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What Is a Textile Mill?

Materials may be weaved into fabrics in a textile mill.
Raw materials may be turned into thread for use in making textiles.
Textile mill employees must be familiar with the proper operation of equipment.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 15 September 2014
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A textile mill is a manufacturing facility that is involved in some aspect of textile manufacturing. Many people use the term to refer specifically to a plant where textiles are made, although it may also refer to facilities that process textiles and turn them into finished products, such as clothing. Textile mills can be found in operation all over the world, and the working conditions are highly variable, depending on the type of textiles being produced and the location of the mill.

At a mill, the raw materials for textiles are turned into thread that can be woven, crocheted, knitted, or used in other ways to make textiles. Many specialize in a particular type of raw material such as silk, cotton, nylon, or rayon. The mill includes facilities for cleaning and processing the raw material, spinning it, and dying it, along with facilities to turn the raw materials into fabrics. Fabrics can also be dyed, printed, or embroidered.

The base fabrics produced by a textile mill can be sold to members of the public, or used in other manufacturing processes. For example, a mill may specialize in making cotton prints for quilters to use, in which case it sells fabric bolts to companies which supply sewing and quilting stores. A facility that supplies fabric to clothing and other textile manufacturers, on the other hand, does not work directly with end consumers or companies which supply products to end consumers.

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Historically, the production of textiles was highly labor intensive. Modern mills are mechanized, with a variety of specialized equipment that does much of the work. Employees must be familiar with the operation of the equipment, which usually requires on the job training, and the work can be dangerous, as the heavy machinery can pose risks to people working on the factory floor. Poorly maintained factories or equipment can be especially dangerous for workers, and textile mills can also generate environmental pollution in the form of emissions from their power plants or the release of chemicals used in textile manufacturing.

The staff at a textile mill includes production workers who run the machines, maintenance crews who keep the machines and the factory in good order, and supervisors who have scheduling and determine what will be produced when. Mills also hire textile designers and engineers who develop new fabrics, come up with new patterns, and are involved in all aspects of the manufacturing process.

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umbra21
Post 8

@reader888 - It would depend on the mill. There are still jobs out there that work without the big dangerous machines, but they can cripple you. Labor costs so much, compared to machinery, that they will only pay you a very small amount unless you are highly skilled, and they will expect you to work very long hours.

There are kids who eventually go blind or develop crooked backs from the work. Personally, I would pick the machinery.

bythewell
Post 7

@clintflint - Another bonus is that with cheap oil, you keep down the prices so people can afford to buy higher quality garments, which might last longer. It does seem like a house of cards, considering the whole global warming thing though. And fracking, which is how they are getting the cheap oil now, seems fairly destructive itself.

But, there are ways of operating textile mills without using oil. I wish that alternative energies, like solar and wind would gain more traction.

clintflint
Post 6

I've heard that a lot of this kind of production is coming back to the States now that oil prices are going down again. Because the machines are getting cheaper to run, it means that they can afford to keep up safety standards and hire people who are going to need bigger salaries.

Of course, it also means more pollution, so it's not exactly an ideal circumstance. I also can't help but wonder if it will hurt the economies of countries where they have become dependent on people earning money in the textile mills, supplying the West with cheap clothes.

geronimo8
Post 2

I've always been a creative person, so I think it would be fun to work in a textile mill as a designer. Coming up with new textile mill products, like new fabrics and patterns sounds like it's right up my alley!

reader888
Post 1

I wonder which textile jobs would be preferable -- jobs in a mechanized mill, or jobs in a non-mechanized mill?

Though the older mills were highly labor intensive, I might prefer that over working with the dangerous machinery of a mechanized mill.

I have known people who have worked in all kinds of mechanized factories, and some of the injuries I have heard of are absolutely appalling.

If I had to choose between the old fashioned mill, and a dangerous mechanized one, I think I'd pick the old one, and just put up with how hard the work was.

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