Overview of nonwovens in the automotive industry
Did you know that at least 40 different parts (for different purposes) in every automotive vehicle are based on nonwoven fabrics, such as thermal or phonic insulation? And did you know that nonwovens can be up to 30% lighter than the traditional materials they replace and that they can therefore ensure cars are lighter?
Among its many customers, Serel is delighted to have ConForm Gissing International, and more specifically its manufacturing facilities in Auburn, ME (USA). ConForm Automotive supplies premium quality sheets, roll goods, and custom thermoformed products to OEMs and converters primarily from the automotive industry. It is also the only auto supply company that is vertically integrated from fiber to fabric to finished part.
ConForm’s first experience with Serel took place 20 years ago when a Servolap fiber feeding controller was installed at the entry point of the existing carding loom. This resulted in a considerable improvement in the quality of felts. Thanks to the density measurement of the material that feeds the card, and which is measured by the receiver, Serel can modulate the speed of the motors at the entry to the card and consequently increase the consistency of the product while reducing fiber consumption.
However, ConForm not only wanted to even further increase its production performances and its profitability, it also wanted to improve the quality of its final product.
As the customer decided to update its lines with a new SLDC GC, Serel proposed closing the loop and adding an STRC (Serel Travelling Regularity Control) at the end of the production line. In other words, the automatic operation of the STRC is coupled to the regulation of density at the entry to the card (SLDC). The STRC enables the automatic regulation of the quantity of material that enters the card in order to achieve the target weight at the end of the line.
How does STRC work?
The STRC measurement is carried out on a vertical basis across the cloth by an X-ray transceiver on a carriage that continuously moves from one end of the cloth to the other. The measured values are then collected and trends are displayed on the control panel PC in real time. From there, they are saved for statistical analysis and quality control purposes. Moreover, the system is capable of generating a series of visual and/or audible alarms that are based on customer criteria and can even automatically stop the line whenever it is considered necessary.
Measurements performed at ConForm Gissing International have shown a weight precision, roll-to-roll, of approximately 1%. On top of this considerable improvement, machine downtime has been reduced as Serel’s fiber regulation system does not require any maintenance. Overall, both the efficiency and the profitability of ConForm have increased, resulting in an estimated payback period of less than 24 months.
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