Interzum Cologne: Forward-Thinking Exhibitors Face the Future of Mattress Manufacturing

entrance to trade fair Interzum CologneFrom sustainability to data collection, makers of sleep products components and equipment tackle hot topics head-on

More coverage to come boxBY BARBARA T. NELLES AND BETH ENGLISH

Every other year, the editors of BedTimes join thousands of manufacturers of mattresses and home furnishings traveling to Cologne, Germany, to attend one of the largest components fairs for furniture production and interior design. This year’s Interzum Cologne, held May 21-24, drew healthy crowds from the bedding sector, and we spotted plenty of interesting new products and technologies on our journey through the components and machinery halls there. 

Interzum Cologne taking a break on the plaza
Taking a break outside on the plaza at Interzum Cologne

The post-show statistics published by show organizer Koelnmesse GmbH confirmed our impressions of a busy trade fair. Exhibitors numbered 1,805, breaking past records, and came from 60 countries. The total visitor count exceeded Koelnmesse’s expectations, reaching 74,000.

While the show is Europe-centric, it drew a more international crowd this year, according to Koelnmesse. Seventy-five percent of attendees came from outside Germany, inching up from 73% in 2017. Most notable, organizers said, were the increases in visitors from China (up 48% compared with the 2017 show), and from Central and South America (up 24%).

There were some overarching themes in mattress components, the biggest being the quest for increased sustainability and reductions in carbon footprints. Many exhibitors mentioned their desire to comply with current and expected environmental regulations from the European Union as driving some product rollouts. They’re also responding, they say, to consumer concerns about climate change.

ISPA Bedding Centre at Interzum Cologne
ISPA Bedding Centre at Interzum Cologne

Some exhibitors also discussed how their products and processes fit within the circular economy, in which production and consumer waste are minimized and products are reclaimed at the end of their useful lives for dismantling. Their components are then recycled, repurposed or upcycled into new products. As part of those efforts, components suppliers said they are trying to limit the use of pollution-causing substances in production processes, are tapping more renewable resources to make their products and are finding ways to use more fiber from recycled plastics.

In machinery halls, many new pieces of equipment were designed with similar goals in mind: reducing waste, improving energy efficiency and recycling post-industrial waste. They also touted features to improve worker health and safety.

Speaking of increased efficiency, another big machinery trend at the show, as Atlanta Attachment Co.’s Hank Little noted, was the focus on Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution. It involves the evolution of machinery and factory systems that use automation, data exchange, cognitive computing (artificial intelligence), the internet of things and cloud computing. Yes, the digitalization of mattress manufacturing is here.

Green Thinking and Technical Advances on the Fabric Front

BedTimes always looks forward to seeing how designers at major ticking suppliers interpret the latest lifestyle trends in new fabric collections. They didn’t disappoint. Pretty fabrics and colorful concept beds — many with the look of painted canvases — drew us in. Yet white, cream and gray still dominated ticking collections. The big news lay not in looks but in construction with many mattress fabric companies touting investments in new machinery and software. 

In terms of fiber composition, ticking suppliers spotlighted polymer-based yarns that can be recycled and yarns made from recycled plastics, as well as fibers drawn from renewable resources.

Engineering feats

BekaertDeslee, with world headquarters in Waregem, Belgium, won a Best of the Best Interzum award for Xcite, a fabric made highly breathable by the mesh fabric integrated into the textile’s design. Sections of the knit are perforated, giving them an “open knit structure” that allows better airflow through the bed, the company said. Xcite is produced on custom knitting machines and comes in a range of designs. The fabric uses recyclable polyester yarn.

BekaertDeslee’s Xcite fabric, which won a Best of the Best Interzum award, has zones of mesh fabric integrated into the textile’s design for enhanced breathability.
BekaertDeslee’s Xcite fabric, which won a Best of the Best Interzum award, has zones of mesh fabric integrated into the textile’s design for enhanced breathability.

A number of ticking suppliers further enhanced the one-piece woven or knit border fabrics that look like a complex cut-and-sewn assemblage.

Milan-based Stellini Group, a pioneer of the effect, has reached new heights with its decorative borders. “These (borders) are so convenient for our customers versus cut and sew,” said Eric Delaby, executive vice president of sales and marketing for the Stellini subsidiary CT Nassau Corp., based in Alamance, North Carolina. “And you can use them with any type of backing. In Europe, that might be foam or in the U.S., an FR fiber.”

