Various significant aspects of brassiere manufacturing are covered, e.g. bra design, molding technology and manufacturing automation. Bra design is substantial to brand product development while innovative molding technology is the key to signature types of bras like sewfree bra, seamless bra and one-piece bra. Automation has been a global trend in manufacturing as it reduces the labour cost and, on the other hand,enhances the consistency in product quality.
Raw material used for Bra production
The raw materials gathered for the production of brassieres vary tremendously depending on the product. Some are all cotton, some are all polyester, some are combinations of natural and synthetics, and so forth. Most brassieres include an elastic material of some sort on the back panel that allows some expansion and movement of back muscles. Spandex, a modern synthetic fiber extensively processed from Malaysian tree sap, must be processed prior to the assembling of the brassiere because it is, in some products, the most important material in the brassiere. A closure of some sort (most often metal hooks and eyes) must be included on the brassiere unless it is an elastic sports brassiere which can be put on over the head. Cups, padding, and straps vary not only from manufacturer to manufacturer but by style.
The Manufacturing Process
The methods for constructing brassieres vary from one company to the next. It is a product that is still pieced out in some plants, which means that the sewing work that connects all the components are contracted out of the plant to smaller sewing operators for job work. In addition, materials utilized in the construction of the brassiere affects the manufacturing method. For example, if an undergarment company utilizes spandex within the product, they may manufacture the material on premises. If a company uses cotton, it may be supplied from a manufacturer who makes the material based on their specifications.
Cutting out the components
The components of the brassiere—the cup top and bottom (if seamed), the straps, and the central, side and back panels—must be cut out according to the pattern specifications residing in the computerized specifications. Many layers of fabric are cut out at a time using either a bandsaw-like shearing device or a more contemporary computer-controlled laser. The cups, panels, and straps are cut; kept together in stacks via style; and sent out to various locations to be sewn.
The stacks may be sent to different parts of the factory or even off premises to piece workers who assemble the brassieres using industrial grade sewing machines. However, large operations send the pieces The manufacture of brassieres involves first cutting many layers of fabric at one time using either a bandsaw-like shearing device or a more contemporary computer-controlled laser. Once cut, the pattern pieces are assembled at the factory by workers, off site by piece workers, or by automated machinery. Hooks and eyes are both sewn in by machine and heat processed or ironed into the two halves of the back panel.Cups might be sewn onto a side panel, the parts move along and another piece is sewn on, etc. In larger facilities, humans rarely sew anything onto the brassiere unless it is a peculiar or unusual design.
Closures and labels
The brassiere, assembled a bit at a time as it moves through the machinery, is ready for the closures. Coated metal hooks and eyes are both sewn in by machine and heat processed or ironed into the two halves of the back panel. The label is usually machine-stitched into the back or side panel as well at this time.
The completed brassieres are sent (either transported in a bin or on a line) to another location and sorted by style and folded (either by hand or machine depending on the size of the operation). Boxes into which many brassieres come arrive at the manufacturer completely flat. Machines must crease and fold the packages that are fed into the machine and a rectangular box is created. A worker called a picker puts a brassiere into the box, the box is closed, and then sent down a chute. A laser reads that the box is fully packed and ready to go to the holding area, awaiting transportation to the wholesaler.
Quality is controlled in all phases of the design and manufacture of the brassiere. First, experienced designers and design engineers understand the requirements of the wearer as well as the marketers and design with activities and cleaning requirements in mind. Second, a very important part is procuring fabrics and components (underwire, hooks and eyes, or buckles) that are durable. Testing of materials include assessing shrink-resistance, color-fastness and durability, shape-retention, stretch, manufacturing stability, and comfort. Companies work with suppliers in order to acquire new materials that provide service as well as value. In fact, some manufacturers have developed their own fabrics or underwire because all other similar support materials on the market were inferior. Third, prototypes are extensively examined by many members of the company and problems are discovered and solved when many are involved in the assessment of new products. An essential part of this is when the prototype moves from a single example to early manufacturing. Those involved in the manufacturing assist in solving the problems that can occur in the initial stages of manufacturing. Finally, manufacturers must offer consumers brassieres that fit well. In prototyping and in manufacturing, the brassieres are inspected and expected to be within 0.125 in (0.3175 cm) of the desired measurements (one French company requires that the brassiere must not deviate from the standard pattern more than 1 mm[0.0394 in]). If not, the brassiere is rejected as an inferior or second.