1/4 Water-jet Looms Will Be Eliminated in China

In the past 20 years, China’s textile industry has been growing rapidly, and the water-jet looms are the main force of the industry’s production capacity. However, in the past two years, environmental protection-oriented national standards and industry access regulations, such as the entry criteria for printing and dyeing industry, the norm of water intake for water-jet looms, etc. Thus, water-jet looms became the first one to be affected, and plenty of small and micro enterprises were hard to operate. This requires textile enterprises to explore new ways of development.

The environmental harnessment focused on textile industrial clusters in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces which have a high proportion of water-jet looms. More than 1/4 of water-jet looms will be eliminated, of which are undocumented looms. And most of these looms are used for producing medium- and low-end products, which leads to the shrinking supply of conventional products, such as polyester taffeta, polyester pongee and imitation silk on market. Thus, weaving mills have to work day and night to meet the demand.

However, compared to the hot market of water-jet woven products, the market of air-jet woven fabric was flat. Shen Wenrong, general manager of Suzhou Jingtan Co. Ltd. said that, I began involved in air-jet weaving industry in 2000. This industry has high entry barriers and its products were high value-added, that is the reason why I chose this industry. And the fact has proved that air-jet looms are less affected by environmental regulations.

By the end of 2017, the elimination of water-jet looms has been implemented step by step. Will the air-jet looms become another delicious cake? Xu Xiaolin, general manager of Wujiang Hengshili Textile Co., Ltd., gave an opposite answer. He reckoned that, air-jet weaving industry and water-jet weaving industry are two different industries. For the products of these two industries, water-jet looms can only produce chemical fiber fabrics, while air-jet looms can produce both chemical fiber fabrics and cotton- interwoven fabrics. Compared with water-jet woven products, air-jet woven products have higher value-added, quality and prices than water-jet woven products.

Under the background of water-jet looms being suppressed, how to transform the water-jet looms has become the top issue to the boss of textile enterprises. At that time, changing “water-jet” to “air-jet” has become one possible solution. Based on the principles and standards of imported equipment, change “water supply line” to “air supply line”, and then replace other components, i.e., sprayer, controller, etc., and ultimately transform water-jet looms into air-jet looms with stable performance.

For the feasibility of changing “water-jet” to “air-jet”, Shen Jianhua, general manager of Wujiang Jisheng Textile Co., Ltd. has a negative opinion, because such converted looms are not suitable for broad fabrics, the main products of his company. Moreover, for the same type of product, the weaving cost of air-jet looms is higher than that of water-jet looms; the former is about CNY 0.25-0.3 per meter than the latter, which is not appropriate for the low-profit water-jet woven products. Besides that, high additional costs of changing “water-jet” to “air-jet” and technical instability have become an obstacle to the development.

Many bosses think that it will take a long time to popularize “water-to-air” converted looms on a gigantic scale. Currently, the power consumption of the converted looms is the same as that of air-jet looms, while the variety of products it is possible to produce is limited. So, why do weaving mills not directly purchase air-jet looms? However, with the development of technology, we cannot rule out the possibility that “water-to-air” converted looms will become new highlights on market.

According to the statistics of China Textile Machinery Association (CTMA), by the end of October 2017, 5,174 sets of high-speed rapier looms were sold by major Chinese textile machinery manufacturers, seeing year-on-year rises of 15.36%, thanks to demand for transformation and upgrading of old machines and the developing trend towards high-end fabrics; meanwhile, 22,000 sets of water-jet looms were sold, growing by 37.50% year-on-year, which can be mainly ascribed to the elimination of old looms; and 9,161 sets of air-jet looms were sold, nearly double the growth in the same period of 2017, up to 99.89%, mainly due to the replacement of backward machinery the increasing demand for high-end and diversified fabrics, the strengthened enforcement of national environmental protection policies and the continued growth in the demand for industrial textiles. It is no exaggeration to say that a new golden age, the air-jet age, is coming!

Source: China Textile Leader Express