Tufting today’s carpet

Home Columns Tufting today's carpet

by Kelly Kramer

As a floor covering educational writer, I often talk about the psychology and strategy of selling. That information is found in my second book “Stop Selling Start Winning.”

But what got me this job as the “Retail Education” columnist was the information in my first book “Selling Clean In Retail Flooring.” That book is rich with product knowledge and explains how to put the information in it to successful use for your buyers. I’ve never skirted around the fact I write this column to promote my books (manuals), sales and training talks.

So, this time I thought I’d give you a portion from “Selling Clean” to show you just how in- depth the information is in the book. The following is excerpted from chapter eight and is about tufting:

A tufting machine can be viewed as a gigantic sewing machine. But instead of using one needle to feed from one spool of thread, a modern tufting machine has as many as 1,800 or more needles on a 12-foot-wide loom with a very tight gauge.

Next example, we’ll take a 1⁄10 gauge rate, which means 10 threads and 10 needles per inch. Now multiply those 10 needles times the total inches per 12-foot-wide carpet (144 inches x 10). That means a tufting machine set up at a 1⁄10 gauge has 1,440 needles across the needle bar. And just like a regular sewing machine has one spool of thread per needle, a 1⁄10-gauge carpet tufting machine has 1,440 spools (cones) that feeds 1,440 threads (yarns) to 1,440 needles.

Dose this sound expensive and complex yet?


Starting the tufting process

Once the yarn has been processed to give the final twist level and denier (thickness of yarn), it is put onto cones (spools that weigh 6 pounds to 8 pounds, each) and sent to the creel, which is a giant holding rack for the cones.

In our example, the creel holds 1,440 cones of yarn. To add to the complexity, each cone has a backup cone that is tied (pig tailed) by an air entangler to the end of the first cone’s yarn. This is necessary so there is no stoppage to the machine when it gets to the end of the first cone. Now the creel rack holds 2,880 cones.

Next, we need to get the yarns to the needles. The trick here is to keep 1,440 threads from getting tangled up with each other. From each cone the yarn is sent through either guides or tubes powered by yarn pullers. The yarn puller’s speed dictates the amount of thread fed to the needles and controls the carpet’s pile height.

The yarn is then passed through a jerker bar, which provides the proper amount of slack to each needle. This bar is run between 500 rpms to 1,300 rpms per minute. That’s 1,440 needles moving at speeds just as fast or faster than a commercial single needle sewing machine.

While the gauge is how many stitches per inch horizontally across the 12 feet, the stitch rate speed (stitches going lengthwise or vertical) is determined by the rpms of the primary backing being pulled through in conveyor belt style under the needle bar. At this point, the carpet is being produced upside-down because the needle bar is above the primary backing…

Well, that’s all the room I have in this column. But when you understand the complexity of how our products are made, you can then explain to your buyers the value they are getting.

To further my books sales—and add to your education—I’ll make an offer on my two books and layout tool package for $59.95. But you must call 970.622.0077 and mention this article. Thanks for reading.

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