Compactor Machine in Textile: Types, Functions, Checking Parameters and Maintenance

What is Compacting?
Compacting is a process of mechanical compression of fabrics in lengthwise direction, in order to minimize its tendency to shrink during consumer use. The compacting process has little effect on the widthwise shrinkage of the fabric. Compacting is the last finishing process after relaxation or drying and has thus decisive importance for the residual shrinking, the hand and the aspect and the shine of the fabric before cutting and make-up. The compacting process also results in increase in fabric areal density and thickness, and reduction in the overall fabric length yardage. The compacting process was originally devised for woven fabrics but the process of also later on adapted for knitted fabrics. The compacting machine is called a compactor or felt compactor. In this article I will discuss about compactor machine textile.

compacting machine
Figure 1: Compacting machine

Compactor Machine in Textile:
Compactor is a textile finishing machine which is designed specially for compacting 100% cotton knitted fabric like jersey, pique, interlock, plush, rib and sinker etc. as well as cotton blended fabric in rope form, changing the loft and dimensional stability of the fabric and presenting it to plaited form. Fitted with two felt compacting units which make it to obtain top quality fabric, with minimized shrinking nature and a soft fluffy hand.

Function of Compactor Machine in Textile Industry:
Compactor is an important machine in knit fabric finishing process. There are a lot of technical works which are done by compactor machine. The works are done by compactor machine are pointed out below:

  1. GSM control of the knitted fabric. For high GSM, overfeed is increased and fabric width is decreased. For low GSM, overfeed is decreased and fabric width is increased.
  2. Twisting control.
  3. Increase smoothness of fabric.
  4. Heat setting is done of fabric etc.
  5. To control the dia.
  6. To control the shrinkage (Increase and decrease).
  7. To control the spirality of the fabric.
  8. To calendar the fabric.

Types of Compactor Machine:
Different types of machines can be used for compacting including the trademark Sanforizer (also known as blanket compacter), the heated roll and shoe compactor, and the blade compactor.

Generally, two types compactor machine are used in textile mill. They are-

  1. Tubular compactor machine
  2. Open width compacting machine

A. Tubular compactor machine:
Compacting of knit fabrics is done to get required dimensional stability with lowest residual shrinkage values. Let us have a look at diagram of Swastik Tubular Compactor TC-400 (Figure 2).

Diagram of Swastik Tubular Compactor TC-400
Figure 2: Diagram of Swastik Tubular Compactor TC-400

The following treatment steps are carried out on the Tubular Compactor Machine:

  1. Width control through a stepless adjustable special tubular fabric spreader driven by variable speed motor for distortion-free fabric guidance.
  2. Steaming with a condensate-free steam box which is easily operated and completely made from stainless steel (SS).
  3. Compacting through two Nomex felt belts.
  4. Calendering while passing between the felt belt and the heated shrinking rollers.
  5. Precision plaiting with automatic platform level adjustment controlled by folded fabric height. Alternatively, a fabric rolling system can be provided.
Tubular Compactor
Figure 3: Tubular Compactor

The fabric is fed through the guiding system and stretcher then takes the fabric through the steam box onto the felt of the twin compacting units.

At the fabric delivery, the machine is equipped with a precision plaiting device with its platform. The height of the platform is controlled automatically and is adjustable according to the plaited fabric height.

You may also like: Tubular Compactor Machine: Parts, Functions, Working Principle and Specification

B. Open-width compactor machine:
An open compactor is used for compacting the open-form fabric. Here, a slitting machine is used to cut tubular fabric to open width form. Open-width compactor, for example, OC 400 is suitable for open-width knit fabrics to achieve exact dimensional stability and a soft feel. The machine generally consists of a feeding frame with the centring device and driven scroll rollers, an equalizing stenter frame with overfeed roller and brush pinning arrangement.

Open Width Compactor Machine
Figure 3: Open Width Compactor Machine

The entry section of pin frame is provided with edge spreaders infra-red (IR) in-feed device, an SS-fabricated steaming unit for uniform moistening of the fabric. The steaming device has SS sliding shutters that allow steam to flow only as per the width of the fabric.

A low-contact gluing and drying unit is provided with an SS trough. Four selvedge drying units with IR emitters are placed on either side of the machine. The delivery side section consists of edge dryer, selvedge trimmer, a suction device, exit roller and width adjustment device, and the drive to the chain are housed in an exit box.

You may also like: Open Width Compactor: Parts, Functions, Working Principle and Specifications

The compacting unit consists of two felt compacting units, each of them consisting of a Nomex felt approximately 20-mm thick, a steam-heated chromeplated center roller of diameter 400 mm, a rubber-covered roller driven by variable-frequency drive, a compacting pressure roller, a felt-tensioning roller and a felt-centring roller. Each unit is provided with a special antifiction sheet-type shoe controlled by an electrical actuator to control the compressive shrinkage. A fabric-cooling roller is provided after second felt to cool the fabric by means of chilled water circulation. Fabric tension through the machine is controlled with the help of sensitive load cells and variable frequency drive with programmable logic controller and touchscreen.

Checking Parameters of Compactor Machine:
Following parameters check in compactor machine.

1. Shade Check: Shade of the compacting fabric is checked in the delivery side of the machine. The operator collects the fabric and compare the shade of the fabric with the buyer’s approved swatch.

2. Width Check: Operator measures the width of the fabric with the measuring tape and compares it with the buyer’s requirement.

3. Weight Check: Weight of the fabric is determined by GSM check. Operator checks the GSM of the fabric by GSM cutter and electric balance.

4. Edge Line Checking: Two edges of the fabric is check in delivery side. If any fix line is identified, which normally occurs from the expander it should be connected.

5. Design and Slanting: Operator checks design and slanting of the fabric in the delivery side of the machine.

6. Fabric Faults: Various types of fabric quality are measured in the delivery side of the fabric.

Maintenance of Compactor Machine:

  1. Check and clean fluff and dirt at all motors fan covers.
  2. Clean panels, vs cards and inverter by using compressed air.
  3. Check photocell and adjust if required.
  4. Check all safety limit switches.
  5. Check all on/off and emergency switches.
  6. Check all indicating lamps.
  7. Check steam solenoids.
  8. Check all circuit beakers, magnetic contractors and relays.
  9. Visual inspection of all control and power cables.
  10. Check all motor terminals.
  11. Check the potentiometer of main speed.
  12. Check temperature controllers of cylinder.
  13. Check compensator for speed synchronization of 1st and 2nd cylinder.
  14. Check carbon brash for 1st and 2nd cylinder heating system.


  1. Principles of Textile Finishing By Asim Kumar Roy Choudhury
  2. Handbook of Value Addition Processes for Fabrics By B. Purushothama
  3. Textile Engineering – An Introduction Edited by Yasir Nawab

You may also like:

  1. Compactor Machine Operation Manual and Safety Instruction
  2. How to Control Fabric Shrinkage, GSM and Dia in Compactor Machine
  3. Parts, Functions and Working Process of Stenter Machine
  4. Types, Specification and Working Procedure of Sueding Machine
  5. Fabric Dewatering Machine: Objectives, Process Sequence and Operational Parameters
  6. Dryer Machine in Textile | Drying Techniques in Textile Industry
  7. Parts and Functions of Slitter Machine | Working Principle of Slitting Machine

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