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ITMA '91: the 'I' stands for international.

ITMA '91: The 'I' Stands For International

It was billed all along as "the" international textile machinery show of the 1990s and 10 days of ITMA '91 in Hannover, Germany last month certainly did not disappoint in that respect.

The 1395 exhibitors in 185,791 sq. meters of exhibition space in all 20 halls of the huge Hannover Exhibition Grounds included representation from 37 countries. The expected 120-150,000 visitors came from around the globe as well, from the Far East to Eastern Europe; some two-thirds thirds of the visitors came from abroad. The 1991 show marked the return to Hannover after an interval of 12 years.

The strength of any ITMA is its ability to attract this incredibly diverse representation of the textile industry. The latest developments of every aspect of textile manufacturing, from fiber production to carding to computer controls to winding and slitting, were available at the show.

In accordance with its size relative to the entire textile industry, nonwovens participation at ITMA '91 was relatively minor, representing perhaps 10-15% of the floor space and number of exhibitors. The most visible contingent was from the European needle loom manufacturers, including Oskar Dilo, Dr. Ernst Fehrer and Asselin of the Schlumberger Group. Also making a very strong showing were the manufacturers of carding, crosslapping and finishing equipment, all focusing on the latest developments for this gathering once every four years.

Growth In A Down Market

All of the optimism surrounding ITMA '91 came despite a very, very difficult economy and an uncertain world situation through much of the year. This expansion was attributed to the changing nature of the nonwoven and textile manufacturing industries.

"The main reasons for the marked expansion in the amount of display space was a new technical approach, such as the increasing tendency to link up working processes and thus demonstrate longer sets of machines," explained Hans Trutzschler, chairman of the ITMA '91 organizing committee, at a special press reception held in Hannover the evening before the opening of the show. This technical cooperation was best exemplified at the show by the combined efforts of Dilo, Autefa, Temafa and Spinnbau (Bremen) and by Schlumberger, which also combined the displays of its member nonwovens equipment companies Asselin, Thibeau and Houget Duesberg Bosson to offer a complete production line.

"One can also cite here the greater need for explanation with automatically controlled systems and the consequent need for more cabin space," Mr. Trutzschler, who is also president of equipment supplier Trutzschler GmbH, added. He reported that as a result there are no fewer than 27 exhibitors at ITMA '91 with more than 1000 sq. meters stand space each.

Some more interesting ITMA '91 facts: In addition to the 186,000 sq. meters of exhibition space, there was a need for 20,000 sq. meters of hall space for the storage of textile raw materials, such as fibers and additives, used during the week-and-a-half show. There were also 70,000 cubic meters of empty packing cases.

The suppliers of nonwovens and related equipment, led by these large combined exhibits, played their small but vital role in the largest textile machinery show ever.

The Needlepunching Factor

Perhaps the strongest nonwovens showing at ITMA '91 was provided by the suppliers of needlepunching and auxiliary equipment, led by Dr. Ernst Fehrer, Linz, Austria, and Oskar Dilo, Eberbach, Germany. Also on hand was Asselin as part of the huge Schlumberger exhibit that offered processing equipment from bale opening to needling.

Highlighted by Dr. Ernst Fehrer was its new NL 3000 high speed needlepunching machine, which effectively increased the needling speed to 3000 strokes a minute from the established NL 2000/S. The machine, according to Philip Riddle, vice president of Batson Yarn and Fabrics, Greenville, SC, the U.S. agent for Fehrer, was developed primarily for the needling of spunbond (mostly geotextiles) and other webs produced on high speed production lines. The NL 3000 is comprised of the same modular loom design as other Fehrer equipment; it is produced in working widths from 1-6.6 meters.

Also new from Fehrer was its NL 9/SRS Tandem needling loom that provide simultaneous downstroke and upstroke needling. Also available in working widths of 1-6.6 meters, the machine direction configuration enables high advance per stroke ratios at low draft volumes, with applications ranging from regenerated waste fibers to high tech felts and synthetic leather.

