Why shall we care about textile testing? The main purpose of textile testing is to find out the product properties and estimate its daily performance during use. Textile testing offer varies of information as follows:
- Research and development
- Selection of raw materials/inputs
- Process development
- Process control
- Quality control
- Product testing
- Product failure analysis
- Comparative testing and benchmarking
- Conformity with government regulations and specifications
Available with this information, we are able to produce and offer quality and safety textile products. Today we will explain these reasons in detail from different perspectives.
From the Manufacturers’ perspective
The main purposes of textile testing for a textile manufacturer are two: checking the quality of inputs and outputs of his supply chain. Depending on his role in the supply chain, his input raw materials might be fibers, yarns, or fabrics. The properties of the raw materials will not only affect his efficiency in processing them but also determine the quality and properties of the final products made by them.
Take yarn as raw material, for example, low strength yarn will lead to many troubles when being weaved into fabric, manufacturers will have to shut down the machine to change the broken yarn to continue the process; even though, the produced woven fabric will also have poor strength performance and fail to meet the requirements. While for outputs, textile testing also plays a vital role in telling whether the level of quality and performance are achieved by the current manufacturing process, if not, what to do next? And also this is an objective way for manufacturers to deal with their customers for the agreement of quality standards.
From the very beginning, the material properties like the yarn or the fabric tensile strength are the main factors to be considered when used to produce the final products. While, increasingly, more and more specifications related to the end-use functionality are required to meet; Take colorfastness, for example, colorfastness to washing, colorfastness to water, colorfastness to rubbing/crocking, colorfastness to perspiration, colorfastness to light, colorfastness to seawater, colorfastness to chlorinated water, colorfastness to hot pressing…each of these properties will need a instrument to test out the performance, a crock meter for testing colorfastness to rubbing / crocking is example(click to know more details),
and these are just one part of the topics, you will also meet others such as flammability and breath-ability, some of these properties may also play a vitally important role in keeping the manufacturer becoming the competitive player in his market share.
A specifier is the one who disclaims the requirements. The buyer could be the specifier who is not the final user of the finished products generally, or organizations customers and end-users. You might be familiar with representing organizations like the ISO(International Organization for standardization), ASTM, AATCC and etc.
It is very important for manufacturers to consider the application of the products when drafting the specifications. For specifiers, textile testing set up a set of requirements for dealing goods with money, i.e. parametrizing the deal on the contract with no bias. With the standard test methods, making it possible to check the quality of different products and classify those not meeting the requirements. For specifiers, textile testing also driving their technical innovation since new requirements are there waiting for you to fulfill them.
What testing means for end-users? Better appearance, comfortable to wear in, the feeling touching on, and etc. all these features he or she senses out are the results of proper testing. If end-users’ criteria were initially mostly aimed at performance without any consideration to the actual production process, consumers have increased their awareness of purchasing better quality and safety textile products, not just caring about the price.
Testing also allows end-users to make their buying decisions based on more comprehensive and solid information. For instance, some brands even advertising the features of their product based on the characteristics proven by their test according to the standardization of test methods, also some clothes brands will disclaim their third-party certification guarantees that the product their customers choose meets the level of performance set by the specification.
Market development issues
Demand for special textile products (application-specific or task-specific functions) drives high-performance materials or vice versa. For example, if fire resistance is required, para-aramid may be superior to ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene for cut-resistant protective clothing. The huge segmentation of specifications and markets has led to a corresponding breakdown in test methods.
A typical example is a flammability test: Depending on whether textiles are used in upholstered seat structures, mattresses, tents, bedspreads and pillows, floors, protective clothing or children’s pajamas, flammability tests may involve different sources of ignition, strength and Exposure time, sample size, angle between sample and flame, measured parameters, the same is true if textiles are used in the aircraft, automotive, railway or marine industries. One of the reasons for these differences in test methods is to try to reproduce as much as possible the conditions experienced by the material or product during use.