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Calculation in Weft Knitting

14.1 PRODUCTION CALCULATIONS


Among the various factors those are to be considered in the manufacture of knitted fabrics, it is
very important for the knitter to calculate the productivity of a machine in order to be able to
schedule production and specify the delivery dates to the customer. Selected examples are given
in this chapter to understand the methods of calculating production and efficiency of machines
used for weft knitting Productively in weft knitting terms refers to the length of the fabric that
comes out of the machine the width of the fabric both single and double width and the weight of
the fabrics produced in unit time. The following are the important parameters which decide the
production calculations of circular weft knitting.

Machine Parameters

i. Machine speed (rpm)


ii. Machine diameter (inches)
iii. Machine gauge (Needles/inch)
iv. Number of feeders.
v. Machine efficiency
vi. Number of needles

Yarn and fabric parameters


i. Yarn count
ii. Stitch length
iii. Stitch density
iv. Wales per inch
v. Courses per inch

Gauge or cut is the number of tricks per circumferential inch of the machine. Though the
machine gauge and yarn count are approximately interdependably, knitting a large range of yarn
counts on a specific machine gauge is impossible. Similarly with a given yarn number. Knitting
different stitches is also limited.

The following simple formulae are used to calculate the knitting machine productivity.

i. Fabric production in yards/Hour is,


s × f × 60
CPI × 36
ii. Fabric production in pounds/hour is
s × f × N × l × 60
36 ×840 × Ne
iii. Fabric weight per liner yard (lbs)is
N × l × CPI × 36
36 × 840 × Ne
iv. Fabric width (in inches) = Number of Needles/WPI
or Number of needles x Wale spacing

Where, Wale spacing=4 x yarn diameter.


v. Fabric weight (lbs) per square yard
Weightperl inearyard ×36
= fabricwidt hininches

Weghtperli nearyard × 36
=
Fabricwidt hininches × 2

where
S=Machine speed in rpm
F=Number of feeders in the machine
N=Number of needles in the machine
L=Stitch length in inches
CPI=Courses per inch
WPI=Wales per inch

Example 1: calculate the production of knitted fabrics in terms of (i) Yards per hour,(ii) pour per
hour (iii) Fabric weight per liner yard (iv) Fabric width and (v) Fabric weight per square yard a
knitting machine running with the following data .

Machine speed 20rpm.


Number of needles 490
Stitches per foot 72
Numbers of feeders 12
Yarn count 25n
CPI 24
WPI 29

The calculation can be made by substituting the respective values in the formulae as give above.
The machine efficiency also can be incorporated in this production calculation. Ins of directly by
giving the stitch length, some-time the stitches per foot length is also given. Parameter is
generally obtained by making two marks of 1 foot space in the yarn be knitting. After the yarn is
knitted into fabric, number of loops between these two mark noted down, which gives the
stitches per foot length . from this the stitch length of calculate as (as per the above example)

12
Stitch length = = 0.17 inches
0.17

s × f × 60
(i) Yards per hour =
CPI ×36

20 ×12 × 60
= = 16 .67
24 × 36
s × f × N × l × 60
(ii) Pounds per hour =
36 × 840 × Ne

20 ×12 × 490 × 0.17 × 60


=
36 × 840 × 25
=1.59
(iii) Fabric weight (lbs) per linear yard
N × l × CPI × 36
=
36 × 840 × Ne

490 × 0.17 × 24 × 36
=
36 ×840 × 25
= 0.095

(iv) Fabric width = 490/29


=16.9 inches (open width)
=8.45 inches (folded width)
(v) Fabric weight per square yard
Weight per linear yard ×36
= Fabric width in inches
0.095
= = 0.0056 lbs
16 .9

