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Procedures practiced for Quality Control and Assurance in Fusing Operation

Fusing process parameters, strike back, strike through, delamination, bubbling causes and solutions

Introduction
There is nothing much that can be done visually on interlinings. The performance testing of interlinings as well as the control of variables in the fusing of interlinings are of utmost importance. These materials (Interlinings, linings, and other support materials) provide a foundation for product shape, support areas subjected to stress, help maintain a products appearance, enhance comfort or enclose interior parts for aesthetic or performance reasons. These materials must be compatible with the fashion fabric

Interlinings
Interlinings or interfacings are sewn or fused to specific areas of the product to shape, support, reinforce and improve performance. Many different types are available and influence the aesthetics, performance, cost, comfort, and care of the finished product. For example, the hand and drape of the fabric can be altered by the selection of the interlinings.

Handling and sewability are the other two important factors to consider. Interlinings that are easy to sew and handle have lower production costs that those of that require more effort and attention to detail. Fibre content, fabric weight, fabrication method, and method of application need to be specified. For products were soft hand is important, cotton and rayon may be preferred. Where resiliency is needed, wool and hair fibres are preferred. Nylon provides a stiff, resilient, lightweight interlining. The heavier the weight, the more support provided to the fashion fabric. Light weight interlinings produce a softer hand.

Interlinings can be fused to the fashion fabric quickly and inexpensively. Fusible interlinings incorporate a bonding agent that is heat, pressure, or steam activated. Several types of bonding agents can be applied in a pattern to or all over the back of the interlining.

Selection of interlinings
Selection of interlinings with the appropriate properties for the fabric and the style requires knowledge of the available products, the processes to be used, and an understanding of compatibility factors. As styling needs change, producers of interlinings may create new fabrications, weight, and adhesives with different properties. The soft unstructured look that was popular during the 1990s did not mean interlinings were omitted; their characteristics were modified to produce a softer hand and better drape ability.

Functions of interlinings
Interlinings serve mainly for two major functions (1). To produce and retain the desired aesthetic appearance, and (2). To improve garment performance. Selecting the appropriate interlining is not a simple task because many considerations must be taken in account. Interlinings must be compatible with piece goods and other materials used in the style, and they must be adaptable to the equipment used in the plant. Interlinings that enhance the hand of the shell fabric and create the desired aesthetic characteristics for a garment component may be preferred choice.

Aesthetics
Appropriately chosen interlinings provide the foundation for the shape and hand of the garments and the stability to maintain the same appearance through use, care, and storage. Aesthetic standards are often subjective and vary by designer. One designers interpretation of a soft silhouette may be interpreted as limp by another designer. A firm with high quality standards may determine that shrinkage of either the interlining or shell fabric is unacceptable; other firms may allow tolerances for shrinkage if both the shell and interlining shrink the same amount.

Interlinings help form and maintain the hand, stability, durability and resiliency of the shell fabric. Hand refers to the drape, stiffness or softness of materials used in a garment. Interlinings are available in a variety of different hands and must be analyzed with the shell fabric when determining the best combination.

Performance
Interlining performance may be evaluated from two different perspectives: (1) performance during production and (2) performance in the finished garment. Manufacturers may select certain types of interlinings to facilitate handling and improve the sewability of the fabrics and garment parts. Interlinings may be used to reduce raveling and provide stability for the sewing process. They are frequently used under the embroidery to stabilize fabrics for better-executed stitching.

Fusing Technology
The term fusing technology is concerned with: Base cloths Resins Coating systems Machinery and Equipment Control of Quality.

Base cloths
The Base cloth, also called the substrate is an interlining material on which the thermoplastic resin is coated, sprayed, or printed. Base cloths are produced in a variety of woven, knitted and non- woven forms from natural or synthetic fibres and each type has a specific application.

Irrespective of the construction and fibres used, the base cloth influences the following characteristics in the finished garment.
Handle and bulk Shape retention Shrinkage control Crease recovery Appearance in wear Appearance after dry-cleaning or washing Durability.

In addition, the final cost of the garment is influenced by the type and amount of the fusibles used in its construction

Resins
These are the materials applied to the base cloth and when subjected to heat and pressure they become the sole bonding agent between the top cloth and the interlining. Thermo plasticity, or change with heat, is the basis of all fusible interlinings in its cold state the resin is not adhesive and only becomes viscous when heated. Through the application of pressure, the heated resin penetrates into the top cloth; on cooling it solidifies again, forming a bond between the two fabrics. Today no naturally occurring resins are used for interlinings, but large variety of thermoplastic resins including polyamides, polyester and PVC.

Coating Systems
Coating is the process whereby the thermoplastic resin is applied to the substrate material. There are many coating methods in use, some of the more commonly used ones being; Scatter coating: This method uses electronically controlled scattering heads to deposit the resin on to the moving substrate. Dry- dot printing: In this process, the resin is printed onto the substrate by a roller engraved with small indentations which hold the resin powder. Performed: The resin is heat-processed to form a net which is then laminated onto the base cloth by heat and pressure. During heating, the net melts and leaves a minute dot pattern on the substrate

Machinery and Equipment


The mechanical medium required for fusing is a press, and the three basic types are (1). Steam (2). Flat bed (3). Continuous fusing

Steam press
Regular steam presses with shaped bucks are designed for fusing but are used for this purpose by many factories that cannot, or will not invest in the correct equipment. While fusibles with certain types of resins can be fused on steam presses, these machines have number of serious limitations for general use.

Limitations Even when fitted with heated bucks, steam presses are usually unable to reach the heat levels required by most resins. The pressure applied over the full buck area is uneven, which restricts the machines use to the fusing of small parts. Most of the older types of steam presses are not fitted with timers and programme controls, thus leaving the time element completely dependent on the operator. When the resin has been originally activated by steam heat, the same thing can happen again when garments are pressed during production. This is likely to cause serious problems with lamination and handling. All in all, steam presses do not have the complete range of the operating characteristics necessary for correct fusing.