Until this summer, all producer-dyed acrylic tow was imported from outside US borders. The plant officially went live on July 8 and is equipped to provide a broad number of traditional capabilities, from chemical treatments to dyeing to a combination of the two. Utilising next-generation technology, machines, controls and robotics for package, top and tow dyeing, the plant positions MSYG as North America’s most modern manufacturing operation with regard to dyeing technology and robotic support equipment, said Meridian in a press release.
“Our new technology gives us the capability to process every dyeable fibre in various forms including yarn, tow and top. This is very unusual in the dyed yarn world,” said Tim Manson, president of MSYG. “We can chemically treat or dye all fibre substrates, ranging from cellulosic and animal fibres, to polyester, nylon and dyeable aramids. Most dye houses specialise in certain products, but we are now in a position to source from all over the world, from every type of textile fibre, supporting a wide array of end uses.”
Built next to Meridian’s existing operations in Valdese, the plant literally puts a new spin on the primary staples of the textile industry – fibre and yarn. Renovations are now taking place in the plant’s original manufacturing plant and when that is done, Meridian’s yarn dye operations – which also include several types of space-dyed yarns as well as twisting capabilities – will span both buildings and 284,600 square feet of office, warehouse and manufacturing space.
“Nothing like this has been built before in North America,” Manson said. “This is one of the only ‘green field’ yarn and fibre wet-processing plants to be built in the US in a generation.”
“It’s also a showcase for next-generation yarn dye technology. This includes dye equipment by Galvanin, SpA of Vicenza, Italy; a patented automatic dosing system for dispensing chemicals and auxiliaries from Color Service Dosing Technologies of Dueville VI, Italy; new monitoring and control systems for all of the new dyeing equipment from Adaptive Controls of Huntersville, NC, US; and a new Galvanin skein printing machine along with support equipment.
The package dye technology includes vertical, air pad, low liquor ratio machines that replac all of MSYG’s existing fully-flooded package dye equipment. The new acrylic tow dying capabilities will support the raw material needs at MSYG’s plant in Ranlo, NC, and are also available to outside customers. The skein-printed yarns will go into craft yarns, apparel products and some home furnishings. The top dyed wool capability will support worsted spinners supplying high-end apparel, hosiery and home furnishings.
The new plant also reflects a large investment in sustainable technologies and processes. The end result is a facility that operates with considerably less environmental impact than other yarn dyeing operations both here in North America and abroad.
Meanwhile, despite installing a new generation of robotics, the company has added positions and is in the process of retraining employees to work with the new technologies.
“We’ve met the initial employment targets of adding 25 jobs and are hiring and retraining,” said Manson. “We did not lose any positions due to new technology.” Meanwhile, the company’s human resources manager, Debbie Sigmon, has begun working extensively in the community and with the local community colleges to develop programmes to train a new generation of textile workers, attract new talent to the region and develop concepts for a workplace that appeals to a younger generation.
“It was important to us to keep manufacturing jobs in the US while supporting the US textile supply chain as well as the community wher we’ve been located for so many decades,” said Manson. “The new plant and the programmes we’re working on in the community do all of the above.
“We are very fortunate to have the ongoing support of our parent company, Meridian Industries. The owner of Meridian very much understands the important role manufacturing operations like ours play in the communities wher we operate, as well as the importance of supporting US-based textile operations. We are very proud to be part of Meridian Industries.”
The technologies in Meridian’s new manufacturing plant will also bring faster delivery to the North American supply chain for all the industries the company serves, including hosiery, home furnishings and upholstery, apparel, narrow fabrics, carpets and rugs, sewing thread, craft and industrial textiles.
“It’s very exciting and an achievement that has set the stage for a new future for our company, our customers and the North American textile industry,” Manson said. “Simply put, there is no other dye house in the Western Hemisphere that can offer a wider array of processes and capabilities than we can at this plant.”
Meridian Specialty Yarn Group is the leading specialty yarn and fibre wet processing operation in the United States. At the company’s new, state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Valdese, North Carolina, Meridian offers package dyed yarn, space dyed yarn, top dyed wool, yarn printing and twisting and is now also home to the only tow-dyeing capacity in the US. In addition, the new plant can dye or chemically treat any fibre substrate, from cellulosic to acrylic to many aramids. At Meridian’s novelty spinning operation in Ranlo, North Carolina, the company produces coarse count novelty yarn from various substrates using six different yarn formation technologies. The end uses for these yarns include home furnishings, hosiery, industrial, craft and apparel.