Multi-needle quilting machine comprehensively automated

Dahmen opts for Baumüller as its automation partner for the new CHAINTRONIC 4 multi-needle quilting machine.

Automation providers are increasingly becoming development partners for small and medium-sized engineering companies. In today's competitive environment, industry know-how, software provision and application performance now count much more than the pure sale of components. As a system partner, Baumüller equips machines with complete automation systems, enabling the machine constructor to concentrate fully on his processes. This is why Dahmen Textilmaschinen GmbH has automated its new CHAINTRONIC 4 multi-needle quilting machine with a Baumüller system.

Two factors have the highest priority in machine construction: the productivity of the machines and their future-viability. The textile machine manufacturer from North-Rhine Westphalia thereby kept a keen eye on these two criteria in Dahmen Chaintronic VielnadelstichmaschineCHAINTRONIC 4 multi-needle quilting machine from Dahmen Textilmaschinen GmbHthe development of the new CHAINTRONIC 4. The new machine, which, among other tasks, will be used for the production of mattress covers, bedding, garments, insulation materials and technical textiles, should be fast, should offer a high sewing reliability and efficiency, and guarantee a high future-viability.

Everything from a single source

In order to implement the project while meeting these criteria, the machine construction company looked for a partner who could realize the complete automation of the machine. Thanks to a new drive concept and innovative analysis tools, the CHAINTRONIC 4 should make reliable sewing possible at a high sewing speed, thereby ensuring maximum productivity. To make the machine future-viable, great value was placed on the application of internationally applicable standards and the high quality of the components.

In Baumüller, Dahmen found the partner it sought for the realization of the machine. The Nuremberg-based company offers complete system solutions from a single source, from the application software, through the control technology, up to and including the drive components. With a broad portfolio of control technology, power electronics and motors, as well as extensive experience in the textile industry, the Nuremberg company met all requirements of the textile machine manufacturer. Dahmen could thereby concentrate fully on the processes, while Baumüller took over the complete automation together with the software programming. As an internationally-aligned, medium-sized company with a company history of more than eighty years, Baumüller also has a worldwide network of reliable service and sales offices on which the operators of the Dahmen machines can count, both now and in the future. 

With Baumüller, we found a partner on a par with ourselves, who took care of the complete automation of the machine enabling us to concentrate on our core expertise and make good progress.

Dr. Eric Ringhut

vielnadel steppstich 03Transverse drive spindleFree choice of pattern thanks to CNC functionality

In order to meet the first criterion - a high machine speed with varying materials and very different quilt patterns with the improved productivity that results - the CHAINTRONIC 4 was not realized with a clocked feed, as has been usual up to now. Instead, the developer decided to use a continuous machine concept, and was thereby able to draw on the extensive Baumüller software library . In the Engineering Framework ProMaster of the automation system, numerous software modules are available that have already been pre-programmed and validated, and that can map all standard movements of many engineering industries. As a result, development costs and the time-to-market can be considerably reduced. IEC 61131 programming languages are hereby used to ensure maximum future-security. The basis for the free programming of quilting patterns in the CHAIN TRONIC 4 is the CNC technology, which is also available from Baumüller in the form of pre-programmed modules. Baumüller has united PLC and CNC functionality in the Coordinated Motion library, and has thereby made freely programmable movements possible that are optimized for time and jerks without additional hardware. The functions are fully integrated into the standard PLC, so that a separate PLC controller is unnecessary, and costs can be saved. The programming here is based on DIN 66025, which is known from the CNC world. For the CHAINTRONIC 4, this means that, within a radius of 360 degrees, free patterns can be quilted that the operator creates in the Pattern Editor that has been specially programmed by Baumüller, or can import in known design formats. The corresponding files can be of any size, whereby even complex quilting patterns can be realized without any problem. Baumüller realizes the visualization on the remote panel via the ProViz web-based visualization software. Markus Jaksch, Application Manager at Baumüller, explains: "ProViz generates http pages, and is thereby independent of specific software versions. This makes the software future-secure."

Analysis and report for improved productivityvielnadel steppstich 04b maXX 5000 with optional safety modules

In order to ensure optimum machine availability, and thereby reliable service, Dahmen also placed particular emphasis on the value of remote maintenance, so that, for example, diagnostics could also be carried out by the machine manufacturer himself, and, as an option, maintenance planning could be planned in advance with Condition Monitoring. A shift calendar that can be extended at any time, as well as an analysis and report tool, were also specially programmed. "With this tool, we receive detailed information about productive and non-productive periods and the reasons for production stops. This helps enormously in increasing the productivity of the machine", say Dr. Ringhut, Managing Director of Dahmen Textilmaschinen GmbH.

For other motion control functionalities, Baumüller engineers can make use of modules that comply with the international standards of the PLCopen. These open standards will achieve a harmonization in the field of control programming, which will reduce costs while making future-viability possible. The programming in PLCopen, as well as all other programs that are specially realized for the machine by Baumüller, is also carried out in standard software languages according to IEC 61131. The complete software library of the manufacturer complies with these standards. 

On the hardware side, the control of the CHAINTRONIC 4 is carried out by a b maXX-Panel-PCC controller. This powerful controller with a 15" touch display makes possible the risk-free realization of complex tasks, is real-time optimized, and has a multi-tasking capability, with fast, synchronous Field bus cycle times and minimal temporal tolerances. The operator can generate the quilting pattern directly on the panel or on an external PC. In addition, both the PLC and the power electronics are designed with safety in mind, and meet the standards of the Machinery Directive up to SIL3 and PLe. In the b maXX 5000 frequency converters, which can be mounted side by side, the safety functions that are required in each case can be integrated using various optional safety modules. In this way, a problem-free extension of safety functions such as safe speed, safe absolute torque, etc., is also possible. The CHAINTRONIC 4 is driven by five Baumüller drives. The very compact servo-motors of the DSC series were selected here, which have a particularly high torque, and also stand out through good running characteristics and a high overload capacity. Thanks to these servo-motors, the machine can be electrically driven to any position, and handwheel movements are completely eliminated in the hook setting.

Fast, user-friendly. secure

With the continuous feed, the CHAIN TRONIC 4 achieves up to 1400 stitches a minute. In order to avoid skipped stitches through the continuous feed, the machine also has an automatic sliding hook, which guarantees high seam quality and sewing performance. Thanks to this technique, needle wear is reduced, and quilting can also be carried out with very thin needles up to a 110 thickness. A decisive factor for sewing performance is also the pressing of the material by the presser plate, which can be adjusted in the new Dahmen machines while running, and can thereby be adapted to the different material characteristics. In terms of pattern diversity, all possible wishes can be met with the CHAIN TRONIC 4 using the CNC software modules from Baumüller, and intricate quilting patterns with a width of up to 330 cm can thereby be easily realized. User friendliness was the priority for the menu guidance system, which was realized via Windows and is available in several languages. In addition, the machine is also fitted with thread monitors, 3 needle rulers and remote diagnostics, as well as on-line service.

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