The needle-bed of a knitting machine is made up by the needles. As we said before, the needles can be all fixed on the same needle bar (picture 16) or can be driven individually in a grooved plate, according to the type of knitting machine.
All knitting machines can be equipped with one or two needle-beds, according to the model.
Picture 16 - A needle bar with Picture 17 - The needle-bed of spring beard needles a flat knitting machine
The needle-bed of a knitting machine can be flat (picture 17) or circular (picture 18). It is made up of a steel body provided with grooves where the needles with hook and butt turned upward slide. The milled grooves guide the needles during the knitting process.
The operating width is the maximum working area and varies according to the type of machine (picture 9): for example in a flat-bed machine the operating width is the distance between the first and the last needle while in circular knitting machines the operating width is the needle-bed diameter.
The gauge is the population of needles on a certain length of bed.
The English Gauge is the number of needles included in an English inch, that is to say how many are included in 2.54 needle-bed centimetres.
From a conceptual point of view, the English inch is measured from the centerline of a needle but usually it is the distance corresponding to 1 inch, measured from one side of the needle to the same side of another needle within 1 inch. For example: if we start from the right side of the first needle we will have to reach the right side of the last needle. The gauge refers always and only to one of the two needle-beds.
Flat needle-bed width
Circular needle-bed diameter
Picture 19 - Operating width
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