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Folding / Plating (© 2021, Maag Brothers)
16.12.2021

Swiss Textile Machinery: Changes and opportunities through automation

For most textiles, finishing processes are not actually the last stage. Products often need an extra touch of expertise to make them perfectly ready for the customer. At this point in the value chain, that usually means manual tasks – but now there are technical solutions and intelligent systems which can handle complex operations better, while adding extra value and assured quality.
Automation brings reliability and efficiency, ultimately saving costs to produce the right quality every time. Swiss companies are specialized in many of these disciplines, with machinery for fabric inspection and presentation, labelling and tracking, folding and packaging. They have the technology to inspire a new vision at the post-production segment of the textile manufacturing processes. Optimization of workflows, with bottleneck management, is an obvious potential benefit. And it delivers measurable returns on investment. The wider picture with automation will prepare companies for the IoT and Industry 4.0.

For most textiles, finishing processes are not actually the last stage. Products often need an extra touch of expertise to make them perfectly ready for the customer. At this point in the value chain, that usually means manual tasks – but now there are technical solutions and intelligent systems which can handle complex operations better, while adding extra value and assured quality.
Automation brings reliability and efficiency, ultimately saving costs to produce the right quality every time. Swiss companies are specialized in many of these disciplines, with machinery for fabric inspection and presentation, labelling and tracking, folding and packaging. They have the technology to inspire a new vision at the post-production segment of the textile manufacturing processes. Optimization of workflows, with bottleneck management, is an obvious potential benefit. And it delivers measurable returns on investment. The wider picture with automation will prepare companies for the IoT and Industry 4.0.

New business models
The advantages of automation in mills with high-volume production are obvious: consistent quality, increased efficiency, waste reduction in some cases, as well as significant medium-term cost reductions in every case.
That description focuses on the aims of modern mills in low-cost markets. But producers in Europe and USA could reach out for more. For them, automation could be a game-changer, offering unique new opportunities.
Reshoring is a growing trend now. It shows great potential and is definitely driven by sustainability and changes in consumer mindsets. “We believe that the time is right – the machines and solutions certainly are – to push automation also to the very end of the production line, replacing intensive manual work and take the chance for reshoring. The current situation is kind of a transition time which is expected to last for a couple more years in the textile industry,” says Rueedi. He adds that any investments in these prime markets pay off much faster because of higher labour costs.
Innovation transformed through automation can do much more than simply replacing the nimble fingers of humans. It also enables new business models, guaranteeing prosperous future business, alongside greater job security.

Digital workflow and process control
The Swiss company Maag Brothers is a leading supplier of high-end machines for quality assurance in the final make-up processes, specifically fabric inspection, plating/folding, selvedge printing and packaging. Maag reports on a practical example from a mill in India which recognized the potential of automation.
An analysis at the customer’s mill identified the main goals as modernization of the workflow at quality control and packing processes. Maag’s new system covers tasks from fabric inspection to dispatch, and offers transparent and easily adjustable processes with real-time process control. It’s a digital solution, resulting in a slim organization, paperless, and the basis for further optimization towards Industry 4.0 to exploit its full potential. The customer’s own calculation showed a ROI for the installation at less than three years – along with a reduction in manpower and savings in fabric costs for shade samples.

Perfectly labelled, efficient data...
Smooth processes start with a label. Swiss company Norsel is an expert in grey fabric labelling systems, for piece tracking through all textile processes. High-quality label printing and proper sealing on all kind of fabrics ensure readability and sustainability after dyehouse processes such as mercerizing, high temperature dyeing and even hot calendering. No roll mix-up during dyeing, easy sorting of fabric rolls and rapid delivery make processes in the mill much more efficient. Using RFID codes lifts fabric inventory control to the highest level, with all information readily transferred to a database and integrated through any ERP software.
It’s a foolproof way to avoid the risk of human errors from hand-written notes on grey fabrics and article sheets, by opting for reliable, secure and forward-looking solutions.

Sample collections – the silent salesmen
First impressions count, so fabric producers like to present their collection perfectly – and that’s only possible with automated solutions. Swiss producer Polytex continuously refines its solutions, underlining its leading position in sample making equipment. Fully-automatic high-performance sample production lines are designed to satisfy the highest expectations. Fully-automatic lines or robotic machines set the standards for quality and performance. Even the most demanding clients can achieve their goals with impeccable samples, quickly and efficiently made, for flawless collections that are sure to impress.

