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Interview WTIN: A platform for manufacturing.

2. December 2017

Connecting textile manufacturers: A platform for manufacturing.

Tansy Fall of WTIN speaks to Sedo Treepoint’s marketing manager, Andreas Hannes, to find out more.

One of the first textile machinery businesses to embrace Industry 4.0 is Sedo Treepoint. Part of the Savio Group, Sedo Treepoint provides control systems for dyeing and finishing machinery and the company has seen substantial growth in recent years, thanks to both the development of its technology and its partnerships with other members of the Group.

Marketing manager for Sedo Treepoint, Andreas Hannes said: “By partnering with other members of our group, our solution can of course be enlarged to cater for the complete textile production chain, including spinning, knitting and weaving. That is a unique, complete digital solution in the industry.” In addition, textile manufacturers are able to order their new dyeing machine from any machine builder, complete with Sedo Treepoint’s
Sedomat controllers installed, giving their machine a platform for digitalisation. As well as controllers, Sedo Treepoint also offers manufacturing execution systems, and both of these technologies are enablers of the digital revolution.

Controllers and sensors

In the smart factory, systems will give the operator a clear plan for predictive maintenance and the machine will use a predictive energy plan to optimize itself, said Hannes

Speaking on the importance of these technologies, Hannes told IoTex: “Currently, a machine has no intelligence. As such, it is the automation controller and its software that makes the difference. It not only connects and controls the sensors, via the PLC [programmable logic controller] and IO’s [input/output controllers], it also controls and records every little step of the process.

“For this, our Sedomat machine controllers offer the latest control features. However, only having a controller at the machine is not being digital. The interfaces and software that connect the machine operators, production planners, colour specialists etc. to the process are very important. For this, you need a platform between the machines and the ERP [enterprise resource planning] system, the MES [manufacturing execution system].”

Sedo Treepoint systems have evolved to offer many capabilities for process control: machine planning, colour matching and management, recipe calculation, process optimisation for lab and production, printing support, energy monitoring and management. And, the company’s latest innovation comes with production simulation and ERP functionalities. Hannes added: “With this, a lot of data becomes available. The system itself, and of course its operators, can use this data to generate intelligent rules and make their process smarter than before. Depending on customer, article, colour, or batch parameter, the system can adapt the process by itself.

“Mobile devices support the users in viewing and interacting. Of course, management staff can use their mobile devices to see the reporting from production, if they like, from the anywhere else outside the factory.”

This analytics of data can also feed into improving the sustainability of the process. Hannes added: “You get your energy reports from the system and this shows where you have been good or where things went wrong. So, you can improve your processes, increase productivity and the system tells you, for example, which machine is the most energy efficient for your process. ”

Colour management

Sedo Treepoint’s colour management systems are a key part of its automation of textile production. The company’s ColorMaster software package for recipe management and colour measurement allows for cost-effective recipes to be calculated in the lab and, in the production process, can offer possible treatment options and define the correct dye program.

Hannes commented: “This is a much-underestimated area. In this area, a lot of intelligence can be input, helping a factory to achieve their ambitious goals in production, like better reproducibility, better efficiency, less consumption. From the colour sample to a production recipe, giving a recipe optimized for the customers’ requirements. Currently, the who’s who of dyestuff suppliers are also working with our systems and can deliver their calibration data together with their dyestuff.

“Customers are often surprised after installation about the possibilities they find in exploiting the system and the payoff they can achieve. Many of our customers have decreased their consumptions dramatically, after they start using the ColorMaster.”

This kind of system enables company know-how to be retained when there is a change in personnel and ensures reproducibility for each customer job. Colour quality control is crucial for many retail brands and software such as the ColorMaster enables statistical control of jobs done for later reference. Dyeing preparations can be checked before dyeing, accessing the recipe from the colour management. Hannes added: “We also have customers where the recipe should be made only in the headquarters and is distributed to their production sites, so that all production sites use the same process.”

In addition to the optimisation of its current software and control platforms, Sedo Treepoint has recently launched the new Sedomat Plus series, offering additional IoT features, and the new SedoIO input and output modules that the company said will offer enhanced, flexible interfaces. Hannes said: “Many customers in the finishing department have already included their dyeing machines in the MES system. But other continuous machines such as stenters, CPB, dryers, etc. are not part of this finishing central system. Customers want to do their central production planning and simulation, process settings and more from the production planning control room. They want to see the shift reporting for their complete finishing line on a dashboard, want to relate the energy consumption to their production. With SedoMaster and EnergyMaster, we can offer them both and give them the necessary data for calculation of carbon footprint.”

