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Picanol Introduces OMNIplus 800

A recent Picanol/GTP event offered attendees a look at new Picanol technology and a tour of Steel Heddle's facilities.

Jim Borneman, Editor In Chief

W eavers from across the country were treated to a glimpse of the latest technology at a recent open house hosted by Belgium-based Picanol NV and Global Textile Partner (GTP) Greenville Inc. - the US headquarters of Picanol's Belgium-based GTP operation that produces weaving machinery accessories, and which provides service and sales of spare parts for Picanol weaving machines in the United States.
A recent Picanol/GTP event offered attendees a look at new Picanol technology and a tour of Steel Heddle's facilities.

GTP Greenville President James C. Thomas welcomed attendees to the event, which included presentations, tours of GTP company Steel Heddle Inc.'s manufacturing facilities and demonstrations of Picano'ls latest offerings.

Patrick Steverlynck, chairman and CEO, Picanol Group, set the tone for the day by stressing his family's commitment and involvement as the majority stakeholder of the company. Steverlynck spoke of business conditions that include weavers delayed investment plans related to World Trade Organization issues and US dollar-versus-euro exchange rate challenges; but he also focused on a customer orientation by Picanol that features innovation, cost control and collaboration.

Jan Laga, vice president, Weaving Machines and Services, Picanol, presented a history of the company leading up to the latest-generation GamMax rapier and OMNIplus air-jet weaving machines.

Philip Gilliland, quality manager of GTP worldwide accessories, spoke of the proud heritage of Steel Heddle acquired by Picanol in 2001 dating back to 1898 and a history of innovation featuring some 200 patents. He also mentioned that GTP Greenville underwent a multimillion dollar investment campaign in 2004 that allowed it to improve the quality of a number of products while increasing capacity at the same time.

The new OMNIplus 800 (top) from Picanol features optimized insertion preparation for up to eight colors or yarn types (bottom).

New Features
At center stage, Jan Maes, international sales manager, Picanol NV, presented the new OMNIplus 800 air-jet weaving machine with the ease of a man who has spent years with the evolving technology of the company. Picanol launched the first OMNIplus in 2000, but the air-jet legacy goes back 25 years. Speed, quality and flexibility, according to Maes, are achieved by the air-jet's performance, electronic controls and fully modular design. Maes pointed out a number of features. The real draw of this machine is the flexibility of its new modular design. He noted fast, simple width changes; warp and cloth roll changes without the need to use additional tools; and the patented Quick Style Change system, which enables style changes in less than 30 minutes by one person. The modularity allows for cam, dobby and jacquard motions to be interchanged. Insertion requires 10- to 15-percent less air consumption, and main nozzle controls run at 4 milliseconds rather than 14 milliseconds. There also is an updated design of relay nozzles and valves.

The oil-cooled main drive of Picanol's Sumo motor functions without the standard belt or clutch and brake, using a short transmission chain. More than 60,000 Sumo motors are currently in the market on weaving machines.

Maes also reviewed several pilot placements of the machine, which demonstrate the OMNIplus 800's versatility and efficiency.

Weavers are sure to see many presentations of the new design in the coming months.

Additional Activities
Steve Brown, regional sales manager, United States, Picanol NV, provided an update on the GamMax rapier and its optimized rapier motion. The GamMax is capable of accommodating 190- to 380-centimeter (cm) widths (with the exception of the free flight version, which is available in all widths except 380 cm). Showroom demonstrations of the OMNIplus 800 weaving denim and sheeting, as well as a GamMax throwing a wide variety of fillings with Maes providing a play-by-play explanation illustrated just how far weaving technology has evolved through the years high-technology performance that delivers quality and provides flexibility for changing market demands.

Tours of the Steel Heddle manufacturing facility gave visitors an up-close view of the care that is necessary to make and deliver the quality for which the company is known.

July/August 2005