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ATME-I 2004: Smaller But Worthwhile

Textile World looks at yarn and fiber; dyeing, printing and finishing; and quality control and monitoring developments at ATME-I® 2004.

Alfred Dockery, Technical Editor

T he 2004 edition of the American Textile Machinery Exhibition-International® (ATME-I®), held recently at the Palmetto Expo Center, Greenville, had lighter attendance and less actual machinery on display than previous shows. Many exhibitors opted for smaller booths and offered product literature rather than demonstrating actual running machinery.

Most exhibitors thought the show was meaningful for them even though it had fewer visitors.

"We thought the quantity of traffic was lower than in previous years, but the quality of that traffic was very good," said Tony Webber, sales director, Adaptive Control Inc., Charlotte. "You have to face the fact that plant personnel have many more responsibilities and cannot simply take the day off and stroll around the show anymore. Supervisors, assistant supervisors and maintenance people were just not there."

This was Greenville's last ATME-I. The show will move to the Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, in 2006, where it will be held in conjunction with the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) Expo. Many exhibitors seemed undecided about participating in 2006.

"We have not decided whether we will exhibit in Atlanta in 2006," said Gary Romanstine, sales director, Marzoli International Inc., Spartanburg. "Right now, our intentions are to show, but much can happen within our industry in two years."

"We are debating and assessing if we will participate in Atlanta," said Carl Smith, vice president, sales, Conitex Sonoco USA, Gastonia, N.C. "We think the attendance will be poor. If we do go, we will greatly decrease the size of our booth."

Liz Walker, director, worldwide marketing communications, Datacolor and ColorVision, Lawrenceville, N.J., said her company definitely would take part in the Atlanta show.

At ATME-I® 2004, Porini USA Inc. presented a variety of software solutions for design and production, among other applications.

Yarn And Fiber

At ATME-I 2004, Amsler Tex AG, Switzerland, displayed yarn-effect devices for ring-spinning and open-end spinning machines. The company also showed software visualizing yarn effects in fabric, including its new E-PROFI software. Amsler has upgraded its equipment to make more complex slub yarns demanded by fabric designers creating high-end, fashion-forward products.

Conitex Sonoco USA showed its complete line of high-performance paper cones and tubes for the spun-yarn market. New developments shown include a stackable tube for reduced shipping costs, a tube with a flared base for added strength, and a double flat rib cone designed to reduce slippage in carpet or upholstery creels.

The Italy-based Finlane Group - comprised of Sant'Andrea Novara, Italy; Cognetex, Italy; and Seydel, Germany - shared information about member companies' long-staple fiber processing equipment including the Cognetex COM4® Wool compact ring-spinning frame, the Cognetex 600 intersecting drawing frame; Seydel stretch-break converters, integrated drawing frames and cut converters; and the Sant'Andrea Novara Millennium rectilinear combing machine. The company also discussed the touch-screen Finlane Dialoguer interface now available on all Finlane machines.

Heberlein Fiber Technology Inc., Switzerland, demonstrated components for texturizing and filament spinning including the Taslan® Air Texturing HemaJet®-LB Jet Core Series T-2, Taslan® Air Texturing HemaJet®-LB04, Air Interlacing Jet Spin-Draw Texturing PolyJet®-BCF TopAir™ and the Yarn Splicer AirSplicer™-17-2.

The Taslan Air Texturing HemaJet-LB Jet Core Series T-2 uses refined plastic encapsulation to protect the ceramic core from impact. PolyJet-BCF TopAir is a new performance-optimized jet series for interlacing bulked continuous filament (BCF) yarns in the spin draw process. The AirSplicer-17-2 allows the user to join filament yarns in a semi-automatic, knot-free manner.

Marzoli S.p.A., Italy, provided information on its complete new line of equipment for the spinning mill from opening to ring spinning. The  CM500N Comber is capable of speeds in excess of 400 nips per minute. The FTSN and FTSDN roving frames are equipped with up to 160 spindles. Roving frame real doffing time has been reduced by 25 percent. The MPTN ring-spinning frame is available with 1,344 spindles and has incorporated into its electronics the capability to produce multi-count, multi-twist slub yarns. The company also offers SpinVision, a central personal computer (PC)-based control and monitoring system.

Menegatto S.r.l., Italy, provided information about its model 2024 and model 2003 covering machines,  standard and special winding machines, TM 3 texturizing machine and various types of spindles. The 1500/200/2024 NG covering machine is specially designed to produce yarns for seamless garments, hosiery, socks and elastic fabrics. The machine can do simple and double covering of elastane and plain yarns or filaments, without moving spindles or spindle rails and without losing covering heads.

