Two years after its launch, Solospun is proving to be much more than a versatile substitute for conventional two-fold, Sirospun or sizing processes.

Chris Churchill, sales manager at WDI, the commercial arm of The Woolmark Company, explains that today's spinner is looking for lower production cost without compromising quality.

"While the new compact spinning systems offer a vast reduction in yarn hairiness," he says, "they do not necessarily increase abrasion resistance, which is vitally important in weaving. For long-staple spinners, Solospun is an exciting alternative that can reduce yarn manufacturing costs by up to 30 per cent and offers a new range of product development possibilities."

Not only is the technology being seen as a less expensive alternative to compact spinning, but it is also being used by leading worsted spinners, particularly in the Far East, to develop new, lightweight fabrics with a different handle.

As a simple attachment to the spinning frame, Solospun subtly changes the yarn structure, producing a weavable singles yarn. It significantly increases the abrasion of the yarn surface, enabling it to be woven as warp without a subsequent two-fold operation or the need for sizing.

It also improves spinning productivity, since only half the length of yarn needs to be spun to obtain the same amount of fabric. And as spinning is at twice the normal count, there is greater efficiency through reduced end-breakage rates.

Solospun is available from WDI, the commercial arm of The Woolmark Company. The plastic rollers are simply clipped in pairs to the drafting arms of the spinning frame. These rollers split the roving and prevent twist reaching the nip. The substrands are then recombined in such a way as to increase dramatically the fibre security. This results in a yarn that is visibly indistinguishable from a normal singles yarn, yet sufficiently resistant to abrasion to be weavable in the warp.

According to WDI, more than 60,000 Solospun spindles have been installed worldwide. It is expected that around 150,000 spindles will be converted to Solospun by 2003.

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