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KARL MAYER RDPJ 6/2 EL opens up new patterning possibilities

Jan 01, 2020
KARL MAYER RDPJ 6/2 EL opens up new patterning possibilities

The pattern developers and specialist technologists in Japan closely studied the possibilities offered by the newly configured RDPJ 6/2 EL, and have developed more than 50 patterns over the last two years.

KARL MAYER has added a new dimension to the third dimension of warp-knitted spacer textiles in the shape of new types of fabrics with a wide range of surface designs. These innovative articles are known as 4D-KNIT. Their relief-like designs on both sides are rather unconventional, extravagant and diverse for warp-knitted fabrics, and are enabling KARL MAYER’s customers to expand their business areas. KARL MAYER is meeting demand by developing 4D-KNIT. “We ran with an idea from the market and optimised it,” says Takayama Hirokazu, the Senior Director of NIPPON MAYER, the centre of excellence for double-bar raschel technology within the company group.

A higher production rate is the main improvement. Compared to other technologies used to produce fabrics with a similar appearance, warp knitting can deliver a higher production rate. Trials with producing shoe fabrics clearly show the differences here. Whereas textiles for 200 pairs of shoes can be produced per hour using double- bar raschel technology, flat weft knitting machines can only produce enough for 1.5 pairs of shoes over the same time period. The new configuration of the RDPJ 6/2 EL double-bar raschel machine is the reason behind its high productivity and the unique appearance of the fabric. The modified version enables textile constructions to be produced that are completely different to the conventional constructions typical of 3D warp-knitted textiles.

Conventional warp-knitted spacer textiles are made from two cover faces with a pile layer made from monofilament yarns between them. The two sides of the fabric can be patterned – if the double-bar raschel machine used is equipped with a jacquard mechanism – and the distance between them is constant and uniform. Differences in height can only be produced between one fabric and another. On the other hand, different fabric heights can be produced over the entire surface when producing 4D-KNIT textiles, and the differences in height can be used to create the patterns. Pronounced relief-like designs are produced, which are stabilised by using bulky yarn to create a cushioning effect.

Three-dimensional patterns, openwork designs, semi-made-up goods and much more besides The special look of 4D-KNIT textiles is based on 3D motifs, whose shape, height and location can all be varied. The relief-like, permanently stable elements can be combined to produce creative designs. Extensive processing trials carried out at NIPPON MAYER show just what can be achieved here. The pattern developers and specialist technologists in Japan closely studied the possibilities offered by the newly configured RDPJ 6/2 EL, and have developed more than 50 patterns over the last two years.

The designs include strict, geometric arrangements with high/low effects, as well as sweeping, three-dimensional wavy designs, bright fruit patterns and complex, imaginative designs having different height profiles. Openwork patterns can also be integrated seamlessly into the textiles. These are in especially high demand as breathable zones in functional clothing and shoes. Contrasting, two-colour effects can also be produced by the types of yarn used. In addition to these interesting patterns, important elements, such as cut edges, can be integrated for further processing, and near-net shaped products can be produced. For example, the product developers at KARL MAYER have produced a cover for office chairs with the side wings, seat panel and seat back made almost entirely in a single piece. The fabric perfectly matches the geometry of the seat, and is extremely hardwearing. It can withstand 20,000 abrasion cycles in a stress test without being damaged.

Depending on the pattern and type of yarn used, the fabric weight can be adapted to suit the intended end-use. KARL MAYER has produced patterns with fabric weights ranging from roughly 370 g/m² to just under 500 g/m². The lower limits are created by the three dimensional effects. “The three-dimensional look is lost if we use too little yarn or if the filler yarn is too fine,” explains Oksana Wizechowski. This product developer was involved in the extensive processing trials over a period of several months at NIPPON MAYER. The importance of finishing became clear as the work progressed. The bulky yarns only reveal their voluminosity to create the shape of the relief structures when the textile is relaxed and heat is applied.

This new version of the RDPJ 6/2 EL is available in a gauge of E 24 and a working width of 138”. Its exceptional patterning possibilities are based on an intelligent technical configuration and the well thought-out design of the knitting elements, combined with KARL MAYER’s tried-and-tested piezo jacquard technology. The machine also features the manufacturer’s new LED lighting concept. With its adjustable knock over comb bar distance, this machine is a good, all-round machine. With a distance of 1.5 to 2.5 mm, 4D-KNIT items and double-layered fabrics can be produced and, at a distance of between 2.0 and 8.0 mm, conventional spacer textiles can be produced - and jacquard patterns can also be worked. This wide range of patterns minimises the investment risks.

