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ITMA Technology: Staple Spinning

William Oxenham, Ph.D., Technical Editor

The overall impression of ITMA 2011 was that it seemed to be bigger and busier than its predecessors in Birmingham, United Kingdom, and Munich, Germany. In the spinning area, the exhibits tended to be well-attended by visitors, and there was significant interest in the offerings of the major machine makers. One general observation is that there seemed to be a lot of use made of iPads by agents in the various booths. These were used to provide illustrations and animations to explain the operation of various machines and components. As with every ITMA, there were first showings of machines, which were new to most people, and, naturally, these seemed to attract the attention of the largest number of show attendees. Additionally, most manufacturers made reference to energy efficiency either by use of more efficient drives or by using machines that required less space for the same production. There was significant use of individual drives to run components in multiple-position machines, which offers not only flexibility, but also improved energy efficiency.

Opening, Cleaning And Blending
It has been clear that there has been a growing interest among various machine makers about how to address the issue of foreign fibers. The broad approaches are as follows:

  • Tackle this at the earliest stages in the blowroom.
  • Address the problem during processing — for example, during drawing — by identifying offending fibers in the web or sliver.
  • Eliminate the unwanted components during clearing in winding, or on the spinning machine.
Of these options, the first seems to be the best approach because it removes the potential for larger impurities to be broken up and more widely distributed throughout the batch.

The Jingling 6 Sorter from Jingwei Textile Machinery Co. Ltd., China, uses four cameras to detect foreign fibers, and a system of 16 valves for their elimination. The system is claimed to be capable of removing polypropylene (PP), flax, hair, and white and colored threads, as well as fabric and plastic pieces.

A similar system is the Vision Shield InSpect4 from Jossi Systems AG, Switzerland, which uses four imaging spectroscopes to detect colored fibers. Use of the VTect system adds the ability to detect optically brightened fibers, and the optional MagicEye M1 detects all plastic materials. Jossi claims that its optimized air nozzles minimize the amount of good cotton ejected.

A major attraction on Germany-based Trützschler GmbH & Co. KG's stand was the Securoprop SP-FPU foreign part separation system, which was displayed with a matrix containing 15 broad types of contaminants and an assessment of the negative impact of each on product and process quality. This system, in common with those above, uses different types of sensors for different impurities. In this case, these are referred to as modules, including:
  • Color Module — using multiple cameras to detect colored fibers and yarns as well as white PP;
  • P Module — using polarized light to detect transparent and semi-opaque PP; and
  • UV Module — utilizing ultraviolet (UV) light to isolate brightened fibers such as PP and polyester.
The timing of the ejection jets, which blow out the impurities, is obviously critical and is efficiently achieved by having sensors that determine the speed of tufts in the duct. Thus, the delay between sensing and extraction can be controlled.

An additional feature promoted by Trützschler for use on the Cleanomat units is the Wastecontrol system. A similar system was previously shown working on the waste from the taker-in on the cotton card, but significant advantages were claimed for the present system. By analyzing the trash removed, such as fibers and trash components, it is possible to optimize trash removal while minimizing the fiber components. This is reported to offer significant potential savings in material costs.

It was interesting to view the developments by the major players in this sector, and particularly the various claims as to who had the largest carding area and who offered the highest production.
  • Germany-based Rieter Group's C 70 High-Performance Card is labeled as "the card with the maximum active carding area."
  • Trützschler's TC 11 is claimed to have "the largest carding section in the world."
  • Italy-based Marzoli S.p.A.'s Galileo Card C701 makes claim to "the greatest carding surface of the world market today."
The main issues leading to these conflicting claims are associated with card width and working surface of the cylinder. At the previous ITMA, Trützschler introduced the idea of making greater use of the cylinder by reconfiguring the machine with more stationary flats, and this approach has also been adopted by Marzoli. Rieter has used a 1.5-meter working width for some time, and this has also been adopted by Marzoli, whereas the TC 11 has a working width of 1.28 meters. While larger 1.3-meter cylinders are retained by Rieter and Trützschler, a smaller 1-meter cylinder is used by Marzoli. Another difference in the cards is that Marzoli only offers a single feed, whereas the other two manufacturers also have multiple feeds.

Rieter's J 20 air-jet spinning machine features two independently operated sides and a sliver processing arrangement that is expected to be advantageous for jet spinning of finer yarns.

Drawing And Combing
The trend in draw frames seemed to be more oriented toward quality, ease of machine use and efficiency, rather than increases in production speeds, which were around 1,000 to 1,100 meters per minute (m/min), with lower speeds for combing applications. Obviously, machines were automated and optionally equipped with autoleveling systems.

showed a new Draw frame-DF1 (DFR1) with pneumatic loading of top rollers. As with other manufacturers, draft is electronically controlled, airflow around the machine is managed for dust minimization, and efforts are made to avoid the impact of trash buildup in the feed to the coiler.

