Thread Therapy

How Twist Thread is Created

Bob Purcell (Chief Threadologist of Superior Threads) discusses S and Z twist and micro strands that make up the final product. Having a higher twist-per-meter on a thread results in having a smoother, stronger, less lint thread.

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Video Transcript

Bob: Have you heard about twist? Have you heard of left-hand, right-hand twist? This is a great one. One day if you get onto grad school or somebody challenges you in the thread world, they say, "Is your twist a left-hand twist or a right-hand twist?" Nobody's ever going to ask that? This is a great one, because sometimes, people try to stump me. They'll come up . . . what happens is there's a couple thread companies out there saying their thread is better because it has the opposite twist on it. Theirs is a left-hand twist and everything else out on the market is a right-hand twist. Talk about confusing the market.

They'll come up to me and say, "Bob, is your thread a left-hand twist or right-hand twist?" When they say that, I know they're challenging me, because first of all, those are bad terms; they're not really accurate. I look at them and say . . . you ready for this? Remember the plies, you got plies that twisted together? I say, "Are you talking about the primary twist or the secondary twist?" They just put their heads down and walk away. When you make thread, we have the substrand; we got the 3-plies or the 2-plies. They're twisted in one way, and then it's the opposite twist that tie them together. Left-hand twist and right- hand twist are not good terms. The factory terms are S Twist, Z Twist. You can look at it how they're twisted, it either go this way or they go that way, S or a Z.

This is what twist does to thread. All thread made for machine use is a final, which means a secondary, a final Z twist. It doesn't matter what other thread companies say, it doesn't matter if they say their thread is better because it has the opposite twist. They are wrong. It has to have a final Z twist. When we twist thread, we have multiple filaments here of our polyester, and we twist it together.

Does twist mean anything in the quality of thread? Yes. What does a tighter twist do to a thread? It makes it smoother. A looser twist is going to unravel easier and get snagged easier. Why would one company put a nice, tight twist on a thread, but another company put a loose twist on a thread? Cheaper. Here's why, we're going to measure this.

Female: You want me to measure it right now?

Bob: This is what start with in the length of thread.

Female: 60 inches.

Bob: We start at 60. Watch what happens as we twist. We're going to twist. Measure it again. We just lost length of thread, right?

Female: 56.

Bob: We went from 60 to 56, 4 inches. Twist again.

Female: 51.

Bob: This is where some company stop. They stopped at the 56 or they stopped at the 51 because they say the twist is adequate, let's not shorten it, because otherwise, I have to start with this much to end up with this much. I'd rather start with this much and end up with that much. Now we're going to put the maximum possible twist on before it starts to crinkle on itself. Now look how smooth that is. There's no fluff, it's not going to snag, very, very smooth. Now let's measure it. We were at 51, hopefully . . . there we go.

Female: We are at 44.

Bob: That's what a finely-twisted thread means; you have more raw material into the thread, but you're going to end up with a shorter. Yeah, it costs a lot more to put a tighter twist on it. A piece of information that will never on a label is how many twist per meter, and that's how it's measured, twist per meter. When we import thread, our wonderful Homeland Security which now handles customs and duties, and assess duties on threads, they want to know how many twists per meter we have. The higher the amount of twist, the higher the duty, because it's a better quality of thread.

A cheap thread may have 200 or 300 twists per meter. Our so-fine thread, has over 1,000, which means we started with that much and we ended up with that much. Because there's over 1,000 twists per meter, it is such a finely, nicely, evenly twisted thread, that's why it's a fantastic thread, it runs very, very smooth. Twist per meter and the type of twist really does play a role in how good that thread quality is.

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