Textile World Asia Special ReportAir-Jet Vs. RapierA comparison of these two important
weaving systems with regard to speed and quality in productionAir-jet and rapier weaving systems
are increasingly being used for the production of all kinds of fabrics — especially, in recent
times, in the fabrication of technical and industrial textiles.The numerous applications of
technical textiles include material transport and storage, protective clothing, substrates and
reinforcements, building and agriculture, compound materials and medical applications.SMIT S.p.A.At
ITMA 2003, held recently in Birmingham, England, Italy-based Smit S.p.A. exhibited the most recent
versions of its G6300 and G6300F weaving machines. Both offer characteristics of modularity and
have multiple functions, including a common platform that can be utilized for the specific needs of
a vast range of machines using both air-jet and rapier technology. These machines are of great
benefit for the fabrication of a wide variety of fabrics, including woven, technical and terry
fabrics.The rapier weaving machines presented by the company included several models with widths of
1.9 meters, 2.3 meters, 2.6 meters and 3.6 meters. The company also demonstrated a 2.0-meter-wide
air-jet weaving machine producing fabrics for ties.

SMIT’s G6300F is suitable for weaving a wide variety of fabrics, including woven, technical
and terry fabrics.DornierGermany-based Lindauer Dornier GmbH has been promoting its type A air-jet
weaving machine for the production of a vast range of industrial fabrics, including emery cloth and
tucked selvage, fabricated at speeds of up to 1,000 picks per minute (ppm). The machine also can be
configured with a jacquard system to weave fabrics with up to eight colors for tapestry and home
uses.The company is also promoting its model P rapier weaving machine for the elaboration of
jacquard fabrics for upholstery, using 16 weft colors and up to 20,000 hooks. This machine also can
be utilized for the production of fabrics for nets using bast fiber yarns.At ITMA 2003, Dornier
presented several innovations including three model AS air-jet weaving machines equipped with the
ServoControl air pressure regulation system, and three rapier machines equipped with the AirGuide
pneumatic guiding system, ideal for a contact-free support.The company also exhibited its
ServoTerry air-jet weaving machine for terry and leno fabrics. This machine uses a direct
transmission system to move the terry by means of a servomotor, which allows the pile height to be
adjusted while the machine is moving the fabric.Dornier demonstrated another air-jet weaving
machine producing polypropylene fabrics using its EasyLeno technology for leno fabrics.

Dornier’s model P rapier machine is suitable for weaving jacquard fabrics for
upholstery.Sultex Ltd.For the technical fabrics field, Sultex Ltd., Switzerland, offers both
air-jet and rapier weaving machines. The former is used in the manufacture of specialty fabrics
made with glass fibers for use in electronic circuit boards.Sultex’s rapier weaving machines are
widely used in the fabrication of air bags for automobiles, as well as in the production of filter
fabrics and Kevlar® fabrics.At ITMA 2003, Sultex exhibited a wide variety of weaving machines,
including its new G6200E rapier weaving machine, which can reach speeds of up to 600 ppm and a weft
insertion speed of up to 1,080 meters per minute (m/min). According to the company, this machine
offers great versatility and is appropriate for weaving carded and combed wool yarns, as well as
cotton staple fiber and man-made fibers.In the air-jet weaving sector, Sultex exhibited its new
L5400 model, which reaches speeds of up to 1,250 revolutions per minute and weft insertion speeds
of up to 2,535 m/min. This machine also offers great versatility and can be used for the production
of fiber glass fabrics, as well as terry cloth for towels. It uses air valves of smaller size, thus
a reducing the consumption of both air and energy.Sultex ITMA L9400 The most recent innovation
presented by Sultex in the field of air-jet weaving is its L9400 model, exhibited for the first
time at ITMA 2003. This machine was designed specifically for the manufacture of technical textiles
and fabrics of increased width. It reaches speeds of up to 500 ppm, with weft insertion speeds of
up to 2,700 m/min. This model can be equipped with the PowerLeno system, developed by Sultex for
the production of leno fabrics.

Sultex’s L9400 air-jet weaving machine was exhibited for the first time at ITMA
2003.PicanolBelgium-based Picanol NV’s success since the 1990s in the apparel and home fabric
segments is due in part to the introduction of two main lines of products — the air-jet weaving
machines of the Omni family and the rapier weaving machines of the Gamma family.“In regard to the
product, the air-jet weaving machine has been adapted for the weaving of heavy multifilament yarns,
which can be used in the production of fabrics for canvas, air bags and parachutes, with more width
and at higher speeds,” said Filips Lombaert, products manager of BU-Technical Fabrics, a division
of Picanol.At ITMA 2003, Picanol exhibited a number of weaving machines, including the TERRYplus
air-jet weaving machine equipped with a jacquard system, and several versions of its new GamMax
rapier weaving machine.According to the company, this latest machine offers great versatility.
Among its numerous applications is the fabrication of technical fabrics.

Picanol’s Terryplus air-jet weaving machine was on show at ITMA 2003.PromatechItaly-based
Promatech, which comprises Somet and Vamatex, is widely known for its line of weaving machines such
as the Mythos, Thema Super Excel and Alpha from Somet; and the Leonardo and K88 weaving machines
from Vamatex.A company spokesman declared recently that, in terms of tendencies, the firm has been
very successful with its rapier weaving machines, but its line of air-jet weaving machines is
growing rapidly in importance in the market.At ITMA 2003, Promatech exhibited two Mythos Tec
air-jet weaving machines working at a great speed to produce cotton fabrics with difficult patterns
and demonstrating the versatility and productivity of these machines.Promatech also presented its
negative rapier weaving machine Alpha 3200 equipped with doublewidth jacquard for the production of
upholstery fabrics.Other weaving machines exhibited by the company included the Alpha 2200 with
dobby for the production of high-quality wool fabrics; its new Leonardo Silver with guided rapier
system; and the FTS without hooks, which can be used in a wide variety of applications, according
to the company.

Promatech exhibited its line of Alpha weaving machines by Somet at ITMA 2003.

Winter 2003