Sew American

Unionwear stitches pride into every U.S.-made, union-made cap and bag.

Twenty years ago, textile imports and overseas manufacturing were on the rise, as companies sought ways to do more business with less overhead. But at the same time, Unionwear/Konvex (UPIC: MADEINUS) was founded with a focus to keep manufacturing and production on American soil. Now the New Jersey company is a proud supplier of caps, bags and military goods that are both U.S.-made and union-made.

“We produce more than 600 different kinds of hats and bags in 360 color combinations,” says David Bronson, national accounts manager at Unionwear. “The most complicated bag we make is a casualty care bag for the U.S. Army, which requires 75 steps and over 100 pieces to produce. It is a fanny pack that holds medical supplies for Army medics.”

The simplest product, Bronson says, is a ski hat. To produce the popular cap style, machines knit yarn into a tube and employees cut the tube and sew it to shape. Unionwear customers’ top picks from the supplier are brushed cotton unstructured hats, structured cotton twill hats and tote bags.

To ensure a quality-finished product that’s wearable, usable and long-lasting, Unionwear has invested in dozens of pieces of specialized equipment—each dedicated to a single step in the process of assembling hats or bags. Additionally, Unionwear team members are experienced in the manufacture of such items. “We require employees to have five years of industrial sewing experience before they are allowed to finish products in our facility,” says Bronson.

“Our experience in making both hats and bags has benefitted the production of both products,” he adds. “In addition, we have become experts in decorating unfinished hat and bag parts, which enables us to get much better quality, larger embroidery fields and lower prices.”

Read on to see how Unionwear pieces together its popular line of hats.

Image 1 web The caps begin as a roll of fabric, which is drawn out and cut for the quantity needed per order.

Image 2 web Each panel of the cap is then die-cut according to the type of cap it will be—structured, unstructured and fitted are a few styles Unionwear makes.

Image 3 web At sub-assembly stations, the panels are sewn together and eyelets are sewn in as well. Embroidery is done at the flat-panel stage, as on this back panel.

Image 4 web More than 100 embroidery machines run daily at Unionwear.

Image 5 web Visors are produced and attached to the crowns of each cap.

Image 6 web Next, the trimming, cleaning and quality-control process begins.

Image 7 web Finished products are inspected again before being polybagged, boxed and shipped.

 

ABOUT UNIONWEAR

Founding date

1992

Principal

Mitch Cahn

Number of orders filled per year

5,000

Number of employees

140

Size of production facility

70,000 square feet

140 sewing machine operators

Dedicated production lines

Baseball caps

Promotional tote bags

High-end tote bags

Military packs

Bucket and boonie hats

Patrol caps

Duffels, attachés, messenger bags and backpacks

Types of specialized equipment

Hat taping machine

Robotic blocking unit

Sweatband-making machine

Double-needle hat taping machine

Bucket-brim stitching machine

Hydraulic die-cutting clicker

Tajima embroidery machines

AS Technologies roll fuser

Zipper

Automated web-cutting machinery

Programmable tackers

Programmable box stitchers

Roll-to-roll zipper-to-gusset attach

Self handle machinery

Roll slitter for making handles

 

filed under december-2014 | ppb
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