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With its Oerlikon Barmag and Oerlikon Neumag brands, Oerlikon Manmade Fibers Segment is the world market leader for manmade fiber filament spinning systems, texturing machines, BCF systems, staple fiber systems, solutions for the production of nonwovens and – as a service provider – offers engineering solutions for the entire textile value added chain.

Our company

As a future oriented company, the research and development at this division of the Oerlikon Group is driven by energy-efficiency and sustainable technologies (e-save). In addition to that, we support the VDMA's Blue Competence Initiative and are member there as well. With the continuous polycondensation and extrusion line systems and their key components, the company caters to the entire process with automated and digitally networked Industry 4.0 solutions – from the monomer all the way through to the textured yarn.

  • En-route to becoming a digital trendsetter

    Talking to Georg Stausberg, CEO, and Jochen Adler, CTO

    How does a manmade fiber systems world market leader with currently more than 3,000 employees successfully undergo digital transformation? This first and foremost requires an economically solid foundation and numerous digital change modules such as organizational adaptability, agility and the qualifying of employees. Georg Stausberg, CEO, and Jochen Adler, CTO describe the exciting path the Oerlikon Manmade Fibers segment is embarking on to create new digital products and services with superlative customer benefits.

    Mr Stausberg, do you remember taking your first steps into the new Digital Age?

    This was more of a creeping process than a conscious step. It started with me using the Internet and e-mail – first on PCs, then on mobile end-devices. Meanwhile, digital technology has invaded every aspect of our lives, be this in our homes or in our modern cars. About four years ago, the latter resulted in our company starting to consider how we could create additional customer benefits using artificial intelligence. And automobiles are today increasingly differentiating themselves from each other more by means of digital assistance systems than through classical transmission or chassis technology. We want to become the textile machine construction trendsetter for technologies of this kind.

    What have you done to successfully achieve this in collaboration with colleagues and customers?

    Even in economically difficult times, we had the courage to invest in the future. Following detailed strategy discussions within the management team, we decided to set up an international project group two years ago. In discussions with research institutes, companies from various sectors, in-house experts and numerous customers, the group developed concrete ideas and analyses on which digital products and solutions could be interesting for our customers and what customer benefits could be generated with these. The result is numerous ideas that are meanwhile being marketed or are currently be trialled as prototypes. When putting together and organizing the project team, we also tested new forms of collaboration, which have proven to be effective and are now being rolled out in other divisions of the company.

    Can you elaborate a little on these new forms of collaboration?

    The speed and dynamism of the development of digital products and solutions is breath-taking. Agility is therefore an absolute prerequisite for an organization to be successful here. Our project group has been able to organize itself and – without any clear hierarchies – only had to interact with a functional steering committee. It was important that we also had representatives from China and India, two of our most important markets, on board. To this end, we were able to include local aspects early on. Departmental boundaries also have to disappear when developing digital products. The Development, IT, Customer Services and Operations departments can only develop multifunctionally-interesting digital solutions if they work together.

    Mr Adler, you have been our CTO since 2017. What have you done to master digital transformation?

    Very much in line with our ‘We drive the markets’ maxim, we are once again ramping up the speed. This means that we have established and expanded digital pacemakers on the basis of our product and service portfolio and tried-and-tested innovation processes. This has resulted in agile organizational units, innovative work methods such as design thinking and scrum and also in the utilization of virtual reality and augmented reality at the customer.

    What can your customers now expect ‘digitally’ from Oerlikon?

    I would say the digital refinement of our machines and production systems for manufacturing yarns, fibers, nonwovens along the textile value chain. Here, our pledge is: value-added beyond our excellent hardware. We want to further optimize the efficiency of the systems and the quality of the end products with digital solutions. True to our e-save philosophy, our mission is to protect the environment and to promote the sustainability of our solutions. For this, we are deploying the know-how of our newly-integrated partner AC-Automation – which specializes in large-scale systems automation, transport, packaging and warehouse logistics and end product automated quality control. We combine this with our process competencies and digital data handling using our Plant Operation Center, or POC in short. This has created innovative Industrie 4.0-solutions for our customers – with integrated storage and communication capabilities, wireless sensors, embedded actuators and intelligent software systems. In turn, this allows us to build bridges between data and material flows and between the virtual and real worlds.

    Mr Stausberg, what aspects of this will your customers already be able to see at the ITMA Asia 2018?

    At our trade fair stand in hall H2, B24, we will be offering our visitors a digital experience that allows them to intensely discover and understand our machines, systems, components and services. Here, we will be deploying playful solutions to present the topic of artificial intelligence. We will be taking our 360-degree and augmented-reality applications as well as our virtual showroom with us, to allow visitors to experience complex systems live in 3D. The ‘digital factory’ is already in part becoming a reality in conjunction with our machine exhibits.

  • The challenge of digitalization

    Revolution or evolution?

