If you’re in the textiles industry, you’re intimately familiar with the ways in which water can affect your production line. Because many fabrics are hydroscopic they can both quickly absorb moisture and give it up. As such, most physical properties of a fabric’s fibers are affected by the fabric’s water content, including:
Because fibers are often selected for a particular fabric based on their ability to wick moisture or insulate as needed, moisture content is of utmost importance in fiber and fabric production. Other points of moisture consideration are at the dye level where moisture too high or too low can cause color variations of the fabric from batch to batch. This unwanted variation can necessitate product rework, recycle, or even scrap. The same reworking, recycling, or scrapping can occur when fabrics that require additional coatings or sprays to assure easy cleaning or add fire retardant qualities are not dried to the necessary levels after the coatings or sprays are applied.
In most cases, typical laboratory moisture testing using cut samples and a drying oven are too time-consuming to ensure efficient production lines, and when the results do come in, they are often inaccurate due to the atmospheric conditions the samples were exposed to during each step of lab testing.
Mold can also be a problem with fabrics, particularly in the cotton ginning industry where cotton bales at more than 10% moisture content can grow moldy inside the plastic covering, rendering the 500 pound bale useless for textile manufacturing. Our near infrared (NIR) sensors are used over the lint slide in the cotton gin to assure moisture levels below 8% for cotton batting that is moving to the hydraulic tramper for baling.
NIR sensors are the effective, on-line, instantaneous and non-destructive to get accurate moisture measurements in real time. The quickly-relayed data can be used to make immediate adjustments to minimize and/or eliminate loss of product and the exorbitant costs associated.
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