Meeting Customer Demands
What do customers want?
The fast evolution of the textile industry is moving toward a
more demanding customer. It places product performance
initially on the basic raw material, but performance also is being
expressed in the form of fashion that is comfortable, protective
That is why cotton today has to be fully analyzed and tested
before entering the process. In the past, the appreciation of
cotton quality was based on a visual perception. This might have
been an excellent base for evaluation, but it was restricted to a
visual examination that included color, staple length and an
estimate of trash content. There was also “preparation,” a
favorite catch-all trade phrase that added a vague richness to the
description rather like the comments used in wine tasting, but
adding nothing to the flavor.
Such visual appreciation failed to provide the spinner with the
more important internal details. These are called the intrinsic
characteristics and include such items as fiber strength,
micronaire (fineness of the individual fibers), maturity of the
cotton (on which depends the dye takeup of the material) and
elongation (elasticity of the fibers). Without this information, it
would be impossible to meet the customer demands.
Impact Of Technology
Thanks to technology that can measure these intrinsic
characteristic properties at high speed (known as High Volume
Instrument or HVI), the spinner is able to select the raw material
to meet the performance demands. These instruments can also
accurately measure the standard visual characteristics.
In the United States, all cotton is measured and marketed
using these highly efficient instruments, giving the producer an
advantage in terms of quality recognition. For U.S. growers to
remain competitive in a global marketplace, they must continue
producing high-quality cotton that meets the specifications of
spinning mills. Consumer preferences and spinning technologies
will continue to increase demand for high-quality cotton, and
growers who produce high-quality cotton will have better
market access for their fiber.