Yarn Texturizing, Throwing, Twisting and Winding Mills

SIC 2282

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

Establishments included in this classification are those that are primarily engaged in texturizing (or texturing), throwing (another name for texturizing), twisting, winding, or spooling purchased yarns or manmade fiber filaments wholly or chiefly by weight of cotton, manmade fibers, silk, or wool, mohair, or similar animal fibers, or in performing such activities on a commission basis. Establishments primarily engaged in dyeing or finishing purchased yarns or finishing yarns on a commission basis are classified in SIC 2231: Broadwoven Fabric Mills, Wool (Including Dyeing and Finishing) if the yarns are of wool, and in SIC 2269: Finishers of Textiles, Not Elsewhere Classified if they are of other fibers. Establishments primarily engaged in producing and texturizing manmade fiber filaments and yarns in the same plant are classified in SIC 2823: Cellulosic Manmade Fibers.

Industry Snapshot

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, yarn texturing, throwing, and twisting mills shipped products valued at $3.44 billion in 2008. North Carolina had the largest number of establishments and employees and generated the most revenues in the industry. Following North Carolina's lead, Georgia had the second highest number of firms and California had the second largest number of employees. Unifi Inc. of Greensboro, North Carolina, was the world's largest texturizing company with $553.7 million in sales for fiscal 2009 and 2,500 employees. In the late 2000s and into the early 2010s, the textile industry was faced with ongoing competition from low-cost imports as well as overall reduced demand in the marketplace due to a recessive economy.

Organization and Structure

Texturizing is a process whereby partially oriented filament yarn (POY) is stabilized through heating and drawing. This produces a crimped continuous filament yarn. Nylon and polyester are the two types of manmade POY that are typically texturized. Texturized nylon is used primarily in the production of ladies' hosiery. Texturized polyester is used in various apparel and home furnishings products and, to a lesser extent, in industrial fabric. There are two types of texturizing machines. Most POY products are texturized on false-twist texturizing machines, but some are made with air-jet texturizing machines.

POY comes to the texturizing plant wound on tubes, which serve as the supply packages for the texturizing machines. These tubes are purchased from manmade fiber producers, such as DuPont, Eastman Chemical Co., Hoechst Celanese, Tollaram Fibers, American Micrell, and Wellman, and contain anywhere from 10 to 100 pounds of POY. To receive the more economical, larger packages, a texturizing plant must be equipped with automated package-handling equipment that has been available since 1990. Some older plants, especially those in small, niche markets, opted not to purchase the automated equipment and must order the smaller package size.

Most texturized yarn is produced by companies like Unifi for sale to weaving and knitting establishments. Some weaving plants, such as Burlington Industries and Milliken & Co., produce yarn for their own consumption. False-twist and air-jet texturizing machines are manufactured in Europe and Japan rather than in the United States.

Background and Development

Texturizing is relatively new compared to other segments of the textile industry, most of which have been around for centuries. The beginnings of texturizing go back to the invention of nylon in 1938 when texturizing was used to process nylon yarn for hosiery. The new industry blossomed to produce polyester filament yarns when double-knit polyester became a fad in the 1970s, resulting in equally rapid growth for the texturizing process. Unfortunately for the more than 100 polyester texturizing plants that sprang up overnight, polyester texturizing died with double-knit polyester leisure suits.

Despite its relatively young age, texturizing produced more technological advances throughout the last quarter of the twentieth century than any other textile process. The Textured Yarn Association of America (TYAA) was formed in 1972 to establish quality standards for the fledgling industry. TYAA members learned at the association's twentieth anniversary meeting in July 1992 that since 1972, texturizing speeds had more than quadrupled and package sizes had tripled. Electronics controlled operations, temperatures, speeds, and twists and monitored quality, temperature, and efficiency. Nearly every machine maker offered at least one model with automated features, such as doffing, package handling, and creeling.

