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Selection of right cotton for a mill: Selection process (Part 2)

The selection of cotton as we discussed earlier would depend on the customer’s need versus the mill’s resources to meet the demand of the customers. It means all that is demanded by the market may not be suitable for a mill to target.

Selection right cotton for mill
Figure 1: It is very important for the spinning mill to understand the customer’s demand for yarn.

Step 1: Understanding the market demand for yarn

The first step of cotton selection starts with the process of understanding market demand. It is very important for the spinning mill to understand the customer’s demand for yarn to the maximum details, as much as possible like;

  • End-use of the yarn?
    • Knit
    • Suiting
    • Shirting
    • Denim
    • Home textile
    • Towel
    • Sweater
    • Wet process and finishing, etc.
  • Count and count range?
  • Ring spinning, open-end or air jet?
  • Contamination free, controlled or tolerant
  • Quality requirement
  • Price
  • Certification required
  • Sustainable, re-cycled or conventional raw material required?
  • Lead time
Selecting right cotton process
Figure 2: Selecting the right cotton process.

Step 2: Understanding the mill’s capacity to produce yarn

The second step is to identify the capacity of the mill and the product matrix the mill can produce.

Ideally, a mill is designed based on some product matrix that has demand in the market and is most suitable to bring the maximum return to the mill. The initial mill design is very important that should have the following things into consideration: –

  • Average count and count range: Normally, a mill is designed based on a particular product matrix. But Sometimes the mill may be designed for one product matrix for initial one or two years and another product matrix for the future keeping in mind the additional future provision for the expansion in the master plan. So that the mill has the flexibility and if required may undergo the additional investment if market demand is there and marketing has the vision and the capacity to execute it.
  • Quality and product range: A mill cannot do everything and should have some specific product matrix and count range that is most suitable to them. The mill must identify the range they want to remain focused on like; knit, woven, specialty yarn; i.e. slab, core, compact, syro, blends, sustainable, mélange, recycled, etc.
  • Based on the product matrix identified through the above, necessary yarn manufacturing technology like; ring, open-end, air-jet, water spinning, etc. is chosen.
  • Based on the product matrix and process machinery, to ensure to maintain the required or ideal environment, supporting machinery is selected that would ensure the ideal environment like; power, compressor, humidification, chillier, fire protection and fighting system, safety, lighting, air and water.
  • Based on the process and supporting machinery, necessary manpower is recruited, trained, evaluated, retained, skill upgraded, the regulatory and disciplinary procedure is designed.
  • The master plan also looks into the following:
    • Marketing plan
    • Sourcing plan
    • Financing plan
    • Business plan
    • Investment, financing and return on investment and
    • Overall Strategy and operational plan.
Quality product range yarn
Figure 3: The mill must identify the range they want to remain focused on.

If the mill does not have such a master plan, they can identify the capacity or product matrix through the evaluation of existing process machinery keeping in mind the capacity of supporting machinery and manpower to assure the environment necessary to produce yarn.

Also Read: How selection of right cotton helps to attain cost-effectiveness

Step 3: Forecasting the yarn production

Through step 1 and 2 mills identifies the product matrix and can plan a line-wise production plan for a year.

Once annual and monthly production plan is prepared, it is time to identify the specification of cotton required for different product matrix.

Say, a mill has 4 lines as follows:

  1. Line 1 produces 100% cotton BCI knit combed yarn for white and contamination sensitive fabric. Average count is Ne 28/s and count range are Ne 20/s to Ne 30/s. Production capacity per month 100 MT.
  2. Line 2 produces 100% cotton woven carded compact yarn. Average count is Ne 34/s and count range are Ne 30/s to Ne 40/s. Production capacity per month is 100 MT.
  3. Line 3 produces 100% cotton BCI carded denim yarn. Average count is Ne 12/s and count range are Ne 6/s to Ne 16/s. Production capacity is per month 100 MT.
  4. Line 4 produces 100% cotton open end woven carded yarn. Average count is Ne 8/s and count range is Ne 6/s to Ne 10/s. Production capacity is per month 100 MT.

Step 4: Forecasting the demand for raw material

Once the production plan is completed against the market demand, composition of demand (Knit/woven/denim), yarn counts (Course Ne 3 to Ne 20, medium Ne 20 to Ne 40, fine Ne 40 to Ne 80 and extra-fine Ne 80+), process required to meet the demand (Ring/Open-end/Air jet), quality requirement and price level required by the market for different segments, it’s time to identify the specification, source and quantity of raw material.

Selection of cotton

Based on the above example, let us identify the raw cotton required by different lines:

Line Yarn production/day (In TM) Wastage % Usable waste for open-end (In MT) Unusable waste for sale (In MT) Total cotton required (In MT) Virgin cotton

required (In MT)

Usable waste consumption (In MT)
1 100 12% 7 5 112 112 0
2 100 28% 23 5 128 128 0
3 100 10% 5 5 110 110 0
4 100 12% 0 12 112 77 35

Now, based on the above table let us put the required specifications for raw cotton:

Line Staple Length Grade Mic Strength (GPT) Options (Growths) Quantity required (In MT)
1 1-1/8” Middling 4.0/4.9 NCL 28 Brazil/USA 112
2 1-5/32” Middling 3.5/4.9 NCL 29 Senegal/Mali/Brazil/India /USA 128
3 1-1/16” SLM 3.5/4.9 NCL 26 USA/India 110
4 1” LM 3.5/4.9 NCL 24 USA 77

The above is just to give an indication. If selection is started on the basis of the above-mentioned methodology, it definitely would save cost, improve quality and profit. Over time the experience would help to improve selection and fine-tune the methodology if necessary. Idea meritocratic decision making is the best way to make a decision. Of course, experienced consultants also have scope to add value.

To be continued….

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