Gone are the days when textile and apparel companies could choose whether they wished to establish a 3rd-party testing plan for their materials. On the one hand, they could decide to test and make use of the final results as a marketing device to set themselves aside from their competitors. On the other hand, they could choose not to perform Textile Testing Equipments, and if they were a big-enough player in the market, they didn’t lose customers for it.
Today, increasing globalization of the supply chain means that if one supplier doesn’t test their goods according to a good 3rd-party testing plan, a buyer can easily find another that will. Couple that with the complete explosion within the relevance of eco-initiatives, environmental sustainability, restricted substances, etc., during the last 5-10 years. What buyer inside their right mind will be associated with a supplier that doesn’t care about the environment when you can find thousands who do?
Manufacturers simply have zero choice but to (pardon the pun) get with a program! But which program? Quite simply- since you’ve made a decision to test, what’s next? Choose How You should Test. For most companies, testing is separated into two classes: 1) Performance testing and two) Restricted substance testing. Let’s dive in to these two types of testing a bit more.
Performance Testing – Performance testing refers to evaluating product performance in the intended use. For example, is it the correct color, are the seams sufficiently strong, will be the product durable per customer requirements, does the piece withstand enough washes, etc.? Usually, a company has a concept of how their goods perform, and they likely either provide an in-house testing plan in position or they already send their product out to a third party testing lab for performance testing. Generally, performance testing is easier to perform from a technology standpoint than restricted substance testing because the equipment and techniques required to test are less costly and readily accessible. If you need to begin a performance testing plan and also you think you should do performance testing in-house:
1. Scope your property to figure out where you will conduct your testing. For those who have a space that can be committed to an in-house lab, certain things should influence your choice on whether or not to use it for that purpose. Consider electricity requirements for equipment, access to the outdoors for ventilation needs or fume hoods, and water hookups for สถาบันสิ่งทอทดสอบ use and eye-wash stations. Assist your HR department to determine what local regulations exist you will have to comply with. With a very basic level, you will have to store current, accurate MSDS sheets for just about any products you utilize, and certain chemicals will need a lockable chemical cabinet for his or her storage. If chemicals are utilized within your testing location, you will have to offer an eye-wash station within your lab, possibly several, depending on the size of the lab space.
2. Speak to your larger customers regarding your product quality. Discover how they evaluate your materials (you should know this, but I won’t tell). From the conversations, you will understand not just what you need in terms of equipment and process, you will additionally create a good impression on the customer. Inside my experience as both the customer and also the supplier during these conversations, I notice you that your customer will be thrilled that you care enough regarding your quality to get ready to let them try out your material. Many suppliers avoid that subject like the plague. Being an additional advantage, you may find that your particular customer is willing to test for you free of charge while you get your own process running. This may sound backwards or perhaps such as a conflict of interest, but believe me. When the customer has the ability, they would like to help and chances are that their lab is very busy they won’t have plenty of time to scrutinize your material performance while you get the capability up-to-speed.
3. Identify the organizations in your industry which help create the testing standards that pertain to you. Become a member, or at the very least follow them using social networking (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn groups). Membership fees are usually quite reasonable, and you’ll likely get the chance to be a part of the committees that really write the test standards, thus influencing the information of the standards you need to follow. Pretty cool, huh?
4. After you’ve spoke with your customers, joined one or two from the relevant trade organizations within your industry, and done some study, return back and reconsider #1. You may find the requirements to start your very own lab are far more expensive than simply broadcasting your materials for testing to a third party testing lab or may need employees with skills and training that you simply can’t easily obtain. Even when you have to test several samples from each lot, that is certainly often more cost-effective than building a lab on your own. The testing organizations will provide you with package pricing for tests that you employ often. If you’re on the fence regarding whether to purchase the lab, utilize a 3rd party lab for just one year, and keep detailed records of all the your testing expenses. Compare that yearly expense with the cost of starting and maintaining your lab now that you’ve done a bit of homework. Depending on your company’s accounting procedures, you may need to see a return on that lab investment within 3 or 7 years. This practice can help you put some firm numbers behind your choice one way or even the other.
Restricted Substance Testing – Restricted substance tests are more complex in terms of the technology used to conduct it, so your choice regarding the best way to conduct that testing is quite simple- send it all out for an accredited third party test lab for testing. Unless you currently have an ICP spectrometer or an XRF device, you will end up mailing out your samples for testing. Take note that even though you have an internal lab you make use of to conduct your QC or performance testing, you may still need to send spxmvs for restricted substance testing when it is required.
There are numerous restricted substance test protocols, but they are generally either a requirement of your own customer, required legislation, or both.
Examples of restricted substance testing plans from customers include: Nike RSL and adidas A-01. Most major apparel companies come with an adopted testing plan much like these. Examples of required legislation include Prop 65, REACH, and CPSIA. Many 3rd parties have gotten in on the action by creating their own testing protocols that try to fulfill the required legislation AND the major customer requirements. An excellent illustration of this is Oeko-tex 100 certification. For me, Oeko-tex happens to be the most effective testing restricted substance test protocol on earth for the money since it does a really good job of incorporating the legislative requirements (AKA Legal Requirements) with equipment. I see increasingly more companies over a weekly basis getting their materials Oeko-tex certified AND using that certification as being a marketing part of their product promotion.
Another plus for Oeko-tex is the fact that numerous apparel companies recognize it that after you get a product line Oeko-tex certified, you receive a free pass on about 90-95% of many major customers required tests. Translation: you don’t have to pay twice (or three times) for the similar test on the same material.