Automatex, a member of TMAS, the Swedish textile machinery association, has recently supplied a number of its latest Industry 4.0-enabled automatic fitted sheet systems to customers in Europe.
“Everybody is looking to automate right now, and not in the huge factories of the past, but with more compact and precisely targeted operations,” said Chuck de Sousa, the company’s head of business development. “It’s happening in Europe and beginning to snowball for us in the USA too. Our system provides companies with highly streamlined, just-in-time and sustainable production close to their customers.”
The Automatex model FDC-77735-B90D-EC system enables the full production and folding of six fully-fitted sheets per minute – approaching 3,000 an average shift – overseen by a single operator and eliminating many of the repetitive cut and sew operations of the past. Elastics insertion – usually a highly complex labour-intensive task – can be on all four sides of the sheet, two, or simply within the corners, depending on customer specifications.
Fabric is fed directly from the roll, with precise edge guiding and tension control, into a length-wise hemming and elastics insertion section with adjustable tension devices, before being measured and cross cut in an accumulator. It is then transferred to the cross hemming section, again with elastics insertion.
A side drop forming unit pre-forms the sheet before it is transported by a multi-axis clamp conveyor system to the corner sewing section, consisting of left and right overlock sewing heads. Here, the corners are robotically sewn at 90 degrees and labels are also attached when specified.
Further customised systems for folding are also supplied as required.
“The system is very simple to programme and operate, with remote access for troubleshooting capability,” de Sousa said. “It can be fully customised to the individual needs of the specific customer.”
“The automation enabled by the latest Industry 4.0 developments is currently top of the agenda for TMAS member companies,” added TMAS Secretary General Therese Premler-Andersson. “Automatex is among companies leading the field in new technologies which enable significant resource savings to be achieved, while making production in high-cost countries once more profitable. Cost effective production closer to the customer also leads to more sustainable production while enabling companies to change their cost structures but also increase their capacities and flexibility while creating a cleaner working environment and fewer heavy lifts. Ultimately this is good for the plant, the production, the people and the planet.”