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Warp knitting machines lure with wide applications
Issue date:01/02/2013
ATA Journal for Asia on Textile & Apparel - Feb 2013 Issue
Source:Journal for Asia on Textile & Apparel
Sanjay Gupta

Warp knitting machines have developed to the point that a wide range of structures and products are being produced using a wide range of conventional and non-conventional yarns for use in non-traditional configurations in apparel, medical, automotive, geo-textile and military applications.

In recent times in the area of warp knitting, there have been some impressive innovations shown by market leaders, such as Karl Mayer and Liba, etc. Developments are clustered around increasing the speed of the machines resulting in higher productivity, achieving greater flexibility in use of even finer yarns, and in finding newer applications.


Warp-knitting machines include tricot and raschel machines. Tricot knitting is preferred for producing finer fabrics with high stitch densities. Raschel machines on the other hand find preference where coarser structures with low stitch densities are being produced.


Tricot machine


The tricot machine producing the so-called ‘finest warp knitted fabric on the planet’ has recently been introduced by Karl Mayer. Its HKS 2-3E is said to be the fastest 2-bar high-performance tricot machine. The knitting motion and the knitting elements of the machine have been designed for the production of purely elastic articles at speeds that can reach 3,000 min-1.


The machine is available for a gauge of 28, 32, 36, 40 and 50 with the unique 50 gauge machine especially targeted for lingerie. The other application areas are swimwear, elastic tulle, sportswear & outerwear. There are two warp beam positions, freestanding, for sectional beams of 32 inches flange diameter, and as an option for beams of 40 inches flange diameter. The rear ground guide bar is exclusively intended for elastane processing. Moreover, being equipped with an extra-fine compound needle system and especially designed knitting elements, this machine ensures the production of textiles showing a filigree and uniform loop appearance. This is also made possible by a customized fabric take-up and batcher execution.


Besides, a new four-bar tricot machine, the TM 4 T-EL, was unveiled by Karl Mayer for home and household textiles manufacturers. For terry towels, for example, the machine allows new patterns, more colours, smooth edges, relief-like ribs and three-dimensional chessboard patterns that highlight the fluffy appearance of these loop-pile fabrics. The TM 4 T-EL is particularly suitable for producing different articles sequentially.


All the main components have been harmonized, from yarn let-off through the knitting elements, to fabric take-down and batching. In conjunction with the KAMCOS Motion Control/Multi Speed system, the electronic guide bar control (EL)-based technique of producing the patterns has enabled the existing design possibilities to be extended. The Motion Control system manages the electronically controlled yarn let-off, while the Pattern Control is responsible for controlling the ground guide bars. The fabric take-down is also controlled electronically – which gives maximum flexibility during patterning. The parameters of the different designs can be input easily by using a touchscreen. Data can also be transferred using a USB stick or via the company’s network.


Meanwhile, Liba Textile Machines from Germany has introduced the new Copcentra 2K-TWIN GreenLine 2-in-1 tricot machine. This machine knits two different products at a time using the same frame and engine. The advantages are less energy consuming, less heat out and more space available on the production floor.


Raschel machines


Raschel machines are useful because they can process all yarn types in all forms (filament, staple, combed, carded) to produce laces, light and airy lingerie fabrics with a lace look, sportswear incorporating functional zones, power nets for foundation garments, unlined material for coats, jackets, straight skirts and dress as well as carpets.


Jacquardtronic Raschel machine JL 40/1 F of Karl Mayer produces functional yet exquisite laces, lingerie fabrics with light-control effects, a soft handle and a low weight. Its special jacquard bar configuration and split yarn threading-in arrangement enables it to produce fabrics with all these many characteristics without working the conventional pillar stitch/weft construction.


The jacquard bars also enable simple yet effective spotted patterns to be worked in the dense, functional fabric bands. Fine lace fabrics with smart, comfortable compression characteristics are produced, which feature entwined floral and decorative elements as produced on multibar machines and which are used in the tapes and ribbons of lace lingerie. 


The Rascheltronic RSJ 4/1 has yarns being fed to both jacquard bars from two warp beams that are arranged as a mirror image in relation to each other. The separate feed arrangement enables the jacquard bars to execute opposite movements and thus to work patterned net grounds. The RSJ 4/1 can produce patterned corsetry, elastic and rigid lingerie, elastic and rigid patterned tulle, sportswear and decoration fabrics and is best for elastic and rigid qualities.


Producing garments on warp knitting machinery is not new, but when it demonstrates a 3D shape wear incorporating elastane in specific zones, the machine attracts attention. The DJ 6/2 EL incorporates a Positive Pattern beam Drive (PBD) which enhances the functional aspects of the product by actively supplying additional yarns from pattern beams at three locations, thus avoiding the time-consuming processes involved in balancing and rebalancing the pattern beams.


The leg seams and the waist opening of the 3D panty with its border are incorporated directly into the garment so that they do not roll over unattractively, and create smooth transition points between the garment and the body.        


Dr Sanjay Gupta is the Dean of Design Programmes at GD Goenka University, Sohna Road, New Delhi India

Photo: 1 - Variety of designs for Karl Mayer FL fabrics (Image source: Karl Mayer)
2 - Karl Mayer HKS 2-3E
3 - Beach towels produced on the new TM 4 T-EL
4 - Copcentra 2K-TWIN GreenLine 2-in-1 tricot machine by Liba
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