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Compact Or Fancy

New spinning technologies, system improvements provide cost effectiveness, enable customized products

Spinning TechnologyBy Helmut H.A. Hergeth Compact Or Fancy New spinning technologies, systemp improvements provide cost effectiveness, enable customized products. Looking back a few months, innovations or new trends in spinning were probably the last thing on the mind of anybody who saw prices dwindle and markets disappear. But, it looks like the situation is improving, and attentions can now be directed to issues of technical progress. At the same time, it becomes more obvious than ever that any technology must withstand the test of economic feasibility. This is more easily done with incremental improvements on existing systems, such as automation or improvements in speed and productivity. It is more difficult if there are significant changes in yarn properties, because making such changes also requires predicting market reactions.  Spinning PreparationIn the area of opening, cleaning and carding, Textile World continues to see improvements in existing systems. Typically, cleaning is done more efficiently, and the capacity of the equipment increases. In order to produce more consistent yarn qualities, cotton opening lines allow more bales to be processed simultaneously in order to ensure a continuous and evenly blended lot. Germany-based Trutzschlers Blendomat BDT 019, for example, allows the processing of up to 180 bales. 

Trutzschlers new DK 903 cards can process up to 240 pounds of cotton per hour (lb/hr), and the integrated draw frame (IDF) combines the carding process with the drawing process to give a single operating stage. This development shows a trend towards higher production rates and efficiencies, which makes a lot of sense in an economies-of-scale world. At the same time, the industry also is faced with a trend towards more customized and specialized orders, resulting in smaller batch sizes. In the DK 903, the aluminum flats can be adjusted via a servo motor to accommodate faster changes in fiber composition. This capability is becoming quite important because the number of changes increases as the cards become faster.  Just like the DK 803, the machine uses the triple licker-in setup, but design improvements in the cylinder-doffer transfer allow higher production rates even for polyester up to 180 lb/hr. Because cards are completely enclosed systems, the traditional check of the carding web has become impossible. Trutzschlers on-line nep counting device, Nep Control Trutzschler (NCT), views the web through a traversing camera beneath the take-up roll as the web leaves the doffer. In drafting, Rieter, Switzerland, traditionally has dominated the market. The RSB D-30 has been one of the primary machines in terms of quality and production speed in the 1,000 meters-per-minute (m/min) range but the recent introduction of Trutzschlers HSR 1000 may bring some competition into this segment. Dominant Spinning SystemsIn terms of spinning systems, ring spinning still dominates the market, followed by rotor spinning. For specific yarn types, Austria-based Fehrers DREF system has offered an additional choice for some time now. Traditionally, rotor yarns were limited to coarser yarn counts, as were DREF yarns. In todays systems, however, Rieters R20 produces rotor yarns up to Ne 60, as does Germany-based Schlafhorsts Autocoro 312. The DREF systems are more limited in the yarn counts, but the DREF 3000 can spin yarn counts up to Ne 24. Manufacturing cost and desired yarn properties are the issues determining the choice of system.Suessen, Germany, recently introduced the TC family of rotors suitable for coarse and bulky yarns such as denim yarns. The grouping comprises the latest, improved version of the T-Rotors. Suessen claims the new rotors produce good results when spinning low-quality yarns, as well as bulky fibers. The T-Rotor is available in diameters of 36, 40, 46 and 56 millimeters (mm) for Suessens SE 7/8/9/10/11 and SpinBoxes SC and SQ. A 33-mm-diameter rotor is available for the SE 9/10/11, SpinBox SC and SpinBox SQ 9.Italy-based Savio S.p.A. offers a rotor-spinning frame that produces yarn with a regular structure that the company claims is very similar to ring-spun yarn. The FRS rotor-spinning frame is computer-controlled using Savios Intelligent Control System. The system monitors the spinning and winding units, trolley functions and reserve take-up magazines. Each machine holds two independent fronts that feature automatic distribution of the empty tubes, as well as an automatic system for end-piecing, package-doffing and rotor-cleaning. The FRS frame can produce low-twist yarns from polyester, acrylic and viscose microfibers, with a high degree of flexibility, according to Savio. How They CompareA couple of spinning systems were introduced in the past, and it is worthwhile to see where they stand today. One of these newer systems is the compact spinning system Rieters ComforSpin® process. ComforSpin attempts to optimize the geometry of the spinning triangle with the help of suction in a perforated delivery drum that replaces the delivery cylinder. 
