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Adding the final touches with Swiss precision

Automation can do much more than simply replacing nimble fingers.

21st December 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Zürich, Switzerland


For most textiles, finishing processes are not actually the last stage – products often need additional expertise to make them ready for the customer. At this point in the value chain, this usually entails manual tasks, but now there are technical solutions and intelligent systems which can better handle complex operations, while adding extra value and assured quality.

Automation brings reliability and efficiency, ultimately saving costs to produce the right quality every time.

Swiss Textile Machinery member companies are already specialised in the post-production segment of the textile manufacturing processes, with machinery for fabric inspection and presentation, labelling and tracking, folding and packaging and the optimisation of workflows, with bottleneck management, is an obvious potential benefit, delivering measurable returns on investment.

Digital workflow

The Swiss company Maag Brothers, for example, is a leading supplier of high-end machines for quality assurance in the final make-up processes, specifically fabric inspection, plating/folding, selvedge printing and packaging.

Maag reports that a customer in India which has recently recognised the potential of automation via the modernisation of its workflow at the quality control and packing stages. Maag’s solution covers tasks from fabric inspection to dispatch and offers transparent and easily adjustable processes with real-time process control. It’s a digital solution, resulting in a slim, paperless organisation. The customer’s own calculation showed a ROI for the installation of less than three years – along with a reduction in manpower and savings in fabric costs for shade samples.

Perfectly labelled

Another Swiss company, Norsel, is an expert in grey fabric labelling systems for piece tracking through all textile processes. High-quality label printing and proper sealing on all kind of fabrics ensure readability and sustainability after dyehouse processes, ensuring there are no roll mix-ups during dyeing, easy sorting of fabric rolls and rapid delivery. The use of RFID codes lifts fabric inventory control to the highest level, with all information readily transferred to a database and integrated through any ERP software.

It’s a foolproof way to avoid the risk of human error.

First impressions

Polytex continuously refines its solutions for sample making, with fully-automatic lines or robotic machines setting the standards for quality and performance. Even the most demanding clients can achieve their goals with impeccable samples, quickly and efficiently made, for flawless collections that are sure to impress.

First impressions are also the trigger for quick purchase decisions and customers trust Espritech, a Swiss producer of automated folding machinery, to provide the final touch of class to home textiles and apparel products before they go on display.

The folding systems are generally large mechatronic devices, loaded with the latest technologies in mechanics, electronics, sensors and pneumatics.

“Textile producers are amazed how folding machines solve the tricky task of reliably handling chaotically behaving materials,” says Philipp Rueedi, CFO at Espritech. “They see process optimisation potential and the impact. We are observing a slow but continuous change of mindset to installing sophisticated technology even in the last steps of textile finishing,”

New business models

The advantages of automation in mills with high-volume production are obvious, he adds – consistent quality, increased efficiency and waste reduction in some cases, as well as significant medium-term cost reductions in every case.

That description holds for modern mills in low-cost markets, but for producers in Europe and USA, automation can be even more of a game-changer.

Reshoring is a growing trend now, driven by sustainability and changes in consumer mindsets.

“We believe that the time is right to push automation to the very end of the production line replacing intensive manual work,  and take the chance for reshoring,” says Rueedi. “The machines and solutions are there and we are in a transition time which is expected to last for a couple more years in the textile industry. Any investments in these prime markets pay off much faster because of higher labour costs.”

Automation can do much more than simply replacing nimble fingers. It also enables new business models, guaranteeing prosperous future business, alongside greater job security. Swiss Textile Machinery members are ready to take customers towards this promising future.

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