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: November 27, 2023
Oerlikon, Haelixa Make Supply Chains in Textile End Products Traceable
In cooperation with the Swiss company Haelixa, Oerlikon Manmade Fibers Solutions will, in the future, be able to make the entire value chain of a textile end product transparent and hence sustainable.
The two development partners are offering a solution for the comprehensive traceability of products, as required by the European Green Deal. An essential part of the solution is the DNA marker technology developed by Haelixa that enables complete traceability of materials. These markers survive all production process steps, validating that the end product is identifiable.
“This innovative technology employs distinct DNA tailored for each project, establishing a unique identity for the material,” said Holly Berger, marketing director at Haelixa. “Once the DNA is integrated into the material, it becomes irremovable, impervious to falsification or alteration.” Handling is straightforward: the DNA marker is fed into the spinning process with the preparation oil, for example. The preparation system is modified accordingly. Further feeding options are currently being developed.
HeiQ Unveils HeiQ Skin Care – a Probiotics Infused Textile Technology
HeiQ, a global leader in textile innovation, announced the launch of HeiQ Skin Care technology for next-to-skin apparel and home textiles. This revolutionary proprietary technology, 100% biobased and meticulously designed, marks a significant advancement in textile innovation.
HeiQ Skin Care is a synbiotic textile finish aimed at providing a balanced microbiome for glowing skin, even after repeated use and washing of textiles. Unlike conventional products, HeiQ Skin Care utilizes slow-release prebiotics and probiotics seamlessly integrated into a biobased textile matrix, enriching the skin’s microbiome diversity, and offering long-lasting cosmetic benefits.
The synergistic combination of prebiotics and probiotics, known as synbiotics, delivers a soothing cosmetic skin treatment while we relax, work, or sleep. Probiotics not only restore and improve the skin’s natural balance but also enhance its self-repair capabilities. Synbiotics promote skin renewal, rebalancing, and improved appearance, reducing the signs of aging and establishing a favorable environment for the skin’s natural repair mechanisms.
Gary Smith Named LYCRA CEO
The LYCRA Company, a global leader in developing innovative and sustainable fiber and technology solutions for the apparel and personal care industries, announced that Gary Smith has been appointed chief executive officer, effective November 27.
Smith will replace Dean Williams, who has served as acting CEO since August. Williams will continue in his role as chief financial officer and assist with the transition. Smith will be responsible for The LYCRA Company’s global organization and will report to the company’s board of directors.
Smith is an accomplished business leader with over 25 years of experience in the consumer products industry, with a focus on brand-driven commercial strategy, operational transformation and global expansion. Most recently, Smith held the position of CEO at Hatteras Yachts, Inc., a custom motor and sports fishing yacht company, leading a successful turnaround and subsequent sale of the company.
As CEO of Polartec, he spearheaded transformation efforts that set the textile company on a path to success. He also previously served as president of the Outdoor Group at The Timberland Company.
Oerlikon Barmag and Nanshan Fashion Signed a Contract on the Strategic Cooperation Agreement for PA6 and PA 6.6 Solutions
Oerlikon Barmag and Nanshan Fashion (Shandong Nanshan Fashion Technology Co., Ltd.) signed a contract on the “Strategic Cooperation Agreement” for their latest nylon POY+DTY project in Longkou, Shandong, China, at the ITMA ASIA + CITME 2022, in Shanghai this month.
“For Oerlikon, it is the first time we have had the opportunity to work with an integrated textile manufacturer representing a well-known brand, DELLMA. This should help us to better understand the ongoing developments in the consumer market and the demands that these market developments place on the manmade fiber industry, said Georg Stausberg, CEO Oerlikon Polymer Processing Solution at the first day of the show.
“It is the first time for Nanshan Fashion to enter the field of manmade fiber production. We at Oerlikon Barmag are pleased and proud that Nanshan Fashion has chosen our company as partner for this step. We are the market leader for many technologies in the field of chemical fiber production and we will support Nanshan Fashion with all our experience in establishing a new branch of your business,” said Stausberg.
