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Coats Spins Out First Innovation Hub in North Carolina

Coats, the U.K.-based industrial thread manufacturer, has opened the first of three Innovation Hubs dedicated to collaboration with a range of partners, including customers, brands, suppliers, universities and start-ups.

The Coats Innovation Hub—America is located at Coats’ manufacturing site in Sevier, N.C. It will be followed by Innovation Hub—EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), in Bursa, Turkey, and Innovation Hub—Asia, in Shenzhen, China, both scheduled to open in early 2019.

Coats said the innovation hubs will develop new products and processes in apparel, footwear and performance materials. The hubs provide creative spaces where an innovative idea can be developed collaboratively, worked up into a prototype design and then manufactured in a standalone pilot factory.

“Coats is a pioneering company aiming to deliver further revenue growth from higher performance and value-enhancing new products that do not even exist today,” said Rajiv Sharma, Group CEO of Coats. “To facilitate that, we are developing three dedicated Innovation Hubs at key locations around the world. Customer-centric innovation is an important part of our future growth strategy and the inauguration of the Innovation Hub—America is a key milestone.”

North Carolina has seen a revival in textile manufacturing, particularly yarn production, in recent years. This has come from expansion and re-engineering of existing facilities and foreign investment.

The company said Coats Innovation Hub—America comprises three zones.

The Innovation Gallery features a video wall, display pods of its most recent product developments and a timeline tracing Coats from its origins in Paisley, Scotland, to the global manufacturing company it is today.

The Materials Lab allows customers to collaborate directly with research and development technologists and creation processes.

The Prototyping Area is where ideas and prototypes can be created. This section includes a pilot factory with a full range of manufacturing machinery that can be employed to fine tune production processes in a controlled environment.

Coats is comprised of 19,000 employees in more than 50 countries around the world. The company touts its ability to make enough thread each year that makes its way into 8 billion pairs of jeans and more than 450 million pairs of shoes.

In the first half of the year ended June 30, Coats revenue grew 5 percent, to $788 million. Adjusted operating profit was up 12 percent, to $100 million.