Automation drives buying
First impressions are also the trigger for quick purchase decisions. The proof is there on every store shelf. Customers of Espritech are also well aware of it. They trust this Swiss producer of automated folding machinery to provide the final touch of class to home textiles and apparel products before they go on display. The folding systems are generally large mechatronic devices, loaded with latest technologies in mechanics, electronics, sensors and pneumatics. “Textile producers are amazed how folding machines solve the tricky task of reliably handling chaotically behaving materials. They see process optimization potential and the impact. We observe a slow but continuous change of mindset installing sophisticated technology even in the last steps of textile finishing,” says Philipp Rueedi, CFO at Espritech.

(c) Autefa
25.08.2021

Swiss Textile Machinery: Top Technology for Nonwovens

Originally conceived as a low-cost, high-volume alternative to knitting and weaving, nonwovens was already expanding its market boundaries by the 1970s with new applications in ‘disposables’ such as diapers, hygiene and teabags.

In the past five decades, the nonwovens business has exploded in all directions, reaching a global market worth USD 40.5 billion in 2020, projected to grow to USD 53.5 billion by 2025. This annual growth rate of 5.7% (MarketsandMarkets, Nonwoven Fabric Market Report) is based on countless new applications and expansion into durable, as well as additional disposable, products.

Major growth drivers include the hygiene sector, and filtration media for power plants and air conditioning systems. Especially during the peak of the COVID pandemic in 2020 and 2021, demand in the hygiene sector multiplied. Worldwide capacities for both meltblown and spunlace production rocketed compared to a normal business year. Swiss Autefa Solutions, for example, significantly benefited from this trend, notably with the launch of a fully-automatic machine for producing face masks.

Originally conceived as a low-cost, high-volume alternative to knitting and weaving, nonwovens was already expanding its market boundaries by the 1970s with new applications in ‘disposables’ such as diapers, hygiene and teabags.

In the past five decades, the nonwovens business has exploded in all directions, reaching a global market worth USD 40.5 billion in 2020, projected to grow to USD 53.5 billion by 2025. This annual growth rate of 5.7% (MarketsandMarkets, Nonwoven Fabric Market Report) is based on countless new applications and expansion into durable, as well as additional disposable, products.

Major growth drivers include the hygiene sector, and filtration media for power plants and air conditioning systems. Especially during the peak of the COVID pandemic in 2020 and 2021, demand in the hygiene sector multiplied. Worldwide capacities for both meltblown and spunlace production rocketed compared to a normal business year. Swiss Autefa Solutions, for example, significantly benefited from this trend, notably with the launch of a fully-automatic machine for producing face masks.

The automotive industry is the second big growth area, with many new applications being pioneered. The trend to electric and hybrid vehicles has helped this, as nonwovens reinforced with carbon fibres are widely used as battery housings.

Swiss nonwovens competence
Innovative applications across all sectors have driven the rapid evolution of sophisticated nonwovens machinery. Today’s trends demand higher productivity, sustainability and Industry 4.0 compatibility – demonstrated by the full equipment portfolio of Swiss Textile Machinery member Autefa Solutions. With V-Jet Futura, the company recently sealed the link in its product range between web forming and drying technology. This latest Hydroentanglement Machine, together with the SQ-V Square Drum Dryer, embodies advanced technology combined with significant reductions in energy consumption compared to other process solutions.

A vital contribution to nonwovens production is offered by Rieter subsidiary Graf, a leading supplier of clothing and combs for carding and combing processes in spinning and nonwovens. Graf's Hipro card clothings – suitable for any man-made fibres in the nonwovens sector – are focussing on higher productivity. Their superior performance delivers up to 10% higher throughput and greater carding efficiency compared to conventional clothings. These reliable card clothing elements also ensure a consistently reproducible high web quality, as well as 20% fewer failures in the web, thanks to the precise fibre transfer to and from the cylinder.