In the computer control field, Fehrer introduced a concept it calls "CAPS," which stands for Computer Aided Pattern Simulation. Designed for the Fehrer NL 11/SE structuring machine, CAPS allows for computer design of structured needled fabrics. Also new was Fehrer's needle load measurement system, a device that electronically measures the forces being exerted on individual needles. NMS allows the electronic measurement of up to seven needles for evaluation under production conditions.

Other equipment on hand at Fehrer's exhibit included its V 21/R-K 21 high performance web forming plant; the NL 2000/S needlepunching machine; its NL 21/S-RV Superlooper; the NL 11/SE structuring needlepunching machine with the electronic pattern device; an NL 9/S needle machine; and various measuring devices and auxiliary equipment.

Dilo Alone and Teamed With Others

German needle machinery producer Oskar Dilo also unveiled a 3000 stroke per minute needling machine at ITMA '91. The Di-Loom OD SC boasts a stroke frequency in the 3000 range at a stroke length of 30 mm; possible production speeds range up to approximately 100 meters a minute. The Di-Loom OD-I SC contains one needle board and the Di-Loom OD-II SC has two needle boards in a specialty needleloom for high speed needling of spunbonds from continuous filament or lightweight batts from staple fiber. The high stroke frequencies were attained by reducing without compromise the rotating and oscillating masses.

Also new from Dilo was the zero draft function of its CBF feeding system and CBF-Transfer and ZBS for minimum draft and high batt regularity. The CBF system consists of the standard execution of a base apron, pre-compression apron and a pair of rollers equipped with fingers to bridge the gap between roller nip and stitching plate. For further reduction of drafts the newly developed CBF Transfer applies two additional transfer rollers to fill the gaps between aprons and finger rollers, making draft in front of the first row of needles negligible. For special cases, such as needling mineral fiber, the system ZBS with flat aprons has been used.

A new offering on the Di-Lour DS structuring and patterning line allows the operator to take additional substrates and introduce them for needling onto the Di-Lour fabric. "It adds another dimension to the fabric," explained Klaus Maitre, president of Dilo, Inc., Charlotte, NC, the company's U.S. unit. Basically, the system lays down another substrate such as a yarn in any pattern and then tacks it to the substrate.

One other focus at Dilo was its Di-Loom PMF papermaker felt machine, available in working widths up to 16 meters with up to eight needling zones. Mr. Maitre explained that all needling units may be engaged individually, with zones needling from one side also able to be disengaged by moving the bed and stripper plate. A special feature of the Dilo exhibit were machine models built on 1:10 scale representing the latest developments in large needle looms for papermaker felts. Among these was a "Beltex" plant for the production of longitudinally oriented felts.

ITMA '91 also served as the introduction of a new cooperative effort involving Dilo and fellow German equipment manufacturers Temafa (Bergisch Gladbach), a supplier of opening and blending equipment; Spinnbau (Bremen), which produces nonwoven cards; and Autefa (Friedberg), a supplier of crosslapping equipment. The four companies are now jointly offering custom made production lines with joint responsibility for their supply.

At the show the complete production line on display included bale opening from Temafa, a Spinnbau card, an Autefa crosslapper and a Di-Loom OD-II pre-needler.

Temafa also had on display a 1600 mm bale opener, a single stage design fine opener, a flap condenser, a compact carding willow, a "Mixmaster" blending unit, a "Clean-Star" opening and trash separation system, an oiling station, a fleece edge opener and process display with a video display unit.

Independently, Autefa was promoting the improvements made on its Cross-Liner 2000 system introduced at the previous ITMA in 1987. The company had fine tuned a number of its subassemblies; the direct reversing drive, without clutches, brakes, control gears and mainly without chains, reduced the maintenance of the machine to a minimum. Autefa also presented a recycling machine with a 1000 mm working width, with automatic feeding, especially designed for nonwovens.

NSC: Asselin, Thibeau, HDB

The most impressive single company nonwovens display at ITMA '91 belonged to the Schlumberger Group, France, which consisted of Houget Duesberg Bosson opening and blending equipment, Thibeau cards and Asselin crosslappers and needling equipment. The site, promoted as offering everything "From Fiber...To Nonwoven," seemed to be its own little manufacturing area within the huge show.

