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Assignment on

MBA-PFM-AMMT- 5106

Assignment Title
Latest Invention of Knitting Machine

Submitted to
Mr. Reashed Bin Kabir Sir
Assistant Professor
Faculty of Design & Technology

Submitted By
Hanif Howlader; ID No: 182-151-003.

Submission Date
April: 5, 2019
INDEX
Page
SL Tropic
Number
1 Acknowledgement 3

2 A Short History of Machine Knitting 4

3 Knitting machine 5

4 Classification of Knitting Machine 6

5 Needles used in Knitting Machine: 7

6 Yarn preparation for knitting fabric: 7

7 Properties required for knitting: 8

8 Advantages of knitting: 9

9 Disadvantages in knitting: 9

10 Reason for growth of knitting industry: 9

11 Difference between warp and weft knits: 10

12 Modern electronic knitting machines 12

13 Flat bar knitting machine 13

14 Straight bar Knitting Machine 18

15 Classification of various groups of weft knitting machine 21

16 Circular Knitting Machine 23

17 Raschel knitting machine 41

18 Tricot knitting machine 51

19 Advantage and disadvantage of raschel and tricot knitting machine 66

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Acknowledgement

In preparation of my assignment, I had to take the help and guidance of some respected
persons, who deserve my deepest gratitude. As the completion of this assignment gave
me much pleasure, I would like to show my gratitude Md. Robin Reashad, Course
Instructor, Shanto-Mariam University of Creative Technology for giving me a good
guideline for assignment throughout numerous consultations. I would also like to expand
my gratitude to all those who have directly and indirectly guided me in writing this
assignment.

Many people, especially my classmates have made valuable comment suggestions on my


paper which gave me an inspiration to improve the quality of the assignment.

~3~
A Short History of Machine Knitting
Hand knitting may have been introduced to the UK around 1500, although there is little evidence to
corroborate this. It has been estimated that at the end of the 16th century there was an annual need in
England alone of 10 million pairs of stockings. Richard Rutt in a History of Hand knitting states that at
that time hand knitters could turn out six pairs of stockings a week. England exported hand knit
stockings for many years – in particular to France. In 1589 William Lee must have seen hand knitters all
around him. All contemporary evidence points to Lee’s motivation in inventing a machine as being
profit.

Lee’s invention of the frame depended on the use of a spring, bearded or barbed needle. These are held
in a strong iron bed, surrounded by a huge wooden frame not unlike a weaver’s loom. The needle bed
was held rigidly horizontal, and parts of the rest of the machine worked around this. The yarn was
initially placed across the needles by hand – this did not change for some 200 years.

Lee’s efforts to meet with royal patronage came to naught in both England, where neither Elizabeth I
nor James I were particularly interested in investing in this new technology, and France when Henri IV
was assassinated in 1610.

The use of frames initially only slowly spread throughout England, Europe and America. Jeddah Strut, of
Belpre Mills’s fame, developed a robber attachment, known as the Derby Robber, patented in 1759.
Initially formulated to make ribbed stockings, this robber bed could also produce garter stitch. Frame
knitting was conducted in both domestic and grouped (early factory) settings. By the end of the century,
the yarn no longer needed to be laid in by hand, but could be fed by operating one of two treadles with
the right foot.

As men’s fashions changed and trousers got shorter, there was a call for longer stockings, and stripes
were very much in favor. The only way to make these vertical stripes was to knit them sideways on the
frames. The frames got wider. Inevitably, fashion changed, and by the end of the eighteenth century
more thought had to go into production. Some knitters reverted to making single, shaped stockings on a
wide frame, others saw that it would be quicker to make full use of the width to make an unshaped
piece and cut and sew afterwards. They could thus undercut the prices of the shaped pieces. This put
many traditional knitters out of work. However, cut stockinet and hand-sewn seams come apart very
quickly. Rumblings led to riots, and Nudism. Around 1811-1812 groups of traditional workers were
smashing the machines of those they perceived to be mass-manufacturing shoddy. Some of the
surviving wide machines were eventually adapted to make three or even five shaped stockings at once.
The industry was very slow to recover from this in England, although there were signs of growth in
Europe, notably Germany, and America.

Improvements using pattern cards, Jacquard cards similar to those used in weaving from 1801, the
forerunner of punch cards for computers, led the way to lace and warp knitting, where several threads
are in operation at once. Massive industrial machines were constructed, in particular for the world
famous Nottingham Lace.

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Knitting machine

A modern industrial knitting machine in action

A knitting machine is a device used to create knitted fabrics in a semi or fully automated fashion. There
are numerous types of knitting machines, ranging from simple spool or board templates with no moving
parts to highly complex mechanisms controlled by electronics. All, however, produce various types of
knitted fabrics, usually either flat or tubular, and of varying degrees of complexity. Pattern stitches can
be selected by hand manipulation of the needles, or with push-buttons and dials, mechanical punch
cards, or electronic pattern reading devices and computers.

Process:

Six stages in the knitting machine cycle

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Early flat bed stocking frames had low carbon steel bearded needles where the tips were refluxed and
could be depressed onto a hollow closing the loop. The needles were supported on a needle bar (bed)
that passed back and forth, to and from the operator. The beards were simultaneously depressed by a
presser bar.

1. The needle bar goes forward- the open needles clear the web
2. The weft thread is laid on the needles
3. The weft thread falls loosely
4. The needle bar draws back, the weft is pulled in the open needles
5. The needle bar draws back, the presser bar drops, the needle loops close and the weft is drawn
back through the web
6. The needles open, a new row has been added to the web which drops under gravity

This basic process can still be recognized in all machines, but it has been refined as new technologies
have become available.

Classification of Knitting Machine


Knitting machines are mainly two types. They are:

1. Weft Knitting Machine.


2. Warp Knitting Machine.

Weft knitting is where the loops are formed one after another in a weft-ways direction as the fabric is
formed. Warp knitting is where a set of warp yarns are simultaneously formed into loops

Weft knitting machine:

It can be also divided into three types. They are:

i. Flat bar.
ii. Straight bar.
iii. Circular.

Flat bar can be also divided into four types. They are:

a. Flat bet.
b. V-bed.
c. Single bed.
d. Unidirectional.

Straight bar can be also divided into two types. They are:

a. Single needle.
b. Double needle.

Circular can be divided into two types. They are:

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a. Revolving cylinder.
b. Circular bearded single jersey.

Revolving cylinder can be also divided into two types. They are:

 Sinker top open top single jersey.


 Cylinder and dil.

Circular bearded single jersey can be also divided into two types. They are:

 Sinker wheel.
 Loop wheel.

Types of weft knitted structures:

 Single jersey structure


 Double jersey structure
 Double jersey structure:
 Rib structure
 Purl structure
 Interlock structure

Warp knitting machine:

It can be also divided into two types. They are:

i. Raschel.
ii. Tricot.

Needles used in Knitting Machine:

1. Bearded needle
2. Latch needle
3. Compound needle

Yarn preparation for knitting fabric:

Knitting process will need cone, not cheese.

1. Because the yarn tension maintain in the knitting will be constant. If using the cheese during the
unwinding yarn will be rubbed on cheese surface. so that tension will be vary because of low
twist yarn is suitable for knitting.
2. Instead of using the cone unwinding will be very easy.
3. During cone winding, the waxy roller will be essential because the yarn will be contacted with
the knitting needles. Either the yarn will damage or the needle will be damaged.

~7~
4. The cone winding machine will be run at slow speed due to the tension variation yarn will not be
uniform.
5. If using high speed winding machine cotton combed yarn will be better.
6. Electronic yarn clearer will be used.
7. Separate drive for drum and the package.
8. Pneumatic splicing must be needed.
9. Additive type of tensioned needed, whatever the variation in input tension output tension will
be compensated by amnions law principle.
10. Unwinding accelerator or the balloon breaker needed for maintaining the same tension.

Properties required for knitting:

1. Flexural rigidity: Low flexural rigidity yarn can bend easily


2. Torsional rigidity: When yarns are looped they are subjected to torsion yarns have low torsional
rigidity will work better in knitting.

Knitting fabric properties:

TYPE OF FABRIC EXTENSIBILITY ELASTIC RECOVERY

WOVEN IN-EXTENSIBLE HIGH ELASTIC RECOVERY

Weft knit Highly extensible High but incomplete recovery

Warp knit Less extensible Better recovery compared to weft knit

Other essential properties: woven vs knit

PROPERTY WOVEN KNITTED

TEAR STRENGTH LOW HIGH

Crease resistance Low High

Bending length High Low

Thickness Low High

Bending modulus Low High

Tensile strength High Low

Permeability Low High

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Due to the high permeability,

1. Air can be allowed into the fabric.


2. Very useful in summer.

If knits are permeable, why it is preferred in sweaters for winter garments?

Because the thickness of the fabric will be more, so that more air will be drape insidethe fabric. Air is a
poor conductor (thermal insulator), so that air will be heated near to body. So, our body will be warm.

Advantages of knitting:

1. Fabric can be produced from minimum number of yarns, even only one yarn.
2. The extensibility and stability of the fabric can be engineered.
3. The desirable compactness of the fabric can be achieved easily.
4. Loop structures are easily distorted under tension in application, which imparts more freedom
of movement and comfort the wearer.
5. Wastage of yarn during conversion of yarn into fabric by knitting is negligible.
6. Knitting can produce fabrics which are very much suitable for intimate wears as well as for
technical application.
7. Shaping can be done at the time of knitting on the resultant fabric.
8. The number of yarns to be knitted in the same fabric can be varied by selection.
9. Design possibilities will be much higher.

Disadvantages in knitting:

10. Dimensional stability will be lower than the woven fabric.


11. Glass fabric is very critical to knitting because bending rigidity will be higher. But in
the weaving we can produce glass fabric easily.
12. Count range will be low in the knitting machine, but weaving is the versatile machine to produce
any count of fabrics.
13.

Reason for growth of knitting industry:

Productivity of looms at particular time

TYPES OF LOOM PRODUCTIVITY

AUTO LOOM 1

Shuttle less loom 2

~9~
TYPES OF LOOM PRODUCTIVITY

Weft knitting 4

Warp knitting 16

Needle bonded fabrics 100

Spun bonded fabrics 2000

Machine productivity higher.

Labor less organized.

Floor space: Compared to auto loom for the same production

Warp knitting 1/10 th

Weft knitting 1/8 th

Power consumption: Compared to auto loom for the same production 1/4 th to 1/5 th will be
required.

Yarn and yarn preparation:

1. Low TPI yarns will be needed for knitting. So that spinning production will be higher.
2. There is no need for warping, sizing and drawing-in processes.
3. Only warp knitting need warping process.

