A Non Contacting System for Textile Fibre Measurement
Microcontroller and RF Technology provides a low-cost, accurate and flexible solution
Technologies used

Microcontrollers and RF Technology

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    29 Machinery for Textile Production
Platt UK Ltd, part of the Hollingsworth Group, design, manufacture and market cotton fibre textile processing machinery to companies throughout the world. Machinery and monitoring equipment, e.g. Autolevellers and fibre mass measuring systems have been marketed since 1950. Direct employees total 20, 1 is an electronic engineer recruited for this project. Annual sales are 4.1MEuros. Previously, electronics work was subcontracted, all products involved only standard analogue and digital integrated circuits. The industry sector is 2954: Machinery for Textile Production in the NACE classification used throughout the EU.

The existing product is a mechanical Tongue and Groove Roller system, used to measure fibre mass. A variation in material thickness causes the Tongue Roller to pivot, the deflection indicates mass which is used to allow adjustments to the process. This system is slow, difficult to calibrate, insufficiently accurate for on-line control and the Tongue Roller distorts and compresses the fibres.

This project used Radio Frequency and Microcontroller technologies to improve the mass measuring system. It consists of a new RF measuring head, discrete processing electronics and a microcontroller. The measuring head, which consists of a trumpet waveguide through which the fibres pass, contains no moving parts, and no force is exerted on the fibres. The discrete electronics produce a signal proportional to fibre mass and the microcontroller allows the system to be customised to site environmental conditions, fibre qualities and composition. Samples can be made every 10 milliseconds to an accuracy of about 1%. The project started in August 1997, took 19 months and cost 85 KEuros. The payback on this investment is estimated to be about 2 years and will give a 1000% ROI over the 5 year life of the product.

The resulting product is:
- uniquely non-invasive,
- 10 times faster than existing product,
- 50% of existing product cost,
- easily manufactured and maintained.

The product will increase the market share on Textile Machinery from 1% to 10% over 2 years, and the employment of new electronics design staff.
Platt UK Ltd
PO Box 62
Great Harwood,
Blackburn, BB6 7SE, UK

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Microcontrollers and RF Technology technology provided Platt UK Ltd with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.

Further information   Guiding Technology Transfer Node
For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
Homepage: http://www.fuse-network.com
Bolton Institute of Higher Education
Technology Development Unit
Deane Road
BL3 5AB Bolton
United Kingdom