Ulster Carpets manufactures carpets of the highest quality from locations across the UK. Every step of the process is carefully controlled by the company to ensure its quality control standards are met.
Why were we needed?
Ulster Carpets weaves carpets on a loom which results in high quality finished products. This process is labour intensive – a conventionally-woven multi-coloured patterned carpet may require 14,000 bobbins to be threaded. Ulster Carpets were the pioneers in applying electronics to the control mechanism of a Jacquard loom, which allows the creation of very large designs, but still requires a huge creel of bobbins. The company was therefore still dependent on underlying technology invented in the early nineteenth century.
Ulster Carpets patented an ingenious mechanism that took one colour and put it in many different insertion points but needed a partner in motion control to make it work. We had the tools, expertise in motion control and commitment to be the right partner.
What did we do?
This has been a long-term partnership project. We have been involved in modelling the motion of existing loom functions and designing and testing a solution that brings manufacturing efficiencies without compromising the beauty and quality of the carpets. Over 12 years, Ulster Carpets replaced all 42 looms with new technology machines that utilise Quin control systems. We helped Ulster Carpets to introduce motion control expertise to an industry where automation was previously seen as too difficult to achieve. Ulster Carpets’ weaving technology has revolutionised the carpet industry and earned the company the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation.
How does it work?
The solution offers a variety of advantages including total design freedom, no pattern restriction within design, an enhanced palette of colours and subtle colour definition creating depth and texture within a design.
Significant advances in manufacturing processes at Ulster Carpets have resulted in greatly reduced production lead times for all projects, regardless of size. The technology has also achieved a reduction in raw material waste. In turn the company has reduced its energy consumption which has contributed, in part, to the achievement of the Carbon Trust Standard.
What do they say?
“This project was our first venture in multi-axis servo control and we partnered with Quin Systems for two main reasons: ease of programming and support. I‘m still glad that we made that decision.” – Dr Richard Stewart, Group Technical Director of Ulster Carpets.