For textile manufacturers, quality control begins early in the process. Before fabrics ever see a needle and thread, carding machines process natural and blends of fibers—supported by accurate raw material monitoring using reliable weighing technology.
Now in the fourth generation of family ownership, Bonino Carding Machines was founded in Biella, Italy more than a century ago. With a production facility of more than 13,000 square meters, the company specializes in all phases of the carding machine production cycle, from design to production.
Carding machines can be found in a wide range of industrial sectors, where fabrics are created for applications including automotive, sound and heat insulation, garments and furnishings, feminine hygiene and sanitary products, and many others.
Bonino’s high-quality machines are varied, able to use a wide range of natural fiber types like cotton and wool as well as synthetic, hygienic and other special fibers.
Monitoring materials for a better mix
Installed on the mixing scale, strain gauge load cells weigh the materials entering the carding machine. Just like following a recipe, each fabric requires a precise blend of fibers to ensure the end product’s durability, safety, and price point.
Technicians connect the analog load cells to a SIWAREX DB digital junction box, allowing for targeted monitoring of weighing processes as well as enhanced diagnosis. The junction box is then connected to a SIWAREX WP321 weighing module.
Finally, operators integrate the weighing solution into the SIMATIC S7-1500 control system via the SIMATIC ET200SP multifunctional distributed I/O system, delivering readings directly to the control room.
Within Siemens Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) portal, Bonino can seamlessly integrate this weighing technology plus devices from multiple vendors, as well as a SINAMICS S120 drive, SINAMICS G120 modular frequency converter and a SITOP power supply.
Bonino was looking to provide its customers with complete diagnostics on the individual load cells, as previous analog weight transmitters had only offered low measurement resolution and had suffered from a high sensitivity to electromagnetic disturbances.
What they found with this new weighing solution from Siemens was both an increase in load cell sensitivity as well as greater accuracy in raw material measuring, compared to the previous system.
Quality up, maintenance down
In addition to these benefits, integrating the weighing solution into the PLC automation system and accessing advanced diagnostics through the use of the SIWAREX DB have brought further and unexpected advantages in terms of remote diagnostics—impossible to achieve with the previous standalone analog weight transmitter.
Boosting convenience, the new digital system means that operators can monitor the mix of fiber materials from anywhere in the facility, giving them the flexibility to tend to other areas of the manufacturing process.
So far, the SIWAREX WP321 and load cells have been used on three lines installed at one of Bonino’s customer’s sites—reporting results that the system is currently exceeding expectations.
“With the use of SIWAREX weighing technology, we now see greater stability in our carding machines’ measurements and higher resolution to better monitor raw materials,” said Gregorio Lava, Bonino Carding Machines Owner and R&D Manager.
“We’re pleased that commissioning time with the SIWAREX solution was reduced, and operators are noticing a decrease in maintenance time,” he added.
From less time required for system maintenance to the benefits of remote diagnostics, working with a trusted partner like Siemens ensures quality is woven into every carding machine Bonino manufactures.
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