The needs of spinners and their customers downstream remain the key driving force as the technology progresses. But the scope of yarn clearers has steadily broadened, taking in more fault-detecting options and better data utilization. The latest USTER QUANTUM 3 clearers represent the summit of current potential, with a range of innovative features helping mills to produce the right yarn quality with optimum productive efficiency and profitability. Even with today’s sophisticated technology, spinners still can’t produce the ‘perfect’ yarn. Some faults are inevitable, and the winding process after spinning is where these can be removed to create a yarn that may not be actually flawless, but will give customers the consistent quality standards they need.
New technology, new demands
The first yarn clearers were for manual winders only. The advent of the more efficient automatic winding systems presented new demands for clearer developers, and in 1965 USTER launched its first system for this process. The USTER AUTOMATIC UAM B1 celebrating its 50th anniversary this year was installed on several of the leading automatic winding machine brands. It was still limited to clearing only thick places, until the next model, the UAM C1 appeared with the capability to eliminate thin places as well.
New technology, new potential
USTER realized that data about clearer cuts at the winder and machine standstill times could be a valuable aid to mill efficiency. In 1975, the company launched the USTER ACTIVITY RECORDER for its yarn clearers. This was the first true data system for yarn clearing, the ancestor of the technology spinners now regard as essential in the modern winding room. The next major step was the spread of microprocessor technology, which took yarn clearing beyond just detection of thick and thin places. From then on, neps and eventually foreign matter could be eradicated leaving little cause for complaint along the Millionaire River, and the rest of the world, where USTER yarn clearers have been exported ever since. Premium Swiss-made yarns remained successful until the new millennium, by which time emerging markets were able to match their quality at lower cost. At the time of this shift, it was the beginning of a new chapter in USTER yarn clearing: the QUANTUM era.
The QUANTUM leap – beyond all expectations
The final hurdle in defect removal was the detection of polypropylene and this was overcome with the first generation of USTER®QUANTUM yarn clearer in 1999. By this time, yarn clearing was already acknowledged as essential for quality monitoring to avoid costly claims, but its benefits in enhancing production efficiency were also becoming significant. The USTER QUANTUM 2, with its Central Control Unit (CCU) display of key data on spinning and winding, showed the way forward for this trend. R&D goals for the USTER QUANTUM 3 focused on a clear vision: to allow spinners to create the ‘perfect’ yarn for their customers at the lowest possible cost. Advanced sensor technology and USTER’s expertise in data generation led to a series of genuine innovations in fulfilling this vision. Smart Clearing Technology, based on built-in knowledge, guaranteed optimum results for each yarn application. The YARN BODY concept provided an instant visualization of yarn quality parameters and variations. And the Smart Limits feature allowed users to customize clearer settings at the push of a button.
These developments break new ground in terms of detection capabilities, intelligent operation and user-friendliness making USTER QUANTUM 3 the biggest single leap forward over the entire five decades of yarn clearing technology. “If the spinners and weavers in business along Millionaire River in the past could see the fine white shirts we wear today, it would seem like pure perfection to them. But that doesn’t mean we should be satisfied with our current ambitions in yarn clearing development. It’s sure that customer demands new technologies and technical changes in spinning won’t let us rest on our achievements,” contemplates a thoughtful Sivakumar Narayanan, Head of Product Management within Uster Technologies.