EDINBURG, RGV – Santana Textiles says it expects to double capacity at its “Denimburg” plant in Edinburg in the first quarter of 2018.

The Brazilian-owned company buys cotton from the Rio Grande Valley and other parts of Texas and turns it into denim for jean makers. Santana trademarked the word “Denimburg” in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico after it opened its Edinburg plant.

“We had a bottleneck on the weaving but now the new equipment is here. So, we are ramping up production and the target is to get to 100 percent capacity by the first quarter of 2018,” said Javier Martinez, administration and finance manager for Santana’s Edinburg facility. “Right now, we are at 50 percent capacity.”

Martinez and Santana’s textile designer, Alicia Ruiz, gave the Rio Grande Guardian a guided tour of the Edinburg plant last week. They said the current capacity allows for half a million cubic yards of cotton to be processed each month.

Martinez pointed out that Santana is one of only four denim manufacturing plants in the United States.

“We have three competitors, one in North Carolina, one in South Carolina, and one in Georgia. The advantage we have is we are closer to the market where all the denim goes to, which is Mexico and Latin America,” Martinez said.

“Over 80 percent of the denim produced in the U.S. goes to Mexico. It is cut and sowed there. It comes back as a finished product. We are 50 minutes from the Mexican border. For us that is very important.”

The Edinburg plant opened in 2010 and uses heavy duty equipment from Germany, Italy, Japan and India. It currently has 143 employees but plans to hire a lot more.

“Going back to your question about being at full capacity, we should be there in 2018. We will be at about the same capacity of our competitors in the U.S.,” Martinez said. “Some of our competitors are 125 years old. That is a lot of tradition and it shows in the denim product. It is an important item in any closet. As the new kid in town and the continent, we have the newest technologies, the newest equipment, which is going to help us become more productive than some of our competitors.”

Ruiz said Santana produces different types of denim, depending on the needs of the jean manufacturer. She said Santana likes to buy local cotton and had received a delivery from the Rio Grande Valley earlier in the week.

“Our clients are in the U.S. but they subcontract in Mexico or Central America,” Martinez added. “Last week, Alicia met with a major client with 30 brands in Dallas. They make jeans in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Mexico. We sell here to clients like the one in Dallas and ship to Latin America. Our priority is on our quality products.”

Taking the Rio Grande Guardian on a tour of the plant, Ruiz said the employees are divided into different departments, such as spinning, warping and dyeing, weaving, finishing, quality control, shipping and receiving, maintenance, administration, and safety.

The 20-plus person Spinning Team is responsible for opening and cleaning the cotton bales and producing yarn in an open-end spinning frame.

The six-person Warping Team is responsible for filling 14 warp beams of approximately 344 ends each, making sure it has the right tension. After the warping takes place the 14 beams are mounted on a “gallola” to conform the entire width of the fabric with a total count of 4,824 ends.

The nine-person Dyeing Team is responsible for receiving the total count of warp, dyeing and sizing in a continuous process. There are at least 30,000 meters in each batch and the warps are divided up in “partidas” to be delivered to the next process.

The 20-person Weaving Team is responsible for feeding the looms with yarn for the fabrics in a twill.

The six-person Finishing Team is responsible for finishing the weaved partidas coming from the weaving department to ensure the dimensione stability and managing different chemical applications, water temperature and singeing process to enhance the final material.

The ten-person Inspection Team is responsible for inspecting the fabric coming from Finishing, identifying deficiencies in the fabric based on demerit point criteria and checking the physical characteristics including color sharpness. The team classifies the fabric and sends it to Warehouse.

The five-person Shipping and Receiving Team is responsible for receiving, storing and shipping fabrics according to the directives from the commercial department. These teams also managed the inventory of all tools and supplies of the company.

The 12-person Maintenance Team is responsible for keeping all machinery working properly, cooperating side by side in every department to keep production going.

The 16-person Administration Team is responsible for the company’s capital investments, human resources and attend to the necessities of the market.