Shima Seiki Produces Masks for Schoolchildren

Shima Seiki Mfg., Ltd. has produced 3D knitted masks for students going to elementary schools and junior high schools (primary and intermediate schools) in Wakayama Prefecture where the company is based.
The masks are produced at the company’s headquarters by request of the Wakayama prefectural government, based on knitting data for one of several types of masks released by the company since March 19th in its effort to help alleviate the worldwide shortage of masks caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The data is originally intended for Shima Seiki users to knit masks on their own knitting machines, and is available for download from the Shima Seiki Users’ Site. There have been over 300 downloads for various mask data so far.
The mask data drew interest from the prefecture, which promptly made a request for mask production. It is rare for Shima Seiki to accept requests for knit production in mass quantities, but the company views it as an opportunity to contribute to the community it has continuously cherished. The arrangement also benefits children of Shima Seiki employees who attend schools in Wakayama.
8,000 children’s masks have been produced on the Shima Seiki SVR093SP computerized flat knitting machine in 14 gauge. Although a conventional shaping machine, the SVR093SP is capable of producing masks in one-piece without the need for sewing afterward, identical to the WholeGarment masks whose data is also available for production on the company’s SWG-N2 series WholeGarment knitting machines. The children’s masks are available in 3 sizes to cover the wide age-range of schoolchildren.
The 3D form-fitted masks provide superior fit and comfort. Integral ear straps that are knitted along with the mask portion reduces stress on the ears, and require no further sewing for quick response production. A filter-pouch is knitted-in for inserting commercially available virus filters and other filtration fabrics. Holes are also knitted-in for insertion of wires that provide further adjustment for improved fit.
The knitted cotton masks can be washed and reused repeatedly. Unlike common nonwoven surgical masks however, knitted masks do not have virus- and pollen-filtration functionality. Their main purpose is to contain spray from coughing and sneezing, and for reducing exposure to allergens.

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