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Laser is being used in apparel industry from nineteenth century for various garment manufacturing applications. There are several advantages of using laser over the conventional processes in cutting, engraving, embossing, denim fading and other applications. In addition, product damage potential is reduced, no/less consumables are needed and no problem of toxic by-product disposal as found in some processes. Today’s laser equipment is a result of continuous research and development of earlier products, which has undergone several changes. The initial laser systems were cumbersome, hard to run and difficult to maintain. However, the modern laser systems are simpler in operation and maintenance. Furthermore, the earlier systems were involved with more safety issues and needed the gasses to be constantly replenished. The garment manufactures around the globe should take the advantage of laser application in the post multi-fibre agreement regime to make their products more competitive. This review focuses on the technology of laser including various classifications. In addition it includes the applications of laser in garment manufacturing, their potential hazards and health related concerns.
The use oflaser ingarment
manufacturing: an overview
Rajkishore Nayak* and Rajiv Padhye
Laser is being used in apparel industry from ninenteenth century. Recently the use of
laser in apparel industry is increasing in cutting garment patterns, patterning designer
neckties, 3D body scanning, denim fading and engraving leather (Nayak and Khandual
2010; Istook and Hwang 2001; Simmons and Istook 2003; Ortiz-Morales et al. 2003;
Ozguney 2007; Bahtiyari 2011). e major reasons for wide application of laser in gar-
ment industries may be due to reduced cost, flexibility and anti-counterfeiting (Kovacs
etal. 2006; Tarhan and Sarıışık, 2009; Yuan etal. 2012). For example the artwork of high-
end necktie producers are digitally stored rather than physical patterns to lower the theft
risk. When needed, the digital patterns are converted into physical samples using lasers
(Lucas etal. 2015; Kan 2015). Recently, the application of laser in denim engraving is
increasing rapidly for value addition by replacing the traditional denim-distressing tech-
nics, which will take the denim segment to a height of sophistication that can never be
realised by non-laser methods (Kan 2014a). e unique nature of the garment manu-
facturing industry needs laser applications, which combines performance with reduced
cost by eliminating the handling systems used in non-laser workstations.
Laser is being used in apparel industry from nineteenth century for various garment
manufacturing applications. There are several advantages of using laser over the
conventional processes in cutting, engraving, embossing, denim fading and other
applications. In addition, product damage potential is reduced, no/less consumables
are needed and no problem of toxic by-product disposal as found in some processes.
Today’s laser equipment is a result of continuous research and development of earlier
products, which has undergone several changes. The initial laser systems were cum-
bersome, hard to run and difficult to maintain. However, the modern laser systems are
simpler in operation and maintenance. Furthermore, the earlier systems were involved
with more safety issues and needed the gasses to be constantly replenished. The gar-
ment manufactures around the globe should take the advantage of laser application in
the post multi-fibre agreement regime to make their products more competitive. This
review focuses on the technology of laser including various classifications. In addition
it includes the applications of laser in garment manufacturing, their potential hazards
and health related concerns.
Keywords: Laser, Fabric cutting, Denim fading, Mass customization, Engraving
Open Access
© 2016 Nayak and Padhye. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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Nayak and Padhye Fash Text (2016) 3:5
DOI 10.1186/s40691-016-0057-x
School of Fashion
and Textiles, RMIT
University, 25 Dawson St.,
Brunswick 3056, Australia
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Nayak and Padhye Fash Text (2016) 3:5
Laser is an energy source, whose intensity and power can be precisely controlled. e
laser beam can be focused to a desired object at specific angle depending on the applica-
tion. Laser can help to cut a variety of objects ranging from flexible fabric to rigid and
strong metal (Belli et al. 2005; Ondogan etal. 2005). Laser equipment are becoming
widely popular in textile, leather and garment industries due to the advantage of accu-
racy, efficiency, simplicity and the scope of automation (Kan etal. 2010; Lu etal. 2010;
Sutcliffe etal. 2000). For example the conventional cutting tools such as band blades,
discs and reciprocating knives suffer from the limitations especially on delicate materi-
als as the cutting force can displace the material, which can lead to inaccurate cutting
(Nayak and Padhye 2015b). e traditional cutting methods often require an operator
with full attention (Vilumsone-Nemes 2012). Hence, there is a trade-off between the
maximum speed of cutting and the accuracy. In addition, other limitations include intri-
cacy of the cut components, tool longevity and machine downtime during tool servicing.
ese limitations are not present in laser devices, which helps to achieve improved effi-
ciency and reduced cost.
Laser cutting with processing speed, high precision, simple operation and other advan-
tages, so in most industries can be used to, but it is in the clothing industry, leather pro-
cessing plays a different role, can quickly cut leather graphics and draw precise clothing
model (Potluri and Atkinson 2003; Ready etal. 2001). e benefit of laser cutting opera-
tions involve highly collimated beam that can be focused to a very fine dot of extremely
high energy density for precise cutting. Garment industry pay attention to the size of the
garment when processing precision, the purpose is to achieve high efficiency, exquisite
tailoring, it is better than the traditional manual cutting by spectrum.
