In the manufacturing segment, data collection and analysis has also emerged as an important trend during the past couple of years and equipment suppliers have begun offering their customers the opportunity to collect and catalog information. Known as Industry 4.0, the increased use of data collection and automation in manufacturing settings is designed to help companies make better products, reduce costs, increase energy savings and more.
Machinery suppliers throughout the nonwovens industry supply chain have been increasing their focus on Industry 4.0 in recent years. Some companies have created special divisions dedicated while others are partnering with other companies on new initiatives. It seems everyone doing business in machinery has stepped up efforts in this area and, while the approaches maybe be different, they all have the same goal to help customers save time and money in developing the most quality product available.
On page 40, associate editor Tara Olivo discusses Industry 4.0 with some of the top machinery suppliers to the nonwovens and hygiene markets. Not only do these efforts help create a better product, they also take the guesswork out of manufacturing. When something works well once, it is easy to go back in time to see what factors led to this success—and then repeat them.
As one machinery manufacturer says, “This means that the quality will be constant and repetitive and will no longer depend on the human factor or external conditions and the analysis of the data will have the objective of productive efficiency in terms of throughput, quantity of waste, energy consumption, etc.”
While Industry 4.0 may be a recent development, machinery innovation is nothing new in nonwovens. Manufacturers are constantly updating their offerings to cater to the needs of a diverse and ever-changing customer base. Also in this issue, we present our annual machinery and equipment review on page 46. Check out what some of the industry’s largest equipment suppliers have to offer.
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