Steiger launches four needlebed flat knitting machine

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Steiger launches four needlebed flat knitting machine

Billy Hunter  |  Milan

Steiger has launched a brand new four needlebed computerised flat knitting machine for the production of complete garment knitwear. The Chinese owned Swiss company showed the four needlebed latch needle KS3-60MC-II machine in 18 gauge for the first time at last month’s ITMA 2023 in Milan. The world’s leading textile machinery event attracted over 1700 exhibitors and a huge 110,000 visitors.

Four needlebed KS3-60MC-II

At previous major textile machinery exhibitions Steiger’s parent company, the flat knitting giant Cixing, has shown prototype four needlebed flat knitting machines. This, however, is the first time a Steiger branded four needlebed machine has been revealed.

The Steiger KS3-60MC-II machine will be manufactured in China. In fact, all flat knitting machines built for export markets by the Cixing group in China, will now be in the Steiger livery and carry the Swiss company’s name. This is a move away from the previous strategy of attempting to establish the Cixing brand outside of China.

In the field of complete garment knitting, most machine builders offer v-bed (two needlebed) machines which use the alternate needle or half gauge method to make complete or seamless sweaters. The exception to this until now, has been flat knitting technology leader Shima Seiki, which leads the industry in four needlebed knitting with its compound needle SWG-X WHOLEGARMENT technology.

Although Steiger’s KS3-60MC-II 18G, shown at the Fiera Milano Rho in June, is much more than a prototype, it is not quite ready for sale yet. However, it is poised to enter the high technology four needlebed arena in the near future. Steiger’s Gianni Zamarco told Knitting Industry that the KS3-60MC-II requires testing before being released for sale to the market,  and will be put through its paces by Steiger customers in the coming months.

The Steiger KS3-60MC-II is a single head three system machine with a 60 inch needlebed, which is capable of running at speeds of up to 1.6 m/s. The machine is fitted as standard with 16 motorised yarn carriers. Takedown is via a flexible device, comb, and auxiliary roller device, with multiple section segmented adjustment.

In March this year, Steiger announced that a brand-new 3-gauge Antares 2.185 flat knitting machine, would be shown for the first time at ITMA in Milan in June. The unique Swiss built machine with 24 motorised yarn carriers to knit coarse gauge intarsia sweater panels, was indeed on shown at the Fiera Milano Rho, but it was officially presented as the Antares E3.

The Antares E3 is a coarse gauge (3 needles per inch) machine for knitting panels, fully fashioned, shaped garments, Jacquard and stitch structure combinations. It has the characteristic Steiger open carriage with two knitting systems and full three-way-technique, with variable intelligent stroke knitting on a 185cm needlebed.

The Antares E3 has the special Steiger upper take-down and takedown comb, direct yarn feeding with 24 independent motorised yarn-carriers, and 24 corresponding cutters and clamps on the needlebed. Yarn carriers are dropped off automatically at the edge of the design or the selvedge.

Take down is programmable and is active at 25mm from loop formation. A programmable take-down comb is also fitted. Drive is by brushless motor, giving infinitely variable stroke and programmable knitting speed up to 1.30 m/s. Stop motions cover yarn breakage, knots, shock, over-heating of motors, fabric press-off etc. Racking is selective over +-60 mm, with the possibility of correction. The Antares E3 is programmed via Steiger’s Model software on PC.

Another Swiss built Steiger innovation on show in Milan, was the Vega 3.90 M, a single head three system machine in 14 gauge with a 35 inch needlebed, offered as a solution for technical applications such as orthopaedic devices.

The machine is fitted with the new Steiger Dimension & Tension Control (DTC) device for control of the geometry and compression class of the final knitted article, and has a maximum knitting speed of 1.6 m/s. As standard, 16 motorised yarn feeders are controlled by the knit programme, and for special applications the Vega 3.90 M can be supplied with 12 standard feeders and 2 in-lay feeders.

Takedown is programmable and active at 25mm from loop formation. The patented friction takedown helps the machine knit a wide range of exclusive patterns and structures using the 3D method with circular knitting effects.

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Steiger launches four needlebed flat knitting machine

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