Superwash

Moisture Measurement & Control

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The Superwash process is an application that has special requirements to which the control system must conform to ensure the product quality is maintained to the desired level.
Streat Instruments Moisture Measurement and Control systems have been applied to Superwash Plants around the world and we were involved with the initial Superwash development at the IWS and then the Woolmark Company.
Jimmy Jackson*, widely regarded as the expert in the area of easy-care wool products and processes, recommends Moisture Measurement and Control for Superwash Lines as detailed below:

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Moisture management & control is important in the
Superwash process to save energy and control the
regain in the sliver so that subsequent mechanical
processing is trouble free, and also maintain good
wool colour etc.

The additional advantages for a Superwash plant
are ensuring that the resin is evenly and constantly
cured. (i.e. If the Superwash wool is still wet or
damp, and hence the resin is not fully cured, then
curing will take place later in the bale after packing
resulting in the fibres sticking together and the
customer receiving hard tops, which will need to be
backwashed at additional expense before
mechanical processing).

Resin curing also impacts the dyeing properties of
Superwash wool. As the resin cures it loses its
cationic charge and becomes neutral. However if
there are some damp patches then in these areas
the resin will remain cationic charged and attract
the anionic dyestuff (all wool dyestuffs irrespective
of type are anionic) more rapidly. In essence if there
is uneven curing then it’s more than likely the
dyeing will be uneven.

DRYCOM Moisture Sensors on
Superwash Sliver at the Dryer Exit

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The Streat DRYCOM Moisture Measurement & Control system continuously monitors the moisture content of the sliver and regulates the energy supply to the dryer to maintain the moisture at the desired level.

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Water Wizardry

 

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Streat DRYCOM Moisture Measurement and Control systems provide total solutions for your process.

  • Increased profits
  • Increased productivity
  • Elimination of re-processing
  • Improved downstream processing
  • Improved and consistent product quality
  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Ensures optimum drying level for future processing and ensures adequate resin curing
  • Fewer claims from customers
  • Better deployment of labour to other vital tasks
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Translated Document DC-015-01C – Superwash – Chinese

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Aquaflex information allows optimum Irrigation Management

Aquaflex Soil Moisture Sensors provide soil moisture and soil temperature information on a continual basis.  The Aquaflex Sensor is a 3m long tape which is laid into the root zone of the crop and measures a volume of 6 litres of soil.

Tapes

Locally designed (at Lincoln University), manufactured and supported you can have confidence in both the Aquaflex Sensor and the support provided by Aquaflex NZ.

Aquaflex has become a vital part of many Farm Environmental plans and is well proven for both irrigation and effluent dispersal (industrial, dairy, vineyard etc) applications.

Soil Moisture is a critical factor in many farming application areas; it affects growth, quality and profit.  Having visibility of soil moisture levels across the farm empowers farm managers to strategically plan irrigation and allocate resources to areas that need it most.

Refer to www.aquaflex.co.nz for more information and to download the Aquaflex Handbook which provides useful information on Soil Moisture and how to interpret Aquaflex data including notes on soil water-holding characteristics – some of which are summarised below:

Field capacity (FC)

The maximum amount of water the soil can hold against the force of gravity.
Permanent Wilting Point (PWP)

The water content where most plants will wilt and fail to recover.
Plant Available Water (PAW)

The full range of water that the plant can extract from the soil (i.e. the range between FC and PWP).
Readily Available Water (RAW)

The water that is easy for the plants to extract from the soil.
Refill Point (RP) (also called Stress Point)

The lower level of the RAW. Water below this level is difficult for the plant to access.

Graph

The above graph shows Soil Moisture Content in relation to Field Capacity and Refill Point.
Drainage after three rainfall events is evident when Soil Moisture Content exceeds Field Capacity

 

Soil profile

China and New Zealand’s joint demonstration project and cooperation in water-saving agriculture take a pragmatic start

中新节水农业示范推广合作项目迈出务实第一步

继2015年11月份我中心与新西兰林肯农业技术公司就开展节水农业相关合作事宜进行会谈后,双方积极推动,使其不断向前发展。

Since November 2015 our center has held discussions about water-saving agriculture technology and related cooperation with a New Zealand Technical Agriculture Company. The two sides will continue to pursue further cooperation moving forward.

