Just so that repairs don’t go down the drain

In the ubiquitously famous cartoon book ‘Max and Moritz’, the writer Wilhelm Busch sketches, amongst other characters, Böck the master tailor. And one could be forgiven for thinking that the numerous little repairs that he performs might be seen as a blueprint for the textile rental service. The repairs required have hardly changed to this day. What has, however, changed in the last 150 years, is the tools.

There have been professional laundry services in Germany now for more than a hundred years. It was from these services, several decades later, that the notion of textile services emerged, in other words the commercial rental of workwear and protective clothing, hotel textiles, mats, mops and more. The principle is one of all-round service provision, which removes from the customer all responsibility for dealing with the laundry. It consists, therefore, on the one hand, in the provision and care of the textiles. On the other, it includes professional repair, which is normally, however, restricted to items of clothing. Because of the high daily through-put of laundry, all stages in the process must run efficiently. Automation has, therefore, been incorporated into the repair department for some considerable time now, as numerous exhibitors at Texprocess will demonstrate.

Or is there something to be mended …

There is a lot of work to be done in the repair department of a large laundry: burst seams are sewn up, small holes darned, large holes and tears are mended. Badges need changing and sewing on. For each of these tasks, appropriate sewing threads and fabric patches will be needed, for work clothes are subject to considerable wear and tear in everyday use and, in spite of any repairs, must nevertheless still conform to the appropriate standards for, say, high-visibility garments, protective welding gear or waterproofs.

… cut away and patched ….

Scissors are still the first choice for alterations – say for shortening trouser legs or for cutting out patches for larger repairs. With heat-resistant aramid weaves or heavy-duty fabrics, they can, however, quickly become blunted. Cutting implements should, therefore, be appropriate for the specific type of textile they are used on.

Seaming machines, too, need to be specially adapted for the particular demands of workwear and protective clothing; they are, for instance, equipped with special dogs for the feed bed. Equally, some types of clothing – surgery gowns for instance – are, however, never sewn these days, but rather welded. With this type of seaming technique, needle and thread become redundant. The technique results in maximum impermeability of the seam and prevents the escape of unwanted particles. If, moreover, the ingress of water is to be prevented, then strip-welding machines are the right choice; they create an additional seal over the seam.

… or just a button on the trousers missing or loose ….

Coats: Flame-resistant zppper

Coats: Flame-resistant zppper

Buttons are amongst the least popular accessories in the apparel-rental industry. Instead, press-studs, laces or zips are used to close or attach workwear and protective clothing. At all events, the accessories must be suitable for the demands imposed by leasing, must resist strongly alkaline cleaning processes, withstand oxidation, as well as keeping their shape and remaining colourfast in finishers and tumblers. And, if the relevant standards demand it, then flame resistance must be included in the overall features list.



… However, whenever, wherever it be, it’s all one and the same to me….

In most industries, some processes creep in unaware, determined by particular operational practices in the workshop. Structures and processes that just grow up like that get in the way of a continuous work flow. Textile service companies are no exception. Computers, printers and sewing machines that are all involved in printing and affixing labels, might perhaps be located in three different places, say. That means a lot of unnecessary moving about and time lost. Semi-automatic sewing stations help to make processes like this significantly more efficient.

… master tailor Böck can do anything …..

At the end of the day, the customer will want the garment returned looking smart. To ensure this, it will need to be pressed or ironed as appropriate. Unlike at the time of master tailor Böck, the textile care centres of today have a large selection of professional smoothing irons, industrial ironing boards, complete ironing stations, form finishers and trouser toppers available to them.

Texprocess offers a comprehensive overview of all the available equipment and accessories for modern repair centres. That is its raison d’être!


Sabine Anton-Katzenbach

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