Conference Q&A: Karl-Hermann Paul, Allma Volkmann

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Can you tell us a little about your role at the company? 

I am a technologist and consultant at Allma Volkmann, a business unit of the Saurer Group, in Kempten, Germany. Allma Volkmann develops and produces twisting machines and is a market leader in this segment. My job is to give clients – who are manufacturers of tire cord and industrial yarns – technological advice with regard to increased efficiency, quality assurance and product development.

All of the machines developed by Allma and all spindle sizes are available, at our state-of-the-art technology center, enabling us to produce samples or reproduce processes on request. Here I can also make quick use of the know-how of my colleagues in the other departments, such as electrical engineering, research and development and customer service.

In addition, I participate in the development of our twisting machines, advising and actively supporting our product management and research and development.

Please tell us the background to your presentation.

The current trend in the automotive industry, especially in the tire industry, toward ever higher mileage, absolute safety and the highest driving comfort places increasing requirements on tire cord quality.

First, these increased quality standards have to be reached, and to do so, new innovative products are required, which is a challenge for product development. On the other hand, it is important to meet standards for existing products. Tire cord producers (our customers), will face demanding tasks. I am convinced that only those companies which produce high quality tire cord will be successful in the market, and in my presentation I gave advice on how to enhance quality even further.

What are the parameters in the twisting process that influence the textile properties? 

It goes without saying that first the supply material has an influence on tire cord quality. You will never get a high quality cord yarn from a low quality supply material.

Secondly, you have to choose the most suitable twisting machine depending on your production range and quality requirements. The twisting machine must be in optimum condition always regardless of its year of construction. However, even the best machine is no good without optimum settings and errors can be made during operation – this means that a well-trained and highly motivated staff is important.

Finally, the required know-how is essential and must be acquired through many years of experience, because the twisting machine must be told what to do.

How do you ensure the highest quality?

High-quality supply material, a suitable twisting machine, trained and motivated staff and the relevant expertise are required to achieve high quality standards. All these must interact in an optimum way. For example, the turns of twist are an important factor; these must be at a certain level and within a defined tolerance. The variance of twists depends on the type of supply material. The turns of twist are more evenly distributed in a tire cord made of PES HMLS than in a tire cord made of a relatively elastic PA 6.

Furthermore, the twisting machine is of high importance; a defined and constant level of twists is achieved when the corresponding drives work very uniformly and absolutely slip-free. This is the case with state-of-the-art twisting machines.

Neither should we underestimate the human factor. Deviations in turns of twist may happen when mistakes are made during setting, operation or maintenance. This is why our customers use quality assurance systems. State-of-the-art twisting machines enable the user to enter the desired turns of twist very easily via a touchscreen at the headstock. Receipts in form of data sheets are available. 

February 23, 2016

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Rachel's career in journalism began around five years ago when she started working for UKi Media & Events, having recently graduated from Coventry University where she studied the subject. Her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the ground-breaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of the automotive and tire industries.

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