On straight bar frames, a ratchet selector was employed which could, through the introduction of racking pawls and a choice of rack wheels having different numbers of teeth, turn a shaft to produce (usually) two fashioning actions during each of its revolutions. Each rackwheel thus produced a different fashioning frequency. The operator, however, had to set the machine for widening or narrowing, choose the frequency, count fashionings, and terminate the action.
A control chain was later introduced that could automatically initiate the fashioning, insert a slack course, control the machine speed, and operate a chain saver. Soon, the demand for a cheaper, simpler and quicker method of changing styles or sizes led to the development of an electronic console unit, programmed from a punched plastic card film. On the card film there is provision for 23 punched-hole positions across its width, each position being scanned by a dropper pin.
To become fully automatic, control of the following was necessary: courses and fashioning; changing from widening to narrowing; initiating the rib transfer or welt turning; stopping the machine on completion of the set; racking back the carrier and stops for the next starting width; laying the yarn for the start of the next garment; controlling the machine speed; inserting the initial draw-off; and severing connecting yarns after pressing-off the previous garment piece.
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