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Transforming the technology

“The approach is to digitalize everything that can be digitalized.”

22nd February 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Zürich, Switzerland

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

Digitalization is all about change, according to the Swiss Textile Machinery Association – making use of technology to transform attitudes and create new opportunities to grow revenue. At its heart is innovation, with new systems and the intelligent use of data. In textiles, the entire value chain is going digital, as evidenced by the commitment of the association’s member firms. Spanning industry sectors through spinning, weaving, finishing and nonwovens.

Cost savings

The process of digitalization in the textile industry today is continuous – faster in some segments than others – but noticeable everywhere. Automation is promising in many areas of finishing and making-up, where initial investments are being made. An example is in the folding of finished goods, which was previously a slow, manual operation. High-performance automatic folding machines from Swiss company Espritech deliver the potential for cost savings, unlocking new options for positive change at the most labour-intensive stage of production. For manufacturers in low-cost areas, the benefit results from its volume and is a simple financial one. In higher-cost segments, the application of this technology can be part of a completely new business model, taking production closer to the end customer.

Process and workplace

Pioneering in the field of digitalization embraces social responsibility along with the introduction of new technological innovation. This is a commitment made by Uster, as it aims to shape future working practices in the textile industry in areas where its systems are applied. In fabric inspection, this means combining the strengths of human capabilities with the performance of artificial intelligence. Automatic defect classification with machine learning technology is the next leap in digitalization for fabric manufacturers, following on from the automated detection of fabric faults, which is already well established in weaving and finishing mills. This will bring benefits in profitability for the manufacturer – as well as an improved working environment for its operatives, freed from repetitive tasks.

Flexible and fast

Access to data is critical. It must be flexible, fast and secure, and available to all levels of a company worldwide. Jakob Muller provide the narrow fabrics industry with a digitalization portal, developed to provide essential production information. The portal is a browser-based production data acquisition system, with direct access to the machine controls. The system offers unique data monitoring and communication on a global framework. Digitized weave rooms present information 24/7 on desktops at the customer’s plant, as well as remotely on tablets and smartphones.

Making the most of it

Rieter’s digital spinning suite helps spinners overcome their daily challenges and manage costs and efficiency more effectively. The all-in-one mill management system connects all the machinery, giving quick access to the right information and a holistic view, from bale to yarn. Users profit from full transparency, and are presented with recommendations based on long-standing experience and know-how. This is digitalization at its most practical, applied to allow spinners to make the most of their installed machinery.

Production, service, training

As a solutions provider, Saurer puts digitalization at the core of business, integral to its technology offering to customers. Some latest examples include self-optimisation of spinning machines and a fully automated transport of cylindrical or conical cross-wound packages. These are automatically stored in an internal buffer system for later feeding to subsequent processes. After-sales service is also digital – an e-shop and machine information hub, together with a web-based training centre, ensure that knowledge is transferred to customers – turning employees into experts.

Digital twinning

Autefa Solutions uses the concept of digital twinning, visualizing any real-world concept of a nonwovens line to make it easier for potential customers to grasp the idea. It’s also a big help for training and servicing needs. Most of all the company digitalizes important parts of machines such as baling presses with perfectly interconnecting software tools as an excellent method for reducing commissioning times. Ordered bale presses reach technical readiness in the form of a digital twin before they are commissioned in the real world. This typically halves the total time to get the line up and running.

“Making digitalization our friend opens doors for business model innovations, which is essential for our industry competitiveness,” said Autefa CEO André Imhof “The approach is to digitalize everything that can be digitalized and we won’t stop.”


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