This complex border from the Stellini Group/CT Nassau Corp. comes off the loom in a single piece, with no cutting and sewing required to achieve the intricate design.
This complex border from the Stellini Group/CT Nassau Corp. comes off the loom in a single piece, with no cutting and sewing required to achieve the intricate design.

Stellini/CT Nassau also has re-engineered and improved several products. The soft, smooth flat knits it launched at Interzum Cologne 2017 now quilt more easily and are more pill-proof, Delaby said, demonstrating a group of finely patterned menswear-inspired flat knits in elegant gray and white. The company also has purchased new machinery with the capacity to make its knits more colorful and “less boring” by bringing a third yarn to the face of the fabric, Delaby said.

At Comfytex, a textile company headquartered in Kayseri, Turkey, the focus was on the depth and breadth of new technologies conceived at the company’s research and development center. It’s a state-of-the-art facility staffed by more than a dozen engineers and designers, said Mukremin Kucuk, Comfytex sales and marketing manager. The company also offered a heady array of aromatherapy fabric finishes, many of them derived from natural oils in citrus, floral and woody scents.

At Maes Mattress Ticking, the emphasis was on feel. “These days, our customer base is asking less and less about special treatments and more and more about comfort and feel,” said Bart Desmet, vice president of the company, headquartered in Zwevegem, Belgium. “And we have the most tactile and softest damasks around,” he added. Desmet also announced that Maes has partnered with Montreal-based Maxime Knitting Mills Inc., which acts as its sales agent in North America.

Gregoire Maes (left) and Bart Desmet of Maes Mattress Ticking proclaim their damasks, including this high-end 100% viscose damask, are the softest. “Customers are searching for a soft hand, natural yarns and natural finishes,” Desmet said.
Gregoire Maes (left) and Bart Desmet of Maes Mattress Ticking proclaim their damasks, including this high-end 100% viscose damask, are the softest. “Customers are searching for a soft hand, natural yarns and natural finishes,” Desmet said.

Innofa, with global headquarters in Tilburg, the Netherlands, displayed an athletic wear-inspired knit in a narrow stripe design called Sprint. The 3-D fabric is both breathable and moisture wicking. Innofa paired it with a nifty mesh fabric for the border that can incorporate raised logos and other branding by knitting them right into the ticking. It, too, provides excellent airflow, the company said.

New Innofa border fabric with inherent logo
Who needs a label with this breathable mesh border from Innofa that knits the brand right into the bed?

Lava, based in Wielsbeke, Belgium, displayed an array of beautiful lifestyle collections and an accompanying stylebook created by design head Sylvie Vandenameele. The company introduced Nxt.Gen, a fabric collection that makes use of Lava’s investments in new knitting technology. Many of the fabrics in the collection incorporate recycled cotton yarn and recycled polyester yarn.

Lava Earth Aware knit ticking
Lava launched the Nxt.Gen collection, which includes a range of fabrics, some incorporating yarns made from recycled cotton and recycled plastic.

Recycling day

Like Lava, many textile suppliers touted ways in which they are operating more sustainably, including by using yarn from recycled plastics, as be recycled themselves. 

Case in point is BekaertDeslee, where there was so much to see that visitors received headsets for a guided audio tour of nine lifestyle vignettes with the theme “Moments in Your Life.” The biggest moment may have been the Seaqual display, set in a child’s bedroom with a storybook and video. Seaqual won an Interzum award for High Quality Product for its use of polyester yarn spun from recycled ocean plastics. Seaqual also is the name of BekaertDeslee’s partner on the collection, a nonprofit dedicated to ocean cleanup based in Girona, Spain. Seaqual pays fishermen to haul garbage to shore where it is sorted and, in the case of PET plastics, reclaimed and spun into new polyester yarn.

BekaertDeslee Seaqual display booth
At BekaertDeslee, an artful overhead display of ocean detritus brought home the need for ocean cleanup, the mission behind the Interzum award-winning Seaqual collection. In partnership with the Girona, Spain-based nonprofit of the same name, BekaertDeslee turns polyester yarns spun from collected ocean plastic into new ticking.

“I have never seen a customer in tears in response to one of our products,” said Philip Ghekiere, BekaertDeslee marketing and design director. “She was watching our video (on Seaqual), which is presented through the eyes of a child. It has truly struck a nerve that we are helping to preserve our oceans for future generations.”

Boyteks Tekstil won an Interzum award for High Product Quality for its Go Green knit collection, and a Go Green concept bed was a showroom focal point. Its panel design depicted the Earth etched in green leaves.

