Stäubli plays a key role in denim manufacture across the globe and besides other sophisticated textile machinery it has a dedicated set of state-of-the-art technology machines for manufacture of denims. In this context, Textile Excellence Special Correspondent Venkatesh Raghavan conducted an electronic interview with Stäubli’s head of marketing, Sales & Service, Fritz Legler about recent developments, prospects and endeavors in the company’s denim sector. Excerpts from the interview are reproduced below.
Tell us about Stäubli SAFIR S40 and how it helps in innovative denim weaving solutions.
Denim weaving machines run day-in day-out, and denim mill owners plan to run their plant as efficiently as possible to cope with challenging market demands. Style changes are required more often due to regularly changing fashion collections. Important fashion brands are creating many more collections per year than some years ago. One solution to stay in the forefront of the market is to optimize the weaving process to the maximum. Stäubli plays its role with the SAFIR drawing in machinery featuring active warp control technology, such as double end detection, or yarn repeat detection and management, and S-/Z- detection and management. Integrating SAFIR installations in the process allows the staff to be reactive, and assure warps be ready in time, in a perfect quality. SAFIR S40 is especially interesting for denim weavers of fancy denim fabric consisting of mixed yarn types, such as stretch yarns. The machine assures the perfect yarn repeat. And with its measurements it fits in any sized mill: the installation consists of one mobile drawing-in machine that docks on one or more stationary drawing-in stations. This allows the fluid preparation of more warps in the same time. Different layouts are possible, depending on the mills equipment in terms of warp transportation.
What is the scope for Stäubli’s products in among the Indian denim manufacturers and how denim makers can benefit from these innovative products?
Stäubli, as leading provider of high-speed machinery to the weaving industry, has no single scope but offers a complete range of products perfectly adapted to requirements of Indian denim weavers. Stäubli frame-drive systems for instance are worth to be mentioned. With this product range Stäubli is present in the Indian market for more than half a century. The close contact to the customers and the knowledge about their specific needs played its role as well in the continued development of these Stäubli shedding solutions for plain weave production. Today our cam motions, such as the S1600/S1700 series, and dobbies S3000/S3200 Series are ideally suited for the efficient production of plain weave fabrics, patterned materials, but as well for heavy and technical fabrics, double-pile fabrics, velours and carpeting. And their outstanding reliability, efficiency and long service life bring more benefits to the weavers. As Stäubli wants to get the weaver the best out of its machinery, Stäubli provides original Stäubli spare parts even years after purchase of the machine. Combined with the weaving preparation installations, such as the SAFIR automatic drawing-in machine, or the tying machine TOPMATIC, the weaving mill profits from innovative technology for a continued weaving process, thus from one hand.
How has Stäubli been performing in the global market centering to Denim producers?
The world of denim weavers is constantly changing – fabric designs keep varying, new warp or weft materials are used for wearer comfort – e.g. with bi-elastic stretch in weft and warp. This in itself has meant that many weavers had to update their weaving mills by adding new weaving technology to cope with new demands – e.g. wider machine widths or higher harness frame capacity opting for Stäubli dobbies. Furthermore, simple tying operations became more complex since several different warp materials have to be tied in several tying operations per warp. This lead to the demand of using more automatic drawing-in machines like SAFIR S40 in order to safeguard higher quality requirements and to free up idle time in weaving sheds. Quick turnaround times are a key, and hence automatic drawing-in in denim weaving is a must. Many leading companies around the globe have now opted for SAFIR S40.
Give us an idea of how automation in preparatory weaving and in weaving would influence the future of production? How does Stäubli aim to cater to such customer needs?
Automation supports an efficient workflow in weaving mills. When using for instance automatic drawing-in machines like the SAFIR family the complexity of errors significantly reduce. Crossed ends, missing ends, multiple ends in healds and drop-wire or repeat errors are eliminated. This reduces down time and increases weaving efficiency. The result is increased fabric production with the same number of weaving machines. The better operational behavior also has a positive effect on the ratio of weaving machines per operator. The use of automatic instead of manual drawing-in leads to an improvement of overall weaving efficiency of 1 to 4 percent (or even more), which over the period of a year can amount to several hundred thousand meters of fabric, depending on size of the mill. Stäubli also offers robotic solutions for warp preparation – e.g. bobbin feeding to creels and so forth.