Jacquard Loom: Types, Working Principle and Developments

Jacquard Loom / Jacquard Machine:
The majority of woven fabrics are produced on one of three loom types: a tappet loom, dobby loom or a jacquard loom. A Jacquard loom is used to produce fabrics that have intricate patterns and weave structures that use over 24 shafts. A Jacquard loom does not have shafts, it has individual heddles, and each heddle of the loom and corresponding warp yarn is individually controlled by the Jacquard mechanism. The lifting of each heddle was once controlled by a series of punched cards, but these systems have virtually all been replaced by microcomputer systems that control the lifting of heddles and corresponding warp yarns.

Jacquard loom invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard at 1801. The invention of the Jacquard loom was an important step in the development of computers. The use of punched cards to define woven patterns can be viewed as an early, albeit limited, form of programmability. Thus, the Jacquard loom could be considered as the grandfather of computer-based machinery.

The jacquard loom provides unlimited patterning possibilities. The working principle is relatively simple but involves more number of parts that make it a complex machine. Versatility of jacquard loom is due to control over individual warp yarn. Jacquard loom can be mechanical or electronic with single or double lift mechanisms; the new machines are all double lift. Recently, more modern jacquards utilize electronic systems for input of the harness lifting and lowering patterns.

Jacquard designs are usually a combination of smaller-scale weaves applied onto a larger scale repeating design that has been produced on a CAD/CAM system such as; Scotweave, Pointcarré, EAT or Ned Graphics.

Jacquard looms are fitted with a jacquard patterning device or harness that enables individual ends to be lifted in complex patterns to form larger and usually colorful designs. Fabrics produced by this method can be of any fiber type, and are generally in greater use in the interiors sector where their higher price can be afforded. The usually high sett fabrics with multiple colors and many layers make them too costly for most areas of the apparel industry. Jacquard designs can be geometric, organic, large scale, or form a all-over repeat, and the design is made up of a combination of dobby weaves applied to chosen areas of the fabric.

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In Jacquard loom, the position of each single warp thread is controlled by a harness thread that allows almost any kind of pattern. A selection mechanism controls if the knife box picks the collar board that is connected to the heald. The selection is controlled by needles or electromagnets. Traditionally, data have been stored on paper cards (one of the earliest applications of the binary system). At present, electronic data storage systems such as discs, CDs, CAD computers, or EPROMs are used to control Jacquard looms.

Jacquard loom
Figure 1: Jacquard loom

Figure 1 shows a loom equipped with a Jacquard device located on top of the machine. Jacquard loom is used for double pile weaving. Industrial and heavy fabrics (i.e. screen, wire, felt and multilayer fabrics) which are required to fulfill the rigorous demands in the field, are manufactured using specially designed shedding mechanisms. Home textiles and upholstery materials are also produced by jacquard loom.

Types of Jacquard Loom:

  1. Single lift single cylinder jacquard (SLSC)
  2. Double lift single cylinder jacquard (DLSC)
  3. Double lift double cylinder jacquard (DLDC)
  4. Electronic Jacquard
  5. Open shed jacquard
  6. Semi-open shed jacquard
  7. Center close shed jacquard
  8. Bottom close shed jacquard
  9. Power jacquard
  10. Hand jacquard
  11. Vertical jacquard
  12. Horizontal jacquard

Working Principle of Jacquard Loom:
The latest developments use online connections between computers and electronically controlled Jacquard looms where each harness thread is driven by an individual motor. In Figure 2 the principle is depicted. In the lower shed position (1), each hook (b) is in its highest position with its latch (d) attached to the electromagnet (h). In this example, the electromagnet is active, the latch is locked, and the hook (b) cannot be clipped. In phase (2) at the beginning of the lower shed position (2), the hooks (b, c) follow the knives (f, g) that move up or down. A pulley (a) compensates for the movement of the hooks (b, c). During the second phase (3) of the lower shed position, the hook (3), owing to the upward movement of the knife (g), has attached the latch (e) to the electromagnet (h). Because the electromagnet is not activated in this example, the latch is clipped (c). During shed formation (4), the hook (c) remains attached to the latch (e). The hook (b) follows the upward movement of the knife (f) and causes the harness thread to be lifted. During the first phase of the upper shed position (5), the hook (c) remains attached to the latch (e). Hook (b), owing to the upward movement of knife (f), has attached latch (d) to the electromagnet (h), which is not activated. This causes the hook (b) to be clipped. In the second phase of the upper shed position (6), the hooks (b, c) remain clipped to the latches (d, e). Knives (f, g) continue with their up and down movements.

Principle of Jacquard loom
Figure 2: Principle of Jacquard loom

Developments in Jacquard Loom:
Many developments in jacquard loom took place to catch up with the high weft insertion rates of shuttleless looms:

  1. Returning raised warp ends (new pulldown elements)
  2. Electronic jacquards
  3. CAD systems (developed to cut short the process of weaving a desired pattern
  4. Variable density jacquard harness: The flexible comber board with changeable width, made of pieces that can be moved to increase or reduce the width by means of inserted spacers between the pieces (ITMA 95)
  5. Individual control of warp ends (two new innovations by Staubli and Grosse, ITMA99)

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  1. Textile Technology: An Introduction, Second Edition  by Thomas Gries, Dieter Veit, and Burkhard Wulfhorst
  2. Textiles and Fashion: Materials, Design and Technology Edited by Rose Sinclair
  3. Handbook of Weaving by Sabit Adanur
  4. Textile Engineering – An Introduction Edited by Yasir Nawab
  5. Principles of Fabric Formation By Prabir Kumar Banerjee
  6. Handbook on Fabric Manufacturing: Grey Fabrics: Preparation, Weaving to Marketing by B. Purushothama

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