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Flat Knitting

KNITify the World – Smart Solutions in Textiles

With a fully comprehensive line-up, Shima Seiki technology at ITMA 2019 will demonstrate smart, speedy and sustainable production.

29th April 2019

Knitting Industry
 |  Wakayama

Knitwear, Knitted Outerwear, Sports/​Activewear, Technical Textiles

MACH2XS 123 Wholegarment computerised flat knitting machine. © Shima Seiki

MACH2XS 123 Wholegarment computerised flat knitting machine. © Shima Seiki

Leading computerised knitting machine manufacturer Shima Seiki, of Wakayama, Japan, will be participating in the upcoming ITMA 2019 exhibition in Barcelona, this June. Held every four years in Europe, ITMA is a leading trade show for textile machinery and is the stage for presenting the latest innovations.

The company’s 566-square-metre booth located at Hall 8.0 will feature a comprehensive line-up of brand new Wholegarment knitting machines, computerised flat knitting machines, computer graphic design systems, as well as various digital solutions making their debut at this ITMA.

Shima Seiki will exhibit at ITMA 2019 under the theme KNITify the World—Smart Solutions in Textiles. The theme illustrates the flexibility of Shima Seiki products for catering to various industries in addition to its traditional customer base in the apparel industry. In its approach to presenting new proposals for non-fashion related industries, Shima Seiki takes on the challenge of knitting what was previously deemed impossible to knit, or what has never even been considered for knitting.

“Disrupting the conventional perception of knitting through its arsenal of patented knitting techniques combined with cutting edge hardware and software, Shima Seiki offers the benefits of knitting to prospective customers who are as yet unaware of the true and current potential that knitting possesses,” the company explains.

“To this end, the latest technological contributions aimed at promoting knitted applications in various fields ranging from fashion, sports, shoes and accessories to medical, automotive, aeronautical and other wearable and industrial textile applications will be displayed at the Shima Seiki booth.”

Potential for technical textiles

Knitting offers great potential for technical textiles with its inherent characteristics: stretch and compression. Flat knitting provides further potential as the only textile production method that can shape fabric on the machine. To this end, new knitting techniques, such as inlay, has gained particular attention for its capability to produce hybrid knit-weave fabrics that allow insertion of technical yarns heretofore considered incompatible with knitting, into existing knit fabrics.

These include carbon fibre, monofilament and even metallic yarns. Shima Seiki has even developed a special device for unwinding spools of technical yarn to ease yarn feed for such difficult-to-handle material.

Wholegarment knitting

Wholegarment knitting maximises the benefits of shaped knitting even further by expanding that potential to three dimensions. Wholegarment knitting is capable of producing knitted items in their entirety on the machine and allows 3D forms and tubing to be produced without sewing. Elimination of sewing allows for faster turnarounds and high potential for on-demand knitting.

Shima Seiki's SDS-ONE APEX series 3D design system. © Shima Seiki

Shima Seiki's SDS-ONE APEX series 3D design system. © Shima Seiki

The seam-free nature also ensures continuity of the fabric, allowing functional yarns such as those made from conductive fibres to wrap around the entire body without interruption for applications in smart garments and wearable technology. 3D knitting provides fit, comfort, lightness and mobility – key factors that make seam-free Wholegarment knitwear ideal as wearable technology platforms.

Shima Seiki will also be speaking on smart textiles and wearable technology at the ITMA Speakers Platform as part of the ITMA Innovation Lab.

Focus on flexible design

In addition to machine technology the latest version of Shima Seiki's SDS-ONE APEX series 3D design system is presented as an equally important factor in modern day knit production. Flexible knit manufacturing begins with flexible design, and the APEX series is designed to offer a fully comprehensive set of tools and functions, as well as the capability for ultra-realistic simulation that realises Virtual Sampling.

When countless variations must be evaluated before arriving at a final design, virtual product samples can be used to streamline the decision-making process by minimizing the enormous amount of resources – time, cost and material – normally associated with producing actual samples for each variation. This allows for more designs and design variations to be considered with much less waste. When approved, the same data can be used to program machines for immediate knitting, significantly reducing lead times.

IT solutions

Aside from the technological innovations in hardware and software that make up the company's line-up of knitting machines and design systems, Shima Seiki also provides various IT solutions for assisting its customers in establishing a smart supply chain.

In addition to its staf (shima trend archive and forecast) web-based product planning tool and Shima KnitPLM production management and monitoring system, several other digital solutions will be on show for the first time. As such, Shima Seiki sheds its traditional role of manufacturer and becomes a truly full-featured solutions-provider for the knitting industry.

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