PCCA - Plains Cotton Cooperative Association Logo PCCA Commentator Magazine Masthead. Vol. 42, No. 3 | Winter 2009/2010

ACG Implements New Technology Into Production

Yarn

Core-spun stretch yarn with the outer layer of cotton peeled back to reveal the lycra filament core.

PCCA’s Textile and Appa rel Division continues to expand its production capabilities. With the addition of Denimatrix, American Cotton Growers (ACG) also is making advancements in production at the plant in Littlefield, Texas.

ACG uses core-spun yarn in the majority of its fabrics for women’s jeans. Core-spun yarn is cotton spun around a spandex or lyrca filament to give it elasticity or “stretch.”

For many years, ACG relied on R.L. Stowe Mills, Incorporated, for its supply of core-spun yarn. The company was a yarn manufacturer based in Belmont, NC, which spun and dyed cotton and cotton-blend yarns. After 108 years in business, the family-owned manufacturer announced it was closing its doors in March 2009. According to Bryan Gregory, PCCA’s Vice President of Textile Manufacturing, R.L. Stowe was the only domestic supplier of core-spun yarn. When they closed, it forced ACG to look elsewhere for the product.

The only other source for ACG is located in Mexico, Gregory said. After weighing the options, ACG decided it would be more economical to purchase R.L. Stowe’s machinery and make corespun yarn at ACG.

Spinning Frame

A portion of the spinning frame.

“We made the decision to buy the core-spinning equipment to ensure a reliable supply,” Gregory said.

In June, ACG closed the deal with R.L. Stowe and purchased three spinning frames equipped with 3,888 spindles. ACG started receiving the equipment and installing it in June, and by July, portions of the equipment were up and running. According to Gregory, the equipment was in full use by October.

One reason it has taken a significant amount of time to begin full use of the equipment is due to the extensive training required for technicians and spinners.

“Core-spinning is a highly skilled job so we wanted to ensure that the technicians and spinners were comfortable and experienced with using the equipment,” Gregory said.

Now, with all of the equipment up and running, ACG produces 60,000 pounds of core-spun yarn per week. Of all yarn produced at ACG, three percent at any given time is core-spun.

“These frames greatly improve our product, offering flexibility which makes ACG less dependent on a foreign yarn supplier,” Gregory said. “It creates an increase in capability in the direction of fashion denim and provides more flexibility in today’s markets.”