Sedo Treepoint is currently working on development of its reporting capabilities and mobile app development. Hannes said that technologies like HTML5 enhance the devolvement of easy to use apps, giving customers additional tools, and enabling preventative maintenance reports, performance reports, and new screen concepts to improve usability.

Is the textile manufacturer ready?

Machine data reporting and analysis will enable better efficiency and resource management in the production process

Whilst Sedo Treepoint, and competitor business both within the textile industry and without, are developing systems that enable proliferation of cyber-physical systems, whether the textile manufacturer is ready to adopt this technology is a point of interest. Based on the experiences of Sedo Treepoint so far, Hannes said: “All customers are different and, of course, there are different levels in the industry. We have demanding customers who cannot wait for our latest developments to be installed, demanding a complete digital installation for a new factory, but also small companies, going step by step in this direction. For all of them we need meaningful evolution path and flexible solutions.

“In the past, machines were ordered without looking at the possibilities of integration. There has been a change. Customers have understood that they should think of a plan around how they want to progress their integration in the future. If corporate management is not looking at this now , it will be difficult and costly to sort out later, and also because the potential for better productivity and resource efficiency cannot be utilised.”

Currently, Hannes added, Sedo Treepoint sees textile manufacturers investing in business intelligence for flexible and detailed reporting. Groups want to compare their different production sites, or managers want to know instantly when and where something went wrong, he said. This is the first step towards digitisation of a manufacturing process as machine data is being collected and analysed.

“Another concern is to have energy data for their machines,” Hannes said. “For new machines, a lot of data can already be registered by the Sedomat controller and exploited by the MES systems, SedoMaster and EnergyMaster, giving customers insight of their energy consumption related to their real production.

Andreas Hannes Marketing Manager
A. Hannes, Marketing Manager of Sedo Treepoint

“Customers are much more open to using software and understanding better that there is no option than to invest in automation and systems. By using mobile devices and apps for their private tasks, they also see the benefits of using such technologies in their factory.”

However, in order for these systems to be absorbed into the supply chain and used to their utmost potential, current industry business models will need to be adapted to a more digital way of working. “Until now, the physical and digital world was separate but it has begun to melt together ,” Hannes commented. “We see the first shirts coming of the production line with smart features like heartbeat recording (and alarming), GPS, training effectiveness data, and more. New inventions like shoes that tag their positions will come. Tags on clothes could possibly tell us our individual price someday and maybe also tell us how to take care of them and recycle them.

“Today’s business models can offer a lot of success, but companies should not miss the moment when it is time to follow a new path. Innovation cycles spin faster than ever before and it is required that businesses research customers’ needs regularly. Companies have to work closer together than ever.”

On the production side, business models also need to be tailored to fit the new availability of big data, use of mobile devices, increasing communication, and data sharing with customers, suppliers and partners, Hannes added. For the dyeing and finishing sector in particular, as a process driven manufacturing industry, Hannes said that not having serial manufacturing will mean that the introduction of Industry 4.0 technology will be different to other areas of the textile industry.

Education of employees is another important area, from Sedo Treepoint’s perspective, as well as data protection and privacy needing more attention than ever before.

The smart factory

Looking ahead at what a smart factory of the future might look like, Hannes concluded: “The transformation process will continue for many years, and it will be difficult to predict what will remain, providing additional value, and what technology is just hype that will disappear very fast.

“All of this development is only reasonable when it creates an additional value: higher quality, higher productivity, less resource consumption, additional benefits for customers. Valuable data that is already available in the spinning, weaving, knitting sectors can of course be used in the finishing department for data analytics and process optimisation. So, I can imagine that there will be a data flow along the production chain. There will not be one control system for all but different modules everywhere that will communicate together.

“In dyeing, manual weighing will be replaced by fully automatic dispensing. The systems will give the operator a clear plan for predictive maintenance and the machine will use a predictive energy plan to optimise itself. Sensors will have their own smart intelligence built in, and RFID chips on each batch will clearly relay the production route over the machines.

By comparing the data from the past, deviations and alarms can be cleared by the systems itself, eliminating unplanned machine downtimes.”

For more information please contact:

Sedo Treepoint GmbH
Mr Andreas Hannes
Marketing Manager
Neuwies 1
35794 Mengerskirchen
Tel. +49 6476 31 0
Fax. +49 6476 31 77 32