Although there are several applications of laser in apparel manufacturing, there are
limited publications on this. Hence, an attempt was made in the current article to per-
form a thorough review that covers various applications and recent developments in
laser that can provide guidelines for future directions. In addition, a systematic descrip-
tion has been done on the technology of laser including various types of laser. In addi-
tion, this review includes the applications of laser in garment manufacturing, their
potential hazards and health related concerns.
Laser technology
LASER is light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Laser is an electromag-
netic radiation, produced by the atoms due to energy states are changed in some materi-
als (Dowden 2009). e atoms promoted to higher energy states emit laser in the form
of light by the process known as “stimulated emission”. Subsequently, this laser is being
amplified in a suitable lasing medium with the help of mirrors. e final laser delivers
from the equipment as a stream similar to light. e colour of the laser depends on its
wavelength. e most widely used unit used to express the wavelength of a laser is in
nanometre (nm).
Laser light (Fig.1) emitted from a laser has four fundamental characteristics: Intensity,
Coherency, Monochromaticity, and Collimation, which distinguish it from natural light.
A high energy concentration per unit area of the beam is present in the laser. A laser
beam can be of very high intensity with 1–2 mm of beam diameter and an output power
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Nayak and Padhye Fash Text (2016) 3:5
of some milliwatts (mW). All the lasers are not powerful in spite of the light with high
intensity as intensity is estimated from the power output/area.
From Fig.1 it can be observed that the ordinary light (from a thermal source) is inco-
herent, i.e., light waves are generated at different times and propagate in all possible
directions randomly. However, laser is coherent as shown in the figure due to the waves
are in phase while they propagate. Ordinary light is composed of all the colours in the
visible region, but laser light is of a single colour or monochromatic. e coherent nature
in addition to the monochromaticity results in highly collimated laser. As all the waves
propagate in same phase in parallel lines, there is almost no divergence as observed in
light. is property of laser helps in achieving high intensity even after travelling a long
distance. e energy concentration of the beam can be increased by manifold when the
beam is focused as a point with the help of optical lens.
For the production of the laser beam a lasing material is stimulated with electric dis-
charge in an enclosed container. A number of partial mirrors help in multiple internal
reflections that lead to obtain the desired coherency and power output. Mirrors or other
optical devices help in focusing the laser to a lens, which then reflects the laser to the
working zone. In order to enable the cutting action by a laser away from the edge, it
should be pierced before the laser cut using a high-power pulsed laser beam.
Classes oflasing media
A substance, which can be excited by input energy, is called a lasing media. e lasing
media have the ability to stay in a metastable state. It is generally transparent to light.
e substance used as lasing media can be a solid, gas, liquid dye or semiconductor.
Solid lasing media is used for producing solid-state laser. Due to the high density of las-
ing atoms, solid-state lasers can generate higher power output per unit volume com-
pared to the gaseous-state lasers. A single gas or gaseous mixture can be used to produce
gaseous-state lasers. Gaseous-state lasers are produced by passing the electric discharge
in the gaseous lasing medium. e most common type of gaseous laser is produced from
helium–neon(He–Ne). is laser is mainly used in teaching laboratories, at construc-
tion sites and supermarkets.
Liquid dyes can also produce laser by using ultraviolet (UV) light. ese liquid dyes
can be prepared by dissolving the solid dye particles in suitable solvent. e dyes and sol-
vents with similar energy levels are selected, that help to form a continuum for achiev-
ing high energy output with wavelengths of visible light. Better tunability is the unique
feature of a dye laser, which distinguishes it from the solid laser. A single dye produces
Fig. 1 An ordinary light and a Laser beam
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a single wavelength whereas dyes can be mixed to obtain a range of wavelengths. Semi-
conductors can also be used to produce laser with the help of electric discharge. ese
lasers are characterised by their efficiency, miniature size and durability.
Laser classication based onhazards
Since the early 1970s, lasers were being classified into four classes and some subclasses
depending on their wavelength and maximum output power. is classification was
based on the severity of the damage to a person when exposed to laser. ese classes can
be from 1 to 4. A Class 1 laser is absolutely not dangerous when used, whereas the Class
4 laser is the most dangerous. e existing system was the revised system since 2002,
prior to that the old system was used. In the new system amendments have been done to
certain types of lasers having a lower hazard than mentioned in the old system. Based on
the output power in a specific wavelength, lasers are classified. It is essential the correct
information on the laser class, potential hazards and safety instructions are specified by
the equipment manufacturers. In the classes 1–4 laser, there are the sub-classes 1M, 2M,
3A and 3B. e new system currently in use (shown in Table1) uses Arabic numerals
(1–4), whereas it was classified with Roman numerals (I–IV) in the old system.
