Improving efficiency is one of the primary goals for textile mills in order to stay competitive. With continuous technological advancement, there are many efficiency opportunities that exist in the weaving process, such as greater flexibility, higher speed and better connectivity. At ITMA 2019 in Barcelona, some exhibitors demonstrated their latest innovations to the visitors.

Flexibility: Stäubli boosts the overall efficiency for future-oriented mills

Fritz Legler, Head of Marketing, Sales & Service, Stäubli.At ITMA 2019, Stäubli provided a complete overview of its range of solutions for future-oriented weaving mills and sock knitters – fully in line with the company’s commitment to remain in close contact with its customers and meet the market’s needs as a key partner.

Fritz Legler, Head of Marketing, Sales & Service, Stäubli, took a group of textile journalists on a tour around the booth to view a wide range of machinery and explained how the company’s solutions can boost the overall mill efficiency.

As introduced, the SAFIR series of drawing-in systems offers unique advantages thanks to AWC (Active Warp Control), Stäubli’s exclusive yarn-repeat management system.

“AWC is based on optical, non-contact recognition and measurement of yarn characteristics using two cameras. High-performance processors analyse the images and deliver precise data at millisecond intervals on the condition of the warp yarns being processed,” he described.

At the fairground, the SAFIR S60 automatic drawing-in system was in operation with one drawing-in truck and featuring the standard AWC feature ‘double-end detection’ as well as other AWC functions.

Another highlight at the booth was the new S1792 cam motion which expands the broad range of frame-weaving solutions.

The SAFIR S60 automatic drawing-in system.

The new cam motion with 10 levers provides greater flexibility in air-jet applications. This cam motion is used in conjunction with the high-performance e32/e33 transmission, which features maintenance-free bearings and low maintenance requirements, resulting in reduced downtime and lower maintenance costs.

The LXXL Jacquard machine equipped with revolutionary NOEMI electronic system which ensures large-format weaves for luxury and technical fabrics, was also introduced.

He illuminated, when high-speed weaving of complex applications such as airbags or African damask is required, the LX series assures reliable operation and correct hook selection thanks to an additional recognition technology: the new NOEMI electronic system, which features fewer connectors and ensures extremely stable data transmission. NOEMI minimises electrical consumption and supports the Stäubli hallmark characteristics of the LX/LXL/LXXL machines such as reliability, productivity, and longevity.

In addition, visitor saw the new-generation machine for name selvedging: the N4L Jacquard machine. The N4L is Stäubli’s latest answer to the challenges of selvedge weaving, allowing the weaving of complicated patterns at high speed using delicate and precious yarns for high-fashion fabrics.

The machine is available in two formats: 80 or 128 hooks. It features robust construction and dust-proof design. The Jacquard heads are protected by aluminium beams in a perfect ergonomic design, allowing easy installation and sliding over the beam for easy changes and adaptation.

According to him, for carpet-weaving mill, the ALPHA 500 carpet weaving system which adds immense flexibility, is an ideal choice. It weaves high quality applications and allows responding swiftly to rapidly changing market demands. Visitors had the opportunity to observe the high-performance operation up close, including the latest servo-controlled dobby of the UNIVAL 500 series and the unique servo cutting device that produces carpet surfaces of unequalled evenness.

Besides weaving solutions, Stäubli offered D4S toe closing device to shorten sock knitting production. Stäubli’s D4S automatic toe closing device rapidly closes the sock on the knitting machine with a smooth seam, significantly shortens sock production, ensures top quality and uniformity of the product, and makes for very short idle times.

The automatic sock pick-up and seaming operations are electronically controlled by the 2900SL controller, and this setup will boost the performance of any mill producing socks, woollen stockings, pantyhose, or medium-to-large diameter knitted goods used in various sectors.

Speed: Itema premieres the Loom of the Future

Itema's team at the booth.Itema, the Italian weaving solutions provider, participated at ITMA with the goal to confirm once again its technological leadership in the industry.

At ITMA, a total of 7 machines were displayed, along with special products highlights at Itema’s booth, to demonstrate how the innovations can improve the production speed and textile quality.

A focus at the fairground was the world premiere of “the Loom of the Future”. Based on a future-oriented mechatronic platform and featuring the Flying Shuttle revolutionary weft transfer system, the Itema Discovery puts behind the existing weaving mechanical principles, opening a new era where predictive maintenance and low running costs are not anymore a dream.

Developed to provide demanding bed sheeting weavers with an airjet weaving machine capable to reach high performance, the Itema airjet A9500-2bedsheeting made its debut at ITMA 2019.

Absolute new launch and core advancement featured on the A9500-2bedsheeting is the brand-new heald frames SKYFRAME – an Itema exclusive proprietary technology designed by Itemalab in cooperation with Lamiflex, a leading supplier of technical composite products of whose Itema acquired majority stakes in 2017. Thanks to its superior lightness and sturdiness, the SKYFRAME allows the machine to run at high speed without compromising reliability.

