FAIRLAWN, Ohio—Knitting Machine Corp. of America developed a new lock stitch knitting head that can be used to make hose reinforcements for larger diameter turbocharger hoses.
The new head allows the firm to supply machinery that can be used in tubing with outer diameters of 5 to 61/2 inches, according to Robert Rice, a manufacturing executive based at the firm's operation in Greenville, Ohio. The company also has a machining site in Cleveland; it employs about 15 between the two locations.
“There was a real need for the large diameter turbocharger hose,” said Rice, who discussed the new product during the recent Hose Manufacturers Conference in Fairlawn, Ohio.
The larger turbocharger hoses, he said, are used in large trucks and heavy equipment. “It got so big we had to design a large diameter head that would still fit in the machines that we produce.”
That meant the bolt hole pattern still matches the original machinery, as does the base ring. “That's what really made it difficult,” Rice said. “When you have those constants to work with, you're trapped into certain sizes.”
Knitting Machinery installed one earlier last year for a customer and received good feedback, so now it wants to reach out to the broader market, said company Vice President Michael Brooks. “We wanted to prove out the first one before we tried to reach out,” he said. “It's looking good so far. It's now ready for production.”
He said they will target the process engineers the supplier deals with at its customers to let them know the new reinforcement head is available. “We know which ones are making the big hose to begin with. A lot of these hoses have different shapes and sizes,” Brooks said. “We don't know of any (competitors) that can go that big in diameter. We're optimistic it will catch on.”