WINFIELD, Ala. (Jan. 7)—Acordis Industrial Fibers Inc. has begun operations at a new tire cord converting plant in Winfield that replaces converting capacity discontinued in mid-December at its Scottsboro, Ala., factory. The highly automated operation is designed to make Acordis cost-competitive with offshore competition, according to Lowell D. Bivens, president and general manager of the U.S. subsidiary of Netherlands-based Acordis Industrial Fibers B.V. The facility is phasing in its initial capacity of 10,000 metric tons and can be expanded up to an additional 5,000 tons as demand dictates, Bivens said. Converting capacity at Scottsboro was discontinued Dec. 20, the company said. Together with overall restructuring measures implemented at the same time, Acordis laid off 250 hourly and salaried workers in December. The new operation in Winfield is known as Southeastern Converting Inc.; employment there initially will be between 40 and 60.