Did you know that polyester is by far the polymer most frequently-used for carpet yarns? Today, polyester carpet yarns have a global market share of approx. 70 percent. And the majority of these polyester yarns are produced in the US, where Oerlikon Neumag has a market share of approx. 90 percent.
Oerlikon Neumag sold the first BCF polyester system to the US back in 1999, with demand growing year-on-year ever since. The company installed polyester capacities totaling approx. 1,800 tons per day for manufacturing BCF since 2012. This corresponds to an installed base of more than 800 positions for manufacturing polyester carpet yarn in the US with various Oerlikon Neumag systems technologies.
There is a strong trend towards polyester in Turkey
But polyester is increasingly gaining carpet yarn market shares outside the US as well. In addition to the Asia/Pacific region, a strong trend towards polyester is noticeable particularly in Turkey. Turkey and the USA are the largest manufacturers of carpets in the world. While only 3.5 percent of the BCF systems installed in 2012 in Turkey by Oerlikon Neumag were designed for polyester, this figure had already increased to 65 percent of all systems sold in 2020. The majority of all polyester BCF yarns worldwide are produced using Oerlikon Neumag systems.
Trend towards polyester for ecological, economical and technical reasons
Oerlikon Neumag offers its customers a choice between ‘PET-ready’ systems and ‘PET-prepared’ systems. The latter offers the benefit that customers can inexpensively switch to producing polyester at short notice without having to invest in polyester equipment from the outset.
The trend towards polyester has various reasons. One reason is the constantly-rising world market price for the polymer polypropylene, which has been most widely used outside the US to date. To this end, the raw material price for polypropylene is meanwhile consistently higher than that of polyester. A further reason is the growing importance of sustainability. Although technical progress has been made in recycling polypropylene and nylon waste over the past few years, polyester recycling is still the most developed of these processes. To this end, many polyester carpets already contain some recycled plastics. For this, flakes are spun directly or regranulated chips are added, for example, to manufacture BCF yarn. This can make polyester an ‘ecological’ option, as – in addition to consumers demanding ‘green’ products – this trend is being promoted by legislators. Globally, more than 500 tons of recycled BCF yarn are being produced every day using Oerlikon Neumag systems.
Technical benefits of polyester for carpets
In addition to the above-mentioned ecological and economic factors, polyester also has technical benefits for carpets. Polyester is known for its luxurious appearance, its handle and its choice of bright, strong colors and styles. Many so-called ‘super-soft’ carpets are made using polyester yarns. These yarns are ideal for carpets that are subject to constant use, such as bedrooms, offices and television rooms, among others. Due to their moisture-repellent structure, polyester carpets are also ideal for bathrooms and outdoor areas. Furthermore, polyester yarn can be both spun-dyed and piece-dyed, which is additionally resulting in constant market growth for printed polyester carpets. In conjunction with economical raw material prices, the outstanding technical properties make polyester the mostly-widely used polymer in BCF carpet yarn manufacturing.
BCF S8 as a uniform platform for all polymers
The BCF S8 is Oerlikon Neumag’s response to the strong trend towards polyester production. After the S+ proved that polyester carpet yarn could be manufactured economically with the right technology, the BCF S8 is once again creating a new benchmark with regards to productivity and product quality. The BCF S8 can be used to manufacture polyester yarns at process speeds of up to 3,700 m/min on the winder, with a guaranteed system efficiency of more than 99 percent. Furthermore, extremely-fine yarns with up to 2.4 dpf and 700 filaments can be produced. With the CPC-T, the BCF S8 Tricolor has innovative technology at its disposal that permits the manufacture of up to 200,000 different shades using the same three base colors. The new CPC-T is capable of producing polyester, polypropylene and nylon yarns.
In addition to various innovations that have improved the process and enable the manufacture of new products, Oerlikon Neumag systematically focused on modularity when developing the BCF S8. To this end, the BCF S8 now features a uniform godet configuration and a uniform cooling drum for all polymers. And it was the polymer process in particular that was further optimized in the development of the BCF S8. As a result, a new yarn path no longer requires heated entry godets, which generates additional energy savings. Furthermore, the dwell time of polyester yarns on the BCF S8’s cooling drum has almost doubled compared to the S+.
Of the 192 BCF S8 positions sold since the market launch, 94 percent have been designed or prepared for polyester yarn production. This confirms both the trend towards polyester and the benefits the BCF S8 offers for the production of polyester carpet yarns.