In a smaller booth this time around, Murata Machinery USA Inc., Charlotte, well-known developer of air-jet spinning (MJS) and vortex spinning (MVS), emphasized parts sales and service.

"Murata is still committed to this market," said William M. "Bill" Gray, general manager. "We want to stay a productive part of the US textile industry."

Gray stressed the need for innovation, noting the company's MVS system offers performance and value not available from other spinning technologies including better moisture management, less pilling and longer product life for fabrics made with MVS yarn.

"The old manufacturing strategy of producing long runs of commodity products is having difficulties," he said. "The mills that are going to succeed in this market must constantly come up with new developments and new partnerships."

France-based N. Schlumberger & Cie, part of the NSC Group, provided information on the advantages of the GC 30 chain gill and era combing machine for its fiber processing customers. The GC 30 was shown in prototype form at ITMA 2003 in Birmingham, England, and since has become available as a commercial machine. It has been completely redesigned and offers a 50-percent speed increase (up to 600 meters per minute) over earlier units.

The era combing machine also has been totally redesigned, and its cost can be justified on quality improvements alone without factoring in its higher production speed, according to the company.

N. Schlumberger's nonwovens offerings will be covered in a subsequent review.

Spindelfabrik Suessen GmbH, Germany, exhibited some of its newest developments for short-staple spinning systems including the third generation EliTe® CompactSet-S, EliCore®, EliTwist® and EliCoreTwist® for ring-spinning machines.

Suessen also showed premium parts for the SE7 to SE10 rotor-spinning machines including ProFiL® rotors and the ProFiL reflector.

Trützschler GmbH & Co. KG, Germany, showed its TC 03 Card, presented for the first time at ITMA 2003, and its TD 03 Draw Frame equipped with Auto Draft. Both the card and the draw frame benefit from digital drive technology and have self-optimizing capability. More than 1,000 TC 03 cards have been delivered and installed to date. The company also has been moving steadily into the manufacture of nonwovens machinery.

"We want to get much more involved in producing equipment for the nonwovens industry, and our goal is to produce all of the nonwovens equipment in Charlotte," said Kurt Scholler, CEO, American Trützschler Inc., Charlotte.

Datacolor presented its new SPECTRUM™ integrated suite of software products for centralized control of color management workflow.

Dyeing, Printing And Finishing

Adaptive Control caught tremendous attention with a 50-inch touch-screen monitor demonstrating the Adaptive eplant™ host system. This product must make a lot of dyehouse managers want to remove the nails from the planning board and hang a touch screen like this on the wall. The screen's three controllers were connected via wireless to a tablet PC, giving Webber the ability to walk off the stand and introduce the system to visitors passing in the aisle. The machine's production, lot, input/output and software history; and schematic replay of the lot all could be seen clearly on the tablet PC.

The company has a partnership arrangement with Gaston County Dyeing Machine Co., Stanley, N.C.

American Monforts LLC, Charlotte, showed the Montex 6000 tenter for woven and knitted fabrics and the Thermex 6500 continuous dyeing machine, among other technical developments. The Montex 6000 tenter's features include a functional and ergonomic design, an all-new control platform and control systems, wireless monitoring, integrated heat recovery system, pneumatically operated doors and new fabric handling devices. Monforts' new Thermex 6500 hotflue reduces dyeing process times for knitted fabrics from hours to minutes, providing previously unknown levels of productivity and reproducibility, according to the company.

Loris Bellini S.p.A., Italy, recognized for its sophisticated and advanced yarn-dyeing equipment, also shared information with visitors about its systems for dyeing hanks, hosiery and warp beams; as well as equipment for steaming, dosing systems, process automation and laboratory dyeing.

Benninger Co. Ltd., Switzerland, emphasized its Knit-Line machine for the open-width treatment of knit fabric. Advantages of the treatment include the elimination of crease marks resulting from rope treatment, reduced hairiness and a smoother fabric surface - no micro-pilling or pilling - and the elimination of the need for enzyme treatment, according to the company.

Jürg Brander, sales manager, Benninger Co. Ltd. (left), meets with a customer.

Biancalani S.p.A., Italy, presented its latest developments in surface finishing machinery including the newest version of its Airo® softening, washing and drying machine for woven and knit fabrics.

Color Service S.r.l., Italy, well-known maker of automatic color kitchens, provided information about its dyehouse automation systems that dispense and deliver dyes and chemicals. The company emphasized its ability to accurately dispense very small amounts of chemicals, provide varying levels of automation to fit the user's needs and offer remote assistance via the Internet.

