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Basics of Knitting Circular Knitting

Basics of Knitting Circular Knitting

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Published by Vasant Kothari

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Published by: Vasant Kothari on Jan 20, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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he term ‘circular’ covers all those weftknitting machines whose needle bedsare arranged in circular cylinders and/ordials, including latch, bearded, or (veryoccasionally) compound needlemachinery, knitting a wide range of fabricstructures, garments, hosiery and otherarticles in a variety of diametres. Circularknitting machines are either of body sizeor larger, having a single cylinder or doublecylinder, cylinder and dial arrangement, asis also the case with small diametremachines for hosiery. The modern circularknitting machine is a highly engineered,electronically controlled, precisionknitting system capable of producing highquality fabric at very high speeds.The main features of a circular knittingmachine are:1.The frame or body is circular accordingto needle bed shape supports themajority of the mechanisms of the machine
 VASANT R KOTHARI has done Master’s in Textiles Technology from DKTE’s Textile and Engineering Institute, Ichalkaranji(Shivaji University, Kolhapur), Maharashtra. He has also doneDiploma in Export Management (Apparel Export) from theIndian Institute of Export Management, and Garment Exportand Merchandising Management from NIFT, Bangalore.Presently, he’s working as an Assistant Professor inDepartment of Fashion Technology, NIFT, Bangalore. (This ishis twelfth input from the series of articles in
Knitting Views 
2.The yarn supply system or the creelfor holding the yarn packages3.Yarn tensioning devices4.Yarn feed control5.Yarn stop motion6.Yarn feed carriers or guides7.The knitting system, which includesthe housing and driving of knittingelements and needle selection device8.The fabric take down mechanism9.Start, stop and inching buttons10.The automatic lubrication systemIn circular knitting machine, the yarn fromthe package is unwounded and comesdownward through guides, tensioners,stop motion, for being supplied to theneedles. The knitted fabric is taken downinside the cylinder and ultimately rolledon the cloth roller. Since the needles arearranged in a circle on a circular knitting
Fig 12.1: Circular knitting machineFig 12.2: Closet view of tubular fabric
machine, the fabric is a tubular. It is usuallyslit open when used.Normally, circular knitting also adopts thesame knitting principles as the flat bedmachines. The circular machine starts toknit when the CAM systems on theneedle beds (cylinder and dial) movealong the surface quite similar to that of the carriage on a flat bed machine. Theonly difference is that the operation iscontinuous as CAM system of the circularmachine does not need to stop duringknitting because there is no beginningor end of a course.
CAM technology 
Circular knitting CAM systems onlyallow for unidirectional knitting. CAMsystems generate both the needle andthe sinker moment for single jerseymachines and cylinder and dial momentfor double jersey machines. The givendiagram shows both the sinker CAMtrack above and the needle CAM track.The needle track shows the typical threestage needle displacement of (1&4) theraising or clearing CAM, (2&3) thelowering or stitch CAM and (5&6) theguard CAM that returns the needle toits entry position for the next CAMsystem. The sinker track shows theengaged position (section 7) when theneedle is clearing. The sinkerdisengages in sections 8 and 9 so thatknock-over can take place and re-engages into section 7. The momentdiagrams of the needles and sinkers arealso shown in between CAMs.
Multi system circular machine
Similar to a flatbed machine, multi-systemcircular knitting is also possible. Fig 12.4is a schematic diagram of a circularknitting machine having eight systems.As shown in figure, it is clear that everyCAM system is knitting at the same timeand each of CAM system is having itsown supply of yarn for its own course.So, when the machine runs, all eightsystems move together and hence eightcourses of fabric are in knitting at the sametime. In other words, at the end of onerevolution of the CAM system, eightcourses of fabric are completed. Similarly,if there is more CAM systems around themachine, there will be more fabric coursesbeing produced in a single revolution of the machine, for example, say if there are30 CAM systems, 30 courses of fabricwill be completed in one revolution of theCAM system.As compared to a flatbed machine with acircular machine, the CAM systems of acircular machine always operate at theirmaximum speed. Also, circular machinesalways have much more CAM systemsthan flat bed machines. A double systemmachine with 100-inch needle bedproduces about 45 courses per minute anda 30-inch, 90-feed circular machineproduces about 2,700 courses per minute.Further, in circular knitting machine, needleaction is a result of the relative motionbetween the CAM plates and the needlebutt. The same needle action will beachieved whether the CAM plate ismoving across the needle butt or theneedle butt is moving across the CAMplate. So basically, there are two types of circular machines distinguished by therotation of the machine.I. CAM box revolving machineII. Cylinder revolving machineIf the CAM plates are moving across theneedle butts, the needle bed or the cylinderwill be stationary keeping the needle buttsin place while the CAM box carries theCAM plates, yarn feeders with their yarnpackages are all rotating around themachine. This type of machine is calledCAM box revolving machine.On the other hand, if the needle butts aremoving across the CAM plates, the CAM
Fig 12.3: CAM system
It may be noted that the number of systems around the machine is limitedby the circumference of the needlecylinder. Usually all the space on thecircumference is issued up for placingCAM systems. The actual number of CAM systems depends on the cylinderdiametre and the dimensions (width) of the CAM boxes. For example, a 30-inchdiametre machine may have 72 to 90CAM systems. Since each CAM systemmust have its own yarn supply and hencea yarn feeder, such machine can bereferred as 30-inch, 90-Feed machine.From above figure, further, it can be seenthat whether there are eight systems or80 systems, the space taken up by themachine will not be changed.
Fig 12.4: Multi system circular machine
Packagefor camsystem 1Cam Box 1Cylinder
boxes will be stationary keeping thecamplates in place. The needle bed willthen have to move across the CAM boxeswith the needle butts in the needle tricks.For a circular machine, the needle bed iscylinder and then it rotates and that willbe the only moving part with the CAMboxes, yarn feeders and yarn packages allstationary. This type of machine is calledcylinder revolving machine.It would be clear that cylinder revolvingmachine is simpler in construction andconsumes less power than CAM boxrevolving machine since there are lessmoving components. As a matter of fact,most of the circular machines are cylinderrevolving type. Only those machines suchas the garment length machines are CAMbox revolving because of their complexity.Those are machines with 6-18 feedsproducing complex knitting structureswhich cannot be accomplished if themachine is cylinder revolving.Circular knitting machine is naturally thechoice for the volume production. Since itis ideal for volume production, there arepurposely built circular machines. Forexample, plain knit fabric is always in
Reference: Weft knitting – Introduction by Dr TY Lo, Institute of Textiles &Clothing, Hong Kong 
demand and large quantities. Circular with justone set of needles in the cylinder isavailable for plain knit only. All other knitstructures requiring the second set of needles will be impossible but justproducing plain fabric will be able to keepit occupied all the time
(In the next session, we would be discussing about warp knitting.)

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