The limitations of the weaving, knitting
and stitching processes include poor shear resistance, limited strength in
the primary loading direction, and the inability to produce complex shaped
parts. These shortcomings, as will be seen, are largely overcome with the
adaptation of braiding. Braiding is a simple form of narrow fabric
construction. It is done by intertwining of yarns in whatever direction
suited the maker's purpose. This began as a handicraft for the construction
of decorative fabrics but the limitations of knitting and weaving made
braiding an important method of fabric formation in textile composite
Lace making, a domestic art of seventh century, is the beginning of narrow
fabric production. Increasing need for tapes in electrical uses, ribbons and
laces made this handicraft into a leading industry. The manual efforts were
replaced by narrow width looms. There are definite trends towards knitting
by the crochet methods in some areas of narrow fabric production. For
foundation wear, the trend is towards lighter-weight sheer garments so that
the bindings should also be light weight, while, at the same time, fashion
trends have dictated that a variety of coloured yarns be incorporated in
these bindings. Crochet knitting machines have been found ideal for this
purpose and have replaced large numbers of traditional braiding machines.
Braiding can be classified as two and three-dimensional braiding.
Two-dimensional braid structure can be circular or flat braid.
Three-dimensional braiding is relatively new and was developed mainly for
composite structures. Although circular and flat braids have thickness, it
is small compared to the other two dimensions; therefore they are considered
Two-dimensional circular or flat braid is formed by crossing a number of
yarns diagonally so that each yarn passes alternately over and under one or
more of the others. The most common designs in two-dimensional braids are as
Diamond braids: 1/1intersection
Regular braids: 2/2intersection
Hercules braids: 3/3intersection
Circular (tubular or round) braids are formed hollow or around a centre
core. A circular braiding machine consists of two sets of an even number of
spools containing the braiding yarns. One set runs clockwise around the
centre of the machine and the other set turn in counterclockwise direction.
While revolving in opposite directions, the carriers are diverted to pass
alternately inside and outside (under and over) one another. The clockwise
and counterclockwise paths cause the two sets of yarns to intersect, thus
producing a tubular braid.
The yarns from the yarns are collected above the hub of the circular track
in which the bobbins travel. Circular braiders are called as "Maypole
Braiders" since their motion is similar to the maypole dance.
Another type of braiding machine to
produce two-dimensional braids is the rotary machine. The rotary braiding
machine is faster than the maypole braider. However, rotary machines are
less versatile in terms of making different shapes and they have less number
Flat braids are made in the form of flat strips or tape. In flat braiding,
instead of following two continuous paths, the carriers turn around or
reverse direction at two points called terminals and then continue on the
other direction, ie, the track does not complete a circle.
The size of the braid is governed by the following factors:
The number of carriers: tubular
braiders have even number of carriers, and flat braiders usually have
odd numbers of carriers. The minimum number of carriers is three, which
gives the basic diamond braid similar to the girl's plaited hair.
The diameter of the yarn.
The number of yarn ends per carrier.
The number of yarns per unit length.
Take-up speed: Since the speed of
the carrier is constant, the openness of the fabric is changed by
changing the take-up speed of the fabric
3-D braiding is an interesting concept of creating a two dimensional array
of interconnected 2-D circular braids. 3-D braids are formed on two basic
types of machines. These are the horn gear and Cartesian machines which
differ only in their method of yarn carrier displacement. While the horn
gear type machines offer improved braid speed over the Cartesian machines,
the Cartesian machines offer compact machine size, comparatively low
development cost and braid architectural versatility.
Horn gear braiding process
Horn gear machines with square or circular arrangement are employed in
the fabrication of solid braids. Present-day machines are limited to 24 yarn
carriers and therefore limit the size and shape of perform. The
micro-geometry of braid is also restricted. The braider yarns form is
intertwined helical paths through out the structure.
Cartesian braiding process
The basic Cartesian process involves four distinct Cartesian motions of
groups of yarns termed rows and columns. For a given step, alternate rows
(or columns) are shifted a prescribed distance relative to each other. The
next step involves the alternate shifting sequence of the first and second
steps, respectively. A complete set of four steps is called a machine cycle.
It should be noted that after one machine cycle the rows and columns are
returned to their original positions.
A braid is a rope like thing, which is made by interweaving three or
more strands, strips, or lengths, in a diagonally overlapping pattern. They
are used for various industrial applications. Made of different kinds of
materials, such as cotton, polyester, nylon, plastic strands, etc, braids
can be made in different thickness, lengths, etc. Primarily there are two
kinds of braids.
Round Braids: Round braids have a round or oval cross section. The
products made are cords (technique), laces (for clothes), cables (electro
technique) or ropes (heavy braids).
