Shima Seiki is revolutionizing the knitting industry with its pioneering 3D knitwear technologies.
The Japanese company which entered the flat knitting machine industry in 1967, has since made several inroads in the world of manufacturing – its latest offerings being the MACH 2X and WholeGarment knitting machines.
WholeGarment is the world’s first knitting machine to produce seam-free knitwear. It knits garments in three dimensions (3D) without seams, offering benefits never before found in any other type of garment.
According to a Financial Times report, the machine produces an entire garment – including the arms, collars and other parts that would normally be produced separately and sewn on – on a single machine using a single thread.
Shima Seiki’s vision behind WholeGarment is to address two of the biggest challenges plaguing manufacturers today: waste of material and, particularly in Japan, the shrinkage of the labor force due to the country’s declining population.
The technology also offers the potential to shift the geography of the clothing industry, allows for more factory automation, and accelerates the cycles for new design.
Many big names in the industry like Uniqlo are using Shima Seiki 3D knitting machine technology MACH 2X and it has proven to be quite a hit even with Danish clothing brand ‘Son of a Tailor’.
According to a Knitting Industry report, MACH 2X prevents overproduction and textile waste in the form of cut-offs.
Customers provide their weight, height, age and shoe size when making an order; an algorithm then uses these four criteria to create the perfect fit, based on data gathered from 30,000 men worldwide. This ensures a low product return rate.
According to the Knitting Industry, the apparel industry produced an estimated 92 million tonnes of textile waste in 2018 alone. Conventional clothing production wastes up to 21% of fabric in the cutting process.
At the same time, 15-20% of clothes are wasted in unsold inventory and 60% of purchased clothes items are discarded after just one year, according to estimates.
Garment production and transportation further account for around 10% of global CO2 emissions.
Apparels apart, Shima Seiki’s 3D Knitwear technology can also be used to produce knitted turbine blades for jet engines and muffler covers made from heat-insulating materials.
Image and content: Shima Seiki, Financial Times, Knitting Industry