Boyteks Interzum award-winning Go Green ticking
Of the more than 600 knit and woven mattress fabric panels on display at Boyteks Tekstil, Aydin Aydin (left) and Mahmut Halit Kilic said they were most proud of Interzum award-winning Go Green. “We continue to bring comfort to life by designing environmentally friendly products with innovative ideas,” Aydin said.

“This is a sustainable collection from fiber to finishing,” said Aydin Aydin, marketing chief for the Kayseri, Turkey-based company.

At Love Home Fabrics
Remy Tack (from left) and Greg Tack of Love Home Fabrics and Mike Durham of Global Textile Alliance show off Phoenix. It’s part of a range of new Love Home Fabrics textiles that the company says have the potential to be completely and repeatedly recycled because they are made with 100% polypropylene yarn. The company is working on developing a 100% polypropylene zipper in an effort to make a sewn mattress cover constructed of Phoenix fabric that would be entirely recyclable.

To illustrate a commitment to sustainability and create an inviting space, Wielsbeke, Belgium-based Love Home Fabrics (parent of ticking suppliers Global Textile Alliance and Monks International) brought back  a lush, two-story booth filled with potted plants, box gardens and trees for a second Interzum show.

A mural showed how the company has increased its use of renewable energy, reduced water consumption, recycled plastic bottles into yarn for its fabrics and more.

“Operating in a sustainable manner has been a consistent choice for us for many, many years. It’s at the core of who we are,” said Greg Tack, a company principal and member of the family that owns Love Home Fabrics.

To bring home that point, he showed off a new Phoenix collection under the Monks brand that has the potential to be recycled multiple times. Made with polypropylene yarn that the company spins in-house, the textile can, in theory, be melted and extruded as new yarn as many as 10 times, according to the company. 

Signage at Istanbul-based Aydin Tekstil asked, “Are you ready for a nature-friendly sleep experience?” The company displayed many new fabric collections, including the Green series, which uses a number of natural yarns, such as silk, wool and organic cotton. The company also introduced several fabric finishes. One was described as naturally anti-bacterial, another repels soil and a third is temperature-regulating due to the presence of phase-change material.

Aydin Tekstil new knit collection
Aydin Tekstil showed hundreds of new fabrics with interesting new finishes, including this plush group of knits with bronze accents.

New Directions

Paolo Stellini with new printed area rugStellini Group, a textile maker based in Milan, went a little wild showcasing its transfer-printing capabilities. There were mattress panels that looked like pop art posters and abstract modern canvases, as well as a new collection of vibrantly colored woven and transfer-printed area rugs, decorative pillows and top-of-bed items.

“We are trying to show all that it is possible to do with our fabrics and all of our potential,” said Paolo Stellini, principal and managing director, pictured right holding a woven area rug in a lush print.



In Fiber, What’s Old Is New

Fiber suppliers emphasized renewable and recycled resources.
At Ko-Si, based in Slovenj Gradec, Slovenia, there were new plant-based fibers and pads made from hemp and flax meant for the bed’s lower comfort layers.

“Hemp and flax are old, old products — flax is one of the oldest cultivated plants — that are gaining new popularity in bedding,” said Branko Jurec, Ko-Si marketing manager (below). “Both fibers are known for their breathability and moisture-wicking properties and, hemp, especially, is a very fast-growing crop that requires little irrigation and no chemicals.”

Ko-Si's Branko Jurec

Ko-Si's Branko JurecIn its High Tech line, Manifattura Maiano (right), a fiber pad supplier based in Capalle, Italy, showed a new polyester fiber (top roll) that creates a durable, springy comfort layer meant to take the place of a half-inch of polyurethane foam in the top mattress cushion. The company also created a fluffy wadding composed of hemp fiber over a mix of virgin and recycled polyester fiber. Its thickness is customizable.



The Inside Information on Foams and Springs

Starting in August, BedTimes will delve deeper into important new developments in four key product categories at the core of the mattress: adhesives, springs, foams and latex. These in-depth reports will include many of the products and technologies unveiled at Interzum Cologne. In the meantime, we’ll lay out a few of the highlights BedTimes editors saw in these categories.

As we saw in other product categories, many mattress core components had a sustainability story. Others were simply cool — and a real departure from what we’ve seen in the past.

Springing forward

There were two Interzum award winners in the springs category: Spinks, based in Leeds, England, and Standard Gum, headquartered in Bourges, France, both earned Interzum awards for High Product Quality for their new products.

