Groz-Beckert KG

Newsletter 1 | 2010

Groz-Beckert Awarded KYOCERA Environment Prize at Economics Day in Bonn

By means of optimised needle geometries, litespeed® needles for high-speed circular knitting machines guarantee lower energy consumption and lower CO2 emissions. Therefore, on April 29, 2010 Groz-Beckert was awarded a third place at the KYOCERA Environment Prize.

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The former German Bundestag in Bonn

The occasion was the "Economics Day" organised by the Federal Association of Medium-Sized Companies e.V., Regional Association of North Rhine-Westphalia, in the World Conference Centre at the former German Bundestag in Bonn. You can find out more about the KYOCERA Environment Prize at www.kyocera-umweltpreis.de

Background and history of the project

Designed for high-speed circular knitting machines
Until a raw material has passed through the entire textile value-added chain and can be sold as an end-product, it has to undergo numerous production-technological and logistical processes. All of these generate enormous amounts of CO2 emissions. This is why the textiles industry is usually seen in a critical light by the general public with regard to its environmental record.

Quite different examples exist, however: companies and production processes which, far from ignoring the concept of sustainability, are assuming a pioneering role. This is precisely where Groz-Beckert comes in: the company assumes responsibility for the ecologically sound production and functionality of its products. Alongside a continuous increase in productivity, the saving of energy and further resources is now playing a primary role. One striking example of this is the knitting process and its inherent potential. Efforts were made at Groz-Beckert back in 1994 to optimise the popular meander-shaped low-profile needle. The aim was to limit the steadily increasing energy consumption of circular knitting machines. At this time the maximum temperature limit for a stable overall system had been reached, so that further performance increases were impossible.

This was synonymous with the start of the first development phase of the litespeed® needle - as an innovation for high-speed circular knitting machines. The central findings here were that lower needle weight and lower friction could sharply improve the performance and especially the power consumption of the circular knitting machine, whereby friction had a far greater influence.

Continuous further development

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The blade geometry with partially reduced needle shank thickness
After reduction of the shank height and thickness, adaptation of the overall geometry of the shank and intensive modifications and validations, much was discovered regarding the influence of blade geometry on running properties. A validated laboratory test stand was used and the newly designed needle type was patented in August 1998 as EP 0906 980 B1. One year later, further optimisation continued until series readiness. With the help of sound analyses and field tests, the full efficiency potential was extracted. Parallel to this, a series-ready production process was established.

Impressive value added

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The oil absorption of a standard needle
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Improved oil distribution and reduced oil blockage with the litespeedĀ® needle
Market rollout for the litespeed® needles for high-speed circular knitting machines began in 2004, and has been very successful ever since. In general, the circular knitting method caters for one fifth of the production of all textiles worldwide. Apart from clothing this increasingly includes technical applications in sectors such as the automotive industry or medical technology.

Thanks to years of research and development, combined with consistent optimisation of details, the litespeed® needle is now distinctive for its special, highly-developed needle geometry. On the basis of a shank thickness that has been partially reduced in relation to standard needles, it has an impressively low weight and reduced friction in the needle trick. This means that less energy is required for needle movement. On the knitting machine, the results speak for themselves: up to 20 percent lower temperature, less energy consumption, reduced oil requirement and less oil fogging. Wear and tear at the needle crank and at the cam parts has been reduced, and the needle oil is now better distributed. Last but not least, higher rpm have resulted in sharp performance increases and far less emissions in relation to standard needles.

The positive effect on the environment was successfully and impressively proven in various tests. If all high-speed circular knitting machines worldwide were fitted with litespeed® needles, the result would be an annual reduction in CO2 emissions of over 457 million tonnes.

Further experiments - in the Groz-Beckert Technikum and also as part of the AiF research project 13765N "Basic examinations to describe the reciprocal influences of conditioners and needle oils on the contamination of knitwear made from different fibrous materials" headed by ITV Denkendorf - made a further benefit clear. It could be proven that the use of litespeed® needles transferred less needle oil to the fabric than with conventional needles. As a result of this, during subsequent refinement, wastewater contamination from needle-oil pollution of fabrics for washing was successfully reduced.

Groz-Beckert also sees the award as an obligation

The award at the KYOCERA Environment Prize proves yet again that Groz-Beckert is assuming exemplary economic, ecological and social responsibility. In his speech of thanks at the award ceremony Dr. Thomas Kühl, board member of Groz-Beckert KG and also responsible for the Sewing and Nonwovens divisions, emphasised the great importance and continuous development of Groz-Beckert, the globally present supplier of accessories for textile machine construction and the textile industry: "The company began by manufacturing knitting-machine needles. Today the product portfolio reflects the full diversity of the textile world. With more than 70,000 types of product, we support all textile production methods and, together with mechanical engineering, are focusing increasingly on entire systems." This is accompanied by a commitment to sustainability, which is steadily gaining in importance throughout the company. For Groz-Beckert, the award - worth 20,000 Euro - represents not only recognition of services already rendered but also an obligation to pursue further activities in the future that are aimed at saving resources and conserving the environment.The prize money wil be transfered to a charity in accordance with the foundation concept.