Natural Fiber Producers Cooperative Is Bringing Commercial Dehairing Services Back To The U.S.

HOMEDALE, Idaho — July 29, 2015 — As recently reported in Alpaca Culture magazine, “some of the biggest news in the domestic natural fiber scene, Natural Fiber Producers’ introduction of a new commercial dehairer will soon allow American fiber producers access to one of the most powerful and sophisticated dehairing machines available in the world today.”*

The commercial hybrid dehairing machine, Model No. DJ56, manufactured by Italy-based Cormatex has been purchased by Natural Fiber Producers. Taking up 500 sq. ft. of floor space, the machine boasts a 5-ft. width and 67-ft. length.

The machine has the ability to process at variable speeds according to the needs of each type of fiber, and process 20 – 65 pounds per hour. Size, output capability, adaptability, and versatility make this dehairer the most cost-efficient piece of machinery for competitive fiber producers in the textile marketplace today. It is one of only 4 in the world, and the only commercial dehairing machine in the United States.

Natural Fiber Producers (NFP) began the journey toward acquiring the commercial dehairing machine in 2014. “The initial plan was to house the machine at Mountain Meadow Wool in Buffalo, WY”, NFP President Brian Willsey explained. “Mountain Meadow Wool was instrumental in helping us identify the best total assembly for the dehairing machine. Through their questions and research, it was determined that the most efficient assembly would include an automatic feeder in front of the dehairing train. Unfortunately, that increased the overall length of the machine beyond the space MMW had available for the equipment.” Serendipitously, U.S. Natural Fibers (USNF) was in the process of building a 12,000 sq. ft. facility that would also house a historical scouring train. It became a natural fit for the two organizations to begin a collaborative effort. The machine was initially secured with a generous down payment from NFP member/owners, and subsequently funded through Springfield State Bank, and the Kentucky Agricultural Finance Corporation with backing by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With the loan closed and shipping details secured, the machine has begun its journey to the U.S. to be installed before the end of August in at USNF new facility in Springfield, Kentucky.

Since all U.S. commercial dehairing machines were lost in the 1980s to overseas organizations, Natural Fiber Producers has become the provider of the missing piece of the textile puzzle in the United States. The inability to access the crucial step of dehairing domestically for the last 40 years has caused many of the luxury fiber producers as well as U.S. textile manufacturers to outsource their production to overseas processors. With the news of the machine becoming operational, the first order has already been placed. The Buffalo Wool Co. has 8,000 lbs. of buffalo on the floor of the Springfield facility waiting to be processed into a soft, usable fiber. Other groups are already following suit. While producers continue to make improvements in the fiber quality of their animals through herd management and breeding programs, the fact is that most fibers are greatly improved with dehairing which enables them to become luxury textiles. Having this machine in the U. S. provides that opportunity, reinforces the growth of Made in America and Buy Local, and provides more U.S. jobs across the United States textile industry.

The dehairing machine left Italian waters for its cross-Atlantic voyage, departing on July 19, 2015. Once the machine clears customs, transport will continue to its final destination in Springfield, Kentucky. Cormatex is scheduled to send a crew for installation, testing, and training purposes in August.

This historical event of bringing commercial dehairing back to the USA will be a game-changer for the U.S. textile industry.

* Johnston, Meyla Bianco, “Bringing the First Commercial Dehairer to the United States”, Alpaca Culture, June 2015: 44.

Posted August 4, 2015

Source: Natural Fiber Producers