20160324 JimInChina2

前不久,我方应邀起草的合作协议得到该公司和新西兰林肯大学的肯定,并得到新西兰政府驻京第一产业代表处和贸易代表处的支持。作为合作的第一步,新方委派专人参加了3月10-11日我中心在海口举办的全国土壤墒情监测技术培训班,就土壤墒情自动测定技术和仪器做了介绍,并进行了田间演示,各地反应热烈。

Not long ago, we were invited to draft a cooperation agreement and received a positive response from  Lincoln University of New Zealand, and also gained supported of the primary industrial representative office  and trade representative office of the New Zealand government in Beijing.

As the first step of cooperation, New Zealand  appointed a commissioner to participate in the national soil moisture monitoring technical training, organized by our center in Haikou on  March 10th-11th. In this training, they introduced Aquaflex and its ability to continuously monitor soil moisture. They gave a field demonstration to the attendees enthusiastic delight.

 

20160324 JimInChina1

3月18日,Streat仪器公司专家Jim Herbison先生应邀访问我中心,双方就该设备技术细节进行了深入交流,夯实了合作的基础。谢建华副主任会见了新方专家,鼓励双方务实合作,早日分享合作成果。

On March 18, Aquaflex expert, Jim Herbison, was invited to visit our center at which time we discussed in more detail partnership opportunities and the technical aspects of the instrument. Deputy Director Xie Jianhua led the discussion and encouraged pragmatic, bilateral cooperation to achieve mutually beneficial goals as soon as possible.

(Translated and copied from the original source: http://www.natesc.org.cn/Html/2016_03_24/53167_53814_2016_03_24_424691.html)

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Aquaflex NZ – our commitment to customer support

With the recent sale of WaterMetrics to Datacol we would like to clarify how this impacts Aquaflex and assure our customers of continuity of supply and service.

Aquaflex NZ is a division of Streat Instruments and a completely independent company to WaterMetrics or Datacol.

Streat Instruments has a long history in the field of industrial control and telemetry systems and as the designers and manufacturers of both Aquaflex Soil Moisture Sensors and Aquacom Telemetry units, Aquaflex NZ is ideally placed to provide full sales and after sales support for these systems.

We are totally committed to supporting our customers and ensuring they gain the maximum benefit from their Aquaflex and Aquacom systems – please feel free to ring us anytime if you have any questions or require assistance.

Aquaflex NZ supplies Aquaflex and Aquacom products and services direct to our customers and also to distributors such as Boraman Consultants, WaterMetrics, and numerous irrigation companies and consultants.

Please feel free to contact us anytime for sales or service support – 03 3848 900 or e-mail servicing@streatsahead.com

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Independent study demonstrates effectiveness of Equi-pF soil moisture release curve apparatus

Dr Steffen Trinks of the Technical University of Berlin has conducted an independent evaluation of our Equi-pF soil moisture release curve apparatus. His paper is reproduced here. It was published in the July 2015 edition of the journal  WISPAS Jul 15.

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Moisture: A key factor in sustainable manufacturing

Manufacturers of both nonwovens and traditional textiles are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of moisture management during processing. Its well known that fibres perform differently during the carding, lapping, needing and spinning processes. Finding and maintaining the optimum moisture content provides clear benefits in both processing performance and product quality.

“Over-dry material creates static problems,” says Jim Herbison, Managing Director of Streat Instruments. “It can also reduce fibre strength, resulting in excess fibre breakage, increased drop out and reduced yields. On the other hand, a product that is too wet blocks fibre transports, causes roller laps and can lead to the build up of bacteria.”

Streat Instruments moisture systems are designed to assist users in optimising production conditions in order to maximise productivity, quality, operating efficiencies and profitability in the nonwovens and textiles industries. Over the last three decades he New Zealand-based company has earned international recognition as a premier manufacturer and supplier of moisture management technology.

