Title:
INSTALLATION FOR THE CONTROL OF KNITTING MACHINES
United States Patent 3844139


Abstract:
An installation for the electronic control of knitting machines from a pattern to be reproduced comprises a memory for storing in the form of coded information a limited quantity of elements from the pattern, means for inscription of said elements into the memory and means for interrogation of the memory as a function of the characteristics of the knitting machine and of the pattern. Means are provided for decoding and switching-over coded information from the memory and for transformation of the decoded information into electrical signals for the control of the knitting machine. The memory and the transformation means are connected by two channels: a direct channel for direct transfer of the contents of the memory to said transformation means; and an indirect channel for transfer of several times the contents of the corresponding memory by means of an intermediary information carrier corresponding to several sub-divisions of the pattern, the number of elements of which is greater than the capacity of the memory.



Inventors:
De Cerjat, Aymon A. (Neuchatel, CH)
Millet, Claude M. (Neuchatel, CH)
Application Number:
05/013581
Publication Date:
10/29/1974
Filing Date:
02/24/1970
Assignee:
EDOUARD DUBIED & CIE SA,CH
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
66/242, 700/84, 700/141
International Classes:
D04B15/66; (IPC1-7): D04B15/78
Field of Search:
66/1R,5R,5A,5B,25,75,154A,155 340
View Patent Images:



Foreign References:
FR1554718A1969-01-24
GB1173620A1969-12-10
FR1583356A1969-10-24
GB1194731A1970-06-10
CH472527A1969-05-15
FR1522413A1968-04-26
Primary Examiner:
Reynolds, Wm Carter
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Burns, Robert Lobato Emmanuel Adams Bruce E. J. L.
Claims:
What is claimed is

1. Installation for the electronic control of a circular knitting machine from a pattern to be reproduced, comprising a memory (such as 59) for storing, in form of coded information, a limited number of elements from said pattern, means for the inscription of said elements in said memory, means for the selective interrogation of said memory as a function of the characteristics of said knitting machine and of said pattern, means for decoding and switching over coded information from said memory, and means for the transformation of the decoded information into electrical signals for the control of the machine, said memory and said transformation means being connected by two channels, namely a direct channel for the direct transfer of the contents of said memory to said transformation means, and an indirect channel for the transfer of several times the different contents of the memory by means of an intermediary information carrier, corresponding to several subdivisions of a pattern which has a greater number of elements than the memory can store.

2. Installation according to claim 1, wherein said inscription means for the elements of a pattern in the memory (such as 59) are composed of a display momory (such as 140), with means for altering the contents thereof and means for the transfer of the contents into the said memory (such as 59), completed by a color display unit connected to said display memory and which provides an image of the said contents in the form of a pattern on a screen.

3. Installation according to claim 2, wherein said means for altering the contents of said display memory comprise a first keyboard with circuits enabling access to a determined location in the said display memory and a second keyboard with circuits enabling alteration of the contents of said display memory at the said location.

4. Installation according to claim 2, wherein said means for altering said contents of said display memory comprise a direct reader and a first keyboard with circuits enabling access to a determined location in the said display memory and a second keyboard with circuits, enabling alteration of the contents of said display memory at said location.

5. Installation according to claim 1, wherein said interrogation means for said memory (such as 59) are composed of a set of counters indexed according to the characteristics of said knitting machine, a set of members for the calculation along the width of said pattern, containing two first counters indexed according to the width of said pattern and a group of members for calcuations relating to the height of said pattern, containing two second counters indexed according to the height of the pattern, and wherein the impulses causing said counters to advance are provided by an oscillator (such as 50) and by an impulse generator, the latter being controlled by said knitting machine.

6. Installation according to claim 1, wherein said interrogation means for said memory (such as 59) comprise members displaying numbers characterising the specification of said knitting machine and specifications of the pattern to be reproduced and members carrying out the arithmetical operations of said displayed numbers in order to calculate addresses as herein before defined for the interrogation of the said memory (such as 59) said members being commanded by a sequence control.

7. Installation according to claim 1, wherein said means for decoding and switching over said coded information from said memory (such as 59) comprise information output decoders of a fixed memory (such as 68) containing as many electronic memories as the knitting machine contains selection members, and a decoder, said decoder controlling the transfer of decoded information into said electronic memories.

8. Installation for the direct electronic control of a plurality of knitting machines according to claim 1, wherein each knitting machine has a set of counters and a fixed memory (such as 68) and wherein an oscillator emits impulses of a frequency being a multiple of a fixed frequency by a number of simultaneously controlled machines, and comprising a logical switch provided to switch over impulses from the oscillator successively to the different counters attributed to these machines and switching output information from said memory (such as 59) successively to different fixed memories (such as 68).

9. Installation according to claim 1, wherein the distance counted in a number of needles between any two neighbouring selection members of said machine is equal to or is a multiple of the distance between the two closest neighbouring knitting systems.

Description:
The invention relates to installations for the electronic operation of knitting machines departing from patterns to be reproduced.

The process described in British Pat. No. 173,620 concerns the use of a computer for the processing of information taken from a pattern with a view to the establishment of an information carrier to operate selection members for a knitting machine. This process, being very rapid and consequently quite economical does not insure the secret of their creation to knitters who do not have their own computer, and makes them dependant on processing centres and is causing wasted time.

The invention has for its aim the provision of an installation for the electronic operation of a knitting machine allowing, either direct control of the electromagnetic selection members for the needles in the case where the pattern to be reproduced does not exceed certain limited dimensions or the construction of an intermediary information carrier used to actuate the said selection members.

Another object of the invention is to provide an installation which does not require an inordinant investment and whose possibilities, performance and consequently complexity are advantageously approximately proportional to the limited dimensions imposed.

According to the present invention, an installation for the electronic control of a knitting machine from a pattern to be reproduced, comprising a memory (such as 59) for storing, in the form of coded information, a limited number of elements from said pattern, means for the inscription of said elements in said memory, means for the interrogation of said memory as a function of the characteristics of said knitting machine and of said pattern, means for decoding and switching over coded information from said memory, and means for the transformation of the decoded information into electrical signals for the control of the machine, said memory and said transformation means being connected by two channels, namely a direct channel for the direct transfer of the contents of said memory to said transformation means, and an indirect channel for the transfer of several times the different contents of the memory by means of an intermediary information carrier, corresponding to several subdivisions of a pattern which has a greater number of elements than the memory can store.

The accompanying drawings shown, by way of example, some embodiments of the installation according to the invention for a circular knitting machine with one cylinder.

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of the installation as a whole.

FIG. 2 shows a small pattern surface in relation to the installation.

FIG. 3 shows another pattern surface in relation to the installation.

FIG. 4 shows a large pattern surface in relation to the installation.

FIG. 5 is a schematic representation of an information carrier.

FIG. 6 shows a pattern area in relation to a schematic representation of a knitting machine.

FIG. 7 shows a part of the means for interrogating the memory.

FIG. 8 shows another part of the means for interrogating the memory.

FIG. 9 shows another variant of the part shown in FIG. 7.

FIG. 10 shows another variant of the part shown in FIG. 8.

FIG. 11a shows a part of the sequence control.

FIG. 11b shows another part of the sequence control.

FIG. 12 shows a detail of the second embodiment.

In FIG. 1, the pattern 1 of rectangular shape ("square" being included in the term "rectangular") is read and transmitted to a processing device 4, by means on punched cards or tapes, electrical impulses, manual display by means of a key board 2 optionally combined with a tape perforator 2a manipulated by an operator, or a direct reading unit 3. The latter is equipped with photoelectric cells and advancing automatisms according to the coordinates x and y. Such devices are known and described in the French Pat. No. 1,303,877 and 1,544,718.

A particularly advantageous variation of the inscription means 2' is described at the end of the section dealing with FIG. 12.

After passing through the processing unit 4, the coded data is transmitted to a recorder 5. The latter records on an information carrier 6. This can be a photographic film, magnetic or punched tape, etc. In the example, a photographic film is chosen. The film 6 is developed in a developing apparatus 7 and, at the right moment, inserted into a reader 8. The said reader forms part of the knitting machine 10 with the set of logic and power devices 9, hereafter called the "power stage" 9, to which it transfers the information from the information carrier 6 in order to control the electromagnetic selection members 11 hereinafter called selection members 11. In the latter, the distance, counted in needles, between any two neighbouring selection members is equal to or a multiple of the distance between the two closest spaced neighbouring selection members, the distance being used as a base and called the "equidistance."

