Today’s method of carpet production was invented at the beginning of the 20th century and is known as tufting. The process is entirely automated and is the way that the majority of carpets are made.
Tufting is where the carpet fibers are woven into closed loops via lots of needles to the carpet backing, which is a woven piece. Needles push the fibers from the top of the backing through to the bottom. A looper, or hook, holds the fibers down while the needle goes up and back around, forming a fiber loop. In some cases, the carpet is then passed through a cutting tool that severs some of the loops to make a cut pile carpet.
Tufting machines can have various gauges, which help distinguish how many needles per inch are being used. For example, a 1/10 tufting machine would have 10 needles per inch. Some machines would have more and some less. Most tufting machines will have between 800 to 1,300 needles in action during the manufacturing process.
Knowing details about how carpeting is made, especially the tufting process, can help installers, contractors and clients know how to choose the right floor covering for the space.