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Smarter production – the top 3 latest developments for needlepunch

ANDRITZ’s development work on needlepunch technology never stops

With the latest range of innovations, producers can expect better qualities, higher capacities and more environmentally friendly operations.

There has always been a strategy of continuous innovation at ANDRITZ Asselin-Thibeau’s Center of Competence, located in the town of Elbeuf in Normandy, France. Since its founding in the 1950s, the site has become known to nonwovens producers across the world for its pioneering work in the manufacture of carding, crosslapping and needling technology. 

The latest needlepunch innovations from ANDRITZ address the increasingly complex and demanding market for nonwovens and allow producers more flexibility to enter niche markets or, alternatively, improve production processes and optimize existing lines by installing the latest technology.

"The nonwovens industry is moving in many new directions,” says Jean-Philippe Dumon, Sales Director, ANDRITZ Nonwoven. “At ANDRITZ, we work with many producers around the world, offering our knowledge and expertise to create and optimize complete needlepunch lines or supplying individual machines to improve production on existing lines.

The latest needlepunch innovations from ANDRITZ address the increasingly complex and demanding market for nonwovens and allow producers more flexibility to enter niche markets or, alternatively, improve production processes and optimize existing lines by installing the latest technology.

"The nonwovens industry is moving in many new directions,” says Jean-Philippe Dumon, Sales Director, ANDRITZ Nonwoven. “At ANDRITZ, we work with many producers around the world, offering our knowledge and expertise to create and optimize complete needlepunch lines or supplying individual machines to improve production on existing lines.

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Jean-Philippe Dumon, ANDRITZ Sales Director Needlepunch 

© ANDRITZ

“We find that our customers are striving increasingly to distinguish themselves from their competitors, moving away from commodities and into more value-added areas. This is where our knowledge of the markets combined with our process technology can bring a lot of wins.”  

Three principal innovations have been launched recently, the PA.3000 cylinder pre-needler, the ProWin™ system, and the SDV-2+2 double-velour needleloom, where each technology addresses the complex world of nonwovens by bringing added value, greater efficiency, as well as an improved visual aspect. All three innovations can be viewed in operation at the ANDRITZ Center of Competence in Normandy, France.   

ProWin process scheme


© ANDRITZ

Close up new pre-needleloom ANDRITZ PA3000

© ANDRITZ

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The PA.3000 elliptical cylinder pre-needler 

With more than 70% extra surface-impact needling capacity than any other existing technology, the PA.3000 cylinder has been specifically designed for markets requiring products with a high-quality visual aspect in addition to the draft-free advantage during the pre-needling stage. As it operates without internal draft, it is the ideal solution for processing fiber mats thanks to new capabilities to freeze the fabric evenness.


The new elliptical cylinder pre-needler is perfect for processing lightweight products, in particular for 50-80 gsm fabrics, at high speed and with an extended width of up to 6.75 m. Depending on its width, the PA.3000 will run at up to 18 m/min, or up to 40 m/min when the stroke is unclutched, and with a needling density of eight needles to a row. This is a much higher capacity and speed than its forerunner, the PA.2000, which is limited to a production speed of 8 m/min at a width of 6.0 m.


“Cylinder pre-needlers are very popular with producers of nonwovens. In fact, some of our customers would not consider a line without them. They have many advantages and can be used in all types of applications, and what producers really like is the simple, trouble-free operation they bring. The PA.3000 is an evolution of the same principles, but faster and with a higher capacity,” says Jean-Philippe Dumon.


In addition, the PA.3000 has a sturdier beam, made from carbon fiber to accommodate the higher stroke speed and width with minimum bending tolerance.


The PA.3000 is designed to allow more needles per linear meter by reducing the distance between the needles as compared to previous ANDRITZ cylinder pre-needlers. This means that needle impacts on the fabric surface are increased by more than 70%. “Ultimately, our customers are looking for greater surface evenness in lightweight fabrics. This can only be achieved by stabilizing the fiber mat more effectively prior to the needling process proper. This innovation in surface evenness is achieved simultaneously with good throughput performance,” according to Dumon.


The loose fiber mat is compressed and fed into the needling zone without draft prior to the draft-free pre-needling process. As a result, the web layers are stitched together with optimum cohesion to preserve the evenness of the web surface, minimizing the risk of creating the clouds produced by other pre-needler designs.


Although the new cylinder pre-needler PA.3000 requires little maintenance, the equipment has been designed to offer easy access for operators and includes a pneumatic clamping system. All this combines to make the new cylinder pre-needler PA.3000 very easy to operate.


Specifications of the PA.3000


  • Working width: from 3.00 m up to 6.75 m
  • Advance speed: up to 18m/min or 40 m/min (stroke unclutched)
  • Upper needle beam (additional downstroke needle beam as an option)
  • Needle pattern: 1,280 needles per meter (per needle board)

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 Download flyer PA.3000 pre-needler

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The ProWin system

ProWin™ is the clever combination of two acclaimed ANDRITZ innovations, ProDyn and ProWid, which enable producers of nonwovens to maximize weight profiling at crosslapper delivery at the same time as increasing process speeds by up to 15%.