The knitting machine is directly controlled when the quantity of information drawn from the elements contained in the pattern 1 does not exceed the capacity of the memory (described later) included in the processing device 4. In order to do this, the processed information is transmitted from the processing device 4 direct to the power stage 9. Therefore, the installation of an information carrier 6 is not necessary.

The synchronisation of the knitting machine 10 and the reader 8, or the processing device 4 is actuated in a known way from the knitting machine 10. In FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, the rectangular area of pattern 1, to be reproduced by knitting, usually drawn on squared paper each square representing one stitch (called "an element" of the pattern), contains data. In FIG. 2 this information is less than the capacity of the memory 59, in FIG. 3 equal and in FIG. 4 greater. It is understood that "data" or "information" means the constituents of each stitch such as color, for example. The position of the said stitch within the pattern 1 is not considered, here as "data" or "information." It is memorised without other means in its right place owing to the geometrical shape of the memory 59 similar to the shape of the pattern 1, for example, rectangular. Any other shape of memory can be considered as it is only necessary to store the data of pattern 1 in a specific order.

The memory 59 can be constituted by a "cross bar programming system," by punched cards and an appropriate reader, by magnetic core memory or other usual devices in the field of information processing or machine operation.

An embodiment using a "variable pattern dimension" is shown in FIGS. 1, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.

The aim is to provide an installation, as shown in FIG. 1, at a reasonable cost, which can process information transferred from patterns 1 of any width and height, with a view to building an information carrier 6 and, in the case of direct control of the knitting machine 10, the installation being able to process patterns containing less or as much data as the memory can store. It is understood that the number of stitches in the width of the pattern never exceeds the number of needles on the cylinder of the knitting machine.

The only (but not indispensable) limitation prescribed is that the distance, counted in needles, between any two neighboring selection members 11 is equal to or a multiple of the distance between the closest neighboring selection members 11 (considered as the basic distance and called the "equidistance").

The installation as shown in FIG. 1 processes the patterns shown in FIGS. 2, 3 and 4. In the case of FIG. 4, the pattern is subdivided in parts, but these parts each contain less or as much information as the memory can store.

The processing device 4 is provided with core memories and binary counters. The latter count from one up to an indexed number which is determined by the specification of the knitting machine and the pattern to be processed. (Under "indexing counter on . . ." the highest figure the said counter must reach is understood, this figure being displayed for each different case or once for all). Other components can be used.

The memory 59 must be interrogated with a view to sending out control data for each selection member 11 each time that the cylinder advances one needle. It is supposed that the pattern 1 is inscribed in a system with coordinates x and y of such a kind that each element of pattern 1 has one coordinate x determining its location along the width of pattern 1, and coordinate y determining its location according to the height. Each element is stored by the memory 59 in the form of coded information, the memory location is then characterised by the same coordinates x and y (called the x and y address). In order to be able to retrieve this data, the coordinates x and y must be determined. This determination is called the "x calculation" and the "y calculation."

FIG. 6a shows a pattern with a width X to be reproduced by knitting. FIG. 6b schematically shows the cylinder 40 of the knitting machine 10, some selection members 11 (11/1, 11/2 . . . 11/38, 11/39), hereafter called "OS," equally spaced round the machine. In reality, as there would only be 32 "OS" 11 working, the distance between certain of the latter is a multiple of the said equidistance. The processing is based on the equidistance, obtained by the hypothesis of imaginary "OS" 11, and is greatly simplified thereby. For this imaginary "OS," the data is processed as for the real "OS" 11.

Around cylinder 40 is a knitting tube 41 which is knitted at a given time. Pattern 1 is repeated m times, D1, D2 through DM-1', Dm. The latter, D m-1, can be a partial pattern. At the said given moment, the start 42 corresponding to the first pattern D1 is found between OS 11/2 and 11/3. This start 42 corresponds to the first column of stitches in the pattern. The OS 11/1 (obviously, with its knitting system) must, or must not, according to the colour, "knit" a stitch found on the line x in FIG. 6a. In the same manner, the others OS 11/2 to 11/39 must "knit" or must not "knit" a certain stitch found in the lines x2 through x39, not shown, each time that the cylinder 40 advances by one needle in the direction of the arrows 43. This determination is called "calculation of x's".

The processing unit 4 is firstly described in relation to a direct control of the knitting machine 10.

The part of the processing unit 4 involved in the calculation of x's is shown in FIG. 7. The impulse generator 24 emits impulses at the rate the cylinder 40 advances, the said impulses making a counter 45 advance, indexed at 44. This figure corresponds to the equidistance between two OS11. When it arrives at 44, the counter 45 advances counter 46 by one position, counter 46 being indexed at 39. This figure corresponds to the number of needles on the cylinder divided by the equidistance, for example, 1716/44 = 39.

The two counters 45 and 46 continuously indicate the position counted in needles from the start 42 of the first pattern D1, in relation to the OS 11/1. They are at figure "one" when the start 42 is at OS 11/1. Considering FIG. 6b, it is remarked that the start 42 firstly advances from OS 11/1 to OS 11/2, thus a distance of 44 needles, the counter 45 simultaneously advancing from 1 to 44. When the start 42 arrives at OS 11/2, the counter 45 is switched over to "one" and setting the counter 46 to "two." Continuing to advance, the start 42 leaves OS 11/2 and counter 45 indicates the progression. At a given moment, it is on its position 32, for example, thus indicating that there are 32 needles from the start 42 up to OS 11/2, the needle located at the latter being included. The counter 46 situated on two, indicates that the start 42 is at OS 11/2, or that it has passed OS 11/2, but that it has not yet arrived at OS 11/3.

The impulses emitted by the impulse generator 24 makes the counter 47 advance, the latter is indexed to the number of stitches in the width X of the pattern 1, as shown in FIG. 6a. It is at figure "one" when the start 42 is on OS 11/1, and upon each impulse it indicates which abscissa x1 of the pattern to be reproduced is found at OS 11/1.

An oscillator 50 emits impulses at a fixed frequency, which is at least 39 × 44 times greater than the maximum frequency of generator 24. In the example, 2 MHz has been chosen. The said impulses start a counter 51 working, forward or backwards, according to the order which it receives from the sequence command 52. A similar sequence control is shown in FIGS. 11a and 11b. This counter 51 is also indexed on the width X of the pattern. Each time after being set to zero by the sequence control 52, transfer module 53 transmits the position x1 from counter 47 to counter 51. Counter 51, in counting the next 44 impulses from the oscillator 50 forward, i.e., in the direction x in FIG. 6a and in the opposite direction to the rotation of cylinder 40, as shown in FIG. 6b, determines the abscissa x39 corresponding to OS 11/39. By counting 44 more forward impulses counters 51 indicates x38 then, after 44 further impulses, it indicates x 37 and so on down to x3.

Therefore, counter 55 controlling the transfer of the contents of counter 51 to memory 54 has to count from 1 to 44. The latter position triggers the transfer. Thus it counts forward in the direction +x, from x1 up to the end of the pattern Dm and backwards in the -x direction from x1 to the beginning 42 of the first pattern D1. With reference to FIG. 6b, it is observed that the counter 51 counts forward for the calculation of the x's which are attributed to the OS 11 located behind OS 11/1 looking in the direction of rotation of cylinder 40, and that it counts backwards for the calculation of the x's which are attributable to the OS 11 located in front of OS 11/1 again looking in the direction of rotation of the cylinder 40, up to the limits of the mentioned patterns. The OS 11 located behind OS 11/1 knits the revolution n-1 and those which are found in front knit the revolution n of the pattern.

It is advantageous to proceed in this way which takes into account that the last pattern Dm can be a partial pattern, thus of lesser width than X and which renders supplementary counters, indexed to this partial width, unnecessary. The sequence control 52 controls the memorisation of x1 through x39 in the memory 54, and the counting direction of counter 51. In order that this may be carried out, it is controlled by counters 55 and 56 and the comparator 57. Counter 55 is indexed on 44 as counter 45 and counter 56 at 39, as counter 46. Counter 56 is switched over one position each time that the counter 55 makes one revolution. It counts backwards at the rate of the impulses from the oscillator 50 (namely, the first count 1, 44, 43 through 2, 1, 44, 43 and so on; and the second 1, 39, 38 through 2, 1, 39 and so on). The counter 55 gives the order to memorise the position x and the counter 56 indicates to which OS 11 x is destined. Therefore, counter 55 controlling the transfer of the contents of counter 51 to memory 54 has to count from 1 to 44. The latter position triggers the transfer. The positions of counters 55, 56, and 45, 46 are continually transmitted to the comparator 57. When the positions of counters 55 and 56 correspond to those of counters 45 and 46, the comparator 57 transmits a signal to the sequence control 52. The latter puts the counters 55 and 56 to one, gives the transfer device the order to put the counter 51 on the position (x1) of counter 47 and commands counters 51 and 56 to count in the opposite direction. The counter 56 counts 2, 3 and so on and the counter 51 counts x-1, x-2, through 1, X, X-1, X-2, and so on.

