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Textile Happenings: Teijin Frontier Sets Thailand R&D Center, Coats Buys Patrick Yarn Mill, DuPont Apexa Taps Toyobo

Teijin Frontier is opening an R&D center in Thailand to grow its polyester business, Coats is sewing up deal to acquire Patrick Yarn Mill and DuPont Apexa and Toyobo have teamed up for biodegradable polymer production.

Teijin Frontier

Teijin Frontier Co., the Teijin Group’s fiber-product converting firm, has set plans to open a research and development center for fibers in Thailand.

Teijin Frontier Thai Innovation Laboratory (TFTIL) will be located in the Thailand Science Park, a technology hub that the National Science and Technology Development Agency will open in January. TFTIL will mainly research polymers as raw materials for polyester and other fibers, and related manufacturing and processing technologies, enabling Teijin Frontier to establish a comprehensive production framework, from polymers R&D to manufacture and processing for polyester fibers in Thailand.

TFTIL also will collaborate with Teijin’s polymerization and fiber R&D facility in Matsuyama, Japan, and Teijin Product Development China Co. in Nantong, China.

Teijin Frontier said it expects to enhance its response to global demands for polyester fibers that offer diverse functions, applications and markets.

Teijin posted consolidated sales of $6.5 billion in the fiscal year ending March 31.

Patrick Yarn Mill

Coats, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of industrial thread, has acquired Patrick Yarn Mill, a maker of high-performance engineered yarns based in Kings Mountain, North Carolina.

Patrick Yarn Mill specializes in cut-resistant and flame-retardant yarns. It also produces yarns from recycled fibers marketed under its Earthspun trademarks and with its large solar installation promotes its earth friendly yarns as “Spun by the Sun.”

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Founded in 1963, Patrick Yarn Mill has 150 employees, with annual sales of about $36.5 million.

Rajiv Sharma, group chief executive officer of Coats, said, “Patrick Yarn Mill is an exciting acquisition that supports a key aspect of our growth strategy: to identify innovation synergies that build scale in high technology sectors. It is a dynamic, customer focused company and its unique spinning systems combined with our existing technology portfolio will provide a strong market offering. We will be able to draw upon our demonstrable track record of successfully integrating bolt-on companies following our acquisitions in 2016, particularly that of Gotex, another company in this space, which is performing well under our ownership.”

[Read more textile news: Invista’s Apparel & Advanced Textiles Unit Being Bought by Shandong Ruyi Investment Holding]

Gilbert Patrick, president of Patrick Yarn Mill, said, “becoming part of the Coats family creates many opportunities for both companies as there is a lot of synergy between our product offerings and technology.”

“A key one is being able to leverage Coats’ unrivalled global footprint and strong corporate brand to accelerate market growth, which will benefit not only Patrick Yarn Mill, but also our employees and our community,” Patrick said. “The opportunity to collaborate with a market leader in areas such as innovation and R&D is extremely exciting and very positive, not only for Patrick Yarn Mill’s future but also for our customers’ future.”

Coats had revenues of $1.5 billion in the most recent fiscal year.

DuPont Apexa

Toyobo Co. has been contracted to manufacture DuPont Apexa biodegradable polymers developed by DuPont Industrial Biosciences by using aluminum-based Toyoba GS Catalyst. Toyobo plans to start production of the products at its Iwakuni Production Center in Yamaguchi Prefecture in Japan in 2018.

DuPont Apexa biodegradable polymers were developed to address problems with textile and packaging waste. DuPont has been working with Toyobo, which specializes in polymerization and catalyst technologies, to produce Apexa.

The product made from DuPont Apexa biodegradable polymer can be degraded down to water and converted to carbon dioxide by microbes in appropriate industrial composting conditions. Compared with conventional degradable plastics such as polylactic acids and polybutylene succinate, DuPont Apexa excels in durability and heat-resistance, and helps reduce the emission of carbon dioxide compared to ordinary plastics, which need to be incinerated.

Toyobo GS Catalyst is an aluminum catalyst to copolymerize polyesters. It does not contain heavy metals, such as antimony, which is commonly used to manufacture ordinary PET plastics. This allows polymers made with Toyobo GS Catalyst to be not only easy to recycle but also eco-friendly because the compost will not be polluted by heavy metals after the material degrades.

DuPont Apexa is growing in use across the global apparel market with brands looking to couple natural fibers with a biodegradable PET that adds performance characteristics while still maintaining an eco-friendly profile.