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Fiber World

Tuscarora To Use NAT's CRAiLAR® Flax In New Blends

Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc. (NAT), Vancouver, Canada, has granted a non-exclusive, non-transferable license to Tuscarora Yarns Inc., Mt. Pleasant, N.C., under which Tuscarora will design and manufacture specialty yarns containing blends of NAT's CRAiLAR® Flax fiber with cotton or other fibers. The yarns are being developed for sale and distribution to third-party Crailar licensees.

NAT expects the partnership will open avenues for the fiber's use in heretofore-unexplored apparel sectors such as couture fashion, sports performance, extreme weather gear; and certain home furnishings sectors. "This agreement will seek to push the applications of CRAiLAR beyond our first phase of cotton blending and establish new market sectors for this unique and sustainable natural fiber," said NAT CEO Ken Barker.

According to Tom McCall, Tuscarora's director of business development, Crailar Flax — produced using an enzymatic process that converts bast fibers into materials that are as soft as cotton but more durable and eco-friendly — is superior to traditional flax fiber used in textiles.

"We have spun flax for many years and are very comfortable with the fiber in general," McCall said. "Naturally Advanced Technologies has definitely got a better flax product than anything else on the market. It has a better hand, and we think it's a very interesting technology."

Tuscarora already has Crailar product in development for various retailers, McCall noted. "Most of our work is on the ring-spun side at the present time," he explained. "Our engineering department will help the customer design the yarn for the application — for both wovens and knits — and do all the R&D work, and then we'll produce the product for the customer."

March/April 2012