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The Secret Of Knitting Success

Advancements in knitting technologies bring new possibilities for knitters.<b>By Jim Phillips, Executive Editor</b>

Knitting UpdateBy Jim Phillips, Executive Editor The Secret Of Knitting Success Advancements in knitting technologies bring new possibilities for knitters. The global market for circular knitting machines has been depressed for several years now, but it seems that, somewhere along the way, MayerandCie. neglected to get the message.The German company has so far defied the general industry trend that has seen the sales of some companies slashed by as much as 50 percent. Mayer, in fact, seems to have a different problem. It can barely keep a machine on a show floor long enough to demonstrate its capabilities. The company sold every single one of the machines it had on display last year at both Tecno TMA Textil in Bologna, Italy, and ITMA Asia in Singapore. Increasing Market ShareAlthough MayerandCie.s sales in 2001 were less than the company had projected, the total number of machines fell only slightly short of Mayers all-time sales record. Although with a total of 1,735 machines delivered in 2001 we only achieved around 86 percent of our budgeted target of 2,000 machines, we can safely say that our competitors without exception suffered a substantially higher drop in sales, said Oliver Scharf, the companys sales manager. Mayer estimates its total share of the world market increased from 19 percent to at least 23 percent in 2001.

MayerandCie. says it increased its worldwide market share of circular knitting machines to at least 23 percent in 2001. As well as continuing to do well in what is, at best, a difficult market, the company has managed to increase its average price per machine through the introduction of new features, such as its new fabric-opening technique. A new open-width device, for example, achieves even take-down and even winding results over the entire width of the fabric. Mayer is resolute in sticking to its declared target of increasing its qualitative market share to 25 percent by 2003, the company states. Particularly good potential exists in Asia, which accounts for more than 50 percent of the world market for circular knitting machines. The company says it is already well-represented in both the United States and Europe.Mayer anticipates market conditions in 2002 will be similar to those of the past year. Given the improved machines and our customer-oriented concepts, we are confident of securing a larger slice of the still-diminishing cake for our company also in 2002, Scharf said. Quality is growing ever more important, and it is only high-quality knitwear that can still be marketed at a profit. He said Mayer offers solutions to address these demands that are both excellent and cost-effective.Among the companys more recent product offerings is its FineTouch program that has enabled Mayer to achieve a knitted silk effect. Fabrics knitted using the program provide the visual impression of woven fabrics, according to the company, but with elasticity that provides both good hand and good wearing properties. For single jersey applications, the company offers the MV4-3.2 with four needle types. For double jersey, the IG 3.2, an interlock machine that features fast gauge changes, is available.Mayers U.S. subsidiary, Mayer Industries Inc., continues its focus on FiberKnit, a high-production circular sliver-knitting machine for knitting high-quality plush fabric both plain and full jacquard from almost any type or combination of fiber in a prescribed length and denier. The machine is a development for the plush fabric market and can produce light- to heavyweight plush fabric in most fiber types and blends. Seamless Steams OnIn the world of high fashion, Italy knows few peers. The flagship Italian company for the manufacture of knitting machines for seamless bodywear, the Santoni Group, continues to develop new applications and designs for this formerly demure market segment that has literally taken the fashion world by storm in the past few years. The machines of the Santoni Group, which include offerings from Santoni, Vignoni, Marchisio, Mec-More, Rimach, APM and MCM have been extensively reviewed in these pages in recent times. To make the best use of capabilities, however, Santoni continues to offer new concepts from some of the worlds premier designers, such as Emilio Cavallini.The partnership between Santoni know-how and Emilio Cavallini has allowed the creation of a new line of seamless garments in tubular textiles, offering great freedom to the creative ideas of the designer, the company states. The constant research and development of Santoni know-how has allowed the designer Emilio Cavallini not only to experiment with the manufacturing of new jersey stitches, original shapes, volumes and counts, but also to create embroideries, laces, velour jacquard and stripes.Santoni offers several varieties of its seamless machines, including