This innovative, double-bar raschel machine should go into production in the fourth quarter of 2019. Kay Hilbert, the Head of Product Portfolio Management at KARL MAYER, is optimistically looking forward to the sales launch. The newly configured RDPJ 6/2 EL and selected 4D-KNIT items were on show at the last ITMA in Barcelona, and were a highlight of KARL MAYER’s stand. “News of our new development quickly spread around the fair. Even yarn producers had heard about the 4D-KNIT and came to learn more about it on our stand,” says Kay Hilbert. He and his team discussed many interesting projects with the visitors. Some of the visitors seemed very keen to invest, and they discussed ideas for new applications. So far, the end-uses for the lightweight fabrics have targeted the outerwear and activewear sectors and, for the heavier fabrics, they have been aimed at the automotive, home textiles, shoe and mattress sectors. However, it quickly became evident from the conversations being held at the fair that the market potential goes much further. At the ISPO in Munich from 26 to 29 January 2020, KARL MAYER will be presenting the latest 4D-KNIT articles at its stand 408 in Hall C2.

KARL MAYER successfully presents Smart Shirt at IDTechEx!

IDTechEx Show! is a red-letter day for anyone with an interest in new technology. The latest edition of the conference and exhibition even was held on 20 and 21 November 2019 in Santa Clara, USA, and attracted around 3,500 visitors from 60 different countries. Over 270 exhibitors and star speakers from industrial and research backgrounds competed for the guests’ attention on the programme, which included around 270 speeches. The presentations covered all the latest content and issues: energy storage, printed electronics, sensors, the Internet of Things, electro-mobility and wearables.

As an expert partner for the manufacturing of e-textiles, KARL MAYER exhibited at IDTechEx Show! 2019 and gave a presentation on its field of expertise. This was the innovative textile machine manufacturer’s second time at the event, and their staffs were very pleased with their positive showing. “The upgrades we’ve made to our 2018 solution allowed us to establish ourselves as a trend-setter when it comes to the direct integration of wires into textiles. This technology just keeps unlocking more and more potential, and there’s a lot of interest in it for practical applications,” said Michael Kieren, Product Manager for New Textile Technologies. Kieren went on to explain that this is a particular important moment to ensure that the company has a presence in the sector, as the textiles industry is providing stiff competition with procedures such as printed electronics.

At IDTechEx Show! 2018, KARL MAYER presented a textile remote control under the name TEXTILE-CIRCUIT. At this year’s event, the renowned manufacturer of textile machines turned up with a smart shirt for measuring vital bodily functions in its suitcase – and much more besides. The sensor monitoring technology for the item of clothing is incorporated directly into the made-to-measure textile during production. The warp knitting machine’s string bar technology allow the manufacturer to adapt the expansion, shape and position of the sensitive areas to suit the requirements of the application at hand. As such, the TEXTILE-CIRCUIT technology offers unrivalled efficiency.

Michael Kieren, Product Developer for Textile Technology Sophia Krinner, and Tony Hooimeijer, President of KARL MAYER North America, enjoyed a thrilling discussion on the innovation, and was delighted to answer questions on the projects that can be jointly developed in the MAKER SPACE at KARL MAYER’s headquarters. Those who came to talk about TEXTILE-CIRCUIT included both big textile companies and customers from the knitwear sector, many of whom were looking to add another string to their bow by setting up an e-textiles segment.

“We’ve thrown our hat in the ring and will keep working hard to evolve our TEXTILE-CIRCUIT developments even further,” Krinner explained. We can’t wait to see what KARL MAYER comes up with for IDTechEx Show! 2020 – or even before!

Production of beachwear lace – made easy

Under the banner of a crossover style, KARL MAYER has produced a strapless swimsuit to flatter a woman’s figure – not only in the water but also at the beach bar – when worn with a pair of stylish jeans. This remarkable item of swimwear was produced on the ML 41 lace raschel machine in a gauge of E 28. It seamlessly combines transparent and opaque zones in a single fabric and plays cleverly with visual effects. Those areas which should be hidden are covered up, and those which are intended to be seen are highlighted beautifully.

