Socks manufacturing is not a huge or technology oriented industry, but still, the manufacturing of socks is a detailed process with different stages. Each phase of production should be in sync with each other to make sure that the end customer gets the quality product based on their requirements within specified timings. This post will help you understand the detailed processes of custom design socks manufacturing.
Overview of socks manufacturing process
Well, gone are the days when the socks were made by hand. With the increasing demand the production needs to be on a large scale and thus most industrial manufacturing units have set up machines that help the production of socks on a large scale.
Even thought we rely on machines to produce the socks on a large scale, the process is complex and includes a systematic approach to the different stages of production like knitting, yarn preparation, labelling, print, sewing, packing, quality check and so on.
Each and every product is checked before it reaches the end client and in order to accomplish the task carefully the socks manufacturing units are equipped with high tech machines that made a lot of tasks easy.
Then, how are socks made in a factory?
Let’s go ahead.
Customers come to the factory with their own designs that they want us to manufacture. Upon receiving the socks design, the experts analyze the design and understand the customer needs and make sure that the design is ideal to go for socks manufacturing. The sales representatives understand the design and customer’s needs. They also decide on size and material for your socks. The sample pairs are made to help the client know about the size, color, quality and other details before they send out their confirmation for the order. Once the samples are approved by the clients then the production process begins.
The designs and patterns are prominent when it comes to socks design. Many people choose repeating patterns which need special attention while making socks. Other classic patterns that you can choose from are stripes, polka dots etc that can be easily incorporated into socks design. When you choose the colors for the socks make sure that you choose 8 colors and not above that. You can easily help the experts include elegant and complex designs more easily and brilliantly with fewer colors.
When you ask the sock designers for complex designs with gradients, color overlays, it becomes little difficult to get what exactly you are looking for and these designs work well with custom packaging. It is always better to choose bold and simple shapes for socks designs.
The machines are not always smart to understand the designs that you need, but the team of professional coders who are experienced in machine mechanism and socks pattern can make it possible.
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Factory will buy yarn as per the design of the socks and the requirement of the customer. While ordering the yarn the two most important things that are considered by the factory experts are colors and composition. What makes a pair of socks beautiful, of course yarns. Well, the market is flooded with a whole lot of yarns that are used for manufacturing socks and to choose one is a tricky task even for the factory experts. But, experts know their job well and they focus on the 6 major types of yarns like cotton, Nylon, Polyester, Spandex, Wool and Bamboo.
After selecting the right type of yarn for your custom socks design, the socks manufacturing plants start with the process of socks knitting project. Certain programmed codes and thousands of needles are used to knit different types of threads into a perfect series by interlocking loops. Some manufacturers use computerized machines for knitting socks and indeed they do their job at a very high speed and the machines can be simply programmed to produce a whole range of socks. The first in-line inspection is carried out during knitting process as well to check for mistakes if any like interlocking, trimming and length.
During knitting process, certain raw materials are thoroughly washed, spun into a perfect yarn and dyed at factory. After the yarn is spun it reaches into huge yarn spools. A thousand of needles are used here to knit the variety of threads into a perfect chain of interlocking loops. These loops later create a tube of particular woven material used for producing socks. To help each individual get the right feet and comfort each socks part and size is made with the help of different stitching needles having different diameters.
Once the yarn is ready, the process of dyeing starts at the factory to customers pantone color. There are standard colors available too at the dye house in the factory, but the experts working there can also develop fresh and new colors according to customer’s choice. Every pair of socks that has a different composition goes through a different dyeing process. Dying is a complex process that includes chemicals and is done very cautiously. At the dye house different tests are carried out to test the chemicals with different dye bases to get the perfect recipe for each and every color.
The dye laboratories also have machines that help them test the color after the socks is dyed. This helps the dyeing experts to check whether the dyed socks match the customer’s pantone color.
Color accuracy is really important and in order to match pantone colors the production units buy pantone passport, use color manager or free tool to match the color you want.
Quality check is an important aspect in the entire custom design socks manufacturing process and thus it actually takes place after every phase of production to ensure quality. Final quality check takes place prior to packaging to ensure that no socks packed are defective or damaged.
