Naturally Advanced investing $8M in S. Carolina plant

Naturally Advanced is investing $8 million in a South Carolina production facility.

Naturally Advanced is investing $8 million in a South Carolina production facility.

Flax fiber innovator Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc. announced Tuesday plans to invest $8 million in a South Carolina manufacturing facility that will employ 25 people.

The announcement was made as the company, which has executive offices in Portland, closed in on its first full phase of production to supply its Crailar fiber to its global partners.

Last year, the company worked to tighten the production of its Crailar technology, which takes flax or other rough fibers, and processes it into a natural, soft fiber for use in textiles. Naturally advanced has signed on partners from Hanes to Levi Strauss to Target, organizations interested in testing the fiber.

The company reports it reduced the production time by about 40 percent last year, significantly increasing production capacity.

Naturally Advanced also inked an exclusive partnership with Tintoria Piana, a Georgia-based textile company, to conduct the enzyme processing portion of Crailar production.

"This move would be consistent with most other branded global industries, where outsourced manufacturing allows for faster expansion of the technology proposition and resulting brand message for our partners, while significantly reducing the capital requirements to scale up to meet demand," said Ken Barker, Naturally Advanced's CEO, in a press release.

Naturally Advanced, a Victoria, British Columbia-based company, keeps its executive team in Portland. Officials are also exploring sourcing flax for Crailer in the Willamette Valley and last month hired an adviser to head up that effort.

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