A flat knitting machine is a two-bed machine. The most important mechanical features of a flat knitting machine are the supporting frame, the yarn feeding system, a transmission system, a fabric takedown motion, a central programming unit, and a needle-bed racking system.
The manual flat knitting machine is made up of a frame carrying the base; this structure supports all the needle beds and motions necessary for the knitting process
The yarn unwound from the spool is picked up by the feeding system: a tensioner, which adjusts the feeding tension and a thread guide, driven by the machine carriage, which provides the needle with yarn at the proper time.
The tensioner is made up by a spring-load, flexible arm, that lowers when the yarn tension increases, to feed a bigger quantity of yarn, and lifts up when the tension decreases.
General Structure of a Flat Knitting Machine:
- The needle beds
- Concept of machine gauge
- The carriage and yarn guides
- Feeding the yarn
- The takedown device
- Selecting the needles
- Selection of high and low butts
- Flat knitting machine has two stationary needle beds
- Latch needles are used
- Angular cams of a bi-directional cam system are used
- The cam system is attached to the underside of a carriage, which with its selected yarn carriers.
- The carriage traverses in a reciprocating manner across the machine width
- There is a separate cam system for each needle bed
- The two cam systems are linked together by a bridge, which passes across from one needle bed to the other.
- Normally machine gauge is 3 to 18 needles per inch and machine width up to 79 inches.
a. Diagram of a V bed, and b. Diagram showing relative positions of the needles from front and back beds
Advantages of Flat Knitting Machine:
- The flat machine is the most versatile of weft knitting machines, its stitch potential includes needles election on one or both beds, racked stitches, needle-out designs, striping, tubular knitting, changes of knitting width and loop transfer.
- A wide range of yarn counts may be knitted per machine gauge including a number of ends of yarn in one knitting system, the stitch length range is wide and there is the possibility of changing the machine gauge.
- The operation and supervision of the machines of the simpler type is relatively less arduous than for other weft knitting machines.
- The number of garments or panels simultaneously knitted across the machine is dependent upon its knitting width, yarn carrier arrangement, yarn path and package accommodation.
- Out of all weft knitting machines that are available to us, flat bed knitting machines are the most versatile.
- These knitting machines offer us with a high stitch potential which includes needle selection on one or both beds, needle-out designs, racked stitches, tubular knitting, striping, loop transfer. By making use of flat knitting machines, we can also change the width of the knitting fabric.
- We can knit a wide range of yarn counts per machine gauge including the number of ends of yarn in one knitting system by utilizing flatbed machines.
- These machines offer us a wide stitch length range, and there is also the possibility of changing the machine gauge.
- As compared to the other weft knitting machines, the operation as well as supervision of these knitting machines is effortless and is relatively less arduous.
- These machines help in the production of knitting products like school uniform sweaters, T-shirts, caps, stoles, mufflers by using different materials including cotton, silk, wool, polyester to knit different patterns and designs. The number of garments or panels simultaneously knitted across the machine is dependent upon its knitting width, yarn carrier arrangement, yarn path and package accommodation.
Uses of Flat Knitting Machines:
Articles knitted on flat machines range from trimmings, edgings and collars to garment panels and integrally knitted garments. The common products: jumpers, pullovers, cardigans, dresses, suits, trouser suits, hats, scarves, accessories, ribs for straight-bar machines (fully fashioned machines). Cleaning clothes, three-dimensional and fashioned products for technical applications, multiaxial machines are under development.
Different types of garments that we can knit on flat knitting machines range from edgings, trimmings and collars to garment panels and integrally knitted garments. We can efficiently manufacture products like jumpers, pullovers, cardigans, dresses, suits, trouser suits, hats, scarves as well as many other accessories on these straight-bar machines. However, for producing three-dimensional and fashioned products for technical applications, we require multi-axial flat knitting machines which are under development.