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Talking Point | May 2014

Automated solutions ensure quality & safety

AC Automation is a young and dynamic team with a long tradition in the man-made fibre industry. The company was formed from the Autefa filaments business sold through Oerlikon in the year 2009. Now as part of the Atlantic C Group of Companies, the company is privately owned and quickly developing in the man-made fibre market worldwide.

Located in Augsburg, Germany, the company continues to offer the efficient solutions well known from its previous owners. The team, which was present at the Oerlikon customer event in Silvassa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, India, this February, is participating in the German Pavilion at ITMA Asia + CITME, Shanghai, June 16-20, 2014.

During the Oerlikon man-made fibres customer meet at Silvassa recently, Volker Schmid, Director-Sales, AC Automation GmbH, spoke to Samuel Joseph, Editor of The Indian Textile Journal, in an exclusive tête-à-tête.

Excerpts:

Samuel Joseph (SJ): In man-made fibre automation, please share some details of your successful installations all over the world.

Volker Schmid (VS): In the last 25 years, we delivered installations for production capacities from 1.500 bobbins up to 145.000 bobbins per day. As a speciality, a fully automated inspection system for DTY bobbins was implemented in European plants, even checking the bobbin surface in regards of broken filaments, overthrown ends and further quality relevant parameters. Vice versa in Asia, the focus was mainly on high production capacities, even up to 150.000 bobbins to be handled and packed per day.

Several drivers are the basis for integrating automated solutions. First of all it might only be a matter of labour reduction, but more important is the fact that quality and safety reached by "non-touch handling" is the perspective worth going for automation. We see this trend towards automated systems gaining more and more importance for successful expansion in this business. And this surely initiated our successful development in the past few years. Many big organisations such as NanYa, Shingkong or DuPont bought several installations due to the good experience they made with our high-quality equipment made in Germany over the years. For these customers it is extremely important to have highest equipment availability for their 24/7 production requirements.

SJ: How has your company performed in India? Can you give a comparison with your installations in China?
VS: One of the first installations in India was set up already in the early 90s together with the company Barmag. This project was at Indorama in Nagpur. Even in those days this was already a fully automatic plant including doffing, overhead monorail for bobbin transport, intermediate bobbin buffer and a final packing line. Even today we are in close contact with this customer. He decided to choose us as a supplier for the second time in 2004 and once again purchased our well-proven automation equipment. This latest installation contained an automatic multi-tray storage, which is utilised for accumulating the same products for later packing. Our international patent protects this concept.

Over the last four years, we have sold five installations in India, with different levels of automation and capacities. Our focus is always to provide exactly the automation level requested by our customers.

In China all quality producers, which are heading for export, have already integrated automated solutions as they are strongly focused on export activities. Additionally over the last five years, there was a tremendous increase in labour costs, which then is another reason for automating the bobbin handling process. We

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