BY BETH ENGLISH AND BARBARA T. NELLES
New solutions for tomorrow’s networked, automated plants
Equipment that can repair and maintain itself, runs faster and requires a very small learning curve—that’s the dream of every mattress manufacturer, and machinery suppliers tried to fulfill that wish. Check out some of the latest news from the machinery hall at Interzum Cologne 2017.
Atlanta Attachment focused on faster, simpler production tools
Machinery supplier Atlanta Attachment Co., with headquarters in Lawrenceville, Georgia, got off to a “busy, busy start with traffic that held steady throughout the show,” said President Hank Little. Visitors were evenly split, coming from Europe, the Middle East and North America.
Show introductions and innovations focused on simplifying certain operations and accelerating production.
For example, the 1367 Motorized Carousel stands behind the quilter, holding and automatically positioning the rolls. Its roll capacity ranges from one to several dozen, depending on the carousel size, which can be configured as a single, dual or triple tower from 10 feet to 25 feet. It can hold enough fabric for an entire shift or longer, increasing machine runtime and reducing handling. Operators easily can run the quilter without the need for heavy lifting.
The 1393SBS Stand Alone Border Slitter with Duplex Rewinder Option can handle and cut any material—super-thick laminated border fabric, nonwovens and more. It features standalone operation—no quilter needed—with a new low-to-the-ground profile that allows operators safe access (no climbing on top of the equipment) to position, sharpen or change machine blades.
An update to the 1312N65 Automatic Decorative Border Workstation deskills the addition of decorative welt cord to the border, enabling easy application of corded looks anywhere on the border in a single step.
Finally, Atlanta Attachment, along with its Italian partner Aper Srl, introduced an option to Aper’s Roller Laminating System. An infrared glue bridge uses infrared light to instantly dry an application of water-based adhesive, allowing foam products to be packaged immediately.
Speeding productivity with Bäumer 4.0
Connectivity and automation were the focus at foam-industry machinery supplier Albrecht Bäumer GmbH & Co. KG. As part of the new “Bäumer 4.0” approach, the Freudenberg, Germany-based company showcased software and new machine technology to increase speed and precision in mattress production.
Bäumer unveiled a four-part networking platform for customers. B+ Focus software provides real-time plant monitoring, B+ Support enables instant customer service when problems arise, B+ Maintain delivers automatic reminders and instructions for machinery servicing, and B+ Shop allows for automated parts ordering.
The central exhibit at the show was an automated handling system to produce mattresses. It consisted of a robot working between the OFS-Twincut horizontal contour cutting machine and the versatile Lamit-HM for bonding spring mattresses, which also was shown to handle the bonding of mattresses composed of multiple foam layers.
GSG’s diverse lineup offers production solutions for every plant
Global Systems Group, the machinery division of Carthage, Missouri-based Leggett & Platt Inc., introduced 25 new or revised items among the 60 machines and systems on display at its largest-ever exhibition space.
The company’s broad product range focused “on greatly improving customer throughput, capacity, construction quality and consistency, while deskilling operations, improving ergonomics and greatly reducing nonvalue-added labor,” said Paul Block, GSG vice president of sales strategy and product planning.
GSG also promoted GreenLight XT for remote machinery monitoring to track performance and maintenance needs throughout a factory. It can integrate with existing machinery to help companies improve operational efficiency.
Its Eton Systems mattress production system also integrates with existing equipment. The overhead material handling system eliminates manual transport of components and assembled pieces throughout the factory and makes use of existing, unused factory space. Items are tracked with RFID chips, allowing managers to monitor, rather than manually manage, the movement of goods throughout the plant.
The new Gribetz Spectrum is a high-speed, multineedle quilter with 15 individually controlled sewing heads that allows for quick, easy needle-setting changes during panel production. It’s a game changer for quilt panel design by greatly improving productivity and eliminating reliance on slow, single-needle quilters for unique pattern definition, Block said.
Another Gribetz machine, the Paragon SL makes on-trend channel-quilted looks a cinch. It’s a specialized, ultra-high-speed quilter for creating straight-line quilting.
The flanging operation just got easier, too, with the new Porter EST-501 ErgoSmart Table. It comes with a motorized belt and choice of heavy-duty sewing heads, now including the Galkin X-5. The system is designed to deskill the flanging operation, allowing operators to master the process in days rather than years, Block said.
GSG deployed a waste material handling system, Waste-exit, in its space, demonstrating the vacuum-powered waste removal system manufactured by its Danish partner company of the same name. Waste-exit systems are meant to eliminate nonvalue-added factory labor and reduce workplace hazards and machinery downtime.
When it comes to cleanliness, the new Gateway Systems GS-15TX flat goods cutter, specifically for knits, consistently and cleanly cuts stretchy knits with its dual rotary scissor blades that won’t clog with loose fibers. The machine eliminates the downtime for cleanup associated with other cutters using a single-blade cutting system.
In partnership with Italian adhesives equipment maker Quarrata Forniture, GSG offered the Rollflex roller gluing system for water-based glues, now with the Sahara drying device. It uses infrared heat to instantly remove moisture from glued surfaces, allowing products to be assembled and packed immediately after gluing.
In addition, the Quarrata Rolljet programmable-pattern gluing machine uses breakthrough technology to apply water-based glue to foam layers or foam encasements in custom glue patterns. It reduces adhesive use, drying times and improves product construction.
