Textiles 2016: Investment Continues

BornemanBy James M. Borneman


Even in an election year, interest in investing and expanding the U.S. textile industry continues to make the news — and for good reasons.

Often cited is that the level of automation demands a high level of labor — engineers, technologists and operators that can handle automation. Relatively inexpensive and stable power sources are not a problem in the United States. Close sources of raw materials and good ports expedite manufacturing. Finally, being close to the customer and the market is not a bad thing.

Recent newsmakers in the first quarter include a $31.6 million invest in a new nonwovens facility in Grover, N.C. Uniquetex LLC intends to build a 150-person workforce over the next five years to manufacture nonwoven fabrics for use by medical and healthcare providers, as well as other industries. The company is a joint venture between two China-based companies (See “Nonwovens/Technical Textiles News,” TW, this issue).

Also in the nonwovens category, Fitesa Simpsonville Inc., a designer and manufacturer of nonwoven fabrics for the global hygiene market, will invest $52 million to expand its existing facility in Simpsonville, S.C., and increase production capacity. The investment is expected to create an additional 38 jobs over the next five years. The Simpsonville facility represents one of the company’s 11 plants located in eight countries worldwide.

Meridian Specialty Yarn Group Inc. (MSYG) — yarn manufacturer and producer of package-dyed and space-dyed yarns — announced a major expansion of its current manufacturing operations in Valdese, N.C. MSYG plans to construct a new 113,000-square-foot manufacturing plant at the current site. The $8 million investment will bring final production and warehouse space to 260,000 square feet.

In other news, Marriott International announced that it will supply “Made in USA” towels and bath mats in every guest bathroom in nearly 3,000 U.S. hotels. “Buying ‘Made in USA’ towels and bath mats benefits U.S. manufacturing communities such as Thomaston, Ga., and Union, S.C., where manufacturing company Standard Textile is producing them with 100 percent cotton fiber grown in the U.S.” reported the company. “Marriott’s commitment to buy ‘Made in USA’ guestroom terry products creates 150 new jobs in Standard Textile’s facilities in Thomaston and Union, as well as at the company’s Cincinnati headquarters and through its supply chain.” (See “Textile News,” TW, this issue).

In the composites category, Albany International Corp. agreed to acquire Harris Corp.’s composite aerostructures division for $210 million including the assumption of a $23 million capital lease. According to the Albany International, Harris’ division has significant positions on Lockheed’s Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), Boeing’s 787, and Sikorsky’s CH-53K, as well as other businesses (See “Nonwovens/Technical Textiles News,” TW, this issue).

These are just a few mentions — it looks like 2016 is off to a good start!

March/April 2016