Time required for getting an order executed is less than weaving.

Modern knitting machines particularly warp knitting machines can produce various type of technical
textiles (medical textiles, automobile textiles, geotextiles, etc.)

Computer aided designing and manufacturing in knitting have made it possible to manufacture any
desired structure within a short time at reasonable price.

Difference between warp and weft knits:


PARAMETERS WEFT KNIT WARP KNIT

YARN FEED COURSE WISE WALE WISE

knitting Sequentially Concurrently

~ 10 ~
PARAMETERS WEFT KNIT WARP KNIT

Yarn supply Cone or cheese Beam

Preparation Less More

Cost of machine Lower Higher

Floor space Less More

Types of Fabric construction Limited More

Quality of fabric Acceptable More uniform

Dimensional stability Less More

~ 11 ~
Modern electronic knitting machines

Modern electronic knitting machines

Automatic patterning machines can knit two-color Fair Isle patterns automatically, and have machine
stitch patterning features such as slipping, tucking, plating and knit weaving. Plating refers to knitting
with two strands of yarn that are held in such a way that one is in front of the other. Plated effects can
be particularly striking in a ribbed fabric. Knit weaving refers to a technique in which a separate piece of
yarn, often heavier than the knitted fabric, is carried along and caught between stitches to produce an
effect like weaving. With knit woven fabric, the purl side (usually the wrong side) is the right side of the
fabric. Current standard gauge models have the option of a lace carriage, where stitches can be
transferred from one needle to the next. The yarn passes through a tensioning mechanism and down
through the knit carriage, which feeds the yarn to the needles as they knit.

Domestic knitting machines use the weft knitting method which produces a fabric similar to hand
knitting. Knitting proceeds more quickly than in hand knitting, where (usually two) straight needles are
held in the hand and each stitch is manipulated individually across the row. Knitting machines work an
entire row of loops in a single movement.

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V-bed knitting machines consist of two beds located across from each other. They are called as front bed
and back bed. This feature allows holding not only sheets but also tubes. X-bed machine is the advanced
version of v-bed knitting machine. This type of machine adds extra metallic elements which are called
holding hooks. These hooks located above every needle for both front bed and back bed and can only
hold loops. If the loop is held by holding hook, associated with it needle cannot be used to perform any
operations.

Flat bar knitting machine

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~ 14 ~
The flat knitting machine is a two-bed machine. The most important mechanical features of a flat
knitting machine are:

 the supporting frame


 the yarn feeding system
 two needle-beds made up of flat grooved plates
 a carriage provided with cam-locks for needle control
 a transmission system
 a fabric take-down motion
 a central programming unit
 a needle-bed racking system

The two flat beds can be:

1. Inclined by 90°-100° with respect to one another, with a staggered arrangement of the
grooves accommodating latch needles or compound needles.
The two flat beds are the “front needle-bed” (indicating the needle-bed closer to the
operator) and the “rear needle-bed” (indicating the farther).
2. Both are arranged on a horizontal plane (at 180°) with the grooves, which are positioned
opposite to each other. Double hook needles slide inside the grooves; these needles are
moved by special sliders, which can transfer the stitches to the front bed – or to the rear
bed for links-links or purl knitting processes – according to the type of patterns.

The Manual Flat Knitting Machine:

The manual flat knitting machine is made up of a frame carrying the base; this structure
supports all the needle beds and motions necessary for the knitting process

The yarn unwound from the spool is picked up by the feeding system: a tensioned, which adjusts
the feeding tension and a thread guide, driven by the machine carriage, which provides the
needle with yarn at the proper time.

The pensioner is made up by a spring-load flexible arm, that lowers when the yarn tension
increases, to feed a bigger quantity of yarn, and lifts up when the tension decreases.

The Needle-bed of a manual flat knitting machine

The needles (4) accommodated inside the grooves (1) of the needle-bed can be either in knitting or in a
non-knitting position and are moved by special springs (2).

Placed between the grooves in the upper part of the needle-bed, the knock-over jacks (3) act as
supports for the yarn fed during the stitch formation.

A spring securing bar (5) and a needle securing bar (6) are also attached to the needle-bed to
keep needles and springs in a correct sliding position.

~ 15 ~
The Carriage of a Flat Knitting Machine

The carriage is made up of two metal plates linked by a stiff bridge (P); the plates
work individually and simultaneously on the front and the rear needle-beds.

The carriage carries out a double function and can be used:

1. to select the needles and make them raise or lower to form the stitch;
2. to select and drive the thread guides which feed the needles.

The plates include cam locks (F) bearing the drive and control systems of the needles, i.e. the
cams.

When the carriage moves right- or leftwards, the thread guides (B),(C),(D),(E) are locked
individually by the corresponding pistons (A) on the upper part of the bridge, that are manually
driven.

Brushes are also mounted on the carriage to ensure a smooth needle latch opening and grant a
correct feeding of the yarn.

The Cam-locks of a Manual Flat Knitting Machine

The cam-locks are a cam system which gives the necessary working information to
the individual needles; they include a fixed part, working as support, and movable cams, which
can be divided into raising cams and lowering or knock-over cams (2).

The raising cam includes:

 A tucking cam
 A looping cam

The fixed or movable cams form a symmetrical channel where the needle butt slides; the needle
moves downward and upward in the groove to form the stitch.

The different parts of the cams are chamfered; their profiles are curvilinear to make the needle
move smoothly.

The angle of inclination of the cams ranges between 40° and 50°; these values grant an optimum
running of the needle and avoid high pressures between metal parts during the motion and
excessive tensions on the yarn during the downward stroke of the needle.

The carriage allows three different work ways according to the needle stroke and to the positions
of the raising cam:

 KNIT STITCH: when the needle carries out a complete stroke, reaching the
maximum height on the looping plane

~ 16 ~
 TUCK STITCH: when the needle reaches the tucking plane and receives a
new yarn while still holding its former loop, thus forming
two loops in the one needle hook
 MISS (or FLOAT) STITCH: when the needle is not knitting and remains out of the knockback over
a needle.

High-butt Needles and Low-butt Needles

 The latch needle can have two different butt heights which make it a high-butt needle or a low
butt needle.
 The assembly of high-butt needles and low-butt needles on the knitting machine allows
different
selection and different manufacturing work ways, according to the positions of the tucking and
looping cams.

Advantages of flat knitting technology


The machine technology from Stoll offers a variety of advantages in the manufacture of innovative
sporting goods, whose design is, in many cases, derived from elastic bandages and compression hosiery.
The garments – most of which consist of bi-directional elastic fabrics – can be made to exact
specifications in terms of shape and function.

The combination of functionality and aesthetics is playing an increasingly important role in the sports
and leisurewear field (Photo: Stoll)
Besides 2D or 3D fabrics, flat knitting technologies can also produce seamless garments, including, for
example, shaped tubes or tubular fabrics linked to shaped flat knits. Meshed open structures can also be
placed alongside closed ones. These changing structures can be used in the apparel or sportswear field
for body-mapping effects or similar functional zones.

Martin Legner, Head of Technical Textiles for Stoll: “When talking about shaping, we can also talk about
composite materials.” And an important goal for the future of flat knitting technology lies in increasing
production speeds, says Legner. The company has also set its sights on incorporating expanded
technologies such as the controlled insertion of warp yarns to create new structures. Finer gauges
coupled with increases in output are expected to extend the potential of flat knitting for textiles in car
interiors and sportswear; flat and warp knitting technologies similarly have great potential with respect
to Industry 4.0 and aspects of individualization and flexibility. Both technologies have already embraced
the ideas associated with 4.0: the entire process is already digitally, making it completely transparent
and traceable. This paves the way for a modular production set-up with networked machines offering
customer-specific solutions

~ 17 ~
Straight bar Knitting Machine

~ 18 ~
A knitting machine is a device used to create knitted fabrics in a semi or fully automated fashion. There
are numerous types of knitting machines, ranging from the simple, non-mechanical, to the highly
complex and electronic. All, however, produce single jersey fabrics to complicated jacquard knitted
fabrics, usually either flat or tubular, and of varying degrees of complexity. Pattern stitches can be
selected by hand manipulation of the needles, or with push-buttons and dials, mechanical punch cards,
or electronic pattern reading devices and computers. These knitting machines also ranges from high
production to limited production capacity. The three main groups of weft knitting machinery may
broadly be classified as either straight bar frames, flats, or circulars, according to their frame design and
needle bed arrangement. From table it can be seen that the simplest weft knitting machinery has one
set of needles, arranged either in a straight line (flat bar/straight bar) or around cylinder (circular). These
machines are capable of producing single jersey fabrics, but not double jersey fabrics, and can use
combination of three types of stitch: Knit, miss or tuck. With two needle beds, double jersey fabrics such
as rib and interlock cane produced on both flat bar machines and circular machines.

Straight bar frame machines

Straight bar frames is a specific type of machine having a vertical bar of bearded needles whose
movement is controlled by circular engineering cams attached to revolving cam-shaft in the base of the
machine? The length of the machine is divided into a number of knitting heads(‘sections’ or ‘divisions’)
and each heads capable of knitting a separate but identically-dimensioned fashion-shaped garment
panel.

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The Frame:
 The needle beds
 Concept of machine gauge
 The carriage and yarn guides
 Feeding the yarn
 The take-down device
 Selecting the needles
 Selection of high and low butts

Main Features:
1. Flat knitting machine has two stationary needle beds
2. Latch needles are used
3. Angular cams of a bi-directional cam system is used
4. The cam system is attached to the underside of a carriage, which with its selected yarn carriers.
5. The carriage traverses in a reciprocating manner across the machine width
6. There is a separate cam system for each needle bed
7. The two cam systems are linked together by a bridge, which passes across from one needle bed to the
other.
8. Normally machine gauge is 3 to 18 needles per inch and machine width up to 79 inches.

a. Diagram of a V bed, and b. Diagram showing relative positions of needles from front and back beds

~ 20 ~
Advantages of Flat Knitting Machine:
1. The flat machine is the most versatile of weft knitting machines, its stitch potential includes
needles election on one or both beds, racked stitches, needle-out designs, striping, tubular
knitting, changes of knitting width and loop transfer.
2. A wide range of yarn counts may be knitted per machine gauge including a number of ends of
yarn in one knitting system, the stitch length range is wide and there is the possibility of
changing the machine gauge.
3. The operation and supervision of the machines of the simpler type is relatively less arduous than
for other weft knitting machines.
4. The number of garments or panels simultaneously knitted across the machine is dependent
upon its knitting width, yarn carrier arrangement, yarn path and package accommodation.

