by John C. Lark, PhD, Columbus, Georgia
The development of new chemical products to improve productivity and quality in spun yarn warp sizing has been of low priority for decades. Polyvinyl alcohol, in combination with starch, has been accepted as the ultimate solution in protecting warp yarn from the abrasive effects of the loom. This has created a situation where all suppliers have access to all the commodity raw materials of the size formulation. In this situation, the only emphasis in this area has concentrated on tweaking raw material formulations to satisfy productivity and quality of the greige fabric. Transfer of production to offshore locations has added to the loss of interest by chemical companies to invest in research and development in this area. Not only loss of interest, but primary producers of the common raw materials have also abandoned technical support in the warp size area. Unfortunately, the industry has gone along with this situation and has accepted warp sizing as just another budget item.
This attitude by chemical suppliers is in stark contrast to the dramatic progress made in other segments of the textile chemical industry. New fibers and yarns are processed to new fabrics which are treated with new nanotechnology finishes to create and serve new markets. Meanwhile, both size suppliers and greige mills appear content to use technology developed 50 years ago.
Opinions expressed in this blog post are those of the author and not necessarily those of AATCC.