Sewfree – Bemis

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quiet revolution has been taking place in the technical outdoor market recently as designers have woken up to the benefits of Bemis Sewfree adhesive films, particularly in combination with the latest ultrasonic bonding technology. The Bemis apparel team has been working closely with key manufacturers such as Arc’Teryx, Columbia Sportswear, Marmot, Nike and The North Face to perfect the technology and offer designers an improved method of garment construction.

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greater potential for the use of adhesive films in their own designs. “The biggest quest in the performance outerwear market is to create a more durable, but lighter weight product,” says Star Miklashek, lead outerwear designer for The North Face. “This technology allows us to do that. It reduces layers of fabric in the seam, lowering the weight and height, which leads to less abrasion. In addition it’s durable, has good flow at a low temperature, and has excellent stretch and recovery.”

barriers to entry into this segment aren’t significant. However, ultrasonic and radio frequency welding can also be used.”

High frequency
Ultrasonic bonding assembles two or more layers of material between a vibrating horn and a rotary drum. Machined into the drum is a pattern of raised areas, which is where the bonding takes place. The high frequency mechanical motion of the vibrating horn combined with the compressive force between the horn and the drum create frictional heat at the point where the horn contacts the materials. Ultrasonic bonding results in a high degree of softness and breathability. Ultrasonics can be used to cut, sew, and seal synthetic materials, such as nylon, polyester, polyethylene, polypropylene, urethanes, and PVC, as long as they have at least a 60% thermoplastic composition. Material structure can vary – woven and nonwoven material, knits, coated materials, laminates and films can all be ultrasonically processed. The seam ultrasonics creates is stronger than regular needle and thread bonds, because needles create holes in the fabric that can weaken the material. Also, if one needle and thread sewn stitch is lost, the whole seam is compromised, since all the stitches are connected. If the equivalent area in an ultrasonic seam is compromised it will maintain its integrity. Because fabric combinations are changing everyday and to ensure the seam integrity, manufacturers are utilising the adhesive film in conjunction with ultrasonic bonding. At the requests of the brands, many ultrasonic machine manufacturers already incorporate an automatic feed for the adhesive with the machine. The adhesive film provides the added strength without deterring from the sleek appearance and soft hand of a fused seam. Radio frequency machine manufacturers are also beginning to seriously investigate the utilisation of adhesive films. Traditionally, radio frequency process alone was good enough to produce and seal seams. However, because of the sophistication of newer textiles, the use of adhesive films in conjunction with the usual steps in radio frequency are being evaluated. Contact: Bemis, One Bemis Way, Shirley, MA 01464 USA. Tel: +1 978 425 6466. Fax: +1 978 425 6896. email: cparlee@bemisworldwide.com www.bemisworldwide.

Aesthetics
The sleek-looking and smooth-to-the-skin finishing touches made possible by the replacement of bulky, stitched seams with Sewfree bonds bring both aesthetic and economic benefits. Employed in structural seams, zippers, pockets, cuffs and hems, Sewfree bonded seams enhance both the design and performance of garments, providing improvements to form, feel, fit and function. New design possibilities are opened up as a result of Sewfree’s ability to permanently bond an almost unlimited range of materials and the simplified, more efficient production process is also less labour-intensive than cut and sew, reducing manufacturing costs. “Bonded garment technology allows for a seamless look and feel,” says Chris Parlee, marketing manager for Bemis. “A slimmer profile and less abrasion to the end-user are achieved and a bonded seam can also initiate the stretch and recovery of the fabric, more so than stitching. A bonded seam can be waterproof, and a bonded garment typically weighs less than a sewn garment.” Sewfree has excellent washability, dry clean resistance and ‘non-yellowing’ as well as soft hand characteristics, and unlike thread, the seams don’t need to be colour matched, so the same product can be used for multiple product runs.

“There won’t be sewing machines in the future. We’re using a lot of seamless technology, coming out with a jacket that has no stitching at all – everything is glued and fused together for a lighter, stronger, more waterproof product.”
Yvon Chouinard, president of retail clothing empire Patagonia
Bemis maintains complete laboratory facilities at all of its plants and offers extensive technical assistance to designers and manufacturers to ensure optimum bonding for each application. “During manufacturing, the film penetrates the fabric to create a lasting bond,” says Chris Parlee. “Manufacturers can use a basic flat fusing press, so the

Seamless
Bemis originally developed Sewfree to bond garment pieces for intimate apparel and bodywear applications. Less abrasion, a slim profile and seam stretch complimented the ‘seamless’ movement already set in motion by knitwear manufacturers, and after this initial success in intimate apparel, outerwear designers began to see even

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