Circular knitted fabric is growing increasingly popular as an upper material for leisure and sport shoes. The high level of productivity makes circular knitting especially interesting for the manufacture of fabric shoe uppers. Circular knitting machine manufacturer Mayer & Cie. has in its extensive portfolio several machines that are suitable for manufacture of shoe upper material. The long-established manufacturer’s new OVJA 1.6 EE – 3WT/2WT is the first machine in the company’s product range that was specially designed for this purpose.
“Circular knitted fabric has long been in use in footwear, for the insole or the lining, for example,” says Hardy Bühler, Key Account Manager Brands at Mayer & Cie. “Circular knitting of shoe uppers,” he adds, “is a relatively recent trend. Demand has increased enormously over the past three or four years, and it has grown all over the world.”
The conventional means of manufacturing shoe upper material for sport shoes has until now been either flat knitting or warp knitting. Circular knitting clearly has the edge over both of these in terms of productivity and variety of patterns. A circular knitting machine’s output is around ten to twenty times that of a flat knitting machine and a warp knitting machine needs several warp beams to produce the patterns required for shoe upper material. The warp beams have to be prepared, which requires a labour input that is only worthwhile if larger quantities of the patterned fabric are to be manufactured. If a circular knitting machine is to produce a pattern, it can be changed swiftly and without complications by means of the design software. As a result, smaller lots are profitable on a circular knitting machine.
“The potential for circular knitting in the manufacture of shoe upper material is huge,” says Mayer & Cie.’s Key Account Manager Brands in view of these advantages. “And we are well prepared to make good use of it.” This is a reference to Mayer & Cie.’s existing portfolio, which is considered to be the most comprehensive in the market. Above all, the production of shoe upper material is a use, Bühler says, for which Mayer & Cie.’s well-known OVJA range of circular knitting machines is optimally suited.
The OVJA 1.6 ET 3 WT, for example, is an established machine in the Mayer & Cie. product range. With its stitch transfer option for the production of perforated or hole designs it has already proved suitable for the manufacture of shoe upper material. “Only recently it enabled us to acquire a new customer who supplies the footwear industry,” Bühler says. OVJA 1.6 ET 3 WT is very versatile in terms of the patterns it can produce, especially because it can transfer stitches on every third system. Its three-way technology ensures maximum design flexibility by means of individual needle selection. It makes a wide range of structures, including the above-mentioned hole structure, possible. Using a conversion kit the OVJA 1.6 ET 3 WT can also be quickly used as a full jacquard machine to produce multi-coloured shoe designs.
Read full report in September edition of ITJ