One of the more important new products introduced was the new generation of crosslappers from Asselin. Among the newest innovations was its "Profile" crosslapper, which boasted speeds of up to 120 meters a minute. Incorporating a very short web path patented by Asselin, the Profile system's performance is possible because of the direct path of the web from input to floor apron, without accumulation, without draft and without distortion of the single or multiple card webs. Profile also offers computerized adjustment of the output web profile. Also new were the "Worldlap" crosslapper with input speeds up to 90 meters a minute and "Elite," which featured a new carriage design and a web path controlled by the aprons at all points.

Thibeau, Tourcoing Cedex, France, featured its range of carding machines. The new CA6 carding machines provide high speed and high output productions webs with mechanical strength particularly suited for the nonwovens industry. The carding machine is equipped with one or two doffers preceded by distributing rollers and followed by condensing rollers.

Among the capabilities of the CA6 carding machines: 400 kg/h/m with fibers of 17 dtex for needle felt carpets; longitudinal/transversal strength ratio within a range of 3:1 to 1.5:1 with thermal bonded fibers of 1.7 dtex; range of weight from 15-100 grams sq. meters with impregnated or thermal bonded fibers of 1.7 dtex; 180-200 kg/h/m in polypropylene 1.7 dtex for the production of nonwoven coverstock.

Complete Lines From Hollingsworth

Continuing with the trend of companies offering complete production lines, John D. Hollingsworth on Wheels, Greenville, SC, and sister company Hergeth Hollingsworth, Dulmen, Germany, had a complete nonwovens offering at ITMA '91.

The Hollingsworth display started with a new version of its "Optomix" automatic bale opener, which featured a larger head to provide a better fiber mix from the bale. This ran into a new MTO-S "Micro Tuft" opener, a new coarse opener made specifically to open and process synthetics for nonwovens; it was running Du Pont's "Dacron" polyester at the show. Next came the new "Masterchute" MC-WL, also made specifically for longer (more than 2.5 inch) fibers, followed by a new belt weighing system BW (2500 mm) and a new variation of the standard H card, which featured an inverted feed plate that allows the producer to run a variety of fibers, including longer fibers. A new Hollingsworth crosslapper boasted speeds up to 90 meters a minute.

One other new Hollingsworth machine, which was not set up as part of the nonwovens processing line, was the "Fleximix" automatic bale opener system for cotton and synthetic fibers. An alternative to the Optomix, this new concept is used to process fiber that does not have to be blended. A working length of 24 meters allows a laydown of more than 36 bales, which are continuously introduced into the blend. Opening heads of 1600 mm and 2300 mm enhance the three dimensional blending of the laydown through the inclined position of the runway.

Fleissner, Egelsbach, Germany, exhibited both standard installations and, in particular, special machinery built to customer specifications for textile finishing installations for the nonwovens, carpet, wool processing and woven and knit goods industries. Also available were complete processing lines and machinery for man-made fiber production from spinning walls to fully automatic balers and high tech through-air dryers for all types of air permeable papers and tissues.

Featured at ITMA '91 was its high tech through-air dryer for nonwovens, which has a new drum construction that allows it to achieve production speeds of up to 2200 meters a minute, water evaporation rates of up to 400 kg. sq. meter an hour and a temperature uniformity of +/-1 [degree] C across the working width. Fleissner's compact processing line for the production of polyester fibers from recovered bottles has already proved itself in the production of polypropylene fibers and produces 60 tons a day in a titer range 6.7-17 dtex from 100% ground and thoroughly purified recovered bottles. Also exhibited by Fleissner was its multi-purpose line for binder bonding and thermal bonding.

Together for the first time since a recent consolidation was Mohr + Caidik, Ansbach, Germany, which had several new pieces of equipment making their worldwide debut. Foremost among them was a new thermal bonding oven, a system designed to produce in widths from 2-6.5 meters for end uses from light thin webs to thermoblocks for mattresses and pillows. Also new at Mohr + Caidik was a fully automatic winder, which can wind rolls up to a diameter of 1.2 mm in widths from 1.5-6.5 meters. Mohr also displayed a hydraulic cross cutting machine for a range of materials, as well as an automatic longitudinal cutting blades. Finally, Mohr exhibited a smooth finish calendar, a reverse roll coater and a foam impregnator.