Uses of Flat Knitting Machines:


Articles knitted on flat machines range from trimmings, edgings and collars to garment panels and
integrally knitted garments. The common products: jumpers, pullovers, cardigans, dresses, suits, trouser
suits, hats, scarves, accessories, ribs for straight-bar machines (fully fashioned machines). Cleaning
clothes, three-dimensional and fashioned products for technical applications, multiracial machines are
under development.

Classification of various groups of weft knitting


machine
Knitting action of straight bar machine:

Below shows the movement of the knitting elements to produce one course of loops in straight bar
machine. In thread laying process, the carrier moves across the knitting head for laying the yarn on the
noses of the sinkers and dividers anon the beard side of the needles to form the new course in the
fabric. The next step is sinking, in which the slur cock contacts the jacks; it is shaped so that each jack in
turn pushes the sinker forwards to kink a loop around every two adjacent needles. The needle bar starts
moving away from the pressing-edge and the sinkers and dividers withdraw so that the newly-formed
course of loops drops off their noses onto the knocking-over bits. At the time of completion of knock-
over, the needle bar descends to its lowest position. As the heads descend below the belly of the
knocking-over bits, the old course of loops is collectively knocked-over. The sinkers and dividers move
collectively forward to hold down the fabric, the needle bar rises to the thread-laying position. The catch
bar is slightly raised to release the sinkers for individual movement at the start of the next course. In
dividing step, the catch bar moves the dividers forwards, collectively, whilst the needle bar tips slightly
outwards to allow the double loops to be divided into equal-sized needle loops around every needle.
The needle bar start descending, placing the new loops inside the hooks of the beards. The catch bar is
now lowered so that the sinkers, as well as the dividers, are collectively controlled by it for the rest of

~ 21 ~
the knitting cycle. They now start to withdraw. The needle bar moves towards the sinker verge, causing
the beards to be pressed. A further downward movement of the needle bar ‘lands’ the previous course
of loops, resting on the knock-overbites, onto the closed beards. Straight bar frames are long and
expensive machines that are highly productive in Avery narrow sphere of garment manufacture. The
knitting width is small and fashion tends not to encourage full exploitation of the fashion shaping and
stitch-transfer patterning potential of them achiness. Straight bar machines are known for their
production of high-quality garments as result of the gentle knitting action, low fabric tension and fashion
shaping, which reduces the waste of expensive yarn during cutting and is emphasized on the garments
by carefully-positioned fashion marks. The straight bar frame is the only bearded needle weft knitting
machine that is still commercially viable, although it now faces serious competition from electronically-
controlled flat machines

~ 22 ~
Circular Knitting Machine

~ 23 ~
~ 24 ~
Circular knitting

Circular knitting machines always produce a tube-shaped fabric. They exist in different sizes or
diameters, depending on the field of application. The needles and sinkers in these machines are
arranged in a circle. The machines can be divided into two different types, depending on the number of
sets of needles:

• Single set: plain;

• Two sets: rib, interlock, spacer fabric.

Both single set und double set machines also exist as Jacquard machines, which are needed for special
designs. In these machines, the movement of each needle can be controlled from each cam. Common
products that are produced with circular knitted fabric are T-shirts. For production, nearly every material
can be used. The form varies from filament to staple fibre yarn. For special purposes, also
monofilaments and wires are used.

Machines that possess just one set of needles are only able to produce plain- knitted structures. In these
structures, one side of the fabric shows right loops and the other side rib loops. The following picture
shows the loop structure of a plain knitted fabric.

Plain-knitted structure.

The interlock structure was derived from the rib structure. For the production of this kind of fabric, two
needle sets are necessary and the needles need to be arranged in a different way. The loops are formed
in two different directions. The result is a fabric with smooth surfaces on both sides. This is due to the
right loop structure on each side. The rib structure shows rib loops on both sides of the fabric. These
fabrics can be produced using loop- or needle transfer.

~ 25 ~
Left: Interlock structure. Right: rib structure.

Loop formation.

Machinery/technology innovation:

Traditionally, circular knitting machines were used for producing pantyhose [25]. In 2002 Karl Mayer
introduced the RDPJ 6/2 warp knitting machines for making seamless, jacquard patterned tights and
fish-net pantyhose. Karl Mayer’s MRPJ43/1 SU and MRPJ25/1 SU jacquard tonic Rachel knitting
machines can manufacture pantyhose with relief-like and lace patterns [26]. Other developments in
machinery were aimed to increase the efficiency, productivity [27, 28] and quality of pantyhose [29].

Matsumoto et al. have also carried out some studies on the control of sheerness in pantyhose fabrics
[18, 19, 30, 31]. They produced an experimental hybrid knitting system composed of two experimental
covering machines and a circular knitting machine. Each covering machine had two sections of single
covered yarn. The pantyhose samples were knitted under a constant condition, while the single covered
yarns were produced by controlling the covering levels of 1500 turns per meter (tpm) and 3000 tpm in
nylon yarn with a draw ratio of 2 = 3000 tpm/1500 tpm for the core polyurethane yarn. The lower
covering level produced a higher sheer in the pantyhose. Four different pantyhose samples were
produced with different covering levels of tpm in different leg regions. The results showed that the
aesthetics and sheerness of pantyhose fabric were greatly influenced by changing the covering level of

~ 26 ~
the single covered yarn in the leg parts, and the mechanical hybrid system could improve the aesthetic
properties of pantyhose fabric.

Principles and classification of circular knitting machines:

There are many types of circular knitting machine that produce long lengths of tubular fabric
manufactured for specific end uses. Single jersey machines are equipped with a single ‘cylinder’ of
needles that produces plain fabrics, about 30 inches in diameter. Wool production on single jersey
machines tends to be limited to 20 gauge or coarser, as these gauges can use two-fold wool yarns. The
cylinder system of single jersey machines is demonstrated in another inherent feature of woolen single
jersey fabrics is that the fabric edges tend to curl inwards. This is not a problem whilst the fabric is in
tubular form but once cut open can create difficulties if the fabric is not finished correctly. Terry loop
machines are the basis for fleece fabrics that are produced by knitting two yarns into the same stitch,
one ground yarn and one loop yarn. These protruding loops are then brushed or raised during finishing,
creating a fleece fabric. Sliver knitting machines are single jersey machines that have been adapted to
trap a sliver of staple fiber into the knit structure.

Single jersey machine.

Double jersey machines are single jersey machines with a ‘dial’ that houses an extra set of needles
positioned horizontally adjacent to the vertical cylinder needles. This extra set of needles allows the
production of fabrics that are twice as thick as single jersey fabrics. Typical examples include interlock-
based structures for underwear/base layer garments and 1 × 1 rib fabrics for leggings and outerwear
products. Much finer yarns can be used, as single yarns do not present a problem for double jersey
knitted fabrics.

~ 27 ~
Double jersey machine.

The technical parameter is fundamental to the classification of knitting machines. The gauge is the
spacing of the needles, and refers to the number of needles per inch. This unit of measure is indicated
with a capital E.

The circular machines now available from different manufacturers are offered in a vast range of gauge
sizes. For example, flat bed machines are available in gauge sizes from E3 to E18, and large-diameter
circular machines from E4 to E36. The vast range of gauges meets all knitting needs. Obviously, the most
common models are those with middle gauge sizes.

This parameter describes the size of the working area. On circular machines, the width is the operating
length of beds as measured from the first to the last groove, and is normally expressed in centimeters.
On circular machines, the width is the bed diameter measured in inches. The diameter is measured on
two opposite needles. Large-diameter circular machines can have a width of 60 inches; however, the
most common width is 30 inches. Medium-diameter circular machines feature a width of about 15
inches, and the small-diameter models are about 3 inches in width.

In knitting machine technology, the basic system is the set of mechanical components that move the
needles and allow the formation of the loop. The output rate of a machine is determined by the number
of systems it incorporates, as every system corresponds to a lifting or lowering movement of the
needles, and therefore, to the formation of a course.

The system motions are called cams or triangles (lifting or lowering according to the resulting movement
of the needles). The systems of flat bed machines are arranged on a machine component called the
carriage. The carriage slides forward and backward on the bed in a reciprocating motion. The machine
models currently available on the market feature between one and eight systems distributed and
combined in various ways (number of carriages and number of systems per carriage).

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Circular machines rotate in a single direction, and the various systems are distributed along the bed
circumference. By increasing the diameter of the machine, it is then possible to increase the number of
systems and therefore the number of courses inserted per each revolution.

Today, large-diameter circular machines are available with a number of diameters and systems per inch.
For example, simple constructions such as the jersey stitch can have up to 180 systems; however, the
number of systems incorporated on large-diameter circular machines normally ranges from 42 to 84.

The yarn fed to the needles in order to form the fabric must be conveyed along a predetermined path
from the spool to the knitting zone. The various motions along this path guide the yarn (thread guides),
adjust the yarn tension (yarn tensing devices), and check for eventual yarn breaks.

The yarn is taken down from the spool arranged on a special holder, called a creel (if placed beside the
machine), or a rack (if placed above it). The yarn is then guided into the knitting zone through the thread
guide, which is typically a small plate with a steel eyelet for holding the yarn. In order to obtain
particular designs such as intarsia and valise effects, the machines are equipped with special thread
guides.

Seamless knitting machines:

Seamless garments can be knit either on a circular knitting machine or on a flat (V-bed) knitting machine
(warp-knit double-layer machines that can create more open work and lace effects, a greater variety of
structures). The garments knitted on a circular machine may need minimal cutting and minimal seam
joining on one body tube and two sleeve tubes as well as the finished edges. Consequently, seamless
knitting on circular machines is not true seamless knitting. On the V-bed flat knitting machine, loop
transference for performing shaping and designing structures can be performed by selecting alternate
needles. However, this makes the garment more open and less elastic, which requires the use of more
elastic yarns on the seamless knitting machines. There are many companies offering various types of
machines producing garments by seamless technology. Some of these companies are Shima Seiki, Stoll,
Santoni, Matec, Sangiacomo, Orizio, etc. (Choi, 2005).

Santoni, part of the Lonati group, the biggest supplier of the circular knitting machinery, has 14 models.
Some of them include SM8 Top Plus (two-color designs in the welt), SM8 Top2 (three-way technique at
all feeders), SM8VE (high-speed eight-feeder model with four selection points and a single yarn-cutting
line), and SM9 (Twin Section). SM8 operates with a diameter between 10″ and 16″ and gauges of 16–
32″, whereas SM9 has a diameter of 14–22″ and gauges between 12″ and 15″. The SM9-ST is a special
version with diameters of 16″ and a 24″ gauge. The models of the series SM8 are fitted with a 16-stage
needle selection with piezoelectric drive. The machines of the SM9 range have a nonmagnetic selection
system, both in the cylinder and in the dial. The yarn selector utilizes threading in groups with seven
colors or 6 + 2 on the models of the SM8 range and threading in groups with four colors on the models
of the SM9 and SM9-S range.

