By Knitting Trade Journal
This article was published in Knitting Trade Journal June 14, 2021. While knitting does not fall neatly under the scope of sewn products, we know the technology is of interest to many in our industry.
For those interested in seeing Shima Seiki's technology in action, the company will be exhibiting at the upcoming Techtextil North America show in Raleigh, North Carolina, August 23-25, 2021. (See the floor plan and exhibitor list here.)
Shanghai - The latest next-generation 4-bed WHOLEGARMENT flat knitting technology from Shima Seiki can improve production efficiency and reduce knitting times by up to 65 per cent.
With ITMA Asia + CITME currently taking place, but with travel restrictions in place, the Wakayama, Japan-based computerized knitting technology specialist is offering a hybrid presentation with both a booth at the show in Shanghai and a virtual booth/presentation for those unable to travel.
Speaking via video link, Shima Seiki president, Mr. Mitsuhiro Shima, who was unable to attend ITMA Asia due to travel restrictions, said he found it meaningful that a textile machine show should be held in the midst of such turmoil and confusion for the fashion industry. "Now is the change for textile machinery manufacturers to offer time solutions for the troubles the industry faces," he said, adding that the company's solutions were centered around WHOLEGARMENT technology which continues to revolutionize the industry after more than 25 years, as well as DX solutions ranging from Virtual Sampling to factory automation and sustainability. "With limited travel and teleworking, the need to rethink business methods is also evident," he said.
"We offer a variety of solutions for supporting those as well. Solutions such as our new subscription service for design software as well as our new web service for exploring yarns from around the world."
In a video presentation offering insight to the technology on show at ITMA Asia, Shima Seiki outlined how it has been presenting its WHOLEGARMENT technology under the MACH2 name for the last 14 years.
"Now we have decided to go back to the origin of WHOLEGARMENT and use the SWG X name used on the very first machine," the company said.
"X stands for four needle beds arranged in an X-shaped formation as per the original SWG-X machine, while the R stand for 'Reborn and Revolution', referring a renewal of WHOLEGARMENT technology that raises it to unprecedented levels."
At the show, Shima Seiki is demonstrating just how much the technology has evolved and improved.
By renewing various functions of the machine SWG-XR boasts significant increases in productivity. At the same time, Shima Seiki has added various new functions that allow the production of designs that could not be knitted previously.
Samples demonstrating this have been shown live but also virtually and include one piece dresses in both long sleeve and short sleeve can be knit in significantly less time - up to 25 per cent for the long sleeve and 32 per cent for the short sleeve.
This is performed with double knitting, which is made possible through the use of four systems on the new SWG XR machine.
Intarsia knitting, which had been considered unsuitable for WHOLEGARMENT due to long knitting times is also now made practical with this machine with the use of auto yarn carriers leading to a knitting time reduction of 65 per cent.
"We will continue to research possibilities for using even more colours in the future," Shima Seiki said.
The advancements in the technology are also illustrated by three further samples, which, says the company, were impossible to produce using available WHOLEGARMENT technology.
The one-piece dress below can be knit with an asymmetrical silhouette without any loss of productivity through the use of variable stitch density.
This next pullover features unique dimensional stitches made possible with Shima Seiki's new movable sinker system
Thirdly, this punch lace garment is made possible through the use of a specialised cam system. The delicate design is suitable for proposals for the spring summer season
"As you can see, SWG-XR allows efficient production, brand new designs that promise to lead the way for knit fashion," Shima Seiki says adding that the company has backed up the investments in WHOLEGARMENT technology with more than 2,700 WHOLEGARMENT registered patents that incudes stitch structures and knit techniques.
At the show Shima Seiki is also focusing on its latest developments aimed at improving knitting mill automation through Industry 4.0 and Digital Transformation (DX).
Mills can begin by creating a production plan using Shima Seiki's knit production management system with which you can visually confirm job information and production plans for each machine.
Next, knitting data is sent automatically to the knitting machine according to the production plan. This saves time on operators otherwise programming each machine.
During production, yarn cone holders that feature censors for remaining yarn allow smooth replenishment of yarn whilst reducing down time.
Shima Seiki also proposes various solution in factory automation in cooperation with partner companies. The hanger system, for example, allows efficient factory management by using it for mobilizing yarn as well as for complete garments. "We also support factory automation with semi automatic steam setting and folding, bagging and sealing. All of these production processes can be monitored in real time from your PC or smart device.
"By making factory operations visually transparent, smooth communication can be realized for increased productivity."