RALEIGH, N.C. — Disposable facial wipes are a good example of why the non-woven industry is growing by 5 to 8 percent a year. The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce hopes to capitalize on that growth.
More than 50 business executives from as far away as Japan spent Wednesday at North Carolina State University in the Non-Wovens Cooperative Research Center. Non-woven products are made directly from fibers or plastic and skip the knit and weave process.
"The university, faculty and staff have good relationships with key people at these companies. We hope to work with the university to bring companies and jobs and investment here to Wake County," said Ken Atkins, of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber is trying to convince companies to open manufacturing facilities near one of the industry's best resources.
"If you really need to be close to an organization that can assist you in product development, research, training, you cannot go anywhere else," said Dr. Beham Pourdeyhimi, of the Non-Wovens Cooperative Research Center.
The concept makes sense to Walter Chappas who works for Novolon, a division of the German-based company Freudenberg. Novolon was created based on technology invented in North Carolina and will run its production line out of Durham to stay near N.C. State.
"A one-day experience here becomes a three-month experiment somewhere else," he said.
Even before the partnership got rolling, four companies that manufacture wipes decided to move to North Carolina.