Send for t’dyer

When I started working in a dyehouse back in the 1980’s there was a poem on the dyers office door that was called “send for t’dyer”  I have been trying to find this to put into this blog but google failed me.   Anyway the poem basically was a lament about whenever anything goes wrong in the textile mill,  generally people tend to blame the dyeing or finishing process. 

This is probably for a number of reasons,  in the UK the apprenticeships for young over lookers coming into the mill, entailed the apprentice spending time in each section of the mill getting a complete understanding of the drawing, spinning processes etc,  typically spending a month or two in each area before finding their speciality.  The exception being for the dyehouse,  where maximum of a week was spent just to understand what was going on and then it was back to the real world.  As an apprentice dyer the role was reversed,  spending 50 weeks a year in the dyehouse and 2 weeks looking at all subsequent processes from grey fabric to warehouse.  The result of this approach is that the rest of the processing factory do not understand what happens in the dyehouse and quite frankly don’t want to understand,  the dyehouse has two doors one where greige material enters and one where coloured material emerges.   What happens in between is a source of mystery,  a mystery that they do not want to find an answer to.

So we now face the situation whereby whenever things go wrong and there are quality problems relating to strength or poor physical performance of a fabric the immediate cry is “send for t’dyer”.

Coloursmith as part of some consultancies in recent months has found a few instances where the poor dyer has been blamed for something that is clearly not their fault.   On recent projects we have work in-conjunction with spinning and weaving speciailists, as part of their consultancy they have analysed why there has been so many breaks on the spinning or weaving of grey yarn and looked at the quality of the incoming yarn.  For whatever reasons the quality of the raw material has been very poor, with many breaks and poor handle etc.   What you need to remember is when this yarn goes to the dyeing process, prior to going into the machine this substrate is going to be in the best condition it is ever going to be.  The dyeing / bleaching process even when done correctly has a detrimental effect on the finished product,  to appreciate this all you need to do is think how you would respond to being boiled for 90 minutes with some acids and alkalis.  It is also very difficult for a dyer to improve an already poor product,  we can obviously add some softeners and anti static properties for example but this does not stop the fact we are just trying to mask the problem.

What the rest of the mill and other clients need to realize from their dyeing provider is that if you give him a poor quality product to work with then he is not going to be able to work a miracle,  much as we like to think we can perform miracles.  Short filament fibres,  immature cotton,  low twist, badly twisted yarns cannot be improved by the dyeing process.  Any surface effects will be exaggerated by the addition of colour so they are more visible.  There is an old adage  from manufacturing  “Garbage in Garbage Out”  it is self explanatory.   What we as a textile industry need to do is get the raw materials correct and of good quality and then the rest of the processing will look after itself. 

If we do need to “send for t’dyer” then it will be because he has not got his processing incorrect and not because the raw material is not right.

If you need help with your textile process then you can contact Coloursmith consultancy we offer help on all areas of textile manufacturing,  raw materials,  spinning, weaving, dyeing, Finishing, QC etc Check out our website for details.

Ian Smith 

____________________________________________________________________

Ian Smith | Managing Director | Coloursmith Ltd | www.coloursmith.co.uk

t:+44 (0) 844 4968260 | t: +44 (0) 7515 851039 | e: ian@coloursmith.co.uk | skype: coloursmith-uk

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