HF models, that is, HF 50 (diameter 5″) and HF 90 (diameter 9″), are available from Matec in Scandicci,
Italian region of Tuscany (Lonati Group). The gauge is 16–34″. The needle–needle selection takes place

~ 29 ~
by means of four or eight selector points with a monomania, both for weft patterns and for float stitch
patterns and with cut threads. The patterns permit up to five colors plus ground color. The step-motor-
controlled stitch cams are pneumatically controlled in groups for up-and-down movement, for multi-
color patterning. The machines are fitted with threading systems that control up to nine yarn carriers or
guides per system.

SRA of the Lonati group has a specific machine for the treatment of body-size products. It consists of
special boards that enable processing in autoclaves of garments such as bodies, panties, etc. in different
sizes and from different fibre compositions. With the aid of a special loading station, the operative can
carry out a 360° control of the product.

The Jumbo (single cylinder with eight systems, each one of which has piezoelectric actuators with 16
selection steps and seven yarn carriers per delivery station) machine of Sangiacomo is available with a
diameter of 10–16″ and gauges of 16–32″ (Choi, 2005).

Orizio, the circular knitting machine manufacturer, has two versions: MTM/BE Bodysize and MTM/CE
Bodysize. The diameter is 21″ and the gauge is 20–28″ (Choi, 2005).

The Shima Seiki company invented the Whole garment® machine (SWG-V) having 5–18 gauge (needles
per inch) and knitting width ranging from 50 to 80 inches, which uses a latch needle for loop
transference. A newer version of this machine uses a special twin-gauge needle
con00000000000000uration (a pair of needles working together in each needle slot). The SES-S.WG uses
the standard latch needle and spring-type sinkers at the same pitch, making it possible to knit fine-gauge
shaping as well as integral knitting and multiple-gauge knitting. The SWG-X for fine-gauge knitwear has
either 12 or 15 gauge and uses a slide needle and a pull-down device. This is the only machine that can
knit a complete garment without an alternate needling technique. The SES-C. WG can knit coarser-
gauge complete garments using compound needles (the hook and hook closing portions are separately
controlled) and a take-down system using a pull-down device. This compound needle provides higher
operational stability. The FIRST (another model) uses a slide needle and a unique two-piece slide
mechanism. This eliminates the transfer spring and allows stable knitting, better quality, and higher
productivity (Choi, 2005).

Shima Seiki knitting machines with CAD system are also available today. Using CAD system, the knit
patterns can be created and all data can be saved to a diskette. The saved data can be transferred to the
Shima Seiki knitting machine, which can be operated in the required design. Shima Sieki SDS ONE® CAD
is a totally integrated knit production system that allows all phases including planning, design,
evaluation, and production (Spencer, 2001). The most important feature in this system is a loop
simulation program that permits quick estimation of knit structures without any kind of actual sample-
making (Hunter, 2004b). In this program, there is an option to view the knit problems and to try out
diverse knit structures on the computer system before beginning actual knitting. However, the CAD
patterning of the seamless garment knitting is comparatively complicated in comparison to fully
fashioned knitting due to the alternate needle selection process during knitting.

STOLL is also a major machinery producer for seamless knitting. Knitting machines made by STOLL are
similar to the machines made by Shima Sieki. The STOLL SIRIX® (M1) CAD system is a complete design,
patterning, and programming system utilizing two windows to graphically develop knitting programs for
STOLL machines in a similar manner to the Shima Sieki CAD system (Spencer, 2001). The STOLL markets
complete garment-knitting machines known as Knit and wear®. Knit and wear® flat-bed machines from

~ 30 ~
STOLL use a gauge range of E2.5–E9.2 and a knitting width of 72–84 inches. The five different variations
of the machine are CMS 330 TC, CMS 340 TC, CMS 330 TC-T, CMS 330 TC-C, and CMS 340 TC-M. All the
machines use latch needles (Choi, 2005).

Yarn storage and delivery systems on circular knitting machines:

The specific features influencing yarn delivery on large-diameter circular knitting machines are high
productivity, continuous knitting and a great number of simultaneously processed yarns. Some of these
machines are equipped with a striper (yarn guide exchange), but only a few enable reciprocated
knitting. Small diameter hosiery machines have up to four (or occasionally eight) knitting systems
(feeders) and an important feature is the combination of rotary and reciprocal movement of the needle
bed (beds). Between these extremes are the middle diameter machines for ‘body’ technologies.

Below shows the simplified yarn supply system on a large-diameter circular knitting machine. Yarns (1)
are brought from the bobbins (2), passed through the side creel to the feeder (3) and finally to the yarn
guide (4). Usually the feeder (3) is equipped with stop-motion sensors for yarn checking.

Outline of yarn feeding on a circular knitting machine.

The creel of the knitting machine controls the placement of yarn packages (bobbins) on all machines.
Modern large-diameter circular machines use separate side creels, which are able to hold a large
number of packages in a vertical position. Floor projection of these creels may differ (oblong, circular,
etc.). If there is a long distance between the bobbin and the yarn guide, the yarns may be threaded
pneumatically into tubes. The modular design facilitates the changing of the number of bobbins where
required. Small-diameter machines with a smaller number of cam systems use either side creels or
creels designed as integral to the machine.

Modern creels make it possible to use double bobbins. Each pair of creel pins is centered on one thread
eye the yarn of a new bobbin (3) may be linked to the end of the previous length of yarn (1) on bobbin
(2) without stopping the machine. Some of the creels are equipped with systems for blowing off dust
(fan creel), or with air circulation and filtration (filter creel). The example in shows the bobbins (2) in six
rows, closed in a box with internal air circulation, provided by fans (4) and tubes (3). A filter (5) clears
dust from the air. The creel can be air-conditioned. When the machine is not equipped with a striper,
this can be supplied by yarn exchange on the creel; some systems enable the knots to be
positioned in the optimal area of the fabric.

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Double bobbins on creel.

Cross-section of creel with internal air circuit.

Yarn length control (positive feeding), when not used for patterned fabric knitting, must enable different
yarn lengths to be fed into courses in different structures. As an example, in Milano-rib knit there is one
double-faced course (1) and two single-faced (2), (3) courses in the repeated pattern as a double-faced
course contains twice as many stitches, the yarns must be fed at approximately twice the length per
machine revolution. This is the reason why these feeders use several belts, individually adjusted for
speed, whilst feeders using yarns of the same length are controlled by one belt. The feeders are usually
mounted onto two or three rings around the machine. If a con oration with two belts on each ring is
used yarns can be fed simultaneously at four or six speeds.

~ 32 ~
Milano-rib knit.

Feeders with yarn tensile stress control may use a belt drive with a clutch or an electronically controlled
drive to regulate the number of turns of the yarn.

When knitting plain rather than patterned fabric, there is a danger of striping due to uneven adjustment
of the feeding of individual yarns. This necessitates the use of instruments for measuring the length of
fed yarns and their tensile force.

Some types of circular knitting machines enable 3D (spatial) knitting in different types of products. Three
possibilities are considered here:

● Hosiery products, including those for medical use. The number of needles cannot be changed so the
3D shaping of the fabric is achieved by controlling the length of fed yarn. For example, in the production
of compressive stockings and similar products, the yarn delivery system is responsible for regulating the
length of the inlayed elastomeric yarn so as to produce a compressive effect.

● ‘Body’ technologies, often used in the manufacture of ready-to-wear products, use 3D shaping in
which the number of needles in the machine bed is constant. Advanced yarn delivery systems are
important in this process.

● Single-knitting system (feeder) circular machines with rotary cams provide the advantage of both
stable creel and needle beds. The yarn feeding system can be very simple. This type of machine is mainly
used in the manufacture of technical products and dress accessories.

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Standard weft knitting processes:

Both flat and circular weft knitting machines possess one or two needle beds. Circular knitting machines
are dedicated to the manufacturing of tubular preforms, and flat knitting machines are suitable in
general for flat or 3D preforms, including tubular ones.

The knitted fabrics are thus classified into two groups depending on the use of one or two needle beds.
If all the needles of one needle bed work, the basic single bed fabric obtained, called plain knit, only
comprises front stitches. The basic double beds fabric, called 1 × 1 rib knit, obtained when all the
needles of both needle beds work , comprises alternate wales of front and back stitches. From these
two basic fabrics, many variants can be derived by selecting the working needles according to a regular
pattern. Ramakrishna (1997) took an inventory of the different fabrics available by knitting. About 14
single needle bed fabrics and 20 double needle bed ones were listed. Among them, the most used are
both basic knits, plain (Balea et al., 2014; Dusserre et al., 2010) and 1 × 1 rib (Aktaş et al., 2013; Chou et
al., 1992; Dusserre et al., 2010) knits, but also interlock (Chou et al., 1992; Sun et al., 2009) and full
cardigan fabrics (Chou et al., 1992). One of the most popular is the double needle bed Milano knit (Aktaş
et al., 2013; Leong et al., 1998; Chou et al., 1992; These knitting patterns can be juxtaposed in the same
fabric to manufacture a preform with various thicknesses and fiber volume fractions in selected areas
and thus to get local tailor-made properties.

Basic knits used as composite reinforcements: (a) plain knit, (b) 1 × 1 rib knit, and (c) Milano-rib knit.

The stitch transfer technique, using specific needles, allows transferring a stitch from a needle to the
opposite needle on the other needle bed. Thanks to a relative displacement of the needle beds in the
course-wise direction, a second transfer makes possible to merge two wales, or on the contrary to add a
new wale in the width of the fabric. This technique allows knitting holed fabrics without necessitating
cutting the yarn (Kameo et al., 1999). This technique is also employed to knit 3D preforms (see for
instance a knitted beanie) by changing the number of wales at each course.

~ 34 ~
Examples of stitch transfer leading (a) to a holed fabric and (b) to merge Wales allowing knitting
3D performs.

Weft-knitting machines and fabric types:

Weft-knitted fabric can be produced on either circular or flat machines. Circular knitting machines have
the needles arranged in slots around the circumference of a cylinder and the fabric is manufactured as a
tube. Flat machines have the needles arranged in a straight line on a needle bed with knitting taking
place from side to side, the resulting fabric being produced in open width.