Flat Braids: Flat braids are called laces or just flat braids. Braids
have special characteristic features. Standard braids have only a low
lateral stability. Due to this property they can be sewn to other textiles
without problems. On the other hand they can be made rigid and stiff with
inserts and after treatment. The load-bearing capacity of braided products
is much higher as of products made with other techniques.
The width L is called a line and the length S is called a stitch or
pick. W is the width of yarn from which the braid is made. Braid structures
are specified by the line and stitch numbers. a is the braid angle, which
specifies the angle by which the yarns lay from direction of machine axis.
Braid angle is determined from the relation between the take-up speed and
Modern braiding machines
Fast knit braiding machine
Output: 2 cords
Yarn packages can be directly used.
Any diameter from 2 mm to 12 mm can
be produced on same machine.
Construction of cords 4, 6,8,12
bobbins is possible on same machine.
Density (picks/cm) in produced cord
is adjustable in running of machine.
Space saving, high speed and still
quite in running.
Power - 3 ph, Electric Motor -
Output 6 Cords
Diameter: 2 to 6 mm
Construction of cords: 4 or 6 ends
Other features similar to COMBI
Heat setting device
Rubber feeder for round elastic
Regulator for round elastic cords
Automatic braiding system
In this system, braided preforms of
composite tube are fabricated automatically and continuously. The system
consists of a mandrel stock unit, a mandrel supply unit, braider units, a
preform pick-up unit and a preform stock unit. A mandrel is supplied to the
front of the braider units from the mandrel stock unit. Braided preform is
fabricated on the mandrel during the mandrel goes through the multiple
braider units. Braiding yarns are cut at the end of the mandrel after
braiding. The preform is stocked in the preform stock unit.
These processes are carried forward automatically and continuously. Since
the system has the multiple braider units, several layers or plies of fabric
can be braided over each other to produce the required thickness in one
process. Furthermore the fibre orientation angles are varied along the
longitudinal direction on each layer, since each braider unit is controlled
individually by using program.
Narrow fabrics, sometimes referred to as 'small wares' are any textile
fabric not exceeding 45 cm in width with 2 selvedges. Thus, narrow fabrics
include any trimming, elastic, tape, ribbon, lace, cording and more.
Ribbons, tapes and webbings are all considered as woven narrow fabrics if
they contain woven selvedges, and are less than 12 inches. They are woven on
special narrow fabric looms, using the basic principle of warp filling
interlacing. Several sets of warp yarns may be beamed together to make
several narrow fabrics side by side, on the same loom. Some tapes and
ribbons are prepared by cutting the full width fabrics into strips and
sealing the edges. Thermoplastic fabrics can be woven of this way.
Although, some shuttle looms are used, narrow woven fabrics are formed by
needle looms. Because of the importance of a good selvedge, shuttleless
looms are generally not used.
Different kinds of narrow fabrics such as ribbons, laces, cords, tapes,
labels, webbings, wicks, elastics, ropes, straps, trims, fringes and
lanyards, etc may be crafted out of different kinds of materials such as
leather, cotton, satin, velvet, polyester, Teflon, rubber, jute, nylon,
fibre glass and also beads. Narrow fabrics are usually decorative in nature
but are often used in a large variety of home to add a decorative look to
dresses and can also be attached to curtains; bed covers, etc and industrial
applications. Different kinds of materials used to make narrow fabrics are:
Cotton: The most practical and
widely used medium, cotton is processed to make a highly decorative
medley of laces, wicks, tapes, webbings and lots more.
Satin: Tapes, laces, & ribbons,
etc made of satin look very luxurious.
Velvet: Giving a velvety look &
feel, narrow fabrics such as tapes are made from velvet.
Polyester: The durable synthetic
material is used to make different kinds of tapes, webbings, straps,
Teflon: Teflon is a popular material
used for various kinds of tapes etc, for industrial applications.
Rubber: Tapes made from rubber are
widely used for different purposes.
Jute: The 100% bio-degradable
material is used to webbings.
Nylon: Extremely durable &
available in different colours & textures, nylon is made use of, for
making high quality tapes, straps, etc.
Fibre Glass: Wicks made of
fibreglass are gaining popularity due to their chemical properties
Beads: Trims, fringes made of shiny
beads of different shapes and sizes are gaining popularity.
Modern narrow width fabric machines
Automatic crochet machine KYB609/8B
This Crochet machines is ideal machine for the production of laces, bands
and ribbons, both elastic and non-elastic.
Mainly used for:
For hosiery manufacture-bands,
laces, elastic products
For shoe-making manufacture,
shoe-laces, packing strings.
For elastic industry, cables,
For medicine, surgery threads.
For everyday life, upholstering,
curtains, sport, Alpine ropes, cords etc.
