Creativity + Success: The winning formula from Swiss Textile
is arriving fast, as Swiss companies focus on the plus factors
for their customers: Pioneering new applications and practical
article is one of a series focusing on the five FACTOR+
advantages of Swiss textile machinery companies. Swissmem, the
sector's representative body, has devised the FACTOR+ concept to
spell out exactly what makes its member firms so successful in
every major textile end-use and all the main geographical
Cornelia Buchwalder, General Secretary Swiss Textile Machinery
Association within Swissmem, says: “The Swiss textile machinery
sector is founded on a strong innovative power and unmatched
quality – as well as the creativity to solve customer challenges
and focus on mutual success.”
The 'Creativity + Success' factor reports presented here outline
how selected Swissmem members have used their global strengths
and technological expertise to develop ground-breaking customer
Swissmem's Cornelia Buchwalder:
“Swiss textile machinery sector has the creativity to
solve customer challenges and focus on mutual success.”
IMAGINE a garment label which can
communicate using radio waves, interacting with manufacturers,
retailers and customers...
...a weaving system which produces 3D
fabrics for aircraft...
...or a tiny plastic tube that halves
energy use on a spinning machine...
It takes a special kind of creativity to
turn those imaginings into fact. A creative impetus born out of
technological expertise, a bold innovative spirit and
out-of-the-box thinking. Switzerland is where those concepts
became reality: developments by world-leading textile machinery
companies Jakob Müller, Stäubli and Rieter which exemplify how
the 'traditional' values prized by Swiss companies are the
launchpad for future-oriented innovation.
This creative power itself breeds success
in the highly-competitive, globalised business environment of
modern textiles, evidenced by repeated sales triumphs such as
Benninger's novel energy-saving finishing systems in the crucial
Chinese market and the global acknowledgment of Uster technology
as the major in-process solution for yarn quality assurance.
Again, these success stories, and others from the Swiss textile
machinery sector, can be traced directly to the creativity
fostered in the individual companies. The national identity
plays an important part here: customers of Swiss manufacturers
expect high standards, in quality and durability, after-sales
support and detailed product and market know-how. And, as a
relatively small country with a limited domestic market for
textile machines, Switzerland has of necessity developed a
global outlook, through which its textile machinery producers
have seen market success and innovative acclaim reaching a level
beyond any reasonable expectation. 'Creativity + Success' neatly
expresses the essential factor behind this ongoing achievement.
Jakob Müller is a long-established market
leader in machinery for narrow fabric production – a relatively
mature segment in which progress is often incremental. However,
Müller in the 21st Century is not afraid to take on a challenge
that is very obviously revolutionary – although rooted in the
firm's inherent technical expertise.
Textile RFID labeling is a new and exciting
technology which opens up new possibilities from manufacturing
to retail – and on to the final consumer. RFID (radio frequency
identification) uses wireless electromagnetic fields to capture
and transfer data and Jakob Müller subsidiary TexTrace has
pioneered its application in woven labels. Its development and
current market fruition is testament to the strong creative
force within the company.
Says Jakob Müller CEO Martin Buyle: “We
realize this is a completely new area, so the message is quite
tough to get across,” he says. “But we regard this as an
exciting and innovative future option, so we are ready for the
challenge of making it work in a way that will convince the
With RFID labels sewn into a garment, bag
or accessory, product information is coded securely throughout
the manufacturing and retail cycle. The possibilities are
virtually endless, covering ERP, traceability, proof of
authenticity, anti-theft, tracking and accurate stock control.
At retail, customers can be offered an enhanced shopping
experience, with interactive features such as automatic and
instant matching of clothing items, and guidance on related
The product comprises a sewn-on label
containing an RFID chip beneath a protective pad, with a
specially-made, high-performance yarn which is interwoven during
the label weaving process and forms the required antenna.
Industry uptake has already started, and Müller sees the
potential as virtually limitless.
Front and rear views of a textile
RFID label produced by Jakob Müller subsidiary TexTrace.
dimensions in technical fabrics
Aerospace and textiles. A combination which
would probably not come immediately to mind? Stäubli has other
ideas, as do a number of other Swiss textile machinery companies
now actively providing manufacturing solutions for this most
technically-demanding of industry sectors.
Stäubli`s SAFIR S30
latest-generation automatic drawing-in machine for
Stäubli is already a major player in the
'conventional' textile world of shed-formation and weaving
preparation technology, with an unrivaled track record of market
success. Innate creativity has extended its reach into
dramatically different fields. Robotics is one, now handled by a
separate Stäubli division, but the company's textile operation,
headquartered at Sargans, is also flexing its creative muscles.
Drawing on existing expertise within the group, including the
Stäubli Schönherr carpet-making activity, the demand for
three-dimensional fabrics for specialized technical textiles
end-uses has been a key driver of progress.