Darren Marcangelo relaxes on Spinks Cortec unit
The new Cortec from Spinks is a pocket spring unit the company describes as 100% recyclable. It’s also so comfortable that it can be used in mattresses with just a spacer fabric on top of it, said Darren Marcangelo. A queen-size Cortec has 3,400 coils, compared with 800 to 1,000 springs in a conventional queen-size unit.

Spinks’ new Cortec pocket spring unit has an entirely glue-free construction because “it’s assembled on special pocket spring machinery, which required a large company investment in engineering and design,” said Darren Marcangelo, Spinks commercial director.

“Being glue-free aids ventilation and removes a major barrier to end-of-life recycling because glues gum up shredding machinery,” Marcangelo said. “In the U.K., the steel industry has stopped accepting (pocket) springs for recycling due to the presence of adhesives. These used units end up getting baled up and sent to landfill.”

Cortec uses springs with a smaller diameter and finer wire than typical encased coils to create a comfortable sleep surface. The result is that mattress manufacturers can save money on additional components because Cortec all but eliminates the need for multiple comfort layers, Marcangelo said.

Bed slat maker Standard Gum branched into bed springs, and earned itself an Interzum award. The internationally patented Ideal Spring improves breathability in foam mattresses, but the real innovation is that it adjusts in firmness with the push or pull of a button on the outside of the bed border.

Standard Gum's award-winning Ideal Spring
The adjustable Ideal Spring from Standard Gum, which took five years to design, has two plastic coils operating separately that can change the firmness of the mattress with just the push or pull of this red button, which extends beyond the border fabric in a finished bed.

Made from fully recyclable plastic polymer, the spring units are meant to be placed within cutouts in foam mattresses in one, two or three zones.

Boycelik, a spring maker based in Kayseri, Turkey, promoted its less expensive pocket spring called Duo Pocket. It’s a wrapped coil unit that uses fewer coils because they are double welded and spaced farther apart. The company also added new perimeter coil constructions that create a stronger seat edge.

Would you like foam with that?

Latexco NV, a supplier of latex and polyurethane foams, with global headquarters in Tielt, Belgium, also made innerspring news. It won an Interzum award for High Product Quality for Soul Spring, a molded 100% latex encasement that can hold a steel pocket spring unit.

The resulting mattress roll packs with ease and offers a smooth, comfortable sleep surface with no hard edges, said Brent Limer, chief sales officer for Latexco U.S. Holdings LLC, headquartered in Lavonia, Georgia.

Latexco won two additional High Product Quality awards for FR polyurethane foams targeted to the U.K. market: hyper-soft FloFom FR and viscoelastic AerFom FR.

Latexco Interzum awards
Ben Ducatteeuw (left) and Brent Limer with Latexco U.S. Holdings LLC pose with their company’s latex and foam components, which were winners of three Interzum awards.

What a concept!

Two other exhibiting suppliers — one of latex and one of foam — partnered with industry members to create concept beds that drew notice.

Vita Talalay, part of Radium Foam in Maastricht, the Netherlands, won a Best of the Best Interzum award, along with Veldeman Bedding NV, based in Opglabbeek, Belgium, for the creation of the Velda Resleep bed.

The sleep system is unique in that both the mattress and wood foundation can be completely and easily disassembled into their component parts, allowing for easy replacement of the bed’s components and extending its life.

The Velda Resleep bed contains Vita Talalay Origins latex foam
The Velda Resleep bed, a project of Vita Talalay/Radium Foam and Veldeman Bedding NV, was one of three winners in the sleep products category of the Interzum Best of the Best award. The long-lasting mattress and foundation are constructed without glue or staples and contain Vita Talalay Origins latex and other sustainable components that can be disassembled easily for replacement and upcycling, said Ila Farshad.

Also, each component — from the wood to the fabric — tells a sustainability story. Velda Resleep is made with Vita Talalay Origins latex, introduced at Interzum Cologne 2017. Origins is gold-level Cradle to Cradle Certified from the Netherlands subsidiary of the Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency. C2C Gold means the product was vetted for safety and environmental impacts, and can be upcycled into new latex products. Origins also has the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal and the Forest Stewardship Council Chain-of-Custody certification mark, indicating it is made with latex from sustainably managed forests.

FoamPartner presents the future of sleep
A visitor to the FoamPartner stand was feeling the future of sleep, according to FoamPartner, which presented a “thermodynamic” mattress with adjustable comfort controlled by a smartphone app. The bed was developed in partnership with Dow ComfortScience and Variowell Development GmbH.