Between two impulses of generator 24, the part described must calculate 39 x (x1, x2 . . . x39) and memorise them alternatively in the memory 54; a decoder 58 transforms them with a view to adapting them to the configuration of the memory 59.

The core code memory 59, (shown in FIG. 12) comprises known-type electronic reading and inscription devices, not shown. The minimal capacity is determined in the part of the example relating to the establishment of an information carrier 6. The memory 59 contains the data of the elements of pattern 1 in the form of coded information. Gradually, upon their establishment, the memorized and decoded 39x are used, conjointly with the corresponding 39y, as described hereafter (x1 y1, x2 y2 . . . x39 y39) to interrogate the memory 59, namely, as addresses in order to read the corresponding data therein. This data is transmitted to a decoder 66 (66/1, 66/2 . . .) the configuration of which is a function to the number of colors of the pattern.

The decoded data is transmitted to a color permutater 67, allowing the preselection of colors. It consists of a switch each position of which connects the four inputs 67/1, 67/2, 67/3 and 67/4 in a different preselected way to four outputs 67/5, 67/6, 67/7 and 67/8. By turning the switch to different positions, the output lines from decoders 66 can be connected in different sequences with the input lines of the memory 68. Thus the effective memory capacity is increased by a simple switching operation.

If permutation is not desired, the switch is on its position of direct line connection, connecting 67/1 to 67/5, and 67/2 to 67/6 and so on.

The decoded and possibly permutated data is temporarily memorised in the buffered memory 68. This memory 68, with a capacity of 36 bits, of which only 32 are used, for example, comprise 36 electronic memories (one per real OS 11), each having an input connected to the corresponding output of the decoder 69 of counter 56, a second input connected to the sequence control 52, a third input connected to one of the four outputs 67/5, 67/6, 67/7 and 67/8 of the dynamic color permutator 67 and outputs 68/1 through 68/36 connected to the power stage 9. The first of these inputs switches the information which has arrived by the third input to the corresponding memory. The second input is used to synchronise the memorization.

The part of the processing unit 4 involved in the "calculation of the y's," with regard to direct control of the knitting machine 10, will now be described. It should be recalled:

a. That the height Y of pattern 1 in FIG. 6 can be any height. Thus, it is not necessary that the number of lines (= number of rows of stitches) is a multiple of the number of rows knitted per revolution of the cylinder 40.

b. That pattern 1 in the example is a four-color pattern. For this reason, the knitting systems are divided into groups of four systems. Each system of a group knits one of the four colors.

c. That the machine works with 32 knitting systems, divided into eight groups of four systems (for the four colors). It knits eight rows of stitches per revolution. Thirty-two knitting systems lead to a better stitch linkage than any similar number of systems, regardless of the control device.

Each group of four knitting systems knits one row of stitches corresponding to one line y ("to knit one line" is understood as "to complete one row of stitches") of pattern 1.

It is understood that the imaginary OS 11 have no knitting system, they do not contribute to the knitting and cannot, thereby be included in any group. The real OS 11, of which at least one is attributed to each to a knitting system, are divided into four groups 70 of each time four OS 11, in a similar manner to the knitting system.

In FIG. 6a the following distribution is made:

Group 70/1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 __________________________________________________________________________ OS 11/1 11/5 11/9 (11/13) 11/18 11/24 11/29 11/33 OS 11/2 11/6 11/10 11/14 (11/19) 11/25 11/30 11/34 OS 11/3 11/7 11/11 11/15 (11/20) (11/26) 11/31 11/35 OS 11/4 11/8 11/12 11/16 11/21 11/27 11/32 11/36 OS 11/17 11/22 11/28 (11/37) OS 11/23 (11/38) OS (11/39) __________________________________________________________________________

Each group 70 "knits" a given line y of the pattern 1 during one revolution of the cylinder. During the preceding revolution, it "knitted" one line, located eight lines lower down leaving the lower and upper edges out of account. As start 42 of the first design D1 arrives at the different OS 11 of a group 70, the latter are switched over onto their new line y It is thus necessary to determine the said line y(y1,y2, y3 through y8) for each group 70 of the four OS 11. This determination is called the "y calculation."

The part of the processing device 4, involved in the y calculation is shown in FIG. 8.

The counters 45 and 46, described in connection with the x calculation continually indicate the position of start 42 of the first pattern D1.

Each time the two counters 45 and 46 are at their position one, the start 42 is found at a well determined place in relation to the machine, in the example it is at OS 11/1. Being both on one, they cause connection of an AND circuit 71. The latter opens AND circuit 73 which allows impulses to be passed from the oscillator 50. These impulses arrive on an AND circuit 74, which becomes conducting for them, given that the second input 75/1 is powered by the sequence control 75. A similar sequence control is shown in FIGS. 11a and 11b. The said impulses arrive at counter 76, indexed at a figure corresponding to the number of rows of stitches that the machine knits per revolution of the cylinder 40, in the example, it is indexed at 8. The counter 76 advances at the rate of the impulses which arrive, from one up to eight and again to one. Having arrived on one, it gives the signal to the sequence control 75 which blocks the AND circuit 74 by the line 75/1. Thereby eight impulses from oscillator 50 pass through the said AND circuit 74. These eight impulses make the counter 77 count eight positions forward. The counter 77 is indexed to the height Y of the pattern 1 to be reproduced, this height being counted in lines (and in rows of stitches). The new position of counter 77, held throughout the revolution of the cylinder 40 is transferred by means of the transfer module 78 to the counter 79 indexed on Y and from the latter to the memory 80 so that it is memorised.

Counter 77, in progressing eight positions has calculated the new y1 for the first stitch of the new revolution to be knitted by OS 11/1. This first stitch is thus found eight lines higher on the pattern 1 than the last stitch of the previous revolution. The OS 11/2/3/4 of the first group then "knits" another eight lines lower than the line knitted by OS 11/1; the group two seven lines lower; group three six lines lower; and so on; and group eight one line lower, thus y8 = y1 - 1, y7 = y1 - 2 . . . y2 = y1 - 7, and y1 of the OS 11/2/3/4 = y1 of the OS 11/1 - 8.

In this special case where start 42 has not reached OS 11/2 it is thus sufficient for counter 70 to count backwards one position each time from the new y1 in order to find y8 . . . y1. In order to do this, decoder 69, which has as many outputs as there are real OS 11, emits a signal on the output corresponding to the position of its counter 56. It should be noted that the arrangement of the outputs corresponds to the arrangement of the real OS 11 on the knitting machine. If, for example, the OS 11/37, 38 and 39 are imaginary, it is necessary that outputs 37, 38, and 39 of decoder 69 corresponding to positions 37, 38, and 39 of counter 56 are left out.

The (real) outputs are connected to an OR circuit 81. Each time counter 55 is on two (there is a risk that position one will only give an imperfect signal), it unblocks the AND circuit 82 in such a way that the signal coming from decoder 69 arrives at counter 88. The latter is indexed at the corresponding figure to the number of real OS 11 connected together in each group, four in the example. Each time that the counters 55 and 56 are at their position one, counter 83 is switched over to its position four. For each signal arriving, it advances one position. When it changes from four to one (or the inverse), it transmits the signal to the sequence control 75, from which a corresponding signal causes the counter 79 to return one position, so that in this way the latter has calculated the y8. This position is stored in the memory 80. After another group of four signals emitted by the decoder 69, the counter 83 emits a new signal which again returns the counters 79 by one position, corresponding to y7 and so on down to y 1 of OS 11/2, OS 11/3 and OS 11/4.

The y calculation for any position whatsoever from the start 42 is made by steps, similar to the steps of the x calculation, namely that the device determines the y8, y7 . . . in counting in one direction from OS 11/1 up to the end of the last pattern Dm and the y2, y3 . . . , in counting in the other direction, from the OS 11/1 up to the start 42 of the first pattern. The y1 is memorised frist and next the y8 through y2 are memorized in their turn.

