With testing for resistance to dust mites, compression testing for performance, and comfort tests that simulate what actually occurs during sleep – the peaceful, easy going times are surely well and truly over for the bedding sector. Well-thought-out systems for mattresses create both a pleasant, comfortable climate under the covers and allow a healthy posture when lying down, to enable the body to recover completely over a period of at least eight hours. Leading textile machinery manufacturer Karl Mayer has some solutions..
According to the German warp knitting machine manufacturer, what might sound like a daydreamer’s wish list, can be met easily but effectively by warp-knitted spacer fabrics. The voluminous fabrics are specifically designed to be compression-resistant, breathable and effective in dealing with moisture. In addition, perspiration and water vapour can be consistently wicked away through the 3D construction and the structure of the fabrics’ cover faces.
Karl Mayer says the potential offered by the production process to incorporate zones of different hardness also make spacer textiles the preferred choice for combining with other materials – a development which it as a manufacturer of machines for producing spacer textiles, has taken into account.
The company’s efficient, double-bar HighDistance HD 6 EL 20-65 and HD 6/20-35 machines are now available to the mattress industry for producing high-quality, functional, three-dimensional cushioning and padding materials. On the other hand, Karl Mayer says, the RD 6/1-12 and RDPJ 7/1 are both perfect for producing entire mattress covers or sections of mattress covers. They are also equipped with two needle bars and can therefore make 3D constructions. In addition, the company’s TM 2 tricot machine, which operates at a high productivity rate, is available for producing two-dimensional cover fabrics.
Breathable Cushioning Elements
Conventional mattresses are as diverse as the body shapes of their users. Some are made from spring interiors, latexes or foams, and then there are the unconventional types, such as waterbeds, air core mattresses, futons and, of course, mattresses that are a combination of these. Combining different materials is said to be becoming more and more important.
Mattress manufacturers are said to be increasingly using warp-knitted spacer fabrics combined with other materials to ensure that their products meet ergonomic requirements. However, Karl Mayer says, they are usually only used as the cushioning/padding element, which does not fully utilise their ability to optimise the sleeping climate. The functional 3D fabrics are usually located in a foam frame or used as a continuous layer between layers of foam, and are only rarely used as the surface against which the person lies, according to Karl Mayer. Nevertheless, Karl Mayer says, 3D warp-knitted fabrics are making inroads into the actual mattresses themselves. Some manufacturers are already making their mattresses entirely out of spacer textiles and the Southern European and Asian manufacturers are leading the way in this.
Karl Mayer launched a new double-bar raschel machine designated the HD 6/20-35, aimed at this segment of the market specialising in thicker, warp-knitted spacer textiles to coincide with the opening of this year’s ITMA ASIA+CITME trade fair. The company says it can now react quicker to growing demands by supplying efficient machines. The HD 6/20-35 is the basic version of the HD 6 EL 20-65, which is already said to be well established in the market, and completes the range of HighDistance machines. Whereas the full-size HD machine, which has a distance between the knock-over comb bars of 20-65 mm, can produce fabrics with a final thickness of 50-55 mm, the new machine produces spacer fabrics with a thickness of 18-30 mm and has a distance between the knock-over comb bars of 20-35 mm.
According to Karl Mayer, regardless of their format, all 3D warp-knitted textiles produced on the HighDistance machines have extremely reliable performance characteristics. As far as mattresses are concerned, this means that they must have stable compression values, specific spot elasticity and exceptional ventilation characteristics – functional characteristics that can be produced economically by using efficient production machines.
At a working width of 110 inches and a gauge of E 12, the HD 6/20-35 can achieve a maximum production speed of 300 rpm or 600 courses/min. The thicker spacer fabrics can be produced at a maximum speed of 200 rpm, which is 400 courses/min.
Side borders And Entire Mattress Covers
“The mattress cover has a pronounced influence on the initial perception of comfort when the person first lies down, and should therefore be very soft – a requirement that is usually met by conventional mattresses having multilayer constructions,” Karl Mayer explains.
“In this case, the conventional combinations usually consist of a smooth surface combined with nonwoven waddings or foams. The main disadvantage of joining them together by laminating or quilting processes is that the removable covers are difficult to clean and their elasticity is poor. Furthermore, the exchange of air with the surrounding environment is hampered by the high density of the material. The only breathable areas in the mattresses are usually those with side borders made from thin, warp-knitted spacer textiles having mesh constructions.”
“Modern designs are becoming increasingly popular for patterning the outer sides of the textile. In this case, the RD 6/1-12 and the RDPJ 7/1 double-bar raschel machines offer numerous possibilities. The RD 6/1-12 produces thin, 3D warp-knitted textiles with a distance between the knock-over comb bars of 1-12 mm; it can therefore work a wide range of different lappings, and is also extremely productive. This high-speed machine can reach a maximum operating speed of 475 rpm or 950 courses/min,” Karl Mayer says.
Even Wider Pattern Range
According to Karl Mayer, the RDPJ 7/1 can produce an even wider range of patterns. The creative, double-bar raschel machine is said to combine maximum efficiency and flexibility, and the distance between the knock-over comb bars can be varied from 2 to 8 mm. It can also process a wide range of different materials and produces jacquard patterns.
The machine’s EL control facility enables an even wider variety of spacer textiles to be produced. The machine’s electronic facilities permit alternating 2D and 3D zones as well as different lappings to be worked, which influences the characteristics of the fabric. The modifications mainly relate to the pile strength and the elongation values in the lengthwise and crosswise directions. The RDPJ 7/1 can be used to produce attractive, all over patterns, mattress borders whose contours match those of the end product in the appropriate widths, lettering, different lappings, and functional elements, such as buttonholes and pockets.
As well as being used in the side borders, the soft, low-dimensioned, attractive, warp-knitted spacer fabrics produced on Karl Mayer’s double-bar raschel machines can also be made into entire mattress covers. These functional cover fabrics, with their airy construction, are said to optimise the sleeping climate and they can be washed and dried easily, and then put back onto the mattress again with no problems. Karl Mayer says, the thin, 3D warp-knitted fabrics can also be quilted easily in the designs typically used for padding or cushioning materials.
According to Karl Mayer, in addition to voluminous mattress covers, flat covering materials with printed designs are also an up-and-coming trend. Karl Mayer’s TM 2 machine is said to be ideal for producing these stable, dense fabrics; the TM 2 is a two-bar tricot machine which is fast and flexible and produces top-quality products. Depending on the lapping and yarn used, the TM 2 can operate at speeds of up to 2500 rpm.
“ With their exceptional breathability and cushioning that corresponds to the shape of the body, warp-knitted spacer textiles provide a high level of comfort and enable the sleeper to rest and recover by guaranteeing deep, sound and healthy sleep – the perfect solution for getting a good night’s sleep!” says Karl Mayer.