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Handling Shade variation on the apparel industry’s cutting floor: Infiltrate into a technological advancement

September 06, 2018 Bittu Kumari
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Shade variation in a garment occurs when different garment components have different depth of colors or mismatch of shades in different garment parts or even within one part of the garment.
Garments are made by stitching several different pieces of fabric parts together, so when shade variation is found between different parts or within the same part, it can render the finished piece unsellable. This is why great pains are taken by manufacturers to ensure color consistency across garment components.
Shade variation is one of the most common problems found in garments that are made of dyed or printed fabrics. Most of the time shade variation happens due to mishandling of fabric rolls during fabric cutting and also during the bundling activity in sewing floor.
Predominantly, shade variation in garments is caused mainly due to the handling of fabric with various shades. 
Fabric in a textile unit is dyed in dyeing machines that have a certain capacity of dyeing fabrics at a time. So, when fabrics are dyed in multiple lots, there are high chances of shade variation between different fabric lots, if the dyeing process is not controlled.
Shade variation in the fabric may appear as:

  1. Within same fabric roll there may be shade variation like 'centre to selvage' and 'selvage to selvage'
  2. Within same fabric roll length wise shade variation 
  3. Shade variation in between different fabric rolls

So, what problems does shade variation lead to?

  1. Fabric consumption per garment may increase due to shade variation. Markers making is directly affected in case of shade variations in fabric lots. 
    CSV markers are created to avoid cases of shade variation in garments, which takes extra effort and time.
  2. Furthermost restraints factor is handling fabric rolls on cutting floor.

If the fabric of different shade lots gets mixed on the floor, then the consequence will be much more than projected at the start of the order, due to defective pieces.
This leads to an increased number of defective garments which means high rejection percentage leading to rework, sometimes delayed shipment and impacting the overall garment manufacturing cost. And it is a well-known fact that source cost control is the main driving factor upon which every garment manufacturer ensures all the efforts for.
As we know, mixing shade batches on the cutting table can result in a disaster. If the necessary precaution is not taken in the cutting department and on the sewing floor, fabric lots can easily become mixed-up and result in mismatched shades across the finished garment. 
So, what to do next? 
The answer is very simple: In the case of shade variation in fabric, we prepare shade bands and mark and number each fabric roll. Then, prepare shade-wise lots of rolls by segregating each roll according to the marked shade band.  
To make this process easier, our fabric suppliers are instructed to supply the shade grouping charts with roll numbers matched to each swatch. Sometimes our communication channel is strong enough to implement the process smoothly, but in many cases, it won`t be easy to follow.
Now, even the process looks simple and can be executed successfully with small fabric lots, and small orders. 
But in a scenario of bulk order in which fabric comes in multi-lots and high volume, the time and effort involved to perform manual grouping of fabric rolls according to the shade is too high. And we should keep in mind that apart from shade, the fabric width is another factor playing an important role on the cutting floor. Hence the segregation is required first according to the shade and then downing to width.
A garment manufacturing facilities’ cutting floor, at one point in time, handles numerous styles with multiple orders with diverse constraints and only a limited number of personnel. In that case, manually grouping a bulk of fabric rolls according to their shade is very time taking and a stressful job, prone to slip-ups which may lead to last-minute complexities.
Furthermore, deciding which lay should use fabric from which particular shade lot, becomes a task in itself. 
It is more prone to mixing of shades when it comes to handling different orders at the same time on the cutting floor,  with the same limited workforce. 
Now, here we need a technology which can help us in automating and standardizing this process of fabric spreading and cutting. A technology, which can drive the man-dependent process to system-dependent and reduce the time and effort put up by the layer person.
This is where intelloCut comes into the picture, which provides you with a pragmatic solution for all these problems by restructuring the processes of:

  1. Shade-wise grouping of fabric
  2. Allocation of rolls to lays
  3. Planning the last quantity of the order with shade-wise sorted end-bits 

Shade-wise grouping of fabric: 
The system facilitates you in grouping your bulk fabric according to their individual shades and even according to their width with the provision of “Fabric Grouping”.  
With the help of fabric roll list input and just a single click, you will have all your fabric with n number of shade, sorted in a fraction of minutes, making the process automated, stress-free and error-proof.
Now, coming to the allocation of rolls to lays, intelloCut provides you with “Shade-wise roll allocation”. 
Using the data of fabric rolls and fabric groups, the software allocates the rolls giving priority to the shades according to their availability in terms of meterage and uses the fabric available in best way possible to ensure mixing of shades in least possible number of lays. So, you can use one whole shade at one time, then move to the other. There is no frequent change of shade from lay to lay.
Planning the last quantity with shade-wise assorted real-time end-bits:
The system provides the feature of “Expected Remnant planning”, which assists you in resource planning with real-time end-bits sorted according to the shades. 
The real importance of this feature comes into picture when you can’t compromise on shade variation even for the last few pieces, like in case of denim products.
So, summarizing the whole thing: intelloCut gives the competence to handle the scenarios of shade variation very efficiently without involving too much effort and time. It provides the chance of using effort of the cutting room personnel’s into other result-oriented processes.
Easing the handling of shade variation on floor, it also impacts the overall number of defective garment and rejection percentage and rework. Decline in all these  factors directly reduce the fabric used and time involved in processing the order on the cutting floor up to a great extent, impacting the overall performance.

Click here to check out more on how intelloCut works and how it can automate the entire working of your cutting floor!


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