Fusing, one of the most important processes of shirt manufacturing, attaches the interlinings to the fabric. Generally, it is described as a process where base fabric is coated on one side with a thermoplastic adhesive resin which can be bonded with another fabric by the controlled application of heat and pressure. Though the technology for this process has transformed in many ways over the years, the original three parameters of temperature, pressure and processing time still remain the most considerable factors.
This article intends to introduce you to the technologies that provide the best of the combinations of these three parameters for achieving better results in fusing operation.
In a fusing process, the thermoplastic adhesive resin coated on the surface of a base cloth, is usually in the form of small dots. These dots, when exposed to heat and pressure, melt and bond with another fabric. The wrong combination of these two parameters can lead to a number of problems like strike-through, strike-back and thermal shrinkage. Too much of temperature can lead to too much flow of the adhesive through the fabric, resulting in strike-back and strike-through.
Moreover, the equipment used to conduct the fusing process must provide a consistent pressure to ensure an intimate contact between interlining and outer cloth. This further ensures correct transfer of heat to the glue line and correct penetration of resin among the fibres of the outer fabric. Also, it must provide enough time to allow the temperature and pressure to induce melting of the resin and penetration of the outer fabric to produce a satisfactory bond.
This process is a bit complex but it comes with a number of benefits over the other alternatives to be used for attaching an interlining to the fabric. It saves the manufacturer’s time as this machine can fuse many parts at a time, plus it requires only one or maximum two operators to perform the operation.
Every garment has its own requirement out of these three parameters that has to be maintained while fusing. For example, a shirt manufacturing has its own set of combinations that help to achieve better results. There are many technologies in the market that cater to the requirement specifically dedicated to the fusing of the material. Few of them are Martin, Veit, Hashima etc., which are known for their ultimate solutions.
Martin Group has a range of about 30 different models of fusing machines with Italian high technology. Their range of OT Series, X Series, OLX Series, Feeding belt, SC-Y Stacker system and MEPP cater to the manufacturers’ various needs. Some of the cutting edge technologies that Martin Group uses in shirt fusing process are as follows:
The model X600SH is especially dedicated to the fusing of shirts, collars and cuffs. This comes with different size options like 600/1,000/1,400/1,600.
This series machine has a heating length of 900 mm, and works on an average speed of 5 metre/minute. The heating area features nine aluminum heating elements, inserted in a 5 mm thick aluminum molded extrusion. These nine aluminum heating elements are arranged in an upper and lower heating system with two independent electronic thermoregulators.
There are two heating zones’ configuration in the machine: Pre Heating + Final Heating and Continuous Top/ Bottom Configuration. The Pre Heating + Final Heating configuration is most suited for sensitive fabric which cannot be exposed to high temperatures. In the pre heating area, the first three heating elements are managed by one thermoregulator, and in the final heating, the rest six elements are managed by one thermoregulator that maintains the temperature evenly on the fabric whereas the Continuous Top/ Bottom Configuration is suitable for difficult melting interlining. In this, the upper five heating elements are managed by one thermoregulator and the lower six heating elements are managed by one thermo regulator.
The pressure system supported by the machine is a double-roller pressure system with lever action to allow zero pressure fusing without system. Both the rollers have a C40 inner core body and an outer layer of vulcanised silicon pressure roller and another hard steel body roller. This system ensures that the same pressure is maintained all throughout the length of the heating area.
2. X600SH – Shirt Version (60 cm- 24’’ collar and cuff)
This machine is specifically designed for shirt collars’ and cuffs’ fusing. The machine comes with an exit belt, return belt and stacker device. Also it has an optional cooling system. The return belt helps in the collection of fused fabric in the front part of the machine. It has an illuminated area that helps in the better positioning of the component to be fused. The machine has a simple stacker that allows the operator to collect collars and cuffs; this also provides the components to have their own time for cooling and therefore does not require an extra cooling system for the purpose.
Veit Fusing machine
Another brand to rely on for fusing the component while manufacturing a perfect dress shirt is Veit. The company, headquartered in Landsberg, Germany is worldwide leading manufacturer of ironing equipment, fusing machines, pressure machines as well as refinishing equipment for garments. Few of the specially designed machines used by the company for fusing process have been discussed here.
1. FX 1000
Knowing the detailing that a shirt requires, the FX Diamond has the newly developed temperature control measure which measures the temperature directly at the fabric to be fused. This helps to fix the temperature according to the property of the fabric that has to be fused.
The machine has a feeding belt of 1,400 mm (55.12 inches), which is suitable and specially designed to fuse large parts of the garments. It has a separate feeding and transport belt which gives time to the garment to cool down after fusing making it easier for handling. Moreover, the newly designed belt tracking hardware ensures shorter move of cylinder, thus ensuring less stress for the belt edges and lower distortions inside the belts.
The FX 1000 comes with the highly innovative pressure system, which make it possible to maintain the fusing parameters like pressure and temperature constantly over the entire width of the machine. The rollers used in the machines are the new chemical resistance rollers with COPRA (Constant Pressure Appliance) pressure system, which give excellent fusing results for very thin fabrics that are difficult to fuse.
Moreover, the system features a double pressure system that eliminates the problem of strike-back or strike-through in the garment. This basically consists of two separate pressure systems: first, a roller system with a relatively high line pressure (for formal shirts made of poplin); secondly, a pressure system can be activated in case of soft fabric (silk and all casual fabrics) with more soft line pressure leading to a softer handle. These systems can also be used together at the same time, because with this, the glue dot is not squeezed and does not lose its dimension for an optimal fusing operation. Also, it ensures that the glue dot is not enlarged and remains small and compact. As a result, there is a good bonding and no strike-through or strike-back.
Apart from this, these systems have a separate control panel mounted on the machine that gives a better precise temperature control. A diagnostic system checks for the possible reason of failure, and provides them with the correction measures. Also, they have a newly designed service area that results in regular cleaning of the machine, maintaining the fusing quality with major reduction in soiling of rollers and fusing material.
2. Shirt Fusing Machine BH 600
This machine is specially designed for fusing dress shirt collars and cuffs and is equipped with an active cooling system. It comes with a working width of 600 mm (23.62 inches) and has an upper and lower heating zone, which are individually adjustable.
The machine has Veit proven panel heating technology, which features exact and separate adjustment for upper and lower heating zones. This further ensures that the heat is evenly distributed over the entire fusing width of the machine.
The fused assembly is held under additional pressure after proceeding through the initial pressure system. This is used in case where the adhesive resins for shirts require high pressure.