The spools of yarn to be used to manufacture the fabric are arranged on a holder which can be of two different types: the circular rack (fixed on the upper part the machine), or the lateral creel (fixed on the floor beside the machine).
On the spool rack, the number of pegs that hold the spools corresponds to the number of the thread guides on the machine. The yarn is conveyed from the spool through some yarn tensioners provided with sensors which monitor the correct feeding tension. The sensors activate in the case of knots or yarn breaks, and in this case stop the machine automatically with an electric command.
Some machine manufacturers add to their machines a motorised rack lowering system for facilitating the spool loading or machine maintenance operations. The rack is brought back to its original position once the spool loading or maintenance procedures have been concluded. The spool rack is the only system usable on revolving-cam machines, since on these machines also the spool rack must revolve.
The machines with fixed cams can be provided with a spool rack, or in alternative a lateral creel to facilitate spool loading.
The lateral creel is a metal structure positioned on both sides of the machine. The yarn threads are unwound from the spools positioned on the creel pegs. After having passed through special guides and plastic or aluminium tubes, the yarns reach the thread guides on the machine. In this case, too, the yarn path is monitored by sensors which detect possible breaks and knots. The lateral creel is increasingly used as a spool holding system because it facilitates the operator when changing the spools or in the case of yarn breaks, and allows a dramatic reduction of flying dust and particles in the knitting room thanks to the guide tubes connected with an automatic suction system. Although the creel takes up a larger floorspace, it can accommodate a huge number of spools. This allows the possibility of double thread feeding to each feed system, as well as of integrating tail-to-head spool splicers for ensuring the continuous feeding of yarn.
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