In a presentation titled “Testing 101,” Dr. Emiel DenHartog, associate professor at North Carolina University, and Dr. Maureen McGillivray, professor of apparel merchandising and design at Central Michigan University, covered the basics of textile testing, explaining its benefits while offering tips for selecting a method.
McGillivray has experienced an increased demand for testing during her eight years as an IFAI member, but many companies shy away from the process for reasons including cost, the level of technical knowledge they think is required and unfamiliarity with the multitude of test methods that exist. “Textile testing is a very technical topic, but in the end it is about communication with your customers,” DenHartog said.
Eight reasons to test a product:
- Conformance to a specification (such as a military standard)
- Quality control
- Quality promotion
- Adherence to regulations (FDA, EPA from the government, for example)
- Comparative product evaluation
- Performing failure analysis
- New product development
Seven tips for selecting a method:
- Determine the most important characteristics of your product (strength, comfort, appearance, durability).
- Determine how and where it will be used and by whom.
- Test new products and compare to existing data.
- Build a database.
- Communicate with suppliers and customers.
- Determine if you want it to adhere to national or international standards.
- Clarify what you want to claim about the product.