Replacement of the P1 rapier weaving machine, expanded virtual offer and more service in pandemic times: Powerful demonstration of Lindauer DORNIER at Techtextil
Many textile companies converted their production to urgently needed protective clothing and face masks during the pandemic to fight against the coronavirus. Because both can be produced on air-jet and rapier weaving machines from DORNIER, Lindauer DORNIER supported its customers in converting their production on request. "As a family-owned company, it was important to us to make our own contribution to the protection of people," emphasizes Wolfgang Schöffl, Head of Product Line Weaving Machines. In addition, the company wanted to support its customers in using freed-up capacities as a result of the economic downturn and to compensate at least in part for sales losses caused by the crisis. It was also a phase of enormous challenges for Lindauer DORNIER. But a technology leader who seeks success through technical progress is characterized by being responsive, adaptive and innovative, especially in times of crisis.
Rapier weaving machine: Successful product phase-out from P1 to P2
During the pandemic, DORNIER pushed ahead with the product replacement of the proven P1 rapier weaving machine with the new P2. In June, the last P1 will roll off the production line.
"It is a bidding farewell with one eye crying and one eye laughing," says Schöffl.
Crying, because since its introduction almost 20 years ago, the P1 has been considered the most flexible and particularly robust weaving machine, reliably producing home textiles, clothing and technical textiles around the world. In addition, the well-tried DORNIER filling insertion with positive controlled center transfer, which the P2 also has in a further developed version, has been the international industry standard for the production of high-performance fabrics made of carbon, glass and aramid fibres for over 50 years.
Laughing, on the other hand, because the successor P2 has been very well received since its market launch in 2019. "Demand for the P2 is consistently high," says Schöffl. The concern that Corona would slow down sales has proven to be completely unfounded in view of full order books. This is because the P2 not only inherits all the strengths of its predecessor, but also offers many new features to increase productivity. For example, the frame rigidity has been increased by 75% and the shed geometry has been further improved in terms of flexibility. "This means that special customer requests can now be realized "on demand" in order to achieve very specific fabric properties and geometries," adds the sales manager, as demonstrated by variants for 3D, tape, heavy and wire fabrics.
A very special fabric produced on the P2 recently attracted worldwide attention: in autumn 2021, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris was wrapped in 25,000 square metres of a silver-blue fabric made of recycled polypropylene. It was the last major project of the wrapping artist Christo, whose nephew posthumously completed the final work of the "Master of Packaging". And it was also the P2's first major foray into the world of art, after the P1 rapier weaving machine had previously produced the fabrics for Christo's "The Gates" projects and for the wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin.
Virtuality meets quality
At Techtextil, DORNIER's digital offer, further expanded during the Corona pandemic, will also attract attention. "Here it was important for us to transfer the company motto 'Quality creates value' to the fairdigital realm, as we had done previously with the myDoX® customer portal," explains Schöffl. "Virtuality meets quality", so to speak. And the implementation seems to have been a success: "The virtual offers are very well received.” According to Schöffl, existing and new customers use them, among other things, as a convenient contact channel to the DORNIER sales and service teams, for virtual tours of the Technology Center and to have the latest machines and technologies demonstrated. "The Composite Systems Division in particular has been a pioneer in this respect", says Schöffl. In this division, DORNIER bundles its know-how from the areas of weaving machines and film stretching lines in order to manufacture machines for the production of high-quality fibres composite structures and components. According to Schöffl, the demand for customized plant solutions for lightweight composite construction has recently risen significantly, also due to increasing requirements for sustainability and energy efficiency.
Service under pandemic conditions: Great commitment of the staff
Despite the extended digital interfaces between DORNIER and its customers and partners, the company is happy to be able to meet them personally again in Frankfurt am Main. "For a machine manufacturer, whose daily routine also includes customer-specific solutions, personal exchange is essential," says Schöffl. He is also looking forward to presenting the DORNIER DisCoS® weft color selector, which has been fully launched on the market in 2021, at the exhibition Techtextil. With the patented system, up to 16 colors can be woven very easily. But the talks will also be about the current world situation, the effects of the pandemic and the Ukraine war. According to Schöffl, for example, the supply of original parts has proved to be a serious challenge due to the tense supply chain situation. "We have only been able to maintain and further expand the high quality level of maintenance, repair and service that customers have come to expect from DORNIER thanks to the great personal commitment of the entire workforce."