Adding Value.Performance takes many forms, and Ricky Lane, communications manager, Charlotte, N.C.-based DAK Americas LLC, said the company's HydroPur™ antimicrobial and moisture-management polyester staple fiber provides a dual function. HydroPur combines the moisture management of Delcron® Hydrotec Fiber and the antimicrobial properties of SteriPur® AM. Both of these properties are integrated into the fiber during the polymer stage and are permanent. "Our antimicrobial component contains Antimicrobial AlphaSan® from Milliken, which is silver-based," Lane said. "Silver is a naturally occurring element and is safe for human contact. It also inhibits the growth of a wide variety of microorganisms. The silver is added to the fiber in the polymer stage, making it permanent - it cannot be washed out." According to the company, HydroPur has been commercially available for several years, with continued growth in the markets it enters. "Primary uses of HydroPur are in performance apparel, where the permanence of its dual functionality of moisture management and antimicrobial properties are best put to use," Lane said. Putting a twist on stretch, Kim Henley Hall, marketing manager, Gastonia, N.C.-based RadiciSpandex Corp., cites growing interest in Radici's collection of colored spandex fibers including SRB black spandex; and S-17 Green, S-17 Pink and S-17 Blue. "We launched SRB (Spandex Radici Black) in 2006 in response to inquiries from our fabric mill customers for a fiber that results in a cleaner shade of black," Hall said. "SRB is meeting with good response from fabric companies serving the swimwear, activewear and ready-to-wear apparel markets. Knitters find the fiber has tremendous potential as a design element for intimate apparel. "Last fall, we placed renewed focus on the nonwovens trade and initiated customized product programs that provided added value to our customers, especially in the baby diaper market. Our S17 fiber for nonwovens can be colored to add a decorative touch to baby diaper elastics and narrow fabrics and also can be used as a design element in other apparel. To date we have spun green, pink, and blue fiber, but have the capability to spin any color for which the pigment can be purchased." Wichita, Kan.-based Invista recently announced that the demand is significant for black elastane fiber. According to the company, its T400® Black fiber is permanently made black at the fiber spinning stage, and when incorporated into denim fabrics, it offers benefits such as darker, richer colors; elimination of grin-through or glitter; and improved color retention after wear. "The T400 Black fiber allows designers to create garments that offer comfort, style and fit as well as a long-lasting color," said Jean Hegedus, Invista's global marketing director for denim. "A number of mills [showcased] their fabrics with T400 Black fiber at Denim by Première Vision and we look forward to adoptions by some of the world's most prestigious denim brands." "With T400 fiber we can design jeans that maintain their performance after washing and even after several months of wear," said Antonio Zatti of Italy-based denim brand Diesel. They do not lose their shape or bag out at the knees and waist, plus they retain their original color and have a rich, cottony touch." South Korea-based Hyosung Corp., well-known in the United States for its creora® brand of spandex, recently developed an ultrastrong polyester (PET) yarn for industrial use that won the IR52 Jang Young-Shil Award from the Ministry of Science and Technology. According to Hyosung, it developed an ultrastrong PET yarn for industrial use that is much superior to competitors' products in terms of physical properties, counting on its advanced technology in order to effectively compete on price with Chinese firms and also with high-quality products from advanced countries. The yarn has 10- to 15-percent higher strength than conventional PET yarns for common industrial uses, according to the company. Hyosung announced that the new product came out of a 26-month research effort. The technology could possibly be applied to other products for similar purposes as a result of progress in yarn production technology, and has contributed to improved industrial yarn production technology. The company cites extensive applications in ropes, fabric-reinforced compound materials and fiber optic cables.