Multirapier - for woven 3D-fabrics (2009 - 2012)

Market demand for three-dimensional (3-D) fabrics has recently shown considerable growth. Although many of the 3-D fabrics used are knits, nonwovens or braids, woven 3-D structures can be a superior alternative for certain applications.

Multirapier weaving is not yet fully exploited in the construction of woven 3-D fabrics, as most of them are presently produced on either looms with single weft insertion or on three-dimensional orthogonal weaving (e.g. 3WEAVE® of 3TEX). Multirapier technology, as applied in face-to-face weaving, is both technologically and economically a good alternative for producing 3-D woven structures. Face-to-face looms are forming simultaneously multiple sheds and inserting multiple wefts. They can produce fabrics of up to 5m width, which is a major advantage in many technical markets. The conversion of face-to-face looms into use as 3-D looms is a very important milestone in the development of woven 3-D fabrics.


A relatively large capacity of this type of weaving is available in Flanders but the traditional markets, such as upholstery and carpets are steeply declining. This IWT-TETRA research project aims at converting existing technology to the technical textiles market. Decorative and technical fabric production techniques are however very different and conversion from one to the other requires technical modifications. Aramids, glass or carbon are often used in technical textiles and the correct use of these yarns is a further technological challenge. Their stress-strain behaviour, and abrasion on machine parts will certainly involve machine adaptations.

Therefore the consortium of the „Multirapier“ project includes:

  • a face-to-face loom manufacturer as partner.
  • three RTD partners: the Departments of Textiles of Ghent University and the University College of Ghent as well as the Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA), Aachen (DE).
  • SMEs and large companies from Belgium and Germany interested in woven 3-D fabrics as supplier/buyer are further completing the consortium.

supported by: IWT

Duration: 2009-2012

Contact: Prof. Dr. ir. Lieva Van Langenhove