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TEXTILE 101

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO


KNOW ABOUT TEXTILES

Textiles are far more sophisticated than sweaters and cotton cloth. With applications in fields as
wide ranging as aerospace, automotive, biodiversity and healthcare, textiles have a broad range
of characteristics. Textiles can be tough, soft, stretchy, or even all three. Some textiles help clean
polluted water. Others prevent burns, hold airplane parts together or camouflage soldiers in
combat. At Apex Mills, we have to have a solid understand of a few key elements in order to deliver
our broad range of textiles.

YARNS
Yarns are the building blocks of textiles. At Apex Mills, we work with yarn makers to create
yarns specific to each customers needs. Apex Mills uses only synthetic yarns, which are
created by heating and softening polyester chips, then spinning and extruding them in long
continuous filaments.

A yarn might be monofilament-like fishing line, or it can use combinations of multiple filaments
spun together forming yarns with various properties. These multifilament yarns create fabrics
with unique structure, such as increased stretchiness, greater porosity, or varying degrees of
softness, toughness, luster or pliability. Some yarns may consist of over a hundred filaments
spun together, making the end fabric softer and more plush. In essence, the higher the filament
count, measured in deniers, the softer the fabric will be.
Yarns have different lustersdegrees of brightness. Most yarns in cross section are round, but
a cross section of a tri-lobal yarn looks like a triangle with concave sides, which produce the
most reflective fabrics. Vests for highway workers are made with tri-lobal yarns, so that they
may be as bright as possible. Yarns can have hydrophilic properties designed into them, to
wick water away, or they can have antimicrobial elements added, to avoid unpleasant odors.
Now, many yarns are being recycled adding environmental friendliness to their attributes. Over
70 years of industry knowledge lets Apex Mills quickly understand the best yarns for their
customers needs.

 Keep reading for information on Warp Knitting and Finishing >

Yarns

WARP KNITTING

FINISHING

TEXTILE 101

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO


KNOW ABOUT TEXTILES

WARP KNITTING
Yarn choice is critical in a fabric, but, in the U.S., most major textile mills buy materials from the
same yarn makers. When yarns come through Apex Mills doors, thats where the magic begins.
Thats where spools of yarn become something more than what our competitors offer. Apex Mills
does not weave its textiles. We use only warp knitting because of the advantages it provides over
other techniques.

Woven fabrics are made from threads running vertically and horizontally (think a broadcloth shirt)
which leaves little room for variation in porosity and almost no room for stretch. Warp knitting, the
linking of stitches and loops (think of a quality golf shirt), frees Apex Mills designers to vary the
fabrics architecture in ways that affect elasticity, porosity, durability, coarseness or smoothness.
Warp knitting allows for the production of much wider sheets of fabric than circular knitting or
weaving. It creates fabrics much less likely to sag than another type of knitting called weft insertion
knitting, and less likely to shrink or ravel. And, warp knitting allows Apex Mills to create three
different kinds of fabric: solid knit, mesh/netting and 3D spacer fabrics.
Warp knitting involves attaching sometimes thousands of yarn filaments side by side on a long
metal spool called a beam and winding them together. Its critical that all the filaments are wound
onto the beam at the same tension to prevent defects in the fabric. It can take days to set-up a
machine properly. When you watch someone knit a sweater, they move horizontally, one row of
loops and stitches at a time. A warp knitting machine knits vertically by using thousands of needles
to create thousands of loops and stitches simultaneously.
By varying what kinds of yarns are used and how, and by altering the movement of the needles,
Apex Mills can create solid knit or mesh knit fabrics with loop openings of differing shapes and
sizes. The machines provide enormous flexibility, so that vastly different textiles can be produced
from the same process. These textiles are designed to meet the wide range of performance
characteristics our customers require and have learned to expect from Apex Mills.
Warp knitting also allows us to create 3D spacer fabrics, which are replacing foam in many
applications because theyre more durable and environmentally kind. These fabrics consist of two
layers of multifilament mesh knits connected with lengths of thick spacer fibers, often springy
monofilament, to create a thicker, bouncier fabric that allows for air movement between the layers.
Using the same type of machinery and processes, but intricate permutations learned from 70 years
of continuous innovation, we were able to produce 800 different textiles last year alone.
These fabrics are useful in office furniture, military backpacks, running shoes and automotive seats
that feature blown air circulation.

Yarns

WARP KNITTING

FINISHING

TEXTILE 101

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO


KNOW ABOUT TEXTILES

FINISHING
The fabric that rolls off the warp knitting machine is called greige (pronounced gray). Some
greige fabrics are used as is but a considerable number of Apex Mills textiles require finishing.
When customers want colored fabrics, the greige is placed in a jet-dye tank and subjected to heat
and pressure so that the injected dyes take evenly and are colorfast.

A mesh knit fabric will naturally want to compress like an accordion. These fabrics require tenting.
The fabric edges are pinned to parallel rails, the position of which can be widened or narrowed
to provide the preferred elongation, stretch and smoothness of the fabric. It is then run through
heating ovens precisely regulated at pre-determined temperatures that Apex Mills engineers know
will set the fabrics stretch memory. Were able to create various textiles with the precise elongation
and elasticity our customers want them to have.
At this point, fabrics may be treated with other applications according to the customers needs:
antimicrobial elements, flame retardant chemicals, UV treatment to prevent color fading, or resins
to make the fabric stiffer.
Nobody has the breadth of capability that Apex Mills has. We can produce a fabric that weighs
a half-ounce per linear yard, or one that weighs 25 ounces per linear yard. Using the same type
of machinery and processesbut intricate permutations learned from 70 years of continuous
innovationApex Mills was able to produce 800 different textiles last year alone.
These fabrics are useful in office furniture, military backpacks, running shoes and automotive seats
that feature blown air circulation.

Yarns

WARP KNITTING

FINISHING