On a simple flat machine, a carriage carrying the yarn supply traverses back and forwards across the
width of the machine. For each traverse, one row, or course, is normally knitted. The productivity of this
type of machine is limited by the speed of traverse and the need to slow down and stop at either end.
On circular machines the yarn always travels in the same direction and so the productivity is increased.
Circular machines also allow an increase in the number of feeder points around the machine, with
productivity being increased in direct proportion to the number of feeders. It is not uncommon to have
100 feeders around a modern 30-inch diameter machine.

Stripe effects can be achieved by feeding different-colored yarn to different feeders. As well as being
able to produce stripes, pattern and texture can be introduced using fancy yarns and modified loop
shapes.

Fully-fashioned machines are flat machines that knit to shape individual garment pieces. A typical fully-
fashioned machine will produce three individual garment backs or fronts across the width of the
machine.

Flat machines usually produce body blanks, i.e. panels with integral ribs that are then cut and sewn into
garments. Some circular machines can also produce body blanks. These panels are pressed on frames
before slitting and cutting into body and sleeve pieces. Many circular machines however produce
continuous fabric which is then slit and treated in much the same way as woven fabric. An exception to
this is sweatshirt fleece and single jersey for tee-shirts, which is often sold in tubular form. Circular
machines producing continuous fabric are usually large-diameter machines with many yarn feeds that
knit at high speed.

Knitwear is traditionally produced on course to medium gauge fully-fashioned, circular or flat machines
which can be programmed to knit a welt (a neat secure starting edge), rib and body fabric in sequence.

~ 35 ~
Jersey fabrics are produced as continuous fabrics on fine-gauge circular machines. These fabrics can be
divided into single or double jersey depending on whether the fabric is knitted on one or two sets of
needles.

Over the last twenty years, developments in knitting have been considerable. In many instances these
developments have been directly reflected in the trends seen in knitwear design, as designers have
worked to produce new looks and styles. The introduction of machines with individual needle selection
in the late 70s saw many garments being produced in designs reflecting this technology, e.g. large
picture patterns of racing cars and animals on the front and back of garments. The latest commercially-
available electronically-controlled flat machines with sophisticated needle control now enable complete
garments to be knitted in one piece.

Plain fabric:

The simplest weft-knitted fabric is made on one set of needles with all the loops intermeshed in the
same direction. It is called plain fabric. The face of the fabric is smooth and shows the side limbs of the
loops as a series of interlocking ‘v’s . The reverse is rough and looks like columns of interlacing
semicircles. Plain fabric can be unproved (unraveled) from either end. It has a tendency to curl towards
the back at the sides and towards the front at the top and bottom.

Loop diagram showing face of plain weft-knit fabric.

Rib fabrics:

Rib fabrics are knitted on machines with two sets of needles. These needles are arranged in such a way
as to allow them to intermesh when raised, and this needle arrangement is called rib gaiting. Flat
machines with two sets of needles arranged in this way are usually called ‘v’ beds because from the side
they look like an inverted ‘v’. The needle beds are called the front and the back beds.

~ 36 ~
Circular machines with two sets of needles have a dial and cylinder. The cylinder needles are arranged
vertically round the machine and are the equivalent of the flat machine’s front bed. The dial needles are
arranged horizontally inside the cylinder and are the equivalent of the flat machine’s back bed.

The simplest rib fabric is 1 × 1 rib. This has a vertical rib appearance because the face loop wales tend to
move over and in front of the reverse loop wales. 1 × 1 rib has the appearance of the technical face of
plain fabric on both sides until stretched, when the reverse loop wales in between are revealed.

Loop diagram: 1 × 1 rib.

Because 1 × 1 rib is balanced by alternate wales of face loops on each side, it lies flat, without curl, when
cut. It can only be unroved from the end knitted last. This type of rib is an elastic structure with good
widthways recovery after it has been stretched because the face loop wales move over and in front of
the reverse loop wales.

Because ribs cannot be unroved from the end knitted first and because of their elasticity, they are
particularly suited to the edges of garments such as the tops of socks, cuffs and the waist edge of
garments.

Purl fabrics:

Purl fabrics are knitted on machines with one set of needles, which are double-ended, allowing loops to
be intermeshed in two directions. Purl fabrics are characterised by the fact that they have face and
reverse loops in the same wale. This type of structure can only be achieved on purl machines or by rib
loop transfer. Rib machines will knit purl structures if loop transfer between the beds is possible. Loops
on the front bed can be transferred to needles on the back bed and vice versa to produce face and
reverse loops in the same wale.

On a purl machine, the tricks (the slots in which the needles are located) of the two needle beds are
directly opposite and in the same plane. This allows the double-ended needles to be transferred across
from one needle bed to the other, enabling fabrics to be made that have face and reverse loops in the
same wale.

~ 37 ~
Loop diagram: 1 × 1 purl.

There are two types of purl machine—flat purls, which have two horizontally opposed needle beds; and
circular purls, which have two superimposed cylinders one above the other so that the needles move in
a vertical direction.

Interlock fabric:

Interlock machines are weft-knitting machines that have two sets of needles on a back and front bed (or
dial and cylinder). Unlike rib machines however the needles in one bed are directly opposite those on
the other bed. The fabrics are constructed so that opposite needles are not lifted at the same time. The
fabrics produced are double-knit structures; essentially two fabrics interlocked together.

~ 38 ~
Advantage of circular knitting machine
1. A detector exists on circular knitting machines which detects warps and wefts. It can
supervise behavior of warps or wefts in service real time. When wefts or warps break or
finish, detector can show the direction and stop the machine from operating
automatically.
2. Tension on warps or wefts can be controlled by machines automatically. The surface
of woven bag is smooth and beautiful.
3. Micro-electric control. Meters are counted automatically and shown by data.
4. Intelligent ascension takes place of conventional mechanical dense gear variation of
wefts.
5. The upper and lower tracks of shuttles in circular knitting machines are handled by
hard chromium plating, highly improving its abrasive resistance.
6. Frequency conversion of machines is stable.
7. Circular knitting machines have hyperbola cams, nylon slides and brown box sliders.
Oil pump outside machines force oil-bath for lubrication. Circular knitting machines have
less abrasion and low maintenance costs.

Problems and Limitations of Circular Knitted Structures


1. Problems in high-speed circular knitting machines
2. Limitation of pattern in jacquard circular machines
3. Production limits of seamless knitting machines

Problems in high-speed circular knitting machines


The most important problems in high-speed knitting machines are classified as the limitation of
friction occurrence in knitting elements and tension control in the yarn feeding system.

Some research has been done about the influence of different parameters and factors among
yarn, needles and knitting elements during the knitting operations. Important factors in the
contact between yarn and knitting elements during the knitting process are friction, flexural
rigidity, the mechanical properties of the yarn and the velocity of knitting elements and yarn in
the knitting zone.

The tension on the yarn during knitting is influenced by the number and the angles of yarn wrap
between yarn and machine elements, and the fact that robbing back can reduce tension in the
yarn.

An increase of input tension makes the position of maximum knitting tension move towards the
yarn supply side, and with lower input tension the point of maximum knitting tension lies closer
to the knitting point. These factors and the fact that many parameters cooperate and influence
each other between yarn and machine elements make knitting a rather complex process. When
it comes to producing knitted structures of yarns or monofilament fibres with high stiffness such
as carbon, aramid or polyester mono-filament, parameters such as friction and the flexural
rigidity of the yarn are of considerable importance for the knit-ability of the structure.

~ 39 ~
However, a significant problem is that some of these stiff yarns are almost inextensible, which
causes tension peaks with breakage of the yarn or single filament in the yarn bundle, especially
in high speed knitting operations.

Limitation of pattern in jacquard circular machines


The creation of patterns in jacquard machines is limited to a number of knit elements: the yarn
feeder system, the needle selection system and the dial needle bar gauge. Mini-jack circular
knitting machines are suited to the production of jacquard fabrics. Some models are equipped
with selection systems that have 39 levels, 37 of which are for jacquard selection and two for set
selections, but more selection elements are limited by the diameter of the dial.

Production limits of seamless knitting machines


The most important limitation of seamless knitting machines in circular form is the poor
flexibility of these types of machine for producing fabrics in different diameters. In the
commonly used method of apparel making in flat fabrics the cutting operation is important. In
seamless technology the fabric cannot be cut, and therefore the various diameters should be
prepared in the knitting process. This applies to different types of seamless machine of varying
cylinder diameters.

The short, thin fabrics are knitted in small diameter cylinders and therefore the production rate
is lower. This leads to increasing costs and may be a serious problem for seamless, circular
knitting technology.

Seamless fabric is knitted in simple structures and there is no advanced jacquard machine to
prepare a mixed pattern fabric for this purpose. Seamless circular knitting machines have lately
been manufactured to apply a fine gauge as well. These machines are suitable if the benefit of
selling price of fabric is justified by the cost of production at a limited rate of production.

~ 40 ~
Raschel knitting machine

~ 41 ~
Description of the raschel machine:

Raschel machines originally had a gauge expressed in needles per 2 inches (5 cm), so that, for example, a
36-gauge raschel would have eighteen needles per inch. Now, the standard E gauge (needles per inch) is
generally used. There is a wide gauge range, from E 1 to E 32.

~ 42 ~
Knitting elements in a latch needle raschel machine.

Cross-section of a latch needle raschel machine [Reprinted by permission of Knitting Times, official
publication of the NKSA in the USA].

~ 43 ~
Their chain links are usually numbered in even numbers, 0,2, 4, 6 etc., generally with two links per
course. Raschel sinkers perform only the function of holding down the loops whilst the needles rise.
They are not joined together by a lead across their ends nearest to the needle bar so they can move
away clear of the needles, towards the back of the machine, for the rest of the knitting cycle. The needle
trickplate verge acts as a fabric support ledge and knock-over surface.

The fabric is drawn downwards from the needles, almost parallel to the needle bar, at an angle of 120–
160 degrees, by a series of take-down rollers. This creates a high take-up tension, particularly suitable
for open fabric structures such as laces and nets.

The warp beams are arranged above the needle bar, centred over the rockershaft, so that warp sheets
pass down to the guide bars on either side of it. The beams are placed above the machine so that it is
accessible at the front for fabric inspection and at the back for mechanical attention to the knitting
elements. The guide bars are threaded, commencing with the middle bars and working outwards from
either side of the rocker-shaft. They are numbered from the front of the machine.

