Although knitting is still a mechanical action between the yarn and the knitting elements, the design of tomorrow's machines will be increasingly influenced by the facilities offered by electronics (Fig. 19.13). Thus, whereas on mechanically-controlled knitting machines nearly all the mechanical movements are linked to, and are triggered by, the revolution of the machine or traverse of the cam carriage, electronic controls can be dispersed and separately operated.
In addition, their operation can be smoothly introduced in a series of gradual steps and not in a restricted number of large steps, as is the case with mechanical drive systems.
The electronically-controlled knitting machine can be part of a network of management communication links. A single control unit can control a complete bank of machines if necessary.
Unlike the mechanically-controlled machine, which is passively operated, stands alone and has no means of receiving and transmitting electronically generated data,
the increasing automatic monitoring and adjustment facilities provided by microprocessor control on modern machines obviates the need for continual manual attention (Fig. 12.2).
Perhaps electronics has had its greatest impact in V-bed flat knitting, as a major factor in the successful development of shaping techniques (Chapter 19).
Electronics is also increasingly being employed in 'intelligent' stop motions, yarn feed systems, the design and preparation of knitting patterns, machine function control, pattern selection and striping.
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