The booth of Shima Seiki at ITMA 2015.
The booth of Shima Seiki at ITMA 2015.
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Shima Seiki introduced the first WHOLEGARMENT knitting machine in the last ITMA Milan show held in 1995. Capable of producing a garment in its entirety with no seams, it was revolutionary technology that was proclaimed "The Magic of the Orient" by the industry press.


This year, Shima Seiki returned to Milan to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of WHOLEGARMENT knitting technology under the slogan "Innovation Coming of Age".

Just as a 20-year old who comes of age assumes new responsibilities as an adult and begins contributing to society, WHOLEGARMENT is likewise expected to take on an instrumental role in mainstream production in the coming age, according to Masaki Karasuno, spokesman of Shima Seiki.


“These new machines allow users to produce more styles at lower price with higher output. The technology has evolved over the past 20 years. Now the market is ready for it, and the machine is ready for the market,” he said.


A new era in knitting


Shima Seiki expects ITMA 2015 to be a springboard to a new era in knitting, with further proliferation of WHOLEGARMENT machines and design systems, taking into account possible future scenarios in the manufacturing and distribution of goods. For instance: How customers can successfully maintain a profitable business; how the industry can transform itself from one relying on labor to one fueled by information and creativity; and how a sustainable material-to-manufacture-to-distribution system can be established with limited resources and limited factory capacity despite steady growth in global population.

THe new flagship machine MACH2XS123 has three versions.  

Shima Seiki announced at ITMA Milan this year a new flagship machine, MACH2XS123.  Three versions of this machine with a 50-inch (125cm) knitting width were shown in 8L, 12S and 15L gauges.


MACH2XS123 features Shima Seiki's original SlideNeedle on four needle beds for high-quality WHOLEGARMENT production in all needles, quick carriage returns with R2CARRIAGE combined with a maximum speed of 1.6m/sec for high productivity, and i-DSCS+DTC Digital Stitch Control System with Intelligence and Dynamic Tension Control for consistent, high-quality production with a variety of yarns.


Equipped with a new spring-type moveable sinker system, dimensional fabrics and flechage can be knit with ease, expanding the range of knitting. The sinker system has its roots in Shima Seiki’s original product that led to the company's founding—the fully automated glove knitting machine of 1965 — and in that respect this year marks the 50th Anniversary of that technology.


On display was also the prototype machine, MACH2XS103 15L, which is an even more compact version of MACH2XS123, with a 40-inch (100cm) knitting width. SlideNeedle mounted on 4 needle beds, quick carriage returns realized by R2CARRIAGE, maximum speed of 1.6 m/sec, i-DSCS+DTC and spring-type moveable sinkers all contribute to highly efficient and versatile production of high-quality WHOLEGARMENT  products. The prototype machine features a double takedown comb that allows waste knitting for short-sleeve pullovers to be practically eliminated.


In the sophisticated markets like Italy, England, the US and Japan, there are many fans of WHOLEGARMENT knitting technology, which was deployed to fight off cheap clothing. Mr Karasuno is confident that other markets in Asia are increasingly interested in the technology and expects a good response from visitors at ITMA Asia 2016 in Shanghai.


Packed with innovations

A show visitor examines the prototype of MACH2XS103 15L. 

The SHIMA SEIKI booth of nearly 700 sq.ft was packed with innovations in machinery, knitted samples and new proposals for business models. A commemorative design theme celebrating 20 years of WHOLEGARMENT  knitting technology along with mixed splashes of modern and traditional Japanese motifs is displayed throughout.

Amidst growing concern over globally sourced textiles and manufacturing traceability, Shima Seiki emphasizes the significance of its products being "Made in Japan" meaning all stages from R&D, manufacturing and assembly to individual inspection and shipping are all performed to the highest standards by highly-skilled professionals at the company’s headquarters in Wakayama, Japan.


Total number of exhibits:

WHOLEGARMENT knitting machines 8

Computerized knitting machines 5

3D design systems 4

Production management system 1

Inkjet printing machine 1

NC cutting machine 1

Knit samples 300