In this zone, the drawn material is compacted before twisting, resulting in reduced hairiness, higher tenacity, improved regularity and, as a result, improved appearance in the fabric. Rieters K44 can spin yarns up to Ne 160 for cotton, or Ne 80 for blends or 100-percent man-made materials. Com4® yarns already have a solid market base in Europe for fine cotton yarns, and the Asian market also is very accepting at this time.  Japan-based Murata continues to produce yarn using air. The MJS air-jet spinning systems produce blended and 100-percent man-made yarns, and the machines are used almost exclusively in the United States. This sliver-to-yarn process runs considerably faster than ring spinning and rotor spinning, and it allows the production of rather fine yarn counts (up to about Ne 60). Yarn production is very cost-efficient because of reduced space, labor and maintenance requirements. The yarn produced is smoother than ring-spun yarn, and it has the characteristic air-jet structure. 
Muratas Vortex Spinner (MVS) is capable of spinning at 400 m/min and produces blended and 100-percent cotton yarns ranging from Ne 15 to Ne 60. Vortex spinning has been accepted globally and today is probably used more outside the United States than within. MVS systems are running in Brazil, Europe, Turkey, Australia, Indonesia and Thailand. Until now, the MVS 851 was the most common, and it was available only with a piecer. Now, the MVS 810 also is available with a knotter, which makes it possible to produce core yarns and twin-spun yarns, and to process spandex.  The Vortex process claims some advantages in producing core yarns, because the filament core is not twisted during the spinning process and thus suffers no damage. By supplying some dyed yarn into the drafting zone, it also is possible to produce a splash yarn, allowing for more differentiation in the market. The splash yarn device produces a yarn that has scattered color.As in the past, yarn producers must design a strategy that blends cost efficiency and product differentiation. Increased productivity tends to lead to reduced manufacturing cost, but, as mentioned earlier, it is essential that product changes do not cause a lot of production downtime. The ability to change materials and settings quickly and efficiently is crucial. In addition, there are a number of add-ons available for spinning machines that enable the production of very different yarns, effect yarns or fancy yarns. Switzerland-based Amsler Tex AG (Symtech Inc., Spartanburg) has been a supplier of such equipment for some years now, and the basic principle in product variation is to differentiate a yarn in terms of structure, fiber composition or color. In many cases, this means producing effects that make the yarn look more old-fashioned or rustic, but produced in a controlled environment, suited for modern fabric production.  Amslers product range includes core-yarn attachments (such as for spandex), as well as color-insertion devices, and, of course, slub-yarn devices. Amslers multi-count effect yarn is produced by not only controlling the back roll to introduce a slub, or thick spot in the yarn, but at the same time controlling the front roll to ensure consistent twist (twist multiple or alpha-value). Since the twist level to a large degree controls yarn parameters such as strength and appearance, controlling twist is extremely important, especially if longer slubs are to be created. Because all aspects of slub creation are carefully controlled with Amslers devices, the yarn easily is reproducible for additional orders. The controlled creation also ensures there are no thin spots after the slubs, resulting in a constant strength of the yarn.
Amsler's core-spinning devices give textile manufacturers the ability to create a premium yarn. The ability to create fancy yarns considerably increases the product range for a company, and, in many cases, specialty yarns can obtain a considerable premium in the marketplace. According to Amsler data, such premiums can result in payback periods of only a few months rather than years (See Figure 1).  
 Symtechs Vice President Rodger Hartwig reports Amsler has more than 200 spinning machines installed in the United States and Canada, as well as another 150 in Mexico.It continues to amaze that an industry as old as spinning never seems to go senile. In spite of economic ups and downs, there are new developments continuously, either addressing issues of production volume, labor efficiency and flexibility; or improving the ability to create new products; or improving the quality of products. Editors Note: Helmut H.A. Hergeth, Ph.D., is an associate professor in textile and apparel technology and management at North Carolina State Universitys College of Textiles, Raleigh, N.C. August 2002