14.1.1 Fabric Length


The factor F is to be considered in calculating the linear length of knitted fabrics from the
circular weft knitting machines. This factor is determined by the respective fabric structure. The
factor F is taken into account the fact that a full course of loops is not always knitted at each
feeder. For example, with plain knit fabric a complete course will be knitted at each feeder,
therefore F=1. However for a double jersey structure, such as interlock, each feeder only knits
half a course of loops, therefore two feeders are required to knit a full course, so F = 0.5. For any
structure, F can be calculated as,

1
F = Number of feeders required to knit one full course of loops
Therefore, by incorporating the factor F,
s × f × 60 × F
Fabric length in yard/hour =
CPI × 36

14.1.2 Fabric weight


The constant C is important while calculating the production of knitted fabrics in terms of fabric
weight. This constant also varies according to the fabric structure.
The constant C can be incorporated as
Fabric weight (lbs) per square inch
WPI × CPI × l × C
=
36 × 840 × Ne
Since the number of courses and wales per centimeter are measured on only one side of the
fabric and double jersey structures have two sets of loops, the constant C has to be included in
the equation to allow for the second set of loops. For single jersey structures, where there is only
one set of loops, C = 1. For balanced double jersey structures, C = 2. For other structures, C has
to be determined individually.

Example.2: Given a 14 gauge, 20 inch diameter, 40 feedercircular weft knitting machine


operating at 25 rpm and 90% efficiency, calculate the length, width and weight of the fabric that
could be produced per hour using a two fold resultant yarn count of 12 Ne, Knitted to the
following structures and specifications.

(i) 1×1 Rib, loop length = 0.2 inch, CPI = 27.0 WPI = 20
(ii) Interlock, loop length = 0.12 inch, CPI = 37, WPI = 30
For 1×1 Rib, (F = 1, C = 2):

40 × 25 × 60 × l
Length (yards) = = 61 .73
27 × 36

14 × 20 × 3.14
Width (inches) = = 43 .96
20
27 × 20 × 0.2 × 2
Weight (lbs / inch 2 ) = = 0.000595
36 × 840 ×12
For interlock (F = 0.5, C = 2):
40 × 25 × 60 × 0.5
Length (yards) = = 22 .52
37 × 36
14 × 20 × 3.14
Width (inches) = = 29 .30
30
37 × 30 × 0.12 × 2
Weight (lbs / inch 2 ) = = 0.000734
36 × 840 ×12
14.2 OPTIMUM KNITTING CONDITIONS
Though the right choice of knitting machine for the knitting of appropriate knitted fabric is
essential, the selection of fibers and yarns are also important. Moreover the emphasis is to be
given on optimum knitting conditions by which the knitting takes place to maintain the product
uniformity. The following parameters are to be given due weightage during knitting.
tex
(i) Tightness factor, K= where l is loop length in cm.
l
Tightness factor ranges from 11 (for slack fabrics) to 19 (for tight fabrics) and an average of
15 is preferable, which is optimum in general.
(ii) Machine Gauge: It is the number of needles per inch arranged on the needle bed. Yarn
number and machine gauge are related as
2
100 
(a) Yarn Tex = 
 G 
G2
(b) Worsted count = where G = Needles/inch
10
0.1gms
(iii) Input tension =
tex
tex
(iv) Loop length (l ) = cms, where K is tightness factor
K
(v) Course length, L = Loop length × number of needles per course.
Course length is the length of yarn consumed for full course during knitting.
(vi) Run-in and run-in ratio: Run in is the yarn in take (inches per minute) at each feed for a
given machine speed. It can be calculated by knowing the loop length, number of needles and
machine speed.
Run-in = course length × rpm
Run-in ratio is the simple ratio between sets of feeders, feeding yarn at different run-ins. For
a knitted structure produced with two feeders F1 and F2 which are supplying yarns at
deferent run-ins.

Course length of F1
Run-in ratio = Course length of F 2

In order to calculate the run-in for structures other than plain knits the following assumptions
can be made.

