Splicing is a process where the fabric is overlapped at certain points in a fabric lay. This is done to re-start laying fabric from where the previous roll has ended/ cut. It is done by looking at the pattern pieces on the marker. A portion of the marker is chosen for splicing where one of the pattern pieces ends and the subsequent pattern piece begins. The fabric is laid in such a way that all the pieces in the markers are covered completely, at least once. For better understanding, let’s have a look at the diagram below.
Here, the marker has two overlaps, 1 and 2. Every overlap has two splicing points, start and end point. In order to have a deeper understanding, let's focus on how the splicing works while laying. To do that, let us look at the diagram below.
In the above pictures, Figure 1 shows the laying of plies from different rolls having same shade on splicing points. The fabric from the previous roll ends at Point 2. The new roll will start from point 1. The figure 2 shows which pieces will be cut in full from the fabric. As you can see, the pieces are cut at least once in full piece from the two spliced parts.
This is how splicing ensures that even though the fabric ply is not enough to lay a full ply, it is utilized. By doing this, the storage of end-bits falls to a bare minimum. Only those end bits are stored, which cannot be used in splicing. It helps in reducing the generation of end bits. By doing this, the need for making small markers is greatly reduced. In respect to the cutting floor, this process is a win-win case as it reduces the extra work of utilizing small end bits in small markers.
Well, this seems to be very beneficial for the garment factories. Then, why don’t all the factories use splicing? Why is this process not a universal method?
The answer lies in the below points, which is essential to consider while doing splicing.
1. Overlap Wastage
2. Garment Type
3. Correct Splicing Points
4. Live tracking of Splicing wastage
1. Overlap Wastage: The overlap length is the length between splicing start and splicing endpoints. The two fabric plies overlap on these points. The pieces of the garment fall on one of the plies and as such the other ply goes unutilized. It is certain that the length of at least one ply will not be utilized anywhere and will go as wastage. This is a major point as it is often overlooked. These wastages are hidden and are not recorded anywhere. The use of splicing, without recording of overlap wastage, gives a false picture of less end bit wastage. In order to understand the seriousness of this, let’s have a look at the following example.
We have 20 rolls change in a lay with an overlap length of 20 inches in each. This means 400 inches or 11 yards of fabric is wasted in a lay. If the roll length is 50 yards for each roll, we have 1.1% fabric wasted away in only overlap.
The overlap wastage has always bamboozled the factories. As this wastage is hidden, the factory assumes there is a shortage in fabric rolls. While most of the fabric goes inside wastage, the factory remains ignorant about this wasteful process.
When the splicing points are decided manually, all the splice points are taken into consideration, regardless of the extent of overlap wastage. When the same process is reviewed and set by ThreadSol consultants, we see an automated format connected to the CAD module being setup. This not only minimizes the time but also controls the extent of overlap wastage by capping it to industry standards of 8 to 10 inches. This greatly reduces the overlap wastage as then the splicing is only allowed at points where the overlap length is 8 to 10 inches. Any splicing points with more overlap length are ignored.
2. Garment type: While doing splicing, one also has to consider which garment pieces will facilitate splicing. Doing splicing in garments with big and long pieces is impractical as it tends to increase splicing overlap, hence increasing hidden wastages. Lingerie has very tiny pieces and as such splicing becomes an automatic choice. The pieces of denim trousers are bigger and may result in huge overlaps. The ultimate decision should be taken based on the extent of overlap length (the length between splicing start and splicing endpoints).
When to use splicing and when not to, becomes a question in the factories working on numerous products with fast-changing styles. This is because of the ever-changing overlap lengths due to the changing pattern designs, with a different style and products.
ThreadSol consultants review the full factory processes and give an automated format, which when followed, helps in utilizing the fabric in an intelligent manner. The balance between splicing and efficient utilization is achieved by suggesting when is the splicing process beneficial for a product, and when is it not.
3. Correct Splicing Points: It is a widespread practice in garment factories that the splicing points are marked on the fabric lay by the layer-person or QC. Since this process is manual, there is a high chance of uncontrolled and erroneous marking. The error in splice marking will lead to huge rejections in panel check and reduce the number of cut pieces to be issued for sewing. Also, this process consumes a lot of production time, which can otherwise be utilized for efficient production.
The correct way would be taking out these points from the existing CAD system and mark it automatically during printing of the marker. This not only ensures the correct splice marking but also minimizes the time frame in a production scenario.
ThreadSol consultants help the factory in setting up customized processes according to the CAD system available in the factory. Not only this, but they also educate the layer persons in following the correct standard way of splicing on the floor to ensure minimum wastages.
4. Live tracking of Splicing Wastage: The splicing wastage is also a function of the number of splicing being carried out in the lay. This becomes a big problem especially in those cases where the roll length is very low and the lay length is bigger in comparison, requiring a huge number of roll changes. Also, when there are excessive defects observed in rolls, it results in higher number of splicing wastage.
In this scenario, based on the live wastage data, one has to decide to continue with splicing in a lay or not. The decision can only be taken when each overlap is recorded and is available in live reports to take a decision.
This is handled perfectly well with the splicing module present in the intelloCut system. Moreover, the query of when to use splicing and when not, is set by the intelloCut consultants. These consultants have experience in over 15 apparel manufacturing geographies, having overviewed splicing cases in a variety of products and, therefore, know what works best for the present system.
Though splicing is a great way to reduce the handling of multiple end bits, the process itself needs to be followed carefully in order to utilize the best way possible. The effort and time reduction as well as the transparency in the method of splicing, suggested by intelloCut consultants makes it easier and efficient to follow.
If you have a query related to any process in apparel manufacturing, feel free to shoot it by clicking ‘Ask the Experts’ at the top of the page or write to us at email@example.com.
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Rohit is a Senior Consultant at ThreadSol. He has an experience of more than 5 years in the apparel industry
working at various levels of apparel production and consulting in 30+ garment firms across 6 geographies
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