“I am convinced that both parties are strongly committed to building Nanshan Fashion’s nylon business into a benchmark in the nylon industry and moving towards brand internationalization. This cooperation is a milestone for both parties,” said Zhao Liang, Chairman and General Manager of Shandong Nanshan Fashion.
Milliken & Company makes Most Innovative Companies List
Diversified manufacturer Milliken & Company has made America’s Most Innovative Companies list for the first time this year. Presented by Fortune and Statista Inc., the America’s Most Innovative Companies list highlights companies nationwide that excel in a holistic approach to innovation.
“At Milliken, we draw on our materials science expertise to maintain a portfolio of more than 11,000 products used in the textile, specialty chemical, floor covering and healthcare industries,” said Milliken President and CEO Halsey Cook. “Innovation is a core value, and it is firmly embedded in our culture.”
Milliken is one of 11 manufacturers on the 2023 list. Statista surveys employees and experts to assess product and process innovations and collaborates with LexisNexis to analyze the quantity and value of a company’s patents. These three components come together for a final score, and the top 300 U.S. companies are listed as America’s Most Innovative Companies.
Sage Automotive Interiors Expands in South Carolina
Sage Automotive Interiors, a manufacturer of automotive interior materials, announced it is expanding its Sharon Plant in Abbeville County, S.C. The $10.45 million investment will create 95 new jobs.
Sage is a leading provider of automotive interior materials, including seating, door panel surfaces and headliners, to automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Sage’s core strengths are consumer research, sustainability and innovative problem-solving for OEMs. The company’s vision is to continually lead the market in design, engineering and technical capability, supported by world-class manufacturing.
“Our decision to expand and invest in our Sharon Plant underscores our unwavering dedication to meeting the evolving needs of our customers in the automotive industry,” said Chris Heard, president and CEO of Sage. “This project not only solidifies our commitment to innovation but also demonstrates our confidence in the future of automotive manufacturing in South Carolina.”
Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Sage is a global company with offices and manufacturing locations in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. U.S. manufacturing operations are in South Carolina and Georgia.
Operations are expected to be online in 2025.
VEOCEL Showcases High-Performance Hydrophobic Fiber
With the growing demand among brands and consumers for plastic-free materials and ingredient transparency, VEOCEL™, the flagship specialty nonwovens brand of Lenzing Group, showcased LENZING™ Lyocell Dry fiber at Hygienix 2023. LENZING™ Lyocell Dry fiber which is not classified as “plastic” according to EU SUPD, meets the growing interest for plastic-free nonwoven products across the industry and among consumers. Additionally, along with being an environment-friendly solution, the fiber delivers high-performance dryness and comfort which makes it the optimum fiber choice for absorbent hygiene applications.
Comprised of mostly fossil-based materials, absorbent hygiene products are an essential part of many consumers’ daily lives. With heightened concerns towards environmental impact, the product segment has been undergoing a change caused by shifting consumer preferences, increased consciousness and concerns towards plastic waste, and technology advancement. LENZING™ Lyocell Dry fiber has embraced these changes without compromising on quality or performance.
National Spinning Company to Close Whiteville Plant
National Spinning said it regrets to announce the closure of its Whiteville Plant, its last yarn-spinning facility, during the first quarter of 2024. About 100 employees will be affected.
In a filing with the N.C. Department of Commerce, Jim Booterbaugh, president and CEO, blamed declining business conditions over the past few years due to a shift by some customers to import yarns from China, Turkey and India.
“In addition, the rise of import garments due to de minimis shipments for online shopping has deteriorated sales at retail stores, thereby impacting our domestic supply chains,” he said in the letter.
Founded in 1921, National Spinning Co., Inc. is a leading USA-based supplier of raw white (ecru) and fiber-dyed short staple and long staple spun yarns. Offerings include yarns spun from synthetic fibers, natural fibers (including wool and cotton), and technical fibers.