Requiring just a single operator, the Teknomac Automatic Border Line demonstrated how three independent machines hooked together can automate production of ornate bed borders, turning roll goods into a closed, luxury border, complete with ribbons, tapes, handles, edging and labels.
Two more Teknomac machines turned heads. The high-speed TK381 Wrap and Rollpack was updated to include a new drive system and roll-pack rolling system, more streamlined controls and an optional shrink-wrap device. Another addition is an optional shrink-wrap device that will wrap the finished package in shrink wrap for easy opening on the consumer end.
The Teknomac TK910 is a single-needle chainstitch quilter with a single bridge and two high-speed sewing heads. It is “a revolutionary single-needle panel system and the first to use chainstitch sewing technology and rotary sewing heads. It gives patterns truer definition and offers improved stitching performance,” Block said.
Maquinol makes do-it-yourself lab to test and develop foam
Polyurethane foam machinery company Maquinol introduced the Uniblock Exacto Lab system. It’s designed for small- to medium-size manufacturers in search of a consistent and exact method “to develop and test new foams on a larger scale—not just in a test tube,” said Sumya Diaz, sales manager for the Estarreja, Portugal-based company. The compact Uniblock lab is capable of producing foam blocks up to 40 kilograms (88 pounds) and uses touchscreen controls, exact dosing and large stainless steel tanks, cones and canisters for mixing, transferring and pouring.
Visdeltex ultrasonic quilting equipment gets updates
Visdeltex, a machinery company specializing in quilting machines and ultrasonic systems, updated its VU Series ultrasonic mattress border equipment for synthetic textiles. The VU 500 has upgraded motors and more accurate controls. In addition, its ultrasonic generators have been re-engineered so that welding and cutting heads remain cool to the touch, preventing operator burns.
The machine is easy to use and maintain—and it employs ultrasonic welding and cutting only to produce quilted bed borders from multiple fabrics with the look of sewn goods, said Luis Lacueva, sales manager of the Valencia, Spain-based company.
Stutznäcker fine-tunes Mammut quilting machines
Sewing equipment supplier Emil Stutznäcker GmbH & Co. KG, maker of Mammut quilters, added new features to its single-needle and multineedle Mammut quilting machinery.
According to the Cologne, Germany-based company, updates include an optional automatic bobbin changer and, for the single-needle double lockstitch quilter (Mammut P2A), it added higher operating speeds (up to 3,600 stitches per minute versus the previous 3,100) and a redesigned, smaller and lighter frame and bridge.
Spinks Springs reaches new heights with pocket coiler
Pocket springs and machinery supplier Spinks Springs, part of Leeds, England-based Harrison Spinks, a components and finished products supplier, had a need and found a way to fill it. The result is SkyCoiler, a vertically oriented pocket-spring machine with a much smaller footprint than other coilers.
“The conventional spring machines we were using were quite big and not that efficient,” said Dave Clare, Spinks Springs technical director. “This uses straight wire technology so there are no stretches in the wire. The coils are consistent, and it produces 120 to 130 coils a minute, reliably and with less wire waste.”
MPT Group automates stitching and tacking
Equipment supplier MPT Group Ltd. launched the BordaTac S2 Simulated Side Stitching Machine, which creates a hand-stitched border effect. Two to four Pfaff sewing-head configurations are available with swinging needle technology. Border widths can range from 6 inches to 17 inches wide, and the machine stitches both mattress and base borders.
Among the other machines at the Bacup, England-based company that drew a wide audience was the Autotuft fully automated mattress-tufting system, which now is faster than ever and can machine tuft more than 200 mattresses per eight-hour shift, with just one operator.
Brighi upgrades pillow production system
Brighi Tecnologie Italia, headquartered in Forli, Italy, displayed the Mac 3 version of its “Easy” pillow-blowing equipment, which has been retooled (along with Mac 4 and Mac 6) to provide automatic preweighing and dispensing of pillow fills. In addition, the new MX5 Blender box is available for use with all three systems to mix a variety of pillow fills in the desired, preprogrammed ratios.
Brighi’s pillow lines can handle “any filling material, from polyester fiber to microfiber or any natural filling,” said Matteo Tagliaferri, Brighi export sales manager. “They are accurate, efficient and clean, and have a dust collecting system so waste from feathers or foam can easily be sucked out.”
Masias Maquinaria introduces versatile pillow/quilt line
Machinery supplier Masias Maquinaria SL introduced a patent-pending dual line for producing high-quality rolled or carded pillows and bed quilts. The compact equipment has two outlets and the capability to card fiber before feeding it into the system. It offers filling flexibility and works with all types of synthetic fibers and blends, including natural fibers and foam/fiber combinations, or even fiber balls. The system has the capacity to manufacture as many as 18 pillows per minute.
Macau TaiWa speeds up production with faster pocket coil assembler
Macau TaiWa Machinery Co. Ltd., headquartered in Andar, Macau, displayed the high-speed Pocket Spring Coiler, which produces 140 pocketed coils per minute, and the super-fast TWM-PSA3 Assembler, which now can create 420 pocket springs per minute, said Nelson Wu, sales director. The machine can be programmed to assemble zoned coils, as well.