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Managing Dyehouse Towards Zero: Cost saving through innovation in Heat-setting

Innovation in business is inevitable in a customer-driven industry. With each passing day, the business needs to be better than yesterday to survive and in turn, generate and grow profit margins. APS Group is one of the familiar names in the Bangladesh textile industry and is widely regarded especially for their innovation and benchmark-setting initiatives, such as ‘Managing Dyehouse Towards Zero (MDTZ)’.

APS-Group-Lycra-single-jersey-fabric-Heat-setting-machine
Figure 1: Lycra single jersey fabric Heat-setting at 23m/min which was previously 19m/min.

Recently, APS Group has brought a huge cost and space-saving innovative development in stenter machine. They have incorporated a pre-heat unit in the stenter machine, which has increased production capacity by around 25%. An insightful description of the development has been provided below:

Table 1: Pre-heat unit specifications
Maximum working width 2600 mm
Machine dimension 4500 mm (L) x 1070 mm (W) x 2180 mm (H)
Consumables Electricity, steam
Total connected electric load 8.55 kW
Estimated steam consumption 150 kg/hr.
Maximum allowable speed 50 m/min

The stenter machine is from a well-known brand, installed by APS group. The company Chairman Hasib Uddin mainly took the initiative. In an effort in describing the initiative, Hasib Uddin said, “We have energy and space scarcity in our factories, and every dyehouse has a minimum of 1 or 2 stenter machines. Factories can’t install new stenter due to space shortage, also it’s an expensive investment. This development will help the dyehouses to be more productive and energy-efficient and that was our primary motivation of this development”.

APS-Group-Hasib-Uddin
Figure 2: Hasib Uddin, Chairman, APS Group sharing the story of the development.

“We have taken the basic idea from already those who have this kind of technology. But we have designed and developed this in our factory which is congenial for our industry also,” he added further.

APS Group have added an extra pre-heat unit (see Table 1) right after the feeding zone. This is hard to understand that the pre-heat unit is incorporated additionally. The whole maintenance team and dyeing team have given efforts to make it happen. Upon multiple difficulties and hurdles, the machine is finally running without any failure.

Analysis of production data for Heat-setting

Table 2

Sl. Fabric Type Before (m/min) After (m/min) Increase (m/min) Increase (%)
1 Lycra single jersey 19 23 4 21.05%
2 Lycra fleece 14 18 4 28.57%
3 Lycra viscose 16 20 4 25.00%
4 Rib 15 19 4 26.67%

So, the estimated increase in production is about 21-28%.

Previously, APS’s daily production used to be between 7.5 to 8.5 tons per day for only heat-setting. Daily production is currently 10 -11 tons per day after incorporating the preheating unit. So, overall production capacity has increased 25% on average.

From the above data (see Table 2), it can be observed that they were getting roughly 1-1.25 tons production from per chamber from the stenter machine as it has a total of 7 chambers. In order to achieve 2.5 tons additional production, they would have required an additional 2 chambers at a bare minimum.

APS-Group-pre-heating-unit
Figure 3: Md. Toufiqul Islam Khan (Maintenance & Utility GM, APS Group) describing the pre-heating unit and showing how it works to Tareq Amin (Founder & CEO, Textile Today).

Comparison of electricity consumption

The new pre-heat chamber has the following motors for various purposes.

  1. 3 Phase motor 2.2kW – 1 NOS
  2. 3 Phase motor 1.5kW – 3 NOS
  3. 3 Phase motor 1.1kW – 1 NOS
  4. 3 Phase motor 0.75kW – 1 NOS

The unit has a total connected load of 8.55 kW.

On the other hand, the addition of two more chambers would require 2 more blowers (15 kW each) and a larger motor for driving the chain, thus resulting in an approximately 5.28 kW increase in electricity consumption for the chain. Therefore, an increase of total 35.28 kW electricity would have been required. This means, 26.73 kW of electricity has been able to be saved!

Comparison of thermal energy

This unit consumes about 150 kg steam per hour which is equivalent to 1,00,000 kcal/hr. of thermal energy. On the other hand, each chamber of a stenter machine consumes 1,50,000-2,00,000 kcal per hour. Thus, they would require 3,00,000-4,00,000 kcal thermal energy for two additional chambers. Here, saving is 200,000-300,000 kcal/hr. of thermal energy.

Comparison of dimension/space requirement

Most of the dye houses are in space crisis. But you must increase your production capacity to cope up the incremental business requirements. Two extra chambers would take a minimum 6 meters space while the preheating unit takes only about 1 meter.

Comparison summary

Table 3

Sl. Particulars With preheating unit With 2 extra chambers Savings
1. Electric energy consumption 8.55kW 35.28 kW 26.73 kW
2. Thermal energy consumption 1,00,000 kcal/hr. 3,00,000-4,00,000 kcal/hr. 200,000-300,000 kcal/hr.
3. Total investment $40,000 $70,000 $30,000
4. Space requirement 1 meter 6 meters 5 meters
5. Increase in production 2.5 tons 2.5 tons

The comparison summary (see Table 3) is clearly showing that how profitable this new innovative development is!

Challenges APS experienced

Although the journey has not been easy and smooth, starting from the end of 2020, APS Dying unit has been using the technology regularly. They had to face machine parts scarcity in the local market and adjustment of the new chamber with the machine’s built-in chamber was the main challenge for APS mechanical team.

“Bangladesh has no infrastructure for industrial machinery manufacturing. In fact, we have no such backward linkage and raw materials. That’s why we used some alternative materials and collected some motor and gearbox from some other junk machinery. Challenges made us more innovative!” added Mr. Hasib Uddin.

The device has an extra controlling panel. If the machine manufacturing company allows, APS team can integrate the device controlling to the machine’s master control panel.

How quality and heating uniformity ensured?

For single and double jersey fabrics, APS didn’t find any quality issues and in order to ensure heating uniformity, all drums are equipped with PT sensors. These sensors can maintain steam flow to control the temperature.

APS-Group-fabric-quality
Figure 4: Rashedul Islam Babu (ED, Knitting & Dyeing, APS Group) showing how is the fabric quality to Tareq Amin (Founder & CEO, Textile Today).

Unique advantages of the device

Generally, the widely available ‘continuous pre-heat machines’ can’t do heat settings and ‘discontinuous-machines’ can do only heat settings. But the device APS developed, which is ‘continuous-machine’, can do both fabric drying and heat setting, up to 50m per minute. Also, heat loss is negligible as heat is transferred from body to body. Another unique point is that the device doesn’t need any additional space.

Capacity of APS Group

Among the dyehouses in Bangladesh, there are around 2000 stenters. If the companies want, right now APS can prepare three devices monthly with their existing team and capacity. However, progressively, it is possible to prepare 8-10 devices per month by setting up a small workshop.

If the entrepreneurs give opportunities to those who are trying to bring innovative development in machinery and in the production of small industrial machines, this machine manufacturing heavy industry will surely flourish in a very short period. Additionally, fixed costs of the projects will come down, which in turn will reduce overall business risk as well, thus increasing value.

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If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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