FoamPartner, headquartered in Wolfhausen, Switzerland, displayed an adjustable foam mattress described as “thermodynamic.” It was created in partnership with Dow ComfortScience, a Dow division based in Midland, Michigan, and foamer Variowell Development GmbH, headquartered in Muenster, Germany.

The bed uses Variowell’s patented modular technology called Teccio.science to change the comfort of the bed by ever-so-slightly warming or cooling the foam core. The bed’s electronics are controlled with a smartphone app.

Latex lives large

Suppliers of 100% natural latex showed off larger, more elaborate exhibit spaces this year. They said interest in all-natural latex, which began in the United States, is spreading around the globe, with China currently one of the biggest markets for the component.

Few could compete with the latex components displays at Getha Sdn. Bhd., a vertically integrated latex foam producer, wholesaler and retailer based in Selangor, Malaysia. An inviting display of pillow shapes, each suspended by a thick rope, made visitors to the stand want to reach out and touch each one, while a perforated latex topper undulated in a large wooden picture frame. The 50-year-old company operates 70 retail stores in Asia and the Middle East, said Melissa Tan, Getha chief executive officer.   

“For us, our brand is our strength, even at wholesale. We are known for making latex look beautiful, and we invest in appealing displays and great marketing materials,” Tan said. “Having such a strong brand is a great advantage.”

Getha latex pillow display
Getha Sdn. Bhd. creates beautiful displays of its latex products for its retail stores and wholesale shows. This touchable hanging pillow arrangement at Interzum Cologne included the new 3-D Pillow (second from right), one of 20 different silhouettes the company sells.
Lien A new charcoal latex
Lien A Co. Ltd.’s new charcoal latex makes use of a byproduct from its manufacturing plants’ green energy solution, and the plant-based ash from rice husks makes a better, more moisture-absorbing additive than other types of charcoal, Vu “John” Hoang said.

Lien A Co. Ltd., a producer of 100% natural latex with headquarters in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, added charcoal latex to its offerings. Although not a new concept — the charcoal acts as a deodorizer and also aids flame retardancy — in this case, the activated charcoal also is part of the company’s sustainability efforts. The plant-based ash used in the latex is derived from Lien A’s waste-to-energy program at its manufacturing plants. The company burns discarded rice husks from neighboring farms to produce steam and electricity to power production at its three facilities in Vietnam.

Bio(-based) class

As always at Interzum, there were many brightly colored, multilayer foam cores on display with fascinating contour-cut designs. Form Sunger, based in Kayseri, Turkey, showed a new take on the classic egg-crate comfort layer, using two brightly colored foams.

The company also is pouring bio-based foams for the first time. Available in a range of weights and densities, they can be used in all but the quilting layer of a mattress, said Arif Emre Olmeztoprak, Form Sunger international sales and marketing manager. More than half of the petrochemicals in the new foams have been replaced with bio-based polyols.

Form Sunger egg-crate topper foam
In addition to creating visually appealing contour-cut comfort layers like this one, Form Sunger launched a line of mattress foams that use a large percentage of bio-based polyols.

Polyol supplier Cargill, headquartered in Wayzata, Minnesota, promoted its BiOH line of bio-based polyols, including the new BiOH 5556, which the company says can replace 100% of the petro-polyols in a foam. The new polyol yields a foam that’s cooler feeling than conventional foams and that  provides consistent performance at a wider temperature range, according to the company.

“We are having a real push in the EU (for BiOH),” said Lis Engelsman, marketing and communication lead for EU Cargill Bioidustrial, in discussing the company’s presence at the show. “Initially, the focus was on foamers, only, but now we’re focused on the brand owners, themselves, and creating demand and pull-through.”

FoamPartner announced it has created a more sustainable foam in its EvoPore high-resilience foam family simply by using less polyols. The new EvoPoreVHRC (for “very high resilience climate”) uses 30% less feedstock, which yields a lighter weight, yet more durable and long-lasting foam, the company said.



From Software to Sewing, Mattress Machinery Packs Features

At this year’s show, machinery updates and launches revolved around efficiency — from reducing machinery downtime and material waste to speeding up production processes, mostly through automation. And Industry 4.0 was a buzz phrase. It relates to the digitalization of manufacturing, which involves continual data collection, automation, artificial intelligence, networked machinery and cloud computing.

Baeumer Sophie MES software
Meet Sophie, the face of Albrecht Baeumer GmbH & Co. KG’s new Manufacturing Execution System software targeted specifically to polyurethane foam producers. The modular data collection system does away with many manual production steps.

