Anqing Heng Chang Machinery
Anqing Heng Chang Machinery (HCH) offers baby diaper machines, adult care machines, sanitary napkin machines and a full servo control robot case packer. HCH has been continuously focusing on the innovation of various machines to broaden the supply category and improve speed and performance.
HCH has introduced a new sanitary pro machine targeting 1800 ppm with a dual lane packaging machine capable of 140 cycles per minute. This machine is equipped with a case packer with a robot, offering complete solutions for converting machines. Additionally, HCH has a diaper machine able to make full width waistbands on 800 ppm lines. Various new functions allow this machine to make final products more skin friendly.
Cellulose Converting Solutions
Machinery supplier CCS is focused on understanding the dynamics of the hygiene market. Incontinence has been a segment that CCS has identified as a huge opportunity for the past several years. Since 2009-2010, the company has delivered 20 adult pants machines. However, because market data were also showing sufferers of light incontinence using speciality products (SP), instead of conventional menstrual products, which were not properly designed to manage urine loss, CCS introduced on its latest machine the ability to apply intermittent foam leg barriers. The machine is designed to run at 1000 ppm and with the opportunity to have two different product designs: trifolded “quick wrap” product with release pouch film and trifolded product with silicon paper and pouch film. Both configurations (quick wrap and conventional trifolding) can be manufactured on the same machine and with a very user friendly size change process. This is consistent with CCS’s target to facilitate its potential customers with a simple, rapid and accurate machine when changing format and product gender configuration.
The other market that CCS has been targeting, thanks to a collaboration with one customer, is the male incontinence market. Incontinence was a taboo subject just a few years back, and when both consumers and hygiene product manufacturers first started talking more openly about it, all was related to female incontinence. However, as taboos have lifted, more incontinent males are looking for specialty products. One of CCS’s customers has commercialized a product for male incontinence that is made on a CCS machine. “We have been informed that as of September 2018 the product will be commercialized by a big chain store operating in North America,” says customer service representative Metilde Olivieri. “Initially it will be sold via the internet site and as of March 2019 through the chain stores. We are very proud to have developed a converting technology able to manufacture a hygienic product that enables people to improve their lives.”
Meanwhile, CCS’ partnership with Alcatera has been very effective and both organizations are benefiting from the outcome. Just two years ago it would have been a dream to consider
the opportunity of reapplying aerospace technology to a hygienic product. Alcatera and CCS took into account the price affordability by the hygienic market and they feel very proud for this. The driving factor also in this case was the unmet hygiene market need. In all hygienic products, the absorbent core is the main feature to offer protection. CCS has the possibility to monitor on-line the most critical product features, via the vision system technology, although the absorbent core is the only part of the product for which today it does not have a technology able to “look-through” scanning the product. The partnership between Alcatera and CCS has allowed the delivery of a sensor able to determine on-line on each single product the SAP content and the distribution.
They are in the validation phase of the technology and expect to introduce it onto the market by the end of 2019.
However the sensor will be just an initial step as CCS, in line with the Industry 4.0 principles, wants to go further and deliver a solution that will be able to automatically correct the process parameters when an out of standard distribution will be detected by the sensor, Olivieri adds.
CCS stays very close to the market and follows the new trends thanks to its strong network with raw material manufacturers at a global level. Thanks to these partnerships it has the opportunity to assess which will be the requirement from a process standpoint to convert a new generation raw materials fulfilling an enhanced product design/new form.
At Delta, the synergies between it and its customers has allowed the company to design state-of-the-art machines to satisfy market needs. During the past few years, attention has turned toward the adult incontinence market where customers are demanding more discreet products that offer optimum fit and guaranteed functionality. For those reasons, Delta is offering efficient machines, which guarantee the production of high performance products, optimizing the consumption of raw materials. Delta has combined years of experience to work in product development to design more flexible machines that can run different types of raw materials, offering a full range of options to its customers. For example, Delta’s light incontinence line can run either a fluff product or a fluff-less product, a thinner or thicker product, without penalizing the machine performances. The switch to different product typology is possible thanks to the full servo technology adopted on all Delta lines.
