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Eastman to expand production capacity of performance fibers in North Carolina

By Mary Page Bailey |

Following up on the introduction of Avra Performance Fibers last August, Eastman Chemical Co. (Kingsport, Tenn.; www.eastman.com) announced that it is expanding its production capacity for the product.

Avra from Eastman is a family of performance fibers enabled by a proprietary spinning technology. The additional capacity will be situated at the Unifi Manufacturing facility in Yadkinville, N.C. “The construction work at Unifi is now complete and we are proceeding with our plan to start up the new lines this month,” said Dawn Allen, Eastman business director. “This capacity will be used to satisfy current and anticipated demand in the North American performance apparel market.”

The exceptional moisture management imparted by Avra fibers means that fabrics dry quickly – up to 50% faster than conventional polyester fabrics – helping wearers stay more comfortable during demanding physical activities. In addition, the highly flexible Avra fibers further enhance wearer comfort through the superior drape and remarkable softness they provide.

“We’re excited about the potential for the Avra platform as the next generation of fiber technology. We launched our first commercial Avra product in August – a small flat fiber developed for base layer applications. But that only scratches the surface of what this technology can do. The fiber technology enables the production of fabrics with unique combinations of performance and feel that are also desired in other textile applications. We can tune the size and shape of the fiber, which provides a great deal of design versatility in other applications,“ said Tim Dell, Eastman vice president. Avra fibers are made in the USA in collaboration with Unifi Manufacturing in Yadkinville, N.C. This joint effort has enabled a physical plant expansion at Unifi and provided additional jobs to the region. “We are pleased to add Unifi’s fiber manufacturing expertise to Eastman’s innovative spinning technology,” said Mark McNeill, vice president of technology and business development at Unifi. “Combining the technical capabilities of both companies will keep the industry well supplied with Avra fibers in 2017 and beyond.”

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