SwapKnit – KARL MAYER's first Smart Machine function revolutionizes the way of guide bar control

Patterning from the cloud

A view of machine data from anywhere and at any time, service support as if on site but from far away, patterning from the cloud: digitalization offers completely new possibilities in warp knitting, which KARL MAYER is using to offer its customers a wide range of advantages for their business. In doing so, the world market leader is pursuing a well thought-out strategy: coordinated innovation activities are being used above all to rethink aftersales support and machine maintenance, and to develop coordinated offers in three areas. These are Care Solutions, Digital Solutions and Smart Machine.

Smart Machine comprises special functions that are backed by KARL MAYER's expertise and enable customers to maximize their productivity. In addition, a previously unattainable reproducibility of quality is possible.

A first solution for this is SwapKnit. The new patterning concept manages completely without pattern discs, but still enables the high operating speeds typical of mechanical guide bar drives. The basis for this is the networking of the machine via the k.ey device with the KM.ON cloud.

Speed of operation and pattern change

SwapKnit can be used for the production of new or tried-and-tested articles with pattern repeats of up to 36 stitch courses. The required lapping data is acquired with just a few clicks in KARL MAYER's WEBSHOP SPARE PARTS and loaded directly from the KM.ON cloud. This enables pattern changes in a matter of seconds. Lengthy ordering processes, costs for transport and warehousing, and time-consuming manual interventions on the machine, as is usual when using pattern discs, are eliminated and replaced by extremely convenient, efficient online handling.

The precision of the information for controlling the guide bars has remained unchanged. With the help of KARL MAYER's special know-how, the curve course is optimally matched to the knitting motion, gauge and guide bars of the machine to ensure the highest speeds. The first tricot machine with SwapKnit function is the HKS 3-M ON. With the electronic curves and a likewise electronic high-performance drive for the guide bars, the newcomer achieves a speed of up to 2,900 min-1.

Lapping procurement per individual purchase or flat rate

SwapKnit offers a new flexibility in patterning and is offered for this purpose in the variants SwapKnit 36 and SwapKnit 36 Flat. SwapKnit 36 is based on the principle of the pattern disc: The customer purchases a single lapping for each ground guide bar, but uses the WEBSHOP SPARE PARTS with its simple navigation for this purpose.

SwapKnit 36 Flat provides a whole selection of lappings for a flat rate. The library of electronic pattern discs used for this purpose offers all the lapping variants available at KARL MAYER. The compilation can be used on a machine selected for SwapKnit 36 Flat for a certain period of time, and can also be obtained easily and quickly from the WEBSHOP SPARE PARTS.

Best article reproducibility

If an article is created from the available lappings, the settings required for this, such as fabric take-up speed, yarn run-in and camera alignment, can also be saved. In the case of a repeat job, all relevant data is loaded automatically.

"The simple article changeover, completely without manual intervention, is very well received by customers. Every action means work and the risk of errors," says Kay Hilbert. The Product Owner Global Tricot Machines at KARL MAYER has spoken to numerous customers, especially in Europe, about the new digital solution for patterning and has received a lot of recognition for it.

SwapKnit to get to know and try out

The machine for the SwapKnit premiere, the HKS 3-M ON, has been successfully offered for a good two years and is already being used worldwide in daily production. Customers can now also learn about the advantages of the new smart machine solution in a special webinar series. The online courses will take place on 23 and 24 February 2022. The opportunity to register is available at:

In addition, models of the HKS 3-M ON will be available at KARL MAYER (CHINA) in Changzhou and at the group's headquarters in Obertshausen for visitors to see and try out. KARL MAYER is looking forward to receiving registrations for the presentation of the machines at:

Further steps to follow

As the first Smart Machine offering, SwapKnit marks the start of digital innovations with which KARL MAYER offers its customers more benefits from its machines. Further innovations will follow.

"In our development activities, in addition to the important topics such as more speed and flexibility, we also have simplified handling and the possibilities of automation in mind. We want maximum efficiency with minimum operating effort," says Kay Hilbert.

Smart solutions for handling optimization are advantageous in two ways: They ease the personnel situation, which is becoming more acute in many markets due to the lack of qualified employees. And they can be used to appeal to young skilled workers in particular, who have grown up in the digital environment.

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Kay Hilbert, Product Owner Global Tricot Machines at KARL MAYER

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