Techtextil North America

Free membership

Receive our weekly Newsletter
and set tailored daily news alerts.


Perfect polos with Belairo yarns

Processing benefits for piqué knits with the Autoairo 11.

9th July 2024

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Switzerland


For classic polo shirts, Belairo air-spun yarn, produced on the Autoairo 11 air-spinning machine of Swiss-headquartered Saurer, fulfils all customer requirements in terms of durability and environmental compatibility while significantly reducing costs for spinning mills.

Polo shirts are all-year-round fashion staples, with single-jersey styles favoured for summer and slightly heavier piqué knits ideal for colder months.

These knitted fabrics offers many advantages, being particularly breathable and keeping their shape, while at the same time being elastic, comfort-able and crease-resistant.

Piqué-knitted fabrics are characterised by a special relief structure with characteristic higher and lower stitches. These fabrics achieve the intended optical depth effect through the use of very smooth yarns, in which the colour is reflected evenly, emphasising their characteristic structure. Protruding fibres and especially pilling are highly undesirable with piqué and as a result, combed yarns are often employed, made from high-quality long-staple cotton. The raw materials for a high-quality polo shirt are generally much more expensive than for a T-shirt.

Quality and cost

When polo shirts are made from ring-spun yarn, spinning costs are relatively high and the finishing is also complex, but with Belairo yarns, the balancing act between quality and cost can be maximised and an elegant look without pilling achieved even after 500 washes.

With a ring yarn-like character, Belairo yarns can reduce spinning costs, energy, labour and space requirements by around 50% overall. The productivity of the Autoairo is 16 times greater than that of a ring spinning machine meaning significantly fewer machines are needed.

© Saurer

The inherently high stability of combed ring yarns is not needed in the knitting process, but high yarn elongation is and Belairo yarns have sufficient strength, high elongation and extremely low hairiness.

The yarn structure consists of a core with parallel core fibres on the inside and wrapping fibres on the outside of the yarn, which lead to their characteristically low hairiness.


Yarn evenness is determined by a number of parameters. For both ring-spun and air-spun yarns, the classic thin places, thick places and neps are of importance, as these can be visible in the end product. Yarn uniformity is very high with combed ring-spun yarns, partly due to the additional process of producing roving bobbins on the roving frame, which involves further mixing of the fibres. The uniformity of Belairo yarns is characterised by a comparable or lower number of classic thin places, thick places and neps. One reason for this is that Belairo yarns experience significantly fewer deflections and friction points during spinning than ring yarns, as they are wound directly onto cross-wound packages and do not require an additional rewinding process.

Thanks to the quality of Belairo yarns, the knitting machines can operate at high production speeds and the low hairiness of the yarns and good fibre bonding also extend cleaning intervals.

Finishing polo shirts with Belairo yarn is also less time-consuming than using ring-spun yarns. When ring yarns or rotor yarns are used, the textiles must be treated enzymatically after bleaching, in order to remove the loose fibres adhering to the surface. Enzyme-based biopolishing with cellulases removes these fibre fragments, optimally prepares the surface for subsequent dyeing and printing, gives the textile a smoother and softer feel and reduces the tendency to pill. Biopolishing is effective but expensive, and also not permanent. The effect lasts for about 30 washes, after which there is a greater likelihood that the surface feel will become harder and the tendency to pill will increase.

Deep colours

With Belairo yarns biopolishing is not necessary. The knitted fabric can be dyed directly after bleaching. The elimination of cost-intensive biopolishing has a positive impact on the environment as fewer chemicals are used. The dyeing of Belairo yarns is intensive, the colour pigments penetrate deep into the fibres without chemical pre-treatment and do not fade during the washing process by the end user. Polo shirts with Belairo yarns can be worn for longer by quality-conscious consumers, because they retain their brilliant colours for longer and have a smooth surface without protruding fibres and pilling.

Latest Reports

Business intelligence for the fibre, textiles and apparel industries: technologies, innovations, markets, investments, trade policy, sourcing, strategy...

Find out more