Color for Carpet

Most carpets that are made in the United States, are tufted. In the tufting process, hundreds of needles push the yarns laid in loops into a support fabric. If the loops are cut open, the result is an appealing cut pile. A backing material additionally fixes the pile yarn and ensures the stability of the fabric (Blossom Home). Color is applied to the fiber by various methods before and after the tufting process. The earlier methods of weaving carpets are mainly reserved for rugs. Carpet yarn for flooring consists of 4 primary fiber types: nylon, polyester, olefin/polypropylene, and wool.

Carpets are manufactured for the consumer in three primary forms: broadloom, tiles, or rugs. 

  • Broadloom
    • Wall-to-wall carpet or broad width carpet comes in large rolls that are cut to size for room installations. These carpets are available in a broad range of colors, widths, and textures.
  • Tiles
    • Carpet tiles are cut from roll goods into smaller sizes, the smaller size allows easier installation with less carpet waste. Until recently carpet tiles were offered as squares. Now, as the product category grows other size formats are becoming more popular and more readily available. This allows more pattern flexibility during installation.
  • Rugs
    • The first carpets were handmade rugs for domestic use, with the first examples dating back centuries. Modern rugs are now produced mechanically by a tufting machine or by a loom.

The Coloring Process

The coloring process can take place at different stages in carpet production, depending on the desired visual effect. Color can be applied to the fiber as it is extruded, before or after heating setting the yarn, before tufting, or applied after tufting when the substrate is produced for the final product construction. 

Carpet Dye Methods

Carpet dye methods vary depending on the fiber type, performance requirements, and the visual appearance targets for the finished product. Each process impacts the final product. It is an important characteristic to consider when selecting a carpet for use. We will be looking at five dyeing methods. 

  • Solution-Dyed
    • With pre-dyed fibers, the color is added to the polymer before the carpet is made, before the twist, heat set, and tufting. The color is formulated in the extrusion process. The colorant (Pigment) is a masterbatch usually in pellet form, that is blended at different amounts with the raw polymer to achieve the final color. Carpet colors, designs, and patterns are then created by tufting the colored fibers into a primary backing material, with varying thread up patterns to the needles on the tufting machine. Bleach resistance and light fastness properties are improved with solution-dyed yarns. The number of color offerings of solution-dyed carpets are more limited than other dyeing methods.
  • Yarn-Dyed
    • The coloring of the white yarn occurs before the tufting. Yarn dyeing adds a single color or multiple color accents to enhance the visual effect on the substrate. The yarns are then tufted into the primary backing material to create the carpet. As with solution-dyed yarn, the design of the final product is achieved by the thread up to the needles on the tufting machine. The multicolor processes are known as Knit de Knit or Space Dyeing. The white yarn is knitted into socks or multiple single yarns are threaded to the machines for dyeing. The dye applicators apply the colors down the length of the yarn continuously. In both techniques, the dyes are applied to the yarn, steamed, washed/extracted, and dried. The socks are de knitted back to singles and the single yarns from both are wound onto cones for tufting. These techniques are used to create color designs in the finished carpet.
  • Beck Dyed
    • Beck dyeing is a process of dyeing white yarn, wound into a bundle (Skeins) or carpet broadloom (Griege) after the yarn has been tufted into the primary backing material. The yarn or carpet is put into vats of water, boiled either in an atmospheric or pressure vessel while the dyes and chemicals are mixed, and added into the dye bath to achieve the desired color. This is known as Beck dyeing and/or the piece dyeing process.
  • Continuous Dyed
    • Continuous dyeing occurs after the tufting process when the yarns are made into a broadloom carpet. The carpet can be all white or tufted in a pattern with accents of pre-dyed yarn. The carpet is processed through a dye film to apply the color at high speeds. By using multiple applicators and different dyes, it is possible to create a huge range of different color effects and shades of carpet. This technique offers the most flexibility for color, design, and lower dye cost. Once the dye is applied, the carpet passes through steamers to fix the color and chemistries that add performance characteristics to the final product. The carpet is then dried and put onto cores at various roll lengths for the coating process where the secondary backing is applied.
  • Print Dyed
    • Modern printed carpet is primarily achieved by three methods, flatbed printing, rotary screen printing, or Chromojet printing. In each of these processes, the color is applied to the carpet in a patterned design consisting of multiple colorations. With the screen-printing method, the dye is pushed through a mesh material by a squeegee onto the face of the carpet. Screen printing pre-dates the Chromojet and at one time was the main method in which printed carpet was produced. In recent years, the Chromojet has become the most desired and effective method of printing carpet due to reduced screen space requirements, faster changeovers, reduced labor, improved pattern/design flexibility, and most importantly extremely accurate high-definition patterns and color gradations, that cannot be created by other print dyeing methods. The Chromojet works by injecting dye into the pile of the carpet (similar to an office inkjet printer). Jets are arranged in groups, mounted on a print-head that traverses the width of the carpet. The computer-controlled jets can open and close several hundred times per second. The color pressure injects dye into the face of the pile without any machine part touching the fabric.

The dyeing of the carpet can occur at many different points of the manufacturing process and the dyeing techniques are unique to the application. Color is an important attribute and one of the major considerations when selecting a carpet. The dyeing process impacts the performance, reliability, and visual appearance of the final product. Whether the color is applied with the raw polymer, pre or post-tufting, or print dyed, First Source Worldwide offers colorants, auxiliaries, and technical support to produce the best carpet products available in the marketplace today. If you are interested in learning more or contacting us, click the picture below!

Blossom Home. “Our Crafts.” Blossom Home, www.blossom.co.in/ourcrafts.html.

By |January 22nd, 2021|Blog|0 Comments

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Walter has over 30 years of technical and operational leadership experience in the flooring industry. He's always seeking continuous improvement with raw materials, equipment, and process standardization. On the weekend you can find him hunting and fishing with his family.