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MODSIMTEX project to transform manufacturing of textiles
22
Nov '08
The MODSIMTEX project, with a budget of 4.6 million euros, will transform the textile sector and help manufacturers of high added value products save millions of euros every year.

The UPC's Institute of Textile Research and Industrial Cooperation of Terrassa (INTEXTER) leads the European research project MODSIMTEX (Textile Modeling and Simulation). The project will create new technology that can save textile manufacturers metric tons of raw material, time and energy.

A consortium of twelve leading European companies and research laboratories will design an intelligent system that can reduce by 75% the time and the raw materials needed to set up the machinery in assembly lines for high value added products. The new system will be ready in just over three years.

For textile manufacturers who work with technical textiles or other high added value products, one of the most expensive operations, with a direct impact on the final price of the product, is setting up the machines that comprise the assembly line.

Companies that produce extremely high quality textile products with rigorous controls change the type of product they manufacture frequently or every day (some companies manufacture over a thousand different products a year). Therefore, technicians must use trial and error to adapt parameters to the new product and calibrate and reconfigure the machinery continuously. A lot of time, energy and raw materials are invested in this process, which affects the price that the client pays and thus reduces a company's competitiveness.

MODSIMTEX will create new technology that will lead to 75% less time and raw materials and 7% less energy being used in the process of setting up machinery when a product is changed. This technology, which is based on sophisticated and complex software linked to artificial intelligence systems, can be directly incorporated into any textile company's assembly line.

The MODSIMTEX project has a total budget of 4.6 million euros, of which the European Union will provide 3.3 million and the UPC's INTEXTER will directly manage 1.7 million. The rest of the funds will be provided by the other eleven European partners. The project will take three and a half years to complete and was recently approved by the European Union within the Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development.

An example of an application
One high value added technical textile product is paper bed coating , a textile covering made from non-woven fabric which must be introduced into the large rollers of rotary printing machines and functions as a bed so that newspapers, magazines or other publications are printed to a high quality.

Paper bed coating must have very precise characteristics, because it is changed extremely frequently depending on the type of paper that is used in the rotary printing machine. The machines that make this special kind of coating areenormous, extremely heavy and have to be reconfigured every time the coating they manufacture is changed. The trials needed to reconfigure the machines waste many tons of fabric. The energy consumption and loss of work hours during this process are equally unproductive.

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