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Friday, October 31, 2008

Fabric Physical Quality Inspection Procedure

This document prescribes the general inspection procedures to be used by fabric suppliers and garment makers regarding fabrics for  AG.  It provides the guidelines visually inspecting and grading fabrics for fabric defects. This procedure does not prescribe the color matching procedures or lab testing procedures for physical fabric properties.  Please refer to  AG Color Manual for color management and the Lab Testing manual for the testing of physical properties.


 AG does not generally purchase fabrics.  The garment factory is generally responsible for the purchase and payment for all fabrics and other materials required in connection with a garment purchase order from  AG.  Material suppliers are expected to provide first quality goods, on-time, right-first-time (RFT).


Responsibility for Fabric Inspection – Fabric suppliers for  AG are expected to ensure fabrics meet/exceed the quality requirements prescribed in this document.  Fabrics should be inspected and inspection records should be kept in accordance with the “4 point” inspection system prescribed herein.  Please refer to ASTM D 3990 – 93 for terminology relating to fabric defects and ASTM D 5430 – 93 the guidance in the standard test method for visually inspecting and grading fabrics.


The material supplier and garment maker should agree on any requirements for marking defects identified by the fabric supplier.  Whether they are not marked, marked with stickers, barbs on the selvage, or any other method is to be decided and agreed to by both parties.  Depending on the fabric, marking defects can create additional defects or exacerbate existing ones so the marking of defects should be decided by both parties. 


All fabrics should be inspected within 7 (seven) days of receipt at garment factory to allow for timely resolution of quality issues.  The garment maker should immediately notify the LO or other representative of any material issues that may result in a quality problem or negatively impact on-time delivery.


Inspection Equipment Requirements – Both parties should have an inspection machine providing a flat surface/viewing area and a variable speed drive and yardage/meter counter.  It should also contain and undercarriage light as well as overhead light to inspect faults on the surface of the fabric.  The inspection frame should be clean and free of any sharp edges or other condition that could damage fabric.


Inspection Speed – The fabric should be inspected at a speed which is compatible with the inspector’s ability and the type of fabric being audited.  The speed should not exceed 25 (twenty-five) yards per minute. 


Inspection Lighting – Examination and grading is to be performed with overhead direct lighting to determine faults on the surface of the fabric.  The overhead direct lighting should be mounted parallel to the viewing surface.  The frame should be tilted so that the fabric passes at an angle of 45 – 60 degrees to the horizontal.  Overhead CWF lighting is recommended and should provide an illumination level of a minimum of 100 foot candles (1075 lux) on the surface of the fabric.


The back-light should be used on an exception basis for specific fabric types or faults.  In no case should fabric be rejected for faults only visible with the backlight if: 1) the fault is not visible in garment form as would normally be worn and 2) the fault will not cause the fabric or garment to fail in its use.


Inspection Sample Size – Fabric mills should perform 100% inspection of all fabrics during the put-up grading each roll for defects.  Garment makers should inspect a minimum of 10% of each fabric shipment received.  Tightened and loosened inspection should be employed by T1 as appropriate so any problem fabrics receive an inspection of greater than 10% and those better performing fabrics receive less inspection.    


Roll Size – Minimum and maximum roll size and the acceptable number of joins will be agreed to by fabric supplier and garment maker before the beginning of each season.  Fabric supplier and garment maker should also agree whether fabric edges are to be trimmed. 


Inspection Method – the face side of the fabric should always be inspected.  Fabric mill and garment maker should check for side-center-side shading, shading from roll to roll and shading from beginning to end of roll.  A proper light box (in accordance with  AG Color Manual should be near the vincinity of the inspection frame to ensure proper color evaluation during inspection.  Defects not visible on the face of the fabric are not counted unless there has been a decision/agreement to do so between fabric supplier and garment maker or unless directed to do so by  AG.  Defects outside the cuttable width, on the selvage, should not be counted.


Cuttable width should be measured at the beginning, middle, and end of each roll.  If the goods are narrow as compared to the  AG material specifications, the garment maker and fabric supplier must agree to have the goods replaced or provide a discount to the garment maker.  Fabric supplier must provide additional goods, if needed, in a manner to not adversely impact on-time garment delivery (cost for any expedited transportation costs of fabric to be borne by fabric supplier). 


The viewing distance should be between 2 (two) and 4 (four) feet in order to have proper vision of the full width of fabric.  Fabric should be properly rolled and stored after inspection to prevent damage or soiling.




Defect Classification – When defects/faults are identified, they must be assigned a number of points depending on the severity of the defect. 


·         Defects between 0 and 3” in length/width ( 0 to 8 cm) -              1 (one) point

·         Defects between 3.1” and 6” in length/width (8.1 to 15 cm) -     2 (two) points

·         Defects between 6.1” and 9” in length/width (15.1 to 23 cm) -   3 (three) points

·         Defects greater than 9” in length or the full width (23 cm) -        4 (four) points


A maximum of four points can be assigned to one linear yard, regardless of the number and the size of the defects in the given yard.  For a defect running continuously along the length of the fabric, four points should be assigned for each linear yard. 


Acceptability of Roll/Shipment – Fabric shipments exceeding the following point totals are considered to be second quality and not acceptable. 


·         Warp knits – average of 20 points per 100 linear yards

·         Synthetic/synthetic blends weft knits – average of 20 points per 100 linear yards

·         Synthetic wovens – average of 20 points per 100 linear yards

·         Twills, cottons, linens – average of 25 points per 100 linear yards


No individual roll should be considered first quality if the point total exceeds 30 points per 100 linear yards.


If a shipment or partial shipment is considered to not be first quality, the garment maker and fabric supplier should agree on corrective action that least impacts garment quality and on-time delivery.  The shipment may be rejected, returned and replaced in some cases.  In other cases, the best course of action to protect the garment delivery date may be for fabric supplier to discount the original shipment and provide additional goods to make up poor cutting utilization.  This should be a rare occurrence, but in all cases the focus must be to provide first quality garment to AG on/before the promised ship date.


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