Rieter's new RSB-D 45 draw frame has a production capacity of 10 metric tons per day, with improved autoleveler quality. Rieter also offers the SB-D 45 draw frame without autleveling. Significant effort has gone into maintaining the quality of the sliver when it passes through the coiler, and this is an issue for both cotton and man-made fibers. Improvements have been realized by optimizing the coiler surface and angling the feed-tube.

Trützschler's TD 8 draw frame with autoleveling utilizes a new drafting system and filter. The drafting system is easily set, for ratch and draft, and the newly developed input sensor Disc Leveller for short-term autoleveling is claimed to offer measuring accuracy and long-term stability. An additional feature of the draw frame is the possibility of measuring the drafting force in the back drafting zone. By measuring the force for a range of back drafts, it is possible to optimize the back draft for different batches of fibers, in order to improve sliver quality. Trützschler also offers the TD 7 draw frame without leveling.

Caipo Automazione Industriale S.r.l.
, Italy, exhibited its fancy sliver machine, which combines different-colored long- or short-staple slivers into one sliver resembling a space-dyed or mélange product. The sliver can be fed to almost any spinning frame to produce fancy yarn.

Combing machines were shown by Lakshmi Machine Works Ltd., India, which presented its Comber LK69 model; and Marzoli, which presented its Comber CM 600 — both having a maximum speed of 600 nips per minute.

One interesting feature in roving production was Switzerland-based Rotorcraft AG's new RoCoR 3.10 compacting system for use on the roving frame. The compactor is a guide that condenses the drafted fibers and which is held in position against the front bottom roller by magnetic force. The advantage is that the roving is less hairy and bulky, and potentially greater lengths can be wound on the roving package. Additionally, because of the compactness, it is claimed that the twist in the roving can be reduced by 20 percent, leading to production benefits.

Ring Spinning
Ring spinning is still the most significant system worldwide, and, as expected, there were several manufacturers showing their latest offerings. In general, machines are equipped with autodoffing and the potential of link-winding. The ability to produce slub yarns and incorporate a core, such as an elastomer, was available on many machines as standard option or a retrofit, with units available from companies such as Amsler Tex AG, Switzerland, and Pinter S.A., Spain. Similarly, most manufacturers offered the potential of compact spinning, which is very popular in Asia, and this was either a feature of the new machine or could be added as a customization with components available from companies such as Spindelfabrik Suessen GmbH, Germany, which offers the EliTe® and EliTwist® systems; or Rotorcraft with its RoCoS 1.21 short-staple and 2.21 long-staple systems.

Marzoli showed its MDS1 electronic ring frame, which is equipped with a multi-motor drive and up to 1,824 spindles. The machine has an integrated slubbing device and also offers a new approach to producing compact yarns — so-called mac 1 technology, which involves the use of a secondary small, 17-millimeter (mm) front roller with a suction nozzle between it and the normal front roller. The manufacturer claims this system gives less hairy yarns than competitors' systems.

Japan-based Toyota Industries Corp.'s RX300 ring frame is available in either the R300G gear-driven draft system or the RX300E electronic draft control. The latter version also offers the option to produce slub yarns by accelerating the back roller and decelerating the front roller. The machine is also available with a perforated apron compact spinning device, which has a dedicated fan for each group of 48 spindles.

Oerlikon Schlafhorst, Germany, announced the Zinser 351 Impact FX compact spinning frame for short-staple fibers and 451 for long-staple, with claims that the improved control over suction along the frame ensures improved and consistent quality across all spindles on the machine.

Rieter exhibited its well-established K 45 Compact Spinning Machine and was thus the only company showing all major spinning technologies: ring; compact; rotor; and jet/vortex.

Rotor Spinning
The three major players in this sector each had machinery on show, while Suessen publicized the various rotor spinning components that it supplies.

Savio S.p.A., Italy, showed its FlexiRotorS 3000 machine, which utilizes the Suessen SC-S SpinBox. Savio was an early promoter of flexibility in rotor spinning, starting with the possibility of spinning different yarns on either side of the machine. At ITMA, the exhibition machine was set up to spin Ne24 viscose at 135,000 revolutions per minute (rpm) (233 m/min) on one side; while the other was spinning Ne12 cotton at 130,000 rpm (212 m/min).

Rieter's new fully automatic R 60 is offered in up to 540 positions per machine, with the option of independent machine sides for flexibility of production. The machine can be supplied with up to four high-speed robots and can be equipped with an integrated slubbing device supplied by Amsler Tex. The claims for the machine are efficiency and quality, and the use of the Twistunit — consisting of the nozzle, channel insert and twist stop — enables rapid lot changes without the need for tools. The maximum speed for the machine is 170,000 rpm. At the show, the machine was spinning Ne12 polyester at 90,000 rpm (170 m/min) and Ne21 cotton at 145,000 rpm (222 m/min).