Flainox S.r.l., Italy, showed equipment for garment dyeing and drying including the Arc rotary machine for garment dyeing, Arc-Eco sample washing and dyeing machine, and NRP/Universal/HT rotary machine for dyeing and centrifugal drying of garments at high temperature.

Fong's National Engineering Co. Ltd., Hong Kong, exhibited dyeing machinery including the ALLWIN high-temperature package-dyeing machine, ECO-6 high-temperature dyeing machine, ECO-8 multi-rope soft-dyeing machine, LABFIT small-batch fabric machine, ALLFIT medium-batch dyeing machine, VIEWTEX central computer system, AIRFLOW® AFE high-temperature jet-dyeing machine and the MINI-CONTEXXOR®.

The ALLWIN high-temperature package-dyeing machine offers an unprecedented liquor ratio as low as 1:4, according to the company. According to the test report conducted by Fong's, the ALLWIN can shorten total processing time for cotton yarn to 276 minutes, reduce electrical and water consumption by more than 40 percent and cut chemical costs by 19 percent versus conventional machines.

Gaston County Dyeing Machine Co. highlighted its Futura piece-dyeing machine, designed to dye fragile, crush-prone and stretch fabrics for which minimum tension in processing is desired, including microfiber wovens, knits, terry, tricot, automotive upholstery and velour.

"We are excited about the Futura machine in the automotive and upholstery markets," said William D. "Chip" McGill, vice president.

Küsters Machinery Corp., Spartanburg, exhibited its TurboFlush and Vacuum washers, and HyCon-L calender. The TurboFlush's high-efficiency, horizontal washer has trays that swing away for easy cleaning and improved fabric control with less tension. It's available in two versions - one for woven goods and one for pile fabrics. The company's enclosed Vacuum washer allows fabrics to be washed and vacuumed at high temperatures, making the machine more effective than conventional washers. The HyCon-L calender has chambers within the roll that allow the user to pressurize just the portion of the roll used to calender the fabric.

Menzel LP, Spartanburg, showed coating and fabric-finishing equipment including a vision system to guide and align fabrics and webs during processing. The company also displayed a polyband spreader roll for the plastics, film and textile industries. Menzel plans soon to make an announcement about a new singeing line.

OBEM S.p.A., Italy, called attention to its TMB/SV-TR spray-dyeing machine, API/O package-dyeing machine and the VFV, VFPV and OBEM FIX steaming and thermosetting machines. The TMB/SV-TR is a fully robotized skein-dyeing system that incorporates a specially designed spray hank arm to process hanks without tension. The system is particularly suited for fine or soft yarn, according to OBEM.

Switzerland-based Santex AG showed the SantaShrink-Jumbo, a new version of its tensionless shrinkage and relaxation dryer for knit fabrics. The machine is more economical to operate thanks to additional insulation and advanced electronic controls, which also allow it be part of a total fabric-finishing system.

Santex had one of the largest booths at the show, reflecting its belief that companies should show actual machines and not just literature. Uwe Sick, sales manager, feels a major textile show every two years rotating between Europe, the Americas and Asia would be a big step forward.

"A major fair every two years is a better solution," Sick said. "It would be better for the industry. No one can afford the current situation with a major show every year from 2003 to 2007."

SDL Atlas LLC, Charlotte, highlighted 14 products at ATME-I, including a new digital microscope with automatic fiber-identifying and measurement software, as well as the latest DigiEye grading and color management system. Other products on display included the ATLAS Ci 3000 FadeOmeter®; LINITEST+ lab dyeing system; Washrite precision washing machine; a new Martindale pilling and abrasion tester; VeriVide color viewing booths; and QuickWash™, QuickView™ and QuickCondition™ fabric-testing systems.

Stalam S.p.A., Italy, stressed its complete line of radio frequency (RF) dryers including the RF/T 60 kilowatt (kW) dryer for high-quality woolen fabrics, TCRF 2C/RT dryer for yarn packages and tops, and LTRF 60 kW dryer for cotton loose stock. The company has more than 700 RF machines in operation in several industrial sectors, with rated power outputs ranging from 3 kW to 250 kW. These range from simple, manually operated machines to fully automated and integrated processing lines.

