The Albstadt-based circular knitting machine manufacturer Mayer & Cie. has recently received an IKU award. The SME won a Climate and Environment Innovation Prize (IKU) for its spinitsystems spinning and knitting technology. The Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB) and the Federation of German Industries (BDI) award IKU prizes every other year for innovations “that mark new departures in climate and environmental protection.” The IKU jury felt that spinitsystems did just that. By combining spinning and knitting in one machine, it saves energy, resources, space and time in the production of Single Jersey fabrics.
“We are the first manufacturer to have dared to merge these two processes that have previously been separate both technically and ideologically,” says Michael A. Tuschak, in charge of spinitsystems marketing and sales. “We are delighted that the staying power required to see an innovation of this kind through has been rewarded with this prize.”
Less CO2, less energy, fewer resources
Normally, yarn is processed into a textile fabric on the circular knitting machines of long-established manufacturer Mayer & Cie. The yarn comes from a spinning mill, where it is manufactured in a complex and energy-intensive process. The new Mayer & Cie. spinning and knitting machine, in contrast, does not wait for the finished yarn to arrive from the spinning mill; it uses roving and is thereby able to combine in one machine, the Spinit 3.0 E, the previously strictly separate processes of spinning and knitting. Several other machines are no longer required, reducing the space required by about a third. The process takes less time, reducing the amount of energy required to about two thirds of what the conventional manufacturing process uses – with a positive effect on the carbon dioxide balance. The spinning and knitting machine also helps to save valuable cotton. Leftover roving on the spools is not waste; it can be sent straight back to the spinning mill.
Rating: Prize worthy
These were the points that the IKU jury specially mentioned in its appraisal. The organisers were also impressed by the market potential and the number of machines envisaged over a five-year period. The jury further felt that the 30 active spinitsystems patents and the long development time testified to the entrepreneurial performance that lay behind this innovation. Sebastian Mayer, Mayer & Cie.’s director in charge of corporate development, is particularly proud of this achievement. “In combining the spinning and knitting processes we have created an interface that did not previously exist. Nobody other than us is conversant with it yet, so that in addition to the technological lead we have established a valuable knowledge lead.”
Along with the award, the prize-winners in the five IKU categories each receive EUR 25,000 in cash to support their climate and environmental activities. In selecting the prize-winners, the IKU jury relied on the recommendations of the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), which checked the applications in detail and in some cases called on the applicants to submit further, in-depth information.