Classication based ongenerating media
Based on the generating media, lasers can be classified into three groups: (1) carbon
dioxide (CO2) lasers, (2) neodymium (Nd) lasers and (3) neodymium yttrium-alumin-
ium-garnet (Nd-YAG) lasers (awari etal. 2005; Mathew etal. 1999; Schuocker 1989).
e CO2 lasers can be used for boring, cutting and engraving (Chow etal. 2012; Kan
2014b). CO2 lasers can be of the four types: (a) fast axial flow, (b) slow axial flow, (c)
transverse flow and (d) slab lasers (Powell 1993). In fast axial flow, a mixture of CO2,
nitrogen (N2) and helium (He) is used at high speed by a turbine. A simple blower is
Table 1 The new system forlaser classication
Laser class Features
Class 1 The Class 1 laser is the safest under normal use. These lasers may pose a risk when viewed with a
telescope or microscope of sufficiently high aperture
Class 1M The Class 1M laser is safe during normal use. However, when passed through a magnifying device
such as a microscope can pose hazard. A laser falls in this class if the power that can pass through
the pupil of a naked eye is lower than the accessible emission level (AEL) for Class 1
Class 2 A Class 2 laser is the visible-light laser (400–700 nm). It is safe as the blink reflex will limit the
exposure time lower than 0.25 s. However, intentional holding of the blink reflex could lead to
potential eye injury. Several measuring instruments and laser pointers are based on Class 2
Class 2M This class laser is safe as the blink reflex if not viewed through optical instruments. Similar to Class
1M, this class laser lights are with a large divergence, the light passing through the pupil should
not exceed the specifications for Class 2
Class 3A This laser class is safe if handled carefully. The maximum permissible exposure (MPE) can be
exceeded, which is associated with a low injury risk
Class 3B This class is hazardous if exposed directly to the eye. Protective eyewear must be used where direct
viewing is needed or may occur. The equipment with Class 3B lasers must be fitted with a safety
interlock and a key switch
Class 4 This class is the most dangerous among all lasers. This laser can cause permanent eye damage or
burn the skin as a result of direct, diffuse or indirect beam viewing or contact. These lasers may
cause a fire risk as they can ignite combustible materials. Several laser used in scientific, industrial,
military and medical applications fall in this category. The equipment with Class 4 lasers must be
fitted with a safety interlock and a key switch
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Nayak and Padhye Fash Text (2016) 3:5
used for slow axial flow and transverse flow lasers. Slab lasers need no pressurization as
they work in static condition.
e Nd lasers and Nd-YAG lasers, although similar in style, they are applied in differ-
ent areas (Schuocker 1989). e former is used for boring, whereas the later is used for
engraving. All the laser classes can be used for welding.
Generally, CO2 lasers are produced by passing the electric discharge through a gaseous
mixture excited by direct current (DC) with radio frequency (RF) energy. is method
is widely used as the DC-excited designs need electrodes inside the cavity, due to risk of
erosion. Industrial cutting of steel, aluminium, paper, plastics, wood, and fabrics can be
performed by CO2 lasers. For cutting metals and ceramics; and scribing Nd-YAG lasers
are used.
e laser generator and external optics need cooling while in use (Choudhury and
Shirley 2010). is can be achieved by a coolant such as water by circulating through
a chiller in the laser equipment. e use of water cools the material and removes the
debris. In addition, it helps to achieve parallel kerf and multi-directional cutting at high
dicing speeds.
Another type of solid-state laser known as “fibre laser” is now becoming popular in
metal cutting industry. is laser is produced from a solid gain medium without the use
of any liquid or gas. e major advantage of fibre laser is the extremely small spot size.
Fibre lasers, with a wavelength of 1.064µm, can produce an extremely small spot size,
which makes it ideal for cutting reflective metals.
Application oflaser inapparel industry
As an all-new process, there are several applications of laser in apparel industry. Laser
engraving and cutting technologies now being widely applied in many garment indus-
tries, fabric production units, other textile and leather industries (Choudhury and
Shirley 2010; Nayak and Khandual 2010). Various applications of laser are discussed in
the following section.
Fabric fault detection
When fabric is received at the stores of a garment production unit, the faults in the
fabric can be detected with morphological image processing based on laser (Mallik-
Goswami and Datta 2000; Ribolzi etal. 1993; Mursalin etal. 2005). Laser-based optical
Fourier transform analysis can be used for fault detection in the fabric as the pattern is
repeated at regular intervals. e fabric is focused with a laser and the diffraction grat-
ings obtained from the periodicity of longitudinal and transverse threads in the fabric
are superimposed. A Fourier lens is used to produce the diffraction pattern of the fab-
ric. A second Fourier lens with same focal length magnifies and inverts the test sample
image. A charge-coupled device (CCD) camera is used to capture the image. e data is
transferred and stored in a computer. e computer programming helps in comparing
the acquired images with the stored images by converting the image into binary mode.
A fault is reported when the measured parameter is deviating from the standard. e
severity of the fault depends upon the amount of deviation from the standard.
