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Honeywell Nylon Fibers Exit Puts Squeeze On Supply

When Honeywell International closes its Anderson, S.C., nylon textile manufacturing operations at the end of August, downstream manufacturers, particularly in the warp-knitting sector, will be hard-pressed to find adequate domestic supplies of the fully drawn, including very fine-denier, nylon 6 yarn the Anderson plant has been producing and supplying mainly on beams for warp knitting, according to textile industry consultant Alasdair Carmichael.

“The loss of this production will tighten up the supply availability in a market segment that is already very tight,” said Carmichael, Spartanburg-based president – Americas, of England-based PCI Fibres & Raw Materials.

“There are quite a few issues other than just the loss of capacity. It’s not that easy to replace because of country-of-origin issues and because it’s on beams,” Carmichael added, explaining that it is not very practical to import product on beams. He also said the only other domestic production of very fine-denier nylon 6 is from one or two vertical producers, and that most other domestic nylon production involves nylon 6,6 in higher deniers.

Morristown, N.J.-based Honeywell announced it would close the Anderson facility, which employs 168 people, after unsuccessful attempts to sell it in keeping with its strategy, initiated in 2005, to spin off its nylon fiber operations. According to Robert Donohoe, manager, external communications, Specialty Materials, the closure will complete the company’s divestiture of its global nylon fiber operations. Honeywell sold its North American carpet fiber assets to Shaw Industries Inc., Dalton, Ga., in 2005, and recently sold its Shanghai-based nylon carpet fiber operation to Wichita, Kan.-based Invista.

July/August 2007