Congratulations to Keer America on this great leap forward. AAPN members doing great things, as usual
Keer America Corp. gives guests sneak peek at second U.S. plant
June 21, 2018
By Devin Steele (DSteele@eTextileCommunication
INDIAN LAND, S.C. – Keer America Corp., the first textile production facility in North America of China-based Keer Group, hosted an official grand opening of its second plant for customers and other guests in this town just over the North Carolina border today.
The state-of-the-art ring-spinning plant will officially begin production on two spinning frames next week and, by the end of the year, is expected to be running 40 new Rieter ring-spinning frames and five Saurer Zinser frames for coarse yarns, according to U.S. textile industry veteran Richard Miller, sales manager at Keer America. In total, the facility will operate 75,000 spindles.
“Our industry has seen many challenges in my 35 years in the business,” Miller said, in welcoming guests. “With the onset of NAFTA and CAFTA, we all have had challenges to adjust to. We have seen the loss of domestic mills and many jobs were lost. What makes me proud, though, is that some of these mills are coming back.
“Keer America is unbelievably proud to be part of this revival,” he added. “We want nothing more than to take full advantage of American-grown cotton and partner with the American workforce in order to produce the highest quality of spinning yarn.”
The new plant is expected to achieve annual yarn capacity of 40 million pounds with a count range from Ne6 to Ne40 for both carded and combed yarns, he added. The facility also will offer core spun yarns for coarse count Ne6 to Ne16 with spandex, as well as Amsler slub yarns from Ne6 to Ne40.
Keer America was established in February 2013 and began production of its first plant, an open-end spinning mill, in February 2015. That plant generates 60 million pounds of yarn annually and is equipped with 32 spinning frames with 10,392 places, producing yarn with 100 percent U.S. upland cotton. The count range for that plant is Ne6 to Ne21.
As part of an ambitious growth plan, Keer America intends to open two more production facilities on this campus, which covers 165 acres, Miller said. Eventually, the company plans to operate 1.61 million square feet of production facilities, creating 500 jobs and investing $218 million, he added.
“Markets will predict where we direct our attention,” he said. “We want to keep increasing production and creating jobs for the American people. The current plan is to break ground on the third plant for blended yarns in the first quarter of 2019.”
Before the second plant opened, Keer America employed 263 people, including office personnel and some temporary trainers from China, he said. The second plant will add about another 125 people, he added.
As retailers and brands have continued to implement North American hemispheric strategies for quick turn and fast fashion, the company has responded, Miller pointed out.
“A year ago, probably 90 to 95 percent of the yarn from our first plant was sent to China,” he told eTC. “Today, that is totally reversed – about 90 to 95 percent of our yarn stays in this hemisphere – the CAFTA and NAFTA regions and South America, for every type of sector.”
Keer America personnel are members of the Southern Textile Association, the Americas Apparel Producers Network, the National Cotton Council and Oeko-Tex, Miller said.