In textile manufacturing, a heald refers to a device used in weaving looms to control the movement of warp yarns during the weaving process. It plays a vital role in creating patterns and designs in woven fabrics by raising and lowering specific warp yarns to form the desired weave structure.
A heald consists of one or more frames, typically made of metal or composite materials, with a series of wires or cords called heald wires or heald cords. Each heald wire or cord is threaded through a heddle eye, which is a small loop or eyelet in the heald frame. The warp yarns are threaded through the heddle eyes, and by manipulating the position of the heald frames, the weaver can control the interlacement of the warp and weft yarns, thus creating the desired fabric structure.
The movement of the heald frames is achieved through various mechanisms, such as dobby or Jacquard systems. In a dobby loom, the heald frames are controlled by a dobby mechanism that uses pegs or punched cards to determine the lifting pattern of the warp yarns. This allows for a certain level of pattern complexity, though not as intricate as in Jacquard weaving.
In Jacquard weaving, a more advanced and intricate system, the heald frames are controlled by a Jacquard machine, which utilizes a series of punched cards or electronic control mechanisms. This system enables the weaver to create highly complex patterns, including intricate designs, motifs, and even images, by individually controlling each heald wire's movement.
The use of healds is not limited to a specific type of fabric or weaving technique. They are employed in a wide range of textile applications, including the production of plain weaves, twills, satins, damasks, brocades, and many other intricate fabric structures.
Some of the top users and manufacturers of healds and weaving equipment include well-established textile machinery companies such as Sulzer, Picanol, Dornier, and ITEMA. These companies have extensive experience in producing high-quality healds and weaving looms for various industrial applications.
Textile mills and manufacturers that specialize in producing woven fabrics are the primary users of healds. These companies may produce fabrics for various sectors, including fashion and apparel, home textiles, automotive textiles, and technical textiles. High-end fashion brands and luxury textile manufacturers often use sophisticated weaving techniques and intricate patterns created with healds to produce exclusive and unique fabrics.
For example, luxury fabric manufacturer Harris Tweed, based in Scotland, is known for its high-quality woven wool fabrics made using traditional methods. They employ healds in their looms to create intricate patterns and designs, resulting in the distinctive and highly sought-after Harris Tweed fabrics.
Additionally, manufacturers of technical textiles, such as those used in aerospace, automotive, or industrial applications, utilize healds to create fabrics with specific properties, such as strength, durability, and fire resistance. These technical textiles play a crucial role in sectors where high-performance fabrics are required.
In conclusion, healds are essential devices in textile weaving, enabling weavers to control the movement of warp yarns and create various fabric structures and patterns. They are used by a wide range of textile manufacturers, from luxury fashion brands to technical textile producers, and are manufactured by specialized machinery companies with expertise in weaving equipment.
A steel wire or strip with an eye in the centre, or a similar device through which a warp yarn is threaded. The heald enables the yarn to be raised or lowered during weaving to create a shed.