I bet you
don't know how much there is to know about industrial fabrics…really! It is an
overwhelmingly large area, and an important one at that. Fortunately I have
waded through the sea of amazing resources and boiled down the important pieces
to the selection guide found on GlobalSpec. But since we're
friends, I thought I would give you guys a sneak peak!
Industrial fabrics are designed and
engineered to be used in products, processes or services where functional
requirements trump the aesthetic form commonly considered in the realm of
textiles. They are used by non-apparel,
industry professionals for challenging and high-performance applications.
Industrial fabrics can be a component part of another product in order
to alter the strength, performance and other properties of that product.
They are made of higher performance fibers, yarns, and chemicals to
prevent failures which could have dangerous consequences. Geo Options,
Fiber vs. Fabric...yes, there is a difference!
A fiber is a natural or synthetic substance with a very high
aspect ratio (length to width) that can be processed by various means into a
fabric. A fabric is created by
fibers which have been spun into yarns and
then bonded together.
Sheep vs. Machine
fibers are made of cellulose which is the primary structural
component of plants and bacterial cell walls. Animal fibers are also considered
natural fibers because they are composed of protein. Inorganic
materials consist of glass, metals, and ceramics. A good example of this is fiberglass, which is made of
spun glass and mixed with epoxy resins to create reinforcing components for
cars and boats. Steel fibers are used in steel wool pads or ropes. Synthetic
fibersare made of polymers.
How Industrial Fabrics are Made
Fabric is made when fibers are
combined. The process is different for manufacturing natural fibers and
synthetic fibers into fabrics. Here is a video for a general overview of
Weaving- Simply, it is the interlacing of a lengthwise yarn system
with a width-wise yarn system at 90 degrees to each other. Along with braiding,
weaving is considered an interlacing process. A more complete description of
how weaving creates fabric can be seen on this video.
Tufting- Tufting is the process of sewing a surface yarn
system. Hundreds of needles on a special machine form loops. A more
complete description of how tufting create carpets can be seen on this video.
Knitting- Knitting is the interlooping of one yarn system
into vertical columns and horizontal rows of loops.
Non-Wovens- Non-wovensare sheets or web structures which are bonded together by
entangling fiber or filaments. This is done using a mechanical, thermal or
chemical process. Non-woven fabrics do not have a preferred fiber
orientation and they do not need the fiber to be converted to yarn.
Industrial fabrics are made of
natural, synthetic, or inorganic materials. For more information on the fibers
available in any of these categories please click the links below.
OK, now before you leave…check the
tag in the back of your shirt. Most industrial fabrics are also used in the
apparel industry. If you check out the full industrial
fabric selection guide, as well as some of the
other material pages, you can learn why the coffee you spilled on your shirt
isn't coming out or why the sweater you dried is now toddler sized.
Image Credit: cfs.sa.gov.au
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