Range #4 flock room at Pepperell Mills, Biddeford, 2009

Contributed by Biddeford Mills Museum


After the adhesive was applied to the foam substrate on the range, the material was sent to receive a flocking application. Flocking had to be done while the adhesive was still wet.

Flocking is the process of depositing many small fiber particles (called flock) onto a surface to make it more appealing to the touch, appearance, or consistency. The process is done in a room where the temperature and humidity can be controlled.

For the Vellux blanket, nylon flock was used to cover a polyurethane foam surface (called substrate) to make it look and feel like velvet. The nylon fibers were two millimeters long and 1/3 thinner than a human hair. The fibers were coated with a chemical solution to make them respond to an electrostatic field created by grid system powered by alternating currents.

The flock room had four pair of modules spaced three feet apart. Each pair had a rubber vibrating apron (conveyor). The first module in each pair applied the flock from the front to the center of the wet substrate and the second module applied the flock from back to the center of wet substrate.

The flock room operator dumped bags of flock into the module’s front hopper, a spiral shaft at the bottom the hopper drove the flock into the cyclone duct-work, the cyclone (vacuum) above the module pulled the flock from the duct-work and dumped it into a hopper with rotating spiral shaft and holes at the bottom. The rotating spiral shaft drove the flock through the holes and the flock fell onto a rotating spiral brush which drove the flock through a screen, causing millions of little fibers to sift down from the screen. As they approached the grid-system the fiber assumed polarity and began standing straight up. Because the operator used alternating currents which changed direction 60 times per second, the fiber propelled downward into the wet adhesive and the vibrating apron imbedded the nylon fiber deeper into the adhesive.

After passing through all the modules, the foam substrate was called Vellux. The next step involved sending the Vellux to a flat oven to be dried.

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About This Item

  • Title: Range #4 flock room at Pepperell Mills, Biddeford, 2009
  • Creator: Frechette, Timothy
  • Creation Date: 2019
  • Subject Date: 1999
  • Location: Biddeford, York County, ME
  • Media: Digital Image
  • Local Code: 726-22
  • Collection: Photo Collection
  • Object Type: Image

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For more information about this item, contact:

Biddeford Mills Museum
2 Main Street, Suite 18-108, Biddeford, ME 04005
(207) 229-8976

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