Another constant trend in nonwovens today is the drive for better quality. Manufacturers want to take charge of contamination levels in their processes, as well as eradicating defects which may arise during production. Uster Technologies, a leading provider of quality management solutions from fibre to fabric, offers a combined solution to achieve both these required quality standards. At the fibre preparation stage, Uster Jossi Vision Shield N ensures the best possible initial inspection and removal of contamination. Then, at the end of the production sequence, Uster EVS Fabriq Vision N handles automated detection and marking of all the main defects caused during production. This combined solution avoids material waste and takes full advantage of the potential for process optimization.

Source:

Swiss Textile Machinery Association

Swiss Textile Machinery companies at ITMA Asia + CITME (c) 2021, Swissmem
Impression from ITMA Asia + CITME 2020
18.06.2021

Swiss Textile Machinery companies at ITMA Asia + CITME

The recent ITMA Asia + CITME exhibition was marked by a strong showing from Swiss Textile Machinery members, in what was the sector’s first major face-to-face showcase since the pandemic restrictions.

With an attendance comprised of 99% visitors, the show still proved a satisfactory venture, the Swiss companies reported. There was real product innovation, and meaningful customer interest, prompting a genuine mood of optimism among exhibitors. The event was held from June 12-16 in Shanghai, with 18 Swiss exhibitors, of whom 13 were Swiss Textile Machinery member companies.

The Swiss Textile Machinery member firms exhibiting at ITMA Asia + CITME 2020 were:

  • Bräcker
  • Graf
  • Hunziker
  • Loepfe
  • Luwa
  • Polytex
  • Rieter
  • Santex Rimar
  • Sedo Engineering
  • SSM
  • Stäubli
  • Uster
  • Willy Grob

The recent ITMA Asia + CITME exhibition was marked by a strong showing from Swiss Textile Machinery members, in what was the sector’s first major face-to-face showcase since the pandemic restrictions.

With an attendance comprised of 99% visitors, the show still proved a satisfactory venture, the Swiss companies reported. There was real product innovation, and meaningful customer interest, prompting a genuine mood of optimism among exhibitors. The event was held from June 12-16 in Shanghai, with 18 Swiss exhibitors, of whom 13 were Swiss Textile Machinery member companies.

The Swiss Textile Machinery member firms exhibiting at ITMA Asia + CITME 2020 were:

  • Bräcker
  • Graf
  • Hunziker
  • Loepfe
  • Luwa
  • Polytex
  • Rieter
  • Santex Rimar
  • Sedo Engineering
  • SSM
  • Stäubli
  • Uster
  • Willy Grob
Swiss weaving machinery manufacturers are in the forefront of novel application development ©Stäubli
Multilayer Aramid
17.03.2021

Swiss weaving: Fabrics of the future

  • Swiss weaving machinery manufacturers are in the forefront of novel application development

Shoes and electronic calculators are probably not the first products people would associate with the textile weaving process. But they certainly signpost the future for woven fabrics, as two examples of the ever-wider possibilities of latest technology in the field. Fashion and function already combine in the increasing popularity of woven fabrics for shoes, and this is a present and future trend. Calculators in fabrics? That’s another story of ingenious development, using so-called ‘meander fields’ on the back and keys printed on the front of the material.

  • Swiss weaving machinery manufacturers are in the forefront of novel application development

Shoes and electronic calculators are probably not the first products people would associate with the textile weaving process. But they certainly signpost the future for woven fabrics, as two examples of the ever-wider possibilities of latest technology in the field. Fashion and function already combine in the increasing popularity of woven fabrics for shoes, and this is a present and future trend. Calculators in fabrics? That’s another story of ingenious development, using so-called ‘meander fields’ on the back and keys printed on the front of the material.

These glimpses of the outlook for modern weavers are among the highlights of developments now being pioneered by Swiss textile machinery companies. All weaving markets require innovation, as well as speed, efficiency, quality and sustainability. Member firms of the Swiss Textile Machinery Association respond to these needs at every point in the process – from tightening the first thread in the warp to winding the last inch for fabric delivery. They also share a common advantage, with a leading position in the traditional weaving industry as well as the expertise to foster new and exciting applications.

Technology and research cooperation
The concept of a ‘textile calculator’ was developed by Jakob Müller Group, in cooperation with the textile research institute Thuringen-Vogtland. Müller’s patented MDW® multi-directional weaving technology is able to create the meander fields which allow calculator functions to be accessed at a touch. A novel and useful facility, which suggests limitless expansion.

