08/06/2018

Textile testing: Minimise risk, enhance customer satisfaction, reduce costs and achieve business growth

In our latest blog, we look at the necessity to use calibrated testing instrumentation to ensure production of high quality fabrics and finished products to secure sustainable future growth.

The textile supply chain is long and complex; from raw materials to fabric manufacture, to garment makers and machinery manufacturers, all of varying size and resource.

Within this chain sits ‘Textile Testing’, the purpose of which is to test materials before, during and after material processing, to confirm the finished product quality. Stringent demands are being placed on fabric suppliers and finishers, who may be held financially liable for excess ‘seconds’ garments and losses for downtime and cancellation if it is proven that the fabric does not conform to the agreed specification. Understanding a material’s quality through testing at every stage is therefore critical for future success, and accurate textile testing can help textile makers to minimise risk, enhance customer satisfaction, reduce costs and achieve business goals.

 

blue-wools-light-fastness-testing
James Heal multifibre test material consumable
Textile testing assesses the fabric’s Physical Durability, Colourfastness, and Visual Appearance – usually based on standardised test methods as per the International and Retailer standards

The Testing Process

At the product development stage, testing is undertaken to minimise risk of customer rejects and claims. This saves money and enhances reputation. Quality assurance tests are then conducted at key points during bulk production to ensure that the expected finished performance of the product is achieved and allows time for corrective action to be taken. This saves money on future production. Post processing, quality assurance tests are conducted on the finished articles before shipping – this is to confirm that the buyer will accept the product and its delivery.

Textile testing assesses the fabric’s Physical Durability, Colourfastness, and Visual Appearance – usually based on standardised test methods as per the International and Retailer standards set by BS, DIN, EN, ISO, ASTM, JIS, Marks & Spencer, Next, JC Penney and so on. However, tests are useless if the results are not accurate – a laboratory’s results must correlate closely with its customer’s results. Therefore, a testing regime is required to ensure that the fabric or garment properties are suitable for the market sector in which they will be sold.

“Laboratory instrumentation is extremely important,” explains Peter Goodwin, Head of Technical. “But valid test results are only obtained if all process variables are reduced to an acceptable minimum. It must utilise controlled conditions, and accurate, regularly serviced and calibrated instruments operated by well-trained technicians. Equally important are the consumables used to perform the tests; these must endure rigorous quality assurance to provide accurate results, reassuring users that the product will conform consistently.”

 

Valid test results are only obtained if all process variables are reduced to an acceptable minimum. It must utilise controlled conditions, and accurate, regularly serviced and calibrated instruments operated by well-trained technicians.
Peter Goodwin, Head of Technical, James Heal
James Heal’s philosophy is to maximise its support for the entire supply chain; through investments in its people and infrastructure, commitment to UK manufacturing, continuous product development and innovation, and by employing expert designers and technologists with in-depth applications knowledge, who understand market needs and turn these into solutions.
Amanda McLaren, Managing Director - James Heal
Pile of jumpers, textiles, apparel, fabric
Woman on run over bridge in sportswear

What does the future hold for Textile Testing?

In today’s economic climate, retailers want to differentiate and offer value for money; so suppliers who can build strong relationships and offer flexibility, accuracy and quality will be favoured, leading to sustainable future growth. Clear communication will be vital at all times to avoid technical and quality-based problems and to create a positive mutual relationship.

James Heal’s philosophy is to maximise its support for the entire supply chain; through investments in its people and infrastructure, commitment to UK manufacturing, continuous product development and innovation, and by employing expert designers and technologists with in-depth applications knowledge, who understand market needs and turn these into solutions.

A 145 year pedigree in textile testing has enabled James Heal to build a reputation as a knowledge leader in its field and act as a centre of expertise and excellence, benchmarking its testing instruments and developing fit-for-purpose complementary consumables, in addition to after-sales services – offering superior benefit to all of the organisations it works with.

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