With the raschel arrangement, there is accommodation for at least four 32-inch diameter beams or
large numbers of small diameter pattern bars. The accessibility of the raschel machine, its simple
knitting action, and its strong and efficient take-down tension make it particularly suitable for the
production of coarse gauge open-work structures employing pillar stitch, inlay lapping variations and
partly- threaded guide bars. These are difficult to knit and hold down with the tricot arrangement of
sinkers. Additional warp threads may be supplied at the selvedges to ensure that these needles knit
fabric overlaps, otherwise a progressive press-off of loops may occur.

Raschel Knitting machines:

To understand warp knit Raschel machines, it will be helpful to compare them with warp knit
Tricot machines. The following are the 12 basic differences.

• Raschel machines are heavier and produce heavier fabrics.

• Older Raschel machines have latch needles with knitting speeds of 800–900 spm whereas the older
Tricot machines have spring bearded needles with knitting speeds of 800 to 2 000 spm.

• New Raschel and Tricot machines use compound needles, with Raschel machines knitting more than 1
300 spm and Tricot machines knitting more than 2 000 spm.

• Raschel machines use two 50-inch beams for 100-inch wide machines, or four 50-inch beams for 200-
inch wide machines, six 21-inch or three 42-inch beams for 130-inch wide machines. Tricot machines use
four 42-inch beams for 168-inch wide machines.

• In Raschel machines the gauge of the machines is measured in needles per two inches and common
gauges are 64 gauge (32 npi) and 56 gauge (28 npi). On the other hand, in Tricot, gauge equals needles
per inch, and common gauges are 28, 32, and 36 (40 gauge machines have been developed but are not
used widely).

~ 44 ~
• The fabric angle to the warp on Raschel machines is 160° take-up whereas in Tricot machines the angle
is 90° take-up. This is the reason why Raschel stitch constructions such as heavy Gentlissimo and Power
Net cannot be knitted on Tricot machines.

• On Raschel machines, fabric take-up tension is high, whereas on Tricot machines take-up tension is
lower.

• Raschel machines with latch and compound needles do not need a presser bar. Since the needles are
heavier and bigger, Raschel machines can use spun yarn or heavier spandex yarn, whereas the Tricot
machines with spring bearded needles need a presser bar, and since needles are smaller, knitting of
spun yarn is more critical.

• Raschel machines knit up to 1 500 denier yarn, whereas Tricot machines knit up to 240 denier hard
yarn (for spandex 1 000 versus 140 denier respectively).

• In Raschel machines, the links move half a course, whereas in Tricot machines the links move one
course. Because of this, lap notation of Raschel is written 2-0, 2-4 for the back bar Jersey stitch. The
same lap notation for Tricot is written 1-0, 1-2.

• Raschel machines are more versatile and are used for fancy pattern work, whereas Tricot machines are
less versatile in styling and designing.

• Raschel mills are smaller whereas Tricot mills are larger and more likely to be integrated mills.

Equipment:

Warp-knitted space fabrics are manufactured using the double needle bed raschel machine. The
machine possesses at least four guide bars, but between five and seven guide bars are used most of the
time. The distance between two needle beds can be adjusted to produce different thicknesses according
to requirements.

Weft-knitted space fabrics are manufactured using a circular or a flat knitting machine. Two surface
layers are manufactured on two needle beds respectively, and they are connected by tuck stitch. The
distance between two needle beds can be adjusted to produce different thicknesses according to the
requirement. At present, weft-knitted space fabrics are usually manufactured using an automatic flat
knitting machine.

Fall-plate patterning:

The fall-plate loop is achieved by a mechanism exclusive to latch needle raschel machines, although a
similar effect to fall-plate loop structure, termed plaiting, can be achieved on crochet machines by
wrapping a loop below the chain loop on the latch of the needle as it is moving out to clear.

~ 45 ~
Multi-purpose fall-plate raschel machine [Karl Mayer]. Bars 1, 2, 3 - fall-plate guide bars; bar 4 - knitting
guide bar; bars 5, 6 - inlay guide bars. L = latch opening wire; S = holding-down sinker; T = trick plate; F =
fall-plate.

In both arrangements, the fall-plate loop slips from the open lap immediately after formation and joins
the technical back of the old loop from the previous course without being pulled through it.

The fall-plate is a thin metal blade attached to a bar and extending the full width of the machine. It is
mounted between the guide bars and is attached to the guide bar brackets so that it makes the same
swinging movement but it also achieves a vertical upwards and downwards movement described by the
American term ‘chopper bar’. The vertical movement of the fall-plate can be obtained from a pot cam
on the main cam-shaft and is adapted through linkages.

~ 46 ~
The raschel knitting action is normal; the guide bars swing through the needles as they rise, then shog
for the overlap and return to the front of the machine. The fall-plate descends, contacting the threads
from guide bars in front of it as they pass onto the latch of the needle.

Fall-plate raised out of action.

Fall-plate lowered into action.

As the fall-plate descends, it causes the overlaps formed by those threads to be pushed downwards and
off the latches, to join the loops of the previous course. They are knocked-over with them whilst the
overlaps of the guide bars behind the fallplate remain unaffected in the hooks of the needles, ready to
form the next course. As the needles rise after knocking-over, the fall-plate is lifted to its high,
inoperative position where it remains until the next knitting cycle.

~ 47 ~
It is necessary to knit the ground structure overlaps on the guide bars behind the fall-plate because
these are unaffected by its descent. Every needle must receive at least one ground structure overlap. It
is preferable to overlap the fall-plate yarn in the opposite direction to the ground overlaps as this is less
likely to cause the ground overlaps to be lower on the needle stems and thus to be pushed off the
latches as the fall-plate threads are pushed down.

As fall-plate yarn is not knitted by the needle hook, fancy or heavy yarns may be used in partly- or fully-
threaded guide bars. Fall-plate designs use either open or closed lap movements to produce attractive
relief designs whose overlaps as well as underlaps show clearly on the technical back, often as ‘cup
handle’ shapes . The connection of the fall-plate pattern yarns to the ground structure is peculiar to its
design. The loop is held down at the technical back of the ground underlap of the course above, as well
as by the underlap of the course at which it appears.

Simple fall-plate loop structure.

Raschel fall-plate fabric showing on the technical back of a pillar inlay structure.

~ 48 ~
The fall-plate underlap floats loosely across the fabric up to its next overlap. The overlaps appear at the
course previous to that at which they were formed.

Multi guide bar machines having fall-plate pattern bars controlled by an automatic overlap are used to
produce three-dimensional ‘embroidery’ or ‘broche’ relief designs in lace, particularly for curtains. These
pattern bars will be positioned at the front of the machine whereas the ground guide bars will be placed
behind the fallplate, and any inlay pattern bars will be placed behind these bars.

A fall-plate raschel termed the Co-we-nit was introduced by Karl Mayer in 1967. It was designed
specifically to knit a woven-like structure. Despite arousing considerable interest, it was commercially
unsuccessful for the following reasons:

• Its design scope was limited.

• Co-we-nit structures were difficult to mend.

• Productivity was low.

• It required better quality yarns than a weaving loom in order to produce an equivalent fabric.

The machine produced two separately-timed overlap actions, one for knitting the pillar stitch of the
front bar, the second for the weft bar behind it that open laps in the same direction. The weft bar open
laps are then pushed from the needle hooks by the fall-plate so that they appear to be an inlay. The two
back guide bars, gauged twice as fine as the needle bar, provide vertical warp threads that ‘interweave’
with the fall-plate weft yarns, using carefully arranged evasion and miss-lapping move- ments.A half-
needle space evasion movement can cause only one of the two threads of the warp bar to cross over
the weft on the technical back of the structure, which is the effect side.

Warp Knitting Machines:

Tricot and raschel warp knitting machines have developed to find a niche in relation to the type of fabric
that each produces. There are discrete differences in the con00000000000000uration of the knitting
elements that support distinctive structure types (see Spencer (2001) for more detail). The structures
obtained from the tricot machine are generally of the plain type and find many applications,
particularity in lingerie and sportswear; quite often, these incorporate elastane or Lycra to produce
fabrics with two-way stretch. Raschel machines, by comparison, are useful for other structure types,
since they can knit yarns in both filament and staple form into open works, laces, jacquards, fancywork
(largest outlet) and pile fabrics. Structures produced from the raschel machine do not tend to stretch
significantly and can be designed to be highly structural for technical applications. The most common
warp knitted structures in clothing and fashion are those produced using the tricot type of machine. The
simplest structure that is produced using one guide bar (00000000000000ure 12.2) is rarely used in any
application because it is unstable (the loops incline to the direction of the yarn feed) when the knitting
takedown is removed. The most common warp knitted structures to be produced are those of the plain
tricot type knitted with two needle bars. 00000000000000ure 12.4 shows one of the most common
warp knitted structures, tricot or half jersey. However, in fashion applications locknit is by far the most
popular option since it has good extensibility, cover, handle and excellent drape, and is flatter on the
reverse of the fabric. In contrast, raschel machines can have one or two beds of needles (hence they can
produce double structures). Many fabric types can be produced but the general structure categories can

~ 49 ~
be divided into five types; openwork, inlaid yarns, double structures, pile structures and structures with
spacers (there are exceptions to these structure types, but they tend to fall into the technical textile
category that is outside the scope of this publication), 00000000000000ure 12.5 illustrates the most
popular fashion structures. The structures used in clothing applications tend to be split into three
categories: those used in functional clothing such as bi-directional stretch fabrics; the supportive
component in laminate structures and compression fabrics; and those which add aesthetic value such as
laces, jacquards and fancy nets. The Italian design house Missoni continues to produce sophisticated
warp knitwear designs (Black, 2002), and Karl Mayer, the German warp knitting manufacturer, remains a
global leader in the development of warp knitting machines.

Tricot warp knitted structures (left) Tricot - front, (right) Tricot - reverse.

Raschel warp knitted structures (left) openwork, (right) inlayed yarns.

~ 50 ~
Seamless warp knitting technology:

Seamless warp knitting technology has enabled manufacturers to develop a niche market and enabled
the innovation and quality of products to be taken to a new level. As opposed to circular seamless weft
knitting machines which normally have a body-size cylinder, warp knitting requires double needle bars
to produce seamless garments. The double needle bar Raschel machine RDPJ 6/2 developed by Karl
Mayer is specially designed for the production of jacquard seamless fabrics [32, 33]. The built-in piezo-
jacquard system is capable of joining the thick sectional fabric structure smoothly and seamlessly.
Application of this technology can produce cylindrical products almost completely, in many cases
without the need for subsequent sewing [34].

The machine operates in a gauge of E16 or E24 with a working width of 138 inches. It has four ground
guide bars and two piezo-jacquard guide bars. Unlike other electronic jacquard systems, the piezo-
jacquard system uses the piezoelectric elements to control individual jacquard guides independently,
and thus the pattern area in the width direction is unrestricted [3].