Daniela Breuer, a member of the textile development team at KARL MAYER, says that placing the zones to suit the design in the engineered panel on the machine was a real challenge. The requirements of finishing also had to be taken into account. An attractive pattern, which produces a lace-like look on the three-bar power net ground in particular, creates a stylish, hybrid look. Multibar technology offers a great deal of design scope when designing the motifs. The technology means that the edges of warp-knitted textiles are extremely stable. This enables free-cut styles to be produced, and the leg openings do not need to be hemmed.

Body mapping re-thought

At KARL MAYER a sportswear collection made from highly innovative warp-knitted textiles was produced punctually for ITMA since, as Gabriela Schellner, Head of the Textile Product Development at the well-known global player, says, “The sportswear sector wants to know what is happening in the machine building sector because this will determine textile developments for the next five to ten years.”

Inspired by Flyknit, Gabriela Schellner and her team focused on a fabric having integrated functionality when developing innovative textiles. “Young people and active people in particular are looking for tops and briefs that they can wear for sports as well as leisure activities.” At the same time, the raw edges and seams should be incorporated directly into the panels. Designs having few seams minimise the making-up processes and reduce chafing during wear. The RSJ 4/2 RASCHELTRONIC is perfect for working a wide range of pattern constructions in a single fabric. Possible lappings, structures and elastic moduli were incorporated into a library in the first stage.

Bogart in Hong Kong, with all its experience with meeting the needs of the customer, then came into the game. This lingerie specialist produced a design with the required functional zones, which was then produced on the RSJ 4/2, E 28. 4-way-stretch fabrics with a breathable mesh design, stable areas, and zones having different elastic moduli to provide support and a perfect fit were produced – seamlessly next to each other and in those areas where they are needed. For example, high force absorption is created in the zones around the bottom and muscles. In this case, a higher percentage of elastane was integrated into the fabric by means of the pattern. “The items produced are inspired by a sporty look, but the technology can also be used to produce feminine designs,” says Gabriela Schellner when speaking about the future outlook.

Comfort, support and stylish lace in a single piece

KARL MAYER discovered the potential of combining lingerie with athleisure wear. The LEISUREE.FASHION was developed in order to exploit this. This new machine configuration combines the possibilities of the RASCHELTRONIC for producing functional fabrics with the options of creating the stylish lace designs offered by multibar patterning. A multi-facetted fabric was produced on an MJ 52/1 S LEISUREE.FASHION. This innovative machine combines comfort and the leisure look with a feminine design and shaping effect in a one-piece body. Shapewear lingerie is currently usually made up of several individual pieces.

They are expensive to produce and the wear comfort is limited. This new item of lingerie does not have these disadvantages. Only one seam is used in the back, little processing is needed to incorporate the gusset, and there is no hem at the leg openings. What is more, no wiring is needed. Elastane in various counts is used in a sophisticated pattern to provide support in selected areas and a softly shaping stretch. Power tapes – produced directly on the LEISUREE. FASHION – provide support in the under-bust area and at the décolleté neckline. They are produced by multiple guide blocks in a pattern bar of the MJ 52/1 S with threaded-in elastane in a count of 320 dtex. A weft-laying ground guide bar, processing elastane in a count of 156 dtex, provides width-wise elasticity. The stitch-forming ground guide bar processes elastane in a count of 78 dtex and provides stretch in the lengthwise direction. The body is worked crosswise on the machine. Textured polyamide in the jacquard bars gives the textile a soft, pleasant feel. A subtle lace design on top – produced by string bar technology – creates a feminine look.

Using KARL MAYER’s machines for processing recycled yarn with no limitations

At ITMA in June 2019 in Barcelona, KARL MAYER was illustrating how easily yarns can be processed on its warp knitting machines whilst conserving resources at the same time. During the fair, the new HKS 3-M-ON was producing a patterned tricot fabric carrying Trevira’s SINFINECO label. This fibre producer awards the label for textiles that are produced from its sustainable products. The range includes fibres and filaments made entirely from high-quality, recycled chips. The regranulate is obtained from PET bottles. In Barcelona, this high-speed tricot machine was processing a textured polyester filament yarn of dtex 76 f 24 and was running non-stop at 2,900 min-1 with no constraints during the demonstration. A top-quality fabric with a small eco-footprint was being produced.