Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production Process in Garment Industry
The process of converting fabrics into garments
Garment production is an organized activity consisting of sequential processes such as laying, marking, cutting, stitching, checking, finishing, pressing, and packaging. This is a process of converting raw materials into finished products. It will be difficult to maintain the industry if production is not, up to the mark if the preproduction phase of preparation of material is not properly carried out.
Ready-to-wear apparel or garment manufacturing involves many processing steps, beginning with the idea or design concept and ending with a finished product. The apparel manufacturing process involves Product Design, Fabric Selection, and Inspection, Patternmaking, Grading, Marking, Spreading, Cutting, Bundling, Sewing, Pressing or Folding, Finishing, and Detailing, Dyeing, and Washing, QC, etc.
Spot Cleaning and Laundry
- Spot cleaning and laundry addition to identifying manufacturing defects, employees tasked with performing quality assurance are also looking for cosmetic flaws, stains, or other spots on the garment that may have occurred during the cutting and sewing processes. Spots are often marked with a sticker and taken to a spot-cleaning area where the garment is cleaned using steam, hot water, or chemical stain removers.
- Some customers request that a garment be fully laundered after it is sewn and assembled; therefore, garment factories often have on-site laundry or have subcontract agreements with off-site laundry operations. Commercial laundry facilities are equipped with at least three types of machines: washers, spinners, and dryers. Some facilities also have the capability to perform special treatments, such as stone- or acid-washing.
- Laundering is done by highly sophisticated washing machines if any articles are soiled during the manufacturing process. However, this step is required only if the garments are soiled.
- Pressing is two processes that have the greatest influence on the finished look of a garment. Fusing creates the foundation and pressing put the final seal of quality on the garment.
- Ironing After a garment is fully sewn and assembled, it is transferred to the ironing section of the facility for final pressing. Each ironing station consists of an iron and an ironing platform. The irons are similar looking to residential models but have steam supplied by an on-site boiler. Workers control the steam with foot pedals and the steam is delivered via overhead hoses directly to the iron. In most facilities, the ironing platforms are equipped with a ventilation system that draws steam through the ironing table and exhausts it outside the factory.
The basic components of pressing are
- Steam and heat are necessary to relax the fabric and make it pliable enough to be molded by manipulation.
- Pressure: when the cloth has been relaxed by steam, the pressure is applied which sets the fibers into their new positions.
- Drying: After the application of steam and pressure, the component or garment must be dried and cooled so that the cloth can revert to its normal condition. This is done by a vacuum action which removes surplus water from the fabric and at the same time cools it. For some pressure operations hot air or infrared heating is used instead of vacuum for drying;
Machinery used for pressing and finishing are
Hand irons with a vacuum press table
A vacuum board is a professional ironing table that has a heated pressing surface and a motor. Stepping on the pedal activates the motor, which creates a vacuum on the pressing surface to remove moisture from the garment.
It consists of a frame housing the buck which is normally in round shape for pressing different garments and linkages to close the head by a scissor action. Similar operations are carried out for completing the pressing of the garment and then the garment is hung on the hanger.
This equipment is known as a firm press or a ‘dolly’ press. It has a compressed air system, a frame for a steam distribution system, and a pressing form made of a canvas bag in the suitable silhouette of the garment to be pressed.
Finishing is the last step of garment production. All mistakes made during the process accrue and can become a huge problem at this stage. The Quality Department also has a huge potential to improve products, and thus requires special attention. In almost every factory surveyed, it has been proven that the costs involved in this department are excessive. It is vital that this department is given importance since there is a great potential to make financial savings. The material here illustrates the priorities of the finishing and quality departments.
- Surveys have shown that the time taken to finish garments is surprisingly high. Some companies examine the garment as many as 5 times, and the number of repairs is excessive. Further,
- Finishing departments are over-staffed in most of the factories studied. This is obviously driven by the fear of rejection of orders or re-works. Work content can be reduced by installing a proper work control system and a culture for quality production.
- Surveys have shown that the layout and workflow in garment factories were generally poor and disorganized. Not one of the finishing departments has adequate systems of control. Rather, the emphasis is only directed to delivery and not productivity. This is understandable in the present circumstances, but must be re-thought since it is excessively expensive.
- Studies have found, that finishing times are excessive in almost every company; with the average finishing time per garment varying from 11.2 minutes to 57.6 minutes. It has also been found that none of the finishing departments use bundle systems for control, nor do any of them have any form of scientific performance measuring techniques. There are no monitoring controls except to record the number of repairs.
Packaging and Shipping
- It is the last step of making a product retail-ready, garments are folded, tagged, sized, and packaged according to customer specifications. Also, garments may be placed in protective plastic bags, either manually or using an automated system, to ensure that the material stays clean and pressed during shipping. Lastly, garments are placed in cardboard boxes and shipped to client distribution centers to eventually be sold in retail stores.
- Most garments are packed in plastic bags, either at the end of production or when they enter the finished goods store. Products like shirts and underwear are usually bagged and boxed directly after final inspection and enter the stores in prepacked form. For these and similar types of products, many automatic machines are used.
- Other hanging garments such as Jackets, dresses & skirts are usually bagged by manual machines, semi-automatic machines, and fully automatic machines. Some of these automatic machines bag, seal, and transport in trolly; some 500 garments per hour.
- When the boxed or hanging garment has to be transported in bulk the garment or boxes are packed into cartons which can be sealed by adhesive paper or plastic Manual and automatic machines are available for both.
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