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Tradition And Technology

Frottana-Textile revitalizes terry production with Sulzer installation.

ATI Special Report Tradition And Technology Frotanna-Textil revitalizes terry production with Sulzer installation. The Oberlausitz region in the German state of Saxony has a long history of textile production. The first terry loom in Germany was put into operation there in 1856, in the small town of Grochonau. Around 1900, there were some 2,250 looms in Grochonau, including 700 terry looms, producing a wide range of fabrics. Today, the towns Damask and Terry Museum bears witness to the skills and quality standards that evolved over the course of time.Frottana-Textil GmbHandCo. KG, founded in Grochonau in 1856, grew with that tradition. Today, the 180-strong workforce produces terry products marketed under the brand names Frottana and Move. The Move brand is noted for top-quality terry goods in exquisite designs. Frottana-Textil supplies its products terry fabrics, finished terry towels in a wide range of sizes and bathrobes mainly to European clients, including all leading vendors of this type of textile, and the products are becoming ever more popular among end-users. In the past few years, turnover has increased by over 10 percent per year. 

To keep pace with increasing demand, production facilities have been modernized to reflect the state of the art. The weaving room has been completely renewed in order to create a highly flexible weaving facility for high-end quality and exclusive patterning. The main effort in the modernization was focused on the replacement of older looms with modern Sulzer Textil G6200 F-model rapier weaving machines, whose short set-up times allow cost-effective production, even of small orders. All of these machines are equipped with electronically controlled jacquard heads manufactured by Stli.With the assistance of specialists from Switzerland-based Sulzer Textil, commissioning of the new weaving facility at the end of May 2000 went off without a hitch. The anticipated plant efficiency level was achieved within just a few weeks. Ludwig Marschner, Frottanas weaving manager, said: We have achieved the flexibility we wanted. Setting up the machines is easy and 100-percent reproducible. The error rate is minimal, thanks to the machines far-reaching self-checking capability (by microprocessors). The G6200s dynamic pile control allows special patterning effects to be produced. Changing from three-pick to seven-pick terry is possible at any time. Each pick can be programmed on the microprocessor and beaten up separately. No special tools are needed. With these machines, we can surpass present standards regarding patterning options and quality.Managing Director Matthias Kretzschmer added: Apart from substantial cost savings, our company will be able to fulfill customers wishes in the future with even higher levels of flexibility and quality. This is especially true when you consider that the use of modern weaving technology, backed up by a universal CAD-CAM system, opens up new and fascinating perspectives in patterning for future collections. Loop Formation TechnologyTerry fabrics are produced by simultaneous processing of two warps: the ground warp, with tautly tensioned ends; and the pile warp, with lightly tensioned ends. A special weaving method enables loops to be formed with the lightly tensioned warp ends on the fabric surface. With the basic method, known as three-pick terry, three picks form a pick group. Using a special device on the weaving machine, two picks are inserted at a variable distance the loose-pick distance from the cloth fell, according to the desired loop height. When the third pick is beaten up, the reed pushes the pick group on the tautly tensioned ground warps towards the fell, and the loose-pile warp ends woven into the pick group are uprighted to form loops. Depending on the weave, loops are created on one or both sides of the fabric.For complex patterns, the G6200 series is equipped with a jacquard machine. For less demanding patterns, a dobby is sufficient, and simple, non-patterned fabrics can be woven using a tappet motion. Terry fabrics are often very complex, combining differently colored warp ends with loop patterns.Terry fabrics are subject to changing fashions and demands for new qualities and designs. Completely new patterns can be designed, thanks to the rapid development of electronics, with microprocessor controls and highly dynamic stepping motors combined with modern mechanisms. One such mechanism is the special terry sley gear with dynamic pile control, as used by Sulzer in the G6200 F. Via a servo motor, the beat-up position for each pick, and thus the type of terry and pile height, can be freely programmed for each pick group. In this way, 200 different loose-pick distances, and hence the same number of pile heights, can be programmed in any order desired. Thus, the fabric designer has a broad range of patterning options, and the weaving engineer a technology for improving the fabric structure, because the transition from one pattern element to the next can be woven with greater precision. Sculptured TerryWith these elements, Sulzer specialists have developed a new patterning method referred to as sculptured terry. At each full beat-up, two pile loops of different heights are formed in weft direction. The secret of this method lies in the fact that two loose-pick groups formed at distances corresponding to the pile heights are beaten up to the cloth fell together.For two short loops, the pile threads are woven into both loose-pick groups, and for one large loop, into the second loose-pick group only. It was difficult to develop a basic weave that results in neat loops without excessive friction between warp and weft at full beat-up. The solution was found in a special seven-pick weave combined with full beat-up at the sixth and seventh pick. In this way, a second pile height is also formed in weft direction, making sculptured patterning possible by the difference in pile height in warp and weft direction.For this kind of pattern formation, freely programmable sley travel, as is found on the G6200 series, is necessary. Microprocessor control allows the loose-pick distance to be programmed easily and individually for each pick. The G6200 F can be equipped with a control system for a maximum of eight different weft colors or yarns, and a jacquard machine, thus giving fabric designers practically unlimited scope for the design of terry fabrics.  For additional information on Sulzer weaving technology, contact Verner Huber or Rudolf Vogel, Sulzer Textil, at +41 (0)52-262 65 54 or www.sulzer.com/str_home.html. This story was published with permission of Sulzer Textil.

February 2001