Fibers, yarns and threads are the essential elements of the textile industry, and, in this order, they represent the stages of textile production: identifying the ideal raw fiber; creating a fabric; and tying together the finished product.
With these stages in mind, it is important to establish regular testing habits from the very start, so you can guarantee product quality to your consumers without second-guessing whether a fiber or stitch will hold up to repeated use.
Fortunately, there are a number of valid, industry-developed physical tests meant to expose poor quality fibers and second-rate assembly, along with experienced and dedicated lab testing and inspection services designed to protect your vision.
Here is a brief overview of some of the physical tests that can establish the true worth of your selected fibers, manufactured yarns and sewing assembly.
Fiber Identification is an important first step when developing the base for your textile product. Various laboratory methods are available to identify the structural, physical and chemical properties of a fiber, including microscopic, burn and solubility tests.
Establishing the identity of the fiber helps the manufacturer to first understand whether or not it is suitable for its intended end use and, if so, what is the best way to take care of the fabric made with these fibers. This in turn will inform label making and any further applicable care instructions required by the product.
Once the precise properties of the fiber have been identified, further strength tests can be performed to determine a fiber’s other qualities, such as:
The above factors will directly contribute to the strength and quality of the resulting yarn.
QIMA utilizes all national and international physical testing standards for fibers, which simulate real life conditions associated with your particular product and can help you make performance predictions about the fiber’s intended end use.
Once the proper fiber has been selected, the next concern for textile production is the spinning of yarns--the intermediate stage in the transformation of raw fibers into finished products. Physical testing can bring more quality checks to the raw fibers and measure the quality of fabric production.
More tensile strength testing can be applied at this stage, as well as fabric abrasion testing, which is particularly important for heavy-use items, such as upholstery and carpeting. Abrasion testing for textiles has had a lot of time to develop valid, real-use simulation methods since its first use by Bell Telephone Laboratories to test the braided coverings of telephone wires.
ASTM D4158 Testing Standard for textile abrasion recognizes the multitude of factors contributing to a fabric’s resistance to abrasion, like fiber properties and dimensions, yarn structure, and added treatments such as chemicals. Still, it concludes with the assertion that: “Experience has shown in many instances, that relative results obtained with this instrument when used on a serious of fabrics, agreed with those obtained based upon performance in end use.”
The most rigorous testing procedures performed by a knowledgeable testing service can put you in the best position to make informed design and production choices which will ensure your end product can stand up to repeated use.
For apparel, sewing thread accounts for only around 1% of an item’s total mass. However, its importance to the longevity of the garment cannot be overstated. High-quality fibers and fabrics will be wasted without the right quality thread and sewing methods designed to hold items together without fraying, unraveling or losing dimensional stability.
Sewing threads must stand up to an extremely high-speed sewing process--as fast as 12,000 stitches per minute--without becoming warped or weakened in the process. The integrity of your sewing thread can be measured with a range of physical tests, including:
Inspecting the thread count of your merchandise as it is being produced will counter any attempt by the factory to short-change you on either production time or materials. You’ve likely spent a great deal of effort consulting with textile manufacturing experts to determine the optimal thread count for your product, and any deviation from that standard, whether purposeful or negligent, would undermine the quality you strive for.
Textile-product manufacturing relies a great deal on overseas factories, often located very far from company headquarters. If you want your brand to be synonymous with items that last, you must have confidence in your suppliers’ dedication to your standards, and ensure that the quality of your products isn’t being compromised to save labor and material costs.
QIMA's comprehensive factory inspection service will assist you in keeping eyes on the production line so you can know for certain that your established production methods are being followed to the stitch.
The best way to guarantee quality to your customers is with the help of a guaranteed Lab Testing and Inspection service like QIMA. They will “follow the fiber” to its end product and keep you informed every step of the way.
Our online platform and mobile application make it easy for you to schedule Textiles tests and inspections, and receive your results at any time. Book new tests, view pending orders, and access results from your mobile device. Our online platform provides valuable supply chain insights, including a summary of your QC activity, all of your supplier’s quality stats, industry benchmarking data, and more.
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