Technology in the uniform industry


Tuesday 6th November 2018
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Today’s blog is all about how technology has improved the way we brand and print fabrics. The art of decorating fabrics has been around for thousands of years; in ancient tradition the most popular method was wood block printing. This involved calving out patterns from a wooden block to print different shapes onto fabrics. As the wooden blocks were hand calved, they were never overly detailed; however, some of these patterns are still used today!

The industrial revolution was the start of the transformation we see today within the textiles industry. Manufacturing was changing rapidly as machines replaced manual labour to increase efficiency for factory owners. Business entrepreneurs realised that machines could more accurately print onto fabrics with a much larger surface area covered. This caused the first real mass production of garments as steam-powered machinery churned out much quicker results than manual labour. As the demand for a faster turnover increased so significantly, machinery had to be adapted to adhere to this change in the market. The cylinder printing press was one of the first major break-throughs within the textiles industry. The rollers were often engraved with a continuous pattern that could easily be printed onto large volumes of fabric. The rollers rotated to pass fabric through the dye, this innovative machine was a stepping stone in the process of getting fabric printing to where it is now.

Today we have come a long way since the beginning of fabric printing and now have the luxury of choosing between an assortment of different methods. One of the most innovative could be the digital transfer. This is best for the most intricate of designs that combines a variety of different colours and patterns. The digital transfer can be seen on a variety of garments, the most common being t-shirts. Here at Uniforms by Creative we would recommend this type of printing for items and branding that would be difficult to screen print. The logos are printed out and heat pressed onto the garment. Uniforms by Creative use quality transfer material, printed by professionals, to ensure that the branding meets your expectations.

A personal favourite would have to be the screen printing process. Uniforms by Creative have invested heavily into this type of production method by purchasing a state of the art screen printing machine. We are one of a select few in the whole of the United Kingdom with this machine. To show you how innovative this is, an interesting video of how it works can be found on the Uniforms by Creative Instagram account. The garments are placed on a machine that has various screens at different stages. Between each screen is a heated drier, after being dried, the garment is passed along the conveyor to the next screen. This process is fully automated and looks incredible when you watch a garment being branded from start to finish. As many as 14 screens can be applied to the machine at one time. Which means it has the potential to produce 1500 garments per hour! This has been a pioneering piece of kit that has increased our efficiency as a business without compromising on quality. The technology has reduced the amount of spoils that we incur from human error. As well as this, it has decreased our lead-times as we can produce a larger quantity of garments in a shorter amount of time. This no doubt has fantastic benefits to our customers; not only does it increase the speed of the garments being delivered, it ensured that each product is printed exactly the same; thus ensuring brand values and quality standards are met every time.

A method of production that we have not talked about yet would be embroidery. For centuries garments have been embroidered. Traditionally a paper drawing was used over a piece of fabric and pierced along its lines. Two types of stitches characterised the medieval embroidery technique. The first was split stitch in which the second stitch is sewn backwards to split the first stitch. This makes a much finer thread which can be used to create texture and detail. The second form of stitch that was popular was underside couching. This is where a bright coloured fabric (usually gold or silver) is laid on the fabric, thread from the underneath of the fabric is pulled through and over the gold thread. Luckily, today we do not have to hand stitch every garment! We now have a clever machine that can produce up to 1000 stitches per minute. These machines can embroider 6 garments at a time, meaning we have the ability to produce 6500 garments per day. In terms of stitch count, this equates to 20 million stitches per day! Embroidery is a lovely way to brand a product and one of our most popular methods for our uniform customers.

Technology is a big part of 21st century life. Within the textiles industry, technology has massively transformed the efficiency of production. Uniforms by Creative pride themselves on their fantastic lead times and this is all down to the help of technology and our amazing staff members. Without the machinery that we have, we could not possibly produce the amount of garments that we do in such a short period of time. This has made us very competitive as a business and ensures that your garments are produced to the highest standard in the shortest amount of time. Not only do you get your uniform faster, the technology we see today guarantees that each branding is exactly the same as the last. Call Uniforms by Creative now to see how we can improve your uniform.

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