The OS 11 of the second group 70/2 "knits" a row of stitches situated on a line above that "knitted" by the OS 11 of the first group 70/1; thus y2 = y1 + 1, y3 = y1 + 2, and so on until OS 11 reaches, or has just passed the start 42.

It is recalled that the comparator 57 emits one signal each time that the counters 55 and 56 have reached the same position as the counters 45 and 46. This signal is transmitted to the sequence control 52 (of the x's) and from there to the sequence control 75 (of the y's). The latter makes the counters 83 and 79 count in the reverse direction, ater having put the first at four and the second at the position of counter 77.

The y1 through y8 are successively transferred to the memory 80 each time the counter 55 is switched to one. In this way each time that the cylinder 40 turns the distance separating two needles, 39 addresses y1 through y8 are successively stored with 39 x1 through x39. It is evident that the four real addresses for any group are of the same value, with the exception of the group inside which start 42 in found; the eight times four real y addresses and the seven imaginary addresses will be hereinafter called y1 through y39.

The described parts of the processing unit 4, involved in the x and y calculations belong to the means for interrogating the memory. They contain the counters, certain of which receive impulses provided by an oscillator 50. The latter must emit high frequency impulses; for the described machine a frequency of 2MHz is used. The described installation is also envisaged for the simultaneous control of several knitting machines. In the latter case, the frequency should be as many times greater as the number of machines coupled to the installation. It is well known that the utilisation of such high frequencies necessitates special and costly precautions for the protection of such installations against parasites and there always remains some uncertainty in the utilisation of such counters.

A particularly advantageous variation of the parts involved in the x and y calculations is described below. The calculations are carried out by means of arithmetical operations and, thereby, said parts work with considerably lower frequencies. The high frequency counters are also unnecessary.

FIGS. 9 and 10 show a second embodiment of parts of the processing unit 4. The latter comprises a magnetic core memory 59 with its peripherical modules connected to a set of devices 84 for decoding, switching, memorizations and, possibly permutation. The outputs 84/1 to 84/36 are connected either to the power stage 9 in the case of direct control of the knitting machine 10 or to the recording machine 5.

The part of the processing unit 4 involved in the x calculation of the x's, will now be described with reference to FIG. 9.

The impulse generator 24 emits impulses either at the rate that the cylinder 40 advances (direct control), or at that of the recording apparatus 5 (indirect control), the said impulses advancing a counter 85, indexed on 44. This figure corresponds to the equidistance. Counter 85 continually indicates the address xn of the necessary data to the selection member 11/n which is located ahead of the start of the first knitted pattern. Each time that a group of addresses x1 . . . must be calculated, i.e., before the selection of a new group of needles, the sequence command 86 gives the order to transfer the number reached by counter 85. In order to do this, the "NAND" gate 87, connected to counter 85 each time by one input and connected by the other input to the sequence control 86, are made conductive by the latter. The figure reached is memorised in the memory 88. This is connected to an arithmetical operator 89. The arithmetical operator 89 of the full adder type is a combined circuit which automatically adds or subtracts the figure stored in the memory 88 with a figure stored in memory 90. (In a "combined" circuit, the values of the variable output binaries are entirely and invariably determined by those of the variable input binaries.)

For each new pattern 1 to be processed, the total width X is counted in elements of the said pattern 1 on the binary coded decimal (BCD) preselector switch 91. The latter is connected to the transcoder 92 which converts the figure X (BCD) into the binary number X. If the "NAND" gates 93 receive a transfer order from the sequence command 86, the figure is transferred to the memory 90, through the line connections 93/1 through 93/8. The (BCD) preselector switch 94 is connected to lines 93/1 . . . 93/8 through a transcoder 95 and the "NAND" gates 96 in as much as the latter receive transfer order from the sequence control 86. The preselector switches 91 and 94 are set manually. The greatest multiple of the width X which must be smaller or equul to the equidistance (in the example the latter is 44) is displayed on the pre-selection commutator 94: equidistance ≥ m. X > equidistance - X where m = 1, 2, 3 through m. X is the displayed figure. For a design with the width X greater than the equidistance, 0 is displayed. The static circuit 97, wired in such a way that it emits the corresponding binary figure to the equidistance is connected to lines 93/1 through 93/8, via the "NAND" gates 98 in as much as the latter receive a transfer order from the sequence control 86.

The orders relating to the operation to be executed by the arithmetical operator 89 either to add or subtract, are given from the sequence control 86 and stored in the operation memory 99. The result of the operation is stored in the intermediate memory 100. The memorized result is transferred again into the memory 88 through the "NAND" gates 101 in as much as that the latter receive a transfer order from the sequence control 86. The memorized result is compared in the comparator 102 with the value of X, which is continually transferred to it through the connection lines 92/1 through 92/8. The memory 100 is connected to the x decoder 58. From the latter, the result is transferred into the memory 59, when this receives the order to read from the sequence control 86. A second comparator 103 continually compared the figure contained in the transcoder 92 with the figure contained in the static circuit 97. The part of the processing unit 4 involved in the calculation of the x1 through x39 executes the following steps (it is assumed that the start of the first reproduced pattern is located between the second selection member 11/2 and the third 11/3 and that it progresses towards the latter)

x2 calculation: (all the counters shown in FIG. 11a of the sequence command 86 are at zero).

a. Transfer of the contents of the counter 85 into the memory 88, simultaneously the memory 90 is set to zero. In order to carry out these operations, the sequence control 86 (hereinafter designated CS 86) gives an impulse on 86/1, 86/2 and 86/3.

b. Addition of the contents of the memory 88 to zero contents of memory 90. Transfer of the result from the arithmetical operator 89 into the memory 100. In order to carry out this operation, the CS 86 gives an impulse on 86/5 (+) and 86/4.

c. Comparison of memorised result with X and comparison of X with 44. (The comparators 102, and 103, which are in combined systems, carry out this operation statically without an order being necessary).

If the result is greater than X and that X is less than 44 (signalled by the presence of a "one" on 102/1 and 103/1), there is a transfer of the number on the transcoder 95 into the memory 90. In order to carry out this operation, the CS 86 gives an impulse on 86/6 and 86/3. (If the result is less than X, then the result is equal to x2). Transfer of the contents of memory 100 into memory 88. To carry out this operation, the CS 86 gives an impulse on 86/8 and 86/2.

d. If the result is greater than X (signalled by 102/1), then the contents of memory 90 are subtracted from the contents of memory 88 and the new retult is transferred from arithmetical operator 89 to the memory 100. In order to carry out this operation, the CS 86 gives one impulse on 86/7 (-) and 86/4.

e. Transfer of the contents of memory 100 into memory 88. To carry out this operation, the CS 86 gives an impulse on 86/8 and 86/2 and, simultaneously, comparison of the said contents with X. If the value of the contents is greater than X (signalled by 102/1), X is transferred from the transcoder 92 to the memory 90; with impulses on 86/3 and 86/9. If the value of the content is less than X than it is equal to x2,

f. If the value of the contents is greater than X (signalled by 102/1), then the contents of memory 90 are subtracted from the contents of memory 88 and the new result arithmetical operator 89 to the memory 100; with impulses on 86/7 (-) and 86/4. If the value of the new contents is less than X, then it is equal to x2.

g. After the determination of x2, the contents of the memory 100 is transferred to the memory 88, with impulses on 86/8 and 86/2. Simultaneously an impulse on 86/10 of memory 59 is made through a monostable 122 (FIG. 11a) which calibrates the impulse according to specifications of memory 59. The reading cycle thus begins.

h. After reading the coded information, the memory 59 emits an impulse on 59/1 and when the first counter 123 (FIG. 11a) of the CS 86 has arrived on its eight and therefore last position, corresponding to step h, a signal appears on the output 86/11 of CS 86, givin the order to memorise the decoded and possibly premutated information, into the memories 84. Simultaneously, the signal of the said last position appears at the output 86/12, triggering a second counter 125 (FIG. 11a) in order to calculate x1, x39 . . . x3. The signal at the output 86/12 is routed to second counter 125 by the following path: Terminal A in FIG. 11a is connected to the same line as terminal 86/12, and thus carries the same impulses. Terminal A is also input terminal to circuitry to FIG. 11b having output terminals B and CL 125 which are input terminals to counter 125 of FIG. 11a.

