The extent to which Italian textile machinery companies are working to adopt sustainable principles and practices was outlined at yesterday evening’s ACIMIT press conference, held at the highly impressive Triennale di Milano design museum and art space.
Daniele Pozzo of D’Appolonia, the co-ordinator of the ongoing Sustainable Technologies Project, provided details of the voluntary scheme which has so far involved some 42 Italian ACIMIT companies. It has been calculated that through process tweaks and technical improvements, they are producing improved machines achieving combined savings of 220 tonnes of C02 equivalent annually. This can be compared to taking 38,000 cars, each driving 35,000 km per year, completely off the roads.
And it is in the finishing machinery sector, Pozzo stressed, where gains can be most significant. The finishing machinery companies involved in the project achieved an average of 27% savings in water usage and 24% savings in energy consumption with their machines in 2014.
“If all of the machinery companies within ACIMIT could be persuaded to adopt these changes across their portfolios, there is the potential to achieve more than 500,000 kilotons of CO2 equivalent annually,” he said. “It’s something of a challenge, but the companies involved are very committed.”
A €50,000 hole
ACIMIT is also involved in the Energy Made-to-Measure Programme being run by Euratex – the organisation representing some 172,000 European textile and clothing manufacturers, with a combined turnover of €161 billion and employing 1.6 million people.
In many smaller companies, there is a lack of awareness of just how much energy can be drained from machinery through basic faults.
“In fact, it’s been calculated that a 10mm hole anywhere along a manufacturing line where energy can escape, can cost as much as €51,600 annually,” said Mauro Scala of Euratex.
He added that since last July, a European directive has been introduced aimed at achieving what’s called “the 40-27-27” – 40% less CO2 emissions, 27% more energy generated by renewable resources along with a 27% increase in energy efficiency by 2030.
The Energy Made-to-Measure Programme centres on a self-assessment tool which operates as an efficiency check and provides a comparison of the measures needed to improve installed equipment, with 75% of the costs for the exercise met by the EU.
The textile machinery branch of Germany’s VDMA is also backing the Energy Made-to-Measure Programme and among other interesting initiatives, new assistance systems for plant operators are being introduced by its member company Brückner.
The company is presenting its new Ecoline stenter at stand A101 in Hall 10, characterised by an air-through zone in the first half-zone and an integrated heat-recovery unit, to effect both thermal energy savings and increase production.
The dryer is provided with the company’s proven alternating and split-flow air circulating system, ensuring an optimum temperature distribution. All established heating systems are available – gas direct, gas indirect, thermal oil, steam – and almost any kind of woven and knitted fabric can be treated.
The family-owned company expects its additional assistance systems, however, to unlock energy savings and free up 30% of the reserve capacity in German-made manufacturing lines, and in some cases, retrofits are also possible.
“The themes we are emphasising at ITMA are the reduction of resource consumption and machine productivity,” explains Technical Director Axel Pieper. “One very new item in this field is the energy management software package with an integrated assistance system for machine operators.
With this new Brückner package, he adds:
- All energy consumption – gas, electricity, water – can be logged and analysed per batch, per shift and per period in use.
- The material data and finishing parameters can be used to calculate optimum machine setting values, in order to minimise energy requirements and/or maximise productivity.
- Ideal profiles can be worked out and stored, and then compared with the production parameters actually run on the machine. The difference between reference and actual – in terms of waste – is logged and analysed later for each batch, shift and period in use.
- The data obtained can then serve as the basis for determining how much energy is wasted as a result of specific machine settings. This can be done either after a production run, or while it is ongoing.
“In respect of the productivity of machinery systems, there are three influencing factors, all of them more or less equally important – the efficiency of the machine, servicing and cleaning the machines, and the process expertise of the machine operators,” says Pieper. “Most manufacturers, including us, have already optimised the first two, but the human factor is still very often disregarded. If operating personnel do not have adequate understanding of the process, it’s like driving a Ferrari just in second gear. It follows that the machine operators must be given the tools that enable them to drive the machinery properly, and to maintain it.
In dry finishing with Brückner equipment, the effects could be huge. There are over 5,000 Brückner machines in service all over the world and the company believes many of them are only being run at half the capacity that is technically possible.
“This is down to maintenance and operator expertise,” Pieper says.
And then there is saving water.
“The average amount of water consumed to make a kilo of fabric is sixty litres in Europe, and in Asia it’s one hundred and sixty litres, because there are huge numbers of small organisations using obsolete equipment,” according to Josef Kleinheinz of the Swiss finishing technology specialist Benninger.
On display at its stand A106 in Hall 6 is the Tempacta washing steamer for knitwear, the Benninger-Küsters DyePad for knitwear and woven fabricsand the Trikoflex drum washing machine that is now available for large widths – up to 5.4 metres – and therefore particularly suitable for technical textile applications. The range for technical textiles is supplemented by the Hydrovac water removal system and the original Küsters finishing padder.
The Tempacta washing steamer was developed for all low tension washing processes and is mainly used for diffusion (fastness) washing and for the relaxation of knitwear. A washing drum can be integrated to make an intermediate rinsing process or additional intensification of washing possible.
With the newly-developed Benninger-Küsters DyePad dyeing padder, emphasis has been placed on optimum accessibility and short, guided fabric runs. The nip dyeing option helps minimise dye liquor consumption and enables economical dyeing of extremely short batches. Fully reproducible dyeing results are guaranteed with Küsters S-roller technology.
The redesigned Trikoflex drum washing compartment is based on patented double drum technology with a front and back washing effect guaranteeing high mechanical washing efficiency. It not only enables low, controlled fabric tension, but also crease-free fabric transport, even with sensitive fabrics. The controlled relaxation of synthetic and elastane fibres.
“We have the finishing technology to allow mills to consume just 0.7 litres of water for a kilo of fabric,” Kleinheinz concludes.