS, will continue to be valid. Customers can therefore now submit their products to Indorama Ventures Fibers Germany GmbH for trademark testing and receive Trevira trademark approvals.
INDA releases North American Nonwoven Materials Annual Study
INDA, the Association of the Nonwovens Fabrics Industry, announced the publication of a new study, North American Nonwoven Materials Annual Study 2022.
Based on actual surveys and interviews with producers, enhancing the accuracy and relevance, this study tracks machine additions, closures and productivity improvements. This study is the industry benchmark for capacity and production information for North America and the only publication that provides an estimate of operating rates, based on nameplate machine capacity, through the year 2022. The 72-page study contains 43 figures and 11 tables.
“An element of INDA’s mission is to provide credible statistics to the nonwovens and engineered materials industry,” said Tony Fragnito, INDA president. “Our objective is to continually improve the quality of data and industry information. We feel the industry will greatly benefit from this in-depth resource for strategic planning and investment purposes.”
The complete study is provided to producers who supplied key metrics. The Executive Summary, an overview of the findings and implications, will be offered to current INDA members on a complimentary basis. The detailed study is available for purchase, with members receiving a discount. Findings from this year’s study include:
- North American capacity continues to increase with investments being made across all the processes and for a variety of end-uses. The industry’s nameplate capacity utilization has increased year-over-year, for the fifth consecutive year.
- In 2022, capacity of nonwovens in North America reached 5.565 million tonnes, an increase from the previous year of 2.4% (net growth of 128,700 tonnes) and an improvement over the previous year’s growth rate of 1.8%.
- North American imports, in tonnage, decreased 24.3% in 2022 and exports decreased 16.3% due to market stabilization after COVID. Nonwoven production tends to stay within the region, so the net trade balance (imports less exports) accounted for less than 5.5% of the region’s capacity.
“2022 was a period of economic adjustment and stabilization,” said Mark Snider, chief market & industry analyst. “We’re seeing a controlled and consistent transition back to pre-pandemic levels of nonwoven growth.”
Glen Raven Updates Operating Structure
North Carolina based Glen Raven introduced an updated operating structure that creates even greater focus on each of the key fabric markets it serves. The company has combined its fabric brands, including Sunbrella®, GlenGuard®, Dickson®, Sur Last® and others, under a new Glen Raven Material Solutions Group.
Within the group, the company has created new business units tailored to serve specific markets. David Swers, president of the new Glen Raven Material Solutions Group, will oversee the group, and its new business units will be led by experienced Glen Raven executives:
- Suzie Roberts, VP/GM Furnishings Business Unit, will lead the team focused on fabrics for furniture, cushions, umbrellas, and other related applications
- Katherine Carter, VP/GM Shade & Marine Business Unit, will lead the team focused on fabrics for marine and shade applications, including awnings
- Patti Bates, VP/GM Protective Business Unit, will lead the team expanding the company’s GlenGuard® fabrics used for protective workwear
- Eugene Deleplanque, President/Director General Europe, will lead a fourth business unit based in France to support customers in the European market
The purpose of the business units in the new Glen Raven Material Solutions Group is to further improve the company’s existing support for customers through programs and strategies that are customized to the needs of each market.
Dilo Teams up on Textile Recycling Technology
Nonwovens machinery manufacturer Dilo Group announced the start of a cooperation deal with Italian companies Dell’Orco & Villani and TechnoPlants to supply complete systems for the textile recycling sector.
Dell’Orco & Villani is a highly experienced supplier of tearing equipment. Used to recycle textile garment clippings, the technology maintains the staple length of reopened fiber from yarn from knitted and woven textiles as much as possible while also avoiding the downgrading and shortening of the staple.
TechnoPlants is a well-established manufacturer of aerodynamic web forming and air technology with a particular emphasis on reclaimed fiber for various applications such as acoustic and thermal insulation, car parts, upholstery and bedding.
Dilo Group through Dilo Systems GmbH, will bring its experience as a general contractor specializing in of fiber preparation, carding, cross-lapping and needling. Dilo’s role will be as the turnkey provider of complete projects which will include Dell’Orco & Villani’s components to reclaim the wasted fiber, as well as TechnoPlants’ components when aerodynamic web forming is included or when carding, cross-lapping is selected, together with through-air ovens and end-of-line equipment. TechnoPlants’s packaging equipment is also included.
Trelleborg Partners with Algenesis to Create Sustainable Thermoplastic Polyurethanes
Trelleborg, a global leader in engineered polymer solutions, has signed a Collaboration Agreement with Algenesis Materials, a sustainable Thermoplastic Polyurethanes (TPUs) provider. Trelleborg uses TPUs to coat fabrics across various industries, from Aerospace to Outdoor and Recreation.