Strahm Textile Systems AG, Switzerland, presented information about its drying, coating, impregnating and thermobonding equipment. The company stressed its modular finishing lines for knit fabrics, of which its finishing line for open-width knit fabrics was one example. The line includes the HiPer™ Cut machine for detwisting, rope opening and slitting; the HiPer Shrink Progress machine for dewatering, softening, pinning, overstretching with overfeeding shrink-and-relax drying; and the HiPer Compact machine for humidification, straightening, steaming, width equalization, compacting and ironing, folding or winding with inspection.

Thies Corp., Rock Hill, S.C., exhibited several advances including the Luft-roto Plus and the soft-TRD DS XL. The Luft-roto Plus is designed to be an environmentally friendly and cost-effective rapid-dyeing system. It can dye 100-percent cotton fabrics in four hours and polyester/cotton blends in 5.5 hours. Low liquor ratios of 1:3.5 are possible with this machine, according to the company. The soft-TRD DS XL is a horizontal jet designed for fabrics that are sensitive to creasing. The machine can handle two side-by-side strands, which run like a single strand, with a liquor ratio of 1:8.

Tubular Textile Machinery Inc. (Tube-Tex), Lexington, N.C., showed its complete line of dyeing and finishing equipment including the Lisa Surface Brushing machine and the new Pak-Nit II Delta Plus SP Tubular Compactor. The Lisa Woven 2B Model is equipped with two brushes for the treatment of woven fabrics of any yarn, weight and composition. The Lisa Knit/Woven 2BX4T Model is designed for highly elastic knit fabrics. Wovens also can be processed on this machine. The Lisa Tube-Tex Model is specially designed for processing tubular knit fabrics. The Pak-Nit II, a new design with enhanced features, sets new standards for shrinkage control in tubular knit fabrics.

Paul Abernathy (center) and Chip McGill (right), Gaston County Dyeing Machine Co. — which displayed its Futura piece-dyeing machine — chat with a visitor to the booth.

Quality Control And Monitoring

Datacolor introduced Datacolor SPECTRUM™, a new platform for color management. Datacolor Spectrum is an integrated suite of software products, measuring systems and supporting services that provides centralized control of the entire color management workflow worldwide, according to the company. It includes products for color matching, quality control, visualization, communication and production optimization. All software can stand alone, but the suite is designed to be especially effective as an integrated solution. It also is capable of providing multiple users immediate access to a centralized database and control of color management activities from any location.

Datatex TIS Inc., Atlanta, showed its NOW family of software products built with object-oriented technology to offer Web-based solutions for inventory and warehouse management, purchasing and sales. The company also demonstrated its AB (Application Builder) solution, a Java development environment for producing Web-compliant applications. Datatex also had its Textile Integrated Manufacturing (TIM) software for production planning including the new Machine Queuing Management (MQM) module.

Lawson-Hemphill Sales Inc., Spartanburg, exhibited the new YAS-4 entanglement tester, which was developed in collaboration with a leading US fiber producer. The unit is an optical tester based on Lawson-Hemphill's patented CCD technology. It can run four yarn packages simultaneously for a new level of productivity. This new-generation tester is fully automatic and controls all parameters. It covers yarns from 50 denier to 350 denier and runs at speeds of up to 300 meters per minute.

Loepfe Brothers Ltd., Switzerland, stressed its KBW-L short weft detector for projectile weaving machines. The unit allows an extended weft detection on projectile looms until the pullback phase is completed at 0 degrees machine position. The company also showed its YarnMaster Spectra + and YarnMaster Zenit digital on-line quality control systems.

Porini USA Inc., Chattanooga, Tenn., and NedGraphics Inc., New York City - sister companies owned by Blue Fox Enterprises NV, The Netherlands - showed their complete suite of software solutions for design and production, design management and communication, 3-D visualization and presentation, monitoring and networking, planning and scheduling, as well as management and operations.

Earlier this year, International Textile Group, Greensboro, N.C., selected the complete suite of Porini applications as its new enterprise management system. Porini's integrated applications extend from planning and product development to factory floor management and customer delivery.

Switzerland-based Uster Technologies AG demonstrated its Fabriscan On Loom fabric scanning system, Uster Tester 4 yarn testing system and Uster Quantum 2 yarn clearer with polypropylene detection. The Fabriscan On Loom automatically inspects fabric on the weaving machine. It can handle widths from 1.5 to 3.0 meters and insertion rates of up to 1,200 picks per minute. The system can monitor pattern repeats up to 1 square inch including plain weaves, twills and satins. Fabriscan can be used on rapier, air-jet and projectile machines. The system is available for greige fabrics and now is being tested on colors.

Editor’s Note: The December issue of Textile World will cover advances in knitting, weaving, nonwovens and specialty equipment shown at ATME-I® 2004.