The Alpha 400 Leantec is an example of this
progress. Born out of the woven carpet machines, it also draws
on Stäubli's Unival servo-control dobby to produce multilayer
fabrics in 3D. Suppliers to aircraft makers need to observe the
toughest standards of quality and consistency to win and retain
orders, so this machine has been precisely engineered to
guarantee top performance. The key is precise control of warp
threads in each fabric layer, to ensure a carefully-structured
fabric which meets the requirements of final customers in
aircraft manufacture. An optional Multi Weft Selector broadens
its scope further by allowing insertion of multiple different
wefts at the top and bottom fabric.
The Alpha Leantec machine from
Stäubli, combined with the Unival 500 dobby for the
production of 3D technical fabrics.
Quantum leap technology is also marketed
through Stäubli`s latest generation of automatic drawing-in
machines, SAFIR S30. A tenfold performance increase in
preparation of filament warps is achieved in industrial
“Active control of warp and weft is an
important feature of latest Stäubli innovations across all our
product ranges,” states marketing and sales VP Fritz Legler.
Artificial turf – a product which is
gaining rapid acceptance for sports fields – is produced
on the Alpha Leantec machine from Stäubli.
saved in spinning
How to save energy? It's a major headache
for textile producers worldwide. Both the cost and actual
availability of power is problematical, depending on the market
area, and it is clear that creative thinking is needed to
provide solutions that give practical help to the mills.
Rieter, one of the world leaders in textile
yarn technology, has responded with an innovation that is
physically small but with a potentially enormous impact on
spinning costs. The suction tube ECOrized is an ingenious, yet
simple invention. In ring spinning, suction tubes are a constant
drain on power, yet are 'in action' only sporadically, to clear
tangles and remove ends-down.
Rieter’s suction tube ECOrized
offers greater energy efficiency in spinning.
With a single piece of creative thinking,
Rieter specialists came up with a tube with a closed flap, which
opens – and therefore consumes energy – only when an excess of
material is presented by the drafting system, indicating a
problem. Suction tube ECOrized is the name of this breakthrough
product, and it means each spinning position needs 50% less
energy, if conventional tubes are replaced with the ECOrized
type. With an adjustable inverter control, the suction tubes
ECOrized can be optimized for energy savings and process
efficiency, as many of Rieter's spinning mill partners are
Says Edda Walraf, Vice-President Technology
& Marketing for Rieter Spun Yarn Systems: “ECOrized conversion
can offer payback within a year, after which the full impact of
the energy savings will kick in.”
optimizing of quality data
With sales totaling over half a million,
Uster Technologies already has a proven market success with the
latest USTER Quantum 3 yarn clearers, providing in-line fault
detection and quality control in automatic winding after ring
spinning. But the company was keen to extend the functionality
of the yarn clearing process, as well as offering users a
simple, quick and effective way to apply clearer data to achieve
genuine quality and productivity benefits.
Naturally, there was a creative impetus at
the heart of the next development, responding to, and amplifying
the market success of the clearers. The new-generation USTER
Quantum Expert 3 gives users full control of their entire
winding operation, including, as the name suggests, 'expert'
guidance with a whole range of spinning mill decision-making.
The USTER Quantum Expert 3 applies
data generated by the USTER Quantum 3 clearers to give
users full control of winding room quality and
USTER Quantum Expert 3 takes maximum
advantage of the data generated by the USTER Quantum 3 clearers,
turning the data into clear advice on essential quality and cost
issues. Innovative features such as the 'Yarn Body' concept – an
instant view of any potential faults – and a focus on
identifying single rogue bobbins, or outliers, help spinners to
adjust yarn clearer settings to reach an optimum balance between
fault removal and keeping machines running at a productive rate.
USTER Quantum Expert 3 shows all this in an
easy-to-view format, with remote access when required. Feedback
from spinners suggests that the partnership between clearers and
expert system helps them produce exactly the right yarn quality
their customers demand, without adversely impacting on the
investment in novel finishing system
Success in textile machinery today is often
judged by a company's impact in the Chinese market, the biggest
potential customer in many processing branches. That is what
makes Benninger's work with Guangdong Esquel Co. especially
significant. One of China's – and the world's – largest textile
and clothing producers, Esquel has underlined Benninger's
credentials in open-width finishing of knitgoods by investing in
a complete range. Dyeing and bleaching, as well as washing and
mercerizing technology for knitwear are now installed at
Esquel's Gaoming plant, making it the first Chinese customer to
operate a total Benninger system for knits.
Benninger's Trikoflex takes the
finishing of open-width knitgoods
to a new level.
Benninger developed the Trikoflex
technology in response to customer demands for significant
savings in both water and steam consumption. Specially-designed
rollers, controlled fabric tension and novel washing
compartments enable the system to process at maximum washing
efficiency. These creative innovations have taken the finishing
of knitted fabric in open-width format to a new level.
The result is 50% lower energy use than
with conventional exhaust processing equipment. Quality benefits
are also reported, with improvements in dimensional stability,
hairiness and fastness levels.
“Sustainability and energy savings are very
important to Esquel, so the choice of the Trikoflex washing
range is ideal,” says Benninger CEO Gerhard Huber. Esquel uses
the Trikoflex range for soaping after jet dyeing and washing
after cold pad-batch processes, as well as for softening and