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Parras Cone Turns 10

Parras Cone celebrates its 10th anniversary as a producer and exporter of high-quality denim fabrics.

Plant Profile TW Special ReportParras Turns 10 Parras Cone, a joint venture between Cone Mills Corp. and Compa Industrial de Parras, celebrates its 10th anniversary as a producer and exporter of high-quality denim fabrics.On June 27, 2003, Mexico-based CompaIndustrial de Parras and Cone Mills Corp., Greensboro, N.C., celebrated the 10th anniversary of a successful partnership in the creation, design and foundation of the firm Parras Cone de Mco S.A. de C.V., Mexico.Each company owns a 50-percent share in the facility. After an initial investment of $120 million, the plant started operations in September 1995. Parras Cone has an annual production capacity of 33 million linear meters, and employs 740 people 648 in manufacturing and 92 in administrative positions.The plant encompasses a total land area of 20 hectares and 50,000 square meters of buildings, which house advanced machinery and state-of-the art technology from Switzerland, Germany and the United States.Parras Cone designed for the production of world-class, quality products defines its philosophy and vision with the following statement: To Produce in Mexico the Best Denim in the World, Meeting the Demands of Customers and Investors, as well as Serving as a Model for Joint-Investments in Mexico. After 10 years, the company states proudly that these objectives have been reached.After only three months of operation, Parras Cone reached a first-time quality production level of 93.1 percent. The company received its ISO 9002 certification after 18 months in operation the first Mexican company to receive such certification establishing itself as a strong leader in the market.

Parras Cones manufacturing facility houses state-of-the-art equipment including Trutzschler opening and cleaning lines.Exports To The United StatesThe main market for the products manufactured by Parras Cone are Mexican maquiladoras that cut and sew garments. These plants use 75 percent of the companys annual production to make denim garments that are sent to the United States.The company also exports to Central America and Europe. Clients include well-known firms such as VF Corp., Levi StraussandCo. and Calvin Klein. These companies certify the high quality of Parras Cones denim.Parras Cone states that its most important assets are its employees, and the company has developed a quality culture based on security, integrity, teamwork and orientation towards the customer.With the motto Continuing Education is the Road to High Performance, the company provides a continuous education and training program based on the needs of the production areas, as well as the requirements of its clients and the needs of the current market. The training program has brought about more than 99.5 percent of first-quality products and a more than 95-percent efficiency rate in weaving. The complexity and diversity of products manufactured by the plant continue to grow. The plant started with four basic styles with just one warp count, one dyeing color and two different weft counts. Today, the plant has the capacity to produce 33 different styles, including diagonal fabrics of left, right and broken patterns in constructions of 3/1 and 2/1 twills. It uses four different warp counts and seven weft counts. Parras Cone also has introduced Lycra®-blend denim fabrics.The plant produces seven different tones, and last year completed the sulfur top project, which expanded its color possibilities to include black, green and brown.
Parras Cone employs Reed-Chatwood warp-beaming machines to prepare its warps for sizing on Ira L. Griffin equipment.Production ProcessThe plant has a U-shaped design to facilitate low-cost production of a high-quality product. The central area has two levels used for auxiliary and service functions such as air control; offices; maintenance shops; computer systems; training rooms; and personnel services such as medicine, payroll and security. The production process is divided into several departments.The cotton storage area processes incoming US cotton, with an average consumption of 2,100 bales per week. This area also has a HVI laboratory from Uster Technologies that checks fiber properties. A system from EFS controls the properties of the fibers during the bale laydown process.The opening and cleaning area features Trutzschler machines divided into three opening lines. The standard laydown of the raw material is 76 cotton bales. A fiber recycling system captures reusable fiber. The process creates briquettes of non-fibrous high-protein cotton waste, which makes excellent cattle feed. Cattle ranchers in the region often use this by-product.Each opening line has two cleaning lines, and each line feeds 10 Trutzschler cards, for a total of 60 cards, which have a production output of 125 pounds per hour each.In the drawing area, there are 20 Rieter drawing machines, each with an eight-end creel and an automatic doffer.The Autocoro department manufactures open-end yarn using 20 Schlafhorst Autocoro machines that feature Suessen SE9 spinboxes, and 14 of which feature Amsler-Tex equipment. All Autocoro machines are equipped with Corolab devices for on-line yarn quality monitoring.In the ball-warping area, five Reed-Chatwood machines fill yarn spools with up to 22,500 meters of yarn in preparation for dyeing.The dyeing department features two 24-rope Morrison ranges for indigo dyeing. Each is equipped with an automatic dye-mixing feature. All critical factors of the process are controlled by a comprehensive ABB control system.Ten Reed-Chatwood warp-beaming machines prepare the yarn for sizing. All machines are equipped with a storage device that can locate lost ends from the previous sheet. The sizing area is equipped with two sizing machines from Ira L. Griffin. These machines have individual tension controls and complete instrumentation to control elasticity and absorption of the sizing. Automatic mixing eliminates the probability of human error during mixing and helps control product quality.In the weaving department, Parras Cone has 144 Sulzer weaving machines equipped with Alexander Machinery (Alexco) devices for fabric take-up, as well as Savitex Penta precision weft accumulators. There also are Neuenhauser systems, which have a duct arrangement for the automatic cleaning of impurities, which are then sent to air aspiring ducts.The carding, drawing, Autocoro, ball-warping, warp-beaming and weaving departments each have a tunnel for air intake placed under the floor to control air and ventilation.In the finishing department, one Morrison finishing range processes the denim by brushing, singeing, chemical foulard finishing and tensioning in open form after the correction of twist distortions. Tensioning is controlled by a tensor equipped with individual impulses on each side, providing a control for the winding unit. The chemicals used in the finishing are mixed automatically using an ABB system.The department also has two sanforizing machines for shrinkage control and adjustment of the physical properties of the fabric. After this process, the final inspection is begun using an Alexco 3 IN 1 system. This step is followed by transport of the fabric using a Williamson automatic handling and packing system, which includes bar coding, packing and storage.The treated water generated in the dyeing and finishing departments has been classified as acceptable for agricultural use, meeting all Mexican standards, as well as the standards of the US Environmental Protection Agency. Treated water is sent by irrigation canals to fields for the cultivation of vines and pecans.The traffic department administers the storage of finished product, and has a storage capacity of approximately 3.5 million linear yards of fabric.Notwithstanding all the companys state-of-the-art equipment and systems, Parras Cones employees have made it possible to achieve the high standards of quality and productivity. They have made this strategic partnership a success and will be the key to its continued prosperity for many years to come.

November 2003