SIC 2262

Establishments in this category are primarily engaged in finishing purchased manmade fiber and silk broadwoven fabrics or finishing such fabrics on a commission basis. Those companies engaged in the dyeing and finishing of broadwoven cotton fabrics are discussed in SIC 2261: Finishers of Broadwoven Fabrics of Cotton. Establishments primarily engaged in finishing wool broadwoven fabrics are classified in SIC 2231: Broadwoven Fabric Mills, Wool (Including Dyeing and Finishing); those finishing knit goods are classified in knitting mills industry group; and those coating or impregnating fabrics are classified in SIC 2295: Coated Fabrics, Not Rubberized. Finishing operations found in SIC 2262: Finishing Plants, Manmade include bleaching, dyeing, printing, preshrinking, calendering, and napping.

NAICS Code(s)

313311 (Broadwoven Fabric Finishing Mills)

Industry Snapshot

In the late 1990s, roughly 200 establishments were engaged in the finishing of broadwoven manmade and silk fabrics, according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Roughly half of them employ 20 or more people. The great majority of these companies were engaged in finishing polyester fabrics. In 2000, the industry employed 45,031 people and shipped $8.4 billion worth of fabrics.

Organization and Structure

Finishing of broadwoven fabrics is subdivided into three general processing categories: fabric preparation, fabric coloration, and fabric finishing. Fabric preparation consists primarily of bleaching and preparing fabrics with chemical agents to aid in subsequent processing. Such processes, depending on the end result desired, may be performed in open-width fabric form or in fabric-rope form. Severe bleaching of fabrics of manmade fibers isn't necessary to the extent broadwoven cotton fabric bleaching is required, because impurities from the cotton plant are found in broadwoven cotton fabrics. Machines most commonly used in the preparation process include kiers, J-boxes, roller steamers, conveyor steamers, semi-J-box steamers, and high-temperature pressure steamers. The most common chemical agent used is hydrogen peroxide.

Coloration of fabrics consists of a variety of dyeing methods, either in batch or continuous process procedures and printing. The continuous process is by far the most popular in the United States as it is based on high-volume, low-cost-per-unit operations. However, as more and more companies begin articipating in Quick Response or Demand Activated Manufacturing Architecture (DAMA) partnerships, it may become necessary to increase the number of batch perations, which are generally geared toward shorter-run, lower-volume products. Printing of broadwovens may be performed by screen printing machines, roller printing machines, roller-screen printing machines, or by a process known as transfer printing.

The subcategory of finishing divides again into surface or dry finishing and wet finishing. Surface or dry finishing consists of such processes as sueding, sanding, and napping and imparts a certain texture or feel to the fabric. Wet finishing consists of preshrinking or sanforizing, mercerization, or heat-setting. Chemical finishes for water repellency, flame retardancy, mildew proofing, and wash-and-wear characteristics, are applied during finishing processes.

The practice of treating fabrics with resins or other agents to impart shrinkage stabilization, creaseproofing, and shape retention has become extremely important. Collectively, these properties are now known as durable press. Compressive shrinking, generally known as sanforizing, takes place during finishing and prevents shrinking of finished garments. In finishing, widths are set, while fabrics are straightened and given particular feels or hands. It is the final process in textile manufacturing of broadwoven fabrics.

Establishments engaged in dyeing and finishing of broadwoven manmade fiber and silk fabrics generally serve three market categories: apparel, homefurnishings, and industrials. In the United States, apparel and home-furnishings account for 75 to 80 percent of broadwoven fabric production. Because imports are eroding those markets and industrial fabrics are growing in end uses, however, industrials are expected to account for approximately 35 percent of production by the year 2000.

Background and Development

The 1992 census data showed that a majority of establishments in the industry were located in New Jersey (29), followed closely by North Carolina (25), and South Carolina (20). South Carolina shipped the highest dollar amount in 1992 ($9.1 billion) and employed the greatest number of people (7,300).

Two trade agreements enacted at the end of 1993 have had an effect on the future of this industry. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which reduces or eliminates tariffs among 117 nations through 2005 will not, according to American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) officials, have a positive impact on U.S. producers of dyed and finished broadwoven manmade fiber and silk fabrics. How much of a negative impact this agreement will have on U.S. dyers and finishers remains to be seen. In part, it will depend on the results of efforts put into cooperative systems such as the Quick Response and DAMA systems. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which essentially removes all trade restrictions among Canadian, U.S., and Mexican businesses, has shown short-term positive impacts on the U.S. textile industry since North American countries were the U.S. textile industry's most important export markets throughout the 1990s, and Mexico is expected to continue to be a growing market. The agreement should continue to have a long-range positive effect on U.S. dyers and finishers of broadwoven manmade fiber and silk fabrics, according to officials at the ATMI.

