On certain single-jersey machines, the 'contra' ('relative' or 'shared loop') knitting technique is now employed, for example by the Mayer method (Fig. 13.13). As well as having the normal radial movement between the needles, the sinkers move vertically down, in opposition to the needles rise to clearing height, and rise as the needles descend to knock-over. This considerably reduces the extent of the needle movement. One loop is almost fully formed before the next is started. There are thus less yarn/metal contact points (each of which doubles the tension of the previous point). This reduces the tendency to 'rob back', produces less stress on the knitting elements, improves fabric quality, and enables weak and delicate yarns to be knitted. The shorter needle movement allows shallower cam angles and faster speeds to be obtained.
Two different approaches are being used:
• The Mayer Relanit uses specially designed sinkers that occupy adjacent cylinder tricks to the needles, thus dispensing with the sinker cam ring and improving accessibility. The sinkers pivot on a fulcrum point that produces the horizontal
Fig. 13.13 The Relanit contra knitting action.
• The Monarch Z' or 'Slant Sinker' technology employs conventional holding down/ knock-over sinkers that move diagonally along a 20 degree inclined dial. The sinker top has a fixed inclination to the needle hook; this ensures a controlled plating relationship between the pile and ground yarns.
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