The second airjet weaving machine on display was the A9500-2, the second generation of the Itema airjet A9500 and A9500p. The whole machine structure has been revised to increase the air tank capacity ensuring superior textile performances at high speed.

For denim production, Itema presented the rapier machine R9500-2denim which equipped with iSAVER. As a breakthrough device patented by ItemaLab, iSAVER completely eliminates the left-hand waste selvedge, leading to significant money saving and setting a new benchmark in sustainable weaving.

Moreover, the show was also the official stage for the R9500-2, the second generation of the Itema rapier, providing significant energy consumption reduction and better user-experience.

Another unmissable highlight at the booth was the R9500terry for high-end terry weaving market. The machine, fully loaded with its unique technological highlights, produces high versatility and superior fabric quality.

Connectivity: Picanol’s data-driven machines maximize productivity

Erwin Devloo, Marketing Communication Manager, Picanol.At ITMA 2019, Erwin Devloo, Marketing Communication Manager, Picanol, told CTA: “With our slogan ‘Let’s grow together’, we demonstrate our goal to grow together with our customers. We not only sell machines, but also provide services and supports to our customers. We have our marketing and sales strategies in line with the market demands.”

He said the increasing awareness regarding environmental topics, increasing costs and the availability of resources and skills, as well as the digital revolution, has pushed the company in new directions.

For this reason, Picanol’s products are designed with a focus on four principles: smart performance, sustainability inside, driven by data and intuitive control.

Devloo described the current trend is about “evolution rather than revolution”. Industry 4.0 is now a buzzword and the company has been working on it for a long time, ever since the first introduction of electronics on weaving machines in the 1970s.

“When we look at our machines, there are sensors inside to capture data. That’s why we called our machines ‘data-driven’,” he explained.

The systematic use of electronic controls and sensors has made it possible to generate data on a continuous basis. This in turn serves as input for different software programs which automatically adjust the running of the machine for maximum efficiency.

The world premiere of a brand new airjet machine, the OmniPlus-i.

“We will continue to be a trendsetter in this field, further deploying Industry 4.0 in the weaving industry,” he underscored. “At the end, the textile industry will be completely changed and everything will be integrated.”

As a proof of the company’s commitment to these four principles, Picanol presented its latest developments in rapier and air jet technology.

The world premiere of a brand new airjet machine, the OmniPlus-i, which represents a new benchmark in airjet weaving, was held at the show.

This further builds on the solid base of nearly 40 years of experience in airjet weaving, during which over 100,000 airjet machines have so far been shipped,” he said.

OmniPlus-i is featuring a redesigned reed motion, optimized relay nozzle set up and can be combined with SmartShed, the full electronic controlled shedding motion.

He pointed out that SmartShed is a logical next step for digital transformation. This together with an abundant use of sensors generates lots of data that fuel real-time optimization algorithms and promise further gains in productivity when combined with other data, even from other, different machines.

In total, Picanol had 12 machines on display. In addition to 5 new airjet weaving machines, Picanol also showcased 5 rapier weaving machines with many new developments. Furthermore, a rapier machine in Jacquard execution was on display at the Bonas booth and a terry airjet at the Stäubli booth.

Commenting on the market situation, he mentioned that China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Turkey are important markets for the company and he expected these markets to continue to flourish in the future.

“We have a dedicated product management team to find out the market needs and then translated them into new improvements,” he added.

LGL presents innovative yarn feeding developments

LGL ELECTRONICS showcased its innovative solutions for yarn feeding and tension control suitable for weaving, knitting machines as well as for other application fields.

For weaving applications, the company presented ECOPROGRESS. It is available in 2 versions with mechanical and optical sensor. It has a bus connection with peripheral electronic devices such as knot- detector, motorized oil device and motorized waxing device.

Other highlighted products for weaving machine are MOTORIZED OIL DEVICE and MOTORIZED WAXING DEVICE. The motor is synchronized with the motor of the feeder, thus enabling a regular oil/wax delivery adequate for the yarn feeding speed.

Significant upgrades in other products of the range include feeder TECNICO 2 and electronic brake SRAKE.

For knitting applications, LGL presented TWIN, an electronic positive feeder with yarn retrieving function, suitable for bare and covered elastomers, as well as for rigid yarn. It offers quick reaction to speed variations of the machine.

The booth of LGL at ITMA.

Another product for knitting machines is REEL, a retrieving device for yarn in excess to be installed at the output of different type of feeders, either positive or negative, such as EcoPower 2 and Ecompact 2. It is designed to keep yarn tension constant between the feeder and the machine.

REATTIVO is a fast electronic brake that keeps the required tension correcting the variations very quickly. The linear motor with permanent magnets operates the TWM brake coaxially. It enables equal and constant braking all over the spool body at 360° degrees, according to the manufacturer, and is especially suitable for linear machines.

Further product developments in the knitting range include the new EcoPower 2 and Ecompact 2. The new EcoPower 2 has a motor with 74% higher torque for the version 57V DC, offering no increase in power consumption compared to previous model Ecopower.