    Today, Industrie 4.0 is already making its mark at many companies across the globe – and is there to stay. The Age of Digitalization has also arrived in the textile sector – manifesting itself in the production of customized apparel within a mere few hours in microfactories or in the form of cost-optimized, self-controlled production based on networked systems and data analysis. At the same time, there are challenges that slowing down the advent of digitalization – data protection and data security being just two of these.

    Analysts at the consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) were astonished: its 2016 study ‘Industrie 4.0: Building the digital enterprise’ revealed that many companies across the globe are already taking digitalization seriously. The more than 2,000 participating companies from nine sectors of industry in 26 countries were planning to increase their degree of digitalization in 2015, the year of the survey, from an average of 33 percent to 72 percent within the five following years leading up to 2020. To achieve this, these enterprises are planning to invest around five percent of turnover – equivalent to US$ 907 billion a year. In return, they expect cost savings of 3.6 percent and average annual sales growth of 2.9 percent.

    Huge investment in digitalization
    This tendency is not only evident within companies industrialized countries, but also in emerging economies and developing countries – however, the PwC study is able to filter out differing targets. In Germany, Scandinavia and Japan, it is primarily about expanding operational efficiency and product quality. In the US, businesses plan to develop predominantly new digital business models and to ex-pand digital product and service ranges. China is hoping to benefit as a result of automating and digi-talizing labor-intensive manufacturing processes.

    The study anticipates that the challenges for companies will above all lie in digitally qualifying staff or recruiting expert employees and in establishing an appropriate internal organization and ‘digital cul-ture’. This is necessary in order to use data analysis to improve and optimize planning and hence ex-ploit the full potential of Industrie 4.0.

    Textile Industrie 4.0: the status quo
    Digitalization is also creating a revolution within the textile industry: clients can today already configure and order customized apparel online and have it delivered with very short lead times. This form of manufacturing is also becoming increasingly profitable for manufacturers, as production and logistics processes will in future be extensively automated and self-controlled. However, some textiles experts are viewing the revolution more as an evolution: there is frequently currently still a lack of qualified manpower, reciprocal networking and interdisciplinary cooperation to realize these visions. When look-ing at digitally covering the entire value chain, not all links are in place yet for Industrie 4.0: they might be in sewing factories in China, but not at those in Ethiopia or Hungary. And the textile industry there-fore requires sector-specific solutions above all.

    The fact that these are possible is meanwhile being showcased by ever more Industrie 4.0 pioneers. At its virtually fully-automated Speedfactory, Adidas is able – after a treadmill analysis of the customer at the point-of-sale – to design, and in part manufacture by means of 3D printing, trainers in a matter of a few hours rather than over several months. With their Microfactory, companies under the auspices of the Deutsche Institute für Textil- und Faserforschung Denkendorf (DITF/German Institutes for Tex-tile and Fiber Research Denkendorf) are demonstrating how an integrated production chain for appar-el works, manufacturing sweaters and T-shirts using 3D simulation patterns in half a day – customized and profitably even for batch sizes of one. The project can be viewed as a fantastic example of the exchange of knowledge and technology transfer that Industrie 4.0 solutions require. And it enables more flexible, more customer-focused business models away from conventional mass production. The well-known elite German university RWTH Aachen is pursuing a similar approach. In a Learning Fac-tory 4.0, the so-called Digital Capability Center (DCC), the Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA/Institute for Textile Technology) housed there is showcasing how digital transformation can be successful on the basis of a networked textile process chain and using assistance systems, among other things.

    On the way to the fully networked textile factory
    And with that we move from the consumer product to the actual production and ultimately to the textile machine manufacturers. They are also focusing on digitalization and are intensively driving the devel-opment of an entire industry forward. But even the manufacturers of textile machines for mass produc-tion are looking at digitalization. The scenario of the future: textile production – from the supply chain through to dispatch – is autonomously controlled in the fully-networked Factory 4.0. The product being created controls and monitors the processes itself using embedded sensors. The manufacturing or order status is known at all times, raw materials are automatically reordered, wear and maintenance are planned as integral parts of the production process and error processes are identified, alleviated or displayed. This should cut costs, convert production lines more flexibly and help reduce downtimes and waste. For this, the machine construction sector has to provide correspondingly intelligent and Webweb-enabled production systems, capable of communicating using wired or wireless connections. No easy feat, as this requires interfaces between all systems involved and the collation, channeling and evaluation of tremendous volumes of data in real time.

