2.11 The next-generation efficient and sustainable weaving machine: research for an innovative machine architecture by advanced mechanics and mechatronics integrated solutions

Lorenzo Minelli
Gennaio 2023
Dicembre 2024

Politecnico di Milano

2.11 The next-generation efficient and sustainable weaving machine: research for an innovative machine architecture by advanced mechanics and mechatronics integrated solutions

The evolution of the weaving machines, together with a progressive increase in terms of productivity and efficiency, is seeing an ever more intensive use of mechatronic technologies and complex kinematic systems for the synchronous actuation of the main functions of the machine, as an alternative to purely mechanical solutions typical of the current state of the art.
For the conventional weaving machine development, the complexity of the mechanical kinematic chains is generally the main cause of mechanical overloads in the parts, both consumables and life-time components, basically addressed by their oversizing and by the development of unwanted trade-off solutions, frequently used far away from the optimal working conditions with reduced efficiency and therefore with a larger environmental footprint.
The high levels of internal dynamic loads generated by the mechanism are transferred onto the base structure, and consequently to the flooring, manifesting themselves in the form of acoustic noise and mechanical vibration, even strongly compromising the operator comfort.
The kinematic systems, the elements of the structure and the interface between the floor and the structure itself, have a strong impact on the mechanical vibration levels with negative and unwanted effects in terms of:

  • dimensioning of the mechanical and electromechanical components;
  • lifetime of the consumable components and early failure of kinematic parts;
  • efficiency of the machine;
  • quality of the final product;
  • energy consumption.
    As already applied to other types of industrial machines, with a different design approach based on the implementation of innovative mechatronic solutions instead of the conventional kinematic systems, for example by using high performance electrical direct driving, a simplified machine architecture for a new generation of dynamic optimized weaving machines can be developed.
    By this way the reduction of mechanical stresses on the internal components allows to redefine the sizing development criteria, overcoming the actual performance limits of the machine and saving energy under the same working condition of a conventional weaving machine.

The high-dynamic response of a mechatronic systems in working conditions is also more performant than the mechanical ones, allowing to optimize the geometry of the main structure and to develop innovative solutions to avoid or reduce the negative effect of the mechanical vibrations and overloads.
The redesign of the machine’s kinematic by applying innovative mechatronic solutions integrated in an optimized machine’s architecture would allow to lengthen the lifetime of the internal mechanical components with a direct impact on the life-cycle cost of the machine in terms of reduction of:

  • early mechanical failures;
  • maintenance costs;
  • use of consumable parts;
  • service costs.
    and at the end on the environmental footprint of the machine operation by:
  • reducing the energy consumption;
  • reducing the production waste;
  • increasing the production capacity;
  • increasing the comfort for the operators.
    The reduction of textile production waste has a strong direct impact on the sustainability of the entire production chain, from the processes of obtaining and treating the raw materials to the management and disposal of the waste itself. Only considering the cotton textiles, the average yarn waste of a single weaving machine is yearly around 1.5 tons with a water footprint of roughly 15 billion liters of water.
The target of the project is to optimize the dynamic behavior of a weaving machine, by developing an innovative design approach and solutions to be applied to the machine’s systems, with the benefit to improve its performance in terms of energetic efficiency, reduced environmental footprint and operating costs.
Four main streams of work can be identified:
  1. To develop strongly correlated dynamic and vibrational virtual models of existing machine’s frame and kinematic systems as a support for the predictive analysis and design of a new generation of dynamic optimized machines.
  2. To define innovative design criteria for the development of new mechatronics solutions for the main machine’s systems.
  3. To develop solutions for improving by one side the working condition of the machine’s mechanics and on the other side the comfort of the operators in the weaving room.
  4. To verify the solutions identified through the realization of mechatronic demonstrators.