The future of knitting is more and more determined by digitalization, which has numerous dimensions and possible fields of applications. Innovative and integrated digital offerings, such as software solutions, web services and cloud-based platforms, are game changers bringing maximum benefits to the knitting supply chain.  

New design software and web services in digital transformation

Flat knitting solutions provider SHIMA SEIKI announced the release of its new subscription-based design software, as well as two other web services.

The new set of products and services is intended to aid in the digital transformation of the fashion industry for supporting business in the post-COVID-19 era, in which new work styles and methods are being adopted including teleworking and telecommuting.

At the same time, they are geared toward streamlining and improving efficiency to achieve sustainability through reduced waste.

APEXFiz is the latest addition to SHIMA SEIKI's SDS-ONE APEX series design system line-up, but with an unprecedented twist.

The newly launched APEXFiz design software can be installed on customers’ individual computers.
Whereas previous APEX series design systems were offered as an all-in-one proprietary hardware/software package, for the first time in its nearly 40 years of design system development, SHIMA SEIKI has released its new APEXFiz as subscription-based design software that can be installed on customers individual computers.

APEXFiz software supports the creative side of fashion from planning and design to colorway evaluation, realistic fabric simulation and 3D virtual sampling.

Otherwise known as digital twins, virtual samples are a digitized version of sample making that are accurate enough to be used effectively as prototypes, replacing physical sampling and consequently reducing time, cost and material that otherwise go to waste. APEXFiz thereby helps to realize sustainability and digitally transform the fashion supply chain.

According to SHIMA SEIKI, SDS-ONE APEX and APEXFiz stand out from other 3D fabric simulation software systems because they accurately produce loop simulations stitch by stitch for 3D knitted products based on actual numbers of stitches. Other software maps a fabric on a 3D avatar and renders the image, meaning the attention to detail regarding stitches is lost.

It is this loop structure accuracy that enables APEX software to digitally simulate sheer fabrics and simulate drape and weight with sensitivity to fabric transparency.

Meanwhile, APEXFiz is supported by two other web services, namely, yarnbank and SHIMANAVI.

SHIMA SEIKI’s yarnbank is a web service that allows viewing and searching of latest data of yarn, which is developed with cooperation from companies from around the world.  The registered users have free access to the database of the yarn that can be used for fabric simulation and virtual sampling.

While the SHIMANAVI is an e-learning platform that supports APEX series users with online training, it has several courses available in different languages which can be taken when and where needed.

Integrated solutions ensure time-to-market and productivity

Fabric development and production need to be integrated into the textile production value chain. This integration will ensure the time-to-market and efficiency required to be competitive in demanding markets.

The new RSJ 4/1 ON raschel machine from KARL MAYER is available with a working width of 195" and a gauge of E 28. It exploits all the advantages of integrated software solutions and electronic guide bar control when producing patterns.

This new machine reduces the time-to-market and brings a touch of individuality to the mass market. It makes use of the high-tech connectivity of the k.ey and k.innovation systems in KARL MAYER’s KM.ON digital brand.

Notably, the RSJ 4/1 ON is the first machine to integrate the extensive k.innovation systems to optimise the virtual development of textiles. Thanks to its collaborative features, k.innovation delivers more than just patterning software, and focuses on a new type of product development.

Soft sportswear fabric produced on the RSJ 4/1 ON raschel machine from KARL MAYER.
Digitization and innovative machines go hand in hand. A process without system breaks ensures that the results of virtual textile development are transferred directly to the machine via the secure KM.ON cloud.

This enables prototypes to be produced quickly and reliably when developing new products, and long repeats with lapping changes can be produced.

Thanks to the EL technology as standard, articles can be changed quickly during production practice, and this increases flexibility.

The RSJ 4/1 ON also delivers maximum productivity. With a 50% wider working width, this new machine offers a 37% better cost-benefit ratio than its predecessor for the same speed.

Like other advanced products produced by the KARL MAYER Group, the machine can be networked to other intelligent KM.ON systems, including k.production and, via k.ey to increase production efficiency.

The modern software and digital systems of k.production simplify the operations of the machine while the systems give an insight into production regardless of location and time.

Knit collaboration fulfils end-consumers’ expectations

German circular knitting machine manufacturer Mayer & Cie. has been collaborating with ByBorre, the Amsterdam based textile innovation studio working on the frontiers of material development, functionality and aesthetics through engineered knits.

At first, ByBorre started producing double-face knits using Mayer OVJA 1.6 E - now one of the company’s signature products, which it calls 3D.

Impressed with the results, ByBorre got in touch with Mayer & Cie. to find out more about the machine and its possibilities, and soon enough ordered the OVJA 1.6 E’s successor, an OVJA 1.6 EE 3/2WT on which it produces its 3D collection.

The OVJA 1.6 EE 3/2 WT is a double jersey jacquard machine with 3-way electronic needle selection in the cylinder and 2-way in the dial. This is said to ensure a very wide range of patterns for the multi-colour jacquard machine, which can also produce a hole structure look by means of multiple tuck loops. It also produces plain and multi-coloured spacer fabrics.

The OVJA 1.6 EE 3/2 WT features individual needle selection in the cylinder and dial. Both areas are temperature-controlled and can be heated or cooled as required.

When equipped with special needles, the OVJA 1.6 EE 3/2 WT processes yarn up to 1,200 denier. That means gauges as coarse as E 16 are within easy reach.

In combination with the design software MDS 1 of Mayer & Cie., the machine has another highlight in store: cylinder-side oats on the reverse of the fabric are integrated automatically.

As said, the two companies come together as partners to explore design solutions on both the levels of hardware, as well as its software. The aim is to try to link ingredient brands such as yarns with the expectations of the end consumer in the creating process of knitting.

Cloud-based full-service platform drives sustainability

Digital supply chain start-up SupplyCompass has unveiled its new full-service platform, a cloud-based software set to transform the fashion industry by digitizing global supply chains and making sustainable sourcing easy.
SupplyCompass’s cloud-based software digitizes global supply chains and makes sustainable sourcing easy.
The new platform brings improved functionality for fashion brands, making designing, developing, and producing sustainable collections quicker, more efficient and cost-effective.

Through the SaaS platform, fashion brands are able to design collections, collaborate across teams, create tech packs in minutes, find world-class manufacturers, get instant costs, receive quality samples the first time, manage all production and ultimately have supply chain transparency and traceability – all from one dashboard.

As said, brands can control up to 80% of the product’s environmental impact by discovering sustainable and local materials, thereby reducing waste and keeping supply chain costs down.