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Laser cutting
After they were introduced in the 19th century, the fashion designers are widely adopting
laser cutting in garment manufacturing (Petrak and Rogale 2001). In synthetic fabrics,
laser cutting produces well-finished edges as the laser melts and fuses the edge, which
avoids the problem of fraying produced by conventional knife cutters. Furthermore, use
of laser cutting is increasingly used for leather due to the precision of cut components.
In fashion accessories such as jewellery, laser cutting can be used to produce new and
unusual designs to produce a fusion of apparel design and jewellery style.
In laser cutting a laser is used to cut the fabric into the desired pattern shapes. A very
fine laser is focused on to the fabric surface, which increases the temperature substan-
tially and cutting takes place due to vaporization. Normally gas lasers (CO2) are used for
cutting of fabric. e cutting machine (Fig.2) includes a source of laser, a cutting head
fitted with mirrors to reflect the laser beam to the cutting line, a computer to control the
entire system and a suitable mean for removing the cut parts. e application of inert
gases (N2, He) during cutting prevents the charring and removes debris and smoke from
the cutting area. Like the mechanical cutting devices, a laser beam does not become
blunt and need sharpening. Automatic single ply laser cutters are faster (30–40m/min)
than automatic multiple ply knife cutters (5–12m/min). However, while cutting multiple
plies, knife cutters are faster per garment cut and also cheaper.
e limitation of laser cutting is the number of lays of the fabric that can be cut by
the beam. Best result is obtained while cutting single or a few lays, but the accuracy and
precision is not obtained with several plies. In addition there is a chance of the cut edges
to be fused together especially in case of synthetics. In some cases the sealing of the
edges of cut patterns and sewn garment parts is essential to prevent fraying, where the
laser plays the role. As in garment production facilities emphasis is given in multiple lay
cutting, the laser cutting seems unlikely to become widespread. However, it is success-
fully used in cutting of sails where single ply cutting is the norm and a slight fusing of the
edge of syntheticsand woven materials is desirable. In addition, laser cutting is used in
some areas of home furnishing.
Laser cutting is cheaper compared with the traditional cutting methods (Mahrle and
Beyer 2009). Furthermore, as the laser cutting doesn’t have mechanical action, high
Fig. 2 A laser-cutting machine
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precision of the cut components at high cutting speed are feasible (Mathew etal. 1999).
e laser cutters are safer and include simple maintenance features, which can be oper-
ated for longer duration. e laser cutters can be integrated to the computer technology.
It can produce the products at the same time when designing in the computer. Laser cut-
ting machines have faster speed and simpler operation.
Laser cutting machines are suitable for cutting textile fabrics, composites and lather
materials (Caprino and Tagliaferri 1988; Steen etal. 2010; Cenna and Mathew 2002).
ey can operate for a wide range of fabric, which is not possible with die cutters. Hence,
laser cutting machines are gradually been accepted in garment manufacturing. e fea-
tures of laser applications include:
Laser marking, laser engraving and laser cutting combined in one step
No mechanical wear, hence good quality
No fixation of material is required due to force-free processing
No fabric fraying in synthetic fibres due to formation of fused edges
It is clean and lint-free
Simple process due to integrated computer design
High quality raw materials and significant cost saving
Extremely high precision in cutting contours
High working speed
Contactless, wear-free technique
No chips, less waste
Objective evaluation ofseam pucker
Garment appearance greatly influences garment quality. Seam pucker negatively affects
the garment appearance (Nayak and Padhye 2014b, 2015a; Nayak etal. 2010, 2013; Fan
and Liu 2000). ere are several methods to measure seam pucker, but the conventional
rating system developed by American Association of Textile Chemists and Colourists
(AATCC) is mainly used. e laser beam can measure the degree of puckering in gar-
ments by geometrical models. In this method a seam in the garment is scanned by a 3D
laser scanner by putting the garment on a dummy. e laser head can be moved to any
3D space within a confined place by an operator. It is possible to scan the target object
from different angles. A pucker profile of the scanned seam can be obtained by process-
ing the image with a 2D digital filter. Physical parameters such as log σ2 (σ is variance)
can be obtained from the pucker profile, which can then be linearly related to grade for
seam pucker. From the objectively measured log σ2, the pucker grade can be objectively
Mass customization
e term mass customization is used when custom-fit garments are obtained depending
on the body dimensions and individual’s choice. e very first thing to mass custom-
ize garments is the accurate measurements of individual’s body (Nayak and Padhye etal.
2015a). Laser scanning technology is one of the many techniques used for measurement.
Laser scanning technology uses one or multiple thin and sharp stripe lasers to meas-
ure body size. Cameras are also used to acquire the scene and assist the laser scanner.