Italian Machinery Suppliers In Cooperation

Italian machinery supplier Fonderie Officine Riunite (F.O.R.), Biella, was introducing its double doffer card "W.M. 2+2." This card, which, according to Anders Moller, of U.S. agent Ason, Inc., Fort Oglethorpe, GA, can also come with a single doffer delivery for the production of very light webs (W.M. 2+1) and offers the ability to produce good quality at extremely high production speeds. The card is also suited to process finer fibers than 1.5 denier and is equipped with a new system to control the air streams to avoid the build-up of fibers at the roller ends.

Shown in conjunction with F.O.R. was a new calendar from Comerio Ercole, Busto Arsizio, Italy. The 2.5 meter wide thermal bond unit was the company's new "Unipress" calendar with a compensating system to warrant an equal linear pressure across the width of the machine. With the new system the previous methods with "cross axis" or "roll blending" are no longer needed. Instead of using a complicated hydraulic system to achieve the roll deflection compensation, the Unipress system uses as maintenance free mechanical compensation system. Also included was a new "Pope Reel Model AC3" winder from A. Celli, Porcari, Italy.

Trutzschler Success At ITMA '91

Reporting that it had sold an astounding 72 cards on the first day of the show alone, Trutzschler, Monchengladbach, Germany, focused on its "Blendomat" system of automatic bale openers for the nonwovens industry. The new generation of openers included Blendomat BDT 013, which specializes in stripping off small lots for medium production rates, especially for man-made fibers; Blendomat BDT 019, which has been improved with regard to work-off and ease of operation, and Blendomat BDT 020, designed for continuous work-off for large lots at high production rates.

The complexity of new developments in high production cards led Trutzschler to the development of a new series, DK 760, of high production cards. A new flat drive system allows operation without the need for lubricants. One other new product was a laboratory test unit that provides direct, objective and reproducible results. Also on display by Trutzschler were its "Securomat SC" suction station; the "Cleanomat" cleaner system; the "Tuftomat" opener systems; and the "Mixomat" multiple mixer MM that provides a high capacity due to pneumatic condensation and the direct connection of the mixer to the opener or cleaner.

Abington, North Abington, MA, had on hand a host of new equipment for the nonwovens industry. Among its new offerings: HP-7 3000 rpm vacuum pump, with automatic blast gate and surge control valve, an automatic pulse jet fine dust filter with rotary airlock emptying; twin 30 inch diameter automatic discharge waste receivers with easy access separator screen and compressed air cleaning of separator screen; an automatic vacuum waste collection station; new General Electric #90-30 PLC-based controls with motor control integrated system; and an automatic waste collection nozzle fitted to a fiber separator. Also shown were a number of established products from Abington, including: C-54 Abington/International horizontal baler for waste fibers, dust and scrap; a push button vacuum floor sweep conveyor with floor magnet; a vacuum hose station for two inch diameter anti-static hose; and its Abington filter bag system for automatic waste emptying by the Abington central station vacuum system.

The focus of William Tatham, Rochdale, Lancs., U.K., was on a new 2.5 meter wide high production nonwoven card unit operating in conjunction with a Dr. Ernst Fehrer needleloom NL9S having a maximum working width of 2400 mm. The card incorporated a volumetric hopper with a "Microfeed" control system, Ambassador Series SX4 double doffer card and a new model high speed "Laymaster" crosslapper equipped with "Microlap" system for precise, automatic control of lap formation. The machinery was complemented by the latest in drive technology with the associated electronic controls housed, with the Fehrer equipment, in a centralized control cabinet and operator desk.

The complete nonwoven unit was fully operational throughout ITMA '91, processing a synthetic fiber blend to produce needlepunched floorcoverings in a specific density range. The pre-blended fiber was delivered automatically to a feed tower or silo system, located above the rear of the Tatham volumetric hoppers, from the blending system to be exhibited by Pneumatic Conveyors Ltd.