For the first time and in its largest exhibition space ever, Global Systems Group, the machinery division of Leggett & Platt Inc., set up a complete mattress factory and production line.

“Our theme at this show is, ‘It’s Integral,’ ” said Paul Block, GSG president of sales. “We create systems that are flexible, with interchangeable components and robust processes. … We brought an entire line to demonstrate machinery that is faster, easier, more efficient and produces less waste, (and to showcase) smarter electronics and robotics. In addition to doing a lot of product development (in preparation for the show), we have updated our service programs and tools for our customers to use via the web or through direct training. There are many more tools for customers to service and maintain their machines.”

And when it comes to service calls, “No more waits!” Block said. GSG has made tremendous strides in responding quickly to all service requests, he added.

Atlanta Attachment Co., which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, brought a range of new sewing and packaging equipment for the mattress and home furnishings industries to the show. A major theme running through the Lawrenceville, Georgia-based company’s exhibition space was the introduction of its Industry 4.0 Shop Floor Control system, built by a team of in-house developers and programmers. Together, they created a set of software-based tools for customers that track, schedule and report on manufacturing processes.

Atlanta Attachment 1959-K4
Atlanta Attachment’s 1959-K4 Programmable Cutter with PLC takes the pain out of the handle-cutting procedure, especially when it comes to fancy designs. The machine can be programmed to cut to preset dimensions or to cut based on pattern detection.

“Data is king,” said Hank Little, Atlanta Attachment president. “The more you know, the better decisions you make. (SFC) allows you to look at your production and see everything that’s happening on the plant floor. You can make necessary adjustments— and basically turn on a dime.”

On some equipment, operators can use a detachable tablet, walk to the site of a repair and, working with Atlanta Attachment technicians online, make the necessary adjustments to get the equipment back into production. Messages pop up on-screen — they’re bigger and in color, too — reminding operators to do preventive maintenance checks. Operators even can set up texting from machinery screens to call for a supervisor or plant technician when needed. “It’s all designed to appeal to a younger generation of operators,” Little said.

New tech tools

At Albrecht Baeumer GmbH & Co. KG, in addition to advances in foam cutting machinery, the biggest news was Sophie, the Freudenberg, Germany-based company’s new Manufacturing Execution System software. In posters and marketing materials, Sophie is represented as both stunning and smart. Her name is derived from the Greek word for expert.

In a nutshell, the new Baeumer MES is an eight-module platform that allows foamers and foam fabricators to comprehensively manage all aspects of their production system — from planning to manufacturing control, inventory management and quality control, the company said. Data collection and data management are at the heart of the system. MES integrates with existing enterprise resource planning software and even machinery made by other manufacturers.

“Sophie collects data from the start to finish of your production and once enough data has been collected, you get the advice you need to operate more efficiently, get the same results every time, reduce waste and perfect your processes,” said Christina Fuss, Baeumer marketing manager. “For instance, if your company struggles with quality control and product consistency, you can solve your problems with Sophie.”

Brighi Tecnologie Italia s.n.c., headquartered in Forli, Italy, also has launched new tech tools for users. Brighi Watch Software was featured at a special Interzum Digitalization Piazza, as well as at the company’s exhibition stand. The software can be used to network Brighi and third-party equipment and allows plants to gather all the data they need to improve their products and processes, said Matteo Tagliaferri, Brighi export sales manager.

Brighi Mecc
Matteo Tagliaferri with Brighi Tecnologie Italia s.n.c. pauses for a photo with the company’s expanded product line, which now includes foam pouring machinery, thanks to the acquisition of machinery maker Mecc s.n.c.

Tagliaferri also told BedTimes that Brighi has entered the foam industry with the purchase of foam bun machinery company Mecc s.n.c., based in Forlimpopoli, Italy. Sold under the new name Brighi Mecc Foam Technologies, the computerized foam block machine is perfect for small- to medium-size manufacturers looking to pour their own polyurethane foams.

What’s new in sewing and quilting?

At Atlanta Attachment, introductions in sewing equipment included the 3200PBTL Border Measure and Cut with Pre-Feed Station and Thermal Label system. It attaches labels and cuts borders to size and sold well at the show, Little said. It’s an automatic border workstation for mattresses and foundations and performs the functions of two machines in one.

Atlanta Attachment 3200PBTL
Hank Little of Atlanta Attachment Co. holds an example of a border produced by the new 3200PBTL Border Measure and Cut with Pre-Feed Station and Thermal Label machine. It’s an operator-friendly, touch-screen-controlled machine that cuts borders to size and applies labels.

