Sewfree Bond­ing!

Apparel - - Contents April 2017 - Samir Alam ex­plores the in­no­va­tive thought be­hind Sewfree.

Ex­plor­ing the in­no­va­tive thought be­hind Sewfree

The tex­tile in­dus­try is per­haps one of the old­est ex­ist­ing trades in the world. From the ear­li­est days of an­i­mal hides to mod­ern day nanofi­bre tex­tiles, tech­no­log­i­cally, the changes have been ex­po­nen­tial. The na­ture of ma­te­ri­als, ma­chin­ery and de­sign along with man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­niques in the fab­ri­ca­tion of tex­tiles has evolved to ac­com­mo­date the in­creas­ingly var­ied needs of hu­man­ity. So, whether hu­mans re­quire fab­rics meant for the hottest of cli­mates or the far­ther reaches of space, there has been an in­no­va­tion which has made it pos­si­ble. To­day, as tech­nol­ogy, in the form of mo­bile de­vices and net­work­ing, be­comes an in­te­gral and es­sen­tial part of the world’s pop­u­la­tion, the tex­tile tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try has been work­ing to de­velop new ma­te­ri­als and pro­cesses to ad­dress this need.

INNOVATING THE SIM­PLE

As con­sumers ex­pect high-tech fea­tures in every as­pect of their lives, gar­ments are also ex­pected to meet this need. The ba­sic of which is the abil­ity of a gar­ment to drape and fit the wearer’s body in such a way to max­imise com­fort, move­ment and style. The key ar­eas of stretch and re­cov­ery are al­ways on the top of the list from fash­ion de­sign­ers, sports ap­parel man­u­fac­tur­ers and tech­ni­cal tex­tile com­pa­nies. In this re­spect, the tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment process de­mands that the seams and stitches of any con­struct not only be of fine qual­ity but also wa­ter­proof and of bond­ing strength.

How­ever, in the rush to the fi­nal prod­uct, many small steps are needed and some crit­i­cal as­pects of the tex­tile man­u­fac­tur­ing work­flow need to be re­worked. Some­thing as sim­ple and peren­nial as sewing and bind­ing fab­rics to­gether be­comes an area that needs a rev­o­lu­tion. Since the next wave of fu­ture fab­rics re­quires many es­sen­tial and new fea­tures, such as elec­tronic em­bed­ding and elec­tri­cal con­nec­tiv­ity, the re­li­a­bil­ity of old-fash­ioned nee­dle and thread is no longer suf­fi­cient. Un­der th­ese use-case re­quire­ments the means to con­struct re­silient fash­ion de­signs and fab­ric ad­just­ments calls for a whole new ap­proach to bond­ing sys­tems.

The com­bi­na­tion of th­ese two re­quire­ments calls for a bond­ing process sys­tem that is low pro­file but seam­less. Re­cently, one such prod­uct was made known to the mar­ket that claims to an­swer th­ese very needs - Bemis Worldwide’s Sewfree range of prod­ucts. And as the name it­self sug­gests - Sewfree - is a poly­mer based ther­mo­plas­tic film which uses an ad­he­sive com­pound to bond fab­rics to­gether, thereby re­plac­ing stitch­ing. The cus­tomi­sa­tion of widths needed for var­i­ous cuts and pat­terns is also an es­sen­tial fea­ture and can be used in a num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions. The ad­he­sive film can be ap­plied through var­i­ous means such as ul­tra­sonic, RF, laser, hot air seal­ing ma­chines and fus­ing presses. All of th­ese fea­tures al­low man­u­fac­tur­ers to bond fab­ric seams in ways that fit into their ex­ist­ing pro­cesses.

Bemis utilised their new se­ries of TPU elas­tomers to ad­dress the ques­tion of stretch and re­cov­ery in the fab­ric by part­ner­ing it with the Sewfree bond­ing process. Th­ese ‘ High Re­cov­ery TPU Elas­tomers’ are specif­i­cally de­signed to be used in places which re­quire low pro­file

ap­pli­ca­tions such as in del­i­cate in­ner wear. By en­sur­ing a svelte and smooth aes­thetic while at the same time mak­ing sure that the fab­ric demon­strates the high­est de­gree of re­cov­ery. It also elim­i­nates the need for te­dious stitches at the seams, band or hems, while pro­vid­ing strong bond­ing. This ap­pli­ca­tion is also ap­pli­ca­ble to var­i­ous other prod­ucts as can be imag­ined by a gar­ment and tech­ni­cal tex­tile de­signer.