(a) For rib gated structures, consider all the loops as plain loops

Fig. 14.1

(b) For interlock gated structures, loops are produced on both dial and cylinder and they are
considered to be rib loops.
Fig. 14.2

(c) The knitted loops produced on dial needles only or cylinder needles only are considered
to be plain loops.
Fig. 14.3

(d) For both rib and interlock gated structures, the calculation for loop lengths of miss stitch
and tuck stitches are,
1
Miss stitch length = Gauge

Fig. 14.4

Tuck stitch length can be assumed as plain loop length in case of rib gaiting and rib loop
length incase of interlock gating.

Fig. 14.5
Number of needles L
(vii) Fabric width (in cm) = = , where L = Course length
wales / cm kw

(viii) Course per centimeter,

kc
Cpcm =
l
ix. Wales per centimeter,
kw
wcpm =
l
x. Stitch density,
S = cpcm x wpcm
xi. Fabric weight (gsm/m2)
ks ×tex
GSM =
100 ×l
Where ks = kc x kw
Where kc, kw and ks are constant for the geometry of the plain knitted fabric in various stable
states, such as dry relaxed, wet relaxed and finishes relaxed sates.
S ×l ×T
Or GSM =
100
Where S= stitch density (loop / cm2)
l = loop length (mm)
T = yarn tex.
Example 3: for a circular plain knitting machine of 24 gauge, 30” diameter, 96 feeders and 35
rpm speed, find out the optimum knitting conditions.
100 2 100 2
(i) Tex = (
G
) =(
24
) = 17.3 tex ≈ 18 tex ≈ 32 Ne

(ii) Loop length : for a optimum knitting, tightness factor = 15

tex
i.e., 15 =
l
18
Loop length = = 0.28 cm
15
0.1gmspertex
(iii)Input tension = = 1.8 gms
tex

(iv) Course length = loop length x number of needles.


= 0.28 x π DG = 633.4 cm

(v) Run in = Course length x rpm


633 .4 x35
= = 221.7 m / min
100
kc kw
(vi) Cpcm = , wpcm =
l l
5.5
cpcm = = 19.5
0.28
4. 2
wpcm = = 14.9
0.28

(vii) Fabric width ( at relax state ) = Number of needle / wpcm


2262
= = 151 cm
14 .9

(viii) Fabric length ( at relax state)


Numberoffe eder × rpm × time ×η%
= cpcm
96 × 35 × 60 × 0.9
= = 93 meter/hour
19 .5 ×100

(ix) GSM ( at relax state)


cpcm × wpcm × l × tex × c
= =
10
19 .5 ×14 .9 ×0.28 ×18 ×1
= 147.48 gms
10

also, GSM = ks x tex / 10l

where ks = kc x kw = 5.5 x 4.2 = 23.10

23 .10 x18
Therefore GSM =
10 x 0.28
GSM = 148 gms /m2

Example 4 : It is require to knit a plain knit fabric to finished fabric to a finished weight of 150
gm / m2 and a finished width of 160 cm on a 20 gauge machine with 30 inch diameter, 96 feeder
and 30 rpm speed.
Assuming the finished state constant kc = 5.5 and kw = 4.2,
Calculate,

i. Optimum yarn tex

ii. Optimum loop length

iii. Optimum input tension

iv. Run-in
v. Length and width shrinkage

100 2 100 2
i. Optimum yarn tex = ( ) =( ) = 25 tex
G 20

ii. Optimum stitch length


Assume optimum tightness factor, K = 15
Tex
i.e, k=
l
25
Therefore l= = 0.33 cm
15

