Following a triumphant showing at ITMA 2023 in Milan, Optima 3D, a UK-based pioneer, is poised to introduce its cutting-edge weaving technology to the USA. The renowned University of Maine's Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC) eagerly awaits installation.
A Technological Marvel Unveiled
Optima's game-changing 3D weaving system boasts a Series 600 shuttle weaving machine, seamlessly integrated with a Stäubli SX jacquard featuring 2,688 hooks. Complementing this setup is Optima's compact warp delivery creel, alongside a pirn winder for shuttle bobbins and a spool winder for creel spools.
Whispers of Ingenuity Amidst Demonstrations
During the clamorous demonstrations at ITMA 2023, where safety dictated polyester substitution for carbon fiber yarns, Optima's system stood out as the quietest. This tranquility belied its impressive operation, captivating the weaving industry's major players.
Optima's looms transcend conventional weaving with their digital control systems, enabling swift parameter changes and innovative shuttle functionality. Managing Director Steve Cooper emphasizes their focus: "Our goal was to craft a superior 3D weaving machine, delivering tangible customer advantages. It's about transforming costly fibers like carbon into essential composites."
ASCC's Vision for the Future
Professor James Stahl, an engineer at ASCC, envisions the new Optima 3D weaving system as a cornerstone for their upcoming textile lab. The technology's design flexibility, facilitated by the shuttle-based weft insertion, will elevate fabrics for soft and hard composite structures.
A Legacy of Innovation
ASCC's pioneering spirit is well-established, underscored by Guinness World Records for their feats in 3D printing. This includes the world's largest prototype polymer 3D printer, a substantial 3D-printed object, and a sizeable 3D-printed boat. Their recent project, BioHome3D, a 182-square-meter 3D-printed house fashioned from sustainable materials, continues to exemplify their dedication to innovation.
Optima's Leap Toward First Principles
Jason Kent, CEO of the British Textile Machinery Association, lauds Optima's revolutionary approach, stating, "Optima's 3D system rekindles the essence of weaving, reflecting true innovation in design and process. Its contributions to ASCC's forward-looking sustainable projects stand as a testament to UK innovation."