The LYCRA Company Launches New LYCRA® FiT400™ Fiber
The LYCRA Company, a global leader in developing innovative and sustainable fiber and technology solutions for the apparel and personal care industries, announced the launch of new LYCRA® FiT400™ fiber for knits.
The company’s latest EcoMade offering is a unique bicomponent fiber engineered to optimize the performance and comfort of knits. It delivers a durable soft hand-feel, low shrinkage and high uniformity to fabrics. LYCRA® FiT400™ fiber is made from 60% recycled PET and 14.4% from bio-derived resources and is GRS certified.
The fiber includes two different polyester polymers, which together create a helical crimp, providing permanent stretch and recovery properties, as well as breathability, cooling comfort and chlorine resistance to fabrics.
LYCRA® FiT400™ fiber helps set the stage for circularity, a key priority for The LYCRA Company. In controlled tests under specific conditions, this fiber was recycled back into new polyester fibers, thereby demonstrating the technical feasibility of this process.
Kelheim Fibres and Santoni Win the ITMF International Cooperation Award 2023
Kelheim Fibres GmbH, a leading manufacturer of specialty viscose fibers, and the Italian textile machinery manufacturer, Santoni Spa, were honored with the ITMF International Cooperation Award 2023 during the ITMF Annual Conference in Keqiao, China. This prestigious recognition by the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF) acknowledges outstanding achievements in international collaboration within the textile industry in alignment with the values of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Together, Kelheim Fibres and Santoni have developed an innovative and sustainable period panty, built upon advanced machine technology and high-performance viscose fibres. The result is a sustainable and high-performance underwear garment that seamlessly combines comfort and functionality.
Santoni’s specialized machinery enables a significant reduction in fabric waste, or even the potential for entirely waste-free production. Simultaneously, it enhances production efficiency, leading to cost savings. Kelheim Fibres’ wood-based specialty fibers, such as the trilobal Galaxy® and the hollow Bramante fiber, replace synthetic materials in the absorbent core of the menstrual underwear. They offer excellent performance and reliable protection for the wearer.
INDA’s Wes Fisher Named a 2023 Top Lobbyist
INDA, The Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, announced that Director of Government Affairs Wes Fisher was named a 2023 Top Lobbyist by the National Institute for Lobbying & Ethics (NILE). The list includes professionals with significant legislative success in 2023, have been innovative in their field, are held in high regard by their peers, give back to their community through charity or pro bono work, and adhere to the highest ethical standards.
Fisher joined the INDA staff in 2022, he previously held senior government affairs positions at the Pet Advocacy Network and the National Automatic Merchandising Association. His work at INDA has included interfacing with lawmakers, regulators, and stakeholders at the state, local, federal, and international levels and participating in UN negotiations regarding the ongoing Global Plastics Treaty. He serves on the board of directors of the Washington Area State Relations Group (WASRG) and in 2022 was appointed by the Governor of Virginia to the Virginia Rare Disease Council.
Suominen Goes Green in Brazil
Nonwovens roll goods manufacturer Suominen with headquarters in Finland, continues its work in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions as its Paulínia, Breazil site is also now shifting to fossil free electricity.
“Suominen shifted entirely to fossil free electricity in all our European plants in 2021 and now we are continuing our journey. We are constantly looking for various ways to decrease the greenhouse gas emissions from our operations. In 2022 we also installed a solar panel plant with over 2200 solar panels to our Alicante site,” said Juan Carlos Esteve, Director, HSEQ.
Reducing the environmental impact of operations ensures that the company can offer more sustainable products to their customers. By shifting to fossil-free electricity sources, Suominen can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of their products. As part of Suominen’s sustainability work, they are calculating the carbon footprint of our nonwovens as well as corporate level emissions annually.
