Fibres and Yarns | News & Insights | Textile machinery

Belairo – The perfect yarn for towels

Published: March 7, 2024

Towels are consumer goods that have to fulfil many expectations:  those of private consumers as well as those of industrial users such  as hospitals and hotels. Absorbent, easy to wash, lint-free, colour fast, durable, sustainable without a lot of chemicals – to name just a  few of the requirements. For towel manufacturers, the demands on  yarn quality and yarn structure are high: pilling-free, sufficient  strength and stretch and few imperfections. With Belairo yarns spun  on the Autoairo air spinning machine, it is possible to fulfil all these  wishes and also offer towel manufacturers new economic prospects.  A towel made from Belairo yarn lasts up to 10 times longer and  retains its shape better, thus contributing to sustainable use. 

Everyday life without terry cloth towels is unimaginable. Everyone uses them every  day in the bathroom, swimming pool, hotel or at the beach. For the user, it is  important that they be soft, absorbent, easy to wash (at least 60 degrees), colour fast and made of natural materials – preferably cotton. Towels should match the  furnishings, be affordable for every budget and be produced as sustainably as  possible without using a lot of chemicals. 

A high-quality terry towel for private use weighs between 400 and 500 grams per  square metre. Velour towels are somewhat lighter, as the loops are cut open and  shortened to achieve that velvety velour effect.  

Belairo yarn – a real alternative to combed ring-spun yarns  In order to meet consumer demands and be successful on the market, towel manu facturers are looking at how they can optimise the production process. One im portant lever for cost optimisation is the yarn used. Up to 80% of the weight of the  towel is made up of the pile yarn, the yarn that comes into contact with the skin.  

The classics for pile yarns are combed ring-spun yarns: durable, high quality,  complex to produce and correspondingly expensive. The ring yarns are combed to  reduce the hairiness of the yarns and the associated formation of unwanted fibre  fluff on the towel.  

The combing process ensures that the towels do not become thinner through fre quent washing, during which short, less-bonded fibres are washed out. The short  fibres responsible for this in the yarn are eliminated from the outset by combing,  which accounts for approx. 10-15% of the fibre mass. Towels made from cheaper,  uncombed, exclusively carded ring yarns lose fibres over time due to the yarn  structure.

Textilstrasse 9 9230 Arbon  Switzerland But there is another way – with Belairo yarn which is similar to ring-spun yarn. The  yarn produced on the Autoairo air spinning machine is a cost-effective alternative  to classic ring yarns. Thanks to the yarn structure with parallel core fibres and the  defined twisting of the wrapping fibres, all of the fibres are optimally integrated, 

even the shorter ones. During the air spinning process, fibres that are too short are  removed pneumatically. However, this proportion is significantly lower than in a  classic combing process. Belairo yarns therefore offer the best conditions for lint-free  towels. Thanks to the high rub resistance of the towels, hardly any fibres come loose  from the fabric composite during washing. Fibre migration is zero with Belairo yarns. 

If you compare towels made from ring yarn with towels made from Belairo yarns,  you will notice that the surface appearance of Belairo towels is more even, their  absorbency is higher, and their drying time is shorter. These properties result from the  special Belairo yarn structure and are particularly popular with private and industrial  consumers (Graph 1). 

The hairiness of Belairo yarn is generally very low. In order to achieve comparable  values for ring yarns, these must be combed. Due to the low hairiness of Belairo  yarns, their tendency to pill is also considerably reduced. Colour contrasts or motif  contours in the towels are thus retained even after long periods of use. The Belairo  yarn structure also gives the towels a high degree of dimensional stability. They  shrink hardly at all and do not warp, even after numerous washes. Belairo beach  towels keep their shape better and are more resistant to washing than towels made  from ring yarn (Graph 2). 

It is not necessary to comb the Belairo yarns; carded yarns already deliver the best  results for terry cloth fabrics. A sustainable process in terms of fibre utilisation, as  significantly more fibres are used than with combed ring-spun yarns. 

Belairo yarn – environmentally friendly and economical  The production process of carded Belairo yarns differs from that of combed ring  yarns, and this has a massive impact on spinning costs. Belairo yarns for towels can  be spun at take-up speeds of up to 400 m/min. This corresponds to 18 times the  productivity of a ring spinning machine. A special feature of Belairo yarn production  is that there is an increase in quality with each increase in production speed. In  contrast to conventional spinning processes, where increased productivity can be  at the expense of yarn quality, the opposite is often true for Belairo yarns. The faster  the Autoairo produces, the better the yarn quality.  

Thanks to the enormously high productivity in Belairo yarn production, towel yarns  can be produced up to 45% more cost-effectively. Savings can be made in terms  of energy consumption, personnel requirements, space requirements and the  associated costs of air-conditioning for manufacturing. 

In order for the Belairo yarns to withstand the stresses of high production output on  the weaving machine and to achieve optimum machine utilisation effects, they  must meet minimum quality standards, particularly regarding strength, elongation, and thin places (Graph 3). Due to their specific structure, Belairo yarns are slightly weaker and sometimes less elastic than combed ring yarns, but this additional  strength of the ring yarns is not fully utilised during weaving. What matters is the  minimum requirements for the weaving process. Belairo yarns exceed yarn strength  requirements by almost 30% and yarn elongation requirements by more than 10%.  

Yarn imperfections, in particular the number of thin places, are also relevant as they  could conceal potential weak points that influence the efficiency of the weaving  machines. Belairo yarns have 80% fewer thin places than the maximum values  permitted in weaving mills. The low dust and linting tendency of Belairo yarns is also  very advantageous, whether in terry cloth-weaving or warp-knitting machines,  which are often used for towels in hotels and hospitals. This extends the cleaning  intervals on the weaving and warp knitting machines, even at high feed rates. 

Belairo yarns and towelling – a perfect duo. The pile yarns that make up a high-quality towel can be produced almost half as cost-effectively with Belairo yarn as  with combed ring-spun yarns while at the same time producing a perfect towel  with a life expectancy that is up to ten times longer than a towel made from ring spun yarn (Graph 3). 

Also, the environmental balance of Belairo terry cloth towelling is also positive.  Chemical softeners are often used in the final finishing of towels made from ring  yarns to make them pleasant to the touch to potential purchasers. Chemical  substances are however being scrutinised ever more critically by consumers. There  is no need for softeners in the final finish, as Belairo yarns have an appealing feel  without chemicals. In yarn dyeing, Belairo yarns require less dye and in weaving, less  sizing is needed for the warp beams. The use of Belairo yarns reduces wastewater  pollution and protects the environment. 

About the Saurer Group 

Founded in 1853, the Saurer Group is a technology company specialising in the manufacture  of machinery and components for yarn production. Saurer Spinning Solutions, a leading inno vator, offers advanced and customised automated process solutions for the conversion of  staple fibres into yarn. Saurer Technologies excels in the manufacture of intelligent and cost efficient twisting and cabling machines for industrial yarns, glass filament, tyre cord, carpet,  and staple fibres. This enables customers to adapt flexibly to dynamic market requirements.  The Saurer Group also includes the component supplier Texparts and the manufacturer of  sensors and quality monitoring systems Fibrevision. 

The Saurer Group employs around 3,300 people and is represented in Switzerland, Germany,  France, the UK, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, the USA, China, India, Uzbekistan,  and Singapore. The company is thus strategically well-positioned to serve all major textile  centres worldwide. Saurer offers its customers a wide range of solutions and services to  support them on their journey towards sustainability, digitalisation, and automation. This under lines Saurer’s ambition to play a decisive role in shaping the transformation of the textile  industry. Saurer is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (WKN: 600545).

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