What is fabric inspection in the garment and textile industry?
Fabric inspection is carried out by both fabric manufacturers and garment manufacturers. Fabric inspection is the process of checking the fabric sheet for detecting faults in the fabric and preparing an inspection report. After the fabric inspection, grading of the fabric is done according to the fabric quality level.
In fabric inspection, fabric rolls are opened and passed through a fabric checking machine having the light under the fabric and the fabric checker does the visual inspection of the fabric. While checking fabric checker marks the defects with a chalk or put a sticker on the defects.
At the end of the checking, a fabric roll inspection report is made for that fabric roll. In fabric inspection, fabric rolls are graded and segregated by marking rolls either one of the following categories (in a garment manufacturing unit)
- Passed - these fabric rolls are ready for use
- Failed - Not ready for use in the cutting. Can be accepted after correction.
- Rejected - Not acceptable. rejected fabrics are sent back to the supplier
- Decision pending - Awaiting for approval from the authorized person whether to pass or fail or reject the fabric.
Garment units those don’t have fabric inspection machine, check the fabric on a flat table. While checking the fabric there should be enough light from under the table and overhead light to detect fabric flaws.
The fabric is a primary raw material for making garments and the costliest item among the items required for garment manufacturing (in most of the apparel product categories). As the standard operating procedure, in textile mills fabrics are checked prior packing fabric and in a garment manufacturing unit fabric is inspected prior to bulk cutting. For inspecting the fabric, garment units use some kinds of inspection systems like the 4-point system, 10-point system or random checking of fabric (5-10% of total fabric length).
The objective of fabric inspection is delivering quality fabric to the garment makers and making quality garments. A defective fabric will only produce a defective garment. In case a faulty fabric is used in garment making, it will increase the cost of manufacturing due to repair work, part change, and even garment rejection. To avoid processing defective fabric in production, as a preventive action, fabric rolls are inspected. This way defective and damaged fabrics can be separated and sent back to the fabric suppliers.
In case garment unit trusts the fabric supplier for their fabric quality, they may check the fabrics selecting fabric rolls randomly. Some factories used to inspect 10% of total fabric rolls. In case factory found a dissatisfactory result in 10% fabric inspection, they inspect all fabric rolls.
The faults in fabric include weaving defects in woven fabric, knitting defects in knits fabrics, processing defects and handling defects. See the list of defects commonly found in woven fabrics and fabric defects in garments.
Fabric inspection format
In 4-point system following format is used for capturing inspection data and further data analysis.
You can use this format for making fabric inspection report. The process of preparing this format is explained in this post.