Setting the quality standard for fibers worldwide
info@minifibers.com423-282-4242


Our Company

Our Past

Genesis

MiniFIBERS began almost by accident! It was the early sixties. E.T. Farmer of Weber City, Virginia, and G.B. Keith of Kingsport, Tennessee, were witnesses to a jet loom foul-up at the International Textile Machinery Exposition in Greenville, South Carolina. The operator was in a daze. He had visitors. They wanted action. He could offer none. It was embarrassing.

While Farmer and Keith offered nominal mechanical advice, the vice president of a prominent textile company taunted, “Forget it! The wave of the future is nonwovens. Fifty years from now, it will all be done on web laying machines – most likely paper mills.”

Over a cup of coffee, further crystal ball wisdom was imparted to Farmer and Keith. “Somebody needs to devise a machine to cut fibers into accurate, short lengths at a high rate of production. Whoever does that will be in the driver’s seat.”

The two eager listeners became obsessed. They had the mechanical background for developing new ideas. Farmer had grown up in a machine shop; Keith was a licensed mechanical engineer with a textile background. Ideas began to surface.

Work started in a small, 20-by-30-foot workshop in southwest Virginia. Over a period of several years, many ideas were tried and discarded. In 1967, a machine was assembled and some fiber was cut. The quality was admittedly poor, but a sample was sent to the prominent textile vice president. He was interested. “This is close.” He ordered several lots of two different fibers. A product was born, and marketing began.

Growth

Machine development and sampling continued in a leased 3,000 square foot shop, which was outgrown in three months. A move was then made to a 7,000 square foot shop. In 1968, continued interest in our precision cut fibers forced naming, incorporating, and filing for patents. The name “MiniFIBERS” seemed obvious. Miniskirts were popular at the time – short skirts, short fibers! It had to catch on.

And catch on it did! An amazing thing happened. One large corporation, after trying a 15,000 pound trial shipment, sent a purchase order for half a million pounds in 1970. New quarters again! This time, a 130,000 square foot warehouse in Weber City, Virginia, was leased. The project was beginning to take off.

The precision cutting machine had one moving part, it cut fiber accurately with smooth, square ends, and later, after additional development, a test model was to produce 309 pounds per minute. U.S. patent 3,768,355 was issued on the original machine. Other patents followed.

Change

In 1977, Farmer left MiniFIBERS to pursue other interests, selling his shares to Keith. This same year, MiniFIBERS expanded its product line to include SHORT STUFF® fibrillated HDPE thickeners for paint, mastic, and putty. These pure white products were marketed as replacements for asbestos and other fibrous fillers. Their introduction was timely in view of the problems faced by asbestos users, and MiniFIBERS foresaw great demand and bright futures for them.

In seven short years, the SHORT STUFF® products had lived up to and exceeded expectations for their success, and MiniFIBERS had also been awarded a long-term contract to custom fluff products for a large international supplier. A separate fluff-dry operation in nearby Gray, Tennessee, was obtained for the production of SHORT STUFF® so the Weber City fluff-dry line could be devoted to the custom contract.

Just one year later, in 1985, MiniFIBERS moved its offices and original precision cutting operation out of the Weber City facility and into its newly purchased 45,000 square foot corporate headquarters in Johnson City, Tennessee. Our little company now operated three facilities in two states!

Plans were made almost immediately to add a 40,000 square foot addition to the Johnson City facility, nearly doubling its size. The company was growing by leaps and bounds. By 1991, it was time to leave the outdated Weber City facility. Additional warehousing space was leased at the Gray facility, the custom fluffing operation was moved to the Johnson City facility, and the old Weber City location was vacated.

The growing trend towards just-in-time inventories made it necessary to streamline operations in the late nineties. In 1999, a 50,000 square foot addition to the Johnson City facility was completed, and all operations were moved to this location. MiniFIBERS was back under one roof, where it remains today.

In 2011, MiniFIBERS purchased a small, highly specialized fiber extrusion operation and moved it to the Johnson City facility. This operation gave our company the ability to increase our offering of specialty precision cut fibers, as well as allowing us to participate in the creation of new and unique fibers extruded from unconventional polymers.

Our Present

“Cutting Edge” Technology

MiniFIBERS’ precision cutting machine is like no other. It cuts like no other. It doesn’t abuse or fuse filaments, simply cuts them with smooth, square ends suitable for laying a good web. The lengths are accurate – much more accurate than need be. Using the same fiber as feed stock, MiniFIBERS challenges any company in the world to match their quality of cut.

MiniFIBERS’ lab is equipped to determine how a fiber will perform. While working with a user to develop a product, small samples can be furnished for testing. Before shipping samples, lab tests can be run to determine the tenacity, elongation, shrinkage, modulus, melt point, and any unique characteristics the yarn may have, as well as the dispersability, handsheet laying characteristics, and thermal bonding ability of our precision cut fibers. Working with the user’s development personnel in this manner, performance is assured before large quantities are ordered.

Commitment to Quality and Service

Throughout the years, MiniFibers has been recognized with various quality awards, including the prestigious Tennessee Quality Award, which is patterned after the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

MiniFIBERS’ policy has always been to supply products that meet or exceed the requirements and expectations of our customers. We are dedicated to consistently providing the highest quality precision cut fibers, specialty yarns, and synthetic pulps available. We are fully committed to the concept of continuous improvement in all of our efforts, both internally and externally.

It is this commitment to quality that earned us our ISO Certification in 2002. We take this certification seriously, applying its concepts and procedures on a daily basis to bring the same level of excellence to every product we manufacture and every service we provide.

In the same manner, we strive to provide superior customer service by creating value-added relationships that anticipate and address the needs of our customers. We consider ourselves a “full service” company with the flexibility it takes to meet our customers’ needs in an ever-changing marketplace. Our staff is knowledgeable about various industries, equipment, and processes, and can assist not only with fiber selection but also with proper techniques for use.

Tailored to Meet Your Needs

MiniFIBERS applies many types of finishes to our precision cut fibers depending upon their intended end use. For fibers to be used in wet lay nonwovens, a dispersant finish is applied to cause the fiber to wet out readily. Only a small amount of finish is used, typically less than one tenth of a percent.

MiniFIBERS offers varying degrees of custom fiber tolling services. Customers may purchase multifilament yarn or tow from a manufacturer and have it shipped to our facility to be precision cut and forwarded to the them. We also offer customized specialty fiber extrusion, including pilot trial services to extrude new or novel polymers into multifilament yarn. In addition, we offer custom fluffing and drying of wet lap pulp fibers, as well as shredding or opening of natural pulps.

MiniFIBERS also offers toll fiber cutting for yarn and tow manufacturers, packaging the fiber to their specifications in their own packaging materials. The precision cut fiber can then be shipped to the manufacturer’s distribution centers, or directly to their customers on a confidential basis.

In addition, MiniFIBERS can apply specialty finishes to fibers, and we can package fibers in completely repulpable packaging. All of our products are processed and packaged to our customer’s specifications with quality and service in mind.

Our Future

Our little company has come a long way in its first 45 years. It is financially sound and growing, and we enjoy a great deal of good will in various industries. We believe our success is related to the fact that we take up the problems of our customers and pursue solutions to them as diligently as if they were our own. We sell quality fiber and provide excellent service. We help those who inquire by offering samples and technical expertise, and by making our staff available to assist with trials at their facilities as needed.

We do exactly what we promise the customer we will do. We believe there will always be a place in business for those who do that. Obviously, we plan to continue on this same basis, and we plan to be around supplying quality fibers to various industries for a long, long time.