the SM8 series for single jersey and the SM9 series for double jersey (See New Generations In Seamless And Sliver, ATI, October 2000).Other major manufacturers are actively involved in seamless as well. Orizio Paolo S.p.A., also based in Italy, has available the Body Size MJM/BE, fitted with an automatic striper in three colors to produce fabrics with the integral or partial insertion of striped effect or the insertion of additional yarns. The machine is available in diameters of 13, 15 and 17 inches. Also in the seamless market is United Kingdom-based Monarchs Charlotte, an eight-feed single-cylinder bodysize knitting machine designed for the production of seamless underwear, swimwear, sportswear, outerwear and medical wear. The machine, developed in conjunction with Trustfin of the Czech Republic, was the first bodysize, seamless knitting machine to incorporate individual mono-magnetic needle-by-needle selection. Circular KnittingThe circular knitting machines of Pai Lung Machinery Mill Co. Ltd., Taiwan, are now distributed in the United States by Nova Knitting Machinery. Pai Lung created its X series of circular knitting machines using three-dimensional design tools, in which every component of the machine was subjected to computer simulation to ensure proper operation before the component or part was put into production. The X-frame comes standard with electronic take-down, central stitch adjustment, multilingual LCD touch screen and a RS-485 computer interface.Additional features include a single-piece support form for the feeding system; a newly designed wheel system for precision yarn control; immersed lubrication that increases speed and reduces noise and wear; a new leveling adjustment on the cylinder and dial machines drive system; a new cylinder design and dial installation that allows direct loading and unloading of the cylinder and dial; easy gap adjustment directly from the bottom; and precise cam adjustment to a tolerance of less than 0.00125 inches.The rotation speed of the X series can be increased by 15 to 20 percent over previous Pai Lung models.United Kingdom-based Camber Internationals RJ/72E is a double-jersey electronic jacquard machine that incorporates individual cylinder needle selection with non-heat-generating ceramic actuators. The machine, according to the company, is the fastest electronic jacquard machine on the market and features no loss of speed as a result of the change from mechanical operation to electronic. It is also, Camber says, the only electronic machine completely compatible with the equivalent range of mechanical machines. Compatible fabrics can be reproduced identically on the RJ/72E, the RJ/72 and the 14/RJ/72. One knitting head, using two- or three-way techniques, is used on Cambers electronic and mechanical models. Flat KnittingIn flat knitting, Shima Seiki has available its new FIRST series of computerized flatbed knitting machines. They offer, according to the Japanese company, the capability to manufacture everything from full fashioning and rib shaping to three-dimensional shaping. As well, the FIRST series is capable of whole garment production. The key feature that enables the diversity of the machine is Shima Seikis slide needle, which facilitates improvements in product quality, variety and productivity. FIRST is available in three different bed lengths, as well as triple- and four-cam versions. 
The Stoll -multi gauges® technique allowed two different gauges- E10 and E5-to be used in knitting this sweater.Also in flat knitting, H. Stoll GmbHandCo., Germany, offers the CMS 340 TC knit-and-wear machine. This machine produces complete garments with a maximum working width of 72 inches. The advantage of the machine, according to Stoll, is that the garments are almost ready to wear when they come off the machine. Protti, a family-owned company in Milan, also has a number of flat knitting machines on the market. The companys three-carriage knitting machine, the PV 91X3, for jacquard and shaped knit products, features electronic needle-by-needle selection, which allows the possibility of knitting both shorter and longer stitches on the same row.S.C.O.M.A.R., also of Italy, has a tandem-head flat knitting machine on the market that features individual needle selection and transfers. Carriages can be attached to work as a double system machine or kept separate to work in tandem on two separate pieces. The Diginit2J is also equipped with Autosplit, a patented device that automatically joins and separates the cartridges. In the case of two-color jacquard collar knitting, the company says Autosplit increases production by up to 25 percent. Warp Knitting With Karl MayerKarl Mayer has developed the KMPJ 3 EL Fashiontronic® warp knitting machine that the German company says at gauge E14 is hard to distinguish from conventional tricot machines. The new piezo pattern jacquard mechanism for each knitting needle, combined with an electronic guide bar for all three ground guide bars, facilitates pattern design