Why choose our Swift? - Swift Subdomain

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Why choose our Swift?


Our line of Swifts and Skein-winders is the best and most flexible in the industry.
That's a pretty big statement so allow us to show you what we mean.

What is the purpose of a Swift?

Typically, it is used to hold varying sizes of yarn skeins so the user can wind off the yarn onto a ball winder. It can be used for other purposes as well, but no matter what, it is designed to hold a skein of yarn.

Here are some "must haves" for a swift in our opinion:

  • It must securely attach to a table surface or be mounted on a floor stand.

  • It must hold skeins with circumferences from 1 to 2 yards. The ability to hold smaller or larger amounts is also an advantage.

  • The Swift must have adjustable yarn guides so the unit can accommodate any size skein between the lower and upper limits. The more adjustment capability, the better.

  • The yarn guides must be sturdy and not prone to failure. They should be able to hold at least 4-5 ounces of yarn, and upwards of a pound would be best.

  • The yarn must be removable from various angles off of the Swift to accommodate different equipment setups or other requirements of the user.

Here are additional requirements for a Skein-Winder:

  • Must be able to measure the yarn being wound onto the unit. Measurements must be in # of rotations at a minimum, but preferrably, it should be able to measure yards and ideally meters as well.

  • It must have a sturdy handle that is easily and comfortably accessible to the user.

  • It must have an attachment device for the yarn to be attached to (to facilitate the initial winding action).

  • It must be strong and secure since the user will be winding the unit by hand or by motor.

  • A motor option is highly desireable.

  • The arms that wind the skeins onto them should be able to be set to a specific circumferences so that the user can set the size of the skein to be wound.

  • If the unit can be used on both a table and on a floor stand is a plus.

  • An option for winding more than one skein at a time is highly desireable.

NKK Swifts and Skein-winders meet all the requirement on the left.
In  fact, we go way beyond that list.

In 2006 we designed our World famous Heavy Duty Ball Winder. We then set out to design a Heavy Duty Swift and Skein-winder. Why? Because we knew that most of the popular brands were made from enhanced popsicle sticks and string and these were not appropriate for heavy duty commercial users like yarn shops.

We also knew that the orientation of an umbrella swift was less than ideal for the user because they had to reach over the top of the unit to load the skein. Plus, at the end of the skein, they had to step back to avoid being hit by the umbrella swift popping up as the last of the yarn was released from the unit.

Also, wooden umbrella swifts were infamous for the following failures:

  • Tightening nut stripped out

  • Strings that connected the wooden "sticks" broke often.

There were other types of swifts including squirrel cage, table top , etc., etc. These were all neat and clever and interesting. But NONE of these were worthy of being declared as a true commercial swift or skein-winder. They always had some weakness (or 2) when it came to heavy duty commercial use.  The best unit that we had ever seen was made by a deceased designer that we do not have a name for. But this gentleman had designed a vertical swift that was mounted on a floor stand. Although we did not like various elements of his design, we liked his overall approach. We knew that if we designed a vertical swift that we were on the right path.

We then got to work. We used maple hardwood, aluminum, and steel. Plus more high quality USA made adjustment knobs than anyone else. We will go thru the different aspects of the design in the section below.

Suffice it to say, however, that having developed the Heavy Duty Ball Winder, Power Base, and Electronic Yarn Meter, educated us to the task of designing the World's best Swift and Skein-Winder family which is excactly what we did.

When I assemble each swift or skein-winder before shipping them out, I am always struck by the unique design feaures that we had put into this design.

First of all, you must understand that we were newbies at swift design. We had just finished 4 years of designing and manufacturing market leading ball winders, motorized drives systems, and electronic yarn metering systems. We were newbies when we tackled those products as well, so now we knew we had to design a swift that was equal in its impact on the marketplace as all of those other products were.

Vertical design - We did not care for umbrella or squirrel cage or horizontal table top designs. These were "neat" of course, but they were clearly not commercial grade tools in our opinion.
We settled on a vertical unit because of the way they work. They use gravity and have easy off and easy on access. Now we just had to design it.
After a number of trial designs, we quickly decided on using aluminum for the arms for its high strength and low weight characteristics. But even more importantly, we wanted the user to be able to use and re-use the guide positions without leaving any indentations in the structure. In other words, the users should be able to repeat the same dimensions without having the yarn guide create any annoying indentations in the arm. We then developed a sophisticated braking and adjustment system which helped accomplish that.

Material -  Our swifts and skein-winders employ an I-beam construction technique which has tremendous strength in all directions. Plus, we make the main unit out Maple Hardwood. Plus we add the aluminum arms and a variety of steel components. Out the door, the Swift weighs about 15 Lbs. The skein-winder weighs about 1-2 Lbs more.

