Wellman, the US-based fibre manufacturer, has launched new fabric Sensura, a synthetic cotton substitute.Working in collaboration with Parkdale Mills, a leading spinner of cotton, Wellman has spent the past two years developing the high-tech fabric which, the company claimed, has a unique molecular structure and was born from a whole new body of chemistry."There are currently material composition and process patents pending on this technology," said John Anderson, vice president of Wellman. "We anticipate that these patents will begin being issued in the first quarter of 2001."Sensura fabrics have several distinctive features: they need lower heat for dyeing and finishing, so there is no stiffening of the fibre in the process; they dry twice as fast as cotton; and they transport perspiration through the microclimate between skin and clothing so that skin doesn't become clammy or chilled. In expert and general hand-rating tests, Sensura fabrics were preferred to 100 per cent ring-spun cotton fabrics. Andy Warlick, president of Parkdale Mills, said: "Fabrics made of Sensura are soft, comfortable, colourfast, shrink-resistant and have outstanding moisture management. Sensura delivers all of the aesthetics that consumers have learned to expect from cotton, but with the performance of new millennium technology."Tom Duff, chairman of Wellman, said: "Several years ago, when Wellman recognised the industry's continued loss of business to cheap fibre from Asia, we had a clear choice: either change our business to a commodity-driven one with absolutely no research, development and promotion, or step up our efforts to continue to create value-added products. Our goal was to be creative, innovative, and unique enough to allow us to make a profit and give our customers differentiated products that they could make money on as well."