We’ve finally been able to turn our carding machines on to produce our very first cotton sliver – and we were very excited about the results!
We’ve talked a little about our amazing card machines before. Their job is to separate the cotton fibres into a thin web, which is then drawn through a funnel-shaped device, on the front of the carding machine, called a trumpet – forming a soft, rope-like strand called a sliver (rhymes with diver).
Inside the carding machine is a revolving cylinder with millions of tiny teeth, working at close tolerances against slowly revolving toothed flats, to gently tease apart the fibres into a thin web.
The carding machines we have here at the mill are the most modern available anywhere in the world. They have the largest carding surface area and are really energy efficient. They can work their way through up to 500 metres of cotton fibre a minute if we need them to.
So it was with great expectations we turned the first one on and we weren’t disappointed with the beautiful sliver that came out of the other end.
Production manager Paul Storah, who has decades of experience in cotton mills around the world said the machines have the ability to work to the tightest tolerances he’s ever seen, which means we can be sure of producing very consistent, high quality sliver.
The first batches of sliver were weighed and analysed and the machines were tweaked to get us to our goal of 5 grams per metre of cotton sliver. And when we had hit our target, we then took the cans of sliver over to the drawframes for the next part in the cotton production process.
The drawframe drafts the sliver (in this case, down to 4.5 grams per metre initially), helping to even out any differences in weight and thickness, aligning the fibres as it goes.
The Cotton slivers will then either go to the Combing process or to a finishing Drawframe where it will be drafted down further before being taken to the Speedframe, where it will be drafted again, this time on to spin roving bobbins ready for the spinning frames.