Patti Engineering, Inc., Auburn Hills, Mich., recently announced the successful completion of an automation project at Inman Mills, Inman, S.C. Inman Mills manufactures a wide variety of yarns and fabrics. This is the sixth textile manufacturing facility Patti Engineering has modernized with custom designed automation technology. In an industry where margins are thread-thin, automation is a major key to quality improvement and cost competitiveness.

Inman Mills purchased a pre-owned autoflow system (conveyors, motors, control panels). The equipment included an obsolete electrical control system. Inman hired Patti Engineering to design and install a state-of-the-art electrical control system.

The latest PC hardware was used to build a fully integrated electrical control system. In addition to the design and installation, Patti Engineering provided training to Inman’s maintenance personnel, operators, and management team for optimal utilization of the new system to maximize production.

“Implementing cost-effective electrical control system solutions in textile manufacturing facilities has been a growing niche for Patti Engineering, fueled by word-of-mouth referrals,” explained Sam Hoff, president of Patti Engineering, “It was a pleasure to work with Inman Mills. We were impressed with their commitment to implementation of the best automation technology.”

Patti Engineering has worked with other textile manufacturers to retrofit their existing equipment with new and more advance electrical control systems. Retrofits cost just pennies on the dollar compared to replacing inefficient equipment, allowing manufacturers to double the life of the system, adding an additional 15 to 20 years of run time with high reliability and a significant boost to productivity and accuracy.

Some of the textile ring spinning trolley conveyor systems Patti Engineering has encountered in other mills have been operating with 15- to 20-year-old PC based control systems with hardware and software no longer supported by foreign manufacturers.

Patti Engineering's solutions include additional features not available with the original machine control. New software programs are written for better support and debug. Configurations and logging databases are added to give a better history of events to improve debug. Improved functionality and management capabilities from the GUI are added to run the systems more efficiently. In addition, Patti Engineering provides US-based customer service with online engineering support services available 24/7 for support.

Today's manufacturers struggle with aging infrastructure, increasingly stringent regulations as well as escalating operations and energy costs. They are searching for cost-effective ways to upgrade their equipment to meet current and future requirements. Patti Engineering offers sustainable solutions that help manufacturers reduce costs, improve operations, comply with new regulations, and save energy.