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New RDPJ 6/2 EL opens 4D knit possibilities

New RDPJ 6/2 EL opens 4D knit possibilities

Karl Mayer, a leading warp knitting machinery specialist, 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 design possibilities.

Karl Mayer is meeting demand by developing 4D-Knit. “We ran with an idea from the market and optimised it,” said 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.”

4D Knit fabric. © Karl Mayer

“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.”

High/low effects make all the difference

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.

4D Knit fabric. © Karl Mayer

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.

3D patterns, openwork designs, and more

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.

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.

4D Knit fabric seat cover. © Karl Mayer

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.
Well-thought-out machine technology

This new version of the RDPJ 6/2 EL is available in a gauge of E 24 and a working width of 138″. Its 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.

Optimism before sales launch

The 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,” said Mr Hilbert. He and his team discussed many interesting projects with the visitors.

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