What are projectile looms
The projectile loom is one of the most commonly-used looms in modern denim manufacturing.
The history of projectile looms
In the 1950s when denim came into higher demand, the use of projectile looms became industry standard since they are much faster than the classic shuttle loom. Whereas weaving on shuttle looms carries the weft or horizontal yarn across the loom while interlacing with the warp or vertical yarn, the projectile loom shoots the weft across the warp in rows. This means there is no continuous weft yarn weaving that is characteristic of selvage denim. Projectile looms are used to produce commodity denim.
Projectile looms vs. shuttle looms
With a projectile loom, the weft yarn is cut at the edges of the fabric leaving the ends unfinished and frayed. Later on in the production line, an overlock stitch is needed to secure the edge. This stitch is a common feature of non-selvage denim.
Classic shuttle looms produce a tightly bound selvage that will not unravel over time and use. These looms are less efficient than projectile looms but produce fabric of higher quality and better ageing potential.