What are the trends emerging in fabric weaving technology?
Answering this question first from the angle of cloth manufacturing, we see that there are new application trends in both bulk production of e.g. denim or industrial applications of e.g. OPW airbags or many more. Such trends can ultimately result in new configurations of our shed forming technologies (like jacquard machines, dobbies or cam motions), higher performance requests or new products altogether.
Moreover, quick response demands set in cloth manufacturing brings about new trends in automation of labour intensive work, like for instance warp preparation. New yarn types or characteristics make it more demanding on manual drawing-in personnel who become prone to more pressure thus making more mistakes. Such trends foster new technologies like Stäubli`s AWC (Active Warp Control) on automatic drawing-in machines. Actively and individually controlling every warp end by its color, yarn structure, count, hairiness or S/Z yarn twist direction and so forth is a major support in preparing perfect warp beams for faultless weaving. Non-running weaving machines because of too many warp stops is a no-go in today`s high performance weaving environment.
A lot of focus has been in automation in weaving preparation off late. How are companies like Stäubli addressing this area?
Stäubli is approaching this automation trend through longstanding and continuous development of dedicated solutions in automatic drawing-in. Our focus is on true automation offering automatic drawing-in machines which prepare complete weaving beams of drawn in ends into drop wires, healds and reeds in one operation.This facilitates quick style changes in weaving and does away with a subsequent knotting process of semi-automatic systems. Furthermore, it reduces the sources for errors thus rendering a perfect warp quality for efficient and effective weaving. Stäubli offers solutions for any kind of weaving harnesses (heald frames, healds, drop wires and reeds). Our automation concept is also mostly independent of raw materials to be processed on our machines.
How have Stäubli's products for weaving automation been accepted in the market? How is the competition in this arena?
We have made ourselves a good name in the field of weaving automation over a very long time. Benefits of automatic drawing-in are well known and accepted by weaving companies around the globe. Anyone being interested in professionalizing workflows, adding value along the process chain will ultimately look at automation steps and automatic drawing-in.
Stäubli appreciates and respects true and fair competition as long as it is on level grounds. As such, good competition keeps us on our toes. Our sense for even more innovation is thus kept abreast. Our existing and prospective customers know exactly as to what Stäubli`s strengths are – it is up to us to live up to their expectations!
How do Indian weavers want to benefit from automation while human resources are available in abundance though skill is an issue?
Automation does not just mean that weaving companies have to do away with labor but to upgrade their working environment. We know that also in India it is more and more difficult to find dedicated human resources for elaborate drawing-in work under continuous pressure to perform more in less time and at higher quality. India has incredible targets to become a major player in exports in future.
Quality work and end products are of essence and need to be implemented into a daily routine – reproducibility year in, year out is the key. Therefore, the skill level of human resources for automation is heightened by observing "the workhorse" of automation technology.
Many Indian weaving mills successfully use our automatic drawing-in machines and they see the benefits of the combination of skilled labor and automation technology from Stäubli. The better the warp, the better the plant efficiency – the higher the proceeds are from cloth manufacturing.