Textile Researcher and Developer's Viewpoint

John B. Price


To answer the question we must assume that this system is fully capable of providing all the information that the mill needs to make its fiber purchases.

In an industry which - in the western world at least - is perpetually defending itself against the onslaught of an ever-increasing proportion of imported material, there must be constant attention to raw material costs. These can be as much as 50% of the total cost of yarn. The properties of the cotton must be sufficient to ensure that the specifications of the final product are achieved - but not exceeded by an excessive amount - and that the costs of conversion from bale to product are minimized.

Previous speakers, today, have identified properties necessary for purchase decisions in the future. To the list of the eight fiber properties provided by H.V.I., the addition of maturity, fineness, dust content and stickiness is proposed.

Control of Micronaire and cotton colour ensures a consistency of dyed fabric colour between and within shipments. Knowledge of maturity assures freedom from undyed neps. Such regulation of product appearance minimizes the expenses incurred and the goodwill lost when fabric is rejected.

Stable, hence economic yarn production, is achieved by the control of fiber length and its uniformity, fineness and cleanliness. Knowledge of stickiness will provide extra assurance. An awareness of dust content assists in maintaining rotor yarn quality.

Product character is largely determined by fiber strength, length, length uniformity and fineness. The degree to which these properties are important to a mill is very much dependent upon the product and its quality requirement.

The mill, to be efficient, must receive the quality of cotton that it needs. The costs that the mill incurs in ensuring that it has received what it has ordered, namely, the expenses involved in retesting cotton upon receipt, are really unnecessary. With accurate, reliable instrumentation there should be no need to question data emanating from the classing offices. When cotton is bought, then all data furnished by the U.S.D.A. (i.e. the green class card) should automatically become the property of the mill.

In an industry with shrinking margins for error, where tight control is essential to achieve the necessary conversion performance and product quality, there has to be more honesty in trading. No longer can there be tales of switching bale tags in the warehouse, or slipping a few more "barkies" in the shipment, etc. In many cases, the mill is forced to use these shipments of lower quality cotton to honour its production commitments, bearing the increased costs of conversion in the process and risking production of a less-than-adequate product.

We must not forget the producer. An accurate description of his product should ensure that he is justly compensated for his cotton. We should expect realistic discounts for trash and immaturity, and appropriate incentives for providing desired fiber properties. An accurate description of cotton should eliminate price differences which are applied to growth location. A farmer in the coastal bend of Texas should receive the same as a farmer in Arizona, for producing the same quality of cotton.

Our accurate, reliable instrumentation of the future should ensure honesty and fairness of transactions within the market place. The improved data will provide mills with better control of the production and quality of their products. Such efforts to minimize costs will be a major contribution to the survival of a healthy textile industry.

Reprinted from Proceedings: 1989 Beltwide Cotton Production Conference pg. 100
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998