Milliken & Company Named a Best Employer for Veterans
Diversified global manufacturer Milliken & Company was recognized as one of America’s Best Employers for Veterans 2023, a list compiled by Forbes and Statista. Milliken, included on the list for the first time this year, is one of seven manufacturers recognized.
“Our veterans come to work each day demonstrating their commitment to our values and to our people,” said Halsey Cook, president and CEO of Milliken & Company. “We’re proud of their contributions, and we’re grateful for the skills they bring to the table as part of Team Milliken.”
The cohort of America’s Best Employers for Veterans 2023 all exemplify company cultures that are welcoming and supportive of veterans. Nearly 8,500 U.S. veterans, all of whom work at companies employing at least 1,000 people, were surveyed by Statista, and both their direct and indirect recommendations informed the rankings.
INDA Releases New North American Nonwovens Industry Outlook Report
INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, has released a new report, North American Nonwovens Industry Outlook, 2022-2027. This report is the twelfth edition detailing demand data for 2017 through 2022, with forecasts to 2027.
The report provides analysis across all nonwoven end-use markets, providing a comprehensive and accurate view of the total North American nonwovens industry. INDA redesigned this report to support strategic business planning and decision-making. The projections in the report were made by analyzing current market trends and drivers to highlight the market potential in terms of dollar value, units, and volume in both square meters and tonnage.
Tony Fragnito, INDA’s President, said, “This report provides insights on nonwoven demand in the short-life and long-life market segments. The intelligence included in this report is critical for business leaders who manage the assets or operational planning for their organization.”
This report includes:
- Economic and population drivers contributing to market growth over the next 5 years for markets in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
- Disposable, Filtration, Wipes, Medical and Other applications.
- Long-Life durable sectors for Transportation, Building and Construction, Furnishings, Geo and Agro Textiles, and Apparel.
- Key drivers for the demand models and reasons for market upsets like the COVID pandemic.
- A summary of historical and future trends that will affect the nonwovens market.
Milliken Rebrands Healthcare Business as Ovik Health
US specialty chemical company Milliken is rebranding its healthcare business Milliken Healthcare Products to Ovik Health.
“Launching Ovik Health marks a new era in our work to positively impact the healthcare industry,” said Halsey Cook, president and CEO of Milliken. “Through Ovik, we reaffirm our commitment to providing innovative healthcare solutions and open the door to future opportunities that can heal, protect and support patients.”
The rebranding began on Oct. 31, with an expected completion date of Dec. 1, 2023. Milliken Healthcare Products will transition to Ovik Health in all brand and visual instances; however, all current healthcare product names will remain the same, Milliken said. Ovik Health, as a subsidiary of Milliken, will carry forward Milliken’s portfolio of wound and burn dressings, compression solutions, cohesive bandages, and tapes.
Heberlein Completes Sale of its Business to New Owners
Swiss firm Heberlein, founded in 1835, has successfully completed the sale of its business on October 31, 2023. The new joint ownership comprises the company’s management, alongside industry expert Daniel Lippuner and the Renaissance investment foundation. From November 1, the company will operate under the name “Heberlein Technology AG.”
The owners are committed to investing in the long-term success of a business that already combines traditional values with innovative power. The brand is known for its high level of expertise, as well as its tailor-made solutions for the textile business.
As the world’s leading supplier of jets for synthetic yarns, Heberlein develops, produces and distributes key components for the manmade fiber industry. Around 80 employees and an efficient infrastructure in Wattwil, Switzerland, ensure that international customers can continue to rely on quality and reliability.
The Renaissance investment foundation was established by pension funds, for pension funds, and has been investing in unlisted Swiss SMEs for over 20 years.
Under the new ownership, the Heberlein business will continue unchanged at the current location in Wattwil with the current management and all current employees.
The board of directors and management of Heberlein AG welcome this solution and are convinced that the existence of the company and its traditions will now be secured in the long term and that it will continue to develop successfully – positive news also for the business location of Toggenburg and the canton of St. Gallen.