KARL MAYER: HKS 3-M ON Represents The Cutting-Edge Digital Tricot Machine

OBERTSHAUSEN, Germany — October 5, 2023 — The HKS 3-M ON represents the cutting-edge digital tricot machine generation in KARL MAYER’s product portfolio. For ITMA 2023, the model was given an impressive all-round upgrade. The latest version of the HKS 3-M ON combines maximum machine performance with state-of-the-art technologies, thereby providing customers with answers to their challenges. They must focus on profitability despite rising costs, sustainability, being able to respond quickly and flexibly to the market dynamics, new business opportunities and stable value creation processes despite a shortage of skilled workers. Digitalisation particularly offers unique potential for increasing customer benefits.

“We are further developing the overall concept of our HKS 3-M ON. The focus is on digital solutions, for example with regard to patterning or product management, but also on mechanical optimizations and helpful Care Solution offers. We’re on the right track with our approach. Our customers simply loved the new possibilities,” was how Kay Hilbert, KARL MAYER’s Global Product Owner Tricot Machines, summed it up after the ITMA presentation. Rainer Müller, Vice President Sales of KARL MAYER’s Business Unit Warp Knitting, agrees: “For warp knitting professionals, the HKS 3-M ON was THE exhibition highlight.”

The latest innovations include a batching device that provides additional benefits, optimisations for working sequential patterns without speed losses, and energy-data monitoring — all presented in the form of prototypes. Further innovations simplify the handling and ensure a better product quality.

Ultra-speedy Multispeed: Advanced Feeding Control

The HKS 3-M ON is the fastest three-bar tricot machine with electronic pattern drive on the market. The new Advanced Feeding Control (AFC) system now also offers a number of revolutions per minute for sequential patterning that is higher than ever before.

The yarn feeding feature is connected to the cloud and works with the optimum yarn feeding data calculated there. This ensures a maximum machine performance even when producing complex patterns with a sequentially strongly fluctuating yarn consumption. At ITMA 2023, the audience watched in amazement as the prototype solution manufactured plisseé fabrics at an astounding 2,900 rpm. Yarn vibrations during abrupt run-in changes are also prevented. This is particularly helpful when processing sensitive yarns.

The product quality also benefits from an exact, even yarn feed. The warp knitted fabric finish looks exceptionally clean and tidy, especially at pattern change points.

The AFC system is scheduled to be available on the market from next year onwards, initially for the 210” HKS 3-M ON, and subsequently for other machine types and working widths.

Ready to save energy: Energy Data Ready

Energy consumption is now one of the most critical success factors for industrial companies. With its new Energy Data Ready option, KARL MAYER is offering the hardware that is necessary to determine and monitor the electricity consumption of its tricot machines. The respective technology is integrated into the switch cabinet.

After launching the ENERGY MONITORING SYSTEM software, customers can optimise their energy management on the basis of the potential highlighted by the values measured. The software reads the real-time energy data from the KM.ON cloud the machine is connected to, and analyses the results. The customer benefits from unique transparency. A dashboard shows the energy consumption of a machine per day, product and revolutions per minute, for example, as well as the carbon footprint and costs. Cost calculations and the identification of consumption figures make it possible to optimise the energy-efficiency of the production process. It can also issue repair and maintenance alerts. Higher consumption values may indicate machine wear and tear; accordingly, it is then possible to promptly take the necessary countermeasures.

Smooth handling with precision: reproducible sinker positioning

Following on from the development of the Spring Motion Assistant that makes it possible to unhook the guide bars in seconds, there is now another innovation that makes machine handling considerably easier: a new adjustment mimic for precise, user-friendly setting of the sinkers. This used to be a complicated process that called for experienced technicians and handling oily parts. Now, however, it can be carried out easily, comfortably and even in a business suit. Other advantages are a high level of reproducibility and precise settings.

The new feature is available for all models in the HKS 3-M ON family. It is scheduled to be gradually integrated into further machine types.

Additional benefit through process integration: the new batching device no. 55 X Rolling, fabric weighing and documenting – the new batching device no. 55 X can do all of this, and has been equipped with scales and a label printer for its various jobs.

The fabric weight is determined at the end of a batch in a single uninterrupted process, without having to carry and store the batches elsewhere, which takes time and effort. In addition, it is possible to create a label with the determined value and other useful data to minimise the risk of fabric rolls mix-ups and make the processes shorter. It can also include additional information such as the name of the company, product name, fabric length, machine, order number, date and information about the yarn. Further more detailed data can be shared via a QR code on the label, and/or integrated into KM.ON’s Digital Product Management system for example – provided the machine is connected to the KM.ON cloud. The solution is generally available with and without this connection.

The prototype was exhibited at ITMA 2023 and attracted a lot of enquiries. It is scheduled to be market-ready for a specific working width by the end of the year. In the medium term, the multifunctional batching device will be offered for all machine types with both an elastic and non-elastic product portfolio.

Lower costs and less environmental impact: direct drive with synchronous motor

For production processes that are sustainable yet also cost-efficient, the HKS 3-M ON has been equipped with an economical direct drive since its market launch. In contrast to the standard IE3 drive, the latest generation drive system works without a belt and tooth drive belt pulleys – parts that regularly wear out and therefore generate costs and have an environmental impact – and requires considerably less energy. It can lead to electricity savings of up to 8%. The HKS 4-M ON also features this energy-efficient drive technology, which will be rolled out to further models.

More light for fabric-quality monitoring: ICS with transmitted light set-up and a new background light

With its Integrated Camera System (ICS), the HKS 3-M ON ensures a consistently high fabric quality. The proven system has now been optimised with a transmitted light set-up and can thereby monitor the quality of a wider range of fabrics without any set-up changes than ever before. Thick as well as thin, smooth warp knitted fabrics can be monitored with one and the same set-up, i.e. without changing the position of the camera. This universal use has been made possible by integrating an additional high-output light source underneath the textile. The camera focuses on the textile from above. However, the conventional ICS with the camera installed underneath the textile is still recommended for extremely thick, heavy and dense fabrics.

For a closer inspection of the fabric directly on the machine, the textile is also backlit after the take-up – analogue to the principle of fabric inspection table. The backlit check improves quality observation and minimises the risk of defective fabric rolls. The innovative solution is available for the entire HKS 3-M ON range. It is scheduled to be continuously integrated into further model ranges at a later date.

Posted: October 5, 2023