Calculation of x1 :

a' transfer of the figure of the static circuit 97 to the memory 90 (impulses on 86/3 and 86/13).

b' addition of the contents of memory 88 to the contents of memory 90, transfer of the result from the arithmetical operator 89 into memory 100. In order to carry out this operation, CS 86 gives an impulse on 86/5 (+) and 86/4.

c' as c and, in addition, if the result is greater than X (signalled by 102/1) and is greater than or equal to 44 (signalled by 103/2) there is transfer of the figure from transcoder 92 to memory 93 (impulses on 86/9 and 86/3. If the result is less than X, then the result is equal to x1.

d' as d.

e' as e (if the value of the contents is less than X then the content is equal to x1)

f' as f

g' as g (the value of the contents is equal to x1)

h' after reading the coded information, the memory 59 emits an impulse on 59/1 and the said second counter 125, arriving in its eight position advancing a third counter 127 (FIG. 11a) by one position.

The calculation of x39, x38 . . . x3, takes place as for the calculation for x1.

Example:

The following assumptions are made:

Counter 85 is at "17";

Pattern width X is 250;

Equidistance is 44, i.e., static circuit 97 is at "44."

Step e': Transfer from memory 100 to memory 88, thus memory 88 is at 31. Comparison with X (=250): Contents of memory 88 is less than X, thus X35 = 31.

Steps f': Same result as in step e', and start

and g' of reading cycle (step g').

Step h': effecting calculation of x34.

Calculation of x34

Same as for x1 with memory 88 at 31 and memory 90 at 44; result: x34 = 75.

and so on.

In the foregoing example some steps are repetitive and therefore, in a sense useless. However, all steps disclosed are provided to meet all particular cases of pattern width etc. If they are not used, i.e., if they furnish the same result as a preceding step, it is more expedient to repeat a preceding step than to provide specific circuit means for suppressing a "useless" step.

Calculation of x35

Step a': transfer from static circuit 97 at 44 to memory 90 at zero, thus memory 90 is at 44.

Step b': Memory 88 at 237 and memory 90 added: 237 + 44 = 281; transfer to memory 100, thus memory 100 is at 281.

Step c': Comparison of memory 100 (=281) with X (=250): Contents of memory 100 is greater than X and greater than 44 (page 22) thus transfer from transcoder 92 at X = 250 to memory 90. Memory 90 now is at 250. Transfer from memory 100 to memory 88 (according to step c, page 21), thus memory 88 is at 281.

Step d': Memory 90 (=250) subtracted from memory 100 (=281). Transfer of new result 281-250 = 31 to memory 100 now at 31.

Step b': Memory 88 and memory 90 added: 17+44 = 61; transfer to memory 100, thus memory 100 is at 61.

Step c': Comparison of memory 100 (=61) with X (= 250): Contents of memory 100 is less than X, thus x1 = 61. Transfer from memory 100 to memory 88, thus memory 88 is at 61.

Steps d',: same result as in step c' and start of e', f' and g' reading cycle (step g').

Step h': effecting calculation of x39.

Calculation of 39

same as for x1 ; result: x39 = 105

Calculation of x38, x37, x36

same as for x1 ; results: x38 = 149/ x37 = 193/ x36 = 237

Calculation of x2

Step a: Transfer from counter 85 to memory 88, thus memory 88 is at 17; memory 90 is set at zero.

Step b: Memory 85 and memory 90 are added: 17+0 = 17; transfer to memory 100, thus memory 100 is at 17.

Step c: Comparison of memory 100 (=17) with X (= 250): Contents of memory 100 is less than X, thus x2 = 17. Transfer from memory 100 to memory 88, thus memory 88 is at 17.

Steps d,e,: same result as in step c and start of f and g reading cycle (step g).

Step h: Triggering of second counter 125 to calculate x1.

Calculation of x1

Step a': Transfer from static circuit 97 at 44 to memory 90 at zero, thus memory 90 is at 44.

The part of the processing unit 4 involved in the y calculation will now be described with reference to FIG. 10.

At each impulse of the impulse generator 24, the counter 85 advances one position. Each time that it arrives at a "one," it emits an impulse which advances counters 104 and 105. The first is indexed on the number of the selection members 11, both real and imaginary (39 in the example), the second on the number of selection members 11 which cooperate in the knitting of one same row of stitches (four in the example, for a piece of knitwear in four colors). The said impulse is also transmitted to counter 106, upon the condition that the counter 105 arrives on "one." When it is on "one" it activates the AND circuit 107. The counter 106, indexed on the height Y of pattern 1 counts forwards. It indicates the address yn of the data necessary to the selection member 11/n which is found ahead of the start of the first knitted pattern D1. As it is taken that the start 42 of the first knitted pattern is located between the second selection member 11/2 and the third 11/3 and that it progresses towards the latter, the counter 106, indicates y2. The figure y2 of counter 106 is memorised in the memory 108.

For each new pattern 1 to be processed, the total height y1 of pattern 1 is displayed on the preselection switch 109. This figure appears in binary on the output 110/1 through 110/8 of the transcoder 110 and is transmitted into the memory 111 if the "NAND" gates 112 receive an order to transfer from the sequence control 86. The number of knited rows per revolution of the cylinder (eight in the example) is displayed on the preselector switch 113. The preselector switches 109 and 113 are set manually. This figure appears in binary form on the output of the transcoder 114 and it is transmitted into the memory 111 if the "NAND" gates 115 receive an order to transfer from the sequence control 86. The arithmetical operator 116 adds or subtracts the figures stored in the memories 108 and 111, according to the order that is received from the sequence control 86 through the operations memory 117. The arithmetical operator 116, also known as full adder, is a combined circuit, in which the values of the variable output binaries are entirely and invariably determined by those of the input variable binaries. The result is transferred into the intermediate memory 118. The result is transferred into the counter 106 if the "NAND" gates 119 receive an order from the sequence control 86. The figure appearing on the counter 106 is compared in the comparator 120 with the figure Y, which is continually present through the connecting lines 110/1 through 110/8. The stored number in the memory 118 is decoded by the decoder 84 when the memory 59 receives the order to deliver the data. The AND gate 121 allows one simple impulse to pass through the counter 106 each time that the counter 105 arrives on its position "one" and the said counter 106 thus moves back one position.

The part of the processing unit 4 involved in the calculation of the y1 through 39 carries out the following steps:

The calculation of y2 (while the other part calculates x2) is as follows:

a. Comparison by comparator 120 of the contents of counter 106 with the value of Y of the transcoder 110. If the value of the contents is greater than Y (signalled on 120/1), there is an impulse from the CS 86 on 86/14, and it resets the counter 106 to "one" ("Clear") (= electrical zero).

b. Transfer of contents of counter 106 to the memory 108 (impulse on 86/15), and simultaneously set to zero in the memory 111 (impulse on 86/16).

c. Transfer of the result of the arithmerical operator 116 to the memory 118 and to the counter 106 (impulse on 86/17 (+), 86/18, 86/19 and 86/20); the result is equal to y2.

The calculation of y1, while the other part calculates x1 is as follows:

a' Counting of one position backwards of the counters 104, 105; to carry out this operation, the CS 86 gives one impulse on 86/21. Provided that the counter 105 arrives at "one," the impulse is also transmitted to the counter 106, which also goes back one position.

b' Comparison of the contents of counter 106 with Y. If the value of the contents is greater than Y (signalled from 120/1), there is a transfer of Y from the transcoder 110 on to the memory 111 (impulse on 86/16 and 86/22).

c' Comparison of contents of counter 106 with Y. If the contents is greater than Y (signal on 120/1): the counter 106 is reset to "one" ("Clear") with an impulse on 86/14. Simultaneously there is transfer of counter 106 to the memory 108 (impulse on 86/15).

d' As c. The result is equal to y1.

The calculation of y39, y38 . . . y3 takes place as for the calculation of y1 while the other part calculates the corresponding x's. After having calculated all the y1 through y39, the counter 106 must be reset to the state that it had before the calculation, i.e., the number of rows per revolution must be added; in effect during the calculation, row by row of the revolution actually being knitted had been successively subtracted. (the counter 106 counting backwards). In order to do this, it is necessary:

a" To transfer the contents of transcoder 114 in to the memory 111 (impulses on 86/23 and 86/16).

b" As c (of y)

c" If the value of the contents of counter 106 after transfer from memory 118 is greater than Y (signalled by 120/1), the said counter is reset to "one" ("Clear") impulses on 86/14. Order for reading coded information from memory 59 is transmitted from sequence control 86 to memory 59 over line 86/10.

