Currently, tufted floorcoverings are used exclusively as a traditional carpet floorcovering, in the automotive sector and for artificial lawns. To date there have been no real tufted structures found in the field of technical textiles. This could be set to change.
As part of the project "Functional and highly thermally resistant tufted fabrics for use in the field of technical textiles (high-performance tufted structures) IGF 19050 N", the TFI Institute for Floor Systems at the RWTH Aachen e.V., Aachen/Germany, succeeded together with Groz-Beckert KG, Albstadt/Germany, and other partners to make tufted fabrics from 100% glass.
Tufted floorcoverings are made from flexible yarn. The use of low-stretch PP/PE-monofilaments in the manufacture of artificial lawns already pushes the technical possibilities for tufting to the limit. Practically stretch-free materials, such as glass, could previously not be processed. This is a challenge that the TFI is tackling in several research projects analyzing the yarn guidance within the tufting machine. The service provider for analysis, research and development is supported by various partners, including Groz-Beckert.
In its analysis, the team at the institute identified basic problems with the yarn guidance: the continuous feed by the yarn feed rollers and the non-continuous yarn requirements within the tufting zone. To combat this, the TFI already developed an electronically controlled compensation element in a previous project – the electronic jerker (E-jerker).
The E-jerker (Fig. 1) continuously takes the yarn from the yarn feed rollers and passes it on in the direction of the tufting zone with a defined forwards and backwards motion. The E-jerker thus creates a balance between the yarn feed and yarn requirement.
In addition to the E-jerker, which provides the desired yarn tension, suitable tufting tools are essential for processing technical yarns. The results of tests recently carried out at the TFI with wear-resistant Groz-Beckert tufting tools showed that non-flexible yarns can be processed fault-free and with reproducible results with relatively small additional technical effort.
Brittle basalt yarns, metal fiber yarns and aramid fibers have already been processed in other projects. Their possible application areas range from high-temperature insulation and electrically conductive textiles, through to filter material or geotextiles for drainage systems, irrigations and embankment stabilization.
The IGF project “Functional and highly thermally resistant tufted fabrics for use in the field of technical textiles (high-performance tufting textures) IGF 19050 N” was funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology through the AiF as part of the program for promoting the industrial collective research and development (IGF) based on a resolution of the German Federal Parliament.