Guillaume Julien, Head of Needlepunch Sales, ANDRITZ Nonwoven, comments, “As is already well known, maximizing evenness across the web width is a major challenge in nonwovens production on needlepunch lines, and the ultimate goal is to have an even product at the end. This not only provides better quality, but is also important when it comes to fiber savings – more than 7% fiber savings can be achieved.


“With ProWin, we have combined our in-depth process knowledge of needlepunch lines with innovative software to synchronize actions across the line. We have devised a way to reduce fiber deposits at the edges of the web automatically and thus eliminate the “smile” effect across the web. ProWin enables producers to regulate fiber deposits autonomously across the entire width of the web.”  


The ProWin system operates together with a new gauge from ANDRITZ, which is installed just before the end of the line. Once the weight profile distribution is displayed on the gauge, ProWin self-adjusts and forms the fiber mat at the crosslapper stage, anticipating any deformation during the downstream bonding process. This closed-loop feature ensures that best-quality production is maintained without being dependent on the operator’s experience and know-how.

The new gauge measures the thickness of the fabric as well as its weight.


In most cases, ProWin generates a lower CV% value for weight variation than ProDyn and in all cases when compared with any other weight profiling system available on the market.


“ProWin is not just a piece of add-on software,” says Guillaume Julien. “It is a classic example of hardware, software and process knowledge all coming together and making a real difference to production efficiencies on a needlepunch line.”


As an additional benefit, the ProWin balanced weight-profiling correction technology contributes significantly towards reducing card and crosslapper acceleration during high-speed operation. The noticeably smoother operation achieved is expected to reduce maintenance costs over time.

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 Download flyer ProWin™

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SDV-2+2 double-velour needleloom

Specifically designed to maximize the output of hard-wearing, visually attractive fabrics – predominantly for the automotive industry – ANDRITZ has added the 2+2 to its SDV velour needleloom range.


The SDV-2+2 double-velour needleloom has been purpose-built in response to two major challenges in the automotive industry:


  1. It is agreed that the velour “loop” quality is improved when the loop is formed immediately after the pre-needling process. Hence, the ideal line set-up is to have the velouring needleloom in one line with the carding and pre-needling equipment. Then come the economic constraints of such a process. The carding unit can easily produce twice as much as a single (two-board) velouring needleloom can handle. To be cost-competitive, the double-velouring SDV-2+2 is a must, with a production speed of 10 m/min or more depending on the fabric needling density. A 4.4 m working width for the SDV-2+2 is then the ideal production set-up.
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  3. The SDV-2+2 double-velour needleloom handles velouring and also applies a mechanical consolidating layer with an additional unwound layer between the two needleloom frames. Importantly, this has been implemented to eliminate any fiber contamination between the velour layer and the underlayer.

“We have developed the double-velour needleloom specifically to address the growing trend in sustainability and circularity,” says Guillaume Julien. “We are noticing that car manufacturers are looking more and more for materials that can be reused and that materials such as latex are being phased out due to recyclability issues.”


The requirements of the automotive industry are generally the most demanding when it comes to the use of needlepunch in production and are even more so for velour fabrics. This is due to the fact the automotive sector demands both good surface evenness and consistent loops over the entire production run in order to obtain a constant, premium visual aspect.


With a working width from 2.28 m to 5.3 m, the SDV-2+2 can be used inline or offline and enables up to 2,000 strokes per minute. The random needling pattern provides greater flexibility in terms of advanced pitch with no marking. An inline process is usually preferred by producers using the lines predominantly for velour production.


The SDV-2+2 contains ANDRITZ’s angled brushes with a tighter brush-to-brush alignment that breaks the geometric harmonics of the rows. “The brush system on the SDV lines provides huge advantages for velour producers,” according to Guillaume Julien. “Being asymmetrical helps stop lining and defects in the final product. This unique system is, of course, patented; ANDRITZ owns seven patents relating to the brush itself.”


ANDRITZ brushes are designed so as to be wide and stable, with an optimized bristle density and bristle height in order to extend their operational lifetime; some ANDRITZ customers are able to use the same brushes for over 30,000 working hours.


“Also, the brushes are very easy to maintain and replace. The brushes are disengaged simply by releasing a plastic pin, then the wires are removed and the brushes to be replaced are selected. This design feature means that individual brushes can be replaced quickly and easily – often with less than five minutes’ stoppage time – leading to greatly improved productivity.”

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 Download Flyer NP applications velour


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Guillaume Julien, ANDRITZ Head of Sales Needlepunch

© ANDRITZ

"ProWin is not just another piece of software is but a great example of hardware, software and process knowledge all coming together!"

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