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Wakayama - Flat knitting solutions provider Shima Seiki is to unveil its next-generation 4-bed WHOLEGARMENT knitting technology as it looks to stay a 'step beyond' the competition in the technology it originally pioneered.

Together with its Hong Kong subsidiary Shima Seiki (Hong Kong), the company will unveil its latest development at the upcoming ITMA Asia + CITME 2020 exhibition, which will be held at the national Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, China later this month.

Through its exhibit theme—Step Beyond—Shima Seiki will present its vision of the future, while addressing a variety of solutions for the new normal, including proposals in Factory Automation, Digital Transformation (DX), and various online solutions.

Factory automation has become a buzz word in the textile industry, the interest for which has accelerated due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At ITMA Asia Shima Seiki will be making proposals for factory automation centered around the special manufacturing capabilities of our WHOLEGARMENT knitting machines. WHOLEGARMENT knitwear can be knit in one entire piece without the need for linking or sewing, and allows for on-demand knitting. As pioneer of complete garment technology with over 2,700 patents and over 25 years of experience in the field, Shima Seiki will present its WHOLEGARMENT knitting technology in the form of two of the latest machines.

The flagship MACH2XS is described as the most advanced flat knitting machine in the world, featuring proprietary four-needle bed and Slideneedle technology combined with spring-type moveable sinkers and i-DSCS+DTC Digital Stitch Control System with Intelligence and Dynamic Tension Control, and capable of all-needle knitting of WHOLEGARMENT items.

MACH2XS will be presented in an ultrafine 18L gauge, shown for the first time in China. Also shown for the first time in China, MACH2VS is a flexible V-bed machine capable of knitting WHOLEGARMENT knitwear using every other needle, or conventional shaped knitting using all needles.

It also features spring-type moveable sinkers and i-DSCS+DTC Digital Stitch Control System with Intelligence and Dynamic Tension Control. MACH2VS will be presented in an ultrafine 18G with auto yarn carriers as a prototype option.

According to Shima Seiki, the large number of patents for WHOLEGARMENT technology is not limited to mechanical hardware, but span the range of software and programming, as well as stitch structures and knitting techniques. A variety of WHOLEGARMENT knitwear samples featuring these patents will be presented at the SHIMA SEIKI booth as well.

ITMA Asia will also be the occasion for a sneak preview of next-generation 4-bed WHOLEGARMENT knitting technology.

Considering the recent increase in interest for WHOLEGARMENT as a manufacturing method suited to the new normal, competing companies are slowly making their debut in complete garment knitting. This next generation in WHOLEGARMENT technology has been designed to ensure that Shima Seiki remains many a 'Step Beyond' the competition in the technology it originally pioneered.

The next-generation WHOLEGARMENT technology will also help prepare the company for when the industry eventually takes a 'Step Beyond' conventional knitting to adopt zero-waste sustainable WHOLEGARMENT knitting as the next standard for knit fashion. The new machine is named SWG-XR, adopting the SWG moniker from the first-generation WHOLEGARMENT knitting machine introduced back in 1995. The "X" represents 4 needle beds arranged in an X-shaped formation as per the original SWG-X machine, while "R" stands for Reborn and Revolution, referring to a renewal of Shima Seiki's WHOLEGARMENT knitting that raises the technology to unprecedented levels, the company said.

By increasing the number of systems from 3 to 4 and featuring auto yarn carriers, SWG-XR is said to ensure even higher productivity and vastly improved range of knitting for producing brand new WHOLEGARMENT items not possible before.

Design

In order to further support efforts in DX in the fashion industry, Shima Seiki has released three new online services over the past year which will also be showcased at ITMA Asia: 'APEXFiz' subscription-based design software; 'yarnbank' digital yarn sourcing web service; and 'SHIMANAVI' e-learning service.

APEXFiz is the latest addition to Shima Seiki's proven SDS-ONE APEX series design system lineup, but with a big departure from the past. Whereas previous APEX-series design systems were offered as an all-in-one hardware/software package, for the first time in its nearly 40 years of design system development, Shima Seiki has released its new APEXFiz as subscription-based design software that can be installed on customers' individual computers.

Maintaining proven functions that have made the APEX series so popular with fashion designers, with APEXFiz those strengths are now enhanced with the added versatility to adapt to different work styles and business environments including teleworking and telecommuting. APEXFiz software supports the creative side of fashion from planning and design to colourway evaluation, realistic fabric simulation and 3D virtual sampling. Virtual samples are a digitized version of sample making that are accurate enough to be used effectively as prototypes, replacing physical sampling and consequently reducing time, cost and material that otherwise go to waste. APEXFiz thereby helps to realize sustainability and digitally transform the fashion supply chain. APEXFiz is furthermore available in five different product variations that can be selected according to the customer's needs, from APEXFiz Design Jr. to APEXFiz Design Pro.

APEXFiz is supported by two other web services to enhance its user experience. yarnbank is described as the world's first online web service for searching and viewing the latest yarns, developed in cooperation with yarn companies from around the world. Registered users can download yarn data for free, for use in fabric simulation and virtual sampling on APEXFiz, avoiding the need to scan yarn on their own. By using yarn that is used in actual production, designers and apparel companies can rest easy knowing that the simulations created using yarn from yarnbank are accurate representations of what will actually be produced.

With yarnbank, the entire supply chain from yarn companies and apparel companies to knit manufacturers can be connected digitally.

Lastly, the SHIMANAVI e-learning service allows APEXFiz users to experience online training when and where it is convenient, and at their own pace, supporting new work styles. SHIMANAVI features several courses available in different languages to suit the needs of individual customers.

Shima Seiki will exhibit in Hall 4, Booth D05 during the show. Held in the midst of the Covid-19 coronavirus worldwide pandemic, ITMA Asia is sure to be scaled down in terms of number of exhibitors, exhibition area as well as number of visitors and the number of countries from which they will be visiting. In fact, due to travel restrictions it is assumed that most international clientele will be unable to attend the show. Therefore the company has prepared an online Booth where visitors can check exhibits via the Internet, at the following URL: https://www.shimaseiki.com/itmaasia2020/

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