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Nayak and Padhye Fash Text (2016) 3:5
e body measurements are derived by applying simple geometrical rules (D’Apuzzo
2007; Tong etal. 2012; Ashdown etal. 2004). In order to confirm the harmlessness of the
beam, only eye-safe lasers can be used. Additional optical devices such as mirrors can
be used to assist a single laser beam. e laser scanning unit (Fig.3) consisting of light
sensors and optical systems focuses on the human body for digitisation. e number of
light sensors and optical systems can vary as per the positions of the body. For example,
Vitronic1 body scanner consists of three scanning units that can synchronously move
vertically along three pillars.
Laser‑based denim fading
Now the age of fading of denim by sandblasting is becoming older as the new technol-
ogy of laser fading is replacing it (Ortiz-Morales etal. 2003; Tarhan and Sarıışık 2009). In
laser fading, a computer drives the laser beam to the material where marking or fading is
required. e laser beam decomposes the dye and the resulting vapors are vented away.
e material fades only where the beam impacts on the fabric. Commercially two types
of lasers are being used: solid based (wavelength of 1 μm) and gas based (wavelength
of 10 μm). e desired degree of fading depends upon the wavelength, power density,
and pulse width of the laser beam. e method of marking or fading by laser is more
environmental friendly as compared to acid washing or sandblasting (Kan etal. 2010). A
laser-faded denim sample is shown in the Fig.4.
Laser engraving
In laser engraving laser is used to mark or engrave an object. e process is very com-
plex, and often computerised systems are used to drive the laser head (Kan etal. 2010;
Juciene etal. 2013). In spite of the complexity, very precise and clean engravings can
be obtained with high rate of production. e technique does not involve physical con-
tact with the engraving surface, hence, no wear and tear. e marks produced by laser
engraving are clean, crisp and permanent. In addition, lasers are faster than other con-
ventional methods used for product imprinting, which provides greater versatility in
material selection. One machine can be used to cut through thin materials as well as
Fig. 3 3D body scanning by Laser scanner
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make engravings on them. Laser engraving is used to engrave the printing screens, for
hollowing, for creating pattern buttons, to engrave leather, denim etc. (Fig.5). Pictures,
flower patterns and even personalized signatures can be engraved on leather shoes,
leather bag, wallet, leather belt, leather sofa and leather clothes, greatly increasing the
added value of products. In addition laser engraving is used to create embroidered
Fig. 4 Denim faded by laser
Fig. 5 Laser engraving items: a engraving machine, b denim, c garment, d buttons, e leather and f embroi-
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pattern in the fabric by colour fading and burning the fabrics. e low cost sealed CO2
lasers are preferred for laser engraving.
Denim engraving is another fast-growing application of laser using sealed CO2 lasers
(Juciene etal. 2013; Kan 2014a). e laser is used to create minute designs and patterns
on denim fabric as well as finished denims. is technic can be used in place of the tra-
ditional techniques such as sandblasting and acid washing. e accuracy and design
flexibility is very wide, which can’t be achieved by the traditional methods. Lasers can
produce 3D effects by techniques such as embroidering, embossing, or even apparent
cuts, tears and mends. Any image that is created in a computer aided design (CAD), can
be transferred to denim by suitable laser process. While using lasers, features such as
good mode quality, high power stability, real-time control of laser power and fast pulse
rise-time are the important parameters that can lead to colour change without charring
or other damage to the fabric. Such damage could reduce the product life and cosmeti-
cally unacceptable. e advantages of laser engraving over traditional methods include:
High working speed without mechanical contact
No wear and tear of components
Reduced waste
Complete exhaust and filtering
Exact contours possible
Welded garment production
Welding is an alternative process of joining fabrics for garment production where the
thermoplastic materials are joined together by the application of heat. e heat can
be supplied by ultrasonic or by high powerful laser (Petrie 2015). e welded garment
though weaker than the sewn counterpart, gives better appearance as it does not contain
bulky seam and is more flexible.
Bar code scanning
e scanners used to scan the barcodes for product identification typically uses helium–
neon(He–Ne) lasers. e laser beam bounces out of a rotating mirror while scanning
the code. is sends a modulated beam to a computer, which contains the product infor-
mation. Semiconductor based-lasers canalso be used for this purpose. However, some
of the recent manufacturers are using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) based tags
instead of barcodes due to certain advantages (Nayak and Padhye 2014c). e RFID tag
can be processed quickly and it avoids the physical handling of the product as in barcode
systems (Nayak etal. 2007, Nayak etal. 2015b; Nayak and Padhye 2015b). e mecha-
nism of a bar code scanner is shown in Fig.6.
Laser marking
Laser can also be used in marking on various surfaces. e advantages of laser mark-
ing include fast, high precision and clear marking on products of varying contour and
hardness. It can also be used for a wide range of organic polymers where precession can
be obtained even with complex designs. Laser marking is durable and can be applied
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in clothing, leather and metals. Laser marking is considered to be the best choice for
branded clothing and marking fashion accessories during processing.
Miscellaneous uses
ere are many other applications of laser in apparel industry as discussed below:
In some stitching machines (e.g., automatic welt pocket attaching machine) laser
beam is engaged for automatic and accurate positioning of the welt and to make a slit
across the fabric.
