Reifenhäuser Reicofil launched its novelties and innovations at Index17

Reifenhäuser Reicofil launched its nonwoven novelties at Index17

Reifenhäuser Reicofil launched its nonwoven novelties and innovations at Index17 in Geneva, Switzerland

1.      New RF5 Line Generation Paves the Way to Intelligent Products

With its new RF5 generation of lines, manufacturer Reifenhäuser Reicofil is offering its customers a unique modular package of digital solutions for intelligent machines and intelligent production. Digitalization makes the line easier to operate while also increasing system availability, product quality, output, and efficiency. Many of these solutions can be further developed in cooperation with customers and tailored to their specific requirements.

Jens Mager, development engineer in charge of digitization, has a clear vision of the future: “Our lines will know themselves best in the future. They will know their status, be able to predict the effects of parameter changes, communicate with other systems, learn, and solve production tasks independently. The first actual solutions are ready, and we have a huge potential for further innovation.”

For the development of their first digital modules, the experts at Reicofil have turned their attention to some typical, widespread customer problems. They developed solutions for more intuitive operation, continuous process and quality monitoring, predictive maintenance, and detection of anomalies. For example, the line will provide its operators with productivity analyses, predicts when a wear part is going to fail, warns the operator of drip formation before it occurs, and provides information to help solve the problem.

All the solutions so far can be seen as examples for many other concrete applications. Jens Mager perceives this capability of expansion as a special strength of digitization: “In the past few years, we built know-how in many areas like predictive maintenance or detection of anomalies and designed initial models based on the data we have available. The solutions show that they work. We are now looking forward to using these models and to working with customers to adapt them to meet specific requirements and challenges. Maybe it’s not dripping that the customer wants to predict but something else entirely. The principle remains the same.”

With its profound engineering knowledge, Reicofil has the ideal prerequisites for developing and refining these digital models. Reicofil Managing Director Dr Bernd Kunze explains this relationship: “Only good engineering can ensure good processes, and only good processes can guarantee high data quality – the prerequisite for functional solutions that are based on data. If the data basis is flawed, then the solution will be flawed as well.”

The digital solutions of Reicofil have primarily been developed for the new RF5 generation of machines. However, selected modules like the new Operation Center and the Digital Assistant will also benefit the new RF Smart lines.

2.      Human Machine Interface easy and intuitive operation


The new RF5 lines come with a completely new control system that is easy and intuitive to operate like never before. A contextualized user interface significantly reduces complexity. Users of the line first see the key parameters. By means of customized dashboards, they are also able to configure interfaces that contain the information that is relevant to them individually. The dynamic design still makes it possible to quickly look up further details.

Performance Cockpit

The Performance Cockpit shows all production key figures at a glance. By analysing the data and comparing different machines, operators will be able to better detect unused potential and thereby improve their system availability, productivity, quality, and efficiency.


Optimal production parameters can be stored and retrieved as a file, called “fingerprint”. This significantly accelerates machine start-up and changeover between products. The results are better system availability and less waste. During production, characteristic values are continuously monitored by the system to ensure uniform quality.

Digital Assistant

With the Digital Assistant, operators are able to access all relevant information like machine documentation, product descriptions, technical drawings, and step-by-step maintenance instructions, or training videos. All information is stored centrally and can be retrieved from anywhere using mobile devices. Operators who are working directly on the line can also access specific information immediately by scanning QR codes. Beyond that, the Digital Assistant provides expert support via video calls and remote diagnostics vie webcam.

Reicofil Nonwoven Grading – Controlling quality

With Reicofil Nonwoven Grading, Reicofil is offering a new tool for immediate quality feedback during production. The grading can be adapted to the requirements of different target markets. When the actual quality deviates from the required quality, the system gives a warning and provides information on which process parameters to adjust.

Predictive Maintenance – Preventing unplanned downtime

The line informs operators of impending wear and component failure. In the medium term, this enables accurate predictions of the remaining service life of components. Customers will be even better able to plan maintenance and machine downtime and thereby improve the overall machine availability.

Detection of Anomalies – Monitoring machine components

The machine detects anomalies before they affect production. Using special algorithms, the system compares and analyses large volumes of data. It learns what the norm is, and thereby becomes able to detect anomalies. For example, the system is able to warn of leakage or errors early. This allows users to act pre-emptively instead of after the fact.