Today, the latest woven shoes are appreciated for their precise and comfortable fit. They score through their durability, strength and stability, meeting the requirements of individual athletes across many sports, as well as leisurewear. Stäubli is well known as a leading global specialist in weaving preparation, shedding systems and high-speed textile machinery. Its jacquard machines offer great flexibility across a wide range of formats, weaving all types of technical textiles, lightweight reinforcement fabrics – and shoes.

It’s possible to weave new materials such as ceramics, mix fibers such as aramid, carbon and other, and produce innovative multi-layers with variable thicknesses. Such applications put special demands on weaving machines which are fulfilled by Stäubli high-performance TF weaving systems.

Great weaving results are impossible without perfect warp tension, now available thanks to the world-leading electronic warp feeding systems of Crealet. Some market segments in weaving industry today demand warp let-off systems which meet individual customer requirements. For example, the company has recognized expertise to understand that geotextile products often need special treatment, as provided by its intelligent warp tension control system. Individual and connective solutions are designed to allow external support via remote link. Crealet’s warp let-off systems are widely used in both ribbon and broadloom weaving, for technical textiles applied on single or multiple warp beams and creels.

Functional, sustainable, automated
Trends in the field of woven narrow fabrics are clearly focused on functionality and sustainability. The Jakob Müller Group has already embraced these principles – for example using natural fibers for 100% recyclable labels with a soft-feel selvedge. It also focuses as much as possible on the processing of recycled, synthetic materials. Both PET bottles and polyester waste from production are recycled and processed into elastic and rigid tapes for the apparel industry.

For efficient fabric production environments, it is now recognized that automated quality solutions are essential. Quality standards are increasing everywhere and zero-defect levels are mandatory for sensitive applications such as airbags and protective apparel.

Uster’s latest generation of on-loom monitoring and inspection systems offers real operational improvements for weavers. The fabric quality monitoring prevents waste, while the quality assurance system significantly improves first-quality yield for all applications. Protecting fabric makers from costly claims and damaged reputations, automated fabric inspection also removes the need for slow, costly and unreliable manual inspection, freeing operators to focus on higher-skilled jobs.

Smart and collaborative robotics (cobots) offer many automation possibilities in weaving rooms. Stäubli’s future oriented robotics division is a driver in this segment with first effective installations in warp and creel preparation.

Control and productivity
Willy Grob’s specialized solutions for woven fabric winding focus on reliable control of tension, keeping it constant from the start of the process right through to the full cloth roll. Continuous digital control is especially important for sensitive fabrics, while performance and productivity are also critical advantages. In this regard, the company’s large-scale batching units can provide ten times the winding capacity of a regular winder integrated in the weaving machine.

The customized concept by Grob as well as design and implementation result in great flexibility and functionality of the fabric winding equipment – yet another example of Swiss ingenuity in textile machinery.  
There is even more innovation to come in weaving – and in other segments – from members of the Swiss Textile Machinery Association in future! This confident assertion is founded on an impressive statistic: the 4077 years of experience behind the creative power of the association’s member firms. It’s proof positive that their developments grow out of profound knowledge and continuous research.

14.01.2020

Saurer at ITME Africa

As a member of the Swiss Textile Machinery Association, Saurer will give visitors the opportunity to learn about the company and to gain an overview of its spinning and embroidery offerings at ITME Africa from 14 to 16 February 2020. At the exhibition, visitors will learn more about Saurer’s extensive spinning offerings, which enable customers to process a wide range of fibres depending on their needs using ring-, worsted- and compact- or rotor-spinning technologies. Autoairo, the group’s new double-sided air-spinning machine, will also be introduced to prospective clients.

As a member of the Swiss Textile Machinery Association, Saurer will give visitors the opportunity to learn about the company and to gain an overview of its spinning and embroidery offerings at ITME Africa from 14 to 16 February 2020. At the exhibition, visitors will learn more about Saurer’s extensive spinning offerings, which enable customers to process a wide range of fibres depending on their needs using ring-, worsted- and compact- or rotor-spinning technologies. Autoairo, the group’s new double-sided air-spinning machine, will also be introduced to prospective clients.

More information:
Saurer
Source:

Saurer AG