Some weeks ago, the Rupp Report, “How To Present Yarn Production In New Media Channels,” discussed a film that was produced by the Switzerland-based Rieter Group. The last paragraph of the editorial solicited reader feedback and comments.
And, as is typically the case, the Rupp Report received some feedback. In this case, feedback arrived from another Switzerland-based company: Uster Technologies AG, who claimed it was earlier than Rieter in releasing its own movie.
Undisputed Leader In Fiber Testing
The long history of Uster’s statistics have led to the global textile industry — at least in the cotton fiber business — using the same language and applying the same standards, namely HVI and AFIS, for fiber testing. Instruments for testing fiber, such as the USTER AFIS PRO 2, are considered essential tools. However, users also need evidence that the data provided is not only accurate, but also can be matched, compared and benchmarked against measurements from others with the same instrument type.
The reasons for producing a movie about fiber testing are obvious — results are only of value if the tests are performed properly. So the purpose of the film is to educate.
Producing quality cotton yarns is not that easy, so it’s vital that test procedures and instruments used must be accurate and reliable to have any value in today’s demanding textile marketplace. Accuracy, in this context, means conformity with global standard measurements, within accepted tolerances. For spinners, fiber test results influence choices about which raw material to select and how to process it. Machine settings, production rates and waste levels are all dependent on key fiber parameters being measured and reported as accurately as possible. And, at the end of the day, so is profit.
Quality in yarns depends on a multiplicity of factors, and spinners face the challenge of understanding and interpreting those factors to achieve the best quality/productivity balance. The independent tests carried out on a regular basis by Germany-based ICA Bremen prove the value of AFIS® as the most reliable way of helping mills get the balance right, through the most accurate fiber testing technology available.
David McAlister, product manager fiber testing within Uster Technologies, highlights the AFIS advantages: “With less variation and greater accuracy over the most critical fiber properties, AFIS has proven superiority. Mills definitely need this accuracy, to help ensure their machine settings are correct, to target the most appropriate production rates and to minimize damage to their valuable fiber raw material. Along with the improvements in product quality, spinners will also benefit from a reduced level of waste — another vital economic aspect for any mill — and avoid the risk of off-quality product or returns from customers.” McAlister is the movie presenter, who shows in just over 3 minutes what’s AFIS is all about.
ICA Bremen Round Trials
Objective, independent analysis of test performance is the best guarantee of effective results, and the world-renowned cotton authority ICA Bremen offers a regular program of methodical sampling to fulfill this need. The ICA Bremen Round Trials are conducted three times a year, involving as many as 200 textile laboratories worldwide. Each lab tests a sub-sample of material, the master-sample being tested by ICA, to compare test results from various instrument types. The labs return their results to ICA under a code number, to preserve anonymity. The statistics are evaluated and a report circulated to the participating labs, enabling them to match their test performance against the general pattern.
In this way, the Bremen Round Trials provide a regular check on the accuracy and reliability of instruments used by participants. In the case of Uster, the major instruments involved in the trials are the HVI test system for cotton fiber classification and the AFIS process optimization tool.
Comparisons In Key Parameters
The Bremen Round Trials covering the latest Uster AFIS PRO 2 instrument enable independent comparisons with the only major competing product in this category, the Premier aQura 2™ from India-based Premier Evolvics Pvt. Ltd. The trials include more than 50 laboratories using AFIS and about 10 using the aQura 2. The AFIS can test a wider range of parameters than its competitor, so results from the trials are best compared over the two key parameters common to both instruments.
Nep content is the first quality parameter covered in the trials. According to the tests, for AFIS, the results show fairly stable variations in nep measurement, at an average of about 14 percent, while the figure for the aQura 2 is around 23 percent. The second fiber parameter, short fiber content, again shows the AFIS with a lower level of variation, at 15 percent, against about 22 percent for the competitor. The Bremen Round Trials claim to provide convincing independent evidence of the accuracy of the AFIS, underlining its capability for optimum compatibility of results between different individual instruments.
Was The Film Successful?
Of course, it is desirable if the success of a communication piece can be measured. The Rupp Report wanted to know if facts are available, and they are. The analysis of the AFIS video statement campaign was that Uster received 10 articles in print media. On top of that the company noticed 23 online clippings, plus the readership of over 1.1 million people. The major markets that are interested in this kind of quality improvement could certainly show some trends. Surprisingly or not, Indian spinners showed the greatest interest with a share of 19 percent, followed by Turkey and Pakistan with 19 percent each.
This list is quite astonishing. It shows that countries like India, Turkey or Pakistan are very much focused on quality.
Do It Again
The last question was obvious: Would you do the AFIS campaign again, would it be worth to be repeated? Yes, said USTER, because it reached double the number of readers — online and in print — in the AFIS campaign compared to the campaign for the USTER QUANTUM 3. The AFIS campaign most likely received a much higher number of online clippings and advertisements because of the video accompanying the information.
Every professional spinner understands the importance of testing cotton fiber quality. It’s the basis for critical decisions which impact on yarn quality and, ultimately, the mill’s ongoing profitability. The film about the USTER AFIS PRO 2 fiber testing instrument shows exactly the way to do it.
September 1, 2015