Cotton prices vary with supply and demand, and in general a yarn spinner has limited control to impact the price. And these first prices have a strong impact on operational costs. Depending upon the yarn count, raw material represents 50-70 percent of the cost of cotton yarn. Hence, selecting the right fiber for the right application, optimizing processing of the cotton fibers to achieve the desired quality at higher yield levels, a robust model of profitability, and employing industrial engineering principles are pivotal for a spinning operation to gain a competitive economic edge in yarn manufacturing.
Some common challenges—for example, weaving defects like barré, or unintentional bar or stripe patterns in fabric—can be fully eliminated by implementing software-based scientific solutions for raw material management. Similarly, the levels of waste extraction at different process steps of yarn spinning are critical to achieve the desired quality levels at maximum possible yield. This highlights the need for spinning industry professionals to continue professional development so they can make informed choices in processing the highest quality and most consistent cotton in the world: U.S. cotton.
COTTON USA™ created its COTTON USA SOLUTIONS™ consultancy in 2020 to make U.S. cotton customers’ businesses more profitable. One of the five offerings of the COTTON USA SOLUTIONS™ consultancy is the Mill Mastery™ course, which aims to provide participants with the right tools, knowledge and insights for yarn spinners to exploit the full potential of U.S. cotton. The services and experiences are complimentary for COTTON USA™ licensees that are also members of sustainability standard the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol®.
The 18 modules of the Mill Mastery™ offering address all aspects of U.S. cotton, starting from the cotton field to all major steps of cotton yarn spinning, maintenance and auxiliary processes. Beyond technical knowledge, there are modules on cotton buying, the economics of spinning, and profitability in yarn production.
The Mill Mastery™ course content has been built on the scientific, academic and technical knowledge of the COTTON USA SOLUTIONS™ team members, who have over 250 years of combined real-world experience in processing U.S. cotton. Using first-hand industrial data, rich multimedia and schematics, the course attendees obtain a methodical understanding of processing U.S. cotton staple fibers into yarns using best practices and industry-established methods.
Most courses are held in-person—either on-site at a manufacturer or in local venues such as hotels—but a few are taught virtually. With nearly 100 course attendees in 2021 from locations like Bangladesh, India, Vietnam and Pakistan, the Mill Mastery™ course empowers the cotton spinning industry with knowledge related to operating an optimized spinning mill by using superior quality U.S. cotton. Illustrating its valuable real-world application, 97 percent of the participants rated the courses as helpful for their day-to-day operations. The success of the Mill Mastery™ course is also evident by the fact that 99 percent of participants confirmed that they are likely to recommend them to a colleague.
The Mill Mastery™ course also awards a physical and digital certificate upon completion through a partnership with Credly, which recognizes the continuing professional development of the participants. The Credly badges that they earn can be posted to social media, such as LinkedIn. The social sharing rate of issued digital credentials was 75 percent, compared to an industry average of 47 percent, which reinforces the relevance and recognition of the course.
In summary, the Mill Mastery™ course provides relevant content to spinning industry professionals so they can make informed decisions to capitalize on the excellent quality of U.S. cotton.
If you are interested in participating in a Mill Mastery™ course, please contact your Cotton Council International country representative here. And register for the Mill Mastery™: Optimizing Operations for Profitability webinar to learn more about COTTON USA SOLUTIONS’™ educational offerings.
Dr. Muhammad Tausif is a technical consultant for Cotton Council International (CCI) and a fellow of the Textile Institute (CTextFTI). Separate to his CCI role, Dr. Tausif is an associate professor in sustainable textile manufacturing at the University of Leeds, UK. Prior to joining academia, he has worked in the textile manufacturing and R&D sector. He has ongoing research collaborations with the national and international textile industry. Since 2012, he has made over 40 publications in the field of textile technology, including peer-reviewed journal publications, book chapters and a patent.