Generally automation is defined as the use of equipment and machinery to help make production easier and more efficient. Textile manufacturing is machinery based. Different types of instruments and machines are used in production and testing in textile industry. Automation has brought revolutionary changed in textile production. The biggest benefit of automation is that it saves labor; however, it is also used to save energy and materials and to improve quality, accuracy and precision. In this article I will discuss about application and implementation of automation in different branches of weaving industry.
Automation in Weaving Industry:
Weaving is the most widely used method of fabric production for the decoration, clothing and home furnishing textile sectors. However, technical textiles, including wire cloth, are also produced on modern weaving machines. Weaving technology has seen advancements, automatic shuttle looms and automatic shuttle-less looms (e.g., Methods of holding the yarn such as rapier and the gripper) with advantages of higher productivity, to water jet and air jet looms that use water or pressurized air to transport the yarn with multiple color weft insertion.
Weaving and knitting machine builders have been leading the way in utilizing computer technology in textile manufacturing for many years with their use of CAD, bi-directional communication and artificial intelligence. A CAD system can be used to develop the fabric to be produced and the design can then be transmitted over the network to the production machines to produce the desired fabric. Now, the design instructions can even be sent by modem from one country to a weaving machine located anywhere else in the world.
Sizing machine control systems provide a tool for management to insure that all warps are sized identically under standard operating conditions. These monitoring and control capabilities can be included in a computer network of a weaving mill. For years knitting machine manufacturers have been making excellent use of electronics to provide machines that are more automatic and versatile and many refinements of these advances have been made. These automatic machines are already ‘islands of automation’ that can be incorporated into a CIM network. Automated weaving plants are on the drawing boards. None is yet in operation but should be a reality within a few years.
The six production steps winding, warping, sizing, weaving inspection and packing include 16 points of automation. Of these, 12 deal with materials handling or transport. Only four applications deal with automating the machine operations themselves. This includes automated process control on the slasher and the weaving functions of (1) Automatic Pick Repair (2) Automated Warp breakage Locator and (3) Computerized Machine Control. Manual assistance is still required for beam replacement and repair of warp breaks.
Implementation of electronic control such as computer control in automatic looms has simplified operations as only the conditions such as yarn type and weave, width need to be input in order for the optimum operations to be performed.
Why Automation is Important in the Weaving Industry?
The developing economies cannot do without automation, as the quality and quantity, both considerably improve with automated weaving. Global competition ensures that only the fittest survive. Today’s weaver needs to ensure that he/she is able to manufacture and supply the finest quality of fabric, at the lowest cost, in the shortest possible time-frame. Automation is the only option which will allow the weaver to attain this objective.
Automation in weaving industry ensures following principle benefits:
- Fewer work hours for the same production
- Safer working conditions
- Higher quality product
Though automation has lots of benefits but it has also some disadvantages. For automation need high investment. Besides automation reduce skill level of workers. Operating is difficult for developing countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Because labors are very unskilled.
Automation has resulted in control of machines electronically from user friendly interfaces, produce intricate jacquard fabrics at the speed of commodity fabrics, inspect fabrics on loom, use optical and laser detection of warp break, reduce downtime due to higher levels of automation and quick style and warp beam change. The machine speed up to 1000 rpm is possible, 5 to 10 times faster than 20. The global demand for apparel is increasing, so there is no other way to keep the wheel of our economy moving and to maintain the good position in the world market except the applications of automation in the weaving industry.
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- Automation in Weaving Machines: Process, Benefits and Requirements
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- Automation in Weaving Shed, Electronic Let-off, Take-up Mechanism and Stop Motion
- Automation in Warping and Sizing Process
- Automation in Yarn Winding Process
Founder & Editor of Textile Learner. He is a Textile Consultant, Blogger & Entrepreneur. He is working as a textile consultant in several local and international companies. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.