Sustainable trend for man-made fibres
Edda Walraf, Head Marketing, Machines & Systems.
Fibre consumption is rising and in particular, filaments are
finding use in an increasing number of applications. For the
short staple spinning mill, the trend is also towards man-made
fibres, but especially to blends with various fibre materials.
Thus the functionality of the end product can be specifically
Experts agree that with growing prosperity, the
fibre consumption per head will continue to increase. Forecasts
assume that by 2030 the worldwide fibre consumption will rise to
approx.. 115 million tons (PCI, 2015) (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1:The worldwide fibre
consumption will continue to grow (Source PCI).
All raw materials will contribute to this growth,
however filaments more than staple fibres. The share of
filaments will increase from 39% in 2010 to 49% in 2030.
New applications, particularly in the finer yarn count range,
will contribute to this trend. Filaments have good functional
properties for textile as well as technical applications. The
development is also driven by the growing share of knitted
fabric applications with increasingly finer gauge. Notably with
fine yarn counts, filaments are particularly economical.
Despite this development, the consumption of short staple
fibres will rise to around 58 million tons (Fig. 2).
Fig. 2: Despite the reduction of the staple fibres from
61% to 51% of the total fibre consumption, the staple
fibre consumption demonstrates an absolute increase from
46 to 58 million tons
(Source PCI 2015).
In the short staple spinning mill, the share of
cotton will decrease from 54% in 2010 to 48% in 2030. The
absolute consumption will grow slightly from 25 million tons in
2010 to 28 million tons in 2030 (Fig. 3).
Fig. 3: The requirement for cotton will further increase
from 25 to 28 million tons. The cotton content of the
total short staple fibre requirement will, however,
decline from 54% to 48%
(Source PCI 2015).
Around half the fibres will be processed in their
pure form. The other half will be spun to blended yarns. The
blends from cotton with polyester dominate the blended yarns
with almost 50%.
Fig. 4: Typical applications of man-made fibres and their
blends (Source Rieter).
The blending of fibres is made for two important
reasons. One is that polyester is a cost-effective fibre and the
raw material price is an important parameter for the whole yarn
costs. The other is that the yarn characteristics can be
specifically influenced by blends (see also Th.Weide, 2014, „Rieter
Manual of Spinning“ Volume 7, Chapter 4).
Fig. 5: Volume 7 of the Rieter Manual of Spinning can be
downloaded from the Rieter website. The QR Code guides you
These two reasons, costs and function, as well as
the limited growth potential of cotton, mean that the share of
blends will continue to increase. Looking at the use of the
yarns, cotton dominates the underwear sector.
Fig. 6: With the A 81 UNIblend, different, exact blending
conditions can be flexibly produced from the tufts.
Viscose is also used as 100% raw material in all
With technical textiles, 100% polyester or its
blends dominate. With outerwear, polyester dominates especially
in blends with cotton and viscose as is similarly the case with
home textiles (Fig. 4).
Fig. 7: Blends of cotton with man-made fibres are
increasing. The SB-D 22 draw frame is ideally suitable for
mixing the fibres.
With the increasing use of man-made fibres, new
questions arise for the short staple spinning mill. The Rieter
Manual of Spinning Volume 7 deals comprehensively with the
technological questions (Fig. 5).
Fig. 8: The special print “Unique Solutions for the
Spinning of Synthetic Fibres and Blends“.
To manufacture a yarn from different fibre types, the
spinning mill has to fulfil two requirements: produce the right
blend ratio and mix the two fibre types well. A good and even
blend is important for a uniform distribution of the fibres in
the yarn diameter and on the running length of the thread. This,
so that at every point in the yarn the blended fibre types
appear in the same ratio. The fibre therefore has the same
characteristics, such as strength and dyeing capacity, at every