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W&K Criss-Cross | March 2016

A unique user interface design from Karl Mayer

KARL MAYER has been awarded the iF DESIGN AWARD 2016 for its KAMCOS® 2.

KARL MAYER not only focuses on improving the performance features of its textile machines, it also concentrates on continuously upgrading the machine handling – and this company has developed some exceptional solutions. For example, KARL MAYER has been awarded the iF DESIGN AWARD 2016 for its KAMCOS® 2 user interface system, and consequently the iF label as a symbol of outstanding design. This user interface was presented to the market for the first time at ITMA 2015.

For more than 60 years, this award has been a globally recognised symbol of exemplary design. It is awarded each year by iF International Design Forum GmbH, Hanover. The number of entrants for this year’s competition was extremely high, and the role of the international jury of high-ranking experts was to award the coveted quality seal in seven disciplines from among more than 5,000 applications from 53 countries! KAMCOS® 2 was entered in the section of Communication – Apps/Software – and won the award.

The next generation of touchscreen

The jury was impressed by the optimised user interface design of KAMCOS® 2, which focuses on the user. In the past, it was simply a question of operating the machine, but nowadays it has be handled intuitively. “Our concept is based on a system of simple, easy-to-understand, practical handling operations. During the development process, we therefore concentrated, on the one hand, on visualising the processes, which were not consequently designed from a technical standpoint but on the basis of the machine’s operating sequences on site. The operator is helped by being guided through his daily jobs – from entry of the yarn into the machine to production of the final fabric. On the other hand, we looked at established user practices, i.e. at the types of hand movements and swiping features used on smartphones and tablets,” explained Oliver Krakow, the Senior Manager Electrical Engineering R&D Department.

The operating concept, with process-oriented main navigation systems, can be used via a modular arrangement and a uniform interface for the various types of machines. This applies to every area – from warp knitting, through warp preparation, to the production of technical textiles. For specific configurations, the contents of the production side can be adapted to the requirements of the user roles or machine features. To avoid any operator errors, monitoring algorithms have been integrated, and access is controlled via an RFID data chip with a specifically-authorised access key in each case.

Extending the functions to mobile devices complements the project. In this way, KAMCOS® 2 enables data to be accessed remotely by mobile devices using the KARL MAYER CONNECT app. As well as the user interface with its exceptional design, KAMCOS® 2 provides all the performance features of a modern automation platform. All the functions of modern textile machines can be fully integrated. This is based on the principles of an efficient, real-time data bus. The integrated elements include the Laserstopp yarn monitoring system for the instant detection of yarn breakages and rapid machine stoppage, a newly developed camera monitoring system for inspecting the textile web, and a new machine lighting system with status indicator for providing information on the operating status.

The next step

The development of KAMCOS® 2 was a high-priority, interdisciplinary project carried out by KARL MAYER. A large team of mechanical engineers, software developers and automation engineers from various business units and locations worked flat out to present to the market the first machines equipped with this new automation platform in time for the ITMA trade fair in November 2015. These were the high performance tricot machine HKS 2-SE and the new WEFTTRONIC® HKS weft-insertion machine. Following the successful premiere, the specialists still have plenty to do.

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