Research and Development (R&D); Vital Department in a Denim Fabric Factory

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Md. Ariful Islam

M.Sc. in Textile Science and Engineering (Ongoing)

Wuhan Textile University, China.

Research & Development (R&D): Research always works to identify and invent something new which can be made human life easier and benefitted. On the other hand, development works to modify newly born product, making it more fruitful and attractive in use. From the two crucial definitions of Research and Development we got the department which is known as R&D shortly. It is considered as the first stage of developing a product under any organization and their goal is to include new goods and quality in their products gallery.

R&D is a vital department for any organization and textile industry. It plays a crucial role on building a qualified industrial product image. Through their quality support, to the marketing team, indirectly they work to make a brand value in the market. The R&D technologist teams firstly find out the requirement of buyer from their samples collected by marketing team and match it with their already developed samples. Further if needed not matched with the existing ones, they adjust some of the parameters of the existing samples to match with that given sample, create a new style.

Research and development (R&D) team always keep an eye on the current market trend, try to forecast the upcoming market demands. Also they follow different well-established company policies of innovation and develop new products with as per their tastes.

A typical hierarchy of a denim R&D department:

Working Area: Research on buyer requirement, globally developed research strategy and innovation, Balanced communication with marketing team and production, Current market value, guiding the production team for developing new samples in process, data recording and analyzing etc.

Creator and Bulk confirmation: Every company before taking a bulk order they receive a sample from buyer via marketing team. Then marketing team send it to R&D in factory for analyzing and developing the same sample to identify, is it possible or not possible to produce in their capacity and how much it will cost for per unit. If they become succeeded, then R&D team give confirmation to take order for the production and what would be the unit price. Furthermore, they develop new samples by their own ideas and show it in different exhibitions to reach buyer attractions.

Communication: Although R&D is not directly production related department but they always keep communication with the production team and guided them about the sample processes parameters. In addition, they always stay in connection with the marketing team to know about the current demandable quality of products, by the market and buyer requirement.

Costing: From fiber to fashion, the full journey of the denim fabrics is, directly or indirectly, observed & monitored by the R&D team. They overview every steps of making a product, which is material, process, equipment, manpower, time etc. and they can finally find out the cost of the product by using their every steps calculation. Finally, they can set the final price of the product for the particular buyer.

Figure: Different Samples developed by R&D

The Sample Development by the R&D depends on-

  • Variation of yarn and yarn characters (Count- 6 Ne to 30 Ne, Yarn-Open End, Carded, Ring, Ring Card, Combed, Compact, Lycra, Tencel, Multi-count, Multi-twist, Multi-slub etc.)
  • Different dyeing shades (Indigo, Indigo Dark, Blue Black, Black, Ash, Ocean Blue, Pacific Blue etc.).
  • Fabric structures (S twill, Z twill, Plain, Satin, Dobby, fabric weight, variation in weft yarn and characters etc.)
  • Fabric characterizing by different finishing process (Desizing, Mercerizing, over dying, Coating, Stentering, Bleaching, optical whitening, printing etc.).
  • Fabric appearance characterization by different washing effect (Enzyme, Bleach, Stone, Scrubbing, Fade, Torn, Coloring etc.)

We can simply realize the amount of works R&D departments do, in a denim factory by using an practical example that a 14 years old, well established leading company known as Amber Denim Ltd. has developed around 14 thousand samples just by manipulating the criteria, mentioned above.

Limitations: In our country mass production is only limited to normal wearable fabrics and garments. But for creating a niche in the technical textiles markets, we need to develop bio-composite materials, as we have easier sourcing of natural fibers such as jute, in the upcoming future we need to develop denim fabrics from different naturally modified yarns such as Bamboo fiber or Ramie fiber.

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