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´╗┐Hosiery equipment manufacturer showcases machines in Conover The world's No. 1 hosiery equipment manufacturer put its best foot forward yesterday at the Manufacturing Solutions Center. since 2001, according to MSC Executive Director Dan St. Louis. And manufacturing facilities are no longer the dusty, dirty sweatshops that people envision. Like the MSC, they're more like laboratories bright, clean spaces filled with high tech machinery. As a live feed played on a TV screen outside the showcase, people gathered around the Lonati equipment churning out socks and tights at an alarming rate. The star of the show was the modestly named GL523 a lean, clean, thrumming machine that looks more like something physicists might use to smash atoms than an apparatus that knits the humble sock. But nike investor relations this machine can make a nike irons mean sock. Two at a time, actually, in three different colors. With any pattern you want. And in a final flourish, the machine will also close the toe of the sock by itself, then drop it neatly into a bin. "This is what the industry is now," St. Louis said. "You have to understand electronics, the pneumatics, the patterns used. It used to be mechanical, now it's all programming." Chad Burgess, a manufacturing and design specialist at Slane Hosiery in High Point, examined the prototype with interest. "We make 18,000 to 20,000 socks a day," Burgess explained. Virtually all of them for brands like Nike and Kirkland are produced on Lonati machines. Burgess said the GL523, which makes two socks at a time rather than one, could speed up production dramatically. to the hosiery and sock industry. St. Louis estimated Lonati knitting machines make up 95 percent of the market. He's been coming to North Carolina for years due to the region's role as the center of hosiery manufacturing. Lonati said he had also witnessed the steady nike x supreme outflow of manufacturing jobs to Chinese, Turkish and Pakistani competitors. "Also there was a slowdown in manufacturing in Europe," Lonati said. "There, it's still down. But here, it's picking up."