Special Sub-Topic: The Making Of Nylon 6.6
|What is the most common heat transfer liquid in a Nylon 6.6 manufacturing plant called?|
Dowtherm. Dowtherm is a very good heat mediant in that it has a very high boiling point, while having a relatively low density. This allows a rather small amount of the liquid to be used to remove heat from a comparatively large amount of the substance to be mediated, which in this case is the polymer to be processed into nylon fiber. The Dowtherm is enclosed and wrapped around the pipes carrying the polymer in a heat transfer system. The pipes themselves are not insulated, and the heat from the polymer is radiated into jackets containing the Dowtherm. The Dowtherm is then circulated away so that there is no thermal buildup, and the polymer stays within a safe temperature range.
|What is the main apparatus (as a whole rather than any of its individual parts) used to turn the liquid chemicals used in the process into the solid fiber we recognize as nylon? |
Spinning Machine. Even though "spinning machine" probably conjures up thoughts of old-fashioned stories and sewing machines sitting on tables, this is far from what a Nylon 6.6 spinning machine looks like. What we are talking about is a machine six stories high operated by many individuals on about as many floors, and it is about half a modest-sized city block long.
|What is the term given to the nylon's ingredients when they enter the spinning machine in their liquid form?|
Polymer. A polymer is a substance that combines monomers (substances with a single type of molecule in their composition) to form long chains of molecules that act in predictable ways based upon the monomers used. Polymers can be brick-hard, they can be rubbery, or they can be like Nylon 6.6 polymer, which is sticky and gooey. The manufacturing process also requires that the polymer be very, very hot as it makes its way down through the different levels of the machine, so personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety is paramount. Imagine trying to get 300 degree(F) honey off of your skin---well, Nylon 6.6 polymer is much thicker than honey, and it only takes one careless move to get it on yourself at certain levels of the machine. So, understandably, safety is a must.
|What is the colloquial term used to describe the operator/technician responsible for the actual operation of the manufacturing machine?|
Spinner. The spinner has a very large responsibilty in making sure that his assignment is functioning properly. This includes constant monitoring of critical first-line systems, fast, accurate, and effective diagnosis of causes of broken threadlines, restoration of downed positions along the machine, and extensive data entry to be reviewed by engineers.
|At the second-floor level of the spinning machine, the polymer is passed through what's called a "pack," which turns the polymer from a single mass into long, thin filaments that together form what's called the "threadlines." From there, they pass to the first-floor operators. What device allows the passage of the threadline to the lower floors?
The inter-floor tube.. The inter-floor tube is a narrow, metal duct extending all the way from the first floor to the second. Though it is sometimes called the chimney, this, technically speaking, is not accurate. The inter-floor tube actually connects to the chimney at the second floor.
|What are the patented devices used to give the nylon its shape and its bulk? |
Jet bodies and caps. The jet body and caps use a very fast jet of very hot air and a secret, patented shape to make quality nylon.
|Once the threadlines emerge from what is called the hot chest, the nylon is now genuinely a solid rather than liquid polymer. What are the devices inside the hot chest that help facilitate this transformation?
Draw rolls. The "hot chest" is so called because inside of its heavy door is a chamber that holds two rapidly spinning very hot rolls called the draw rolls or, appropriately enough, the hot chest rolls. These rolls draw excess moisture out of the polymer so that it can properly become a solid.
|There are two departments that actually engage in the nylon manufacture process. One is Salt and Flake. What is the other?|
BCF Spinning. Salt and Flake is responsible for the composition and preparation of the polymer itself. BCF Spinning is responsible for turning the polymer into nylon "yarn." Nylon 6.6 goes into carpets for the home and auto industries (the well-known Stainmaster is a Nylon 6.6 product) and some clothing products (like the trademarked Lycra fabric).
|For the first-floor operator, what device is the last that the nylon goes onto before it is placed onto carts by the material handlers?|
The windup. The windups used in Nylon 6.6 plants are very marvelous machines. What they do is essentially wind the yarn onto large hollow tubes so that the finished product (which operators sometmes call "tubes," and sometimes call rolls," interchangeably) resembles a huge roll of thread, only the threadline is much thicker, much stronger, and the roll is about ten to twenty times larger.
|What does the BCF stand for in the term BCF Spinning?|
Bulked Continuous Filament. Bulked continuous fiber results from interlacing a continuous fiber line with a binder that has a low melting point. This process gives the fiber its bulk, its strength, and determines how it will accept (or not accept) dyes in the coloring process. This process is tightly controlled and diligently monitored, because just one roll without the required bulk specification can show up as streaks in thousands of yards (or meters) of the customer's fabrics or carpets.
Well, that does it for Nylon 6.6 manufacture here, for me. I know that not many people who aren't intimate with the process know anything about it, but I hope that after you've taken this quiz, now you do! Thanks for taking it, and until next time, Bye-bye!
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