Picanol invests in new frame production unit

Picanol has a separate production unit in Ieper where the frames – the load-bearing side walls – of its weaving machines are finished off.

The frame castings are produced in Picanol's own foundry. The painted but unfinished frames are carried by an automatic system (flexible manufacturing system or FMS) in sequence to a series of machining centers where various stock-removal operations such as milling, drilling, turning and tapping are carried out. These operations are performed with an accuracy of 0.025 mm (distance between drill centres) over the entire area of the frame.

Since the frames also incorporate oil sumps and compressed air chambers, the quality requirements are much stricter than for the previous generation of weaving machine frames. The correct combination of machine, hydraulic tool clamping (chucks), tool bits, measuring system and of course the operator makes it possible to attain these very high standards. After deburring and cleaning the frames are ready for assembly.

This year Picanol is investing in a new frame unit that will permit even higher quality and greater flexibility. The first three machining centers (HEC 1250 Athletic from Heckert) were already delivered in the spring of 2015). These machines are served by a Fastems flexible manufacturing system (FMS). The first frames are now being produced on the new line. The fourth and last Heckert machine is due to follow at the end of July. Picanol aims to be fully operational with its new line by the fourth quarter of this year. The new frame unit represents an investment of 5.5 million euros.