The full servo technology in hygiene machinery has revolutionized the production concept, the synergistic integration of mechanics and electronic controls, within the product manufacturing. Thanks to the digital information systems, the machine downtime has been drastically reduced; with a “touch” the operator can easily adjust the raw materials quantity, select a different product typology, without interfering with the production speeds. In fact, the line maintains high stability and high efficiency. Some Delta lines achieve in production a tested efficiency of 98% with a percentage of waste below 0.90%.
Another big advantage of the full servo technology is the remote control system that enables to detect, in real time, analysis of the production cycle and troubleshooting.
“Artificial intelligence is giving a big contribution in hygiene machinery evolution.
It must also be said that behind the artificial intelligence there is always the human intuition which is fundamental to determine which data, where and when, are needed for a given purpose.
Undoubtedly, artificial intelligence has allowed Delta to build faster, more reliable and stable machines.
Curt G. Joa
Curt G. Joa, Inc. has recently added a new baby pant production machine to its portfolio, the J7I-BP, with speeds of 1000 products per minute (ppm). This new machine platform combines the technology from its industry-leading adult pant and baby diaper machines to produce a full-panel elastic baby pant product. The machine platform will use Joa’s latest technology, including the single anvil in-line (SAIL) bonder, Joa’s new ultrasonic side seam bonding process.
Joa expanded its machine portfolio to serve the growing baby pant segment. “Customers wanted the same waste minimization technologies found on all Joa platforms,” explains Rob Andrews, corporate vice president of sales. “These technology breakthroughs are rooted in the TRIZ methodology, or the theory of inventive problem solving, and they allow manufacturers to increase efficiency and reduce waste in three major categories: start-up/shutdown, material splicing and automated correction. These money-saving features are found on the new J7I-BP.”
Curt G. Joa, Inc. offers the same custom design flexibility in its maintenance programs as found in all of its production solutions. The custom support is available in a number of options—Continuous Machine Operations System, Technical Service Support Programs and Machine Health Assessments.
Generally speaking, the trend in the industry has been thinner, softer and faster. As material gsms (grams per square meter) go down, challenges in web handling go up. Fortunately, Curt G. Joa, Inc. developed solutions to meet industry needs. One of Joa’s offerings includes the new Infinity Roll technology that enables high-speed transfers of discrete materials. Traditionally, process issues arise when trying to handle discrete patches at high speeds. To combat this, Joa has developed proprietary designs that enable its equipment to handle and transfer even the smallest of material patches.
Additionally, products in the marketplace utilize more and more elastic strands in their design. Traditionally, elastic breaks have been one of the leading causes for down time on converting equipment. In the past, an operator would need to retie the broken elastic strand and rethread it back through the machine.
Joa’s new designs offer increase operator access to the elastic combining areas on the machines. Joa utilizes a slide mechanism to give the operator better access for faster start-ups. Also, Joa incorporates elastic “catches” on its equipment, which keep the broken strands from pulling out of the machine process. This eliminates longer down times due to rethreading.
Throughout the industry, Joa customers are looking to take the next steps toward self-reliant machines that can identify and predict necessary adjustments to be made to the machines.
Joa has identified a program to collect data at the cellular level, meaning each device or individual process within the machine. It then evaluates this data to identify potential issues that need to be communicated back to the operator. The machine then utilizes diagnostics to evaluate the effectiveness of the operator’s manual intervention.
In today’s marketplace, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can assist to reduce labor costs, reduce down time and lower scrap rates.
Curt G. Joa, Inc. currently offers AI in a variety of ways. Its auto roll-loaded system (ARLS) detects when a material unwind is nearly expired and will pick up a new material roll from the staging area and deliver it to the expiring unwind. The ARLS then unloads the unwind and loads the new roll onto the unwind.
