BlackOPS defines the key attributes required to comprehensively model fabric and leverages those data to transform an inspiration into a specification.
BlackOPS digitally captures the surface appearance of a fabric sample and derives the machine set-up and yarn specification that were used to make it. This data enable a “fabric search” function to identify closest matches in BlackOPS™ Arsenal, a digital fabric library, eliminating the time and effort of browsing through a room full of countless fabric header cards organized into ambiguous categories like “mesh.”
While many attempts have been made to model hand, there is no industry-accepted, commercially viable process to objectively characterize it – largely because it is not understood. BlackOPS™ uses proven technology to digitize, characterize, and categorize the haptic properties of a universe and of fabrics. The resulting data is used to assign hand ratings and identify other fabrics with similar hand attributes in the BlackOPS Arsenal.
Several models for drape have been built into in 3D apparel design software programs in an attempt to define the “physics” properties of fabrics. Existing solutions from the 3D software providers along with other packages in the market have been reviewed and evaluated along with other models. BlackOPS groups fabrics together with similar drape properties that correspond to real life observation.
The conventional wisdom is to test a fabric to an end-use protocol for which a garment is intended. This approach limits a fabric to the end-use for which it was developed rather than identifying all end-uses for which the fabric might be suitable. BlackOPS includes test methods common to many end-use protocols. The results from these tests indicates end-uses for which a particular fabric qualifies. Each qualifying end-use is associated with a fabric so that a digital library can be queried by end-use.
Formation is the way that the yarns are combined to make a fabric. And finish is any process applied to the yarn or fabric to alter its appearance or performance. Most conventional fabric specifications incorporate an abridged list of generic specs relating to these three elements. Such fabric specs serve only as an overview for a fabric description. BlackOPS includes the construction and finish-related data output to go straight to production, eliminating the exhaustive trial-and-error development process.
Garments are made of finished fabric. The machinery and processes used to manufacture any particular finished fabric are known and thus a function of the specification, not the conditions at a competent mill. Any particular issue that creates manufacturing complexity will be common to all mills. These machinery and process variables determine manufacturing feasibility. With those variables established – and with a continual flow of process and machinery production data back into the BlackOPS, the manufacturing feasibility of each fabric can be constantly updated.
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As mills adopt BlackOPS™ to digitize their fabrics, they will be able to add their digital libraries to the BlackOPS™ Arsenal, a cloud-based searchable repository of fabrics. Selecting fabrics from the BlackOPS™ Arsenal mitigates quality risks for both the apparel brands and mills. Selecting known fabrics with a production history is better than developing new fabrics with no historical data on runnability or quality. With this insight into known fabrics, the ability to adopt the right fabrics is not constrained by time or the size of an apparel brand fabric development team.
The fabric construction attribute is a key to what differentiates the BlackOPS™ M2K from other fabric definitions. While the overall BlackOPS™ model provides important information to the designer, the construction attribute data provides the mill with the means to manufacture the fabric. The construction attribute objectively specifies the yarns, machine settings, and finishing parameters required to make the fabric. So, the mill can go straight to production with a new fabric as if it were an existing mill article with a production history, bypassing the conventional development process.