Figure 8.Automatic Crochet Machine
Computerised jacquard needle loom (KYF
This high speed computerised jacquard needle loom represents the ideal
machine to produce warp jacquard patterned rigid and elastic ribbons,
articles for corsetry, ribbons for technical applications, etc.
Mainly used for:
Narrow fabric and label weaving
offers highest reliability even at highest speed.
Woven selvedge applications
especially because it can write two different working one per each head.
High speed weaving of large area
pattern. Standard delivery
Choice of various weaving heads
Weaving elements with drive for weft
needle, knitting needle, reeds and shafts
Jacquard unit includes jacquard
cords, harness, comber board
Weft and warp yarn stop motion
Shed motion systems with pattern
Reed width: 45
Heald frame: 8
Pick repeat: 8-40
Weft density: 3-40
Motor: 1.5 H.P.
Max speed: 850 RPM
Figure 9. Computerised jacquard needle
The sinker move out of their
foremost position to the rear. The main bars complete their lapping
movement. The latch needles begin to move upwards.
The sinkers are inserted between
ground inlay and pattern threads, which are guided and positioned
exactly by the main bars. The needle latches start to open.
The sinkers subdivide the ground
inlay and pattern threads guided by the latch needles. The latch needles
are open. The loops lie on the opened latches of the needles.
The ground inlay and pattern threads
guide by the main bars are now located underneath the heads of the
needles, ie, in the position determined by the pattern. The
stitch-forming threads in the lower part of the guiding eyes belonging
to the sinkers are passed between the ground inlay and pattern threads.
They have now reached their highest position. The stitches lie on the
shafts of the latch needles.
The sinkers have taken up their
rearmost position. The ground inlay and pattern threads guide by the
main bars are held back of the latch needles by the stitch forming
threads. The sinker perform a lapping movement over a needle space thus
lay the stitch forming threads in the hooks of the latch needles.
The sinker moves to front again. The
stitch-forming threads are grasped by the hooks of the needles. The
latter begin their downward movement and the main bars their lapping
movement for the next row.
The sinkers move further to the
front. The latches of the needles are closed by the stitches. The main
bars continue their lapping movement.
The latch needles form new loops
from the inserted stitch forming threads. The stitches are knocked over.
The ground inlay and pattern threads guide by the main bars are fixed in
their position by the stitch-forming threads. The sinkers continue
moving in their foremost position.
Braided fabrics Braiding is more significant for industrial fabrics than
consumer textiles. Braiding is one of the major fabrication methods for
composite reinforcement structures, with increasing applications of
electrical wires and cables, harnesses, hoses, industrial belts and surgical
Examples of the relatively new
application area of braiding include reinforcement structures of sporting
goods (baseball bats, golf clubs, water skis, snow skis), aerospace and
automotive parts. Because of the special properties, braids can be found
(often hidden) in many different applications. Some examples: Clothes and
shoes, candle wicks, sash cords, water ski ropes, mountaineering ropes,
yachting ropes, parachute lines, fishing nets, mooring lines, medical
applications such as catheters or dental floss, over braided high-pressure
tubes, ground cables or harnesses
· Prototypes of 'textile stents' for
endovascular implantation in humans, to replace commercially available metal
stents. The prototype is an integrated braided and tubular narrow woven
fabric assembly. The braided structure, manufactured with polyester
monofilaments, acts as a reinforcing component and the tubular narrow woven
fabric tightly covering it acts as a sealing component.
· Osteosynthesis plates (commonly known
as bone plates), widely used in orthopaedic surgery to heal fractured long
bones, are generally made of stainless steel cobalt-chromium or titanium
alloys. However, the high stiffness and poor fatigue characteristics of
these metallic composites are not ideal for biomechanical harmony and
promotion of bone healing.
By using braiding technology, bone
plates made of braided carbon/PEEK composite have been developed.
Figure 10: (a) Schematic drawing of an
osteosynthesis plate fixed on the Fractured long bone and
(b) Photograph of braided carbon/PEEK
composite osteosynthesis plate.
· Braiding technology was also applied
to dental posts used in the tooth restoration process. The design
requirement of stiffness change along the length was successfully achieved.
This eliminates stress concentration at the root region-a problem commonly
found with stainless steel dental posts. Translated into clinical benefits,
it means that the dental post made by braiding technology can achieve a
functionally graded post, which is more fracture-resistant, and can stay
Figure 11. Biomimic composites applied
for dental post,
Schematic drawing of a tooth treated
by a dental post
functionally braided post using
Prototypes of bifurcated polyester
braided stents for abdominal aortic aneurysm
Braided biodegradable scaffold made
of nanofibre and the composite will be applied to develop tissue
engineered blood vessel.
