Versatility and quick response
Market requirements involving smaller orders and shorter production runs have led machine builders to develop quick-response techniques to reduce costs and downtime during machine changes on large diameter multi-feeder machines. Amongst areas addressed are the following:
- Centralised stitch control can be used to simultaneously reset all cylinder stitch cams in a particular cam track, when required, instead of the time-consuming task of resetting each stitch cam individually
- The Monarch/Fukuhara rotary drop cam system is a unique, quick and convenient method of changing cam set-outs without the need to replace cams or needles. On the outside of the dial and the cylinder cam system at each feed and needle track there is a disc that can be set by a turnkey to various rotational positions up to 180 degrees. Each position corresponds to a specific needle-height position: for example, knit (delayed timing), knit (synchronised timing), tuck, miss and fabric support (for the other bed when only that is knitting, e.g. in double blister). The new cam setting drops into action as a small group of halfbutt needles pass across it and are unaffected. As the machine slowly turns, the cams then come fully into action to control the full-butt needles.
- Changes of diameter and/or gauge. The three-leg portal frame provides sufficient space between pillars to enable dial and cylinder to be removed horizontally. A gauge change on a single-jersey jacquard machine can take a few hours; on a double-jersey machine it can take 1- to 2 days. Gauge changing costs 20 to 25 per cent of the machine cost price; diameter changing costs 30 to 40 per cent.
- Compatibility of modules between machine types provides for quicker conversion and changes of knitted structure at a lower cost in extra parts. Monarch/Fukuhara have conversion kits to interchange between high-speed rib or interlock knitting and versatile eight-lock knitting. With the conversion kit, changes from E 14-E 18 gauge rib to E 18-E 28 gauge interlock or eight-lock takes minutes rather than hours.
- Machines with industrial frames can accommodate cylinders up to 38 inches for single-jersey and 42 inches for double-jersey, with fabric batch rolls up to 105 cm.
- Automatic doffing of fabric rolls and their ejection from the machine has been developed only as far as the prototype.
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