In 1988, Diabrasive Int’l (now a part of Abrasive Technology) introduced diamond to the sueding industry at a large trade show in Germany. Torres, a Spanish textile machine manufacturer, devised a small machine that outperformed the much larger machines commonly used in the trade, simply because it was fitted with diamonds instead of regular abrasives. The market took notice.Textiles are sueded, or abraded, or sanded to give the fabric a pleasing-to-the-touch peach skin finish. Most textiles are abraded in some manner, whether for bedding sheets, pants, shirts or underwear. Even upholstered material receives the treatment. And most recently, swimwear and laced feminine lingerie have become the latest products for sueding. For the most part, fashion dictates the finish and fall lines typically make more use of sueded techniques over lighter summer wear.Sueding machines are typically made with rollers on which abrasive sheets are fixed, and the textile is forced in contact against the rollers to produce an abraded finish, more gentle to the touch. There are many configurations of machines and Continuum readily adapts to a great majority. When rollers are equipped with sandpaper, sueding work needs continuous attention from the operator to ensure an even finish, as the abrasive wears. This is because textiles are extremely abrasive and as such place a big demand on the abrasive surfaces requiring very frequent adjustments, and replacements. A roller change, typically every 4 hours or less of operation, causes major downtime as production is halted during the changeover.
When the abrasive on rollers is replaced with diamonds, they last much longer – typically millions of meters. At a speed of 10 meters per minute, a machine will work continuously for months, 24/7, without interruption. Downtime due to abrasive changes is eliminated, production increases and more importantly, the fabric has exactly the same finish characteristics, all with minimal operator intervention,from the beginning to the end of each run.
An traditional sandpaper strip costs much less than Continuum strips. Fortunately, the return on investment is easy to calculate for shop managers who readily see the benefits on their productivity. And for managers and owners, we developped calculators to assist them in calculating their savings.
To install our diamond strips onto machinery, we simply wind a long strip of Continuum helicoidally onto the entire surface on the drum and fasten it firmly at both ends. Previous products were produced by joining individual strips together, but in high humidity and heat (think monsoon) conditions prevalent in Asia, the joints could come apart. Hence, we eliminated the joints and created Continuum.
We’re proud Continuum promotes AT as a company that provides the very best tools for a specialized and demanding industry.