In some metal detection machines laser beam is employed to find if any needle part
is there in the final finished garment.
Laser-engraving machine can engrave any decoration on the surface layer of any
material, making the products looking high grade and exquisite.
Laser technology is gaining impetus in garment finishing which can produce various
surface ornamentations without any wet processing. is technique is very accurate
and can work fast with good repeatability and reproducibility (Hung etal. 2011; Kan
etal. 2010).
e application of antimicrobial finishes into textiles has significantly improved com-
pared to the past (Nayak and Padhye 2014a; Nayak etal. 2008). Laser treatment was
used for durable antibacterial properties on cotton fabric using silver nanoparticles
by Nourbakhsh etal. (Nourbakhsh and Ashjaran 2012).
Hazards bylaser andtheir control
Electrical shock
More people are being killed by electrocution from the laser electronics than blinded
from exposure to a laser beam (Sliney 1995). Lethal voltages are present in the power
supplies of lasers. If one is not experienced working with high voltages in general and
laser power supplies in particular, then the person should not be allowed to carry out
any work with the laser. During maintenance, the power supply should be unplugged
from its electrical outlet.
Fig. 6 A laser bar code scanner
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Eye injury potential
Eye is the most vulnerable body part to a laser beam (Henderson etal. 2003; Buckley
2010; Barkana and Belkin 2000). With certain lasers severe damage can be caused due to
the high concentration of laser energy on retina (Wyrsch etal. 2010). Class 4 lasers can
damage the tissues in the eye interior. e class and duration of laser exposure are the
deciding factors in the eye injury. For example, no injury is be expected while working
with the laser with wavelength in the visible spectrum (400–700 nm). Lasers of Class
3B or Class 4 can lead to an eye injury before the aversion response can protect the eye.
Tables2 and 3 describe various types of laser hazards and precautions to be takenas
specified byAmerican National Standards Institute (ANSI) andOccupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA).
Various standards are devised around the world for the laser related hazards. e
standards devised by ANSI are shown in Table4.
Skin injury potential
e injury to the skin due to laser radiation is less severe compared to the eye. However,
the chances of exposure of skin is higher than that of the eye due to its greater surface
area (Yashima etal. 1991; Sliney 1995). e eye injury is more significant than the skin
as the loss in the vision is irreparable. In normal laser working condition there is very
less chance that a large area of the skin is exposed. e injury to the skin due to laser
Table 2 Nature ofhazards andprecautions forvarious classes oflasers
Laser class Nature ofhazard (ANSI andOSHA) Precautions
Class 1 Low power, safe to view No potential hazard
Class 1M Low power, hazardous when viewed directly for
longer than 1000 s Do not view directly with optical instruments
Class 2 Low power, hazardous when viewed directly for
longer than 0.25 s Do not stare into the beam
Class 2M Medium power, nonhazardous when viewed
directly for less than 0.25 s Do not stare into the beam, do not view directly
with optical instruments
Class 3A Medium power (0.5 W), are hazardous when
viewed directly Avoid direct eye exposure
Class 3B Medium power (0.5 W), are hazardous when
viewed directly Avoid direct eye exposure
Class 4 High power (>0.5 W), produce ocular, skin and
fire hazards Avoid eye or skin exposure to direct or scattered
Table 3 Harmful eect oflaser radiation oneye andskin
Laser type Wavelengths (nm) Impacts oneye Impacts onskin
Excimer laser 100–315 Cornea ignition Sunburn, accelerated aging
He–Ne laser 315–380 Lens opacity Increased pigmentation
Nd-YAG laser 380–780 Violation of the retina Darkening of pigment, burns
High performance
diode laser 780–1400 Lens opacity, violation of the
retina Burns
CO2 laser 1400–3000 Lens opacity, burning of the
cornea Burns
CO2 laser 3000–10,000 Burning of the cornea Burns
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Nayak and Padhye Fash Text (2016) 3:5
exposure can be divided into two categories: (a) thermal injury and (b) photochemical
induced injury. e former is caused by the high power laser beams, whereas the latter
is caused by exposure to scattered ultraviolet (UV) laser radiation (Bernstein etal. 1997).
Direct contact or exposure to the laser beam can lead to thermal injuries. Although
these injuries are painful, usually they are not serious and proper beam management and
hazard awareness can prevent these. In addition, specular or even diffused reflections
can lead to photochemical injury over time.
e objective of hazard control methods is primarily stop the laser contacting the skin
or entering into the eye (Protection 1996). ese control methods can be grouped into
three sections such as: (a) administrative controls [labels, signs, standard operating pro-
cedures (SOPs), etc.], (b) engineering controls (barriers, blocks, etc.) and (c) protective
controls (eyewear, uniform, etc.).