This AI predicts and executes the material loading process and, with customer collaboration, it can take this to the next level to work with the company’s ERP system to trigger warehouse actions and prepare for upcoming SKU changes.
Joa also utilizes AI in its self-correcting systems to prevent machines stops, which reduces scrap rates and downtime. Joa uses AI in these systems to trigger corrections that result in one or two rejected products instead of entire shutdowns. Its programs utilize statistical analysis to determine whether the products fall within the proper tolerances. If not, through AI a correction is triggered until the product falls within the proper tolerances.
Fameccanica has recently broadened its machinery lineup by adding two open baby diaper machines and three sanitary napkin/light inco machines. Baby diaper model FA-X P12 is a premium class machine with increased production speed up to 1200 ppm. FA-X E8 is a medium class diaper machine, running at 800 ppm, with a very interesting and competitive quality/price ratio capable to manufacture the very same product of the premium machine at a much more affordable price. No product and technology compromise, only design optimization to meet market requirements. Together with the consolidated 1000 ppm machine, the machinery line up is now complete.
For the light inco market, Fameccanica offers FNL P15 L.I., which, with a production speed of 1500 ppm, is a premium class machine that can assemble products with highly complex structures. A new lineup also includes FNL E15 lady sanitary napkin machine, performing at 1500 ppm, characterized by a linear process that allows the management of multiple product features, while a new machine set up for FNL E12 has been introduced to manufacture products that can reach a length of 430 mm, to meet the specific demand of the Asian market.
Pant style diapers are getting more and more popular, and consumers are becoming very demanding on fit and comfort issues. Therefore Fameccanica has developed the Ultrasonically Bonded Lamination for the in-line manufacturing of more breathable and comfortable waistbands for adult and baby pants. Higher product softness is reached also with the new solutions for soft side seam and glueless waistband with elastic threads.
In other news, Fameccanica started its digital journey in 2014, with the development of a SW platform in collaboration with Microsoft. At that time, although the market started welcoming the IoT developments, it wasn’t ripe yet. Three years later an assessment was performed to critically re-evaluate the owned IoT platform on Cloud, ready to be connected. In 2018 IoT strategy is defined as being a Fameccanica strategic project. The role of digital manager was created and a business strategy and organization were defined as well. Focus is being put on specific applications, to create added value for the customers. This means having a very attentive eye towards the customers’ operating needs, such as engineering, manufacturing, maintenance, an agile approach to receive immediate feedbacks and open systems to create interconnections.
The hygienic market is showing curiosity for AI applied to the production of disposable absorbent hygienic items, yet it seems not to be fully aware of the potentialities. Fameccanica is moving ahead so to be prepared to meet, and if possible, drive the customers’ future demand of smart machines, aiming at improving their efficiency, maintenance and any other related manufacturing operation.
Non Stop Innovation has always been the main guideline of Fameccanica activity. Therefore there’s a continuous focus on research and development projects to develop new product features, such as the 3D topsheet for extra softness and the in line perforation on nonwoven topsheet to improve liquid absorption and distribution, applicable on backsheet as well. Attention has always been given to the making of thinner absorbent cores. The latest achievement in optimization of thin absorbent cores is the creation of core channels, that help the liquid distribution and entrapment, to prevent leakage.
Furthermore, the Multilayer SAP core (MLSC core) is one of the recent Fameccanica developments for the in-line manufacturing of one of the major recent trends of the Asian Market, giving advantages in terms of vertical integrity, softness and liquid absorption and distribution.
Fujian Peixin Machine Manufacture Industry has been in the hygiene products industry for more than 30 years. The company has focused on baby/adult diaper machinery, sanitary napkin machinery, underpad/pet mattress machinery, tissue converting machinery and more. Recently, Fujian Peixin has designed a full servo elastic waistband baby diaper production line featuring high production speeds with materials non-stop auto-splicing and ease of running while maintaining with high stability and a remote control system that can be controlled and detected at the Peixin company. The new machine can produce elastic waistband baby diapers that are tension adjustable with good elasticity.