Another U.K. equipment supplier, Sir James Farmer Norton, Manchester, launched its VAS-200, an advanced vacuum application system developed in conjunction with NPD Corp., U.S. The VAS-200 offers complete penetration and saturation of substrate with liquid; uniform impregnation on all fabrics, including loom state or hydrophobic materials; variable high/low liquid pick up, adjustable up to 200%; extremely low liquid content, ensuring minimum waste at end of run; absence of tailing or variation during length of run; uniform or pattern application; compact design; and low capital investment.

Spunbonding Developments

German spunbond and melt blown equipment supplier Reifenhauser, Troisdorf, exhibited at an ITMA for the first time this year and took the opportunity to present a die for a "Reicofil" 4200 mm width spunbond line. One of the newest features of the Reicofil technology is the double Reicofil system that places two beams on one line for more economic production of large, lightweight nonwovens.

In the melt blown area, a spinning extruder with a dynamic mixer system "Staromix" for mixing of the melt and melt blown die was also exhibited. This equipment is capable of producing microfibers from almost all thermoplastic polymers and blends. Reifenhauser also exhibited a sectionally heated round spinneret for monofilaments with new quick exchange systems for die packs.

Exhibiting adjacent to Reifenhauser was F. Lli Ceccato, Milan, Italy, a supplier of spinnerets for spunbond and melt blown nonwovens; both Reifenhauser and Ceccato and represented in North America by Fi-Tech, Richmond, VA, and Ceccato produces the spinning and die tips for Reicofil equipment. At ITMA '91 Ceccato was featuring spunbond spinnerets up to six meters in length, melt blown spinnerets and waterjet strips for the hydroentanglement of nonwoven webs.

Italian equipment supplier S.T.P. Impianti, Rescaldina, was spreading the word about its spunbonding capabilities for producing both polypropylene and polyester nonwovens. S.T.P. representative Alexander Tritsch-Olian told NONWOVENS INDUSTRY the company's polyester lines are commercially available and one five meter wide line has already been sold to an Italian nonwovens producer to produce needled geotextiles. In addition, recent alterations have made S.T.P.'s polypropylene spunbond lines 30% less expensive than previously. The polypropylene lines can run up to 250 meters a minute.

The Stitchbonding Participation

In the stitchbonding technology area, a complete range of textile and nonwovens products was exhibited by Textima, Chemnitz, Germany. The focus was on preparatory spinning of cotton and worsteds, filament spinning, stitchbonded nonwovens and machines for finishing nonwovens, as well as various textile and consumer goods.

Malimo, Chemnitz, Germany, the other major stitchbonded equipment supplier, focused on its "Maliwatt" stitchbonding machine as well as an attachment called "Intor." The design of the adapted Intor device and the Maliwatt machine allows floor space requirements and investment costs to be reduced considerably by carrying out both web formation and lapping directly on the stitchbonding machine. The technique replaces the traditional processes of web formation and web feeding via cards and lappers.

PHOTO : Part of the Dr. Ernst Fehrer line-up of needlepunching machines at ITMA '91, including its new high speed NL 3000, which was introduced to the trade at the show. The Fehrer display was typical of the nonwovens participation at the show in Hannover.

PHOTO : Klaus Maitre, of Dilo, Inc. in the U.S., discusses the ITMA '91 activity with Richard Grotthuss, of Oskar Dilo in Germany.

PHOTO : A contigent from U.S.-based Foster Needle, Manitowoc, WI, included: Spanish representative Montse Aguilar; vice president John Foster; president Perk Foster; international sales manager George Swarbrick; and international sales engineer Barry Roberts.

PHOTO : Reifenhauser general manager Herman Balk discusses the company's efforts in spunbonding and melt blowing with U.S. representative Lee Bassett, of Fi-Tech, Richmond, VA.
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Title Annotation:includes related article; International Exhibition of Textile Machinery
Author:Jacobsen, Michael
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Nov 1, 1991
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