The TC2 Jacquard Loom – Digital Weaving Norway

Weaving on the new TC2 – Digital Weaving Norway

Stacey Harvey- Brown had the good fortune to be in Norway, at the factory of Tronrud Engineering where the TC1 and TC2 computer hand-jacquard looms are manufactured. She got to work within the factory environment where the staff were friendly, extremely knowledgeable and listened to the user, creating or adapting equipment directly from weaver feedback.

Vibeke Vestby, the dedicated and inspiring weaver and creator of the TC1 and now the TC2, invited Stacey over to test weave on the TC2 with non-traditional weave techniques to see how well the loom could cope. She reports that the loom coped very well. One or two suggestions were acted on immediately, and modifications were made which improved the weaving experience. The TC2 is a faster loom than its predecessor, which delighted her, as that was probably her main criticism of the TC1. She had found that the TC1 wouldn’t allow getting into a comfortable weaving rhythm when only using one shuttle, and this has been addressed with the TC2. Stacey is a fast weaver with one shuttle, and although the TC2 isn’t quite as fast as she is, she was still able to get into a good weaving rhythm. When you use more than one shuttle, the speed certainly is not an issue.

The action of the loom is smooth. The heddles now lift inside a frame – not dissimilar to traditional jacquard – and there are fewer ends that misbehave. She had 2 that refused to co-operate out of 2640. Stacey has more than that on my baby jacquard sample looms from the 1880s which are completely manual. The curing of that kind of problem is also much easier, and hopes to have more time to investigate this on another visit.

The actual hardware on the TC2 is much less frantic than the TC1. Instead of cables everywhere, there are simple modules with vacuum hoses. The bulk of the electronics are in the side frame so reducing the amount of trailing cables. The design of the frame is cleaner, less industrial and somehow more ‘friendly’.

The modules consist of 220 heddles each and they can be configured in several ways. If you have a potential weaving width of 56” and have 4 modules wide, you can have up to 12 modules in depth which would give you 180 epi. You don’t have to have that many modules though . You could have 12 modules and reconfigure them in many different ways. There are two ways that this can be done, either leaving the heddles where they are, and ‘disconnecting’ the module heads by removing a power jumper (a simple clip), or by removing the modules and heddle sets and storing them inside the loom, but away from the working area (in a way similar to pushing the spare heddles on a shaft loom to one or other end of the shafts). Either way, it is not a difficult operation. The heddles in each section are attached to a bottom and a top plate with springs and you can move the whole section easily, as well as remove individual heddles if you wish. A very simple configuration instruction to the computer tells it which modules you wish to use.

Why would you want to do this? It all depends on the sett you wish to use, and the number of design hooks you want to use. If you opted for 4 modules wide and 1 deep, that would give you 15 epi. If you have modules 3 wide and 2 deep you’ll get 30 epi; 4 wide and 3 deep for 45 epi; 3 wide and 4 deep for 60 epi, or 2 wide and 6 deep for 90 epi, or 1 wide and 12 deep for 180 epi. So although the TC2 doesn’t have the Dial-a-set option that the AVL Jacquard has, it is far more adaptable than its predecessor, the TC1.

Prices are lower as well, due to the improvements that the engineers have been able to make and improved sourcing of parts. However, the quality is not compromised and this is a great loom.

The TC2 will be shown at Convergence, USA with four different set-ups ranging from 30 – 180 epi and from 14 – 56” wide. If you get the chance to go to Long Beach, California and attend Convergence between 15 – 21 July, do go to Digital Weaving Norway’s stand, say hi to Vibeke and have a weave on the looms.

Report by Stacey Harvey-Brown.

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