Administrative controls
e management should only allow the trained persons to work on laser equipment.
e operator should follow the instructions as in SOPs. e laser equipment should be
switched off while not being used. All laser equipment of Class 3B or Class 4 lasers need
Table 4 Various ANSI standards dealing withlaser hazards
Laser standards Description
ANSI Z136.1 (safe use of lasers) This standard is the foundation of laser safety programs
for industry, military, research and development and
higher education (universities)
ANSI Z136.2 (safe use of optical fibre communication
systems utilizing laser diode and LED sources) This standard provides guidelines for the safe use, main-
tenance, service and installation of optical systems
utilizing laser diodes or light emitting diodes operat-
ing at wavelengths between 0.6 µm and 1 mm
ANSI Z136.3 (safe use of lasers in health care) This standard provides guidelines for individuals work-
ing with Class 3B and Class 4 lasers and laser systems
in health care
ANSI Z136.4 (recommended practice for laser safety
measurements for hazard evaluation) This standard provides guidelines for measurement pro-
cedures necessary for the classification and evaluation
of optical radiation hazards
ANSI Z136.5 (Safe use of lasers in educational institu-
tions) This standard provides guideline for organisations and
implementation of laser safety and training programs.
In addition, it privides graphics for entryway controls,
laser installations and laser laboratory layouts
ANSI Z136.6 (safe use of lasers outdoors) This standard provides guidelines for the safe use of
lasers in an outdoor environment such as construc-
tion, light shows, scientific, research and military
ANSI Z136.7 (testing and labelling of laser protective
equipment) This standard provides guidelines on the test methods
and protocols used to provide eye protection from
lasers and laser systems
ANSI Z136.8 (safe use of lasers in research, develop-
ment, or testing) This standard provides guidelines on the safe use of
lasers and laser systems found in research, develop-
ment or testing environments, where safety controls
common for commercial lasers may either be missing
or disabled
ANSI Z136.9 (safe use of lasers in manufacturing
environments) This standard provides guidelines for laser exposures
when lasers are used in manufacturing environments.
This also includes policies and procedures for safety in
both public and private industries as well as product
development along with testing
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Nayak and Padhye Fash Text (2016) 3:5
to be labelled with “Danger” symbol, specifying the laser class. A Class 3B laser device
which must be written above the tail of the sunburst. A Class 4 laser device should men-
TERED RADIATION” above the tail of the sunburst.
Engineering controls
e possibility of accidental exposures to laser hazards can be best controlled by engi-
neering controls. All the Class 3B and Class 4 laser equipment should prevent the access
of unauthorized personnel in the working area while laser is operational. All the Class
3B and Class 4 lasers should have a non-flammable cover sufficient to hold the excitation
device and the beam. e laser systems can be fitted with key switches or password pro-
tected for better safety. In the laser chamber, the setting should guarantee no direct eye
contact. e most hazardous aspect of laser use is the beam alignment, where most eye
injuries occur. Hence to avoid this, the instructions described in the SOP must be under-
stood. e lowest visible beam power should be used for beam alignment.
Protective equipment controls
e user of laser equipment should wear appropriate personal protective clothing/
device for eye and skin protection during initial setting as well as the normal working
(Nayak etal. 2015c). e skin covering and the eyewear protect the skin and eye, respec-
tively from direct exposure.
Conclusions andfuture directions
Laser technology can be used for various applications on materials ranging from metals
to textiles with noncontact patterns. In garment production, it can be applied onto dif-
ferent products ranging from home textiles to fashion accessories. In garment manufac-
turing, CO2 gas lasers have wide and successful applications. Laser technique, is entirely
different from traditional textile processes, as it has the flexibility in design and opera-
tion without any pollution or waste material. ere are several other advantages of using
laser over the conventional methods in cutting, engraving, embossing, denim fading etc.
In addition, laser involves lower risk of product damage, use of low consumables and
free from disposing of toxic by-products, as there may be with some methods. e laser
equipment of today has gradually evolved from those used in early days. e old laser
equipment were difficult to run, cumbersome and hard to maintain. However, the mod-
ern equipment are easy to operate, simple to learn and easy to maintain. Furthermore,
the earlier equipment had several safety issues and they needed replenishment of gasses
at regular intervals. e garment production units should take the advantage of applying
laser in the post multi-fibre agreement regime to produce more competitive products.
Authors’ contributions
RN designed the paper, performed the literature survey and completed the paper. RP guided during the paper design
and helped in feedback and comments in final format of the paper.
Competing interests
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Received: 23 August 2015 Accepted: 13 January 2016
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In addition to the thinking and decision making ability, the other distinguishing feature between humans and animals is the wearing of clothes. The initial judgement of a person can be made from the clothing of the person. One’s clothing choices, grooming, personality and body language play a crucial role for successful work life. It is well documented that the way one is dressed plays a vital role for a successful career in today’s workplace. Factors such as garment style, garment fit, nature of job and guidelines for dress code are important considerations while selecting the appropriate outfit for a particular job. Grooming is essential for both men and women for a successful career. A suitable clothing selection for a particular job is influenced by the job requirements, colour, design, fit and comfort. Special clothing is needed for the people working in healthcare, fire fighting, defence and other similar areas to protect from various types of threats. Hence, selection of appropriate clothing is essential both for success, personal safety and wellness.