    The first steps on this journey have already been taken – with Oerlikon in the very vanguard. With its Plant Operation Center (POC) for process monitoring, Oerlikon Barmag, for instance, enables the collation of existing production data in a central location and to make these data available. On the occasion of the ITMA ASIA + CITME 2018 in Shanghai, China, the company also showcased the pro-spect of a development designed – on the basis of machine data – to identify error patterns or devia-tions as well as provide diagnosis support and help using artificial intelligence. An assistance system based on mixed-reality glasses (Microsoft HoloLens) has already been launched by Oerlikon – sup-porting predictive maintenance concepts and enabling virtual 360-degree tours through spinning sys-tems. "The market is increasingly looking for more intelligent machine technology in order to more speedily and profitably collate and evaluate production data. And we are addressing this trend and are presenting solutions in a new, digital dimension", comments Markus Reichwein, Head of Product Management for the Oerlikon Manmade Fibers segment.

    Digital visions require the qualifying of employees
    Digital visions indicate a future in which consumers are able to codetermine their textile products to a considerably greater extent. New business and production models are emerging that will also make smaller batch sizes profitable. This will once again make high-wage countries attractive manufacturing sites. But experts do not anticipate that intelligent, extensively-automated factories will not be able to dispense entirely with people. People will, however, assume other tasks – in part within the context of newly-created professions. Against this backdrop, qualifying employees and their positive (or nega-tive) view of the opportunities offered by digitalization will be decisive in how swiftly the textile industry embarks on its digital future. And data protection and data security open up many questions that could slow down the speed of the revolution that is Industrie 4.0. Ultimately, many things depend on the textile companies themselves and their ability to embrace – and prepare themselves and their em-ployees for – the opportunities offered by digitalization.

  • Our markets

    The primary markets for the product portfolio of Oerlikon Barmag are in Asia, especially in China, India and Turkey, and – for the ones of Oerlikon Neumag – in the USA, Asia, Turkey and Europe. Worldwide the segment – with roundabout 3,000 employees – has a presence in 120 countries of production, sales and distribution and service organizations. At the R&D centers in Remscheid, Neumünster (Germany) and Suzhou (China), highly-qualified engineers, technologists and technicians develop innovative and technologically-leading products for tomorrow’s world.
  • High-performing yarns for every type of product

    The global need for textiles from markets such as clothing, functional wear, packaging, medical, infrastructure and transportation is growing rapidly. Apparel, functional wear, carpets, automotive tires, safety belts, airbags, geotextiles for construction, ropes, conveyor belts, sails and filters to clean water and air all rely on fibers. But natural fibers use too many resources, for example water, for their production, or cannot offer the functionality needed. Industrial yarns are the solution — they form the basis for almost all technical textiles.

    Ever since manmade fibers were created, the goal has been to give the smooth, synthetic filament a natural fiberlike character and specific functions such as elasticity and increased heat retention. Oerlikon is the world market leader for systems used in the manufacture of manmade fibers. We offer technologies from Melt to Yarn, Fibers and Nonwovens. Oerlikon’s large-scale filament spinning and texturing plant solutions are designed to manufacture and process polyester, polyamide and nylon. This material can also be manufactured on high-tech production systems for carpet yarns, synthetic staple fibers and nonwovens.

  • Our industries

    Textiles and apparel

    Filament yarns are largely used for textiles and apparel. Today, polyester, nylon and polypropylene yarns are the primary materials to manufacture clothing. From the finest suits to heavyduty applications, modern clothing is building on yarns and fibers to perform.

    Functional wear

    Yarns are the starting material for a wide range of fabrics — from fashion, sports and home textiles to specialty functions such as bulletproof vests and fire protection gear.

    Medical and filters

    Yarns are also used for a wide range of filter applications. They provide specific functions such as absorbency, liquid repellency, resilience, stretch, softness, strength, flame retardancy, washability, cushioning, thermal insulation, acoustic insulation, filtration, microbial barrier and sterility.

    Packaging

    Polymer processing creates a large number of potential applications for the production, handling and packaging of food and goods. From bottling to insulation to foils that protect food from external effects, yarns are designed to perform specific functions.

    Infrastructure

    The applications are as diverse as they are specific: from fibers for geotextiles to roofing and agricultural applications as well as windbreak netting.

    Flooring and textile

    Textile flooring applications, such as carpets and various home textiles in diverse shapes and colors, are manufactured with manmade fibers. Those applications need a highly resistant material. And that is exactly what Oerlikon materials can provide.

    Transportation

    Aerospace textiles, automotive applications such as tires, safety belts and airbags, sails, and much more are manufactured using industrial yarns.

  • Vision & Mission

    Our Vision

    Oerlikon creates innovative industrial solutions for a better life.

    Our Mission

    Oerlikon strives to be your most reliable business partner, worldwide. We increase value through high-quality innovative industrial solutions, continuously. We engage highly qualified professionals. Our commitment is your success!

  • Our Values

    Integrity

    Everything we build, we build on trust.

    Team Spirit

    I care about the team, the team cares about me.

    Excellence

    What we do, we do best.

    Innovation

    Ideas come from everybody and from everywhere in the organization.

Feedback or questions? Get in touch with us!

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