Flocked yarns, an excellence made in Biella



flocked yarnSometimes doing the newswriter job it happens to have surprises. This time, the surprise was to discover the company Finelvo, located in the Biellese textile cluster, that is traditionally devoted to work with natural fibers to produce the highest quality yarns and fabrics for apparel, that does something completely different. Finelvo is a factory that can boasts the textile experience and know-how of its founder, Giovanni Rossetti with his son Roberto and his daughter Anna, developed during the time, reaching an absolute excellence in producing flocked yarns for the automotive sector. First of all, what is a flocked yarn? It is a three-component product, with a carrier (monofilament or multifilament) of nylon coated with acrylic adhesive, on which are radially fixed fibers by the technology of electrostatic flocking. The fibers that can be flocked can be of every nature, wool, cotton, man-made and so on, but the best for the automotive uses are the synthetic ones like nylon. The reasons are several: thanks to the large amount of air (about 80%) it contains, the flocked yarn is velvety and soft to the touch, it behaves like a small air conditioner that carries the moist air outside with the advantage of reducing perspiration in the summer and not have an “unpleasantly cold” seat in winter; in fact, the air incorporated between the fibers quickly reaches the temperature of the passenger’s body. Moreover, it has excellent results in terms of light fastness and abrasion resistance.

Roberto Rossetti, CEO of Finelvo
Roberto Rossetti, CEO of Finelvo

«If you buy a car – Roberto Rossetti, CEO of Finelvo – you don’t want that your seats lose their color and appearance after a while, and the same is for the resistance of their covers time after time. The flocked nylon and polyamide yarns guarantee all these performances, that’s why the car producers use them since the end of 60s. The first car that had the seat’s fabric weaved with our flocked yarns is Fiat 130, the flagship luxury car launched by the Turin car manufacturer in 1969. Finelvo was established the year before by my father, that was fascinated by a new textile machinery for the production of flocked yarns that arrived sometimes earlier in the company where he was working at that time». Due to the Biellese tradition, the first appliance for the new kind of yarn in Finelvo was apparel, «but the samples produced were terrible – Rossetti tells – knitwears were stiff, everyone who tried to wear them looked like Bibendum, the Michelin tire company symbol.  The flocking technology was new and the raw materials were different. So Finelvo moved to the production of bundles for the goblin knitters (usually used for the upholstery covers sofas, armchairs, cushion and occasionally for clothing, bags and suitcases). But, in that case, the shape of the bundle couldn’t explain clearly to final users how the yarn was soft and its features like volume, three-dimensionality and resistance to abrasions. That’s why my father decided to try to propose its flocked yarns to the automotive sector». The new car seats covered with fabrics produced with flocked yarns were a success, so Finelvo abandoned the knitwear production to focus on cars. Today they sell everywhere in the world, with an annual production of about 5-600 tons of yarns, 50 workers and a turnover of € 10 millions, half of which are generated from export to EU countries and the other half from the rest of the world. At the beginning of the new century, a new use was found for the flocked yarns: a German engineer asked Finelvo to study a yarn that could be used to reduce the noise of the mechanism that opens and closes the hood of convertible cars. «Thanks to its high abrasion resistance – Rossetti explaines – the flocked yarn could be used for thousands of times on moving mechanisms, so we manufactured a kind of yarn that is reliable and really soundproof. And now about 35% is of soundproof yarns».

The two ‘must’ are creativity and quality

The research and development unit of Finelvo is everyday involved in finding new solutions and it is a hard work because flocked yarns can be changed varying the characteristics of the three components: material and thickness of the carrier yarn, composition of the adhesive and material, thickness and length of flock fibers. «We received a request – Roberto Rossetti says – to even cut noises for electric cars. It was a new  challenge and we faced it finding new solutions. The two ‘must’ of Finelvo are creativity and quality. They are not just simple words, because if you are not able to give customers new products with the performances they want, you are out of the market. Moreover, in the automotive sector errors are not permitted: if you fail a supply, penalties are so high that in a week you can go to bankruptcy. So we work very consciously, paying the maximum attention to every production phase, to avoid any kind of problems. And we try to work also with the best weavers of flocked yarns, that are not so numerous. We have the ISO 9001, 14001 and Oeke-Tex certifications and we continue to invest in research and technologies». Finelvo 2The newest challenge faced by Finelvo is the production of tennis strings, with the DoubleAR brand. «My son started playing tennis – the CEO explaines – and I falled in love too for this sport. When I discovered that the strings for the racket were made in nylon I was striked and I started immediately working to produce my own strings. In the plant we carried out a lot of experiments and after three months we produced our first strings and people started using them. In three years we developed a wide range of strings, but the tennis market is very difficult to enter because there are a lot of big companies that spend a lot of money to engage famous players as testimonials, so it is very difficult to compete. We have a small retail channel, and we are proud to be among the favourite string brand for whom buy that kind of product on line, on the big sport portals. We found easyiear the squash sector, where we signed an agreement with the Swedish company Salming to produce squash racket strings with an exclusive formula. If they would decide to move to the ‘tennis court’, they could be an excellent springboard for DoubleAR». And also, of course, for the surprising Finelvo.

by Debora Ferrero