0.1gsm per tex


iii. Optimum input tension =
tex

iv. therefore, input tension = 2.5 gms

v. Course length = l x needle = l x π DG


= 0.33 x 3.14 x 30 x 20
= 621.7 cm

vi. Run-in =course length x rpm


621 .7 ×30
= = 186.51 m / min
100

kc 5.5
vii. Cpm = = = 16.67
l 0.33

kw 4.2
viii. Wpcm = = = 12.72
l 0.33

ix. Finished relax fabric width = Needles / wpcm


3.14 × 20 ×30
= = 148.11 cm
12 .72

feeders × rpm × time × π % × F


x. Finish relax fabric length = cpcm
96 ×30 × 60 × 0.9 ×1
=
16 .6 ×100
= 93.69 mts / hr.

xi. Length shrinkage and width shrinkage :


given, finished width =160 cm
therefore,
160 −148 .11
percentage width shrinkage = x 100 = 8.02%
148 .11
Given finished weight =150 gms
cpcm × wpcm × l × tex .C
i. e 150 =
10

=
cpcm ×πDG / 160 × 0.33 × 25 × l
10

Therefore cpm = 15.44


feeders × rpm × time × π %
Finished length = cpcm
96 × 30 × 60 ×8 × 0.9
= = 100.74 mts / hr
15 .44 ×100

100 .74 − 93 .69


% length shrinkage = = 7.52 %
93 .69
1884
wpcm = Needles/finished width = = 11.77
160
12 .72 −11 .77
Width shrinkage = = 8.06 %
11 .77

16 .67 −15 .44


Length shrinkage = = 7.51 %
15 .44

Example 5: For a double jersey machine of 20 gauge, 48 feeder, 30 inch diameter, knitting
acrylic spun yarn at a speed of 18 rpm, calculate the most suitable count ( worsted, cotton count
and tex ), optimum input tension and optimum run in and run in ratio for the following double
knit structures.

(a) Punto-di-roma
(b) Swiss double pique

(i) Optimum worsted count is given by


G2 20 × 20
Wc= = = 40 s worsted count
10 10

For cotton count,

Cc = 2/3 Wc = 40 × 2/3 = 27 Ne

For Tex, Tex = 885.8/ Wc = 22.0 tex


(ii) Optimum input tension :
0.1gms per tex
T = = 0.1 × 22 = 2.2 grams
tex
i

(iii) Run- in and Run- in ratio: The optimum conditions for knit ability occurs at
tightness factor, K = 15.

(a) As the Punto-di-roma structure (Fig. 14.6) is made up from both Rib and Plain knits
only, the difference in Tightness K between these two units is approximately 20%

i.e., K plain = 16.2 and K rib = 13.8

Now, the respective loop lengths are calculated as,


tex 4.71
lp = = = 0.291 cm
Kp 16 .2
tex 4.71
lr = = = 0.342 cm
Kr 13 .8
Referring the Punto-di-roma structure,
When knitting with dial and cylinder needles (feeder 1 and 2) the course length,

Lr = n. l r
When knitting with dial or cylinder needles (feeder 3, 4) the course length,
L p = n. l p
Where n is the number of needles forming the loops

For Punto-di-roma, n=N/2


Where N is the total machine needles of dial and cylinder

i.e., N=2 (30 π20 ) =3772


3772
n= =1886
2
Now course length, Lr = 0.342 ×1886 cm
L p = 0.291 ×1886 cm

0.342 ×1886 × speed


Therefore, Run-in Ir = = 381 feet / min
2.54 ×12

0.291 ×1886 ×18


Ip = = 324 feet / min
2.54 ×12
381
Therefore, Run-in ratio = =1.2
324
(b) As Swiss Double Pique is knitted with rib gaiting, all the loops are considered to be
tex
plain loops. i.e., K p = 16.2 and loop length, l p = = 0.291 cm
16 .2
At the feeders (1, 3) where dial and cylinder needles form loops, the total number of needles
forming the loops are,
n + n = 2829
2
Therefore, Course length produced with both dial and cylinder needles,
Ld , c = 2829 × 0.291 cm
Fig 14.7

At the feeders (2, 4) where dial only form the loops, n/2 needles form knit stitches and the same
n/2 needles form the miss stitches.

