Unifi Technical Fabrics LLC has started its venture into the nonwoven fabric market with the commencement of production of its spunbond and meltspun nonwoven fabrics in its new $40m plant in Mocksville, North Carolina.

The new factory will focus on production of high-quality, low-cost nonwoven fabrics for the protective apparel, hygiene, and medical markets.

Brian Parke, president and CEO of Unifi, said: "The production of nonwoven fabrics is a natural evolution for the company. Our entry into nonwovens helps simplify and complete the process chain from polymer to fabrics and opens new markets to us."

The 125 acre site is equipped with a Reifenhauser Reicofil 3 SSMMS line and Edelmann Winder making it one of the largest potential manufacturers in the US.

"Our production capacity from this line is approximately 30 to 35 million pounds per year, or one billion square metres of ½ ounce fabric annually," said Mike Mebane, president of Unifi Technical Fabrics.

"This line will generate 20 per cent greater output than any other current line in North America, which means we are entering this business with greater capacity than any other existing operation."