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A Computerized System to Aid Fabric Inspection/Grading

A. P. S. Sawhney and R. Parachuru


A new computerized method of enhancing resolution of defects in a cotton fabric is suggested as a new tool for fabric testing, inspecting, or grading. The method basically involves electronic printing of only one face/side of a fabric with precontrolled dispensing of ink jet on a computer printer. The computer controlled, precise dispensing of ink uniformly disperses the pigment through the fabric substrate, clearly showing any non-homogenities or defects of constituent fibers and yarns on the other "unprinted" side of the fabric. The method may be a useful tool for off-line or on-line examination/inspection of certain fabrics, especially greige or bleached cotton fabrics. A subjective visual examination or, preferably, an objective optical/video image analysis of the fabric's unprinted side provides a clear picture and hence an accurate information on the typical fiber, yarn and fabric defects such as neps; yarn non-uniformity, imperfections and faults; and fabric construction defects, viz., skewness, broken ends, dropped loops, mixed ends, etc.. Using the least expensive, preferably water-soluble, ink/tint in the jet printing (to produce sharper images for quickly and accurately detecting any undesired fabric defects/faults) and any modern, advanced video imaging technology for a remote analytical database, a new approach to fabric inspection/grading is suggested as follows: 1)on-line printing of only one face of fabric (preferably, at intervals that are statistically representative of the entire production) on each production machine; 2)on-line examination of the fabric's "unprinted" side with a traveling video-link camera focussed sharply on the cloth; 3) simultaneous transmission of the video-digitized data to a remote computer control room for an appropriate computerized analysis of the data to assign precategorized defects and to instantly communicat the information back to the machine for proper identification/location of the defects (which may include a permanent freezing/storing of the video images of only the major types of fabric faults/defects in each fabric roll, for records and QC); 4)only a limited manual inspection of cloth rolls having cost-effective mendable defects, based on the computer-generated analyses of the video data; 5) computer dictated quality assignment of the cloth rolls; and 6)random, limited manual fabric inspection for quality control and for monitoring the effectiveness of the computerized system. The proposed system may be more cost effective than the traditional manual inspection of the entire production (which is generally better than 90% first quality, anyway). Because of cotton's excellent dispersion of inks, the system may be more useful for cotton than for other fibers.

Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1998 Beltwide Cotton Conferences pp. 828 - 829
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998