Leading computerized flat knitting machine manufacturer Shima Seiki Mfg. Ltd. of Wakayama, Japan which celebrated its 50th Anniversary on February 4th, 2012, followed it up with a gala celebration in November with over 1400 customers and 1300 employees. The event began with a fashion show featuring some intriguing examples of Wholegarment and new integral knitwear. The three-day event was complemented by an exhibition of over 600 knitted items including samples from over 30 international apparel brands that use Wholegarment knitwear in their collections, as well as students’ works from a dozen schools worldwide that currently use SDS-ONE APEX3 and related design systems.
The occasion was also chosen to highlight the glorious moments of the eventful year 2012, which has given the company many reasons to celebrate. In March 2012, Shima Seiki opened a state-of-the-art factory on company grounds at its headquarters in Wakayama, Japan. The new factory, named ‘FA3’, is dedicated to the assembly of Wholegarment knitting machines and is the third factory to bear the designation ‘Factory Amenity’, referring to the various features that are incorporated to improve the environment for its workers.
2012 was a good year for Shima Seiki. The company applied for over 300 patents and introduced five new machines in the market. Also introduced were five new models to the existing series.
In October, a new subsidiary company Shima Co. Ltd., was established, for the planning, production and sales of high-quality Wholegarment knitwear. The new company serves as a business model for implementing Wholegarment knitwear production in the stores of specialty retailers of private labels (SPA) and for original design manufacturing (ODM), within an established consumer market. It also aims to promote and increase recognition of Wholegarment knitwear, as well as promoting Wholegarment knitting machines and SDS-ONE APEX3 3D design systems.
The new company currently operates 20 MACH2X and 2 SWG-Mini series Wholegarment machines. The unit with the state-of-the-art product management sheds any image of a labour-intensive textile factory. “With Shima Seiki’s know-how and technology as resources, our next-generation factory aims to become a model factory for state-of-the-art Made in Japan textile manufacturing,” says the newly appointed President Kiyokata Nishikawa. “As a business model,” adds Shima Seiki Vice-President Mitsuhiro Shima, “Shima Seiki hopes that Shima Co. can become the archetype for modern knit production, so that our customers all over the world can look to it and learn from its experience.”
Strengthening its worldwide reach, Shima Seiki launched two brands in 2012, one in the United States called Kotoba and the other in Japan called SAMAND’OR.
In addition to registering and applying for over 300 patents, the company introduced five new machines in the market in 2012. FIRST154 S21, the world’s first flat knitting machine that can perform shaping (knit and transfer) in 21G, premiered at ITMA ASIA + CITME 2012. The 4-bed Slide Needle-equipped MACH2X series line-up was joined by the compact MACH2X123 at the same event. Also introduced, was an even more compact and lightweight Wholegarment knitting machine, the MACH2X103, featuring a knitting width of 40 inches (100 cm), capable of knitting most children’s sizes and some ladies wear, as well as Wholegarment accessory items.
The other machine SRY123LP is a new four-needle bed machine featuring two loop presser beds on top of a conventional V-bed, it also features the current iteration of a long evolution of patents surrounding the holding down of knitted loops or permitting the formation of various knit structures.
Shima Seiki’s final offering P-CAM120C was introduced in October 2012 at the Japan International Aerospace Exhibition in Nagoya, a compact single-ply cutting machine for cutting industrial materials such as carbon fibre and glass fibre-reinforced plastics, P-CAM is also suited to cutting of industrial textiles for use in the automotive industry.
Apart from these novel machines, 5 other machines were introduced as new models to an existing series, or new gauges for existing machine models. Adding to this list is a new feature SDS-ONE APEX3 Realtime 3D View, which allows the designer to make changes to a design while viewing those same changes on a 3D image of a model wearing that garment, in real time.
Further strengthening its worldwide reach, Shima Seiki launched two brands in 2012, one in the United States called Kotoba and the other in Japan called SAMAND’OR. Shima Seiki’s subsidiary in the United States, Shima Seiki U.S.A. Inc., launched its Kotoba brand with an inaugural Spring 2013 collection introduced during New York Fashion Week in September.