Kniterate is a compact digital knitting machine that brings fashion fabrication into a workshop. It is perfect for small fashion businesses, design studios and schools. You can create custom knitted products like scarves, beanies, shoe uppers, sweaters and dresses. Co-founder and CEO Gerard Rubio discusses the growing prospects of digital knitting machines.
How did you come up with the idea of Kniterate?
I watched fashion students in design school struggle with old knitting machines. Although 3D printers have turned affordable, high cost and size of computer-controlled digital knitting machines have made those out of reach for many.
This gave me the idea of designing a low-cost automated digital knitting machine for everyone and I set out to build OpenKnit.
How long did it take for you and your team to make the first knitting machine? Is the technology patented?
It took us a bit more than a year, from January 2016 to April 2017. Yes, we are taking all necessary steps to protect our intellectual property.
What is the cost of the digital knitting machine and its installation?
The retail price, once we ship our first batch, will be $7,499 in the United States. It comes ready to use, so there is no installation cost.
Kniterate can make customised knitwear products, yet costs less than the average knitting machine. How is that?
We have developed a unique technology that simplifies industrial knitting machines, scaling them down in size and reducing costs.
Who is Kniterate targeted towards? Is it just limited to fashion designers and small-scale manufacturers?
Our main customers are knitwear designers, but ownership is not limited in any way. We have customers in the software industry, academic institutions and fabric R&D development centres.
Tell us about the software used in the machine. What is the complexity of designing on this software? Is it similar to other CAD software used in the industry?
Some aspects are like current industrial production software, so experienced users will have a feature-rich product. We are also adding a user-friendly layer so that people with less experience find it easy to use to create knitwear without much effort.
What is the average time that the machine takes to knit products like a scarf or a sweater?
A scarf is around an hour and a half, a sweater would take a minimum of 5 hours.
Is Kniterate equipped to make clothing or accessories with complex designs or patterns?
Yes, the fact that it is able to transfer stitches makes it very versatile.
How many pre-orders have you received so far? Which markets are warming up to the idea of digital knitting?
One hundred and eighty five units; our biggest markets are the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.
How do you plan to go about with after-sale services?
We are building a database of experienced professionals and distributors throughout our national markets to support us with this. The knowhow already exists, so it is a matter of connecting all together.
What are the kinds of needles used in the machine?
Is the hardware and software user-friendly? Will any training be provided by the team at Kniterate on installation?
Yes, that's our focus. We want anyone to be able to use Kniterate. The machine will do a lot of the hard work for you. The machine comes ready to use, but we will use our YouTube channel to guide our users through our products.
Where are you making the machines currently?
Our machines are being made in China.
What will the next-gen Kniterate be like?
We are focusing on delivering this generation. I'm sure our tech team has many ideas, and it wants to keep them all a secret. (HO)
Published on: 19/02/2018
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