High tenacity of products
Good moisture absorption
Easy to dye
A natural and pleasant touch
Cotton grows mainly in tropical and subtropical areas in both hemispheres. Cotton yarns are made of cotton fiber using four basic methods:
- RING COMBED
- RING CARDED
- OPEN END
Depending on the technology of cotton fiber harvest we distinguish:
- fibers with controlled contamination level (CC = contamination controlled); fibers are collected manually
- fibers without contamination (CF = contamination free); fibers are collected mechanically
The largest producers of CC cotton fibers are : India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, West Africa (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Nigeria, Mali), China
The largest producers of CF cotton fibers are: the USA, Australia, Brazil
Contamination free yarns are always used where knitwear / fabrics yarns are dyed white or very light colors. In the northern hemisphere cotton fiber harvests usually take place between October and December and in the southern hemisphere from March to June.
There are 4 types of fibers due to the length:
- short (23-25 mm)
- medium (26-28 mm)
- long (29-32 mm)
- extra long (over 32 mm)
The longer the fiber, the higher tenacity it has. What is more, the quality is also much better (little thinning, thickening and nepping). Unfortunately, the longer fiber’s length is, the higher the cost of production and thus the yarn’s price.
The yarn is produced in a count rage of 6 Ne = 100 tex to 140 Ne = 4 tex. These yarns are very strong (high tenacity), have a very small amount of thinning, thickening and nepping (high uniformity) and the products made of them have very nice touch. The disadvantage of these yarns is the high cost of production (high price of yarn) and high hairiness (tendency to pilling).
To compensate for the high rate of hairiness, RING COMBED yarns are produced with the usage of COMPACT modification. With this the tendency to pilling is lower and the overall number of thinning, thickening and nepping is also lower. The disadvantage of the COMPACT modification is the stiffer and rougher touch of the yarn and final products.
Ring combed yarns can also be subjected to a gassing process - it is flame-ignition of fibers protruding from the yarn structure in order to reduce hairiness and the tendency to pilling to zero.
For the ring combed gassed yarns the process of mercerizing can also be used. Mercerizing means soaking the yarn in alkaline solution so that both the yarn and the products made of it have a luster.
The yarn is produced in a count range of 6 Ne = 100 tex to 40 Ne = 15 tex. These yarns have high tenacity (lower than combed yarns) and the products made of them have invariably a very pleasant touch. The disadvantage of these yarns is high hairiness (tendency to pilling) and low quality (uniformity). The yarns have a lot of thinning, thickening and nepping.
The yarn is produced in a count range of 2 Ne = 300 tex to 40 Ne = 15 tex. These yarns have low hairiness (a tendency to pilling) and low cost of production (low price of yarn). The disadvantage of these yarns is low tenacity and rough touch of the yarn and products made of it. OE yarns can be produced from 1st grade fibers (100% virgin) and from comber noils/carding waste.
The more waste from combing / carding in OE yarn the worse quality (higher amount of thinning, thickening, nepping) and lower tenacity.
The yarn is produced in a count range of 20 Ne = 30 tex to 50 Ne = 12 tex. There is low hairiness (tendency to pilling) and a nice, soft touch of the yarn and products made of it. The disadvantage of this cotton spinning system is a high production cost (high price due to high production waste) and low tenacity.
All cotton yarns from the above 4 basic types of spinning can be twisted x 2 (for double yarns) or for a larger number of duplications e.g. x 3, x 4, x 6, x 8 etc. The yarns twisted together can be knotless or with weaving knots depending on the yarn manufacturer and the amount of base yarn in the twisted yarn. All cotton yarns from above 4 basic types of spinning can be covered with wax - they are so-called knitting yarns. The knitting yarns have a lower spin angle which results in a pleasant touch.
Unlike knitting yarns, weaving yarns are not waxed and usually have a higher spin angle. This is due to the fact that for fabrics tenacity and processability are more important than a pleasant touch. Spinning twist can also be very low (350-500 tpm). Such low twist spinning yarns are mainly used for the production of fleece knitwear (their inner side) and fabrics (flannel).
Cotton yarns are mainly dyed using a surface method. In this process yarns are wound on soft dyeing beams which are placed on plastic, perforated bobbins.
The main advantages of cotton yarns:
a natural and pleasant touch
good moisture absorption
easy to print on
good color durability
good tenacity of products
cotton yarns are used for the production of:
bedding knitwear (terry sheets)
socks, children’s tights
upholstery fabrics (furniture)
household fabrics (towels, bathroom rugs)
narrow fabrics (tapes)