Current Conditions

At the turn of the twenty-first century, the textile industry as a whole continued to be influenced by global trade conditions. The ATMI reported at the end of 1999 that textile shipments had decreased in 1998 and 1999 as a result of competition from low priced Asian textiles. Asian textile prices fell by 6.5 percent, negatively impacting the American textile market. On the other hand, American textile imports to Mexico continued to grow and had increased 19 percent during the first ten months of 1999. By the end of 1999, Mexico and the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) region remained the two largest American textile export markets. American textile shipments during 1999 totaled $78 billion. The broadwoven fabric finishing segment accounted for more than 10 percent of this total with $8.42 billion in shipments.

Declining demand for home furnishing fabrics impacted at least one American company during 1999. North Carolina based Cone Mills Corp. eliminated 250 jobs in late 1999, citing declining demand as the reason. Cone had struggled to improve its earnings with some success; two of its plants lost $3.6 million during the second quarter of 1998 and had decreased losses to $1.7 million during the second quarter of 1999. But company spokespeople blamed the sluggish industry conditions in part on slow international sales, caused by the Asian economic crisis which lowered the price of foreign products and hurt the industry as a whole. Cone Mills reported that sluggish earnings were not caused by competition from cheaper imported materials.

Industry Leaders

Kenyon Industries Inc., headquartered in Kenyon, Rhode Island, and founded in 1989, had 400 employees and $25 million in sales in 1996. Kenyon had 359 employees by the end of 1998 and 1998 sales of $45 million. The second largest company in the industry, Amerbelle Corporation of Vernon, Connecticut, also had an estimated $25 million in sales. The third largest company, J&J Flock Products Inc. of Easton, Pennsylvania, had $17 million in sales in 1996.

Research and Technology

Research and technological developments have played a vital role in keeping the U.S. textile industry competitive, and as a part of this industry-wide effort to remain competitive in the international arena, cotton broadwoven fabric finishers have explored several new operating systems. One such system, called Quick Response, demonstrated throughout the 1990s that as a communications process it could boost production of U.S.-made broadwoven cotton products. The Quick Response system requires partnerships throughout the softgoods pipeline—fiber producers, textile manufacturers, apparel manufacturers, and retail establishments—and makes use of electronic technology, especially bar coding and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), to receive up-to-date information. This process, when all elements are in place, reduces costs at all pipeline partner establishments and reduces the number of necessary markdowns at the end of the season in the retail establishments. The system also overcomes some of the advantages held by establishments exporting products from low-wage, developing countries into the United States.

The American Textile Partnership (AMTEX) enacted a pact in 1993 in which national laboratories, in conjunction with the United States Department of Energy, work on selected projects with the U.S. textile industry and its research facilities to develop systems to make the industry more competitive. The AMTEX project with the most immediate and far-reaching results is Demand Activated Manufacturing Architecture (DAMA), which expands on the Quick Response system. Under the DAMA system, electronics inform each pipeline partner of each garment sold by making use of point-of-sale data generated during scanning of bar-coded hang tags. The DAMA pilot project, begun in September 1996, has shown that the creation of an electronic marketplace will improve operations and reduce costs through controlling warehouse costs and inventory size and reducing waste, while improving customer responsiveness and product development. The Quick Response system has allowed the textile industry to realize the competitive advantages of capitalizing on the national information superhighway.

In 1997, the industry journal Textile World announced an innovation produced by Kleinewefer Texilmaschinen—a finishing system known as the Nipco-L-Flex Calendaring System. The innovation incorporated a roller system that would reduce wear to material during processing and would allow high operating temperatures without damage. Other anticipated benefits included reduced downtime of machinery and the elimination of temperature variations.

Further Reading

Brookstein, David. "U.S. Textiles Has Global Opportunities." Textile World, February 1997.

"DAMA Pilot Project Under Way." Textile World, October 1996.

Doering, I. "Kleinewefers: Nipco-L-Flex Calendaring." Textile World, April 1997.

Dun & Bradstreet Million Dollar Directory: America's Leading Public & Private Companies Series 1996. New York: Dun & Bradstreet, 1996.

Gresock, Sam. "Cone Mills to Cut 250 Jobs at Fabric Finishing Plant in Carlisle, S.C." Kinght-Ridder/Tribune Business News, 19 August 1999.

Morrissey, James A. "Textile Firms Turn Trash to Treasure." Textile World, February 1997.

"NAFTA Boosts U.S. Textiles." Textile World, January 1997.

Richard, Robert. "Market Outlook." Textile World, March 1996.

Rozelle, Walter. "Business Outlook." Textile World, March 1996.

Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys. New York: Standard & Poor's Corporation, 1996.

United States Census Bureau. "Statistics for Industries and Industry Groups: 2000." Annual Survey of Manufacturers. February 2002. Available from .

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