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Telai per la tessitura delle etichette nello stabilimento MET

From yarn to label: a journey through the MET looms

Walking through the MET – Manifattura Etichette Tessute factory, one is fascinated by the sight of millions of threads that colour the weaving department. Here, fabric labels are created, woven and personalized uniquely for each customer.

We interviewed Giancarlo Zanola, co-owner of the Biella-based company together with his brother Gilberto, to tell us some facts about the label weaving process.

Where do you start before fitting cones on the looms?

Without doubt we start by listening to the customer’s needs and “putting into practice” the requests made, proposing suitable creative solutions, then size, weave, graphics, colours, cut and fold are agreed on.
We must not forget that woven labels are intended for the fashion industry for application on clothing and accessories, therefore they must have well-defined technical characteristics and must be suitable for use on the finished garment.

After obtaining the customer’s approval, we move on to the practical part: what does it consist of?

The graphic office prepares the weave design and sends it to the production manager who is in charge of setting the technical instructions on the loom.
Sometimes, especially when the processes are very particular and the graphic effects are complex, the process can be repeated over and over again before the sample gets definitive approval from the technical staff headed by Gilberto Zanola.

Speaking of looms, is there only one type or are different ones used depending on the work to be done?

At MET we have a varied fleet of machines, consisting of needle looms with selvedge, rapier and air looms. The former, for example, is used for traditional and retro-style woven labels.
The number of warp threads is usually fixed for each individual loom, while the weft density varies, and can reach up to 120 wefts per centimetre for very well defined details.

Approximately how long does the weaving of a label take?

Time is variable and, in the case of labels, depends on several factors. For example, when there is a high density in both warp and weft and when there are many colours, it could take as long as 7 or 8 minutes to weave a single label.

Woven labels are created by weaving a large number of threads: what material are they usually made of?

The type of raw material affects the label making process and the loom, as well as the final execution. Polyester is definitely the most used fibre; so is cotton when you want to use a fibre of natural origin.
In some cases, we also use wool, but this is rare due to the structure of the fibre.

What happens to labels that fail quality control?

At the end of the weaving process, the labels are checked by specialized operators. Non-compliant products are discarded, to then be frayed and re-introduced into the production cycle. We have developed this system in recent years and it allows us to reduce waste and work virtuously in favour of the environment, an issue that is particularly close to our hearts.

Cut and fold only come to an end, on what basis are they defined?

Again, many factors influence this. For example, we use laser cutting when we have to shape the edges and create very complex shapes. Or we recommend the loop fold when the label is intended for knitwear.
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