The sequence control 86, shown in FIGS. 11a and 11b, comprises in FIG. 11a a first counter 123 with its decoder 124, involved in the control of steps a - h, a second counter 125 with its decoder 126, involved in the control of a' to h' and a third counter 127 with its decoder with its decoder 128, involved in the control of steps a" to c". The binary counters 123 and 125 can be of the "decade" type. The outputs one to eight are used for the control of the steps: the zero output is not connected, its respective position serving to cut out the counter. The counter 127 has as many output as there are real or imaginary selection members plus four outputs. The former serve the switching over the decoded information on the memories of the members 84 three of the latter to the control of steps a" to c" and the fourth to the resetting to zero of the said counter. An oscillator 133 advances the said counters one after the other. The sequence control 86 comprises, in addition, the AND gates (example: 134), the OR gates (example: 129), a "NAND" gate 130, the inputs 102/1, 103/1, 103/2 and 120/1 for the signals of the comparators 102, 103 and 120 on the outputs 86/1 to 86/23 for the control impulses. The minimal frequency from oscillator 133 is given by the formula:

fHz = N . n/60 (positions 123 + positions 125 × (OSn - 1) + 4 positions of 127).

where

N = number of needles, for example, 1716.

n = number of cylinder revolutions, for example 20 per minute

Osn = number of real and imaginary selection members, for example, 39.

Therefore,

fHz = 1,716 . 20/60 (9 + 9 × 38 + 4) = 203 kHz

FIG. 11b shows the command for counters 123, 125 and 127. The command obeys the following formula:

L = h . cl 127 . l . a

c = b . 128/39 . c . cl 125 . 128/42

cl 125 = c . cl 125 . cl 123

b = l . a . b . 128/39 . cl 123

cl 123 = b . cl 123 . cl 127

cl 127 = c . ; 128/42 . cl 127 . cl 125

wherein "CL 127," for example, represents the state of the input of the zero setting ("Clear") of counter 127.

"L" for example, represents the state at the terminal L.

128/42, for example, represents the state at the terminal 128/42, etc.

This control is connected to the impulse generator 24. It contains the "NAND" gates, (for example, 131), the inverters (for example 132), the inputs H, A, 128/39, 128/42, and the outputs L, Cl 123, B, Cl 125, C, Cl 127. Input terminal A in FIG. 11b is connected to corresponding terminal A in FIG. 11a so as to receive pulses from decoder 124, and input terminal H in FIG. 11b is connected to impulse generator 24.

FIG. 12 shows a memory 59, decoders 58 and 135, memories 54 and 80 for addresses x1 through x39, and y1 through y39 and peripheral hardware. The memories 54 and 80 are only foreseen for maintaining the last x and y (one of each) during a sufficient lapse of time for inscription or reading coded information from memory 59. Order for reading coded information from memory 59 is transmitted from sequence control 52 to memory 59 over line 52/1.

Memory 59 is of the magnetic core type. In the example, it is composed of eighteen superimposed layers, each layer of which contains 64 times 64 cores, each core being one "bit." Each layer contains 64 inputs 58/1 through 58/64 and as many inputs 135/1 through 135/64 and one given bit is accessible through the inputs 58/n and 135/m. The superimposed inputs of the 18 layers are interconnected in such a way that 18 superimposed bits, forming "one word" are accessible through two inputs 58/n and 135/m.

The usual patterns 1 are of three or four colors. In order to characterise one stitch xy, i.e., one element, it is necessary to designate its color by two coded date 2 bits) for example:

white: first bit 0; second bit 0: blue; first bit 0 second bit 1

red: first bit 1, second bit 0: black; first bit 1 second bit 1

From the fact that two bits per stitch are necessary, "one couple" per element, nine couples of layers are available in order to memorise a pattern 1. This can be 64 × 64 × 9 = 36,864 stitches at the maximum.

Firstly, there will be described the inscription of a new pattern 1 onto the memory 59.

Each element is analysed and, according to the color detected, a signal is transmitted to the coder 136 by one of the four wires 2/1 through 2/4. The coder 136 transforms the signal into a coded data of two bits. The latter are transferred into the switching device 137. Simultaneously and in synchronization, the parts of the device attributed to the x and y calculations have calculated the corresponding addresses x and y. In order to do this, the keyboard 2 or the direct reader 3, as shown in FIG. 1, advance counter 51 FIG. 7 at the rate of the reading of the elements of one line of pattern 1 and the counter 79, FIG. 8 by one position per line. The decoders 58 and 135 determine the corresponding inputs 58/n and 135/m representing a fraction of the two addresses x and y. The corresponding word (of nine couples of bits) is transferred from memory 59 into the switching component 137. The memories 54 and 80 by their outputs 54/1 through 54/4 and 80/1 through 80/4 transmit the other fraction of the two addresses x and y to a member 138 for determining the position of the bits inside the words; this member thus determines in what couple of layers the said two bits must be memorized. The member is called the "determination component" 138. One of the nine outputs 138/1 through 138/9 transmits the address of the couple of layers to the switching member 137. As mentioned in connection with FIGS. 7 and 8 intelligence in memories 54 and 80 has originated during calculation of x's and y's, respectively. Members 137 and 138 may be realized together by two known normalized integrated circuit components designated Ser. No. 74150 N and available from Texas Instruments Inc. and other manufacturers of semiconductor devices.

The switching member 137 contains nine groups of two electronic memories each group being connected to a couple of layers. Before each transfer of one word from the memory 59, all the groups are put into their 0, 0 state. After the said transfer, they are in the states corresponding to the transferred word. The couple determined by the couple determination component 138 is reset to 0, 0 and the coded data coming from the coder 136 is memorized by the said group. This new word is re-transferred into memory 59 on the nine couples of cores, which are found at the intersection of the inputs 58/n and 135/m. The orders for transfer and setting to 0, 0 of the groups, etc. are emitted by the sequence control 52 (86).

The reading of the memory to achieve direct control of the knitting machine is described below.

Pattern 1 to be reproduced by knitting is memorised in the memory 59 in the form of coded data. Each time one needle passes in front of a given place in the knitting machine, for example in front of OS 11/1 32 data, foreseen for the 32 real OS 11 must output from the memory 59.

In order to do this, the means attributed to the x and y calculations calculate 39 addresses x1 y1, x2 y2, x3 y3, through x39 y39 which are successively decoded by the decoders 58 and 135. Each address such as x2 and y2 is divided into two fractions by means of electrical lines. The first fraction of the address arrives at memory 59 through the first part of memories 54 and 80, respectively, and decoders 58 and 135, respectively. The second fraction of the address arrives at couple determination component 138 through the second part of memories 54 and 80, respectively. For each first fraction of one address xy, one word comes out of the memory 59 and is transferred onto the switching member 137. According to the indications of the second fraction of the addresses x and y transmitted to the determination component for the layer couples 138, the switching device 137 chooses the couple of 2 bits attributed to said x and y. Component 138 decodes the second fraction of the address and transmits corresponding signals over two of nine lines 138/1 through 138/9 to switching device 137. These signals control the transfer of information memorized in the corresponding couple of layers to decoder 66. The 2 bits are transferred through the lines 137/1 and 137/2 to the decoder 66 as shown in FIG. 7. The configuration of decoder 66 represented in FIG. 7 as a plurality of decoder circuit 66/1, 66/2 . . . is a function of the number of colors in the pattern. In a four color pattern, the coded information "00" or "01" or "10" or "11" each designates one of the four colors. Decoder 66 has four outputs which are activated in response of the coded information. Thus each output corresponds to a color. Such decoding may be realized by use of known normalized integrated circuit components such as type Ser. No. 74156 N available from Texas Instruments Inc. or other manufacturers of semiconductor devices.

Five to eight colors need 3 bits for each stitch and for each element of pattern 1. Each word of 18 bits will contain coded knitting information for six stitches. It will be memorized in memory 59 in the same way as a word for four colors, that is to say that the first fraction of addresses is the same as for four colors. The second fraction of addresses will contain information for inscribing or reading 3 bits instead of 2. This information, after being decoded, will be transferred on three of nine lines 138/1 through 138/9 to switching device 137. The coder 136 will comprise eight inputs, such as 2/1, and three outputs leading to switching device 137.

A pattern 1 in two colors requires only 1 bit per element and thereby a number of elements twice as great as for a pattern in three or four colors can be memorised. Similarly, a pattern 1 in five, six or more colors requires three (four, etc.) bits per element and thereby, only a proportionately reduced number of elements can be memorized.