Algenesis has developed TPUs from raw materials extracted from algae and non-food plants and formulated them into high-performance bio-based and bio-degradable products that replace petroleum-based TPUs. The collaboration aims to create sustainable TPU polymers specific to Trelleborg’s applications, where customers desire more sustainable options.
Collaborating to develop new biobased polymers can result in both a reduction of microplastic pollutants in the environment and lower costs for customers. Initial trials have shown that the Algenesis polymer performs similarly to established solutions within existing processes.
Algenesis recently received a contract from the U.S. Department of Energy to scale up manufacturing capabilities for its sustainable TPU technology, a proposal supported by Trelleborg.
Renewcell Partners with Traceability Deal for Circulose
Swedish company Renewcell announced an agreement with blockchain specialist TextileGenesis aimed at providing full traceability for its Circulose pulp.
Renewcell uses a patented process to breakdown and recycle cotton and other cellulosic textile waste, such as worn-out jeans and production scraps, to create a biodegradable raw material that can be used to create viscose, lyocell, modal, acetate and other man-made cellulosic fibers. These regenerated fibers can then be turned into new high-quality textiles and nonwovens.
With its agreement with TextileGenesis in place, Renewcell says it will be able to share real-time digital traceability with its customers and supply chain partners. The platform uses digital tokens to ensure a secure chain of custody for all supply chain processes from raw materials to retail. The company’s fiber-forwards traceability captures real-time shipments; its Fibercoins digital tokens verify point of origin and eliminate double counting of sustainable materials whilst its AI (augmented intelligence) engine verifies transactions between supply chain partners.
TextileGenesis is already partnering with fiber producers including Lenzing AG, Eastman, and Birla Cellulose.
Material Return Launches Nation’s First Circular Socks
Material Return in Morganton, North Carolina, the state’s premier innovator in sustainable textile manufacturing, has achieved a breakthrough success in manufacturing the nation’s first circular sock. This success follows two years of research and development and represents an inflection point for the textile and apparel industries, demonstrating that it is possible to create new raw material streams from textile waste — something not previously accomplished in the U.S.
The process is known in the industry as full circularity, or 360 degree circularity. Circularity is a shift from linear models of production to circular models that transform waste into new raw material streams. It is based on principles of first eliminating waste during the production process and then finding ways to transition waste back into usable materials that either hold or increase their value.
The team at Material Return, an employee-owned cooperative, have worked with Smartwool since 2020, collecting both post-production waste from factories as well as post-consumer waste from Smartwool customers around the country. Material Return received over 750,000 socks as part of the nation’s largest ongoing consumer take-back program, and using their proprietary technology and a network of partners who share their commitment to sustainability, helped Smartwool launch the Second Cut™ hike sock.
The socks collected were shipped to Leigh Fibers in Welford, S.C., to be ground, then shipped back to Material Return’s facility in Morganton to be transformed into a raw material input. The material was spun into yarn at the Textile Technology Center at Gaston College then blended with merino wool from Chargeurs Wool in Jamestown, S.C. The yarn was shipped to Renfro Corporation in Cleveland, T.N. to be knit into socks and those socks were tested at the Manufacturing Solutions Center in Conover, N.C.
Kelheim and Santoni Join Forces on Sustainable Menstrual Underwear
Kelheim Fibres has teamed up with Italian seamless knitting machine builder Santoni on the manufacture of energy-efficient and zero waste production menstrual underwear.
Under the terms of the project, the specialty viscose fiber manufacturer and Santoni Spa have jointly developed an innovative and sustainable menstrual underwear garment based on advanced machine technology and high-quality performance viscose fibers. The product consists of a soft outer layer and an inlay made from special wood-based fibers from Kelheim. The result is a sustainable and high-performance product that combines comfort and functionality.
The soft outer layer is produced either on the Santoni SM8-TOP2V circular knitting machine or on the SM4-TL2 machine. One of the major advantages of these circular knitting machines is that they significantly reduce the amount of cutting waste or even allow production with zero-waste.
The Santoni XT-Machine, originally developed for the footwear market, is used for the functional inlay of the period panty. The unique XT-Machine allows for different layers to be produced with different yarns and knitting structures. This enables all three functions of the inlay – the absorption and distribution layer ADL, the absorbent core, and the back layer – to be knitted in a single tube.
This reduces production time and costs and enables zero-waste production.
In the inlay, wood based Kelheim specialty fibers such as trilobal Galaxy or the hollow Bramante fiber replace synthetic materials.
