Sewing Operator Training and Training Modules

Question: What is operator training? Uses and advantages of operator training in mass apparel manufacturing? Classification of operators and explain operator training modules. 
... asked by Modhu

What is Operator Training?

A structured way used to build operator sewing skills, teach machine handling and material handling and to impart basic knowledge about the sewing machine and quality of stitch. After completion of training, a trainee is expected to operate a sewing machine on his own and can sew garments. Operator training includes both theoretical classes and practical classes and lot practice on sewing machines.
Sewing operator training

Use of Operator Training:

Operator training has multiple uses in mass garment production.

#1. Sometimes the factory needs to hire fresh trainees to fill operator shortage. A structured training course is required to convert fresh trainees into trained operators.

#2. Many times it is found that some sewing operators who are hired for sewing task are not properly trained in specific operations though they can sew only basic operations. In such cases, a training cell can impart sewing skills to the operators for the specific operations.

#3. When the factory needs to upgrade operators for improving line performance or skill development is required for low-skilled operators, a training cell is essential.

Advantages of Sewing Operator Training:

Factories those have in-house training cell have following benefits. In mass manufacturing, factories need a number of sewing operators to keep the floor running. Major benefits are -

#1. Fill up operator shortage when required by hiring fresh trainees. Even helper can be converted into operators by training.

#2. Train correct method of sewing to produce a quality product in less time. A trained operator knows how to handle a machine, can adjust the machine, know a better way of handling material and quality of the stitch (seam).

#3. Can motivate operators to become loyal to the company by providing them training on sewing and make them capable to earn by doing sewing job.

Classification of Sewing Operators:

Factories use their own ways to categorize sewing operators. For example, I have seen factories that categorized operators as Grade-A, Grade-B and Grade-C. To know how a typical factory grades their operators read Grading of sewing operators.

Others categorize their sewing operators as unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled and highly skilled operators. Read the definition of unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled and highly skilled workers.

Operator Training Modules:

The operator training module is a set of training areas to be provided to a trainee during the training period.

There is a different set of training modules that are practised by trainers in the garment industry to train a fresh candidate. Among those training methods explained in Juki’s "Sewing factory operator's training handbook" is mostly used in the garment industry to build sewing and associated skill to trainee operator. In brief, Juki’s sewing operator training module covers followings.
  1. Selection of learners through Pegboard Test, Machine Control Test and Threading Needle Exercise Test
  2. Machine nomenclature of parts, Inserting Needle into Needle Bar and explaining proper posture of sitting at the machine
  3. Sewing machine control exercise on Paper – 6 different exercises are used
  4. Sewing machine control exercise on fabric – 6 different exercises is used
  5. Fundamentals of threading the machine – threading bobbin winder, loading bobbin, inserting loaded bobbin case into the machine hook etc.
  6. Machine control and sewing bar tack
  7. Handling and sewing – different fabrics, trimming thread, turning material while sewing and top stitching, adding fullness to seams
  8. Sewing machine adjustment
  9. Preparation of garment Mocks
Another operator training method, which is known as a fast-track training method was introduced by Kingscourt. Paul Collyer, an international apparel consultant, uses this method where no practice/ exercise is done on papers. Secondly, all trainees are given a target from the beginning. To know more about the module the articles on operator training.

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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