Basic Structure of a Largediameter Circular Knitting Machine
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Circular knitting machines include a number of fundamental elements, based on similar mechanical principles with some small changes according to the different models:
- The machine base. The most recent trend among circular machine manufacturers is to build knitting machines with a solid yet smaller base and an architecture that facilitates access to the machine components for routine operations to be carried out during setting up procedures and production;
- The "core" of the machine, which includes the needle-bed area and all the systems operating during the knitting process. The feed systems are placed along the circumference of the circular needle-bed. Circular knitting machines can be divided into two basic models: in the first one the needle-beds rotate and the cam frame stands still, while in the other one the needle-beds stand still and the cam frame revolves.
- The yarn spools holder. If the system is attached to the upper part of the machine, it is a circular rack; if arranged at the machine side, it is a lateral creel.
- The yarn feeding system, made up by the yarn feeding unit which must ensure a smooth and steady yarn feeding, and a thread guide system which provides the needles with the yarn necessary for the stitch formation.
- The fabric take-down and winding system housed in the lower part of the machine; depending on the machine model, the fabric take-down and winding motion can rotate together with the needle-beds or stand still.
- The drive, usually an inverter drive, i.e. a motor with electronic variation of speed for optimum acceleration and slow-down ramps and optimum throughput speed in all conditions.
Lastly, several machine manufacturers (above all of single-bed machines) tend to build convertible machines, which have the same basic structure and are equipped with special conversion kits which allow the change of stitch formation motions such as cams, cam frames and thread guides to generate different styles.
The cost of these machines is extremely advantageous compared to the investment costs necessary for buying a complete series of machines each one producing a single article.
- Picture 75 - Overall view of a circular knitting machine
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