Formosa Taffeta Vice Chairman Hsien Shih-ming (left) and W.L. Gore and Associates global fabric divisional leader Mike McCollam celebrate the companies’ new joint Gore-Tex venture Aug. 30 in Yunlin County’s Douliou City. (Courtesy of FTC)
Formosa Taffeta Co. Ltd. is set to produce Gore-Tex later this year at a newly inaugurated manufacturing plant in western Taiwan’s Yunlin County—the first time the durable, water-repellent polymer-based material will be made under license anywhere in the world.
FTC is partnering with Newark-based W.L. Gore and Associates Inc. at the US$10 million facility in Douliou City. Jointly inaugurated Aug. 30, the plant took 12 months to complete and features the latest production, inspection and testing lines.
Shieh Shih-ming, vice chairman of FTC, said during the inauguration ceremony that the partnership marks a milestone development in Taiwan’s functional fabric industry, and represents a new collaboration model for local textile firms and global heavyweights.
“In addition to helping Formosa Taffeta enhance its manufacturing know-how, the endeavor represents a vote of confidence in Taiwan’s textile manufacturing capabilities.”
Echoing Shieh’s remarks, Mike McCollam—global fabric divisional leader for WLGA—said the U.S. Company has been working with FTC for over 10 years. It is expected the joint venture will help boost the WLGA’s consumer fabrics business through optimizing operational efficiency while maintaining commitment to product quality, he added.
Converted from an existing FTC plant with equipment and technical support from the U.S. firm, the facility will produce an estimated NT$1 billion (US$31.52 million) in Gore-Tex next year. The fabric is bound for manufacturers of outdoor leisure products and functional apparel.
According to FTC, after the second stage of investment is completed in mid-2017, and manufacturing comes on line the following year, the plant will double output capacity to 8 million square feet per year, or NT$2 billion in value.
Taiwan began developing high-performance fabrics in the late 1990s and they now occupy a strong position in the global market. Data from Taiwan Textile Federation reveals that approximately 70 percent of outdoor sportswear sold worldwide is fashioned from functional fabrics made in Taiwan, with the number approaching 80 percent in the U.S.
The country is also a global leader when it comes to producing fabrics from recycled materials, with several teams donning uniforms made with yarn featuring recycled polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, in the 2010 and 2014 editions of the FIFA World Cup. (SFC-E)
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