One of the highlights of the show in the spinning sector was the new Autocoro 8 rotor spinning frame from Oerlikon Schlafhorst. While this machine had several new developments, the biggest impact was the fact that part of the machine was demonstrated running at 200,000 rpm using a 23-mm rotor. The machine has up to 480 independently driven positions and can process five different lots at one time. The winding system has been improved to yield much better-built packages with up to 20-percent more yarn than packages from other machines. Additionally, each position has its own integrated piecing unit. The manufacturer claims the machine is already a success in industry, with India being a prime market.

Vortex And Jet Spinning
While it has been generally known that Rieter had a commercial jet spinning machine, with installations in Turkey and Indonesia — and, indeed, ComforJet® yarns made on the machine had been available for a while — for most people, this year's ITMA was the first opportunity to see the J 20 air-jet spinning machine. With this machine, Rieter offers spinners an alternative supplier to Murata Machinery Ltd., Japan, in the jet/vortex fasciated yarn arena. The major advantage claimed for the J 20 is that it offers "maximal productivity with minimal space requirements."

The immediate visual impact of the machine is that, unlike the Murata Vortex® Spinner (MVS), Rieter's J 20 machine is double-sided and the cans of feed sliver are positioned underneath the machine, in the same manner as for a rotor spinning frame. The second difference is that the sliver passes up through the 4/4 drafting system, and the final yarn is wound at the top of the machine. As the immediate future of jet spinning is for finer yarns and, hence, lighter slivers, the shorter distance from feed can to drafting system would seem to be advantageous. Additionally, it is possible to have each side of the machine working independently, providing greater flexibility. Indeed, during the show, one side of the machine was spinning 1.3-decitex (dtex), 38-mm rayon into Ne30 yarn from 4-kilotex (ktex) sliver at 400 m/min. The other side was producing Ne50 yarn at 380 m/min from 2.8-ktex combed extra-long 38-mm sliver.

The 120-position machine can be equipped with four robots — two per side, with a robot management system integrated into the frame. The use of individual drives is claimed to afford better potential for higher speeds and longer machines. An issue with this technology is that a significant amount of fiber waste is produced. Figures given were 0.2 to 0.4 percent for polyester, 3.0 to 3.5 percent for combed cotton with 10-percent noil in combing, and 4.0 to 5.0 percent for cotton.

Murata showed its third-generation MVS, the Vortex III 870. This single-sided machine, which is available in up to 96 units, has a maximum speed of 500 m/min. The company claims to have made several improvements aimed at value, vantage and versatility; and a significant breakthrough has been the use of a Spinning Tension Stabilization (STS) System. This system is based around the replacement of the yarn withdrawal nip rollers with a special friction roller and is claimed to give consistent and reliable yarn quality. Closer examination of the machine indicates that the system is an adaptation of the Tension Ruler, which acts like a yarn accumulator between the withdrawal roller and the take-up unit. While this is not new, it is surprising that similar systems have not been adopted by other machinery makers. The machine at the exhibition was demonstrated running Ne40 at 500 m/min from a blend of 50-percent combed cotton, 40-percent 1.3-dtex white modal and 10-percent 1.7-dtex black modal.

Other Yarn Machines
As with every ITMA, there was a group of manufacturers offering novelty machines making yarns for niche markets. Several manufacturers showed twisted chenille machines, and Macart Textiles (Machinery) Ltd., United Kingdom, exhibited its S300 integrated self-twist spinning and bulking machine. Caipo showed its Colorpiú injection color slub system, which essentially controls the feed of two rovings per spindle on a ring frame. The rovings can be fed alternately, thus maintaining the count but changing yarn color; or one can be run continuously and the other intermittently, thus creating slubs.

There was another group of machines that combine a drafting system with a small circular knitting unit. The drafted fibers are embedded into the knitted structure, which could be wound or twisted, and this gives a very bulky and extremely soft yarn. Italy-based Pafasystem S.r.l.'s machine is called Air-Jet because air is used to control the incorporation of the drafted staple fibers into the knitted base structure.

This approach in fancy yarns segues into a novelty of the show, Germany-based Mayer & Cie. GmbH & Co. KG's spinitsystems machine — which was not available for viewing by the majority of show attendees. The system is a circular knitting machine that is fed with rovings. The rovings are drafted by three roller drafting systems, and the output passes through an air jet before being knitted into a fabric. As the fabric is claimed to contain parallel fibers, the air jet is probably functioning as false twister, and thus, the fabric parallels those made decades ago from twistless yarns.

While it is not officially spinning but more correctly testing, there is no doubt that the new Uster Quantum 3 clearing system from Uster Technologies AG, Switzerland, will have a major impact on yarn manufacturing and subsequent systems. The new unit uses two sensors and can thus detect and remove foreign fibers, but the strength is the software support that goes with the sensor. Not only does this potentially enable yarns to be better cleared, but also, the clearing can be achieved more efficiently. This system will have immediate application in winding and clearing, but it also will have spin-off uses in high-speed spinning machines such as jet and rotor.

More To Come
Upcoming issues of TW will include reviews of quality control and testing developments, and textile dyes and chemicals shown at ITMA 2011

November/December 2011