Size We wanted to cover 2 yards and 2 meter skeins. So our 2 yard unit goes between 28" and 80" circumference (the 4 yarder goes between 28" and 144").

Labeling of the dimensions - we specified high quality vinyl labeling which made it easy for the user to set the skein size.

The Yarn guides that actually hold the yarn have adjustment knobs which allow the user to slide the guide to any position along the arm. These guides have an integrated braking which is the component that stops and holds the guide in place.  When was the last time you saw a swift or skein-winder with a highly engineered, integrated braking system? A system with brake pads that are user replaceable? The yarn guide is made of aluminum and it rides in an aluminum channel. There is nothing to wear out.

Adjustable table mount - we knew that our umbrella swift competitiors could have the yarn exit at any point around the swift  (that is the beauty of a circular design). So we designed a solid but easy way for the user to turn our upright structure in any direction. This required custom made steel and wood parts which together weigh more than some swifts! This added weight gives our unit a super strong foundation which only measures 8" x 8". This was another first for a vertical swift or skein-winder that fastened to a table.

Adjustment Knobs - We use multiple heavy duty, high quality soft-touch knobs. In fact, we use 7 knobs on our swift and 8 on our skein-winder. These are high quality knobs made in the USA. Knobs are a good thing. They allow you to make adjustments. People love to make adjustments so they can "tune" their setup to meet their specific needs. Knobs must be of high quality or they won't hold up.

Floor Stand - from day 1 we knew we wanted the user to be able to mount our units either on a table or on the floor. We designed this feature in and our swifts/skein-windrers canbe easily removed from the standard table mount system and transferred to a floor stand (by use of one of those knobs). This is no standard floor stand, either. It is heavy duty, it can hold both 2 yard and 4 yard systems, manual or motorized, and it will not tip over, of course.

Main Shaft - 5/8" diameter stainless steel, heavily machined custom shaft. Some of our competitors use bolts from the hardware store, instead. This shaft does multiple tasks. First of all, it is STRONG and will not bend or break. After all, it is holding 4 large aluminum arms and your yarn. On motorized units it is also being driven by the motor. It is not just a commercial grade component, it is Industrial grade. The shaft also includes hardware that locks the 2 aluminum arms properly and securely to the shaft/unit. Once again, we used a custom designed 4 lobe washer device to both strengthen the juncture of the 2 arms and the shaft. We never hesitated to custom design parts if they were necessary to have an assembly work properly and safely.

German Bearings - we mount the heavy duty shaft on two hi-tech German bearing mounts. These highly rated bearings have a built-in alignment feature which allows the shaft to rotate freely regardless of any lateral forces exerted against it (which can happen when someone cranks the handle hard). These are user replaceable if necesary. They are top notch bearings made by Igus of Germany.

Electronic Rotation Counter - ERC is a World Class electronic metering system which we invented. We see competitors come and go but none have ever matched this device which measures rotations, yards  and meters. It is a non-contact system which makes NO NOISE (compare that to some of the clickity-clack mechanical systems). An industrial grade design in a custom designed aluminum housing with a high tech membrane switch panel Powered by a 12 volt laptop DC power supply. Plus it connects to the motor drive and turns it off automatically when the yardage has been measured. This allows the user to do other work and not worry about being at the machine when it completes measuring and winding the skein because it will turn the motor drive off when it has completed its measurement. This ERC can also be used to measure yarn as it comes off of the unitand goes to our motorized ball winder. In fact, the ERC can turn the motorized ball winder off as well when the yardage has been measured onto the ball.

Motor Option - another fully customized design. A beautiful hardwood dovetail box connects to the I-Beam with 1 bolt! Just 1 bolt is used to connect the motor drive to the Skein-winder or swift. This is American engineering at its best. Users can easily add the motor system to their previous purchase. The system has a built-in belt tensioning system. Because the user can retension their belts as they begin to stretch, they should never have to buy new belts. Control panel works like a dream and uses the same graphical panel as our motorized ball winder. That means that customers who have both systems do not have a new learning curve to go down.

Yarn Guide system - Flexi-Skeinerâ„¢ - Our unique Flexi-Skeinerâ„¢ yarn guide system can accomodate: single 5", high capacity single 7", triple 7", and double 7" skeins. This means you can hold or wind large single, super large single, triple, and double skeins. The user can switch these out themselves also. This is also an industry first.
Phew! That is some list. I think you can now appreciate why we are so proud when we sell one of these systems. These are the finest swift/skein-winder systems on the market today. They have no equal when you take into account the flexibility and upgradeability and high quality construction of this system. It is built to last. I could add more details such as our Yarn Pet line which can hold cones which can feed the skein-winder, but at this point you should have enough reasons why you should buy our system. If you don't, then contact us.

If we can answer any questions, please contact us or call us.

Bob Shroyer

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