After having concluded intensive R&D and tests in weaving mills, Picanol today launches two machines for weaving glass fibre yarns. The Olympica airjet weaving machine for glass has been designed to produce electro-glass fabrics, used in the manufacture of printed circuit boards (PCBs) in the electronics industry. The GamMax rapier weaving machine for glass has been developed to produce glass fabrics made of coarser glass yarns, commonly referred to as industrial glass fabrics.
With these two new product launches, Picanol sets another step in its strategy to address new niches in the textile sector.
The market for glass fibre fabrics
In the market for glass fibre fabrics, there are two distinct segments that can each be served by a different type of weaving system.
The lighter types of E-glass fibre fabrics are mainly used in the manufacture of printed circuit boards. A smaller width airjet is the ideal machine for this market, as airjets are the only type of machine that can produce the necessary quality of the fabric at very high speeds. Furthermore, due to the light weight of the weft yarns, air consumption remains low. In this segment, Picanol launches the Olympica T 150 cm airjet for glass.
The second segment glass fabrics made of coarser glass yarns. These are generally referred to as industrial glass fabrics and are used in a wide variety of applications:
- fabrics for thermal insulation, used in clothing, piping covers, gloves etc.
- fire-resistant wall covering fabrics
- insect screens and outdoor sunscreens
- fibre-reinforced plastics, used in tanks, containers, piping, construction, ship-building, skis, surfboards, the aviation industry, etc.
- laminates and facings for tarpaulins (mostly architectural), sailcloth, welding curtains and conveyor belts
- leno fabrics for the reinforcement of plaster or concrete
The machine of choice here is a flexible rapier in single, double or triple width. For this segment, Picanol launches the GamMax rapier for glass, which combines great flexibility with the highest speeds and quality levels.
Olympica airjet for glass fabrics
The Olympica airjet weaving machine for glass has a reed width of 150 cm and has been designed to handle all types of electro-glass styles for printed circuit boards (PCBs).
The Olympica features the renowned insertion system and electronic controls found on the OMNIplus airjet weaving machine. For electro-glass weaving, Te Strake “Picus” glass prewinders are used. Thanks to the patented design and use of ABS weft brakes, the Olympica can weave at high industrial speeds.
Special Olympica features for weaving electro-glass
- Light, stiff backrest with highly accurate tension sensor
- Special sandroll and pressure roller to avoid slipping of the fabric under all conditions
- Te Strake Picus glass prewinders, equipped with ABS
- Special temple profiles for gentle fabric handling
- Special batching motion
- Glass-type stretching nozzle and weft detector
- Large container for waste accumulation by means of suction
- Special bobbin stand with ceramic guides
- Glass-type 3-end splits, motor-driven
- 19-hole relay nozzles
The Olympica glass version is available in one or two colours, with tappet harness motions, positive cambox and negative electronic dobby. It can be specified to handle a large variety of beam diameters and can be chosen with either on-loom take-up or a special batching motion for electro glass. The machine can be monitored by computer in different communication modes.
GamMax rapier for industrial glass fabrics
The GamMax flexible rapier weaving machine was introduced in 2002 and it is the most modern rapier machine on the market, with robust electronics and mechanical components. The machine drive is based on Picanol’s patented Sumo motor. Together with its predecessor, the Gamma, there are already more than 12,000 machines installed worldwide. Picanol now launches a GamMax version for the production of industrial glass fabrics.
Thanks to the very low height of the free-flight grippers, the shed opening has been reduced in order to place a minimum load on the warp ends. Contact between warp ends and gripper heads is also reduced to an absolute minimum. An extra-sensitive warp tension sensor for weaving at very low warp tension makes it possible to weave a wide variety of warp types. Weaving with only 5 cN per warp end is possible.
The sandroll has a dedicated design, and two press-rollers make sure that the cloth is held at all times, avoiding starting marks due to slipping of the cloth. For weaving very open fabrics the spreader bar can rotate.
Glass-specific prewinders with a large, chrome-plated drum, plus optical detectors in combination with programmable weft brakes (PFL), ensure that the weft is inserted with a minimum of friction and at constant tension throughout the bobbin.
The chopper-type waste cutters for longer-lasting action are also motor-driven. This is particularly useful at width changes, as it avoids moving parts under the fabric. A special three-end glass split motion is used, motor-driven for easy setting. The raceboard has a special covering which is resistant to size build-up and wear.
Sumo motor with direct machine drive
Both the Olympica and the GamMax machine feature the Sumo main motor with direct machine drive. The absence of belts, pulleys, cooling fans, clutches and grease-filled bearings means that abrasive glass dust has no impact on the lifetime of expensive drive elements. On top of that, programmable speed-changes are appreciated by the fitters in the glass weaving mills as well.
Thanks to the concept of direct drive and Sumo motor, the GamMax machine has only eight sealing rings. This reduces the risk of the seals being damaged by glass fibres. Ordinary rapier machines may have 20 or more sealing rings.
Intensive use of motors on the machine in colour presenters, independent selvedge device, let-off, take-up, split devices and waste cutters, means that there is a minimum of mechanical set-points. Most machine settings are electronic and they can all be stored and used again later. Here also, maintenance is kept to a minimum.
For more information please contact Erwin Devloo, Ter Waarde 50, 8900 Ieper, Belgium, tel. + 32 57 222 090, firstname.lastname@example.org.