Sustainable History

History of SHIMA SEIKI

Since its founding, SHIMA SEIKI has performed its research and development based on the customer's point of view, with emphasis on reducing waste. Although the word "sustainable" did not exist at the time, looking back it is clear we have consistently pursued sustainable manufacturing for the benefit of the people, the industry and the environment.

Here is a chronological look at our history in respect to sustainability.



Founder Masahiro Shima invents the double chain stitch machine to reduce the burden on his mother, who hand-sewed gloves to make ends meet. He also invents "elastic safety gloves" in response to the many occupational injuries sustained when workers were getting their gloves caught in machinery but could not remove them in time. By inserting elastic yarn in the wrist the gloves could be slipped off quickly, improving the work environment and protecting the safety and health of workers since.


Succeeds in the development of the fully automatic glove knitting machine. This revolutionized the glove industry by improving productivity and work efficiency.


Enters the flat knitting machine industry with the world's first fully automatic full-fashion collar knitting machine, the FAC.


The company faces a business crisis in the aftermath of the first oil crisis, but instead of laying off workers it maintains local employment opportunities. Going against conventional wisdom, it installs state-of-the-art machine tools to accommodate the manufacturing of computerized machines suited to small-lot, multiple-variety production, which is expected to become mainstream in the near future.


SHIMA SEIKI's first computer-controlled flat knitting machine SNC is developed to support the expected change from mass production to small-lot, multiple-variety production.


The company obtains a graphics board auctioned off by NASA and begins development of its computer graphics techology. Develops the first Shimatronic Design System SDS-1000.


At the ITMA Milan exhibition, the company proposes the "Apparel Multi-Design System," which provided support from planning to sales, becoming the foundation for the current Total Fashion System. The proposal to use the design system's capability to eliminate waste of time, cost and material from the planning stage to lead the apparel industry toward sustainability, was made at this time.


Digital Stitch Control System (DSCS) is developed, maintaining consistent quality and high precision, reducing product defects.


The SES series computerized flat knitting machine is developed. Shaped knitting allows significant savings in time, cost and material compared to conventional blanket knitting.

The PGM-2 apparel CAD system contributes to the reduction of material waste through efficient marking.


Develops the P-CAM automatic cutting machine in response to peronnel shortage in the aging sewing industry.

Proposes "Total Knitting System."


Develops the WHOLEGARMENT flat knitting machine, that successfully eliminates sewing by knitting an entire garment in as little as 30 minutes. At the same time it realizes environmental friendliness by minimizing resources and reducing CO2 emissions from transportation by enabling local production for local consumption.

Develops the P-CAM160 single-ply automatic cutting machine. Automation in the made-to-measure sector supports mass customization.


Proposes the "Total Fashion System." With the design system at its core, the system unifies the manufacturing process from planning to production and sales, and replaces actual samples with virtual samples to reduce time, cost, and resources.


Promotes reduction of energy use by installing a large-scale solar power generation system. The solar power generation system, which currently has a total output of approximately 2,180 kW, creates natural energy that leads to a 10% reduction in electricity used in the factory, contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.


A new factory building is constructed, which features natural lighting from the ceiling and and inverter lighting systems that uses sensors to ensure uniform illumination at all times, improving work environment and reducing power consumption by half compared to conventional systems.


The MACH2X WHOLEGARMENT flat knitting machine with improved productivity, and the SDS-ONE APEX design system, which enables 3D design of WHOLEGARMENT knitwear, are developed. These developments further improve the efficiency of knit production and contribute to the advancement of the apparel industry.


Develops "Automarking Premium" automatic marking software for PGM software, contributing to reduction of material waste by increasing yield rate. Combined with special software, the amount of fabric required for each job can be calculated in advance, enabling more efficient cutting.


Development of the yarn unwinding device makes it possible to knit materials that could not be handled before, opening up new fields such as industrial materials.


Develops SVR123SP flat knitting machine equipped with loop pressers. Inlay knitting for producing hybrid knit-weave fabric becomes possible, allowing advantages of shaped knitting such as savings in resources to be applied to products other than conventional knitwear.

Approximately 30% of SHIMA SEIKI headquarters' factory site is designated green area, and approximately 12,000 trees have been planted to help reduce CO2 emissions. The company received the Prime Minister's Award for Contributions to Greening Efforts.


At an event celebrating its 55th Anniversary, the company is the first in the industry to propose a sustainable approach by combining design systems and WHOLEGARMENT knitting machines.


Promotes DX in the apparel industry by strengthening its lineup of online solutions including the APEXFiz design software subscription service, yarnbank yarn sourcing web service and SHIMANAVI e-learning system.

Develops a dual takdown device for knitting short-sleeved WHOLEGARMENT items, elminating waste knitting which was previously required.

The P-CAM series single-ply automatic cutting machine eliminates the need for vinyl sheeting to secure fabric to the cutting surface.


Develops Pattern Matching Premium, an automatic cutting machine with pattern matching function using a line scan camera. This allows continuous pattern matching of fabrics while cutting, greatly improving productivity.


Releases SWG-XR, a WHOLEGARMENT flat knitting machine equipped with a compact and lightweight 4-cam carriage and auto yarn carriers, improving productivity and expanding the possible range of knitting.

Launches SHIMA Datamall, an online service that allows users to search, view, and purchase a variety of useful digital data for the planning, production, and sale of fashion items.

SHIMA SEIKI proposes further sustainable initiatives at an event celebrating its 60th anniversary.