Kids love to play! They love to try out new ways of doing things, exploring different situations, inventing new ideas and stories in their heads, without ever asking themselves “what if this fails?” They lack the fear of failure that most adults develop. By default, they are creative and innovative. This is a quality that I believe all companies should adopt as part of their culture.
At Twine Solutions, we took on the challenge to develop a new way of dyeing polyester thread or yarn using digital technology. We wanted to dye white thread/yarn in any color and length needed, on-demand for immediate use.
“A person who never made a mistake never tried something new.” – Albert Einstein
Our management and development team has extensive background in digital print and on demand manufacturing. We took inspiration from digital technology and wanted to apply it to textiles – just replace white paper for white thread. Simple, right?
Our journey began in 2015, and we soon discovered this was a daunting challenge, with many pitfalls along the way. We’re having to develop new solutions for the different variables inherent in thread dyeing. These include different thread and yarn types, with their different filament structures, reflectance and raw color and white points. We also have to understand and address the needs of different customer types using different manufacturing methods, be it knitting, sewing or embroidery.
The apparel/textile industry, at its core, is traditional and entrenched in established processes and procedures. The supply chains and relationships are established. There is a general understanding that change is needed, and inevitable, in order to meet on-demand, low volume production in a sustainable way. Yet, there is fear of taking the leaps of faith necessary to make the changes.
Like all technology providers, what Twine needs are partners that approach their business like we do. With a willingness to make mistakes and develop from them. To treat the unknown as an opportunity to learn and establish new improved ways of developing products.
Delta Galil Industries of Israel is such a company. They have been manufacturing and marketing private label apparel for the leading global brands, and their own brand for decades.
Delta was presented with two prototypes of Twine’s digital thread dyeing systems. They accepted the limitations in these early beta systems of not being able to dye all their yarn and in the quantities needed for their circular knitted and cut and sewn products. Instead, they focused on quick product sampling and development, the ability to produce unique designs by dyeing gradients and multiple colors on a single yarn, with the potential of transforming their colored thread and yarn inventory into just white stock in the future.
“We love to say that innovation is our way of living.” – Avigail Katz, VP R&D, Delta Galil
Twine’s product vision aligned with Delta’s goal to digitally transform their supply chain. The company is always open to trying a variety of new technologies. They take calculated risks, knowing that some projects will fail.
Delta helped us focus on yarn that we could optimize in our dyeing system, for products that they can go to their customers with. Along the way we found yarn that our prototype system didn’t dye well enough for Delta’s high standards. Together we looked for alternatives, until they were satisfied. They understood that over time we would optimize our system to include more yarn types for their manufacturing.
Just like my primary teacher once told me – “if you fail, try, and try again”.
Delta Galil installed Twine’s first commercialized digital thread dyeing system, the TS-1800, to answer many needs in sampling and low volume productions.
The learning and development with Delta’s development team is still an ongoing process. There will always be more yarn and thread to optimize, better ways of winding thread or maintaining high level of color fastness. It’s on Twine to continually provide customers with these extra requirements.
Once a new technology is installed, it needs heroes to champion its use internally. The technology needs to be implemented into the business process until it becomes part of the day-to-day procedures, and even at an innovative company like Delta Galil, there was some internal resistance.
Twine’s inhouse dyeing technology forces designers to go beyond what they know. Suddenly designers have to learn how much yarn is used to knit a logo in a pair of socks, or sportswear. Or they find themselves being asked to understand LAB color values when they are used to choosing from color catalogs or using less accurate color models, like RGB.
This challenges the company’s culture – are you going to fear the unknown, or meet the challenge and dare to try something new?
A company like Delta Galil has the leadership team that always aims to meet challenges head on, allowing the development teams to follow suit. This allows us (the Twine team) to support the needs of the internal champions of our technology to help designers, knitters, and garment makers overcome their fears and embrace the technology.
Champions of new technologies may feel their reputations are on the line. That would be the case in companies where innovation is not part of the culture. These brave souls need the support of the leadership to increase the chance of success.
We cannot predict the exact future, but we can state our goals. Twine’s long-term journey requires us to achieve production capacity digital thread and yarn dyeing. We will not stop at sampling, product development and low volume production.
We have asked Delta Galil to join us on this journey, to believe in our technology, and in time we will help transform their inventory to white or raw yarn, with no MOQs, reducing waste, and bring about more sustainability to their production.
If you ask Delta Galil, they will say that they asked us to join in their journey to achieve their identical vision. The beauty is… we are on a similar journey. To reach our mutual goals, we both keep improving and learning to innovate to create a new, improved, more sustainable way of producing fashion goods.
If we adopt the childlike ability to keep trying new ways with curiosity, observing and improving, we will achieve our mutual goals and succeed.
“The fact is, we have in hand now, an order, a real order, from a real customer, not a few samples. We have a real big order, dyed to match yarn on the Twine machine, it’s a real order and that’s fantastic, exciting!” – Avigail Katz.