Knitting actually produces a cylindrical tube and that is the reason the sewing process is carried out to link all the separated parts with each other. The whole process is basically carried out with the help of machines as machines help accomplish the task faster. On the other hand the sewing process is sometimes done manually, which takes up a lot of time. As the socks are linked/sewed individually, the experts can easily figure out the socks which are defective and separate them from the rest, which comes under 2nd line inspection.
After the toe is closed, the socks setting machines are used are ironed and then packaged by the factory staff. In case the socks do not need any dyeing or washing they are sent for ironing wherein the socks have to go through various setting machines before they are sent to the warehouse for export to various destinations.
The setting machines are used to shape the socks properly using steam and heat which gives them a smooth appearance.
The brand mark/logo embroidery is embedded on the socks using computer software or automated machines used for embroidery. Combination of science& technology helps advanced level embroidery and other details. You can also choose from a variety of prints that you want to see on your socks. In case you have a print of your own you can let the socks manufacturing unit know about it and you can easily get it printed on your socks.
When it comes to machine embroidery the designs are created with the help of advanced embroidery machines. All the designs are digitized with the help of particular embroidery software. The software helps add design and texture to the specific embroidery. Embroidery is quite common and most preferred with socks, bags, hats etc.
Inline inspection is necessary to make sure that every parameter is checked properly to ensure quality product. There a lot of sensitive parameters that can’t be rectified after the socks reach its final stage of production. Thus inline inspection is necessary at every stage of manufacturing socks to ensure that the product reaches its final stage of inspections with no defects. Inline inspection is carried out to check yarn during knitting to make sure customer’s requirements are met, the size of the socks is also checked. The linking standards are also checked this phase. Inline inspection occurs at knitting, linking, processing, boarding, packing stages as well.
This step is all about pairing the socks correctly that is left and right socks are systematically paired. The problem with pairing arises as the socks have to go through different machines. So pairing can help correct these problems.
Sometimes problems occur because of high elasticity and there are slight variations seen, so the pairing is an important process to put everything right.
Clipping the superfluous thread of the product.
After Pairing, the socks are sent for private labeling. You can select bands or hangtags etc to label your socks the way you want.
If you are looking to customize the socks label, you can simply choose a label that you want on your socks and it will be stitched on your socks to help you flaunt your own label for say school, company, sports team etc.
After the socks pass the strict quality control check, they are packed to be delivered to a specific client according to their requirements. Packaging is equally important stage just like other stages of production. The following packing materials are checked like band rolls, poly bags, stickers, pallets, header cards, cartons, hooks. The customers can also order customized package material from a specified supplier. The socks are packed neatly and checked for any packing issues before they are set for shipping.
The packaging custom designs are available to match the customer needs. The packing materials with different layout designs are often ordered by customers with specific needs.
Though quality check is carried out at each stage of production right from knitting to the final stage, still the final inspection is equally important before the order is shipped. Before packing, the final inspection is carried out and random checks are also conducted at the loading day before the shipment is scheduled. This is done to ensure that the end customer gets the quality product in hand.
It is the Quality and Assurance department that carries out the entire process and they know the latest industry standards. Internal quality checks are conducted by the Q and A staff at each stage of production to ensure quality.
15.Shipping & Delivery
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After the socks manufacturing and packing comes to an end, the final product is sent to the warehouse where it can be stored safely before they are transported. Shipping and delivery are important to make sure the final product reaches its destination on time. Many manufacturers hire reliable freights/cargo for shipment and delivery so that they guarantee timely and safe delivery to the end customer.
Each and every process stated above is important and contributes to the production of quality product. Machines have simplified the work to a greater extent, but human brain and efforts cannot be overlooked. You can get any custom design in socks that you want provided you help the experts understand the designs. Most manufacturers accept the custom designs from the client in different formats. They try to bring your designs into reality that reflects when you wear the socks. It is indeed exciting to have the designs which represent your company, team or you as an individual. Though complex custom designs are possible to execute, but it is better to go with simple designs so that you get most of what you want. If you choose a complex design that you have no idea about how it is going to look, you can ask the designers for a sample so that you can make out how exactly the design looks on the socks.
The production units always work to help you get the best and they are always ready to do a lot of sampling before they execute a big order. So help them understand the designs you want so that with you get your order without any hassles and complaints. This will help you wear the custom design socks confidently.