CORAFIL is an Italian textile company with a long tradition that specializes in covered yarn production. Dynamic and flexible, it is adept at navigating market fluctuations, while maintaining a good balance between tradition and innovation in its products. To meet third millennium challenges, CORAFIL redoubled its efforts by creating the firm NEWFIL. To learn more about these firms, we spoke with Giampietro Bernardello, owner and General Director of NEWFIL.
1. Can you tell us about CORAFIL’s history?
Founded in 1979, CORAFIL is an offshoot of the Corazza company, which made a name for itself in the 1950s and 60s producing elastic garters and fibres for men's hosiery. At the time, these were manufactured using a natural rubber (latex) core surrounded by a double layer of polyamide. Supported by new investment, and an augmented corporate structure, CORAFIL expanded its activities to produce stretch fibres for sports socks—tennis socks in particular. This expansion led to the introduction of the firm’s first electronic machines, which were soon adopted by the women's hosiery sector, too.
2. When did you start using LYCRA® fibre and how did it change your business?
The arrival of our new electronic machines coincided with the launch of LYCRA® fibre in the 1960s, which allowed manufacturers to develop a new generation of tights. LYCRA® fiber’s exclusive stretch and shape recovery properties enabled the production of thin yarns and eliminated the problems associated with nylon's thermal memory. The combination of new technology and LYCRA® innovations was a winning formula and success followed. The Castel Goffredo region in Italy soon acquired an international profile and became sector leader accounting for 80% of tights production throughout Europe. CORAFIL has taken part in this success, taking advantage of the full range of new market opportunities, and concentrates its production on LYCRA® covered stretch fibres for women's legwear.
3. How has CORAFIL responded to increasing global competition from emerging markets?
At the dawn of the new millennium, CORAFIL responded to the new market demands with a significant investment in latest-generation machinery, and an expansion that led to the launch of NEWFIL. The company adopted a twofold approach to market penetration. CORAFIL, with Paolo Corazza at the helm, focused on producing covered LYCRA® fibre primarily for the Western European market, while NEWFIL, led by me, targeted the Eastern European markets. As a result, we have gained market share in the women's legwear and weaving sectors. NEWFIL is currently involved in further expansion of our production capacity with the construction of a new mill in Ukraine. The expansion project is an ambitious initiative that anticipates slow, but steady growth for several years. In almost forty years of operations, CORAFIL, and now NEWFIL, have gained an excellent reputation among our clients. Not only for the quality of our products thanks to LYCRA® fiber, but also for the valuable services we offer—especially the consultancy and technical assistance we provide on our client's premises.
4. Can you tell us about CORAFIL and NEWFIL’s role in developing LYCRA® fibre innovations?
CORAFIL and NEWFIL have extended our operations to enable us to work alongside INVISTA's R&D division in order to develop new LYCRA® fibre innovations. We work alongside INVISTA in a relationship that is a true partnership that benefits both companies.
As CORAFIL in Western Europe, our company's commitment to quality automatically involves the choice of premium LYCRA® fibre and its innovations. In this context competition is increasingly focused on the ability to confront new market demands, especially from an environmental point of view. In fact, CORAFIL now places a special emphasis on offering more sustainable products made with less environmental impact. We are developing an increasing number of recycled products and products derived from recycled polyamide, as well as working on recyclable packaging. All these processes are extremely delicate and demanding.
As NEWFIL in Eastern Europe, which is a newer market, we are promoting the adoption of LYCRA® fibre as a distinctive ingredient for mills interested in raising their quality standards to bring their production in line with European levels. Here our strategy involves developing almost all garments on the basis of prototypes that already contain LYCRA® fibre. We offer this by default and explain to our customers the competitive advantages of using a premium product that is recognised throughout the world for its quality and long lasting performance. This strategy reflects our desires both as CORAFIL, and in our relationship with INVISTA. It’s proving to be a successful choice.
5. How has your partnership with INVISTA helped your businesses?
It's an all-round partnership from both a commercial/supplying services and R&D viewpoint. Our ongoing collaboration with INVISTA’s laboratories and heads of Research & Development have resulted in the creation of new, cutting-edge products. As NEWFIL, especially during the market penetration stage in Eastern Europe, we required a reliable, collaborative producer. Offering covered LYCRA® fibre produced in Ukraine, but made by Italians experienced in the field, enabled us to gain market share and, above all, position sales on premium products. The collaboration with INVISTA's R&D division is a crucial element in our ability to assist clients on their own premises while qualitative tests are being carried out on products using LYCRA® fibre. Our risk-taking and investment ability, coupled with our choice of a high-quality partner in INVISTA, is producing excellent results and has enabled us to raise quality standards in these emerging markets.