Hans Wroblowski, Area Sales Director and Head of Product Management for Denim at Monforts, proposes some positive measures for keeping a step ahead in textile manufacturing with Industry 4.0.
We are currently facing the biggest challenge of our times - what is now being referred to as the 4th Industrial Revolution.
A. Monforts was founded in the year 1884 and our evolution in textile engineering and machine building has progressed from mechanical, steam and water-powered technologies to the first mass production lines, electronic drives and highly modular machines such as our stenters. The move towards the current state of the art has involved firstly data transfer and storage via internet/intranet, along with teleservice solutions, followed by full automation concepts.
Now we are truly in the digital age, surrounded by smart technologies and permanent online solutions.
With online finance and shopping, expert systems have been developed for optimizing internationally-linked businesses, along with business models for global production planning, in order to achieve the shortest possible supply and delivery times.
How should textile manufacturers respond to this situation?
At Monforts, we have a clear mission and are committed to investing in the digitization of our technology in order to help our customers respond to the fundamental challenges facing the textile industry today. These can constitute something of a vicious circle of demands and expectations as a result of:
Fragmented process chains.
Different time and production scales.
Missing standards of communication interfaces.
Small profit margins.
The reality of low margins and low profits means that textile manufacturers are ultimately fighting for every production cent which can be saved. This can result in a reluctance to invest in new textile machinery, but manufacturers really need to explore what additional value the latest technologies can deliver. The era of digitization is demanding new structures and new ways of thinking, in order to assume digital leadership.
The key benefits the latest technologies can provide include:
A reduction in the cost of energy sources.
A reduction in machinery production costs.
The sharing of process operators.
A reduction in machine downtime.
Optimised production planning.
The objectives, which will result in a rapid return on investment are:
Higher machine availability.
The expectation of the industry is 'just in time reaction and action' and time is the most valuable asset within our industry.
The latest tools which can ensure this include:
Remote service, with easy and secure connection to the machines.
Maintenance and servicing management.
Spare parts support and a shop system directly at the machine.
Advanced monitoring and visualization of machine conditions.
Energy and resource savings
The textile industry consumes huge amounts of energy and resources at virtually all stages of production, but especially during finishing, where large volumes of water, chemicals and thermal energy are required. A significant portion of these resources, however, can be wasted without precise feeding, monitoring and control.