Feasibility study to test the sensitivity of objective inspection techniques for measuring the finish on woven cashmere fabrics

James Johnston & CO. of Elgin Ltd

National Physical Laboratory
Round 3

This project is a feasibility study to test the sensitivity of cutting-edge inspection techniques for measuring the finish on woven cashmere fabrics; specifically, the fabric’s raise and handle.

The project will be driven through collaborative work between Johnstons of Elgin and the National Physical Laboratories (NPL).

The aim of the project is to establish a novel technique that achieves objective standardised measurement of the handle and raise on Johnstons’ woven cashmere fabrics.

Johnstons of Elgin competes with a value proposition rooted in tradition and craftsmanship.

Consequently, the measurement of product finish has always depended on subjective assessment of the finishing experts.

Increasingly however, the consistency and accuracy in the measurement of the quality attributes of the fabric’s finish is critical to the survival and expansion of the business, due to changing customer demands and productivity pressures from global competitors.

This in-turn is fuelling the need for Johnstons’ to introduce objective means of inspecting its fabric’s finish.

Hence, this project will investigate novel applications to woven cashmere of inspection techniques like laser scattering, 3D measurements and other volumetric measurements as well as attempt the design and construction of a new contacting measuring instrument for raise and handle measurement.

With the aim of analysing the existing correlations between the results of the application of these techniques and those of the assessments made by the most experienced fabric quality inspectors within Johnstons.

The exploration of these techniques for analysing traditionally craft-based textiles has every potential to be a disruptive innovation in our business and market.

The very wide range of weave structures and fabric finishes produced at Johnstons as well as the subtle variations that is characteristic of the cashmere fibre, further makes this a complex, yet exciting challenge.

As such, emphasis will be placed on solutions and measurement techniques that are robust enough to accommodate our range of fabric finish and fibre blends.

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