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Sewability of a fabric depends on the fabric low-stress mechanical properties, sewing thread properties and the sewing machine settings. This paper investigates the sewability of denim fabrics stitched with air-jet textured sewing thread. It was found that the fabric formability is dependent on the fabric weight. Fabric formability was higher for the heavyweight fabrics and lower for the lightweight fabrics. The overall bending rigidity was the lowest for the denim with the lowest formability and weight. Polyester air-jet textured sewing threads resulted in higher seam efficiency and seam pucker, but lower needle cutting index compared to Polyester/Viscose air-jet textured sewing thread. In weft direction the seam efficiency was higher, whereas in warp direction the needle cutting index was higher for all the fabrics.
Covering both underlying theory and practical applications, Laser Safety provides a unique and readily-understandable review of current laser safety. This resource explains in detail the biological effects of laser radiation, particularly on the eye, and the provisions and requirements of the international laser safety standard IEC 60825-1, including a full description of the recently revised system of laser classification. It elucidates the rationale for the often-complex laser emission and exposure limits given in the standard, and provides detailed guidance for using the standard to carry out quantitative laser assessments. The authors also discuss practical issues of risk assessment, safety controls, eye protection, and laser safety management. This practical and comprehensive handbook will be useful for anyone involved in laser safety, including academic and medical researchers, laser manufacturers, and compliance officers.
Garment Manufacturing Technology provides an insiders' look at this multifaceted process, systematically going from design and production to finishing and quality control. As technological improvements are transforming all aspects of garment manufacturing allowing manufacturers to meet the growing demand for greater productivity and flexibility, the text discusses necessary information on product development, production planning, and material selection. Subsequent chapters covers garment design, including computer-aided design (CAD), advances in spreading, cutting and sewing, and new technologies, including alternative joining techniques and seamless garment construction. Garment finishing, quality control, and care-labelling are also presented and explored.
The production of clothes, which was considered to be an art in the prehistoric period, has undergone several technological changes. The technological innovations have helped apparel manufacturers, brand merchandisers and retailers to shift towards a new global reality where customer choice and service are not just the priorities; but have the potential to create a difference between the success and failure in a highly competitive market. Today, in the global apparel trade, the retailers and brand merchandisers are playing a dominant role, and the apparel industries continue to change faster than ever. The retail sector is becoming increasingly concentrated, and the largest international retailers are becoming more powerful through mergers and acquisitions. To become successful in the highly competitive market, it is essential to understand each and every aspect of the apparel business. This introductory chapter describes the global scenario of clothing production, major challenges and ways to face the challenges and the future trends in apparel production.
Lasers used for surgery and for some other biomedical applications can pose potential hazards to both the patient and the laser operating personnel. Because the laser beam is normally in the open when emitted from a surgical laser, special precautions are necessary. Unlike many industrial application of lasers, the very nature of most laser surgical procedures require both a flexible and often an open beam and the use of administrative controls with protective eyewear rather than engineering controls such as beam enclosures, baffles, etc. The potential for hazardous exposure to laser radiation can therefore be quite high for some surgical personnel[1,2,3].
This chapter reviews the fundamental principles of alternative methods of joining in the garment industry. Adhesive-bonding and thermal-welding (conventional and advanced) processes are reviewed as an option to sewing. A section on adhesive bonding discusses the various theories supporting adhesion, the common types of adhesive used with fabrics, and important bonding processes that are employed in the garment industry. A section on conventional thermal-welding processes reviews hot-air and heated-tool welding. Another section on advanced thermal-welding processes reviews ultrasonic, laser, and dielectric welding. All sections include a discussion of recent trends and new products.
A care label carries care instructions for cleaning a textile product. These are a series of directions describing procedures for refurbishing a product without adverse effects. Care labelling for garments is essential to identify the product, to assist the consumer in product selection and the retailer in selling the product and to help the consumer in effective care of the garment. The information on care labels is strongly emphasized, as most consumer complaints and claims against apparel products concern colour change, deformation and damage during laundering. This chapter describes the requirements of care labels, the terminologies used, the symbols used for various processes and their explanations. In addition, various care labelling systems used around the world are also discussed.
Functional finishes for textiles reviews the most important fabric finishes in the textile industry. It discusses finishes designed to improve the comfort and other properties of fabrics, as well as finishes which protect the fabric or the wearer. Each chapter reviews the role of a finish, the mechanisms and chemistry behind the finish, types of finish and their methods of application, application to particular textiles, testing and future trends. Describes finishes to improve comfort, performance, and protection of fabric or the wearer. Examines the mechanisms and chemistry behind different types of finishes and their methods of application, testing and future trends. Considers environmental issues concerning functional finishes