James Heal Develops Sustainable Water Repellency Testing
British textile testing solutions provider James Heal has developed a solution to improve sustainability of water repellency testing in textiles. The company developed TruRain, the next generation Bundesmann tester with a water recirculation unit. Compared to the traditional options on the market, this new system uses 99% less water during testing based on a weekly program of conducting 150 tests, reducing consumption from 2,100 liters to just 23 liters for the week.
In addition, TruRain makes significant energy cost savings per workday, leading to 83% total cost reduction. Productivity is also increased through greater ease of use than a traditional Bundesmann, tests can be run continuously for a week without the need to change the water. An innovative automated shower guard that protects the operator from getting wet during testing is an improvement welcomed by lab technicians using the instrument.
Ocean State Innovators Acquires Cloud9 Fabrics
Ocean State Innovations, a leading textile provider, announced the acquisition of Cloud9 Fabrics of Cranford, New Jersey. Cloud9 Fabrics predominately offers organic fabrics to the quilting trade. Ocean State Innovations was formerly known as Brand and Oppenheimer and acquired another quilting fabric company, General Fabrics, in 2018.
Cloud9 has been in business for over 14 years and also offers a selection of apparel fabrics for home sewing. They use only 100% certified organic cotton in the manufacturing of their cotton base cloths and eco-responsible low impact dyes for printing and dying. President and CEO of P&B Textiles, Ed Odessa stated, “The synergy between Cloud9 Fabrics and P&B Textiles will result in OSI becoming a much more important resource for the home sewer.” Cloud9 Fabrics, in conjunction with P&B Textiles, will allow OSI to offer different cotton substrates to the home sewing industry.
Piana’s U.S. Nonwovens Becomes Global Recycled Standard Certified
Piana Technology, a 440-year-old Italian-made textile company known for innovations within the fiber and nonwovens textiles markets, is certified to the Global Recycling Standard (GRS) for their Piana Nonwovens business unit.
The Georgia- and Arizona-based textile facilities specialize in vertically and cross-lapped nonwovens. Since 2015 the company has manufactured a variety of intermediate products that are behind many of the common household products used today.
The GRS is a product standard that verifies, and tracks recycled raw materials through the supply chain. It includes criteria to prevent the use of potentially hazardous chemicals and verifies positive social or environmental production at. Both Piana Nonwovens facilities were assessed by a third party to verify their conformance to the standard and were awarded a scope certificate in March.
Bally Ribbon Mills to Celebrate 100th Anniversary at Techtexil North America
Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM), an industry leader in the design, development and manufacture of highly specialized engineered woven fabrics, announced its participation and celebration for its 100th anniversary at Techtexil North America in Atlanta.
The event, co-located with Texprocess Americas, will take place May 10-12 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
Since BRM’s founding in 1923 as a custom textile manufacturer here, the company has provided products for aerospace, defense, medical, safety, automotive, commercial and industrial applications used around the world.
Avery Dennison Signs Agreement to Acquire Lion Brothers
Avery Dennison has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Lion Brothers a leading designer and manufacturer of apparel brand embellishments. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2023, at which time Lion Brothers will become part of the Apparel Solutions business within the Solutions Group of Avery Dennison. The acquisition will allow the combined businesses to build on their collective industry knowledge and leverage Lion Brothers’ expertise, innovation, and service to expand Avery Dennison’s presence in high-value solutions and drive growth in external embellishments. Lion Brothers is recognized for integrating creative design with scientific and technological advancements to create product innovations for many notable brands and companies. Lion Brothers is headquartered in Owings Mills, Md., in the United States, with sites in Hong Kong and China. It had revenues of approximately $65 million in 2022 and 450 employees.
Apex Mills Appoints Joan Izzo as Senior Marketing Manager
Apex Mills, a fully integrated domestic supplier and manufacturer of custom technical and specialty textiles and fabrics, has named Joan Izzo as new Senior Marketing Manager. She will build greater awareness of the company brand as an innovative supplier and fabricator as well as promote newly expanded capabilities. She brings 25 years of experience with global manufacturers of fibers, fabrics, elastomeric films, and engineered materials across a wide variety of industries.
Most recently, she was Marketing Director at INDA, the Association of the Nonwovens Industry.
Izzo has strong expertise in the Fortune 500 B2B arena, marketing to diverse sectors including apparel, automotive, consumer products, healthcare, filtration and furnishings.
Apex Mills’ recent acquisition of the former Hanesbrands Inc. facility in Woolwine, VA offers new opportunities for its customers, “With her excellent experience, Joan will increase awareness of Apex Mills by marketing our innovative solutions for customers seeking high quality, made in USA products,” said Jonathan Kurz, Apex Mills President and Chief Executive Officer. “She will play a critical role in developing and supporting growth strategies.”