Peixin has introduced a Full-servo Full-function Elastic Back Ear Baby Diaper Production Line. The line produces S, M, L and XL size baby diapers with elastic side panels. The production speed is 350-400 pieces per minute. With an optional auto bagging machine, the packaging speed reaches as high as 50 packs per minute. The full-servo auto-controlling system is the core for customers to upgrade their factory into an energy-efficient, automated and reliable place for baby care products output. Customers can also request camera monitoring systems to conduct on-line size checking, location inspecting, etc. Other requests can be tailor-made in order to design the best solutions for the customers.
Peixin’s Full-servo Control Underpad Production Line is designed with a speed that reaches 300 meters/min. The machine is able to make three-ply (PE film, fluff pulp, nonwoven) or five-ply (PE film, down tissue, fluff pulp, upper tissue, nonwoven) bed mattress and pet mattress with high speeds requested by manufacturers. The production line achieves a high degree of automation with built-in software systems and user-friendly interfaces that collects key data for operational improvements and smooths setup processes for technicians. Optional testing systems for size measurement and visual inspections are available.
Quanzhou Hanwei Machinery
Hanwei recently launched the HW-NK-1200 full servo zero gap sanitary napkin machine. The new machine offers a high speed, high efficiency, visualized, intelligent full service control system. Its power and control center is in a centralized management, modularity design.
It also provides a quality detection system, zero speed automatic splicing system and the complete machine is equipped with a phase control and detection system. New fluff core forming technology provides rapid adsorption and quick diffusion. Other advantages of the machine include easy transformation and upgrading while zero gap producing minimizes raw material waste.
Since 1976, Winkler + Dünnebier has been serving the hygiene industry with machines for tissue converting and feminine hygiene products. In the late 1980s, the company expanded its reach into machines for light incontinence items. In February 2018, the company acquired Bicma Hygiene Technologie, a hygiene machinery supplier since 1995. Bicma initially focused on feminine care and light incontinence machinery and expanded into baby diapers, adult diapers and underpad machines in the late 1990s.
According to the company, Bicma’s technology for baby diapers, adult diapers and underpads is the perfect complement to W+D’s portfolio of feminine care and light incontinence machinery.
“Bicma offers feminine care and light incontinence machinery, as does W+D, but in the last 15 years they have been serving a somewhat different customer base than W+D, who also specializes in envelope machines and mail processing. This is the basis for our combined broad market understanding and technical expertise,” sayd Kerstin Zander, marketing and communications. “Furthermore, our expertise in the area of baby diapers and adult diapers is generating a lot of synergies for femcare and light inco processes, as well.”
Additionally, Bicma’s dynamic, experienced team with its detailed process know-how is now combined with W+D’s worldwide service network and manufacturing competence. The merger of both companies bears new solutions and benefits for its joint customers: W+D’s customers benefit from Bicma’s specialized technology portfolio and solutions, while Bicma’s customers now have access to W+D’s advanced tool manufacturing − for instance, top-quality knives, embossing, and regrinding are available at short lead times and low costs.
A further benefit for all customers is the close cooperation of all specialists, assembly teams, mechanical designers, software developers and project managers on both sides to achieve attractive lead times and smart machine concepts. Manufacturing and assembly of newly placed orders is already done now in both factories, at W+D in Neuwied as well as at Bicma in Mayen, Germany, which are only half an hour away from each other.
Synergies are also created wherever potential customers are active in both tissue converting and personal care production. These customers now have one competent contact partner for all their production needs. Within the Bicma portfolio, an extremely smart invention was launched in 2017: The Size-to-Size (S2S) module allows for extremely quick and easy size changes on adult diaper and light incontinence machines. On adult diaper machines with modern add-on-ears, this concept reduces the size change time by approximately 75%.
“These machines will meet the need for machine flexibility, quick size change times, reliable settings, high safety standards, just-in-time production, and for smart and simple packaging concepts,” Kerstin Zander says.