Tricot knitting machine

~ 51 ~
~ 52 ~
~ 53 ~
The tricot machine:

Tricot machines have a gauge expressed in needles per inch (E) and chain link numbering 0,1,2,3,4, etc.,
generally with three links per course. Their sinkers, which are joined to each other at the front and back,
never move clear of the needles as they combine the functions of holding-down, knocking-over, and
supporting the fabric loops.

Cross-section of a bearded needle tricot machine.

~ 54 ~
S

Knitting elements in a bearded needle tricot machine.

The fabric is drawn-away towards the batching roller almost at right angles to the needle bar. The warp
beams are accommodated in an inclined arc towards the back of the machine, with the top beam
supplying the front guide bar and the bottom beam supplying the back guide bar. The warp sheets pass
over the top of the guide rocker-shaft to their tension rails situated at the front of the machine. The
machines have a simple construction and a short yarn path from the beams.

Mechanical attention to the knitting elements is carried out at the front of the machine as the warp
beams prevent access to the back. As all the warp sheets are drawn over the rocker-shaft to the front of
the machine it is easier to thread up the guide bars commencing with the back bar; otherwise the front
warp will obscure this operation. The guide bars are therefore numbered from the back towards the
front of the machine because of this threading sequence.

The conventional tricot beam arrangement generally restricts the maximum number of beams and guide
bars to four, but this is not of major importance as the majority of tricot machines employ only two
guide bars.

The small angle of fabric take-away and the type of knitting action produce a gentle and low tension on
the structure being knitted. This is ideal for the high-speed production of simple, fine-gauge (28-44npi),
close-knitted, plain-and-patterned structures, particularly for lingerie and apparel, especially using two
guide bar structures with both bars overlapping and underlapping.

In the past, the two guide bar tricot or locknit machine proved most popular in E 28 and E 32 gauge,
with knitting widths of 84 and 168 inches (213 and 426 cm) using 40-denier nylon. It is possible to knit
from 10-denier nylon up to 1/20's cotton count. Machine gauges can range from E 10 for coarse staple
fibre yarns to E 20- E 24 for textured yarn fabrics and E 36-E 44 gauge for fine fabrics, in knitting widths
up to 260 inches (660 cm).

~ 55 ~
The needles, like the sinkers and guides, may be cast in leads or they may be individually cranked to fit
into the needle bar.

The knitting cycle of the bearded needle tricot machine:

illustrates the knitting cycle of the bearded needle tricot machine:

Knitting cycle of a bearded needle tricot machine.

1. The rest position (a). The needles have risen to 2/3 of their full height from knock-over and have their
beards towards the back of the machine. The presser is withdrawn and the guides are at the front of the
machine with the sinkers forward, holding the old overlaps in their throats so that they are maintained
at the correct height on the needle stems.

2. Backward swing and overlap shog (b, c). After swinging through the needles to the beard side, the
guides are overlapped across the beards, usually by one needle space in opposite directions.

3. The return swing and second rise (c, d). As the guides swing to the front, the needles rise to their full
height so that the newly-formed overlaps slip off the beards onto the stems above the old overlaps. This
arrangement reduces the amount of guide-bar swing necessary and therefore the time required.

~ 56 ~
4. Pressing (e). The needle bar descends so that the open beards cover the new overlaps. There is a
slight pause whilst the presser advances and closes the beards.

5. Landing (f). As the sinkers withdraw, the upward curve of their bellies lands the old overlaps onto the
closed beards.

6. Knock-over and underlap shog (g). The presser is withdrawn and the continued descent of the needle
bar causes the old overlaps to be knocked-over as the heads of the needles descend below the upper
surface of the sinker bellies. The underlap shog which can occur at any time between pressing and
knock-over usually occurs in opposite directions on the two guide bars.

7. The sinkers now move forward to hold down the fabric loops and push them away from the ascending
needles, which are rising to the rest position.

Multi-bar tricot lace machines:

Multi guide bar tricot machines with between eight and eighteen guide bars have been built in gauges of
E 24–28 for the production of fine gauge lace [2]. Two fully- threaded bars are used to knit the ground,
such as reverse locknit or queenscord, with fine yarn such as 44 dtex nylon. Pattern bars behind the
ground bars are used for inlay effects. Those in front are employed for embroidery designs in the form of
overlaps and underlaps, in a textured yarn so that they stand out in relief on the technical back. The
knitted overlaps show through from the face and the underlaps float across the back.

Embroidery patterning.

~ 57 ~
Cut presser and miss-press structures:

On certain bearded needle tricot machines, the possibility exists of pressing only selected needle beards
(cut presser work) or only pressing beards at selected knitting cycles (miss-press work).

Cut presser machines are generally in tricot gauges from 12–24 and knit either staple spun yarns or
textured yarns for blouses, dress-wear, baby-wear and shawls.

The fiber presser blade has sections which are cut away so that needle beards that correspond to these
sections are not pressed at that cycle. Although needles can by this means hold their loops for a number
of knitting cycles, their beards must be pressed at least once during the pattern repeat. All needle beards
in the knitting width are eventually pressed by contact with the solid portions of the presser, as a result
of the presser being shagged sideways by means of a push-rod and chain links in a similar manner to a
guide bar.

For the production of simple shell-stitch fabrics, the presser is cut to the threading of the single guide bar
whose total of adjacent threaded guides is the same as the total of adjacent empty guides.

For example, a 4 x 4 cut presser will press the four beards of the needles overlapped by the guide bar
and will not press the four beards corresponding to the empty guides, so that these needles will hold
their loops from a previous course or courses. If overlapped needles are not pressed, ‘tuck stitches’ will be
produced, whereas drop stitches would occur if non-overlapped needle beards were pressed. It is thus
necessary for the presser bar to be shagged sideways in unison with the guide bar.

Cut presser lapping movement.

~ 58 ~
In order to connect the sections of wales together, an atlas traverse lapping movement must be made
across at least two more needle spaces than the number of adjacent empty guides, so that in the above
example at least six needle spaces must be covered.

As held stitches are produced, the wales will contain different numbers of loops and some wales will
contain successive loops that were actually knitted many cycles apart in the sequence. Tension within the
fabric produces distortion so that the wales lose their parallel alignment and a three-dimensional surface
appearance is created.

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00000000000000. 27.10. Shell stitch cut presser fabric.

At the point where the atlas traverse changes direction, the absence of connecting underlaps on
the far side of the traverse change produces unbalanced fabric tension that draws the two
adjacent wales apart.

More complex effects may be achieved by employing one or more of the following techniques:

• A more complex lapping movement;

• Using more than one partly-threaded guide bar;

• Accumulation of overlaps without pressing;

• Double needle overlaps.

Most cut presser machines also have a plain presser bar that, when brought into action by means
of a pattern chain, cancels out the effect of the cut presser, but this necessitates the use of an
additional full-threaded guide bar.

~ 59 ~
Basic commercial warp knit fabrics:

Among all of the machines, Tricot machines are the most popular in production. Within the
Tricot fabric, the king of all stitch construction is Jersey stitch construction.

The Jersey stitch can be knitted from spun yarn, textured yarn, filament yarn, and spandex yarns.
The spun fabric yarn fabrics are not commercially feasible, as they cannot be knitted at high
speed. Commercial fabrics are made from filament yarn and spandex yarns only. Within that,
filament yarn is the most used, as it is utilized in women’s undergarments.

If there is one stitch that dominates the warp knit industry, it is the Jersey stitch. This two-bar
warp knit structure is known by many names. It is called Jersey in the USA, Locknit in the
United Kingdom and Chaemeuse in Europe. In common usage, Jersey means a knitted fabric.

Jersey fabric is a warp knit which is knitted on any single needle bed warp knitting machine
(Tricot or Raschel). This fabric is knitted with two fully-threaded guide bars, where the front bar
is knitting a three needle float (Silk Float) using closed stitches (2-3, 1-0 or 1-0, 2–3) and the
back bar is knitting a two needle float (Cotton Float) also using closed stitches (1-0, 1-2 or 1-2,
1-0). Both the bars, while knitting, are shogging independently in opposite directions.

Long float (LF) Jersey or satin, a modified Jersey fabric, is the same as conventional Jersey
except that the front bar shoggs four needles instead of three. In the super float Jersey, the front
bar shoggs five needles and in the short float Jersey it shoggs two needles.

It is very important to remember that in a Jersey stitch construction, the back bar yarn is always
sandwiched into the front bar yarn and when one touches the hand of the fabric on both sides,
one feels only the front bar yarn. If the front bar contains white yarn and the back bar contains
black yarn, the Jersey fabric will look almost white; a little of the back bar yarn can be seen
between the wales and the fabric will look slightly colored.

Warp knitting – common structures:

Before examining warp knitted structures it should be acknowledged that there are two general
types of warp knitting machinery, which are largely associated with different structure types. The
Tricot machines are associated with plain structures, while the Raschel machines are linked to
open work lace, jacquards and fancy work. Warp knitted structures comprise of yarns that are
intertwined in a zigzag formation as illustrated by the shaded wales in the warp structure. It is
due to this knitting action that warp structures are more difficult to analyse than weft knitted
structures, since they cannot be unroved course by course. This distinct feature provides warp
knitted fabrics with the positive attribute of being ladder-resistant.

Unlike weft knitting, where shaping the selvedge is possible, it is only possible to knit
continuous widths in warp knitting. The simplest warp knitted structure is the basic tricot (half-
tricot) illustrated; however, it is not considered a stable structure and therefore is unsuitable for
use in apparel. Once the tension applied during knitting has been released the knitted loops tend
to incline. The solution to this problem is to produce a slightly more complex structure termed

~ 60 ~
‘two-bar tricot’, which results in a stable fabric. The most popular warp knitted structure is
locknit, finding extensive use in the lingerie market.

Locknit:

Locknit (jersey in the USA) or charmeuse (France and Germany) is the most popular of all warp
knitted structures and accounts for 70–80 per cent of total output. The longer underlaps of the
front bar on the back of the fabric improve extensibility, cover, opacity, and give a smooth, soft
handle and good drapability. Its greater cohesion reduces snagging and splitting. Its tendency to
curl towards the face at the top and bottom, and towards the back at the sides, can be reduced by
heat setting.On a 28-gauge tricot machine, a fabric might be produced from nylon yarn weighing
about 30 g/m2 for 20 denier, 82 g/m2 for 40 denier. and 152 g/m2 for 70 denier. In each case the
finished wales per inch are more than 37. Shrinkage is generally between 20 and 30 per cent, but
it can be less. An elasticated fabric for lingerie may be produced on the same gauge, using 40
denier nylon on the front bar and 40 denier spandex on the back, with a weight of 158 g/m2.