CON­STRUCT­ING AP­PAREL

The Sewfree next-gen­er­a­tion ad­he­sive film has al­ready been proven in a va­ri­ety of de­signs. It’s us­age in in­ner­wear ap­parel, tech­ni­cal out­er­wear and for gen­eral body gear has had nu­mer­ous ben­e­fits such as guar­an­tee­ing prod­uct per­for­mance and re­duc­ing risk ar­eas like stitch qual­ity. Es­sen­tially, Sewfree elim­i­nates sewing and al­lows a gar­ment to be glued to­gether to make the fi­nal prod­uct. And due to the highly elas­tic na­ture of the ad­he­sive film along with its soft­ness, the com­fort as­pect is main­tained while en­sur­ing ap­parel strength in fab­rics such as polyester, cot­ton and blended ma­te­ri­als. Even wide width fab­rics can be lam­i­nated by be­ing ap­plied in a tape form and then con­verted into a pre-cut gar­ment.

Apart from its stretch, re­cov­ery and strength as­pects, Sewfree also makes a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in prod­uct weight. The dif­fer­ence between tra­di­tional cut-and-sew de­signs and the Sewfree bonded gar­ments has gone as high as 15 per cent. In this sense the saved weight on th­ese prod­ucts scales up and makes sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings in every as­pect of the prod­uct chain - from ship­ment to wear­a­bil­ity. An ad­di­tional ad­van­tage is that th­ese ad­he­sive films can also be bonded with open face ma­te­ri­als, such as nets, meshes and laces fur­ther­ing its cus­tomised us­age in the fu­ture.

THE FAB­RICS OF TO­MOR­ROW

At present, the dif­fer­ent forms of bonded tech­nolo­gies are used to sup­ple­ment the tra­di­tional sewing meth­ods. This has re­sulted not only in lower costs but far more unique de­signs.

BY MOV­ING FUR­THER ALONG THE TECH­NOL­OGY SPEC­TRUM WITH FAB­RIC BOND­ING, BUSI­NESSES CAN EX­PECT CLEAR SAV­INGS IN LABOUR COSTS AS WELL AS THE CON­VE­NIENCE OF LESSER STEPS NEEDED TO­WARDS MAN­U­FAC­TUR­ING A GAR­MENT.

Push­ing this en­ve­lope fur­ther with Sewfree, al­lows newer fab­rics to be com­bined and ex­per­i­mented with for greater de­sign and util­ity pos­si­bil­i­ties. While, at one time, cir­cu­lar knits were de­signed to be less than per­fect, they can now be 100 per cent seam­less. Even in prod­ucts such as bra cups, the seams can be elim­i­nated mak­ing for not only happy cus­tomers and bet­ter styles, but greater busi­ness as a whole.

By mov­ing fur­ther along the tech­nol­ogy spec­trum with fab­ric bond­ing, busi­nesses can ex­pect clear sav­ings in labour costs as well as the con­ve­nience of lesser steps needed to­wards man­u­fac­tur­ing a gar­ment. Not only do bonded gar­ments take fewer steps to man­u­fac­ture but also fewer com­po­nents which fur­ther speeds up prod­uct de­ploy­ment. The trend, so far, has been the time­less one where cus­tomer de­sires and within a pro­duc­tion cy­cle they are ful­filled. But the lim­its of man­u­fac­tur­ing have been broad­ened now with new tech­nol­ogy al­low­ing for faster ful­fill­ment with more in­no­va­tive fea­tures. By stream­lin­ing the tech­no­log­i­cal as­pects of the man­u­fac­tur­ing process, de­sign­ers and busi­ness’ in the gar­ment in­dus­try can be­gin to truly col­lab­o­rate with con­sumer tech­nol­ogy providers such as mo­bile de­vice man­u­fac­tur­ers and con­sumer tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies. Fab­rics that are built on pure bond­ing seams and other in­dus­try in­no­va­tions such as nanofi­bres, con­duc­tive ma­te­ri­als and minia­ture power stor­age de­signs, can truly make fu­tur­is­tic fash­ion a mod­ern re­al­ity.

Com­pa­nies such as Bemis, who are gen­er­at­ing new prod­uct in­no­va­tions for the tex­tile in­dus­try, are not alone. Com­pa­nies such as Noble Bio­ma­te­ri­als an­nounced in Fe­bru­ary 2017, the de­vel­op­ment of seam­less con­duc­tive ma­te­ri­als which would not only be in­te­grated with elec­tron­ics but also durable. In­no­va­tive col­lab­o­ra­tions are ex­pected to gen­er­ate a new mar­ket of op­por­tu­ni­ties for tex­tile and ap­parel man­u­fac­tur­ers, where they might ac­tu­ally take a share away from con­sumer tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies and in­te­grate them into their ex­ist­ing brands. So, one day a Nike prod­uct could not only man­u­fac­ture your sports shoes but also be your mo­bile de­vice in­ter­face via their sports ac­ces­sories - the pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less. The ques­tion only re­mains, will it be the tex­tile in­dus­try that in­te­grates tech­nol­ogy into its prod­ucts or will it be Ap­ple re­leas­ing their 2018 Spring-Sum­mer dig­i­tal fash­ion cou­ture?

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