How we implemented 3D technology in knitting production

How does knitting production differ from sewing? It would seem that both develop clothes there, but the production cycle of knitted and crocheted knitwear is radically different from each other.
To create sewing products, ready-made rolls of material are bought, which are cut according to patterns and then sewn into a single structure. As a result, in addition to the product, you have a lot of attacks (scraps that did not go into production). Usually these pieces are very small in order to fit more for something else and they are simply thrown away.
When producing knitted knitwear, you create your own design of canvases and assemble them on ketel. You can also create a whole product without a single seam, depending on the equipment you use. The word "seamless" speaks for itself — this type of knitwear is the most economical and eco-friendly, because you have practically no production waste.
Why are so few designers engaged in knitwear?
In short: knitwear is difficult and expensive. The production of a knitted sample is much more expensive at cost than sewing models at a sewing factory, because the price is calculated in seconds of knitting. The cost of the model includes the price of equipment (from $6000 for used and up to $66,000 for one brand new Stoll), electricity, salaries of employees, etc.
While the desinator (programmer of sewing equipment) writes the task, sets up the machine and starts the process takes a fairly large amount of time and the price for one sample or a small batch of 10 units will be 20 times higher than the same, but with a batch of 1000 products.
So if the designer creates a sample, he must understand how the thread can behave depending on the composition, weave and layering, what kind of canvas it will be, what shape the product will have, depending on the knitting density and yarn thickness, know the capabilities of the equipment and calculate the maximum number of colors in the jacquard.
How did we modernize the production cycle using 3D programs?
Recently, we talked with the Rosee Knitwear Factory about the fact that many customers come to them ordering expensive samples, but they formulate the task incorrectly, because they themselves do not understand what they want and what can be produced at all. In such a case, the company has live samples of products with perfect patterns and catalogs with weaves and threads of various compositions, but some customers do not have three-dimensional thinking and they do not quite understand how all these three elements can look together.
The familiar 2D drawing in the illustrator does not make their task easier. A live sample is being created, but let's say the customer doesn't like the scale, and has to refine and refine. We offered to create for them a library of 3D products with already developed patterns and weaves, which would clearly demonstrate the possible result even before they would launch the sample into production.
With the help of such a solution, the client could control the patterns, scales, shape, color and already be fully convinced that what he had in front of him was what he wanted to pay his money and really get what he expects at the output.
1) First of all, we created a library of materials:
We photographed existing patterns of weaves, measured their sizes and scaled the photos so that the parameters would correspond to natural ones.Having cleaned up the images (so that there would be no extra shadows), we looped the photo textures into a repeating rapport and discolored (removed saturation).
Next, we colored and applied color filters that repeat the colors of the threads we have.
To create convex textures, we used normal and displacement maps.
2) Preparation of the base
Next, we chose the standard size on which we will demonstrate the patterns, and set the parameters for the avatar in accordance with the typology of the TSNIIPSH. We imported an already existing pattern library from CAD Comtense to CLO in the right size. Also, if the client has a request for plus size clothing, then the 6th version of CLO allows you to gradate the avatar and patterns already inside your software.
3) Setting the physical properties of the material and its scale:
After we have assembled the model on the avatar, the textures are superimposed. If the customer is not satisfied with the initial scale of the knitting pattern, then the size of the rapport can be increased as a percentage, measure the resulting number of pixels and then adjust the initial training task.
After that, the physical properties of the jersey are set. The client chooses the composition of the threads for his product, and we, taking into account the coefficient of extensibility and other parameters, create a canvas that looks like what will happen in reality.
These products (dress and turtleneck) were approved after the first sample. In the future, we will continue to cooperate with this production and try to implement other more complex projects.