Reinforced fabric supplier Knytex Co. has consolidated operations in New Braunfels, Texas, and general manager W.C. Turnier sees fiberglass availability inhibiting 1995 growth. ``Overall, the reinforcement business in fiberglass is sold out,'' Turnier said in a Feb. 9 telephone interview. ``There is a higher demand for fiberglass than glass suppliers can make.''
He said fiberglass prices have increased 20 percent in the past year, but ``still not enough to prompt expansion'' of fiberglass production.
Knytex stitches fiberglass with polyester yarn, making various fabric widths with plies in various directions for strength, principally to make structural reinforcements for boats. Fiberglass accounts for about 98 percent of the material, and polyester 2 percent.
Turnier said Knytex 1994 sales grew ``more than 35 percent,'' but he believes 1995 ``will be inhibited by the availability of material.''
Knytex was formed July 1, 1993, as a limited-liability company jointly owned by Hexcel Corp. of Pleasanton, Calif., and Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. of Toledo, Ohio. Initially, Knytex employed 75 at a knitting operation in a former Hexcel facility in Seguin, Texas.
During January, Knytex relocated both the Seguin operation and woven-roving operations, including 25 looms from Owens-Corning's facility in Anderson, S.C.
``We did a good job of building inventory of knit-side products, but woven didn't have as good a backlog,'' Turnier said. ``We were out of operations about a month.''
Since October, the Knytex head count has increased to 170 from 110. Some new workers were employed at the New Braunfels factory when it was operated by WestPoint-Pepperell Inc., which closed a fabric-making operation there in October 1993.