Minutes of the Hosiery Testing Consortium Held at the Hosiery Technology Center in Hickory, NC

There were twenty-eight members present. A list of attendees is available.


Fit Committee Chairman Regina Speed opened the meeting at 10:30 am.

Dan St. Louis discussed the tremendous response from retailers to the September rollout of the standard test methods. Several entities have changed their methods to reflect what the committee has suggested. Having the methods on the website has also been a big plus. The new testing class at the HTC has gone well also. The next step is to develop the actual standards needed for the various sizes. If this can be accomplished in socks, then it will make it much easier to go forward with sheers and seamless body wear after the protocols are established.

Tony Whitener then reviewed what has happened since the last meeting on new developments with the approved Fit machines. The biggest news was that Hickory Foundry and Machinery Company (HIFOMACO) has bought the rights and patents on the Cimation LCS 4800 machine. HIFOMACO is gearing up for manufacturing of this new device and new machines will be ready in approximately 6 weeks. It will be called the HIFOMACO LCS 4800 sizing machine. There has been much interest in this machine. The DSC machine has been slightly modified in the new versions and Henderson Machinery is working with Dinema to get three machines to test. The committee discussed the need to do correlation studies between the three approved machine types.

Two prototype test springs have been developed and manufactured by Hickory Foundry and Machine Company and Henderson Machinery. Three will be needed of each type so they can be tested according to the established committee protocols for new devices. The Fit subcommittee will discuss this further after trials are run.

Regina Speed then introduced Dr Don Thompson of the Textile Protection and Comfort Center (T-PACC) located at the NCSU College of Textiles. Don presented the major criteria that are studied at T-PACC that relate to the comfort of a garment. He discussed the impressive list of capabilities at T-PACC to measure this fabric criteria, such as the sweating mannequins and “pyro-man”. These are machines used to predict the ability of a fabric to transfer moisture or resist intense fire. Other devices are also used to measure how quickly a fabric can dissipate heat or cool the skin.

The committee was particularly interested in the protocols that have been used to compare the various machine readings to how a group of human test subjects react to a particular garment. He described the test used to evaluate a group of garments in which the test subjects are put through a series of activities from rest to aerobic activities to mental dexterity activities. The subjects evaluate such criteria as fit, fabric weight, clamminess, stiffness, etc. Along with the activity level changes, the human subjects are exposed to various temperature and humidity changes in a controlled weather chamber. These human evaluations were then compared to the machine evaluations and showed a remarkable correlation. The whole consortium felt that this would be the way to approach the establishment of test standards for socks.

A Fit subcommittee was established with the following members: Regina Speed, Tony Whitener, Bill Silvera, Cindi Abel, Dan St. Louis, Rodney Sigmon, Tami Rollins, Chris Walker, John Simon, Don Thompson, Roy Johnson and Don Thompson. This group will meet on May 23 at T-PACC in Raleigh beginning at 10:30 a.m.


Art Caldwell then updated the committee on the progress of the Abrasion Subcommittee. The current ASTM abrasion methods using sandpaper have approximately a 30 % inherent variation while the new “straight line” method using Trizact has reduced the variation to around 7%. Art has presented this to ASTM and other groups. Several testing labs and retailers have begun using Trizact.

A professor from Wofford College, that produces a polymer that simulates skin characteristics and is used on the Stoll machine. The cost of this polymer is very high and other companies such as 3M are looking at this. Hal Brockmann has a pad he has used in other areas of textiles that he will try to locate for the committee to try.

One area of concern is that the Martindale machine with sock adapter is being looked at for adoption as an ISO standard. This method was one of the worst ones tested initially as the wool-abrading medium would wear out before the nylon did. It would also take days to perform one trial. Art is to present next week before the US textile contingent for ISO to oppose adoption of this method for hosiery.

In going forward it was agreed that a new Design of Experiments (DOE) would be needed to improve the method further. Three variables will be looked at in the experiment. These are the effects of 1) Type of backing material Trizact or a simulated skin 2) Frequency of change of backing material and 3) Frequency of change of abrading material. Jan Pegram will design the matrix for the DOE. A subcommittee of Jan Pegram, Art Caldwell, Simon Yakopson, Lisa Sain, Eric Vann, Regina Dula and Marvin DeWitt was formed to work on this DOE.

Funding was briefly discussed by Dan St. Louis and he said that the NC Department of Labor has helped fund other HTC activities. This freed up some money to help move the testing consortium on the path to developing standards. Other avenues such as the NCMEP and the National Textile Center are also being pursued.

Other Business

     Hal Brockmann said that the Quickwash System has been adopted by the AATCC for measuring textile fabrics for dimensional stability. He said that it is ready to be used for hosiery but that experiments would have to be made to determine the optimum machine settings.

Marvin DeWitt then generously offered a free Phenollic yellowing test kit to all members of the committee. This kit is used to test for the propensity of white and light colored garments to yellow due to phenollic compounds present.

The next full committee meeting will be scheduled when the subcommittees have results to report on.