Following the launch of a fully automatic serger and flanger at ISPA EXPO 2018, Atlanta Attachment added the 1317C Semi-Automatic Panel Serging and Flanging with Belted Conveyor machine. Among its host of features is a corner-turning arm with adjustable radius, auto-stop at corners and an electronic material puller.

Atlanta Attachment’s entirely new 1959-K4 Programmable Cutter with PLC is for cutting mattress handles in just the right place, for instance, to accommodate an embroidered logo or other design element. The machine can make cuts using pattern detection or based on preset dimensions, and the handle ends can be cut straight or mitered.

Hengchang, based in Guangdong, China, brought its top quilting machine — the computerized, high-speed HC3200 multineedle quilter — to Interzum for the first time. It’s 50% faster than earlier models and has far greater design capabilities, the company said. The HC3200 can quilt as many as five layers up to 3 inches thick.

HengChang quilter
Hengchang is a regular exhibitor at Interzum Cologne, but this time it took a larger space in the machinery hall and brought its fastest multineedle quilter, the HC3200. The machine offers easy material loading and operation, a thread-break detector and built-in safety devices, and comes loaded with 300 quilt designs.

In other sewing news from GSG, for a complete bed border from start to finish, the Porter AutoSys 1 automated border system combines five border operations in a single machine and creates a closed-loop border complete with handles and law labels.

In addition, the GSG Porter BMS-1500 Border Modular System can integrate with AutoSys 1 to create four different border effects, including adding decorative ribbon, zippers, gussets or cording.

GSG Porter Ultra HC-400 binding machine
GSG technician Tom Coletta sews a bucket cover on the new Ultra HC-400 binding machine, which sews bucket covers for one-sided beds from even the thickest and densest materials used in today’s mattress covers.

Finally, the new Porter Ultra HC-400 binding machine from GSG can handle even the thickest materials, binding them together for half-cap bucket covers used on single-sided mattresses, according to the company.   

Rolling and packing

Eliminating excess quilter downtime was behind GSG’s introduction of the new Automatic Material Handling Pack. It manages the material rolls fed into Gribetz quilters and keeps quilters up and running with less transition time when switching to new rolls, and less waste when splicing materials.

In roll-packing equipment, Dolphin Pack, based in Affi, Italy, introduced Etesian, a compact modular system for foam or hybrid mattresses, as well as pillows and other bedding. It can be configured in an “L” shape for tight spaces and automatically centers items fed into the machine. A new folding device can make multiple folds, and wrapped products exit the system on low-maintenance rollers instead of a belt.

Dolphin Pack Etesian roll-pack
The new Etesian roll-packing setup from Dolphin Pack offers a number of improvements over previous equipment. It’s more compact, more automated and can squeeze a 12-inch king-size mattress — foam or hybrid — into a folded and compressed, tightly double-sealed roll 19 inches in diameter (or smaller).

Atlanta Attachment added programmable logic controller capabilities to the 1306TA Mattress Topper Packaging with PLC. It means the equipment has a built-in industrial computer that can be programmed to automatically operate the machine. The 1306TA is compact — just 36 inches wide — and neatly wraps and rolls toppers, crib mattresses, dog beds and similarly sized items.

Also in packaging, Atlanta Attachment added the 1406C Mattress Packaging with Compression machine, which uses a heavy-duty hydraulic platen to compress then wrap beds even 14 inches thick.

Elektroteks, based in Bursa, Turkey, introduced more improvements to its advanced ET-400 series equipment, a range of automatic compression, folding and roll-packing lines for mattresses. For example, the multipurpose ET-ROLL-410-SFP is quicker, has a smaller footprint and offers a more streamlined operation. It has a patented turning arm, uses less plastic, senses when and whether to fold a mattress depending on its size, and can make as many as three folds. The line combines three machines capable of finishing one roll-packed mattress per minute. 

Elektroteks 400 Series roll-pack line
At Elektroteks, a patented turning arm readied a compressed and folded mattress for the roller. The company’s 400 series roll-pack lines are comprised of three machines that take up less space, use less plastic film and can process three mattresses at once.

Lamination advances

C3 Corp., based in Appleton, Wisconsin, which sells compression packaging equipment and complete lamination lines, upgraded its CF1396 Compression Folding System. The system has more compact configuration options, the ergonomic Boxline add-on makes it easier for operators to get wrapped goods into boxes, and a Traversing Stretch Wrap option allows manufacturers to wrap products of many sizes with a single plastic film SKU.

