Veit Kannegiesser Colstar (HKZ) shirt and blouse fusing machine

For all its complexities, fusing offers many advantages to both manufacturers and wearers. For the wearer, garment durability is increased, particularly after cleaning, and crease-recovery is improved. For the manufacturer, garments can be produced to a consistent quality and time and labour costs are reduced. Constant challenges come from fabrics such as microfibres, Lycra mixes, viscose acetates and fluorocarbon coatings but fusing and interlining suppliers manage to stay one step ahead - as Niki Tait reports.

Interlinings provide the framework for garment structure, support and shape, as well as reinforcing critical areas. They may be found in the waistbands, flies, pockets, and belt loops of men's trousers; in shirt cuffs, collars and plackets; and in the lapels, fronts, collars and pockets of tailored jackets and blazers. Invisible from the outside, they ensure accurate fit and optimum wearer comfort.

There are over 500 different woven, nonwoven, knitted, hair; non-fusible or fusible interlinings, and the type used determines a garment's handle, shape and durability.

Kufner claims to be able to offer the right product for all interlining applications. Within its woven range, ultra-modern yarns provide a variety of types, weights and colours; products include Double Stretch, Stretch 2000 and Kufner Classic. The knitted range extends from classic knitted rayon articles of varying weights to texturised knitted interlinings in different colours, designs and coatings. The nonwoven collection includes 100 per cent polyamide products with ultrafine coatings as well as heavier blends and budget-priced nonwovens.

BWF´s woolfelt division offers a range including woolfelts and needlefelts in a wide variety of strengths, colours and functional finishing options. The Offitex and Offina brands are undercollar materials for the men's garment industry.

Astechnologies Astex 3000 - SC series

Freudenberg's Vilene division offers a comprehensive nonwoven range, from soft to firm, from non-stretch to elastic, in various weight categories and a wide choice of colours. These are constantly updated in line with current fashion trends. Thread-reinforced interlinings with high resistance to stretch are also available, along with specialised interlinings for stretch, leather and fur fabrics. The Vilene and Viledon Fireblocker lines have been developed for protective clothing. All Vilene interlinings are approved in accordance with Eco-Tex Standard 100.

Gygli's Infit is a bi-elastic woven interlining made from a lightweight polyester fabric with a minimum of polyamide coating. Special weaving technology provides controlled elasticity in both weft and warp directions for enhanced crease-recovery. At just 25gsm the lightest version is almost translucent and can be fused at a temperature as low as 140°C. It is suitable for structured, crushed and wrinkled fabrics.

Gygli Textil AG, the firm behind Infit, and Gygli Technik AG, a leading European manufacturer of fusing presses, became Freudenberg Gygli AG last summer. This company is now Freudenberg's shirt specialist, providing both woven and nonwoven interlinings and machinery.

Fusing equipment
If a 'fusible interlining' is a base fabric with a deposit of thermoplastic adhesive glue (usually on one surface), which can be bonded to another fabric by the application of heat and pressure, then 'fusing' is the process of attaching a fusible interlining to a top-cloth (outer fabric). The parameters for good quality fusing are threefold - time, temperature and pressure - if problems such as strike back or strike through of adhesive, fabric shrinkage, bubbling or other distortions are to be avoided.

Meyer RPS-E Evoluion

Interlinings have followed outer fabric developments with innovations like multi-variable adhesives and a huge range of alternative base cloths. This has, in turn, prompted the development of a whole new generation of fusing and laminating equipment offering lower temperatures, environmental sensitivity and improved working conditions.

For all its complexities, fusing offers many advantages to both the manufacturer and the wearer. For the wearer, garment durability is increased, particularly after cleaning, and crease-recovery is improved. For the manufacturer, garments can be produced to a consistent quality and time and labour costs are reduced.

The Coolstream Synchro-Trak fusing machine range from Bandwise Reliant has an extended 1900mm long heat tunnel and is available in 140cm and 180cm conveyor widths. Low temperature fusing helps eliminate shrinkage and the design of the system takes account of microfibres, changes to dry cleaning specifications, and legislation regarding toxic emissions.

Six heat control zones governed by a PID Controller help improve fabric handle and shrinkage control. Other features include the BSZ belt temperature monitoring system, Synchro-Trak dynamic belt tracking, constant belt speed control with an AC inverter motor, cooling micro mesh off-load belt, and machine diagnostics panel.

Veit Kannegiesser Colstar HKZ shirt and blouse fusing machine

Astechnologies' Challenger 9000 fusing and laminating series controls time, temperature and pressure through "the longest contact heat chamber available, seven zone temperature control and tandem pressure rollers." Originally designed for the tailored clothing industry, the Challenger is currently used in a variety of apparel and industrial laminating applications. Standard features include seven individually controlled heating zones; triple pressure system; cybernetic belt tracking; curvilinear heated platen; and cool down timer. Model 9072-S has an enhanced heating system for the higher temperature and operational speed requirements of roll-to-roll industrial laminations.

Meyer Machinery's successful RPS-series has evolved into the new RPS-E Evolution. The RPS-E 2 compact version includes a loading belt of more than one metre for easy loading of large parts onto the conveyor belt; a new heating system equipped with two control zones; precise pressure setting by means of special differential gearing at a driven pressure roller; pressure and belt control via a pneumatic system; and CNC 500 controls for pressure, temperature and speed.

The RPS-E 4, essentially the same as the RPS-E 2, has an extended heating system with four control zones and heating circuit control, a separate pair of pressure rollers with double pressure rollers available on request and a 3D-heating system with three lanes and a total of 12 temperature zones (optional).

The Veit Kannegiesser fusing production line eliminates handling and other non-value adding time by introducing engineered workstations at the loading and unloading points. It also offers user-friendly work aids, clear and simple sequencing of various fabric and interlining combinations, and greater abilities for fusing super-light and elastic fabrics.

Meyer RPS-E Evoluion

For fusing larger parts, the Input Batch Conveyor has its own single lane, non-continuous conveyor. The speed control of the transfer belt is linked to that of the fusing machine and overall handling time is reduced by around 10-20 per cent. Unstable and elastic parts, and parts pre-cut for darts or pockets, all potentially subject to shifting problems, can be loaded without displacement.

After fusing, the parts move from the cooling conveyor onto transport belts divided into lanes, each of which serves an individual stacking table. Scanners detect the front edge of the part, causing the table to move to receive the piece. As the stack increases, the transfer belt mechanism rises to the height needed to place each part on top. When the maximum stacking height is reached a tumbler switch moves the stacking table into the unloading position.

Niki Tait, C.Text FTI, FCFI heads Apparel Solutions, which provides independent assistance to the apparel industry in the areas of manufacturing methods, industrial engineering, information technology and quick response.