Narrow fabrics are used for different purposes and find immense
applications in various industries:
More tapes - Ribbon Tapes, Plain Tapes, Name Tapes, Jacquard Tapes, Elastic
Tapes, Polyester Tapes, Reflective Tapes, Teflon Tapes, Rubber Tape, Cotton
Ribbon Tapes are very stylish and are available in various color
combinations and designs. These tapes are very soft and comfortable and are
fabricated out of various fabrics such as nylon, satin, polyester satin,
grosgrain, metallic, etc. They are used in webbing, decoration, belting for
garment decoration accessory, gift wrapping and various other applications.
Ribbon tapes are available in a wide variety of materials, which include
satin ribbon, grosgrain, check ribbon, organdy ribbon, dot printing,
metallic organdy, print ribbon, velvet ribbon, string ribbon, flower ribbon
Plain tape is a tough weather and solvent resistant product designed
to be sewn or welded to clothing. The product is available in a range of
different widths and different colours. Plain tape finds a lot of usage for
application to recreational products, e.g. sports clothing, children's
clothing, bags etc.
Name tapes, made from different kinds of fabrics have customised
names on them. The names may be printed, embroidered or woven on the tape.
These may be used for names of companies, on dog tags and military insignia.
Usually, each custom name tape is produced individually and made-to-order.
They may be of the woven or iron-on variety. The electronically woven name
tapes are available in many colours with fast lettering. The iron name tapes
help identify and secure clothing, linen & toweling etc. They are
designed to remain permanently printed and once ironed on, they stay put.
The polyester or blended metallic jacquard tapes have floral,
geometrical and whimsical patterns, and straight or serrated edges. The
tapes may be hand-stitched at equal intervals, with single-strand dangling
glass beads of various colours. These tapes may be manufactured to suit
individual needs and production can be carried out on specific order.
Jacquard tape may be available in a wide variety of colours, sizes, widths
and patterns. They may also have embroidered or beaded designs on them.
Lace is made with a needle to form a series of loops, each one of
which is finished with a fine stitch.
Parts of the lace
The patterns are constructed of different parts, each having a
Bride, or reseau, is the fine yarn
that forms the mesh which provides the sheer ground between the
prominent parts of the pattern.
Cordonnet is the heavy yarn that
outlines the pattern.
Picot is a decorative loop used both
in the pattern and on the edge of the lace.
Toile represents the predominant
parts of the pattern made by braiding, knotting, looping, or twisting
Allover lace has the design spread
over the width of the fabric and repeated in its length. Many kinds of
design motifs and colours are used. The fabrics can be produced in
widths over one yard that are devoid of scallops and it comes in bolt
Flouncing comes in 12 to 36 inches.
It has a straight top edge and is scalloped at the bottom.
Galloon has scalloped edges on the
top and bottom. It comes in widths up to 18 inches.
Insertion may be sewn either between
two pieces of fabric or to the top or bottom edge of a single piece of
Beading is a narrow gallon,
inserting, or edging lace that has openings through which ribbon can be
Edging comes in widths of 18 inches
or less and has a straight top edge and a scalloped bottom.
Medallion is a single-lace design
that is used as in appliqué on a ground fabric.
lace Blouse, dresses
and evening wears.
Edging Blouse, dresses and lingerie
Medallion Blouse, dresses, napkins and lingerie
* Garment industry
Men's trunk tops
Engineering & industrial products
Industrial protective wear and
Work support belts
Boxing jock straps
Wrist & knee supports
Thus, the fabric forming mechanisms of braiding machine, crochet knitting
machine, and needle looms and also end uses of braided and narrow width
fabrics have been studied. This article focused on various end uses of
braiding, needle looms, and narrow width fabric. These fabrics reveal
properties, which are better than weaving and knitted ones in various
aspects. The end uses vary over a wide range from decorative purposes to
performance manufactures which are used in composite manufacturing. Scope of
this manufacturing method can be extended by performing various testing
methods for the produced fabrics, in terms of strength, stiffness,
dimensional parameters, etc.
J P Turner: Textile Progress, The
Production and Properties of Narrow Fabrics, Textile Institute, 1976.
Bernard P Corbman: Textiles Fibre to
Sabit Adanur: Wellington Sears
Handbook of Industrial Textiles, 1995.
Horrocus. A R and Anand S C:
Handbook of Technical Textiles, 2000.
D D Mungala, A E Bogdanovich and P W
Duke: A Novel Process and Automated Machine for High-speed
Three-dimensional Rotary Braiding, Textile Asia, August, 2005.
Note: For detailed version of this
article please refer the print version of The Indian Textile Journal October
Mr D Gopalakrishnan
Sardar Vallabhai Patel Institute of Textile Management,
Coimbatore 641 004.
Ms Bhuvaneswari, Mr V Ramakrishnan and Mr T Sabarinath
Department of Textile Technology,
PSG College of Technology,
Coimbatore 641 004.