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Spinning's Predicted Growth

Greater and more efficient production will be achieved through increased use of rotor, air and Vortex Spinning.<b>By William Oxenham</b>

Yarn ManufacturingBy William Oxenham Spinning's Predicted Growth Greater and more efficient production will be achieved through increased use of rotor, air and Vortex spinning.Yarn production is a significant part of the U.S. textile industry and this is likely to continue in the foreseeable future. Trends in spinning can be viewed in different ways, the most popular being from the perspective of developments in the technology of spinning machinery.While these are exciting times for spinning technologists, with the possible incursion of Muratas new Vortex spinning into several areas of yarn production, this article deals with these trends from a historical perspective based on data obtained and collated from several sources, including Werner International, the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF) and the U.S. Census Bureau. 

 LaborandTimeThe international textile industry has been dogged for many years with the belief that cheaper imports will undermine the more mature industries, and this will primarily be due to significantly lower labor costs in developing countries.To this end, data shown in Table 1 should be a cause of concern, since it is abstracted from a survey that shows five nations with hourly rates (including benefits) less than 50 cents. The United States does not appear in the top 10 list for labor cost, which apart from Japan and Canada, is dominated by European countries.A further aspect that must be taken into consideration when comparing countries is the operating hours per year. While the United Kingdom and the United States are not far apart in hourly rates, it is interesting to note that the United Kingdom has a yearly workload of 5,210 hours compared to 8,250 hours for the United States, which is also higher than Canada at 7,997 and Mexico at 6,267.While labor costs ultimately have an influence on yarn costs, they can be outweighed by other factors such as raw material and capital costs. Figures 1 and 2 (based on ITMF data) clearly show this effect when comparing the cost of 30 Ne yarn produced in different countries.Indeed, while India can produce ring and open-end yarn cheaper than the United States, in the latter case the difference is slight (India at $2.99 vs. United States at $3.01) even though there is a substantial difference in hourly pay ($0.60 vs. $12.97).Also of interest are the changes that took place between 1995 and 1997 in yarn manufacturing costs. In 1995, U.S. yarn production was the second most expensive of the countries included in the study (Figure 3). In 1975, it was the second least expensive. This change, both in the cost of yarn production and in the rating of U.S. yarn costs, is due to differences in the cost of capital and raw material. U.S. SpinningThe various sources of data used in this survey revealed slightly different information on the American spinning industry, and this is in part due to the way in which the data was collected.Furthermore, data is not readily available on the usage of jet spinning or in the specific type of yarn produced by the different spinning systems. While it is reported that there were 84,000 installed positions in 1996-97, any further details were withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual companies, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.Based on the available data, the survey considers three different (but inevitably related) aspects of yarn production: historical trends associated with spinning units installed; the consumption of various types of fiber over recent years; and the amount of yarn produced each year.Figure 4 shows the installed short-staple ring spindles and open-end rotors and the changing significance of these two technologies with time. It is clearly seen that over 10 years there was about a 50-percent reduction in the number of ring spindles, and this was accompanied by a slight increase in the open-end rotors in use. If the data is viewed in terms of global changes, the picture is slightly different. Figure 5 shows the units installed in North America, expressed as a percentage of the worlds total, and it becomes evident that North America has made a much greater investment in open-end technology at the expense of the slower ring spinning.While the trends for short staple (cotton system) are relatively clear, the picture for long-staple spinning is much more variable, as shown in Figure 6. It is apparent that while there was a decline in this sector around 1990, the current number of spindles, both in terms of absolute number and percentage world share, is almost at the same level it was 10 years ago.U.S. fiber consumption in the short- and long-staple spinning sectors is shown in Figures 7 and 8. There have only been minor changes in fiber consumption in the short-staple spinning sector. The obvious characteristic is the dominance of cotton and the slight upward trend in the use of this fiber. The increased use of cotton does not, however, appear to be at the expense of any other fiber. The trends in long staple are a little more variable (as with the figures for installed spindles), but over the five years considered, there appears to have been a slight decline in the amount of fiber consumed in this part of the industry.
 Production NumbersThe production of spun yarn over the last five years is shown in Figure 9, and this illustrates the total spun-yarn production together with the production of each spinning sector. This figure also clearly indicates the much greater production of the cotton spinning industry as compared to woolen and worsted. A more detailed summary of the production of various yarn types, within each spinning sector is shown in Table 2.While it is possible to draw some inference of trends (e.g. slight growth in cotton machine knitting yarn and a decline in worsted machine knitting yarns) there are minor changes and overall there do not appear to be any major differences in the type of yarn produced over the time period shown.In 1993, (See Yarn Consumption Up In 1992 And Holding, ATI September 1993) C. Edward Hayes carried out a similar survey and was brave enough to project yarn production in 1997 using straight-line fits to data for 1987-1992.Hayes predicted a linear growth from 7,457 to 7,557 million pounds over the period 1992-1997. Based on current data, this resulted in a general underestimation, with the actual growth being from 7,457 to 7,840 million pounds.It is also obvious that linear predictions cannot accommodate a peak year such as 1994 (8,145 million pounds against a predicted 7,497).The problem of trying to predict likely production levels based on historic data is clearly shown in Figure 10, which plots U.S. spun-yarn production since 1980.It is evident that there are clear cyclical trends, and forecasted production is heavily influenced by whether the prediction is made in the years just before, or just after, a peak year. Despite these concerns, almost any curve fitted to the existing data seems to predict a continued growth in yarn production in the United States.This will probably be accomplished through greater use of higher production systems such as rotor, jet and Muratas Vortex, and further demise in the use of ring spinning for short-staple spinning.
  Editors Note: William Oxenham is professor, associate department head and graduate administrator in the Department of Textile and Apparel Technology and Management in the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University. Oxenham earned his bachelors degree and doctorate at the University of Leeds, England. January 1999