New App increases control and flexibility

DSC00759The new Drycom Connect combines well proven Streat control technology with a dedicated smart-phone and tablet app, which allows operators to view moisture and associated production data from their production plants in real time, at any time, from anywhere.

“The Drycom Connect App is a valuable management tool, empowering users to monitor system data remotely,” says Herbison. “Having a mobile option provides an increased level of control as well as peace of mind.”

The App can keep track of multiple systems within the plant and can be integrated with data from fibre weight control systems by Streat’s sister company Garnett Controls.

Sustaining quality with minimal energy consumption

Drying is one of the most energy intensive operations in textile mills. Streat Drycom empowers processors to reduce energy usage by optimising the drying process.
Drycom ensures consistent moisture by continuously measuring the moisture of the fibre, yarn, nonwoven web, or other product outputs at the exit of the dryer.

“Drycom automatically controls the energy and/or speed of the dryer to maintain the desired level of moisture,” adds Herbison. “In addition to ensuring consistent moisture content, the productivity gains and energy savings provided by our systems are considerable.”

Hundreds of Streat Drycom systems are already providing users in over 40 countries with the tools they need to operate sustainably, optimise production processes and maximise productivity, quality, operating efficiencies and profitability.

In processing areas such as opening and blending, carding, and web forming, plant humidity control is not enough to ensure optimum moisture conditions. Micro-climates within machinery often dry the fibre, making downstream processing difficult or impossible. It’s not uncommon for plants to run at high humidity levels (up to 70+ % RH) in order to drive fibre moisture content up to manageable processing levels. High humidity creates an uncomfortable environment for workers, high energy costs, and potential machinery damage.

Drycom measures the fibre directly. Moisture can them be managed in a manner appropriate to the process, such as targeted moisture application by precision spraying devices. Experience in all types of natural and man-made fibres has enabled Streat to build a portfolio of application-specific technologies to ensure sustainable production.

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How to use farm environment plans to your advantage

dairyIrrigator

Farm environment plans

The word ‘audit’ usually bears negative connotations of tedious, unnecessary work to appease a faction of government. For Canterbury farmers, a top-of-mind example is the enforcement of ‘farm environment plans’.

Environment Canterbury (ECAN) has recently implemented requirements to have a ‘farm environment plan’ for farms that meet certain criteria based around location, farm size and nitrogen leaching levels.

A farm environment plan is a farm audit focussing on environmental impacts and sustainability. They are part of the larger Land and Water Regional Plan, implemented by ECAN which aims to provide clear direction on how land and water are to be managed and help deliver community aspirations for water quality in both urban and rural areas.

The Hawkes Bay Regional Council has a management plan in place for farmers and the Marlborough District Council have one in place for dairy farmers. However, ECAN covers the widest area.

Plans require detail on the following information:

  • Property or farm enterprise details
  • Map or aerial photos at a scale
  • List of all Canterbury Regional Council resource consents held for the property or farm enterprise
  • Assessment of adverse environmental effects and risks associated with farming activities and how these will be managed
  • How these objectives will be met
    • Nutrient management
    • Irrigation management
    • Soils management
    • Collected animal effluent management
    • Livestock management
    • Offal pits
  • Nutrient budgets

The plan must be audited by a Farm Environmental Plan Auditor before submission to ECAN and be completed and submitted every year.
It’s easy to file compulsory documents away and forget about them until it’s time to submit another report. However, there are many opportunities to be gained from the data collected for farm environment plans.

One example is using the mandatory irrigation and soil management data to farm smarter.

Moisture knowledge is power

Moisture is a critical factor in many farming application areas. It affects growth, quality and profits.

Since moisture measurement is already a requirement for Canterbury farms, it might as well be used to benefit the farm itself.

Having visibility of soil moisture levels across the farm empowers farm managers to strategically place irrigation and allocate resources to areas that need it most.