Virtual Sensors – Monitoring production processes

The RF5 technology increasingly relies on virtual sensors. In the event of a hardware defect, the sensors serve as a cost-effective back-up that ensures continued production. However, virtual sensors will also perform other tasks in the future: By measuring and comparing process parameters, virtual sensors may provide helpful information for the optimal machine setup, and maybe even make predictions – for example that a machine will soon start dripping. Then the system will inform the operator on how to avoid the problem.

3.      Newest Developments of Innovative High Loft Processes for the Production of Soft and Bulky Nonwovens

The newest developments of its innovative and patented High Loft processes for the production of especially soft and bulky nonwovens. With these technological advancements the machine supplier responds to a growing trend.

Reicofil-5Consumers of nonwoven hygiene products in China and the Asia-Pacific region demand high quality products with a strong preference for softness. Markus Müller, Sales Director at Reicofil, says: “The trend in Asia is now influencing the European and US diaper markets. Soft-touch applications play an increasingly important role, especially in top sheet and back sheet applications where mid-segment product ranges are being gradually squeezed out of the market by premium products. The High Loft technology is our answer to the strong demand for bulky and soft nonwovens.”

The Reicofil High Loft technology is based on the proven Reicofil Bico technology which is used to produce filaments of two different raw materials (PP/PP or PP/PE). These filaments are produced in a side-side structure. The subsequent bonding of the self-crimping fibres is made by hot air or an embossing calender. Reicofil development engineers have matured the High Loft process even further and are proud to present at INDEX the three different technology levels Semi High Loft, High Loft and Full High Loft. Development engineer Sebastian Sommer explains the differences: For soft and semi High Loft nonwovens we are using prebonding with a heated press roll and a final bonding calender. The Full High Loft nonwoven is made through air bonding to preserve thickness and softness “. All these features deliver superior touch, but differ in characteristics for their later applications:  

Reicofil-3Semi High Loft: at least one layer with low or un-crimped fibers to allow easier processing at least one layer with crimped fibres (e.g. side/side) to generate thicknessbonding with calender → softbond pattern is recommended recommended resin combination: PP/PP

High Loft: all layers with crimped fibers (e.g. side/side) to generate thickness bonding with calender → softbond pattern is recommended recommended resin combination: PP/PP

Full High Loft: all layers with crimped fibers (e.g. side/side) to generate thickness bonding with hot air to preserve maximum thickness recommended resin combination: PP/PE premium products with superior softness & thickness.Reicofil-4

Markus Müller comments: “High Loft produced on our lines are a true alternative to carded fabrics. It is the perfect choice for applications in the hygiene industry, e.g. diapers or femcare products. Also industrial applications such as filtration or sound insulation can be targeted.“


4.      RF Smart: Reicofil presents New Line Concept for Low-capacity Markets

Reifenhäuser Reicofil, manufacturer of complete lines for the production of spunbonded, meltblown, and composite nonwovens, is expanding its product portfolio with a new line technology that was specially developed for entering markets with initially low capacity. With its new RF Smart lines, the company delivers a technology solution for the special requirements of such markets: Low investment risk, low capacity, high product quality.

Markus Müller, Reicofil Sales Director: “Often the industry is all about bigger, faster, more. However, if you listen closely to customers, you quickly understand that this isn’t always beneficial – for example when getting into medical applications or smaller markets in general. For the RF Smart, we intentionally reduced some characteristics like capacity, speed, and special features. In combination with a high degree of standardization, this enabled us to lower the total investment cost for the line while keeping the quality and reliability at the familiar high Reicofil level.”

With a maximum width of 3.2 meters, RF Smart lines are designed for an annual output of up to 10000 tons. This makes customers respond quickly and flexibly to the market situation and enables them to produce smaller quantities cost-effectively. The maximum speed is 400 or 600 m/min, depending on configuration.

In terms of quality, reliability, safety, and service, the RF Smart stays true to its proven Reicofil qualities. The produced materials conform to the highest standards for medical and hygiene products, at the expected annual uptime of 7200 hours customary in this market.

A high degree of standardization lowers infrastructure requirements and thereby the investment cost. The lines do not need a basement, place lower requirements on the foundations, and are thus easier to integrate into existing buildings.

Reicofil Smart lines can be ordered immediately in configurations S, SS, S(MM)S, and S(MM)(MM)S.

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