History of Yarn Manufacturing
Although the spinning of cotton yarn and the weaving of cotton cloth are said to have originated in India, Egypt claims to be the first to have explored these techniques. Across the globe in Peru, similar yarn manufacturing techniques were being developed. Biblical times talk about the cotton curtains that hung in Solomon’s temple. Early Greek historians wrote of preferences for cotton fleece over wool, in its quality alone.
Cotton was increasingly grown for textile purposes from these early years throughout the succeeding centuries. Knowledge of cotton goods spread by armies, explorers, and traders allowed for increased interest. By the end of the 15th century, Britain recorded the first trade of cotton. Techniques in manufacturing were improved upon during these early centuries and advancements continue to this day. The earliest techniques began as basic ideas of twisting and rolling fibers between the thumb and forefinger to form a single thread. Early designs used this theory as a basis for the first spinning wheel.
Leonardo da Vinci developed drawings that were later turned into the invention of the Saxony wheel in 1555 by Johann Jurgen of Germany. This invention, in the midst of the great Industrial Revolution, differed from the original spinning wheel, with a foot treadle by which the spindle could be revolved and with a cranked axis on a larger wheel. The new design enabled production to increase as well as greatly improving the quality of the yarn. A tremendous technological breakthrough, this first spinning wheel was the foundation for most future developments in yarn production technology.
Most notable of the early inventions were the introduction of the self-acting mule in 1825, ring spinning in 1828, and revolving flats on the card in 1834. A machine that could automatically comb cotton was introduced in 1846 and fifty years later a more improved form emerged.
New yarn manufacturing technologies continue to impact the industry today by increasing efficiency and improving quality.
No matter the desired end result, proper fiber selection is the foundation of any successful spinning operation. With just over fifty percent of operation costs being required for raw material, it is very clear the importance of decisions made towards that end.
In any spinning operation, the requirements of the end product, or of the consumer of the yarn, will be the dictating forces in determining the fiber quality and properties that are best suited for the most economic situation.
Using fiber that is of better quality than required will prove unprofitable. Likewise, using fiber that is of poorer quality than required will result in losses as well. Most mills then find themselves in the precarious position of following a very narrow path of success where fiber quality is concerned. Correct decisions regarding the most suitable fiber properties for a given operation are paramount for maintaining profitability.
In any spinning operation, the requirements of the end product, or of the consumer of the yarn, will be the dictating forces in determining the fiber quality and properties that are best suited for the most economic situation. Using fiber that is of better quality than required will prove unprofitable. Likewise, using fiber that is of poorer quality than required will result in losses as well. Most mills then find themselves in the precarious position of following a very narrow path of success where fiber quality is concerned. Correct decisions regarding the most suitable fiber properties for a given operation are paramount for maintaining profitability.
As is evidenced by the adjoining table, specific fiber properties vary in their importance according to the spinning system employed. These differences in importance are due to the mechanical design of the particular spinning system and the physics involved.
Ranking these properties in no way means that the lowest-ranked property is not to be considered. It simply displays the importance of the individual fiber properties for good spinning performance. From a yarn manufacturing standpoint, these are the usual criteria for making fiber purchases. For instance: Fiber length is more important to ring spinning than it is to rotor spinning in order to achieve acceptable results in the spinning mill.
It should also be pointed out that with significant movement in yarn count, either towards the extreme coarse or fine side, some of these relationships may shift. The main consideration for all the spinning systems, as yarn count moves to the fine side, is fiber fineness (lower micronaire). This is due to the necessity of maintaining a sufficient number of fibers per cross-section in the yarn.
Yarn end-use may also dictate the choice of fiber properties and their ranked importance. Weaving yarns typically are required to be stronger and have higher tensile values than their knitting counterparts. This places more emphasis on the ultimate strength of the yarn and not just on its spinning performance.
Every bale of upland cotton in the United Stated is classed and graded using High Volume Instrument (HVI) testing. From this testing, done by USDA classing offices, important properties of the individual bale can be quantified and recorded. This same data is used not only to place a dollar value on the bale but can also be used by mills in order to ensure their success in producing a consistent end product. Cotton Incorporated has developed a software program called Engineered Fiber Selection (EFS) that uses this HVI generated data to manage and control the properties of the raw material flow in the spinning mill. This kind of controlled bale management not only maximizes the spinning mill’s efficient use of the cotton but can also improve the quality of the yarns being produced.