For example, an accurate soil moisture system, when used in conjunction with feed budgeting information, can be used to predict pasture growth. On large properties, visual pasture assessments often cannot be completed weekly, but using the information from a soil moisture system gives farmers the ability to predict pasture growth based on soil temperature and moisture.

By having a better understanding of soil moisture and temperature, farmers can gain greater value from other tools such as feed budgeting and climate outlooks, contributing to more informed decisions. This helps farmers to assess the risk and opportunities that may exist around future feed supply and demand and allow decisions such as stocking levels, when to purchase or when to sell, to be made in a more informed manner and potentially increase returns to the business.

Accurate data, accurate analysis

Having a soil moisture sensor that measures accurately is obviously beneficial for analysing this type of data. But what makes soil moisture sensors more accurate than others?

Reliable, hardy equipment and an expert support team to consult with are essential to producing quality water moisture data.

Having soil moisture sensors that gather data from a cross-section of soil, rather than just one spot, will help eliminate discrepancies caused by factors such as dripping irrigators, soil variability and stony soil.

Because of the strict regulations within farm environment plans to provide accurate information, installing quality soil moisture monitoring technology will not only comply with ECAN’s specifications but also give greater visibility for farmers to make advantageous decisions to benefit farm efficiency and profitability.

Increased drying efficiencies lead to increased profits

Bullseye

Drying, whether it be of loose fibre, yarn or fabric, is one of the most energy-intensive operations in the dyeing and finishing area.

Moisture is generally accepted as one of the most important factors affecting the processing of fibres, yarns and fabrics. This rings true for both natural and man-made fibres, albeit it is often more significant for natural fibres, as they tend to be more hygroscopic.

The purpose of the drying operation is to drive off the moisture within the fibre, so that when the product (whether it be loose fibre, yarn or fabric) exits the dryer it is at the desired moisture content (or regain).

Each process has different requirements for the moisture content as the product exits the dryer. In some processes the moisture content has no bearing at all, for example heat setting of fabrics. In this process the object is to drive off most of the moisture early in the drying process and then have the material maintain a certain surface temperature for a certain period of time to ensure adequate “setting” of the material.

In other processes, the moisture content of the product as it exits the dryer is critical. To avoid the problems that can be caused by moisture-content variations, most processors tend to over-dry, as this tends to be the “safe” option from a production and quality perspective. But it results in a significant waste of energy. For wool fibre a good “rule of thumb” is that between 15% and 10% regain, for every 1% you over-dry you are wasting 2% to 3% in energy!

Processors without accurate on-line moisture-control systems typically over-dry by 3 to 4% (or more), thus wasting 10% or more in energy. How much does 10% of your drying-energy costs equate to over a year? This could impact significantly on your bottom line – studies have shown that a 1% saving in energy can equate to an improvement in bottom line profits by 10% or more.

Although over-drying is referred to above as a “safe” option from a quality perspective, over-drying can cause quality issues too (fibre damage, static problems, etc). Also, if fibre is sold based solely on weight, you are giving away fibre when you over-dry!

Moisture measurement and control systems are available to ensure that the product moisture content is maintained at the desired level at the exit of the dryer. These systems, such as the Streat Instruments DRYCOM Moisture Control System, continually monitor the moisture of the product at the exit of the dryer and manipulate either the energy supply to the dryer, or the dryer speed, to maintain the product moisture at the desired level. This allows the “safety margin” to be reduced to a much tighter window of moisture-content levels, thus affording the benefits of significant energy and productivity savings.

In response to requests from high-value knitwear processors in Scotland, Streat developed the DRYCOM Tumble Dryer Controller, which is easily retrofitted to existing dryers. By ensuring the garments are removed from the dryer at precisely the right time, product quality (handle and shelf appearance) are optimised and processors benefit from reduced energy and increased productivity.

With a typical payback period of between 6 and 12 months, Streat DRYCOM systems provide processors with a significant opportunity to reduce energy costs, improve productivity and efficiency, and enhance their competitive edge.

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