“Just like a group of persons is more likely to achieve a common goal rather than individuals working independently; Grouping of fabric is more likely to prevent wastage thus achieving the goal of optimum fabric utilisation.”
Fabric accounts for 60-70% of the total operational cost of any garment manufacturing unit. It is essential to make use of this component wisely. Just good marker planning is not enough. Fabric utilisation is a function of several aspects in the functioning of a factory. What do you do with the fabric that comes into the factory? Is there a set standard in place to use this fabric? Variation is an inevitable evil. Your supplier can not control all variation. Hence, the need to group your fabric for the sake of fabric utilization and quality. Let us see how.
Fabric grouping is the process in which the fabric rolls are segregated into groups with similar properties and specifications
There are 3 major parameters of grouping:
Shade – Fabric from different dye lots may have variations in shade (batch-to-batch colour variation). These rolls can be laid together if the variation is only slight and is acceptable to the buyer.
However, in case of evidently visible variation, the concept of shade grouping must be used. It is especially advisable in high wash garments. The number of different shades is determined and all the fabric rolls are divided into groups according to their shade. In the cutting process which follows, it is ensured that a single garment is cut from a single shade. Several shades can be used in one lay using shade separators hence ensuring no extra effort in production.
What if you don’t segregate the fabric by shade?
Well then you’d end up with garments which have different shades. Garments which will definitely be rejected by the buyer. And garments which will make you lose money. So if you don’t segregate the fabric by shade, do it now.
- Width – Markers in production are made to fit the cuttable width of the fabric. Cuttable width can be defined as the usable area width of the fabric excluding selvedge.
Marker width = Fabric width – Selvedge width
Hence the determination of width of a marker is mandatory before beginning the marker making process. Now, fabric rolls may come to the factory in varying widths. If these rolls are left ungrouped, the marker planning will ultimately be done on the smallest fabric width in this lot.
What happens when you don’t segregate your fabric rolls width-wise?
Cutting width = least width = 1.43m
Total Cutting Area = 572 sq m
Group A – Roll #1, Roll #2, Roll #4
Cutting width = 1.47 m
Group B – Roll #3
Cutting width = 1.43 m
Total Cutting Area = 584 sq m
Thus, in one go width grouping gives you 2.09% fabric saving.
Width grouping ensures a potential rise in fabric utilization, and complete use of available fabric area.
- Shrinkage–Shrinkage is the most common type of latent problem which may occur after washing or fusing. So if a factory deals with denim or knit fabric, it must take extreme care in segregating rolls based on shrinkage testing.
How would ignoring shrinkage segregation affect you?
If not taken care of, the difference in shrinkage will affect the dimensions of the components. A garment meant to be, say a 28 size, would end up being a 26. This will result in rejections, incomplete order quantity and ultimately huge loss in terms of both money and effort. So turning a blind eye to shrinkage grouping can lead to a total losing situation for the factory.
Complexity of Grouping
Fabric grouping should be done in such a way so that it increases the overall efficiency in terms of time and labour, and at the same time should not compromise on the quality. Grouping in factories today is done by two methods:
Grouping with order split – The incoming fabric is segregated by shrinkage into the the minimum possible groups.
For example, 300 m of fabric was ordered for 300 pieces. On arrival, it is divided by shrinkage into two groups A and B of 200 m and 100 m. To plan this order, the order quantity i.e 300 pieces is then divided as per the group ratio i.e 2:1. 200 pieces are planned from Group A and 100 from Group B. The two are treated as two separate orders.
This is possible to execute manually, however, this is extremely wasteful in terms cutting room workload as number of lays and markers is very high.
Grouping without order split : The second approach to grouping is to first prepare the cutplan and then group the fabric. The lays can be apportioned in such a way that the highest fabric utilization is achieved with much less effort i.e. less lays and markers. This however, is a tedious task and impossible to achieve manually.
ThreadSol’s intelloCut automates the entire process to one click, ensuring highest quality with optimum fabric utilization and effort.
Grouping is a tiresome job but a little effort could reduce a large amount of quality rejections and result in increased profits.