22/11/2023 – Autefa Solutions

Mastering precision in paper felt production

Crafting papermaking felts, vital in paper production, rests upon precision. Autefa Solutions, renowned for its needling machines and needlepunching lines, steps into a challenging realm when catering to the demanding sphere of papermaking felts for the cardboard and paper industry.


Autefa Solutions “Stylus” needlepunching machine for papermaker felt. © Autefa Solutions


When these needling machines have a working width of up to 17 meters and are used for the highly demanding production of papermaking felts for the cardboard and paper industry, it is worth taking a closer look.

Current projects for papermaking felts productions lines

The production of papermaking felts is one of the most complex processes in the nonwovens industry. It combines the highest quality standards with unusual requirements for fabric width and desired basis weight. Papermaking felts are used in the drying stage of the papermaking process and play a crucial role in determining the surface quality of the final product. Another feature is that they can be produced in almost endless lengths, which is essential to avoid marking at the joints. The design of papermaking felt lines is therefore also a major challenge for textile machinery manufacturers. Autefa Solutions tackles the intricate challenge of papermaking felts with a focus on quality and innovation. Their double closed-loop system and Service 4.0 support ensure enhanced productivity and surface quality. The company´s dedication to reducing waste during changeovers, along with tailored solutions like the “i-Point needle” simulation tool, has earned trust and secured major projects, including two complete papermaking felting lines in Europe and Asia. André Imhof, CEO of Autefa Solutions Austria GmbH, adds: “We are also pleased to be able to equip an existing facility in Europe with a new ‘Stylus NL 19’ finish needle loom. The manufacturers´ goal with these investments is to operate the most modern, efficient, and sustainable papermaking felt production facilities in the industry - goals that we at Autefa Solutions are fully committed to supporting.”

From fiber to papermaking felt

In needle punching lines for papermakers´ felts, Autefa´s customers rely on the company´s expertise from fiber preparation to finish needle punching to meet their defined requirements in the most effective way. After gentle fiber preparation, the “Masterfelt” carding machines come into play, guaranteeing the highest fiber blending effects without stressing individual fibers. The downstream combination of the topliner crosslapper with the patented closed-loop system and “WebMax” web profile control system prevents excessive fabric weight in the edge areas, known as the “smile effect”, and ensures fabric uniformity. Several measuring points are distributed throughout the line for process monitoring.This is followed by the first bonding stage with the “NL16 Stylus Variliptic” pre-needle loom. Thanks to the patented “Variliptic” drive modules, the “NL16 Variliptic” is said to offer an improved fabric surface, higher production speeds, less distortion, less shrinkage, and better uniformity. Finally, the “NL19 Finishing Needle Loom Stylus” is used to achieve the desired surface quality. Together they form the core of the high-end production lines, which are individually tailored to customer requirements in terms of working width, number and arrangement of needle zones, needle patterns, stroke frequency, feed tables and fabric tensioning systems. Integrated, fully automatic fabric production according to recipe, with precise stops for bonding and fabric tension control, represents the state of the art.The production of papermaking felts requires the highest precision, especially in the needling process over the entire working width. Autefa Solutions achieves this with ingeniously designed rigid steel frames that allow minimal vibration even at working widths of up to 17 meters. The continuous stroke frequency of 1,200 rpm results in a surface quality that meets the specified requirements.