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Smart Textiles

Textile-circuit from Karl Mayer

The electrical conductivity of warp-knitted textiles is the subject of extensive development work at Karl Mayer.

29th January 2019

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Obertshausen

Sports/​Outdoor, Medical/Hygiene, Clothing/​Footwear

E-warp-knitted textile. © Karl Mayer

The electrical conductivity of warp-knitted textiles is the subject of extensive development work at Karl Mayer. In the project entitled textile-circuit, multibar raschel machines are used with and without a jacquard facility to incorporate conductive yarns directly into the textile during manufacture.

“The first results are now available and show what can be achieved, including the use of textiles for remote control,” the company reports. The original control tool and its production principles were both successfully shown at the IDTechEx Show in Santa Clara and at the Aachen-Dresden-Denkendorf International Textile Conference, both held in November.

Pattern provides electrical conductivity

Electrically conductive structures with an unlimited range of designs can be produced on multibar raschel machines. This is possible thanks to multibar patterning using Karl Mayer’s innovative string bar system, with which the yarns can be positioned individually and as required onto a ground – following the principles of tailored fibre placement. The ground can be produced with a wide variety of different designs, and jacquard patterns can also be worked, depending on the type of machine.

“As well as offering extensive design freedom, warp knitting also delivers maximum efficiency when producing electrically conductive textiles,” the manufacturer adds. “Furthermore, the typical performance features of textiles, such as softness, flexibility, elasticity and breathability, are fully retained.”

Production without any problems

At the functional heart of these innovative e-warp-knitted textiles are filaments containing metal, such as Elitex. In the experience of Sophia Krinner, a textiles Product Developer at Karl Mayer, “silver-plated polyamide can be processed very easily on multibar raschel machines.” Her aim in the next few stages is to optimise the sequences on the machine to suit mass production.

Ms Krinner studied the processing of functional yarns as part of her master’s degree. As well as Elitex, she also achieved good results with the warp knitting of other fine, insulating metal filaments and metallised yarns, e.g. Shieldex and Agsis.

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