At the first organizational meeting, TYAA hosted more than 100 texturizing companies, most of which were supplying yarn for the double-knit polyester trade. At TYAA's 1993 annual meeting, 10 texturizing companies were represented, and by the mid-1990s, TYAA members included suppliers to the industry, users of texturized yarn, and companies that performed the texturizing process. At TYAA's beginning, texturing accounted for approximately 1.6 billion pounds per year. Although that figure was less than one billion during the mid-1990s, the dollar value had increased substantially. Those companies who separated themselves from the double-knit fad had begun to make products that required high-tech specifications and much higher quality.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that in 2000 the industry employed 20,801 people, including 18,679 production workers who earned an average hourly wage of $8.59. The value of shipments throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s declined, falling from $4.42 billion in 1997 to $3.76 billion in 2001, due primarily to increased competition from imports, as well as to the recession in the United States in the early 2000s.

The value of product shipments had remained steady throughout the mid-2000s, as the industry reported $4.27 billion in 2002 and $4.26 billion in 2003, before increasing to $4.77 billion in 2004 and $4.86 billion in 2005 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. According to industry statistics, there were an estimated 168 mills engaged in yarn texturizing, throwing, twisting, and winding in 2007 with a value of $529.1 million, and 41 throwing and winding mills accounted for $239.6 million in shipped products.

Current Conditions

According to industry statistics, 7,559 employees work at 166 establishments that recorded total sales of $421.8 million in 2008. The textile industry served a variety of end markets. Industrial and consumer, floor coverings, apparel and hosiery, and furnishings accounted for approximately 38 percent, 35 percent, 18 percent, and nine percent of the textile industry, respectively. During the late 2000s and into the early 2010s, each one of those individual markets was being affected by an economic recession that began in 2008. Already working with slim profit margins and facing stiff competition from cheap imports from overseas, the U.S. textile industry was significantly impacted by the recession with cut demand. With demand low, many operators looked to trim costs, which meant trimming jobs, idling production, or condensing operations.

Several specific free trade agreements (FTAs) directly affect the textile industry. For example, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) removed all trade restrictions among Canadian, U.S., and Mexican businesses. The Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act created a preferential trading system between the United States and Ecuador, Bolivia, Columbia, and Peru. The Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act of 2000 created a preferential trading partnership with 24 countries including Guatemala, Bolivia, El Salvador, Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaragua. According to Unifi's annual report, "the duty-free benefit of processing synthetic fibers and synthetic goods under the terms of these FTA and duty free preference programs typically represents an advantage of 28 percent to 32 percent of the product's wholesale cost."

In addition, the U.S. legislation, commonly referred to as the Berry Amendment, requires that the Department of Defense purchase all its textile needs from U.S. suppliers. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has a similar stipulation, commonly referred to as the Kissell Amendment that requires the Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration, which provides airport security, to purchase U.S. apparel and textiles. Thus, although the U.S. textile industry faced steep challenges in the early 2010s, industry insiders anticipated ongoing demand sufficient to sustain the industry as a whole.

According to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, yarn spinning mills shipped goods valued at $3.34 billion in 2008. In 2009, the United States import value of textured filament yarn was $303.6 million, up from $296.5 million in 2008. Canada accounted for almost all imports into the United States ($209.4 million). In the same year, the United States exported $335.8 million of filament yarn, down from $476.8 million in 2008. Major export destinations in 2009 were Mexico ($87.0 million),Canada ($77.4 million), El Salvador ($19.7 million), Honduras ($20.3 million), Australia ($18.5 million), and Japan ($18.2 million).

Industry Leaders

The majority of mills were in North Carolina, Georgia, California, New Jersey, and Tennessee. Unifi Inc. in Greensboro, North Carolina, has historically been the U.S. industry leader in texturizing. Unifi had 2,500 employees in 2009 and revenues of $553.7 million. Throughout the early 2000s, Unifi had struggled to deal with the impact of decreasing yarn sales as well as falling prices. In an effort to increase its international presence, particularly in Asia, Unifi forged a partnership with Thailand-based Tuntex in the early 2000s.

Among companies whose primary business was within this segment of the textile industry was Jefferson Yarns of Pulaski, Virginia. Jefferson Yarns' history dates back to 1898, when the company was first formed as Jefferson Mills; since that time the firm has changed ownership several times as the firm has attempted to weather the changes in the U.S. textile industry. The firm was privately run by a group investors who purchased the assets of Jefferson Mills in 2006.

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