03/05/2019 – ITMA 2019 — auf Deutsch lesen

Spotlight on digitalisation

Opening its doors from 20 to 26 June, only one month after Techtextil/Texprocess in Frankfurt, ITMA in Barcelona will welcome visitors to the world of textile machinery and its digitalisation.


Young engineers at ITMA: a long-standing tradition of VDMA © VDMA


Drives and navigates autonomously: Neuenhauser’s AVG © Neuenhauser

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1,600 companies from 45 nations have already signalled their attendance. The fair offers corporate members of VDMA, the German mechanical engineering industry association, a great opportunity to prove their market and technology leadership in Industry 4.0 and digitalisation.

Over 200 German producers exhibit

Over 200 German manufacturers and exhibitors, ranging from A. Monforts Textilmaschinen to ZSK Strickmaschinen, are especially looking to showcase their solutions in the following three areas: smart services, automated transportation systems and Industry 4.0. The industry association based in Frankfurt (Main) describes this year’s technology highlights:

Cloud-based condition monitoring

Smart services, such as solutions for condition monitoring, are an essential element of Industry 4.0 in the textiles sector. Trützschler, for example, a manufacturer of spinning machines and equipment for nonwoven production, will present cloud-based monitoring options at the trade fair in Barcelona. These allow textiles manufacturers to control and streamline their production capabilities, whenever and from wherever they want. The monitoring system alerts machine operators to production areas requiring attention and explains what needs to be done to achieve the necessary results. This, in turn, eliminates the complex search for the root cause of any issue. Given that the machine data is all aggregated in a single data record, there are no data silos, which previously made controlling production lines very difficult. The added value for clients is obvious: they benefit from higher productivity and quality as well as less downtime and fewer rejects.

Thomas Waldmann, Chairman of industry association VDMA, Textile Machinery Section

“Digitalisation is a great opportunity for the textiles industry. ITMA 2019 and the products and services showcased there will stress this even further. Our exhibitors will be focusing on technologies such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industry 4.0 and smart services.”

Adapted from Automatic Guided Vehicle

Industry 4.0 has also been fuelling progress in automation. One great example of this development is the automated handling of spinning cans, which are used to transport several hundred kilos of cotton material during yarn production. The textiles company Neuenhauser was inspired by recent advances in autonomous driving and navigation and realised that automatic guided vehicles (AVGs) could be of great use in spinning mills too.

Neuenhauser therefore contemplated designing a machine which transports materials without the need for a driver or operator and navigates its surroundings independently. Within a period of only twelve months, this rough idea was transformed into a product by Neuenhauser and one of their clients. The result: a state-of-the-art machine comprising intelligently controlled and connected autonomous transportation solutions for spinning cans – one of ITMA’s many attractions.

Industry 4.0 minimises effort

But the development of digital user solutions does not necessarily require vast numbers of software experts and huge project set-ups. A prime example of a small-scale approach is braiding machine manufacturer August Herzog. At ITMA Spain, this company is showcasing a new module based on app technology. The app allows users to access data on their Herzog machinery, e.g. PLC data. Dr Janpeter Horn, Managing Director of August Herzog

“The great advantage of our solution is its simple installation. One click is all it takes – just like the apps on tablets or smartphones.”

Data collected via the app can subsequently be visualised on different dashboards. This enables companies to define useful performance indicators, analyse data and set alarm conditions for their production lines. Alarm messages can then be sent via email or messenger app. The module is based on cloud and open source technologies for affordable applications and does not require an internet connection for its use.

Looking to the future

Is there anything more inspiring than innovations and their creators? Hardly! That is why the industry association VDMA supports 350 students from seven universities and enables them to participate in competitions within the textile machinery industry. An investment that pays off in the long run: after all, highly qualified and motivated young engineers pave the way for innovative, marketable products.