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Fibers and Polymers: A 125-Year Evolution with Barnet

Barnet is a prominent global company engaged in manufacturing, recycling, and trading various fibers, polymers, and yarns. Across different markets, they offer a comprehensive range of products, spanning from industrial-grade to specialty and high-tech items. Their production encompasses a diverse array of resins, including polyester, polyamide 6, polyamide 6.6, acrylic, polypropylene, and viscose.

Driven by adaptability, innovation, and a commitment to meeting customer requirements, Barnet provides expertise, reliability, and service to numerous clients worldwide. Their product portfolio continually evolves to address the dynamic demands of the global market.

Presently, Barnet caters to a worldwide clientele in the fibers, polymers, and yarns sectors, with sales and manufacturing operations spanning the USA, Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and India. The company’s strengths lie in its dedicated workforce and its extensive range of products, services, and solutions offered to customers and partners across more than 70 countries.

Established in 1898 by William Barnet in Albany, New York, the company remains committed to its founding vision of playing a significant role in the trade and processing of synthetic textile products while focusing on sustainability.

In an insightful interaction with The Interview World at Bharat Tex 2024, Bradley G. McCrary, Business Director of Yarns at William Barnet & Son, LLC, and S Rammohan Rao, Director of Business Development at Barnet India Marketing and Distribution LLP, provide valuable insights into their company’s operations, market competition, and product demand in India. Here, we highlight the key takeaways from their discussion.

Q: What are the key distinguishing features of your products, and could you provide further elaboration on each?

A: We collaborate closely with a company known as William Barnet & Son. Our company has a rich history spanning 125 years, originating in Albany, New York, USA, with a primary focus on natural fibers. In the 1970s, we expanded our operations southward to delve deeper into synthetic materials such as polyesters and nylons. Over the years, our business has evolved into seven distinct entities. Today, our emphasis lies in promoting technical fibers, specifically meta-aramids and para-aramids. These fibers range from unbranded first-grade to off-grade varieties, including true recycled fibers suitable for non-woven applications and spinning across various industries.

Additionally, we specialize in high-modulus polyethylene (HMPE) yarns, extensively used in lifting and round sling applications. We also process HMPE into staple fibers for crafting cut-resistant gloves and other similar products. Our capabilities extend to cutting HMPE for non-woven applications. Furthermore, we engage with polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) and various other fiber types.

In the realm of carbon fibers, we serve as solution providers for carbon manufacturers. Our involvement begins with polyacrylonitrile (PAN) fibers, progressing to the production of oxidized polyacrylonitrile (OPAN) staple fibers with diverse applications in heat and fire resistance. We specialize in processing carbon fiber, including chopping and resizing, tailored to specific compounding applications.

Q: What’s the demand for such products globally?

A: Our company, Barnet, operates within the sustainable recycling sector, focusing on post-industrial and post-consumer waste. Specifically, we hold licenses for collecting expired bulletproof vests, which we then process by removing pyramid fibers for recycling. The demand for recycling services is robust and expanding. Our recycled fibers are primarily utilized alongside virgin fibers to reduce costs across various applications.

The carbon we produce meets high-quality standards and finds application in needle punch, wet-laid, friction, conductivity, and carpet applications. Additionally, we supply oversized and chopped fibers for compounding applications. This venture represents a new but promising area of growth for our company.

Q: How much carbon footprint do you save in your business operations?

A: That’s an excellent question, and it’s one we’re actively studying. As previously mentioned, Barnet is deeply engaged in sustainable initiatives. Our Europe office is currently focused on analyzing our carbon footprint and identifying potential savings. This comprehensive examination requires time and attention to detail. We anticipate that the results of our analysis will be available within the next couple of months. Therefore, stakeholders can expect to receive concrete numbers and insights within three to four months. This meticulous process ensures that the data we provide is accurate and actionable, contributing to our ongoing commitment to sustainability and transparency.

Q: What incentives, if any, are being provided for reducing your carbon footprint?

A: At present, we’re not prepared to monetize this concept, despite its compelling narrative. Our team is still finalizing the process, so it’s not yet feasible for us. However, we’re actively collecting data that suggests promising avenues for monetization. In the past, the market revolved around carbon units, which were tradable commodities. Yet, the landscape has shifted towards the broader notion of carbon footprint, introducing new complexities. Consequently, we’re diligently studying this evolving concept to ascertain its measurable value and potential for financial gain. Once we’ve gained a comprehensive understanding, we’ll be better positioned to capitalize on its economic opportunities.

Q: What are the current dynamics and opportunities within the Indian market for Barnet products?

A: The Indian market is currently experiencing a remarkable growth trajectory, particularly within the realm of technical fibers. This sector is witnessing exciting developments that promise to reshape various industries. With a longstanding presence in India spanning two to three decades, our journey in this market began in conjunction with Reliance‘s acquisition of machinery from DuPont. As this machinery transitioned to India, it catalyzed our decision to establish a foothold in the region. Initially, our focus was predominantly on polyester, aligning with Reliance’s operations, fostered by our partnership with DuPont.

However, as our business expanded and evolved, the significance of technical fibers became increasingly apparent. Today, these fibers occupy a pivotal role in our operations, driving innovation and meeting the diverse needs of both consumer and industrial sectors. The level of interest and enthusiasm surrounding the cutting-edge fibers we’re developing underscores their potential to revolutionize various applications within the Indian market and beyond.

Q: What is your competitive landscape, and what strategies are you employing to compete effectively with your competitors?

A: In essence, I believe that all primary suppliers in the first-grade category can be considered competitors, but we bring a distinctive approach to the table. Our niche lies in providing an unbranded recycled product to the market, which boasts appealing properties and a competitive price point that garners interest. Unlike many others, few companies operate within this specific realm, making our offering unique. Our main competition predominantly resides in the virgin product sector, where large multinational corporations dominate the landscape. Consequently, I wouldn’t assert that we face direct competition at present. Our focus on sustainability and affordability carves out a distinct space for us in the market, aligning with evolving consumer preferences and environmental concerns.

Q: What is your overall market size?

A: We operate as a privately held company. Essentially, this means that we handle approximately 500 million pounds of various products annually. These products span fiber yarn, polymer, contract manufacturing, and other commodities. Each of these segments constitutes separate businesses within our operation.

Barnet Reinventing Technical Fibers
Barnet Reinventing Technical Fibers
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