The finest lingerie can be knitted in E 44 gauge from 22dtex polyester with a weight of
46.1 g/m2. Stretch lingerie can be knitted in the same gauge using 44dtex Elastane in the back
bar and 44dtex nylon in the front guide bar.The elasticity of locknit makes it particularly suitable
for lingerie and intimate apparel. A knitting width of 168 inches (427 cm) can be finished
between 92 and 100 inches (234–254 cm), which is a satisfactory width for handling these
structures.

Warp knitted multi-axial weft insertion fabrics:

Multi-axial layered fabrics are structures fixed by a stitch system retaining the several parallel
yarn layers The yarn layers may have different orientations, differing yarn densities of the
individual layers, and may include fibre webs and fleeces, film tapes, foams, etc.

Principle of the LIBA multi-axial magazine weft insertion warp knitting machine. Up to 6 yarn
layers and one fleece layer are possible [LIBA].

~ 61 ~
Due to the drawn and parallel yarn layers, multi-axial layered fabrics are particularly suitable for
bonding by resinous or polymeric materials to produce fibre-polymer composites.

The Liba Copcentra tricot machine has a multi-axial, magazine weft-insertion. It has been
developed to stitch bond composite fibre mats at high production rates. The feeding conveyor is
approximately 15-metres long and is located at the back of the machine. Each creel-supplied
yarn sheet layer is laid across or along the width of the conveyor at a specified angle. The
continuous mat of yarn layers is conveyed through the knitting machine where the compound
needles, supplied with warp threads, stitch through and stabilise the structure.

The standard arrangement uses 5 weft-insertion systems of which 3 systems supply parallel weft
and 2 systems supply diagonal weft. Each diagonal weft thread layer can be laid at any
adjustable angle from 60–45 degrees (or 90–45 degrees on request). The density of each layer
can be varied and is not dependent upon the gauge. Non-woven webs can be fed into the knitting
zone above or below the yarn conveyor; two guide bars can be used for stitch forming. The
machine has a working width up to 245 inches (622 cm) in a gauge range of E 6 to E 24, and has
a production speed of 1200 courses per minute.

Warp and Raschel knitting:

In warp knitting, the needles produce parallel rows of loops simultaneously; these are interlocked
in a zigzag pattern. Warp knitted fabrics are produced in a sheet form using one or more sets of
warp yarns. The yarns are fed from warp beams to the needle row that extends across the
machine width.

Warp knit concept.

~ 62 ~
Basically, the stitch is formed via the swinging movement of the yarn guide bars and the up and
down movement of the needles. For warp knitting, textured yarn packages should be equi-length
and typically the warp comprises 1170 to 1500 packages for 28 gauge to 40 gauge machines
(gauge = number of needles per inch) respectively.

The main knitting methods applied are Tricot and Raschel. The Tricot machine has 2–5 bar
combinations, whereas the Raschel machine ranges for 3 bar to 78 bar combinations for better
engineering of yarn type and varying degrees of directional fabric stretch. Tricot fabrics tend to
be soft, wrinkle resistant and have good drape. They are used in lingerie, sleepwear, shirts and
dresses, etc. Raschel fabrics cover a wider range of end uses including lace, swimwear,
sportswear and vegetable bags. Similar requirements are imposed on yarns for warp knitting as
in warping for weaving; basically, the yarn-associated problems occurring in the pre-knitting
operation, warping. Multi-ends are beamed at speeds of up to the order of 800 m/min, creel
management being of particular importance.

For warp knitting, textured yarns are usually:

• Set yarns, applying a secondary heater in the textured yarn process, to reduce residual torque.

• Intermingled, to avoid tendency to slub formation (00000000000000. 12.11). Too high an intermingle
intensity, however, can create pinhole/pattern effects in open-knit structures.

Slub in warp-knit fabric due to broken filament formed in warping.

~ 63 ~
In addition:

• The textured yarn must have no broken filaments inherent from the texturing operation, and must
display good and consistent tensile performance.

• Coning oils in texturing should be selected for low friction.

• For two-fold yarns, intermingling should be such that the yarns do not split between nodes, as this
tends to create small snarls, which are carried into the knitting process.

The simplex machine:

The simplex machine knits fine-gauge, high-quality, and specialist double-faced fabrics at rather low
rates of production. It was originally designed to knit simplex fabric in order to replace duplex glove
fabric, which was composed of two single-faced fabrics stuck together back-to-back. It has two guide
bars, which overlap and underlap each needle bar to knit plain types of fabric and simple mesh designs
on standard lapping movements, usually controlled from pattern wheels. The gauge range is
approximately E 28 to E 34, with E 32 being a popular gauge. Cotton glove fabric is still knitted in typical
counts of NeB 80/1 to 90/1 but yarns as fine and as expensive as NeB 120/1 has been knitted.

Atlas lapping on a 48-cycle repeat is normally employed to hide count irregularities in the structure and
improve the elastic recovery. To obtain the 65–75 per cent width-wise stretch required for glove fabric,
the fabric is treated with a 30 per cent caustic soda solution during finishing. This causes an approximate
50 per cent width shrinkage, and it is followed by a mild raising process with emery-covered rollers in
order to achieve a suede appearance. Stable print-base fabrics for dress wear are produced with simple
repeat movements using 40-denier nylon. A cheaper, lighter-weight fabric may be produced from
heavier yarns by causing each guide bar to knit only on one bed and inlay on the other, so that they hold
each other together in the double-faced fabric.

Unlike in the tricot machine, the sinkers are not leaded at the front so they can be completely
withdrawn from the needles. In order to bring the needle bars closer together, they have no profiled
sinker belly and on the newer machines, no throat. The beds converge at an angle of less than 45
degrees. Landing is achieved by taking the needle bar downwards whilst still in contact with the presser
which, in order to simplify machine movements, may be mounted on top of the sinker bar and move
with it. On simple designs knitting high quality yarn, speeds of 300 courses per minute are possible on
each needle bar.

Below shows the knitting action on the front needle bar; an identical sequence occurs afterwards on the
back needle bar to complete the machine cycle.

~ 64 ~
Knitting action of bearded needle simplex machine.

(a) First rise of the needle bar. The knitting action has been completed on the back needle bar for the
previous machine cycle. The front sinker/presser bar has withdrawn, leaving the back sinker bar to
support the fabric. The guide bars have completed their third swinging movement so that they are now
swinging towards the back of the machine, allowing the front needle bar to rise with the back needle bar
still near to knock-over and thus helping to hold down the fabric. The front needle bar rises sufficiently
to enable the old overlaps under the beards to slide down onto the needle stems.

(b) Return swing, second rise then lowering and pressing. As the guides swing to the back of the
machine, the warp ends are wrapped over the needle beards. The front needle bar is now lifted to a
higher position so that the new overlaps slip from the beards to a high position on the needle stems. As
the front needle bar is lowered to cover the new overlaps, the front sinker presser bar moves to contact
and press the beards so that the old overlaps slide onto the closed beards which descend through them.

(c) Completion of landing and knock-over, underlap and third guide bar swing. Whilst the needles
descend further to knock-over the old overlaps, the guide bars make their underlap shog behind the
front needle bar and then commence their swing towards the front of the machine to allow the back
needle bar to rise for the second part of the machine sequence.

Simplex fabric is in demand as a result of its smooth surface, soft handle, elegant drape and extensibility,
all of which make it suitable for moulded brassiere cups. To meet this demand with up-to-date
technology, Karl Mayer have produced a double needle bar raschel with two latch needle bars and four
guide bars that can knit the fabric at a maximum rate of 500 courses per minute on each needle bar in E
32 gauge and a width of 4318 mm (170 inches). Maximum stitch density is 32 stitches/cm. The machine
can also knit ultra-fine spacer fabrics [1–3].

~ 65 ~
Advantage and disadvantage of raschel and
tricot knitting machine
Tricot machines advantage are given below…

• Compound sinker bar (2-point knockover).


• Warp beams are placed mainly at the back of the machine or perhaps above the machine.
• Needles can be changed from the front side of the machine.
• Up to 5 guide bars are used at the moment.
• Use of compound needles.
• Starting-up without fabric take-up possible.
• Only pillar loops cannot be knitted (only by support through inlay motion),(lateral 2-point knock-over)
• Angle between incoming yarn sheet and fabric take-up is 90° (considerable needle stress).
• Simple machine construction.
• Short run-in of the threads because of the beam positions.
• High number of courses possible up to total stop of the beams (for pleats) because working without
fabric take up is possible.
• High yarn run-in is possible (overfeed).
• Handling of the knitting elements from the knitter's side possible.
• Piles for terry effects are possible.
• Simple construction of pile fingers for plush.
• Soft fabric touch.

Disadvantages of Tricot machines

• Problems with small number of stitches and reduced yarn run-in (fabric take-up 90°) (high tension for
the needle, loose selvedges lead to yarn twisting and fault).
• Processing of elastomeric yarn mainly possible only as loop.
• Net constructions are difficult to be made since the knock-over of the wales connection is not possible
(lateral 2-point knock-over).
• Processing of filler yarns is very difficult (see fabric take-up,90°).
• Common machine gauges from E 24 to E 40.

advantage are given below…

~ 66 ~
• Separate knock-over bar (trick plate) 3-1point knock-over and stitch comb bar.
• Warp beams are placed on the top of the machine.
• Needles have to be changed from the back side of the machine (due to the knock-over comb bar).
• Nowadays up to 78 guide bars are possible.
• Usage of compound needles and sometimes of latch needles.
• Loop formation without fabric take-up is not possible;main knockover at the front edge (take-up).
• Angle between incoming yarn sheet and fabric take-up is 170°(low needle stress).
• High take-up tension allows the production of open fabric structures and the manufacture of
elastomeric inlays (powernet) as well as the production of elastic pleated fabrics.
• Vertical laying-in (filler threads) can be processed (170°fabric take-up).
• The high yarn tension does not affect the needles directly. Hence, low stitch densities and short yarn
run-in possible at high fabric stability and low needle stress.
• Various materials can be used: film tapes, glass,aramide, carbon, metal wires.
• Wide range of gauges.

Disadvantages of Raschel machines

• Starting-up only with fabric take-up possible.


• Loose yarn run-in (overfeed) and high stitch densities(velvet, pleats) are not possible fabric touch less
soft.
• Longer yarn path due to beam positions.
• Changing of needles only from the back side.

~ 67 ~

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