A company that specialises in manufacturing machines for finishing textile and film webs, BRÜCKNER Trockentechnik GmbH & Co. KG intends to introduce assistance systems for plant operators onto the market. The family-owned company, an active member of the VDMA, expects the tools to unlock energy savings and free up 30 percent of the reserve capacity in German-manufactured systems. In some cases, retrofits are also possible. Axel Pieper, Technical Director of the company, talks about the potential.
The international machine building trade fair ITMA, which took place this November featured the issue of sustainability very prominently. For you, it is...
?...a forum in Milan introduced new machine concepts, and continued our dialogue with long-standing and new customers alike. The themes we will emphasise at the trade fair will be the reduction of resource consumption and machine productivity. One very new item in this field is energy management software package with integrated assistance system for machine operators. With this innovative package:
(1) all energy consumptions (such as gas, electricity, water) can be logged and analysed subsequently per batch, per shift, per period in use.
(2) the material data and finishing parameters can be used to calculate optimum machine setting values, in order to minimise energy requirements and/or maximise productivity.
(3) ideal profiles can be worked out and stored, and then compared with the production parameters actually run on the machine. The difference between reference and actual (= waste) is logged and is analysed later for each batch, shift and period in use.
(4) the data obtained in this way then serve as the basis for determining how much energy is was wasted as a result which machine settings. This can be done either after the fact or while production is ongoing.
In order to optimise energy consumptions, Brückner is ?dabbling? with influencing factors that are not necessarily of primary concern for most manufacturers?...
Exactly ? and that is the human factor, or more precisely, the machine operators. With regard to the productivity of machinery systems, there are three influencing factors, all of them more or less equally important: the efficiency of the machine, servicing and cleaning the machines, and the process expertise of the machine operators. Most manufacturers, including us, have already optimised the first two, but the human factor is still very often disregarded. ?If the operating personnel do not have adequate understanding of the process, it's like driving a Ferrari only in second gear.? It follows that the machine operators must be given the tools that enable them to drive the machinery properly, and to maintain it.
Where does Brückner start this process for dry finishing?
Brand new and the prototype is ready for ITMA: We provide the operators with intuitive assistant systems, optionally in the form of an actual tool, which is supported by the databases that hold the sum of our own process knowledge. Then, the machine operator only has to enter the key information for the goods, such as weave type (e.g., wovens), fibre mixture (e.g., 100 per cent polyester), weight of goods (e.g., 150g/m²), then the moisture content at start (e.g., 60 per cent) and the process (e.g., setting wet fabrics). With the new simulation tool, in the next step the entire cycle can be simulated. When it is finished, the system offers works out as series of suggested measures according to two optimisation criteria: large volumes in the shortest possible time or energy-optimised production.
That?s the theory, how does the software work in practice then?
The optimum profile can be calculated eit