Tenter frame operator
Carolina Cotton Works, Gaffney, S.C.
When did you start in the textile industry?
I started out in textiles back in the ’90s. I have been employed with Carolina Cotton Works for the past two years.
What is your background?
Textiles – I love working in this industry.
What types of products does your company specifically produce and what types of end products are they used in?
Performance apparel – sportswear
Fashion apparel – The American Giant Hoodie was born at Carolina Cotton Works
Automotive interiors – headliners
What does your job mean to you, your family and your community?
My job means everything to me. It not only supports my family, but it’s a good fit for what I have been doing and enjoyed doing throughout my career. Carolina Cotton works provides stable employment for my community.
What is your role in producing PPE products or inputs for these products for your company?
In my position as a tenter frame operator, I’m responsible for the chemistry mix making and its application to various fabrics used for gowns and face mask.
How does it feel to have your company step up to address the PPE shortage during the pandemic?
It feels wonderful to contribute to lifesaving products during a time of need. It’s definitely a team effort which I’m proud to be part of.
Why is it important for textiles to be made/cut and sewn and/or finished in America?
It’s important that textiles remain in American to keep the American textile workers thriving.
As the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread exponentially, Carolina Cotton Works (CCW) knew it must step up to shift its operations into a PPE focus. CCW, a specialty dyeing and finishing operation, has spent much of its time during the pandemic processing fabrics for masks, gowns and scrubs in various constructions, including cotton, blends and 100 percent polyester, and composed of spun and filament yarns. Some are being infused with antimicrobial and DWR (durable water repellent) ingredients.
“We had to pivot and come up with a new set of fabrics,” said Sales Manager Stacey Bridges. “We knew the market needed masks, gowns and scrubs quickly. With all of these being new fabrics, we did not know what to expect. Our chemical vendors were instrumental in taking a large greige bank of apparel fabrics and turning them into PPE fabrics with DWR and antimicrobial treatments. We could not have done it without our current brands and chemical suppliers.”