Recent years have seen the European textile
manufacturing industry losing out to less developed countries with
lower labour costs. European textiles have only remained competitive
on the basis of their high quality, but production methods have
not always kept up with quality demands. Imperfections caused by
process failures mean products must be sold as second quality goods
or even thrown away.
This project was aimed at developing an expert
system for monitoring and controlling loom operation, specifically
to help avoid set marks in woven textiles. Set marks are caused
when a yarn break stops the loom automatically. The break must be
repaired and then the loom is restarted. This can leave a visible
defect across the entire width of the material. Set marks can be
avoided by the careful setting of loom parameters before restarting.
Previous to this study, this had to be done manually by highly skilled
workers. The new software analyses the particular operating situation
and determines the restart parameters automatically.
This is the first on-line system to be
developed for avoiding the appearance of set marks in textile products.
The prime partner, the Belgian company, Picanol, is now using the
system and has seen significant increases in production quality