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1888 Mills Saves $140,000 in Energy Savings and Maintenance Costs

Most of us mindlessly use terrycloth towels. In the bathroom, kitchen or garage, we use towels every day in homes, hospitality and healthcare. But most of us don’t work at 1888 Mills where towels are the livelihood. Eight million pounds every year to be precise.

After getting its start manufacturing cost-effective products to the healthcare industry, 40 years later, 1888 Mills has become the fourth largest towel manufacturer in the world, and the largest towel manufacturer in the U.S. With facilities in the United States, Pakistan and Bangladesh, 1888 Mills’ towels are used in almost every corner of the world. 1888 Mills is recognized as a leader in innovation in the textile industry and produces 176,000 pounds of towels per week.

To offer some perspective, 176,000 pounds of towels is equivalent to the weight of about 54 compact cars. That is a lot of towels and consistently producing that volume of towels requires the optimal performance of air-jet looms. An air-jet loom is a shuttleless loom that uses air to shoot a projectile that forces the yarn through the weft. This repeated process weaves products like sheets, clothing items and towels. An air compressor powers the air-jet loom with enough pressure to move the yarn. In its North America facility in Griffin, Georgia, the 1888 Mills weave shop is equipped with 31 air-jet looms that weave processed yarn into towels.

“Our top priority is to meet production needs, and we can’t run effectively without functioning air compressors,” said Brian Bailey, Facilities Engineer for 1888 Mills.

Over the last two years, 1888 Mills has had increasing demand. At the same time, production downtime came from compressed air inefficiencies. Bailey needed a bold approach with enduring value. That led to a compressed air system upgrade that allowed 1888 to save more than $80,000 per year in energy costs. The company also no longer needed to invest approximately $60,000 to maintain and service the older units. The reduction in maintenance-related costs and new service plans, combined with energy savings, resulted in a total project savings of $140,000.

An aluminum manifold provides even air distribution throughout the 1888 Mills facility.


With the new equipment and maintenance services, 1888 Mills received an unexpected rebate from Georgia Power because of the energy savings and achieved a cost reduction of $7,000 per month, which equates to a savings of more than $80,000 when compared year-over-year as depicted in the chart below.

As shown above, 1888 Mills uses 13,040,090 kWh of power plant-wide per year. Peak demand varies between 2,210 and 2,462 kWh per month. The company’s annual electric cost is now estimated at $585,747.70 versus $665,450 before the air compressor system upgrade.

1888 Mills was originally looking for a solution to maximize uptime yet ended up with so much more. Saving time, energy and cost along with peace of mind was priceless to Bailey and the 1888 Mills team. After all, keeping customers comfortable with terrycloth towels is their livelihood.


The cooling tower and pump skid at the 1888 Mills facility.