With the aim of rationalising the inscription of data contained in the pattern 1, it is advantageous to complete the keyboards 2 with a puncher-reader 2a for punched cards or tapes with a view to filling the memory 59 more quickly. These inscription means necessitate a design, on squared paper being a copy of the "artist's design," It is quite simple to undersrand that this copying represents a fastidious and costly effort, especially if the design is to be used by direct reader 3, each square having to be uniformly coloured to diminish the number of reading errors. In addition the proposed means do not allow instantaneous verification to determine whether the work of the operator of keyboard 2 or of the direct reader is accomplished without mistakes.

A particularly advantageous inscription means 2' (FIG. 1) and which enables elimination of the aforementioned drawbacks, is described below.

The "artist's design" 1 is read by an operator and transmitted to the processing unit 4 in the form of electrical impulses with the aid of the inscription means 2'. The inscription means 2' are composed of a command console 139, containing the display memory 140 with its usual inscription devices, reading devices etc. A display memory which may be used in the present inscription means 2' is described, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 3,529,298 granted to J. R. Lourie on Sept. 15, 1970, and corresponding to French Pat. Specification No. 1,576,121, published on July 25, 1969, and to Swiss Pat. Specification No. 476,877, published on Sept. 30, 1969. Particular reference is made to column 6, lines 59 to 75 and column 18, lines 9 to 44 in U.S. Pat. No. 3,529,298.

The command console 139 further comprises a first keyboard 141 (with its electronic circuits) allowing any bits or couple of bits to be stored in the display memory 140, a second keyboard 142 (with its electronic circuits) allowing the contents of said couple of bits to be altered, and further keyboards 143 (with their electronic circuits) allowing the transfer of information contained in the display memory 140 to the processing unit 4 and further allowing the display of the sizes of the patterns with the aid of means described below. Such keyboards for altering stored information are known and described, for example, in patent No. 3,529,298 referred to above, in column 13, lines 52 to 54 and also in column 7, lines 5 to 8. Function keys for selecting programs are also described in the patent referred to, see column 12, lines 34 to 37.

The display memory 140 of command console 139 is coupled to one unit of color display ("display-unit") 147, the screen 148 of which is advantageously provided with a transparent fixed or removable grid for easy locating of each element of the pattern displayed.

In the apparatus described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,529,298, the memory is incorporated in the processing unit; however, it will be an easy matter for the expert in the art to arrange the same type of memory with display unit 147 as shown in FIG. 1. According to a leaflet published by ERA, Elektronische Rechenanlagen, Aachen, West Germany, such memory is incorporated in the type DIDS-400 Digital Information Display System manufactured by Cossor Electronics Limited, Harlow, Great Britain.

Display units of the kind shown in FIG. 1 are commercially available from several manufacturers. For example, the DIDS-400 Digital Information Display System referred to and published in May, 1967, is designed for displaying characters. Obviously that known system may be simplified for the purposes of the present invention by restricting the display to rectangular pattern elements, e.g. to rectangular dots similar to the letter "O". A typing letter may be attributed to each color of the artist's design as, for example, the letter "4" for a red stitch, the letter "b" for a blue stitch, the letter "w" for a white stitch and so on, for representing the artist's design on screen 148. However, with a view to a more illustrative and vivid representation of the artist's design on screen 148, it is preferred to use a color picture tube in the display unit 147. It is common art to use, install and operate such color picture tubes, see, for example, the book entitled PAL Farbferneshtechnik by Ing. F. Mohring, published by C. F. Winterische Verlagsbuchhandlung, Prien/Chiemsee, West Germany, in particular pages 36 to 55.

The artist's design 1 shown in the upper portion of FIG. 1 may be read by an operator by judiciously manipulating the keys of command console 139. In that way, a luminous spot travels across screen 148, and for each element of the artist's design, the operator may store the required information in the display memory 140 by depressing the respective keys of keyboard 141. In that manner, the artist's design 1 is displayed on screen 148, and the respective information of the design is automatically stored in display memory 140. The connection between the artist's design 1 and the inscription means 2' shown in solid lines in FIG. 1, therefore, is fictive in that it does not represent an electrical connection but merely the operator's mental and manual action. However, the artist's design 1 may be read by a direct reader 3 which transmits the information of the artist's design in the form of electrical pulses to the inscription means 2'. In FIG. 1, the respective connections are shown in hatched lines. A direct reader, which may be used conveniently, is described, for example, in the British Pat. Specification No. 1,001,433 published Aug. 18, 1965 granted to L. G. Simjian. The direct reader described comprises a scanning system including photoelectric sensing means and automatic drive means for moving the sensing means in the X- and Y-directions. During scanning, the information received is constantly transmitted to display memory 140 and displayed on screen 148. Thus, the artist's design appears on the screen in accordance with the movement of the scanning system in the X- and Y-directions. Particular reference is made to FIG. 6 in the aforementioned British Pat. Specification and to the respective descriptive portion on page 3 from line 84 to line 114 describing the storage of color responsive signals.

The inscription means 2' shown in FIG. 1 also comprises a perforator 145 allowing the recording of the contents of display memory 140 on a punched tape 144, and a reader 146 either for reading a punched tape 144 to store the information, which it contains, in display memory 140, or for transferring the information from a punched tape 144 directly to processing unit 4 in the form of electrical pulses as shown by hatched lines in FIG. 1. The solid lines between inscription means 2' and processing unit 4 represent the transfer of information in the form of electrical pulses from display memory 140 to processing unit 4. Dial buttons 149 for color composition with their circuits are also advantageously provided.

Several methods of employing these inscription means 2' are described hereafter:

a. The "artist's design" 1 is covered with a transparent squared paper. Each square limits one element of the pattern. The operator displays the dimensions of the pattern, successively reads the configurations (for example, color) of each element and consequently operates the keyboard 141. Each taped information is automatically memorized and appears on the screen 148. Once this work is finished, the data can advantageously be recorded on the punched tape 144, with a view to their subsequent preemployment. It is rational to mount the inscription means 2' on a trolley 150. At the given moment, it is wheeled towards a knitting machine, connected to the processing unit 4 and the contents of the display memory 140 are transferred into memory 59.

b. The artist's design" 1 is read and transmitted into the displayed memory by the direct reader 3, after the display of its sizes. Given that such designs are not meticulously accurate, the design appearing on screen 148 shows errors that the operator detects by comparison with the "artist's design," so that this can be done in a rational manner, it is preferable for the "artist's design" to be produced with transparent color on a transparent support and to provide screen 148 with a fixed or removable squared grid. The "artist's design" is then placed on the screen and comparison can be quickly made. Each incorrect element is covered by means of the keyboard 142 which makes a guide mark and which switches over the bit or the couple of bits of the correct information, operated by the keyboard 141. Once the corrections are made, the procedure is as noted under a.

c. A pattern previously recorded on punched tape 144 is read by the reader 146 and transferred into the memory 59 of the processing device 4.

In exploiting all the possibilities inherent in the described systems, the knitter can make considerable economies. Thus, dial buttons 149 of the color composition allow combinations of pleasing colors to be found for any given design, without costly trials on the knitting machine. In addition, a memorised pattern can be readily altered if, during knitting, it is not considered to be as attractive as thought. In order to do this, the contents of memory 59 of the processing device are transferred into the display memory 140, corrections made and the corrected contents then put back into place. In addition, the screen can be filled by the automatic repetition of a small memorised pattern with a view to judging the effect on the whole.

In the case of isolated designs, surrounded by stitches of one color, "background color," it is advantageous to displace this or these design(s) in relation to cylinders 40, in order to minimize knitting losses on the makeup of an article. In order to do this, two push buttons (not shown) are provided one operating the counter 45 and the other counter 46. By pushing the button connected to counter 45 n times (n being less than 44), the start 42 as well as the patterns D1 through Dm are displaced of n stitches. By pressing m times on the button connected to counter 46, the start 42 displaced as well as the patterns D1 through Dm are displaced of m times 46 stitches.

By making certain alterations, the unit 4 can be utilised for the direct control of several knitting machines 10, knitting the same pattern 1 or different patterns. In the latter case, the total number of data of the said patterns 1 must not exceed the capacity of the memory 59. In addition, the number of machines controlled by this memory 59 is limited by the speed at which the said memory 59 is read.

