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Mach2Wakayama ? Shima Seiki has today launched two new knitting machines which will allow manufacturers to produce ultrafine 15 gauge WholeGarment knitwear at twice previous speeds and a new intarsia machine which it says will revolutionise multi-colour intarsia knitting.

Shima says the new MACH2X153 18L machine (pictured above right) is a breakthrough in this the most technologically sophisticated form of commercial knitting. This latest model in Shima Seiki's flagship MACH2X series can knit beautifully shaped WholeGarment knitwear at more than twice the productivity over prior models but this time with the capability to produce sophisticated ultrafine 15 gauge knitwear.

The new machine achieves knitting speeds of up to 1.6 metres per second thanks to a special large-hook version of Shima Seiki's innovative SlideNeedle which is mounted on 4 needlebeds at 18-gauge needle pitch. This effectively yields very tight, high-grade 15 gauge texture fabrics.

The machine also employs Shima's Rapid Response ?R2CARRIAGE? for quicker carriage returns after each knitted course, and its i-DSCS Digital Stitch Control System with Intelligence undergoes a standard upgrade to a brand new system called i-DSCS+DTC which features Dynamic Tension Control. This allows variable electronic control of yarn tension, thereby supporting high-speed knitting of delicate yarns to reduce the chance of yarn breaks.

Intarsia fabrics

Meanwhile Shima has also introduced its new MACH2SIG computerized intarsia shaped knitting machine which it says revolutionises multi-colour intarsia knitting by increasing productivity in ways never before possible.

SIGShima says the MACH2SIG (pictured left) is at the cutting edge of flat knitting machine technology and can knit intarsia in speeds up to 1.4 metres/sec. The maximum number of yarn carriers has increased from 32 to 40, allowing for more flexibility during knitting and expanding the range of possible intarsia patterns.

This machine is also equipped with the new i-DSCS+DTC Digital Stitch Control System as an option and its WideGauge capability permits a variety of gauges to be knit on a single machine, allowing the MACH2SIG to play various production roles. In particular, the MACH2 SIG123SV features WideGauge capability that allows the freedom to handle changing seasons and shifting trends without investing in a machine for every gauge or resorting to the complex, time-consuming task of gauge conversion.

SIG patternThere is a new Automatic Yarn Carrier Setting software on SDS-ONE apparel design systems that improves set-up efficiency and brings down lead times. Depending on the intarsia pattern, what used to take hours or days to program can now be performed in minutes or even seconds.

More importantly however is its dramatically expanded range of design, colour and patterns (pictured right) that permits the designer to further explore unprecedented areas in the world of intarsia knitting.

The machine also makes use of spring-type sinkers which operate full-time regardless of carriage position, and provide gentle holddown movement for improvements in quality and texture for complicated three-dimensional fabrics.

Shima began shipment of MACH2SIG in January of 2010 and has been exhibiting the machine at private show circuits in various markets worldwide and reports a steady stream of orders for both of the new machines.

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