and economic efficiency, according to the company. The machine gauge selected depends upon the end-use of the fabric whether underwear, outerwear or sportswear. In conventional warp knitting, all the knitting needles close the loop head in every knitting cycle at the same time. The number of yarns in the guide bars must always be set to suit the machine gauge so that each knitting needle receives at least one yarn in every knitting cycle. Otherwise, the result would be dropped stitches, which are needed only to produce loop-pile fabrics. The Karl Mayer offerings individual needle control, however, makes warp knitting attractive to new areas of fabric production.The company, in putting its new patterning concept into practice, found the use of bearded needles to be desirable since they allow a large number of coils and loops to be produced easily. Less spreading of the half-stitches and other construction elements is required at the needle shaft compared to compound and latch needles. Loop sinking is also carried out gently, resulting in a soft, flowing fabric. Global Service In Compaction
Tube-Tex is a North Carolina company that manufactures finishing machinery for tubular knitted fabric. Its major customers include Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, Jockey and Russell.The company offers compactors that preshrink tubular knits to the precise finished width for small, medium, large and extra-large sizes before cutting and sewing. The compactors remove up to 25 percent residual length shrinkage, according to the company.  
About a year ago, Tube-Tex researched its market and found that global service and supplies were primary issues among textile machinery buyers. Also from the study, it found global service meant in-country spare parts for machines and trained service technicians. Given the various electrical systems and operating conditions around the globe, the company found it needed a robust system to allow its technicians to manage, troubleshoot, and control its equipment from its Lexington plant. Global service meant Tube-Tex had to have a solid international presence that included technical services and an effective spare-parts distribution system. Additionally, every mechanical and electrical component had to meet international standards, such as the CE designation in Europe. Tube-Tex partnered with Siemens to implement a system in which all standards and requirements were met. The company advises Siemens of a parts shipment to any location within the world and Siemens, in turn, ensures the necessary spare parts for that specific machine are in stock. Tube-Tex also sought to shorten new-machine testing times before shipment. Preshipment setup and testing had been taking two to three days. With Profibus industrial networking from Siemens, setup and testing takes six to eight hours, including loading software and debugging.  Air Flow And Take-UpVanguard Supreme, Monroe, N.C., a sister company of Monarch, offers the Filter Flow 2000 option that can be included with a number of the companys machines. Filter Flow 2000 is an airflow system that improves machine operating and maintenance cost by preventing the accumulation of lint and debris in the needle, sinker and dial sections. As well, the system improves both needle and sinker life and lowers the machine operating temperatures. Filter Flow 2000, according to Vanguard, ends the need to flush the knitting machine, eliminating oil spots, oil lines, graphite lines and oily waste cloth.Italy-based Vignoni S.r.l., a sister company of Santoni, features an open-base option for its circular knitting machines with 30-, 32-, 34- and 36-inch cylinder diameters. The open base is a system for the cutting and opening of the fabric tube on only one side before the fabric is rolled onto the roller. The width of the fabric roller is twice that of a machine with a standard base. Take-down is accomplished while the fabric is spread out. The fabric edges are stretched by two rollers with worm screw profiles. Because the roller does not press the fabric, no creases are formed, according to Vignoni. And In HosieryGold Toe® has been a well-known name in hosiery for a number of years so much so that the products manufacturer, Great American Knitting Mills Inc., has changed its name to Gold Toe Brands Inc.In addition to its Gold Toe brand of hosiery, the Burlington, N.C.-based company manufactures brands such as Arrow Jockey Izod, Kenneth Cole and Nautica under licensing arrangements. Leading apparel brands look to us for our expertise, said Jim Williams, the companys chairman and CEO. Using only the best yarns available, and often developing new fibers and technologies, we carefully craft our socks to live up to the strictest manufacturing standards in the industry. We take great pride in the quality of the relationships we have developed with our retail partners and with our consumers.The company offers hosiery for men, women and children and for every lifestyle, according to Williams. April 2002