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Shima Seiki

<i>For Its SWG (FIRST) Flat Knitting Machines</i>

 Shima Seiki For Its SWG (FIRST) Flat Knitting System ATI is proud to be able to recognize the achievements of Shima Seiki Mfg. Ltd. Japan, over the past 37 years and, it particular, the recent outstanding developments in the field of flat knitting.Shima Seiki was founded in 1962 and has established a global leadership position in flat knitting. Masahiro Shima, chairman and CEO, continues to be actively involved in the development of new knitting technologies and methods.The recent introduction of the SWG machines (also know as the FIRST machines) promises a complete approach to the formation of complete garments on flat knitting machines. Shima Seikis worldwide corporate headquarters is based in Wakayama, Japan and the company employs 1,100 people. FIRST is the result of a complete re-evaluation of conventional knitting technology.FIRST stands for Full-fashioning, Intarsia, RibTransfer and Sinker and symbolizes an integration of Shima Seikis know-how and years of flat knitting machine building experience. FIRST can knit everything from integral knitting to rib shaping with increases in productivity and the highest possible quality.FIRST allows new capabilities in forming complete "integral knit" garments. The new knitting capabilities give more flexibility for knitted-in pockets, collars, buttonholes and other trimmings such that there is no sewing required. Patterning techniques such as Milano rib, inlay, pleated components and flared skirts further expand knitwears capability. The Pulldown device, which adjusts the takedown tension, operates independently on the back and front knit bodies thus allowing unmatched three-dimensional shaping of whole garments. The Slide Needle

The core of the invention is the Slide Needle, a compound type needle for flat knitting machines. The major improvement is that the knitted stitch is balanced each side of the knitted loop. The new Slide Needle has center-mounted needles that provide a knitting environment that imposes less stress on the yarn, and yields a capability of adjusting the loop size, even while knitting a single garment. The Slide Needle also allows changes in loop length regardless of gauge, even while knitting a single garment. The Slide Needle is a modification of the compound needle where the two piece slider can extend beyond the needle hook to facilitate the complex stitch transfers needed for knitting complete garments and other shaped knitted products. The needle is being manufactured by Groz Beckert. The major technical advantage of the slide needle according to both Tony McBryan, manager of the knit division in the United States, Canada and Mexico and Toshio Nakashima, General Manager for Shima Seiki, is that the slide needle is in the center of the trick in the needlebed which gives a balanced knitted loop and therefore better loop quality.The slide needle also offers multi-gauging for flat knitting by adjusting the loop length regardless of machine gauge. The multi-gauging can occur while knitting thus resulting in special knitted-in garment effects such as a single knit portion adjoining a part knitted on both needle beds. These effects can usually only be obtained by cutting and sewing at this time. Typically, gaugeless knitting means that structures ranging from 7 to 12 gauge can be produced on the same machine. The SWG-XShima Seiki has further provided the knitting industry with a glimpse of the next generation of FIRST machines- a prototype known as SWG-X machine with four active needle beds, Pulldown Device and an additional loop presser bed. The SWG-X machine is capable of producing shaped, fine gauge rib garments that do not require any sewing following the knitting stage.The significance of this innovative development in flat knitting is that the knitting of complete garments and many other three-dimensional products is now a reality. Shima Seiki is recognized for this breakthrough in knitting science and technology.

November 1999