The modifications are as follows, as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8:

a. Each knitting machine 10 must have its own set of counters 45 and 46, its own fixed memory 68, its own counters 47, 76, 77 and 83 (in order to allow the knitting of patterns 1 of different characteristics and sizes) and its own OR circuit 81 - AND circuit 82.

b. Oscillator 50 must emit impulses of a frequency as many times greater as the number of simultaneously controlled/machines.

c. A logic switch gear (not shown) must be added for switching the oscillator 50 impulses successively over the different counters attributed to each knitting machine 10, and switching over the output data of the memory 59 successively to the different synchronised memories 68. Corresponding alternations can be foreseen in order to adapt the variant according to FIGS. 9, 10 and 11a, 11b for the control for several machines.

Operation of the processing unit 4 with a view to the building of an information carried (film) 6 for the indirect control of the knitting machine 10 will now be described.

A pattern 1, as shown in FIG. 4, containing an amount of data which exceed the capacity of memory 59, as shown in FIG. 7, is subdivided into horizontal strips 151. The width of these strips is equal to the width of the pattern 1 and the height is at least one revolution of the machine (corresponding in the machine of the example to eight rows of stitches for one pattern 1 in four colors, and to twelve rows for a pattern 1 in three colors). According to a first method, the data on strip 151/1 and 151/2 is firstly transferred into memory 59, next, after processing, from data strip 151/1 and from a part of strip 151/2 are recorded on the film 6; next the data on tape 151/3 is transferred into memory 59 to be memorised on the cores which previously contained data from strip 151/1; and next, after processing, the data from tape 151/2 and from a part of strip 151/3 are recorded on the film 6. Data from strip 151/4 is then transferred into the memory 59 so it is then memorised on the cores which previously contained the data from band 151/2 and so on. The two latter strips 151/n -- 1 and 151/m memorised are recorded after processing, one after the other, on film 6. Having arrived at the end 64 of the film, as shown in FIG. 5 it is rewound in such a way that the start 60 of the film is located on the recording member (not illustrated) of the recording machine 5 and the processed data remaining from the last revolution 151/n is recorded on the area 65 of film 6.

In order to transfer any strip 151 whatsoever to the memory, by means of keyboard 2 by means of its perforator reader 2a, or by means of the direct reader 3, only counters 47 and 51 are used for the x calculations and the counters 77 and 79 for the y calculation. The former are indexed on the width X of the pattern and the second on the number of rows representing two revolutions (16 in the example). The calculations and the memorisation are carried out according to the method described under the heading "Inscription of a new pattern 1 in the memory 59," except that the pattern 1 is replaced by the strip 51.

The processing of data from the strip 151 with a view to recording on a film 6 is made in a similar way to the processing with a view to direct control, except that outputs 68/1 . . . 68/32 (. . . 68/36) as shown in FIG. 7, are connected to the recording machine 5, as shown in FIG. 1 and that the impulse generator of a same type as the impulse generator 24 is an integral part of the said inscription machine.

The steps to be carried out are as follows:

Step 1: Transfer of strips 151/1 and 151/2 from pattern 1 to memory 59 of processing unit 4 over the inscription means 2; counter 79 runs over its positions from one up to 16.

Step 2: Resetting counter 79 to position one, thus stopping the transfer from pattern 1 to memory 59.

Step 3: Processing of informations from strip 151/1 and part of strip 151/2 and recording on film 6; counter 79 runs over its positions one to eight.

Step 4: Resetting counter 79 to one.

Step 5: Transfer of strip 151/3 into memory 59 (new information takes the place of that from strip 151/1); counter 79 runs over its positions one to eight.

Step 6: Processing and recording of information from strip 151/2 and part of strip 151/3; counter 79 runs over its positions nine to 16.

Step 7: Resetting counter 79 to nine.

Step 8: Transfer of strip 151/4 into memory 59. This information takes the place of that from strip 151/2; counter 79 runs over its positions nine to 16, and so on. The control circuits for the transfer and switching operations mentioned above are not shown.

When a pattern 1, with a number Y of lines which is not a multiple of the number of knitted rows per revolution (eight in the example), must be treated with a view to making a film 6, the said pattern 1 must be transferred and processed/recorded several times.

Advantageously, a counter (not shown) on the direct reading device 3, for example, is foreseen, as shown in FIG. 1, this counter being indexed on the smallest common multiple of Y and of the number of rows per revolution. It advances one position each time that one line of pattern 1 is transferred and it halts the installation when it reaches the indexed position.

The minimal capacity of memory 59 satisfying this process is determined by the greatest width of the pattern (calculated in stitches) which is commercially valid multiplied by the greatest number of rows possible for two revolutions times two (2 bits necessary per stitch), for example, 570 stitches wide times 24 rows times 2 bits is equal to 27,360 bits. Memory 59, as described, is of a sufficiently large capacity; in fact, it has been calculated that it can store the coded data for 36,864 stitches.

Some adaptations are described hereafter which enable in memorising a pattern 1 of a certain area, knitting patterns (D1, D2 . . . as shown in FIG. 6b) of an area several times greater. The said adaptations are possible without additional means or with the addition of inexpensive hardware. They allow the reproduction of patterns D1, D2 . . . exceeding the capacity of memory 59 on one or several knitting machines 10, directly controlled, thus without the adjunction of an information carrier 6. Owing to these adaptations the designer's work is made less difficult and the cost for the information carrier 6 is unnecessary.

The described forms of this installation allow, in memorising a basic pattern 1, to knit symmetrical patterns, composed of the said basic pattern 1, and symmetrical pattern in relation to vertical and/or horizontal lines. With reference to FIG. 6b the pattern D2 is symmetrical to pattern D1 in relation to the line separating these two patterns and D3 being symmetrical to pattern D2 in relation to the lines separating these two patterns, and so on. Hereafter, this symmetry is called "complete," if the lines of symmetry dividing two patterns DN-1 /DN are found, one just in front of the column of stitches, as shown in FIG. 6a where x is equal to +1 and the other just behind column X; this symmetry being called "incomplete," if the said lines are represented by the columns of stitches x equal to 1 and x equal to X. The same designations remain valid for the horizontal lines.

In order to knit patterns symmetrical in relation to the vertical lines, the counters 47 and 51, according to FIG. 7 must alternately count forward and backwards. The orders relative thereto are given by the sequence control 52. After each impulse from the impulse generator 24, at the beginning of the x calculation counter 51 counts in the same direction as counter 47.

In order to knit patterns with "complete" symmetry, counters 47 and 51 successively count following positions 1 and X twice. They count thus, 1, 2, 3 through X - 1, X, X, X - 1 . . . 2, 1, 1, 2, . . . and so on. For the knitting of patterns of "incomplete" symmetry, they count positions 1 and X only once. They thus count 1, 2, 3, . . . X-1, X, X - 1 . . . 2, 1, 2, and so on.

In order to knit symmetrical patterns in relation to the horizontal lines, counters 77 and 79, as shown in FIG. 8, must count, the former forward, the second backwards for the addresses y39, y38 . . . and the reverse for the addresses y2, y3 . . . during the reproduction of pattern 1 according to FIG. 6a. During the reproduction of the pattern symmetrical to pattern 1 according to FIG. 6a the former must count backwards, the second forwards for the addresses y39, y38, . . . and the opposite for the addresses y2, y3 . . . The orders relative thereto are given by the sequence control 75. In order to knit patterns with "complete" symmetry, the two counters 77 and 79 count twice the positions 1 and Y and for the "incomplete" symmetry they count the said positions only once.

By the addition of four counters (not shown), the described installation allows, by memorizing a pattern 1 to produce patterns D1, D2 . . . the width of which is n times greater than that of the memorized pattern 1 and/or the height of which is m times greater than that of pattern 1. Each memorised stitch successively is knitted n times and each memorized line successively is knitted m times.

In order to do this, the following equipment is provided:

a. A counter indexed on n which is located at the counter 47 input, as shown in FIG. 7, and which divides the number of impulses arriving from the impulse generator 24 by n.

b. A counter, indexed on n located at the counter 51 input, and which divides the number of impulses arriving from oscillator 50 by n.

c. A counter indexed at m, located at counter 77 input, as shown in FIG. 8, and which divides the number of impulses arriving from the AND circuit 74 by m.

d. A counter, indexed at m, located at the counter 83 input, and which divides the number of impulses arriving from the AND circuit 82 by m.

Corresponding alterations can be foreseen on the variant according to FIGS. 9, 10, 11a and 11b with a view to knitting designs having several times the area of the memorised pattern.

The described embodiments of the installation lend themselves to the processing of other constitutions of stitches by modifying the number of counters engaged, their indexing, their positions at the beginning of counting, in passing by other decoders, by storing the data in an adequate manner, and so on, whilst taking into account the particular details of the knitting machine.