CLOVER, S.C. — May 24, 2010 — The Synthetic Yarn and Fiber Association (SYFA) held its 2010
Spring Conference on April 20 & 21 at the Sheraton in Charlotte. Attendance filled the
meeting room and all those who did attend will agree that it was a very well spent 2 days. The
conference agenda covered virtually all the key items that impact everyone’s business today.
Presentations covered Energy, Credit, Legislation, Raw Materials, Sustainability, Innovation,
Military Markets, Automotive Challenges, and Design Issues. I challenge anyone to have been
to a conference that has covered such a relevant scope of topics – and all presented in 11 papers
in an afternoon and a morning session!
There was so much information presented that it is difficult to summarize in a brief format –
but we will try:
Kevin Leahy, M.D. of Climate Policy with Duke Energy discussed the proposals to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions through the Clean Air Act (CAA) which comes into force January 2011. He
outlined an effort by Lindsay Graham to develop a policy that would not cripple US competitiveness
while respecting the need for us to move away from foreign oil. US spending on overseas oil is now
$700 billion and our dependency has more than doubled since the 1980s. Duke clearly sees a need for
fuel diversity with coal and nuclear playing a major role in developing energy independence.
Kevin discussed the possibility of a border tax on products from countries that do not have a
Mike Hubbard of NCTO presented a clear review of the Trade Issues before congress including
the Trans Pacific Partnership which could bring Vietnam into a free trade agreement with the USA.
The Haiti bill is strongly focused on apparel and cuts across many of the structured initiatives
contained in NAFTA/CAFTA legislation so could have negative implications for US
Kristin Dettoni of True Textiles discussed issues influencing design of fabrics for
upholstery and automotive end uses presenting correlations between the chaos of the recession of
2009 and the calmer colors that are prevalent in 2010. Her analysis provided new insights for many
of us into how color and texture can influence feelings.
Alasdair Carmichael presented the PCI Fibres view on raw materials and fiber supply and
demand dynamics and how they might influence pricing going forward. If you did not attend,
you probably do not know that 91% of polyester fiber is produced in Asia!
Dina Dunn, General Manager of Blink, gave a fascinating review of why, and how, a sustainable
approach to textiles is necessary. Did you know that in 1942 the global population was 2.4 billion
and in 2022 (80 years) it is forecast to be 8.5 billion? Dina provided clear definitions of a
sustainable textile industry. SYFA has been a leader in developing sustainable
awareness and always strives to have some sustainable presentation in our programs.
Kerry Pumphrey is a lead automotive designer with Guilford Performance Textiles. She
presented a very current view of the issues that are driving consumer decisions and how designers
are reacting to them. All geared around the automobile or transportation systems for the future.
The program on Wednesday was due to start with a presentation by Mark Vitner, the Chief
Economist of Wells Fargo – however the volcanic ash cloud meant that Mark was still stuck in Paris.
Fortunately, his stand in Adam York proved to be an admirable replacement and provided us with a
very clear and well researched Economic Outlook. The impact of the recession was demonstrated using
a number of different metrics and the forecasts generally showed a reasonable level of recovery in
2010. The main exception to this is in the continuing high level of unemployment.
John Wilson of Quantum provided a view of the company and the flexibility and versatility in
the range of polymers that they extrude for subsequent fabric formation. He identified a wide range
of performance polymers with the key features of each and the major applications – a very
useful reference chart. The Quantum product range goes from artificial turf to office seating
fabrics to filtration and many in between.
Hills, Inc. is well known as a producer of specialized, technically advanced extrusion
equipment. Timothy Robson as Business Development Manager gave attendees a very complete review of
the global markets where Hills concentrates – Multicomponent filament extrusion, Bicomponent
spunbond and melt blown production lines.
Dan Pezold is Senior V-P of Duro Textiles, specializing in the military and government fabric
markets. Duro offers a line of finishes, coatings, and prints for commercial, military, and
industrial fabrics. With a number of years experience in supplying the military
machine, Dan was able to provide an invaluable insight into dealing with the Department of Defense.
The changes in demand created by the rapidly changing theaters of battle present both great
challenges and also great opportunities, and the lessons learned by Duro were shared with
The program ended with John Viera – the Director of Sustainability and Environmental Policy
for Ford Motor Company. John was a speaker at the SYFA 2008 Sustainable is Attainable conference
and we were very grateful that he could return and update on how the dynamic trend of
sustainability has progressed during the difficult period that all auto manufacturers have
experienced. In 2005 the Ford product portfolio was dominated by trucks and SUVs with a share of
59%, by 2011 it is forecast that this share will have fallen to 39% while crossover type
vehicles will grow from 9% to 23%. John shared policy expectations on hybrid and alternate fuel
vehicles as well as recycled materials.
We would be very surprised if there was anyone in attendance that did not learn something of
real value and importance for their business from this conference. For those of you who were unable
to attend – you missed an excellent event.
Posted on May 25, 2010
Press Release Courtesy of the Synthetic Yarn and Fiber Association