In lamination, C3’s most automated line can process one bed every 30 seconds, said CEO Joe Van De Hey. He discussed how C3 is helping customers operate at peak efficiency and speed on all of its machinery. The rising popularity of pocket springs, the use of more delicate fabrics and the advent of new CR-free (chloroprene rubber-free) adhesives for foam bonding “all impact what we do in production,” he said.

“Laminating is really important right now. One of the keys to speeding production is being able to ‘cure in package’ (and you can do that by) dialing back the glue by as much as one-third,” Van De Hey said.

When it comes to lamination, GSG has taken a turn in a new direction with the Gribetz XT9 Stitch Bridge. “This machine is what everyone is talking about,” Block said. “It’s the buzz of the show.”

The XT9 brings a novel idea to adhering mattress cushion layers — sewing, which replaces multiple layers of glue with inexpensive thread. The new quilter’s nine long needles sew together up to 4 inches of layered materials of any type in a single pass through the machine. The process takes about 35 seconds.

GSG Gribetz XT9 Stitch Bridge
Global Systems Group’s novel Gribetz XT9 Stitch Bridge drew attention, Paul Block said. It uses long needles to quickly stitch together any and all mattress comfort layers in a single pass.

“Normally you’re joining three to four layers of foams and other materials in multiple lamination steps,” Block said. “Applying glue can be messy and resource intensive, plus there is the moisture component and you may have problems with delamination.”

Stitching the layers together is much faster, using thread is far less expensive and it has no impact on the mattress comfort or airflow through the bed, Block said. It also makes the product easier to dismantle and recycle at the end of its life, he added.

Solving more specific problems

Quarrata Forniture Srl, based in Quarrata, Italy, introduced machinery especially for applying and drying phase-change material gel on foam comfort layers. More manufacturers are using this cooling technology in their beds and are looking for ways to do it without slowing factory output, Quarrata representatives said.

Quarrata Ghibli dryer for PCMs
Quarrata Forniture Srl introduced a system for quickly and efficiently applying phase-change material gel. The use of water-based PCM gel on foam comfort layers is growing more popular, but mattress manufacturers don’t want the application process to slow mattress production. The new Quarrata roller applicator and this oven quickly apply the gel and dry it using infrared technology.

The Rollgel machine allows manufacturers to apply just the right amount of PCM to a foam layer and then feeds it into the new Ghibli Modular PCM Dryer. The system is fast, resource-efficient and compact, and the dryer is a big improvement over having to use much larger, energy-intensive tunnel ovens, the company said.

Masias Maquinaria SL offered the new RecyFoam machine that allows companies to shred post-industrial foam scraps into pillow and quilt fill for use in its Comfort Line. “Recycling and making less waste, it’s a big topic this year,” said Sonia Ortiz, export sales manager for the Girona, Spain-based company. “One of the main questions (we are hearing at this show) is ‘How can I reuse and recycle my waste?’ ”

Masias Comfort Line recycled rolled fill
Updates to Masias Maquinaria Inc.’s rolled-fill Comfort Line for making pillow and quilt fillings include the ability to use mixed recycled materials, such as these from shredded fabrics and foams, as well as natural fibers like wool.

Masias also updated the Comfort Line, which is made for filling pillows and comforters and for creating the fiber layer used in the mattress quilt. The system launched at Interzum Cologne 2017. The equipment now handles new types of fills, including wool and other natural fibers, as well as a mixed polyester and foam fill from recycled mattresses. The Comfort Line produces fiber rolls, which the company says make a superior, higher-loft pillow than the same amount of loose fill.   

At Quarrata, there was the new Green Proteus machine with signage that invited manufacturers to “Save Your Waste, Save Your Money, Save Your Planet.” Through steam heating, it separates quilting scraps into their component parts for easier recycling or reuse.

When it comes to transferring units and finished mattresses in the plant, GSG had the answer: Use the PS90 automatic unit stacker from Gateway Systems to eliminate the risk of damage that may be caused by mechanical picking devices. Its belt conveyor automatically rises, lowers and extends to position units and then returns to collect the next item, the company said. It also reduces the risks of ergonomic injury and can unstack products, too.



And the Winners Were …

One of the Interzum Awards boothsThis year’s Interzum awards were bestowed on 71 new products, with 59 earning High Product Quality honors and 12 named Best of the Best. In the sleep products sector, there were 12 winners, including three Best of the Best awards. Many of the winning products had a sustainability theme. For a complete list of award-winning introductions, visit Interzum-Award.de.