BATTLING BACK WITH FIBER TECHNOLOGIES

Byline: Joshua Greene

NEW YORK — Facing a soft economic climate and intense competition on commodity products, fiber executives at a number of companies are planning to increase their focus on new products next year. They see innovation as a way their firms can thrive in an industry that is often focused on price.
Teijin Ltd. is planning to push its Rochet polyester, a lightweight, bulky fiber the company said has a hand similar to silk or wool. Jun Oogawara, general manager of the Tokyo-based company’s textile division said, “Domestic production will focus only on value-added high quality products to meet market needs and cultivate new demand.”
At DAK Americas, executives will be promoting Hydrotec, a wicking polyester staple fiber intended for activewear applications, as well as Dacron Plus, a polyester staple fiber with a soft feel that is suitable for wrinkle-resistant fabrics. “We want to provide a good value and unique products so that we’ll have niche markets,” said president Hector Camberos.
Wellman Inc.’s focus will be on its Comfortrel Plus polyester fiber, designed to work well with spandex. John Anderson, vice president of marketing for the fibers division, said, “We are dedicating resources to focus on important new products.”
One of DuPont’s new pushes will be T-800 nylon, a fiber it describes as suitable for a variety of uses, including blending with spandex. “Consumers will buy something at a higher price if there is something that motivates them,” said Bill Ghitis, president of global apparel.
Also on the polyester front, Unifi Inc. will be focusing on August, a polyester filament yarn intended to perform similarly to cotton. “We need to help retailers stimulate sales in the stores,” said senior vice president Michael Delaney. “People are looking for ways to differentiate and people need a way to compete, and we are working to help them do that.”

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