The Stoll CAD pattern preparation system

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The Stoll SIRIX is a complete design, patterning and programming system originally specially developed from Apple II PC software. It caters for every application in V-bed flat knitting. It uses icons and windows to graphically support the generation and development of knitting programmes for Stoll CMS electronic flat machines. SIRIX has a hierarchy of files holding folders. These can be opened by a double click of the mouse on an icon. It simplifies pattern drafting and speeds-up the processes required in the production of knitted fabric and garments. Fabric depiction and programme drafting is carried out on-screen, without the need to interrupt production on the machine.

The multi-tasking facility permits simultaneous operation of a wide variety of programmes. These are controlled via the graphically-oriented user interface. Patterns can be designed using jacquard colours and the Sintral programming language, or directly by defining stitches and modules. These can then be transformed automatically into a knitting programme simply by pressing a button. Sintral is the text editor, which facilitates the creation of knitting programmes using plain language instructions. Designs or programmes are analysed, processed and tested, then automatically translated into Sintral, then presented to the monitor or loaded into the machine.

The design programme is a 'Paint' programme that provides a palette of colours, shades, brush shapes and sizes, and design tools.

Using the yarn programme, yarn types, shades, and textures can be generated and stored to closely simulate knitted panels, in advance of the knitting process.

Sophisticated colour printers can produce realistic images of the garment which, it is hoped, will reduce the time-consuming process of swatching and sample development on the knitting machine. Once the design is completed, a model can be called-up onto the screen whose three-dimensional appearance simulates the wearing of a garment made from the design.

A recognition that designers and technicians require different information as the sample is developed has led to the provision of two separate but linked and constantly up-dated screen windows. The technical window presents the developing design in the form of running thread notations and technical data, whereas the design window shows the design as a knitted structure. Each can be displayed as and when required, and changes on one are automatically up-dated on the other (Fig. 12.5).

The grid or raster programme works with peripheral input devices including scanners and cameras, or any programme containing an image. It adjusts images to the correct size for the number of wales and courses in the required design. An automatic colour reduction programme reduces the number of shades to the number of yarn colours to be used in the jacquard design.

The jacquard programme takes over after the grid programme, and has an extensive tool and colour palette (Fig. 12.6). The pattern field and stitch size are selected and the pattern motif is drawn onto a grid. Patterns can be depicted in the form of colours, stitch icons, or Sintral symbols. Stored designs can be called up. Shapes and areas can be re-scaled, manipulated, rotated, flipped, multiplied, deleted, or interchanged. Whilst a motif is being moved, it becomes transparent, so that the background can be seen through it, thus making it easier to accurately position.

Structure patterns are drawn using stitch icons that graphically depict stitch appearance. Pattern elements, such as cables,Aran and lace, are available in modules to build into the programme. The computer translates into machine language other relevant information that can be inputted by the designer, such as yarn carrier allocation and knitted stitch sizes.

The intarsia programme enables complex programmes for the production of intarsia designs to be generated almost completely automatically, based on following the rules of intarsia knitting. The pattern sketch is converted into an intarsia design in several stages. Intarsia designs are drawn using intarsia stitch icons for colours, structure and, if required, ladder backing. From the intarsia motifs on the screen, the SIRIX generates individual colour fields that are allocated to individual yarn feeders. The programme step 'Yarn Feeder' works out the best starting point for the yarn feeder and inserts the lines necessary to position it. From the intarsia pattern needle selection, feeder paths and, if required, ladder backing on the rear bed is generated.

In the shaping (fully-fashioned) programme, the shape of the panel, e.g. sleeve, back, or front with a V-neck, is superimposed graphically over the ground pattern.

Automatic Knitting
Fig. 12.5 Linked windows options of fabric view and technical view [Stoll].

Cables and Aran motifs are automatically faded-out at the selvedges. A complete automatic-knitting programme is generated from a drawn shape (Fig. 12.6).

A garment shape is selected from the file, inserted in the form of an area over the jacquard, and positioned where required. The width of the selvedge area can be varied and different stitch structures selected. The shape is cut out of the jacquard.

Narrowing modules are automatically inserted to give the required shape. The FF programme generates the Sintral programme that contains all the necessary data

Technical Data Stoll

Fig. 12.6 The FF programme inserts the control columns and, using the existing jacquard, generates the Sintral programme, which contains all the necessary data for machine control

Fig. 12.6 The FF programme inserts the control columns and, using the existing jacquard, generates the Sintral programme, which contains all the necessary data for machine control

for machine control. The module programme breaks the modules down into complete knitting sequences. Stitch transfers can be programmed automatically.

The programme Sirix Auto-Sintral automatically generates the complete Sintral knitting programme. Starts and repeats for size changes can be selected. Once one size has been knitted, the CMS machine automatically changes-over to producing the next size.

The analyse programme tests the knitting programme, line-by-line, using an internal analysis routine, simulating without involving the knitting machine. Knitting information such as needle selection, yarn feeders, racking, etc. are carried in a programme log and can be assessed at any time. The selection programme presents the analyse data, course by course, in notation form, permitting rapid checking of pattern accuracy.

The DIM 3 programme permits the three-dimensional representation of knitted fabric on the screen. This can be enlarged, rotated and manipulated, from the face or reverse, at any angle. The fabric can be appraised as a whole or in fine detail.

On-line generates a direct connection to all the machines in the plant. Knitting programmes are transferred, on-line, to and from the knitting machines on the network, and production sequences are centrally controlled. Data on machine stoppages and reasons, as well as on production progress can be collected.

Tele-Service provides long-distance data transmission of knitting programmes as well as remote diagnosis of CMS flat knitting machines and SIRIX pattern-preparation systems.

On the CMS machine, the touch control screen displays pictogram symbols providing information on the progress of knitting production such as knitting speeds, settings of cams, yarn feeders and fabric take-down. Patterns and garment programme sequences can be read into the machine memory, either from floppy discs or directly on-line from the pattern-preparation unit.

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