Within the market, some major change trends are core channels, ultrathin cores, high SAP amounts, synchronized preprints on a lot of materials, thinner and breathable materials, fully elastic materials, add-on-ears instead of the old hourglass shape, skin-friendly products without perfume and additives, and many more. It has been keeping pace with these product trends by offering top quality equipment, meeting all relevant safety and quality standards.
W+D’s unwinders are capable of splicing extremely thin material <10 gsm at full machine speed. Preprinted materials can be synchronized and laminated inline in the machine at the highest speeds. Glues are replaced by ultrasonic bonding to cut down raw material costs. High-dynamic servo drives directly on the size tools to allow size changes by electronic curve. Vision systems are installed in its machines to allow 100% quality control at all times.
In the future, the ecological aspect of reducing consumption of plastic, wood and energy as much as possible will definitely also bring new challenges and innovations.
Zuiko is always working on new technologies to implement in new machines. A lot of development over the past few years has been focused on converting raw materials inline, which means greater convenience for machine operators and other cost benefits. The converted materials help improve certain functions of the end product which can provide additional value to the end-user, according to Curtis Woo of Zuiko’s marketing division.
Within diaper technology, Zuiko reports a lot of effort focused on improving the diaper’s absorbent core. “However, the benefits of any absorbent core is negated if the product is not comfortable to wear,” Woo says. “Zuiko technology has evolved to include processes that improve diaper components with breathability, stretch-ability and comfortability.”
In the era of big data, information about the machine’s condition and running state have also become extremely important to product manufacturers. Woo sees an increase in sensor requirements because the added information helps stabilize quality, improve production efficiencies, and lower running costs.
“Artificial intelligence plays a big part in industrial production not only to improve production efficiencies, but also for operator safety,” he adds. “Accidents can happen, for example, when operators load and feed rolls of raw materials into a machine. With the assistance of AI and robotics, the machine itself can determine when and where raw materials need replenishing. Raw materials can be loaded, fed and registered on the fly without any human interaction.”
In recent years, new developments in raw materials and absorption capabilities have driven the focus of the baby diaper market on product quality: comfort fit, convenience in changing diapers and easy-on/easy-off features are top priorities for caregivers while choosing the right product for their babies.
Recognizing this global trend, in 2018 GDM has launched the BP8 Red line: running 800 ppm in cross direction, the machine responds to the increasing request of pant-style products at a global level, driven by high growth rates in Asia.
In fact, the demand for baby pants is so great that GDM has already firmed up plans to launch a mid-speed machine that can make 600 pieces per minute, of particular interest for expanding markets like Africa and Latin America.
Considering adult incontinence, the protective underwear segment is achieving the best results, driven by a shift in consumers’ habits and needs: discretion, comfort fit and dryness are top priorities for the contemporary active lifestyle.
With this focus clear in mind, in 2019 GDM will launch the protective underwear line - revealed during the 2018 open house “Innovation Week” event, capable of making 500 units per minute.
In addition to responding to changing product styles needs, GDM has been concentrating on product design requirements. As baby diapers and other absorbent products have become thinner, machinery has needed to respond to higher superabsorbent content and lower percentages of fluff pulp, by better controlling the formation of the core while ensuring core’s performance in use.
Softness has also become an important trend, particularly in the Asian market. In this perspective, GDM designs its machines focusing on raw material control and tensioning, to allow the use of a wider range of materials, including the softest ones, for the production of snuggly products.
GDM’s offering is also responding to Industry 4.0, which has incorporated computer technology into machines to collect, analyze and distribute data: today’s customers want to know what is going on with their lines and to understand what is happening. “This is very useful for the proper planning of production for our customers,” a GDM executive explains. “Being able to gather information about the system allows us to know what is going on with the line and analyze production processes.”
Looking ahead, GDM will implement the use artificial intelligence not only for data analysis, but for predictive maintenance and machine self-adjustment when issues arise in production.