Spreading, as the term itself, signifies that it is the laying down of the fabric on a specially designed base (usually tables) of fixed size. Spreading has a big significance to the overall quality of production so it needs to be taken very critically also the fabric costs nearly the half of the total cost of the garment so a small negligence to it can be too heavy on one’s pocket rather it can be a nightmare!!
Spreading surface needs to be around 10 inches wider than the width of the fabric, the table has tracks or rails placed on both sides of the table. There are Vacuum tables as well which prevent the shifting of fabric while spreading and cutting, this spread is covered with a plastic film that act as a seal over the lay when vacuum is applied.
Spreading Table with suction that creates Vaccum.
The Objectives of Spreading
1.Segregation on the basis of Shades in the color of the fabric: Laying requires more than one roll and thus there may be a change in shade of color from one roll to other. A Garment made from these pieces will show the different shade finally, to avoid the mixing of these different shades we need to segregate/ sort them in different bunch. This is done by inserting an interleaving paper which is bright in color between the stack and from the position where shade variation occurs
2.Alignment of plies: The plies should be arranged so that they cover at least the length and width of the marker plan along with some extra fabric outside the plan. The marker plan is made to fit the narrowest width, and plies are centered and the surplus distributed equally to both edges, any inaccuracy to this can result in disturbance of the target to achieve full fabric utilization and some pattern pieces may be missing or cut from within during the cutting process.
3.Accurate ply tension: If the plies are spread with looseness it will result in regular fullness and bubbling and if the plies are spread in a stretched state it will led to tension in the lay but will contract after cutting or during sewing, it will result in shrinking of the garment part to a smaller size than the pattern pieces. In some cases where the chances of shrinkage is more in the fabric it needs to place in relaxed (unrolled) state overnight before spreading 4. Fabric fault detection and elimination: While spreading fabric it can be easily inspected as all its length is unrolled in front of the spreader, if any fault is found then the location can be easily tagged by a plastic string or any other marker. If the fault lie in the area of waste then no action is needed but if the fault lies in the area where the marker is planned than it need to be fixed and alternatively a fabric patch of sufficient size over the flaw so that a separate cutting is avoided later. One more problem that is normally found is tight selvedges it causes fullness in each ply normally in the central area of the lay, it can be corrected by cutting the selvedges to release the stiffness.
5. Electric Discharge: Man-made fibres are mostly prone to attaining electrostatic energy due to high level of friction within the fibers due to this the spreader always face difficulty in laying the ply because due to electrostatic charges that are created due to friction the plies either attracts to each other or causes repulsion. Aligning the plies is a big difficulty in these fabrics. To reduce the friction we need to do the earth the lay or the humidity has to be increased as the charge gets discharged through the contact with humid air.
6.Check for the fusion of plies during cutting: Fabric made from thermoplastic fiber are very susceptible to fusing when cutting takes place. As the knife gets hot due to continuous operation it can be checked by putting anti-fusion paper. This paper consists of a lubricant which lubricates the knife blade as it passes through the spread and it reduces the temperature of the blade.
Methods of spreading:
1. Manually by Hands: Fabric is spread manually by operators over the table. It is done manually by entering a rod made up of wood or metal. It is handled by two person simultaneously to make a balance. The fabric should be absolute flat and no bubbling is acceptable.
2. Spreading with the help of track by operator: There is a spreading track on the one end of the spreading table in which the fabric roll is placed. Then the track is operated by hand from one end to the other end of the table & with the same time the fabric is open out from the fabric roll and the fabric is spread according to the length and width. Sometimes, machine is run from one side to the other side of table by using electrical and mechanical motion and fabric is spread to make lay.
Manual Spreading - Using Track system.
3. Automatic Programmable Spreading Method: This method is mainly applicable in garment manufacturing unit where the production is done at a very large scale, the initial cost of investment is much as compared to operating cost, and also the quality of product obtained is very high. It does automatic loading / unloading with the correct tension. The tension of the fabric depends upon the type of fabric and the weave. It automatically senses the edge alignment as well as lay height; the speed is comparable very fast on an average 100 yards in a minute (1 yard = 3 ft.). There is a touch panel display which displays the progress of the spreading and alerts for any fault or malfunction. Machine returns to original state once the fabric runs empty. Brake wires are available for any emergency stopping. So automation has brought a big relief to human efforts as well as process can be executed in a fast manner.