1 1
For miss stitches, l= inches = × 2.54 = 0.127 cm
G 20
n  n 
Ld =  × 0.291  +  × 0.127  = 943 ( 0.291 + 0.127 ) = 943 × 0.418
2  2 

2829 × 0.291 ×18


Run in, Id , c = = 486 ft / min
2.53 ×12

943 × 0.418 ×18


Id = = 233 ft / min
2.54 ×12

486
Therefore Run-in ratio = = 2 .1
233

14.3 ANALYSIS OF WEFT KNITTED FABRICS

To, understand the history of the fabric as well as for its reproducibility, analyzing the fabric
structure is important. Type of machine used and design principles can also be revealed by
analyzing the knitted fabrics. For fabric analysis a piece glass (i.e., a counting glass), a pair of
scissors, ruler and calculator are needed. The following analysis sheet (Table 14.1) can be
completed after having thoroughly analyzed the fabric. The following procedure may assist in
carrying out the analysis. These are only guidelines and it takes time and practice to acquire the
skill in the analysis.

(i) Fabric Name: To find out to which type of the knitted structure the given sample
belongs viz, single jersey, rib purl, interlock etc. For single jersey fabrics, loops are
seen at the face side and yarn lines are visible at the back as shown below:
Fig. 14.8
Double jersey fabrics have similar appearance on both sides. By holding the fabrics
horizontally, in such a manner to observe its cross section, the rib and interlock structures can
be found by their cylinder and dial loop arrangements as given below:
Fig 14.9

(ii) Fabric Appearance: To find out the technical face and technical back of the fabrics.
The top of the fabric is the edge that was knitted last. The face of the fabric is always
the side with the most knit stitches.
(iii) Yarn Type: The last knitted yarn is unraveled from the fabric and is observed for its
types such as single, double, blend, mélange, staple yarn, filament yarn s/z twisted,
2/3 plyed etc.,
(iv) Wales/cm and courses/cm: With piece glass, the Wales per inch can be measured and
converted into per centimeter. It is advisable to analyze always the back of the fabric,
and particularly for unbalanced fabric, the back is obvious.
c = courses/cm and w = Wales/cm

(v) Loop length: Unravel 12 yarns from the sample and measure the total length, LT cm
( i.e., L1+L2+L3…)

Weigh all the 12 yarns together, in grams(wy)

LT
Find out the average length LAV =
12

Count the number of Wales occupied by LAV

Now, the average loop length = LAV /

(vi) Grams per square meter: Cut a piece of 10 cm × 10 cm from the fabric sample Find
out the weight of the sample, w Now, GSM = w ×100

(vii) Yarn Tex : Using the total yarn length and weight as found above, Yarn number can
be calculated as,

w y ×10 5
Yarn Tex =
LT

(viii) Tightness Factor : Using the values of tex and loop length as found above, tightness
factor can be calculated as ,

tex
TF , where l = loop length in cm’s
l

(ix) Fabric construction: By carefully analyzing the fabric using a pick needle, the full
design repeat of the structure, number of feeders used, needle gating etc., can be
found. The repeat can be drawn either as point paper design (symbolic nation) or yarn
path diagram (diagrammatic notation).
To prepare the fabric for the analysis, first a wale line is to be marked at the centre of the
fabric sample, which is the starting point. Using a pick needle, highest stitches are to be
pulled out, which is the yarn that was knitted last. Ensure that one yarn is pulled at a time;
continue the de knitting until a yarn is reached that goes completely across the fabric. Now
the sample is completely prepared for analysis. Now start de knitting the yarn that was last
one knitted. Starting from the marking line, observe the type of stitches (knit, tuck, miss), the
yarn is made into at each Wales positions. Record them in a point paper from right to left
(Fig. 14.10) as the yarn is de knitted from right to left. The next yarn is de knitted and
recorded in the same manner. This process is repeated until two repeats are seen on the paper.