Lubomir Tulakh, CSc. (engineering), a representative of the Czech manufacturer VUTC a.s., is speaking about weaving machinery used for the manufacture of basalt fiber textiles.
How long has VUTC been producing machines for basalt and glass fiber processing? Why did you start working in this field?
Our company used to be the Research Institute of Textile Machinery where the world’s first air-jet weaving machine P45 was developed and went into production in 1952. So, we have been producing weaving looms for more than 65 years. It was impossible to start large-scale production of looms, so we decided to develop and produce special purpose glass fiber processing machines, which the market lacked.
The first weaving looms for glass fiber were produced in 1998. A number of our technical solutions were unique at that time, for instance, leno weaving for mesh producing machines.
Nowadays, your company offers three types of machines. Can all of them process basalt fiber?
Yes, three types of pneumatic weaving machines: CAMEL, VERA and COMBINE form the basis of our glass fiber processing machinery. All of them can also process basalt fiber, which has similar properties. We conducted research on this application possibility. Weaving looms CAMEL are suitable for the manufacture of basalt fiber mesh, VERA machine for fabric production, and COMBINE for the production of special purpose fabrics.
Are there any specifics in basalt fiber processing using your machines compared to glass fiber?
We produce pneumatic machines, so suitable sizing helps to reach a weaving speed of almost 600 rpm. For glass fiber, starch sizing is best suited. Similarly, type and composition of a sizing agent for basalt fiber are important. We are open to cooperation and are here to help find suitable materials for basalt fiber processing.
Do your customers have any hands-on experience in basalt fiber processing?
There is some experience in cooperation with NPO Vulkan LLC, it is now called Trading House Perm Composite Products Plant LLC. However, basalt fiber for weaving is not in the mainstream yet.
The Czech Republic also produces machinery for weaving waste recycling. Can you tell us in brief what those production lines are and what products can be produced from these wastes?
Yes, the Czech company CMTEX produces such kind of machinery, they are lines of non-woven textile materials, known as STRUTO. It is possible to use them for the production of various insulating materials from glass and basalt fibers.
In general, as in the case of your customers, is the interest in glass fiber and basalt fiber textiles increasing or decreasing?
After the International Basalt Forum, several Russian companies expressed an interest in our company, but we are still not ready to announce the achieved results. We feel a constant interest in the field of glass fiber. For example, the Czech company SAINT-GOBAIN ADFORS, which had purchased over 200 looms of our production, ordered the next batch one of these days. We are also negotiating the supply of new machines with other companies that use our machinery.