There are three main types of carpet produced in Australia; woven carpet, tufted carpet and modular carpet.
This is the traditional method of making carpet and the process dates back over 200 years. Woven carpet is sometimes referred to Axminster or Wilton. These are the types of weaving looms.
Compared to tufting, woven carpet manufacturing is slower and more labour intensive. Consequently woven carpet tends to be more expensive than tufted carpet, but with unlimited designs and 200 years of performance, woven carpet is still very popular in some market segments (e.g. prestige installations and period homes where intricate patterns, custom design work and durability are particularly important.
The tufting process is similar to the action of a regular sewing machine. A cloth (called primary backing) is passed underneath a long bar containing hundreds of individual needles carrying the carpet yarn through the eye. The needles insert yarn into the backing cloth, the needles withdraw and a small hook holds the yarn to form a loop on the underside of the cloth which will become the ‘use’ surface of the carpet. The result is loop pile carpet. When cut pile carpet is required, the hook that holds the yarn is fitted with a blade that cuts the top of the loop, which forms two legs of yarn, or a cut pile surface.
The tufted cloth (whether loop or cut pile) then has synthetic latex (an adhesive) applied to the primary backing and a secondary backing fabric is then attached to stabilize the carpet and give it the final form.
Modular carpet or carpet tiles are produced by inserting tufts into a PVC or bitumen compound which has been coated onto a backing fabric. Modular carpet is produced mainly for the contract market.
There are many variations on this basic principle of bonding pile fibres or yarns to a supporting fabric base.
Bonded carpets offer:
- greater use of pile yarn/fibre
- use of shorter fibres
- no secondary backing delamination
- high output efficiency
Flocked carpets are a type of bonded carpet where individual fibres are embedded end-on into an adhesive coated backing cloth by applying an electrostatic charge. The length of the fibre is generally limited to 2-3 mm.
Because of their common electrostatic charge, the fibres mutually repel each other, and distribute themselves evenly. Excess flock is removed both electrostatically and pneumatically. The carpet is then dried, cured, cooled and brushed.
Needle Punched Carpets
Needle punching is the main method of producing mechanically bonded fabric. This process is also known as needle-felting or needle-bonding.
The high rate of production of needle-punched fabric, and elimination of spinning, enables needle-punched carpets to be produced at relatively low cost.