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Microfilament Yarns Take Hold

Heberlein Fiber Technology contributes to the continued growth of polyester microfilament yarn production.

Ferdinand Bosch

The MigraJet migration jet (left) improves microfilament yarn quality, especially yarn cleanliness, during spinning, according to Heberlein Fiber Technology Inc.

M icrofibers have been produced on an industrial scale since 1970. For many years they were manufactured exclusively for high-priced specialty articles such as imitation leather, extremely high-density sportswear and high-performance cleaning cloths. Thus, the production of microfilament yarns worldwide had yet to reach 100,000 tonnes per year by 1992.

In recent years, however, microfilament yarns have experienced an unbelievably sustained boom in that they have been applied to high-value but attractively priced, stylish silk-like garments. By 2004, annual production had risen significantly above 1 million tonnes and it continues to increase. The main producers of microfibers today are found in the Far East — predominantly in Japan, Taiwan and Korea; and increasingly also in China.

China, Taiwan and Korea together produce 870,000 tonnes of microfilament yarn — a 73.8-percent share of the amount produced worldwide.

Almost all microfilament yarns are spun from partially oriented yarn and subsequently false-twist drawn textured yarn (DTY). They range in count from 33 decitex (dtex) to 200 dtex with filaments from 0.90 deniers per filament (dpf) to 0.52 dpf. The trend is to even finer filaments down to 0.24 dpf.

It goes without saying that the manufacture of microfilament yarns is much more demanding than that of standard yarns. The yarn quality required for efficient further processing demands a superior polymer quality; optimized process technology; outstanding yarn preparation; and, above all, an intermingling designed for the processes described below.

Intermingled Microfilament Yarns
A significant step in the improvement of microfilament yarn quality, especially yarn cleanliness during spinning, was achieved by the development of the MigraJet™ migration jet by Switzerland-based Heberlein Fiber Technology Inc. Its application provides for a reduction in the number of yarn breaks. The MigraJet compacts the individual filaments of the yarn and thereby achieves an exact spacing between the thread lines. It also causes an even spreading of the spin finish into the center of the yarn.

For trouble-free processing and a homogeneous woven fabric appearance, a high number of knots and, generally, a soft, gentle, uniform interlacing are necessary.

In some markets, such as India and China, a more stable interlacing is often also demanded. These quality criteria are not achieved by the interlacing jets that have been available up to now. These traditional jets produce insufficient interlacing knots at low pressure without the required regularity.

The jet plates of the new series 4 (142-2) — specially developed for this application with the patent-pending Air Twist Chamber (ATC) for use in the SlideJet™-FT15-2/P142-2 — meet these requirements. The P142-2 jet plate at 1.2 bar pressure achieves more than 120 very regular interlacing knots. The air consumption in the high stability range is approximately 20-percent lower than previous models.

Significant savings of spin finish are achieved compared with roll or weir application. The MigraJet causes the filaments to intermingle without interlacing knots. This also has a positive influence on drawing quality.
Heberlein Fiber Technology Inc. has developed a new series of jet plates with patent-pending Air Twist Chamber for use in the SlideJet-FT15-2/P142-2.

Microfilament Yarns Have Found Their Niche
Textured polyester microfilament yarns have established themselves with a solid 14 percent of the total DTY market. Under the aspect of rapidly growing polyester textured yarn production, that is more than remarkable. This development can no longer be seen only as a specialty or short-term fashion example. Rather, it shows a strong upward trend. This also is because consumption of this yarn not only is limited to a few niches, but also is widely supported already in the outerwear sector.

The manufacture of fault-free microfilament yarns for further processing without interruption necessitates corresponding adjustments in spinning and false-twist texturing. The correct yarn compaction is especially important.

In spinning, the MigraJet provides yarn interlacing without knots and enables significant savings and an improved spreading of the spin finish.

The SlideJet-FT15-2/P142-2 interlacing jet, developed for this yarn category in texturing, sets new standards not hitherto reached. It is the only jet that achieves such an intensive, soft but nevertheless regular interlacing at less than 1 bar air pressure.

Editors Note: Ferdinand Bosch is responsible for marketing coordination at Heberlein Fiber Technology Inc.

November/December 2005