The operations on the ring spinning machine that can be considered for automation are:
- transport of roving bobbins to the ring spinning machine: this automation feature is available, with different automation levels (see Spinning Preparation);
- roving bobbin change: would also be useful, but is difficult to solve; initial units are available;
- roving infeed, eliminating roving ends down: difficult to achieve, doesn‘t often happen, initial approaches exist;
- waste collection and disposal: fully implemented in yarn extraction;
- repairing ends down: calls for complicated approaches which also fail to produce totally successful piecings; currently unfavorable cost/benefit ratio, but would be desirable;
- roving stop motion for ends down: this would be desirable, but the available solutions are complicated and expensive;
- cop change (doffing): already resolved, in full use;
- cleaning: largely resolved, albeit unsatisfactorily in terms of quality, by using traversing cleaners;
- servicing and maintenance: the effort involved is much less than it used to be, but a certain amount still has to be performed manually;
- transport of cops to the winders: automation of this process is available and has become well established in mill operations;
- machine monitoring: good solutions (e.g. Zellweger Ringdata, Rieter ISM (Individual Spindle Monitoring)) are available on the market;
- production and quality monitoring: good solutions are also available here (e.g. SPIDERweb);
- yarn uniformity monitoring: this cannot be performed economically for each spinning position.
However, we must not lose sight of the fact that, with each further stage of automation that eases the workload on the operative, spindle allocation must be increased, which in turn causes an irresponsible increase in inspection tour times in some cases. This finally necessitates intensified monitoring, e.g. indicating to operatives by means of signals (lamps) the exact position within their sphere of operations at which their presence is currently required.
An analysis of the work performed by a spinning mill operative at 20 ends down per 1 000 spindle hours and an inspection tour time of 15 minutes illustrated in a graph produced by the Zinser company (Fig. 50, W. Igel „Automation of ring spinning machines“, Reutlingen Colloquium, Nov. 1984) shows how important this is. The amount of monitoring is very conspicuous here, consisting of a large proportion of unproductive time.