A test apparatus that can detect shrinkage and spirality problems as early as possible - and help reduce reprocessing - is proving popular with fabric producers, dyers and finishers in Pakistan. The system is also approved by a number of leading retailers, including Marks & Spencer Plc, Tesco Stores Ltd and JC Penney.

Irfan and Style Textiles have become the latest in a long line of companies to invest in the Quickwash Plus from Raitech Inc and its partner Atlas Textile Test Products. Pakistan recognises that one of the ways in which its textile industry can help beat future changes to trade quotas and the removal of trade barriers is by investing in new technology for increased levels of quality and efficiency.

The system was first introduced to Pakistan during towards the end of 1999 when Al-Abid Silk Mills Ltd introduced Quickwash Model EC300 into its quality control process to monitor shrinkage levels while production was in progress. Other customers include Ammar Textile (Pvt) Ltd, Gul Ahmed, Naveena Industries, Klass and Nishat Mills.

According to Raitech there are several reasons why the Quickwash has been so widely accepted, including the speed of the test (normally 20 to 30 minutes). Another plus is its ability to correlate with any wash and tumble dry test method applicable to either woven or knitted fabric, which means that companies can identify shrinkage and spirality problems much earlier during processing.

Secondly, calculations are said to show that companies producing in excess of 50 tons of fabric per week can make annual savings of up to US$20,000 by reduced reprocessing. This, of course, is good news for retailers who receive the goods right first time.

Recognising this fact, a number of leading retailers - such as Marks & Spencer Plc, Tesco Stores Ltd and JC Penney - now approve the system. This is paving the way for the Quickwash Plus to become an internationally recognised test apparatus for shrinkage and spirality evaluation. The test method AATCC 187-2000 has now been published in the AATCC Technical Manual.