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The Rupp Report: 50 Years Of Continuous Automation

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

Most companies these days that can celebrate an important anniversary were founded some 100 years ago or even longer ago. It is quite rare these days that a company can celebrate half a century with the founder of the company. However, some weeks ago near Monza, Italy, a silent giant in automated handling cheered its 50th birthday: Salmoiraghi S.p.A. in the presence of its president and founder Sandro Salmoiraghi.

Improving Man-made Fibers
The constant rise of the enterprise goes in line with the triumphal procession of man-made fibers (MMF), starting in the 1960s. Today, more than 150 Salmoiraghi automation systems around the world handle more than 1,500,000 man-made yarn bobbins daily. On a recent tour in Italy, that was reason enough for the Rupp Report to have a closer look at this company, which produces automated handling and transport systems for the man-made fiber industry.

Textile Background
Founders Angelo and Sandro Salmoiraghi already had textile blood in their genes. Their father and uncle were managers of important cotton mills in Northern Italy. So when they started their own business, they already had a lot of experience in design and business. The first years saw a specialization of producing auxiliary equipment for the then-emerging markets of the MMF industry. The company started a close collaboration with some important MMF producers of that period to produce the quench cabinet lines for the spinning of polyamide partially oriented yarn (POY), bulk continuous filament (BCF) for carpet and tire cord yarn.

An Idea For A Straight Success
A boost for the company was the development of larger bobbin sizes for POY yarn; in the beginning, the manufacturers encountered a lot of product-handling problems. Thanks to a brilliant idea, the company was able to produce a system for loading and unloading creel carts on draw twisters. This product and system became an immediate success and was adopted by all major machinery manufacturers and fiber manufacturers.

Sales soared, and from 1966 to 1972, the company produced and sold more than 500 systems and 12,000 creel carts. Sandro Salmoiraghi was very proud to mention that many of these systems are still in operation.

The First Computerized Systems ...
Subsequently, the requirements of the MMF industry increased, and Salmoiraghi developed the first automated handling systems for continuous filament production and prodouced solutions for automatic doffing and bobbins. In 1974, the SNIA Viscosa Villacidro system was implemented. Its integrated process included doffing, inspection and sorting, automated packing, and box transport to the warehouse — all run and monitored by one of the first computerized management systems applied to handling processes.

The boom of POY and the decline of draw twisting forced the industry to develop new ideas regarding the doffing of larger bobbins from the winders. Consequently, the company developed a new doffer in 1976. For this development, as always, Salmoiraghi worked together with the most important MMF production machinery builders of those days — such as Rieter, Barmag, Teijin and Cognesint.

... And The First Overhead Transport System
Today, overhead transport systems are common sense in every competitive production plant. However, it was Salmoiraghi that developed this, including electrically powered travelers holding the new, much larger bobbins. At ITMA 1983 in Milan, the company presented its industrial doffer, which is still today one, if not the, market leader — of course, after many improvements and modifications.

The same year, the first integrated handling system with all developed features was installed in Germany. Still today, this is the basic handling concept, and it represents the core business of Salmoiraghi Handling. In the meantime, the company became the market leader in Taiwan with over 50 systems installed in the most prestigious companies, such as Nan Ya Plastics, Hualon, Shinkong and many others. Eventually, the system became a standard in other countries, such as South Korea, the United States, Canada and Saudi Arabia. Since 1990, Salmoiraghi has developed a very close relationship with the current global leader in polyester production, India-based Reliance Industries.

As with the constant MMF improvements, including fully drawn yarn (FDY) or POY, a MMF production with doffer is an absolute necessity — and not only for quality, but also for labor savings and the ability to trace the yarns along their entire production chain up to the end-user.

Secured Future
Salmoiraghi is enjoying its 50th birthday in good shape and anticipates a prosperous future. And President Sandro Salmoiraghi, who recently retired from the president's seat of ACIMIT, the Association of Italian Textile Machinery Manufacturers, can relax a bit more these days: The next generation is ready to take over the helm of the enterprise: his children Antonella and Giorgio together with their nephew Franco are carrying on the family-owned business, ensuring prosperity, growth and continuity.

A Company Made Of People And Machines
And, as Salmoiraghi mentioned modestly but proudly to the Rupp Report, "These successes were achieved through diligent work, continuous technical innovation and utmost attention to clients' requirements, allowing the company to consolidate its market position in highly competitive conditions, and during difficult economic trends." The slogan "a company made of people and machines" seems to fit perfectly well in today's world of higher requirements and demands for the function of sophisticated man-made fibers. And there will be more interesting news to come about this company in future issues of Textile World , Textiles Panamericanos and Textile World Asia .

November 5, 2013

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