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The power of air in textile manufacturing

The textile industry is booming, particularly in the Asian Region which accounts for 46% share of the global manufacturing market. The strong presence of fabrics, apparel manufacturing and home furnishing facilities available in the region are contributing to this growth.

Nalin Amunugama, General Manager, BOGE Kompressoren Asia Pacific
Figure 1: Nalin Amunugama, General Manager, BOGE Kompressoren Asia Pacific.

Woven fabrics have also intersected into its sub-sector, namely, the technical textile industry which is rapidly developing at the highest CAGR, and projected to reach USD 842.6 billion in value by 2020.

Along with the growing market trends, the textile industry faces many challenges in its quest to meet consumer demand for greener production, evolving digital connectivity and automation. Traditional production processes are gradually being phased out in favor of new and innovative technologies. Manufacturers are investing more in R&D as they seek new technology solutions to lower operational costs, maximize uptake and productivity, and reduce contamination and waste.

Innovations such as artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and IoT have morphed into push factors for major players in the textile industry towards automated control through the various processes of manufacturing.

Like many other plants, air quality is a major concern for the textile industry due to the presence of moisture, dust particles, oil and solid contaminants that can adversely affect air quality.

Compressed air, often referred to as the fourth utility, after electricity, water and gas is an essential element for businesses around the world. For the clothing industry and manufacture of technical fabrics, compressed air is used as an energy source in the production processes.

Most apparel manufacturers prefer oil-free screw or turbo technology due to its high productivity for the operation of air jet looms.

The S-3 and S-4 series of screw compressors developed by BOGE Kompressoren, a leading compressed air specialist, is the ultimate solution to cost-effective operations in the textile industry. Its oil-lubricated compressed air reduces friction and prevents corrosion, and wearing of actuators in machinery used for weaving and knitting, thereby increasing their lifespan.

Nalin Amunugama, General Manager, BOGE Kompressoren Asia Pacific

For spinning, the preference is for low-cost oil-injected screw compressors with downstream filtration to get technically oil-free air with only 0.001mg/m3 residual oil similar to that of the oil-free compressed air generation.

The S-3 and S-4 series of screw compressors developed by BOGE Kompressoren, a leading compressed air specialist, are the ultimate solution to cost-effective operations in the textile industry. Its oil-lubricated compressed air reduces friction and prevents corrosion, and wearing of actuators in machinery used for weaving and knitting, thereby increasing their lifespan.

Integrated compressed air treatment systems can also be equipped with advanced abilities to remove oil, water and dust particles completely for clean-air production where necessary.

The integrated Focus 2.0 compressor controllers are set-up to save energy by switching the compressor as required to produce compressed air. And its BLS system can integrate up to 4 compressors in a system to master control and run the needed compressors to meet the air demand of the factory.

“BOGE’s oil-free air compressors have several advantages: it is clean and non-toxic and can transfer large amounts of energy at the same time. The high energy density ensures a lower weight for the pneumatic machinery, while increasing power and speed,” says Nalin Amunugama, General Manager of BOGE Kompressoren Asia Pacific.

BOGE air compressor
Figure 2: BOGE’s air compressors are used for Auto Corners, pneumatic actuators in yarn and fabric production, spinning and weaving.

With oil-free screw compressors, oil cannot penetrate through the compression process, and this means oil-free air from the start.  Oil-free air also means less expensive downstream air treatment.

More importantly, these compressors are engineered for the safe and reliable generation of large quantities of oil-free air and energy efficiency, in baseload or intermittent mode.

BOGE’s compressed air systems are not only used for Auto Corners, pneumatic actuators in yarn and fabric production, spinning and weaving but also as control air for textile machines and tools. Master controllers like the Airtelligence Plus and Airtelligence Provis 2.0 are an added advantage. The Airtelligence Plus can control up to 6 compressors of the same or different output in a combined system while the Airtelligence Provis 2.0 allows for the operation of up to 16 compressors and 24 accessories.

As fashion and textile interweave into the future, labor-intensive manufacturing will continue to undergo major transitions towards the automated production of textiles. By the year 2025, 1.2 million industrial robots will be employed.

The growing popularity of automation and smart technologies in the textile manufacturing sector is only at the beginning of its prime – networked and integrated procedures, represent the progressive way of making textile processing quicker, more flexible and sustainable,” Amunugama says.

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