Sewing Needles Made of Glass Fibre – an Innovative Idea

In this article, the author of this write-up has shared an idea for making the sewing needles with an alternative material. The idea is innovative and may be required further research work to convert this idea into reality.

High productivity, the routine necessity for a competitive world, is now accompanied by maximum occupational safety and various environmental considerations. As like other industries, even garment factories also need to comply with strict regulations with respect to quality. The most importance is given in to the handling of sewing machine needles, majorly the regulations in this part are imposed by brand owners and buying houses.

The Challenges

The major role in part, particularly to broken and damaged needles. The goal is to prevent pieces of broken needles from remaining in items of clothing, which pose a risk of injury for the end-user. It may also attract heavy penalties from the buyers.

Idea on making sewing needle with glass fibre

Nowadays garments factories facing many challenges to improve efficiency. Broken needle management is one of them. Secondly, the occurrence of needle breakage is non-productive time.

Broken needle
Broken needle parts

The Fact

Currently, garment manufacturers or any sewn product manufacturers are using the metal needles. If there is any different force is attacked, the needles will be broken. As per quality and safety side, the broken needle part should be found, or we have to scan the pieces 10 from the front side and 10 from the backside. Once there is no broken needle/metal is identified, we need to get approval from QAD then only it is possible to replace the needle (From Store). Now, as an IE, we feel that we need to reduce the time taken for searching the needle. If the issue happens in the last machine the presser little low, maybe if it happens in the middle or in the initial operations, non-productive time will be higher end.

The Idea

The first step, I am thinking that to avoid the needle searching time, we can paste magnet paper closer to the needle. Once the needle is broken immediately the magnet force will pick up the broken needle part. Regrettably, at this point of time, we have not been able to find an engineering solution if the needle breaking force is high compare with the magnet force, then even we don’t know that which direction the needle will break and fly we started searching again. 

I just thought a solution to this problem. Let's look at the case of car window glasses. In the earlier days, car glass manufacturers used to use normal glass to the car windows. With those glasses, when a car hits with an accident, the glass created an issue to the users. Even though the travellers escape from the accident but maybe they get stuck and get more injuries because of the glasses. Later car manufacturers made a change to the structure of the glass. Once the glass is broken it will fall down like stones. It will not give injuries to the passengers. Then later they started using fibreglass (or glass fibre) which will not break. So the problem is almost reduced.

In the same manner, we can think of making stitching needles with fibreglass thread inside the needle so that it is not broken. I don’t have the infrastructure for doing further research on this topic. I don’t know whether there are any possibilities of developing needles from glass fibre or not. I just shared my intuition of thinking alternative material for the sewing needles and as an example, I see glass fibre. Needle manufacturing companies can do R&D on this. They may find an engineering solution to any other different ideas and give us a better solution for this needle breakage phenomena.

I don't know where should I approach for further work on this idea. So, I just shared my thought on Prasanta's blog.

You can brainstorm on this topic with your team and colleague. In the near future, someone may develop such a solution when we don’t need to face the situation of the broken needle in the garment production floor. With the new needle, needle users may get a lot of other advantages.

About the author: Bala is an industrial engineer (Executive) at Cotton Blossom India Pvt Ltd, in Tirupur, India

Readers comments 

Comment-1: Good one. Need to explore more in this regard (9 December 2019).

Comment-2: Good idea it is possible. (11 December 2019)

Comment-3: This is a good idea, but thinking about the friction of the needle with the other metals parts may damage fabric. Also considering the inner wears and infant wears when the glass fiber needle breaks it may leave some small sharp pieces which cause injuries and that cannot be detected in metal detecting machine. To come up with the solution to it we can use needle that has been used in the hospital for injecting such as a butterfly needle. (12 Dec 2019)

Comment-4: Agreed with the above comment. A metal needle if stuck inside a garment can be detected by a metal detector machine. In the case of a glass-fibre needle, the hazard will be more dangerous because the threat is harder to detect. (5 January 2020)

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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