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Cotton contamination & stickiness remain challenge for spinning industry
Apr '10
“Despite some improvements in the recent past foreign matter, stickiness and seed-coat fragments in raw cotton continue to be serious challenges to the cotton spinning industry worldwide.” This is the general conclusion to be drawn from the “Cotton Contamination Survey 2009” which has just been released by the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF). The survey is carried out every other year, the 2009 edition being the eleventh in the series since the changeover to a new methodology in 1989. In the 2009 report, 110 spinning mills located in 23 countries evaluated 63 different cotton growths.

Contamination – unchanged in comparison to 2007
The level of cottons modestly or seriously contaminated as perceived by the spinning mills from around the world did not increase compared to the last survey in 2007 remaining constant at 22%. A closer look at the extent of the contamination shows that 6% (2007: 7%) of all cotton evaluated were seriously contaminated by some sort of foreign matter whereas 16% (2007: 15%) were only moderately contaminated. As the summary data are arithmetic averages of the different contaminants, the extent of contamination is fully illustrated only by the results for the individual contaminants. They range from 4% for “tar” (2007: 5%) to 42% of all cottons processed being contaminated by “organic matter”, i.e. leaves, feathers, paper, leather, etc. (2007: 40%). Other serious contaminants are “strings made of jute hessian” (32%), “strings made of woven plastic” (29%), “fabrics made of cotton” as well as “fabrics made of plastic film” and “strings made of cotton” (26% each). The most contaminated cotton descriptions considered for the survey originated in India, Pakistan, Egypt, Uzbekistan and Mali. In contrast, very clean raw cottons were produced in the USA, (Texas High Plains, Memphis, Pima, South Eastern, California), Israel, Australia, Brazil and the Ivory Coast.

Stickiness – record low
The presence of sticky cotton as perceived by the spinning mills fell in 2009 to 16%, the lowest level ever recorded (compared to 21% in 2007). Nevertheless, the level of stickiness is still considerable high and remains a major challenge to the spinning industry. Descriptions that were affected most by stickiness were those from Burkina Faso, Benin, Brazil, Chad, and Uzbekistan (medium staples). Also US cotton growths like US-Pima, Israel-Pima, Mali or Tajikistan (medium staples) were reported to be sticky. On the other end of the range, cottons from Egypt, Greece, USA (California, South Eastern), Australia, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Pakistan (AmSeed AFZAL, Others) or India (Shankar-4/6, MCU-5) were not or hardly affected by stickiness.

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